What I Learned from Traveling as a Girl Scout

What I Learned from Traveling as a Girl Scout

The following is a guest post from Girl Scout Lillian H…

The Eyes to the Skies Destination at Camp WaBak in Marietta, South Carolina has inspired me to do things differently in many ways. One of those ways is to always look up, because you never know what you might see. Another one is to try new things, even if you think you won’t like them at first. Finally, don’t be afraid to mess up or fail, everyone makes mistakes.

During the solar eclipse, we all thought that the sky was going to remain cloudy during totality. However, when it reached totality we all looked up and the clouds had parted.

Even when it was cloudy we all kept looking for changes in the environment. On the brink of totality an owl flew from the woods surrounding us to a secluded pine tree.

At this destination, at least for me being from Illinois, there were tons of new opportunities. We all went for barbecue, I tried hush puppies for the first time. There was a flight simulator at the Challenger Learning Center, I was a little scared at first, but it turned out to be tons of fun. Trying new things will never be a disappointing opportunity to experience.

There were a lot of things that I messed up on. We made bottle rockets out of two two-liter bottles, mine wasn’t the best but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it failed. We also did creek walking and I have to say, that’s the one thing that I messed up. Once we had gotten to the waterfall I slipped and fell into the knee deep water and skinned my knee on a stone. After that I had tons of fun wading in the ankle deep water with some of my new friends.

This destination has really taught me to always look up, try new things, and not to be afraid of messing up.

 

If you’d like to learn more about our council’s travel opportunities, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

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Your Gift Helps Girls Like Phoebe Find Their Voices

Your Gift Helps Girls Like Phoebe Find Their Voices

For girls, growing up has never been more complicated. In the age of social media, bullying and peer pressure can start at a very young age. And our girls are feeling the impact. With cases of bullying on the rise, a gift today helps a girl find her voice— girls like Phoebe.

Phoebe encountered bullying beginning in 2nd grade. She felt alone and didn’t know how to ask for help. Phoebe knew she wanted a group of friends to surround her, support her, and like her for being herself. It wasn’t until she saw a Girl Scout troop in her neighborhood that she found hope that she could have that. She joined Girl Scouts right away.

From her very first meeting, Phoebe didn’t feel alone anymore. The other girls instantly welcomed her into the troop and made an effort to get to know her. This was a new experience for Phoebe and lifted her confidence. Even though she was the new girl in this group, she didn’t feel like an outsider, as she often did at school.

Girl Scouts gave Phoebe a safe space. She found an all-girl environment where she was not pressured to change herself in order to fit in or be seen—Phoebe found value in her uniqueness. She knew she could overcome challenges and grow from them. She went back to school with a newfound courage to talk to her teachers about the bullying and ask for help.

Phoebe learned a lot in 2nd grade, and Girl Scouts has been there for her ever since. Now in 8th grade, Phoebe credits Girl Scouts for building her courage, confidence, and character, so that she can practice a lifetime of leadership.

Each Girl Scout program proved to Phoebe that she could learn something new, achieve a goal, and have fun. For Phoebe, troop activities encouraged teamwork and collaboration; Girl Scout camp taught independence and resourcefulness; and the Girl Scout Cookie program instilled a strong work ethic and people skills.

Phoebe knows she’ll face challenges in life, and now she has the skills and experiences to help her soar. It doesn’t hurt that she also has her Girl Scout Sisters in her corner. Phoebe is excited for all the new adventures that await, even going to high school with hundreds of new people.

Now Phoebe sees new possibilities for her future, and she’s discovered her dream of owning a restaurant. With the skills she’s honed in her Girl Scout troop, she knows how to take the lead and make her dream a reality.

 

You are an important part of Phoebe’s Girl Scout experience. As a Girl Scout supporter, you are part of the village that has helped Phoebe become the confident and
courageous girl of character that she is today. You are part of the 112-year history of Girl
Scout leadership that has shaped the lives of millions of girls like Phoebe.

Your donation of any amount today, empowers girls to face challenges,
grow, and find purpose. You can make a difference for girls like Phoebe seeking a welcoming space to be themselves—girls who want to make the world a better place.

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On behalf of Phoebe and every girl like her, thank you.
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Butterfly Garden Coming to Camp Greene Wood

Butterfly Garden Coming to Camp Greene Wood

The following is a guest post from our outdoor conservation and stewardship specialist, Lauren Somogyi…

You might ask, what is a Monarch Waystation and why do we need one?

Well, to start, the monarch butterflies are currently on the path to extinction. Their populations have been declining for many years due to loss of habitat, insecticide and herbicide use, and intensive agriculture.

Monarch butterflies are considered an indicator species, which can help determine whether environments and ecosystems are healthy. If an indicator species population declines, it is possible that their specific living environment is also changing and something is wrong.

Also, while conserving the monarch butterflies, we help other pollinators as well, such as bees, by providing these native plant based habitats. Conserving these habitats can have a cascading effect to the conservation of the entire ecosystem.

So, now, why is having a Monarch Waystation important?

Creating a Monarch Waystation will help provide habitats for monarchs to breed, develop, and survive. The more areas that have these designated areas, filled with milkweed and other critical plants, the easier it is for monarchs to find areas to live.

A Monarch Waystation is an area that contains specific host and nectar plants critical to the survival of the monarch butterflies. These waystations are managed specifically to provide food, shelter, and habitat for monarch butterflies.

Following the guidelines provided by Monarch Watch, a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program, these waystations need to be at least 100 square feet and be exposed to six hours of a sun per day.

The plant criteria includes having at least 10 native host plants, made up of two or more species, as well as multiple native nectar plants. The host plants provide a location for butterflies to lay their eggs and are the sole food source for developing caterpillars, while the nectar plants provide food for the adult butterflies.

The main host plant for Monarchs is milkweed. Milkweed is the only type of plant that monarch caterpillars feed on when growing and developing. It is a critical plant to the monarch butterfly. By including these plants in waystations, abundance food sources are available to the monarchs.

How can I help?

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is offering multiple workshops next year for girls to come out and assist in developing our butterfly garden and Monarch Waystation.

We want girls to be able to learn about conservation techniques, specifically to the monarch butterflies, as well as engage them in hands-on gardening activities that will help them develop skills that they can take home.

We hope to provide fun and education workshops for girls to gain a better understanding of the environment around them and care for the Earth.

Let It Grow: Butterfly Buddies is open to girls in kindergarten through fifth grade. To learn more and to register, click here.

Traveling with Troop 50384

Traveling with Troop 50384

Donate today to help girls experience more adventure!
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The following is a guest post from members of Girl Scout Troop 50834…

Recently, our troop traveled all throughout Europe visiting London, Paris and Barcelona. The trip was very interesting. We were able to see many famous landmarks: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Tower of London, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame, La Sagrada Familia.

We also saw famous people: Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward, Prince Charles, Camilla – Duchess of Cornwall, Felipe VI and Letizia – King and Queen of Spain. We also enjoyed seeing the play Wicked in London, it was amazing! We were able to meet one of the actors after the show.

Wicked

We rode the train everywhere we went and met different cultures of people from around the world; we also saw many different currencies. We visited PAX Lodge in London and received a Girl Scout pin. The Spanish markets had so many different foods and the crepes in France were fabulous! It was a trip of a lifetime that we will always remember.

Savannah

We also went to Savannah, Georgia. Getting the opportunity to experience the history of how Girl Scouts began was amazing. We were accompanied by another Girl Scout troop from Kansas during our time there as well.

Some of the highlights of our trip were visiting the birthplace of the Girl Scout founder, Juliette Gordon Low, and learning about how she interacted with and helped girls. Other high points were going on a dolphin cruise on Tybee Island and collecting seashells on the beach. We had a great time discovering our Girl Scout history and more about each other.

If you’d like to learn more about our council’s travel opportunities, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Your donation of any amount can help girls continue to experience adventure!
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You-and-Me: The First Step in Travel Progression

You-and-Me: The First Step in Travel Progression

You-and-Me on Mackinac Island 2018 marks the fifth Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana-sponsored trip to the Michigan island.

During this three-day, two-night adventure, Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes travel with their mom, grandma or favorite female adult friend for a fun-filled weekend adventure. The total price of the trip is approximately $350 per person which includes coach bus, accommodation, multiple meals and activities.

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The trip takes place from Aug. 5-7, 2018, and the group stays at the iconic Mission Point Resort in shared accommodation. Group activities include a horse-drawn carriage ride, butterfly house and admission to Fort Mackinac.

Girl Scouts and their family members get a full afternoon and evening to explore – whether that’s renting a bike to circle the 8.3 miles around the island, horseback riding, eating free fudge samples or shopping.

Following the success of GSGCNWI’s You-and-Me on Mackinac Island, the council has now added a second You-and-Me option in Door County, Wisconsin. Travel dates for this new opportunity are June 24-26, 2018.

Door County

Again, Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes travel with their mom, grandma or favorite female adult friend for a three-day, two-night adventure. The total cost of the trip is approximately $275 per person, and includes coach bus, accommodation, multiple meals and activities.

Door County Trolley

The group will take part in a trolley tour, guided hike at the Ridges Sanctuary and a boat tour. There will also be free-time to explore the towns of Egg Harbor and Sister Bay. Accommodation is shared-suites at Newport Resort in Egg Harbor.

Registration for both trips closes on January 31, 2018 and requires a $150 deposit. You can register for the Mackinac Island trip here and register for the Door County trip here.

If you’d like to learn more about our council’s travel opportunities, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Girl Scouts is the Ultimate Training Course for Life

Girl Scouts is the Ultimate Training Course for Life

Make a gift today to support the inclusive, all-girl experience of Girl Scouting.
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When Mary Ann Tuft was in high school back in the late 1940s, her teacher invited all the girls in the class to be in an exclusive sorority – everyone except for Mary Ann that is. She was not invited because she was Jewish. Although that may have been very deflating for some girls, Mary Ann had her Girl Scouts troop that accepted her no matter what.

Because Girl Scouts was so impactful on Mary Ann’s life, she decided to be one of the founding members of the Juliette Gordon Low Society – Girl Scouts Planned Giving Society. Mary Ann, who currently lives in Chicago, is happy to give back to an organization that has given her so much.

Mary Ann fondly recalls her troop leader and experiences as a Girl Scout. She says she felt a sense of belonging and her experience helped build her confidence as a young girl. She went camping across the country where she developed the love of the outdoors.

Learning how to collaborate and work as a team were key components of camping, she explains. They shared common goals and worked together to accomplish them. “There was a focus on others,” says Mary Ann. “We helped each other, it was never just about oneself.”

Mary Ann Tuft

Today, hanging in her kitchen, is a Girl Scout certificate from 1947 for a cooking class she completed. At age 83, she laughs at this because now she is the first one to call a caterer.

One Girl Scout opportunity led to the next Girl Scout opportunity for Mary Ann. After graduating from college, she started teaching the third grade and served as a volunteer Girl Scout leader. One of her favorite memories was taking the girls to Colorado Springs to go camping like she did when she was a Girl Scout.

Then Girl Scouts of the USA asked Mary Ann to be a representative to Girl Scouts in Israel. She lived in Israel for six months and never stayed in a hotel. She lived with many different families and learned a new culture and way of life. “Girl Scouts had always been ahead of the times,” says Mary Ann. “Girl Scouts has always accepting of other cultures.”

When she returned from Israel, she served as a national trainer for the Girl Scouts. Her leadership courses were even better than her college courses. With troop leaders, she shared her love and enthusiasm for Girl Scouts. Then those troop leaders passed on that love of scouting to future generations of girls.

“Girl Scouts is the ultimate training course for life,” says Mary Ann. After leaving Girl Scouts of the USA, she went on to be the Executive Director of the Radiological Society of North America in Oak Brook, Illinois. And then went on to start her own business, Tuft and Associates.

She says, “None of this would have happened without Girl Scouts.” She has owned her own business for 30 years and is still working today. “Any success I have had,” she says, “is because I had Girl Scouts as my foundation.”

To learn more about the Juliette Gordon Low Society, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Your donation of any amount ensures more girls find a safe space at Girl SCouts!
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Girl Scouts Visit Our Cabaña in Mexico

Girl Scouts Visit Our Cabaña in Mexico

Ever wonder what it’s like to travel with Girl Scouts? In this guest blog post, members of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana share their experience at Nuestra Cabaña in Mexico…

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Day One

Greetings from Mexico! This is Gillion (Joliet, IL) and Leianna (Chicago, IL) writing to you all. Today, we went to Plaza De Las Tres Cultras and we learned about the history of the Mexican government and why it is important to the Mexican culture.

When we went to Teotihuacan we learned that it is the “City of Gods” and there is a plant that gave the Aztecs the basic needs (paper, soap, needle and thread). We also learned that they made their blankets and sweaters out of the cactus fibers. We then went to the Teotihuacan (pyramids). The majority of the girls walked up and down the pyramids, and let us tell you; the view was beautiful. There were shops throughout the pyramids (technically called temples) that sold bracelets, shirts, shoes, etc.

Then we went for lunch at a buffet where a mariachi band played for us. Our tour guide Marco sang a song for us and he had a beautiful voice. After lunch we went to the Nueva Basilica de Guadalupe (the Shrine of the Virgin Mary). We visited the old and new shrine then walked into the chapel. When we were just about to leave the shrine, it was pouring rain. When it calmed down, only by 10 percent, we ran to our cars to head for dinner. We had a ton of fun at dinner. Last, but not least, we got churros to end our night. Overall, our day was very long, but it was all worth it in the end.

Mexico 3

Day Two

Greeting from Ticalli! This is your amigas Nina and Taryn. We had a jam packed day full of fun. To start our day we went to Xochimilco and rode on a boat through the last Aztec canal in Ciudad de Mexico. Xochimilco is known for its floating gardens and is a colorful burst of Mexican culture. While on the boat we enjoyed elote, quesadillas, and many vendors showing off their trade. We used our new-found bartering skill, courtesy of Jan, to get the best deal!

Afterwards, we travelled to Coyoacan where we enjoyed a lunch of tostadas and aqua de fruta. From there we walked to Casa Azul, the home of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, and her husband Diego Rivera. While we were there, we learned more about the difficult and painful life that Frida endured and how it inspired many of her famous works. Inside the house there is not only many beautiful works of art, but also articles of her clothing and other remnants of her life.

On our way to the restaurant, we stopped to take pictures at “Alas de la Ciudad,” “The Wings of the City.” When we arrived to the restaurant, we saw the locked doors and the vacant restaurant, so we made other plans. The brave Jodi Lynn and Ashley ventured through the thunderstorm to get us our delicious pizza. Although the day was filled with twists and turns, it ended with lots of laughter, smiles, and beautiful memories.

Mexico 4

Day Three

This is Jordan (Green Bay, WI) and Gillion again writing to you from Our Cabaña in Cuernavaca, Mexico! Today we woke up and ate breakfast at Ticalli, like usual and then went to Zocalo, a large town square in Mexico CIty. There is the Palacio Nacional, the Gran Hotel, and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Then, walked to a restaurant near by to eat lunch. After lunch, we drove near Central Alameda Park and the Fine Art Museum to get back to Ticalli in time to get picked up to head to Our Cabaña. When we arrived, we got a tour of the World Center and ate dinner. After dinner we played games with all 60 girls staying with us to get to know them. It was a day filled with fun activities and meeting many new people.

Our Cabana

Day Four

This is Jenna (Wisconsin) and Jaelyn (Virginia) coming to you live from Our Cabaña. Today we woke up and had breakfast. We then participated in team building activities where we met girls from all around the world. At lunch we got to try the best chocolate flan cake ever. We then played a real life version of chutes and ladders. We were split up into groups and went to different stations; some of the stations were Our Cabaña trivia, Mexican food, camping tips, Day of the Dead (face painting), and water activities. Some of the girls also worked on a challenge to earn a limited edition patch for the 60th anniversary of Our Cabaña. After dinner we had a campfire and sung campfire songs.

Day Five

Hola! This is Kate (Lewisvile, NC) reporting on the activities of this past day. Today, the entire camp ran activity stations for the kids of a local orphanage, boys and girls ages 3-12. Our table held the materials to design your own paper plate sun catcher, complete with sequins, colored cellophane bits, and stickers. LOTS of stickers. Later into the day, the majority of us split off with one child to have fun hula-hooping, eating popsicles, and dancing our hearts out.

After we said “Adios,” our group set off in shifts to a nearby mall, only 25 minutes away by walking. We didn’t find much, but our leaders did find a McDonald’s – a MEXICAN McDonald’s. We wrapped up the evening with games that the whole center played, Jenga, Head’s Up, a clapping concentration game, and a round of Bang where the leaders (Mrs. Machota) were especially trigger-happy. As I am writing this, Nieve, the camp cat, has claimed Ms. Christensen’s lap for herself, and is working on a campaign for her laptop bag. We will continue the war front updates tomorrow. Cheers!

Mexico waterfalls

Day Six

This is Caroline (Boston) and Sierra (Iowa) writing to you from Our Cabaña. After a rushed breakfast, we headed out on an adventure with our group, girls from Pennsylvania, and girls from an island in the Caribbean. We took a bus and a truck to Mil Cascadas (the site of the waterfalls) then hiked the rest of the way. There were seven waterfalls of varying heights that could be attempted.

Every girl hiked and most jumped at least one. The tallest was 10 meters and the shortest was 2 meters. The instructors were helpful with getting our equipment (helmets and life jackets), steadying us along the way, and guiding us once we were in the water. No one hit a rock, but there was at least one accidental belly flop. Following the jumping, we had lunch by the water then hiked back. We saw lots of donkeys, horses, and cows on our journey. Some locals were even waterfall jumping too. Lots of girls took advantage of the ride back by taking naps.

Day Seven

Writing to you is Sophia (California) and Zuri (Pennsylvania) live and in stereo. This morning, we had a buffet-style breakfast. Then at 10 a.m., we boarded a tour bus to drive to a cathedral in downtown Cuernavaca where we learned the history of the location and Hernan Cortez.

Then, we had free time to go shopping at the local craft market where girls bought authentic Mexican items such as hammocks, dresses, and handmade bags. We arrived at Our Cabaña at 1:30 p.m. where we had a delicious lunch which was followed by a fun-filled pool party. Later this evening, we had a traditional dinner and a Nuestra Cabaña scavenger hunt. Now we are off to bed awaiting the 60th Anniversary party tomorrow.

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Day Eight

Hola, it’s Taryn and Sierra writing to you about yesterday. The morning started off with an optional trip to the local pyramids called Teopanzolco. Girls could walk there or have a free morning. After returning, we came back for lunch. The 60th anniversary party was in the afternoon. Girls got dressed up in party clothes.

There were super fun arcade games, a cute photo booth with costumes and props, a piñata filled with traditional Mexican candy, Spanish, American, British, and Brazilian music, and lots of high energy dancing. During dinner there was even a mariachi band. They brought in caterers for dinner with traditional Mexican food- tacos, elotes, quesadillas, etc. To end the party, girls jumped fully clothed into the swimming pool.

Day Nine

This is Leianna (Chicago) and Celina (Missouri) writing to you all about our day. Today we worked on our scrapbook page for the Cabaña’s scrapbook. The book is basically full of all the Girl Scouts and Girl Guides that have visited the Cabaña. Then we planned out our international night swaps. We practiced our song and a brief sentence about each of our swaps. Then we had free time to do what we wanted like swim or go to the craft house.

The Cabaña had set up two programs for us to choose from. One was about self-confidence and the other was about types of violence. The classes they set up for us was to learn different views of what goes on in today’s society. When dinner time came the leaders left for dinner. The Girl Scouts stayed at the Cabaña to eat dinner and play capture the flag with the volunteers. All the girls are really enjoying themselves and don’t want to leave just yet.

If you’d like to learn more about our council’s travel opportunities, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.