Girl Scouts’ By-Teens-For-Teens Online Magazine: Lime Green Giraffe

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word giraffe? Is it spots or a long neck or the zoo? Is it that Halloween when your spider costume ended up looking more like a sickly giraffe? For me, it’s the Lime Green Giraffe.

No, I’m not losing my mind or reminiscing about an old stuffed animal. I’m talking about an online magazine written by teen Girl Scouts, for teen Girl Scouts.

LGG Staff Photo Fall 2011

LGG Staff Photo Fall 2011

If you clicked here, you’d see a big “Welcome! “and the face of GiGi, the lime green giraffe. You would see the editorial and the cover photo; you would see the six sections of the online magazine. But who wrote that editorial, and who are the girls in the photo? How are the articles split into six categories, and who decides how
each photo will look?

Rewind to four months ago, and you’ll find 14 teenage Girl Scouts from the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta sitting around a table at Georgia Tech, equipped with snacks and their imaginations. These girls are the Lime Green Giraffe staff.

Planning an issue

Planning an issue

Lots of work goes into a single issue of the Lime Green Giraffe, which comes out twice a school year, February and August. First, there’s the brainstorming. We, the Lime Green Giraffe staff members, shout out random things, piggyback off each other’s ideas, and end up filling at least two posters with our possible story ideas. Once every ounce of creative juice has been squeezed out of us and we can think of no more, we decide who will write which article. Not all the ideas make it into the magazine. Some are saved for a later issue, and others are tossed away. The ones that do make the magazine are then sorted by the staff into the six categories: “Totally Girl Scouts”, “Girl Talk,” “Did U Know?”, “Fun Stuff”, “Meet the Staff”, and  “Events & Forms”.

With our focus on the article ideas that were chosen, we pick a theme that correlates to most of the articles such as Change, Going Green, or Travel. However, there are times when the articles seem to have no relation whatsoever. In those times, we decide to not decide.  In other words, there is no theme.

Whether there’s a theme or not, the next step that goes into making the LGG happen is writing. Writing, writing, writing. You couldn’t have a magazine without it, so naturally this is the most important part. We don’t do anything fancy for this most important part. We don’t have “writing sessions” in which we meet and sit around a table for three hours silently working. We don’t have phone conferences where we all give our input on each other’s articles. We don’t read our articles aloud, waiting for feedback. We write our articles on our own time, in whatever manner we choose.

Writing is done best when the writer does things her own way. It sounds plain,
but this way each article remains unique and interesting.

There are several leadership positions on the LGG staff: the copy editor, the photo editor, and the artistic director. Prospective leaders write a page on why they would like the position, and several mystery judges decide on the lucky winners. While every girl on the LGG staff contributes to the magazine’s success, these three girls put in a little extra. The copy editor edits the other staff members’ articles before they are published, and many times she writes the editorial. The artistic director draws any original art that is needed, such as a doodle of GiGi. The photo editor takes the “Meet the Staff” photos and helps organize our photo shoots.

Wait a second. Photo shoots? As in arrogant models with bossy agents demanding to be fanned with palm fronds and a photographer who says, “Darling, you really need to lose weight.”? Not quite. In fact, our photo shoots are the exact opposite.
Our photographer Bob Ross is excellent, and the models are Girl Scouts just like us.

Lime Green Giraffe Photo Shoot

Lime Green Giraffe Photo Shoot

The photo shoots require the most planning, but they’re also the most fun. Each LGG staff member directs a photo. She tells her two or three models what to bring, how to dress, and how to pose. Then it’s off to the photography room, where the staff member gets to step back and see how the shot will look in the magazine. The girls pose; the camera clicks away. A few test shots, and then Photographer Bob gets serious. Flyaway hairs are suddenly noticed, and awkward spaces are filled. His motto is “Looking natural isn’t so easy.” It’s true; lots of adjusting and rethinking is
necessary during a shoot.

Most girls are timid when they first step in front of the camera. Their confidence builds as Photographer Bob takes more and more shots, so that by the end they look like pros. Out of all the photos we take, only one is picked by the LGG staffer directing the shot. Now the models wait to see their faces in the magazine.

Marnye and Melissa of the Lime Green Giraffe

Marnye and Melissa of the Lime Green Giraffe

The articles are written; the pictures are taken; and now the Lime Green Giraffe is live! It’s exciting to see the magazine, to read through all the articles, to see the photo that you directed. None of that would have happened without two special volunteers: Marnye Hall and Melissa Gerrior. They schedule the meetings, they email reminders, they keep us on task, and they bring energy to every meeting and event we do. They help us out with whatever we need, whether it’s LGG related or not. They have been with the LGG since its beginning in 2004, and have done so much for Girl Scouts.

There you have it: an inside look at what goes on at one of the only Girl Scout magazines written by girls, for girls! From the first meeting, to the awesome volunteers, you’ve learned what goes into making the Lime Green Giraffe. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Elizabeth W., GSUSA. Age: 14

Elizabeth W., GSUSA. Age: 14

By Elizabeth W., GSUSA. Age: 14

How great would it be for Girl Guides to have a magazine by and for teens?! Share your ideas with us how to start this!

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