The new registration system for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is almost ready to make its debut and we are so excited!
We are taking our time to smooth out as many of those first-year pain points as possible. That means instructions on how to access the system will now be shared on Thursday, Jan. 30, instead of today as originally planned.
We are grateful for your continued patience with this process. After all, it has been 18 years since we launched a new system! Yikes! Where did the time go? However, we think the wait will be worth it!
Please watch your inbox and this blog post for live updates on Thursday morning. You’ll receive an email that contains the access link and specific instructions for how to login to your account and start building your summer camp wish list.
Please note that adding a program to your wish list will NOT guarantee admission, however, it will make it easier for you to find what you want once enrollment opens.
All program registrations are on hold until Feb. 3, at 5 a.m., while we transition between our old and new systems.
Propertyand equipment (like flags and parade kits) will still be reserved through their current processes. We’ll release these through the new system at a later date.
May 9, 2020 | 10 a.m.–4 p.m. | Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
Registration is Now Open to Attend this Extra-Ordinary Expo!
Green for Good is no ordinary expo! It’s a life-changing, family-friendly experience to spark innovation, creativity, advocacy, and action to make the world a better place. Hosted by the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI), Green for Good will feature a wide variety of learning experiences for all youth and their families.
Why Green for Good?
It’s in Girl Scouts’ DNA. Our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was a famous lover of nature. Today, Girl Scouts honors her legacy by promoting respect and love of the great outdoors far and wide.
Through Girl Scouting, girls learn to value the Earth as their home, and are inspired to develop a lasting commitment to the environment through care, conservation, and responsibility.
In preparation for our Green for Good expo we have some events to inspire, educate and kick-start a “greener” way of life! These events are open to EVERYONE both non and current Girl Scouts.
Bees, Bats, Butterflies – Feb. 16
Did you know that a lot of our food and produce comes from crops that are pollinated by cross-pollinators like bees, bats, and butterflies? Presented with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, this event is perfect if you’re curious about pollinators and our environment.
You’ll learn why pollinators are so important, and everyday things YOU can do to help them thrive. Through hands-on activities, you’ll get to meet and learn from naturalists, animal caretakers, and heritage interpreters from the forest preserve!
It can be difficult to recycle many items that aren’t collected by traditional recycling programs. So, In honor of the Girl Scout Birthday and (of course) Green for Good, bring your “hard-to-recycle” recyclables to the Vernon Hills Gathering Place.
When summer rolls around, the beach is the place to be! But the experience can be tainted when we see trash and waste at our favorite spots. It can truly ruin an awesome summer experience! But we are here to help.
Working in partnership with Alliance for the Great Lakes, we are hosting a beach clean up day at several locations this spring along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
If you’re a Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador Girl Scout, you probably fielded a lot of career aspirations and college planning questions over the holidays. Don’t let all those family members scare you–– you have more than enough time! Preparing for the future can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Thankfully, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) has your back. Find out how you can start preparing to pursue your passions with our upcoming programs for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors.
Think Like An Engineer
Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are invited to the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on Feb. 8 to Think Like an Engineer! Learn how engineers use the design thinking process to solve problems, create prototypes using this process, and brainstorm your Take Action project together.
Ever dream of running your own business? Maybe you have a great idea for an invention, or the business savvy to start a company?
Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are invited to join GNCWI’s Spark Tank at Camp Greene Wood on March 27 to develop your idea, prototype it, and develop marketing. The program ends with a panel presentation to potential “investors/sharks!”
Seniors and Ambassadors are invited to explore opportunities after graduating high school! Whether it’s attending college, starting your career, or choosing your own path, we are here to provide the resources you need. We’ll have college advisers, career counselors, trade school representatives, and travel advocates educate girls on all the options available.
Seniors and Ambassadors, it’s almost time for college! From test prep to financial aid, explore the ins and outs of the college admissions process with Girl Scouts at various workshops available from January through April. Badge included!
Whatever you see for yourself in the future, whether it’s becoming a bestselling author, a business-owner, a teacher, a public defender, an artist (the list goes on and on!), Girl Scouts has the resources and programming to help your dreams become reality. You have the potential within you–– let’s unleash it together.
Welcome to the first blog in our Go Gold series! To start, we are breaking down some processes and procedures for the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn–– and busting some common myths you may have heard. It’s true that nowadays the common way to find answers to questions is, “Google it!” but the Gold Award is a bit different, because every council has their own set of procedures.
Myth #1: The Gold Award requires a ton of paperwork!
Sort of true–– but it’s not as bad as you think! For the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, yes, there is paperwork you need to complete. But remember this: it’s only two sets of paperwork, a proposal, and a final report. As of October 2019, all girls beginning their Gold Award process should utilize Go Gold online as the platform to collect all their information in one place.
The project proposal is a girl’s expression of how her project will address the root cause of an issue, create lasting change, be sustainable beyond her involvement, and connect to a national and/or global issue. The final paperwork gives girls a chance to show off how their project achieved her goal and made the lasting changes she sought!
Remember, with a proposal and final report, girls are responsible for including detailed project plans, timelines, and budgets. These are considered supplemental materials for the proposal and final report. Thanks to the Go Gold online platform, they are easily populated and integrated into proposals and final reports. There’s no longer a need for multiple additional documents and attachments.
Myth #2: Gold Award interviews are hard to schedule!
In the past, yes, but good news: we have recently made changes to alleviate this issue! As of October 2019, girls who submit paperwork (either a proposal or final report) will not need to interview with our committee. Instead, the paperwork will be reviewed by our Gold Award Panel. Panel reviews will happen every two weeks. Once our Gold Award Panel reviews your paperwork, you will receive an email from council with your next steps! See our step-by-step guide for more details on what comes next, specifically for proposals and final reports.
Myth #3: Girls must finish by their 18th birthday!
Myth! All graduating senior Girl Scouts have until September 30 of the year they graduate to have their Gold Awards approved by our committee. Please remember: this means projects need to be reviewed and approved by our Gold Award Panel prior to September 30 to be considered complete. Our suggestion would be that all graduated seniors submit their final paperwork no later than September 1 to ensure you receive full approval by September 30.
Other things you might be wondering…
Who should my project advisor be?
Someone who works with the organization you are partnering with for your Gold Award project! For example, if you plan to work with a food pantry to develop a community garden so they always have fresh fruits and vegetables, you may select the director of the food pantry at your advisor. Project advisors should be selected based on their ability to assist you in completing your Gold Award. Remember: project advisors should NOT be your troop leader or any family member or friend.
What hours count towards the 80?
Great question! Some myths throughout the years have thought that all volunteer hours of those helping with Gold Award projects count towards the girl’s total 80 hours, but that is NOT TRUE! Only the hours the individual girl spends working on her Gold Award project count towards the 80. Don’t worry about it too much up front–– almost all projects have no problem achieving 80 hours of girl time!
Is there a list of pre-approved projects?
Myth! This is just an old campfire tale that seems to recirculate every few years, but remember–– it doesn’t exist! Girls looking to earn the Gold Award are challenged to take a look at their own passions and communities and see where the need lies. Once a girl determines where her interests and the community needs overlap, she should take a step back and identify the root cause of the issue she is tackling.
Pro Tip: Go Gold Online has great resources (and examples) to help identify the root cause of an issue.
What does it mean for a project to be sustainable and have a national or global reach?
It’s not as difficult as it seems! Sustainability and global reach tend to be daunting words when talking about Gold Awards, but don’t worry, they aren’t as bad as they seem! For a girl’s project to be considered sustainable, it needs to carry on or have continued impact even after the girl has earned her Gold Award. In other words, she has created a lasting change. For national or global reach, a girl should be able to explain how her project connects to an issue that is relevant worldwide.
Pro Tip: Go Gold online defines and shows examples of how girls can make their projects sustainable and have a national/global link.
Can I start a project after I graduate high school?
Not recommended! Graduating senior Girl Scouts must submit a Gold Award proposal to council no later than June 1 of the year they graduate. Girl Scouts GCNWI has this procedure in place to be sure girls give themselves enough time to complete a project that meets all requirements. This deadline gives graduated seniors at least four months to work through and complete their projects.
Ah! The big question. Here are the basics:
Girls looking to raise funds for their Gold Award project should utilize product sales (Fall Product and Cookies) as their first resource. The more product you sell, the more money you can raise!
If additional money is needed for a girl’s Highest Award project after she sold Fall Product and Cookies, she is eligible to do an additional money earning activity. This could be garage sales, bake sales, wreath sales, gift wrapping, etc. If a girl plans to raise more than $100 with such activity, an additional money earning form needs to be submitted to council (some blackout dates apply).
Donations work too! If a girl would like to ask for donations from a source (like Home Depot, Lowes, or other retailers) they must take an adult with them. The girl is welcome to explain the project and outline what she plans to do, but the adult must be the one to ask/solicit the donation of goods/items. The girl should not ever solicit things herself. Remember that girls should include all donations on their final budget.
Go for Gold!
Going Gold is not easy, but it is worth it, not only as an investment in your own future, but in your community, your nation, and your world.
Stay tuned for more Gold Award blogs in the future as a part of our Go Gold series!
If your resolution for the New Year was to learn more about politics and be active in the advocacy sphere, you will love the girl-led programs coming up this year that will teach you by doing. This election year is especially important for the future of the nation, and Girl Scouts are ready to take center stage.
Get ready to lead like a G.I.R.L. all year long with Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana! Read on to learn about all the opportunities we have in store for change-makers and trailblazers.
HERstory: Lead Like a Girl!
Did you know 2020 is the 100th anniversary when some women first received the right to vote? All ages are invited to join us to celebrate this and the other accomplishments women have made throughout history at the Friendship Center on Mar. 21, or at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on March 28!
Why and how do we vote? How does voting effect you? Daisies, come to this program on Jan. 25 at Camp Greene Wood to have fun while you learn all about voting! Let Dr. Seuss’ book “One Vote, Two Vote, I Vote, You Vote” inspire you to use your Girl Scout voice!
Cadettes are invited to join us on Feb. 8 at Camp Greene Wood for Your Voice, Your Vote: a program dedicated to teaching advocacy to Girl Scouts who are passionate about issues that impact their local communities! In this program, we will expand on civic engagement and teach girls how to get involved and use their own voice to advocate for local change!
Juniors! Do you have a passion for politics and advocacy? We have the program for you! Join us on Feb. 15 at Camp Greene Wood for an interactive program that dives headfirst into the world of U.S. democracy!
Learn about the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and how they directly effect you as a person living within the United States. Develop your passion for advocacy by developing campaign posters and talking points you can take to your own city or town!
Music, hairnets, and saving lives together! Join us on Apr. 18 to feed kids all over the world for Global Youth Service Day, a Global Action Day where girls all over the world serve together and help each other.
The state of the nation is rapidly changing, and we need all hands on deck! Now is the time to get active and make your voice heard. Girl Scouts have the power within them to make real change, to lead the way, to defy norms. These programs are just some of the ways Girl Scouts GCNWI is helping makes this happen.
Girl Scouts, volunteers, families, friends, and fans have been patiently (or impatiently) waiting all year for this moment. The time has finally come to set your cookie goals, plan your sales, and power your next Girl Scout adventures!
In 2020, buying and selling Girl Scout Cookies has never been so on-the-go:
Girl Scouts can use Digital Cookie to sell cookies online from Jan. 1 through Mar. 23. Girl Scouts are able to deliver cookies to customers themselves until Jan. 19. Otherwise, the cookies can be shipped directly to customers or contributed as a Gift of Caring at any time during the season!
The eBudde mobile app for iPhone and Android now has all the specs you need to manage the cookie program from wherever: you can order cookies and rewards right from your phone, exchange cookies between troops, and sign up for booth site sales on the go!
A Clover Troop Credit Card Processor is the perfect tool for selling cookies with ease!
With Digital Cookie, the Girl Scout Cookie Program you know and love gets a contemporary revamp. Just like last year, these fun and easy-to-use tools help Girl Scouts superpower their sales and go beyond the booth. Girls who used the platform in addition to traditional sales sold more cookies and reached their goals faster!
Download the iPhone or Android Digital Cookie app to get started!
Join us for the Virtual Cookie Rally!
Girl Scouts of all ages, parents/caregivers, troop leaders, and service unit cookie program managers are all cordially invited to “join us” at our Virtual Cookie Rally premiering on Jan. 11 at 2 p.m.!
Expect all the fun from last year’s Cookie Rally, but now, from wherever you are! We’ll be doing fun activities, introducing Cookie Season 2020, sharing cookie sale tips and tricks from our top sellers, a breakdown of the rewards you can earn, a secret special message, and much more!
These assets can be accessed all cookie season to use as inspiration and guidance for this year’s season and beyond!
We are also getting together on Saturday, Jan. 11 at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place and at the Friendship Center for our Official Watch Parties!
Girls who have registered to attend a council-hosted or service unit watch party will receive a 2020 Cookie Rally Patch at the event, and if you’re following along from home, you can post on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #virtualcookierally to get a patch of your own!
2020 is sure to be a memorable year, and not just for Girl Scouts. In the first year of the new decade, we are expecting a presidential election, important technological and scientific advances, the momentous 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, and continued efforts toward civil rights.
Looking Back at 2019
Before we look to the future in the next decade, take a look back at some highlights from 2019!
Clearly, Girl Scouts have a lot to do in 2020 and beyond. Read on to find out what we’re up to here at GSGCNWI!
Virtual Cookie Rally!
This year, the Cookie Rally is going VIRTUAL! Girl Scouts of all ages, parents/caregivers, troop leaders, and service unit cookie program managers are all cordially invited to “join us” at our Virtual Cookie Rally premiering on Jan. 11!Expect all the fun from a regular Cookie Rally, but now, from wherever your phone or computer is! We’ll be introducing the Cookie Season, sharing tips and tricks, doing fun activities, and much more! You can choose to attend by:
Enjoying the Virtual Cookie Rally from the comfort of your home;
Hosting a watch party of your own with your troop or Service Unit;
Or, join one of our Official Watch Parties! We are getting together on Saturday, January 11 at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place and at the Friendship Center. Register before Jan. 3 to join us!
Your Vote, Your Voice, Your World
2020 is an especially important year in regards to the future of the nation, and it is your duty as a Girl Scout to take a stand and stay informed. If your resolution for the new year is to learn more about politics and advocacy, you will love the girl-led programs coming up for change-makers of all ages.
Daisies are invited to Camp Greene Wood on Saturday, January 25, for I Vote, You Vote, to learn about how and why we vote!
Cadettes who are passionate about civic engagement and advocacy are invited to Camp Greene Wood on Saturday, Feb. 8, for Your Voice, Your Vote, a program dedicated to teaching advocacy and civic engagement.
Juniors are welcome to We the People at Camp Greene Wood on Saturday, Feb. 15, to dive headfirst into the world of U.S. democracy and learn about the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and more!
2020 is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave some women the right to vote in elections. To celebrate, all ages of Girl Scouts are invited to HERstory: Lead Like a Girl! at the Friendship Center on Saturday, Mar. 21, or at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on Saturday, Mar. 28.
Young people (not just Girl Scouts) and their families are invited to the Green for Good expo to be inspired to speak up, change habits, cultivate new ideas, dialogue with industry leaders, and learn about issues that matter to our environment. We’re sparking innovation, creativity, advocacy, and action.
Leading up to the expo, we’ll have events, service opportunities, and patch programs to help you Go Green for Good! Stay tuned for more information about the expo in the new year.
Auld Lang Syne
In 2020, Girl Scouts will continue the legacy that Juliette Gordon Low created, but with a contemporary twist. Girl Scouts are going digital, going global, and going forward. They are changing their international and local communities through their innovative service projects and highest awards. They are dedicating themselves to causes that matter to them and fighting for racial, gender, and socioeconomic equality.
We are so proud to be a part of the movement fighting for the empowerment of young women and girls. Thank you for your contributions, membership, service, and support. Happy holidays and Happy New Year to you and yours!
The new year is quickly approaching, and it’s time to make the best of 2020. Get ready to get out there, because Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana has some exciting trips coming your way so you can start the new year with a bang!
Read on to take a look at where we’re headed–– and how you can come along with us.
Choose Your Own Adventure: Midwest!
A girl-led adventure awaits eight Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts this Jan. 17 through 20! Start out the new year with a chance to travel to either Milwaukee, WI; Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, OH; or Starved Rock, IL. Whatever your group chooses to do, this is your own girl-led adventure where you will practice budgeting, planning and personalizing your 3-day trip!
The group will meet at Camp Greene Wood Friday night. On Saturday morning, after planning the trip, you will hit the road for the adventure of the decade! This trip is girls only. There will be two Girl Scout chaperones attending.
Registration closes December 12, and there are only three more spots available, so register here as soon as possible!
Capital Tour: Nashville!
Get excited for this NEW PROGRAM: 50 state capitals, 50 new Girl Scout trips! Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Girl Scouts are invited to travel to Nashville, Tennessee, for a cross-country adventure from Feb. 15 to 17! Once we get to Music City, we’ll tour the Capitol Building, take part in a service project, and visit the sites. You’ll practice your budgeting and trip-planning skills while we’re at it.
Group will leave from the Friendship Center in Country Club Hills, Illinois. Sorry, parents, this is a girls-only trip! There will be two Girl Scout chaperones heading the adventure.
Register here by December 12–– there are only four more spots available!
Junior Jetaway to Milwaukee
Junior Girl Scouts are invited to a brand-new girls-only getaway to Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Feb 16 to 17! Girls will depart from the Vernon Hills Gathering Place and head to the Dairy State. You will get a chance to check out a museum of your choice, eat cheese curds, walk through the historic Third Ward, and more.
Accommodation, sightseeing, and all meals included in the cost. There will be two Girl Scout chaperones attending.
Registration for this trip also closes on December 12! Register here to snag a spot.
Brownies Day Out in Chicago
Meet Brownie Girl Scouts at Hostelling International-Chicago to participate in the Brownies Day Out in Chicago on May 16! With 77 distinct neighborhoods, Chicago is a giant city with so much to explore. Will you choose to visit the Bean, walk around the Art Institute, or take a city tour? Maybe you’ll visit cultural neighborhoods like Chinatown or Pilsen?
Whatever your group chooses to do, the girls will take off on their own girl-led Windy City adventure! Each troop must have at least one chaperone, or if girls are attending without their troop, each Girl Scout must attend with a parent or guardian. Fun patch and public transportation card included!
Register here by May 10 to secure your spot on this awesome exploration of the city!
You-And-Me on Mackinac Island!
Grab your mom, aunt, or grandma and board the GSGCNWI coach bus for a weekend getaway on Mackinac Island from Aug. 9-11. Girl Scouts from Brownies to Cadettes will have the chance to take horse-drawn carriage tours, photograph beautiful butterflies, and more!
This 3-day, 2-night trip includes multiple meals, hotel stay, various group activities, and coach bus ticket! Bus leaves from the Friendship Center in Country Club Hills, IL.
Right now, registration requires a $200 deposit. Registration closes Feb. 28, or until trip is sold out! Register here.
This year’s GSUSA National Convention will provide attendees with unforgettable experiences as they gain inspiration, tools to empower themselves, and the know-how to lead change in their communities, connecting with some of the most influential women in the world along the way.
This generation of girls is pretty extraordinary. They are passionate, hopeful, independent, and risk-taking. They envision a future where they are completely in control of their financial decision making. They desire to break down barriers to economic success. They are curious, confident, and innovative.
Now, imagine if all these girls had the same access to resources designed to strengthen their skills, and all the encouragement necessary to push them forward!
Great news: today’s girls are already thinking like entrepreneurs! According to the 2019 Report by the Girl Scout Research Institute, six in ten girls reported they are confident in their abilities, socially conscious problem-solvers, curious learners, innovative and flexible thinkers, challenge seekers and risk-takers, and collaborative team members.
Many of the girls had already engaged in entrepreneurship, whether by creating a new product or service, starting their own business, and organizing fundraisers for good causes!
Still, girls see barriers to success. Girls reported feeling they would have to work harder to succeed in entrepreneurial roles than men, and while they believe the genders are equally capable of success, many girls believe men are more likely to achieve in this career path.
We know this for sure: girls have what it takes to be the world’s next change-makers and money-makers. To help pave the way, Girl Scouts is dedicated to providing the experiences needed to sharpen their skills!
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world, one that prioritizes five essential skills for developing financial literacy: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.
The difference is clear! Research shows Girl Scouts are more likely than other girls to have an entrepreneurial mindset and to be interested in becoming an entrepreneur. Girl Scouts particularly shine when it comes to community problem solving, innovation, and the use of social capital!
CEO Spotlight: Carolyn Leonard
Carolyn Leonard, CEO and co-founder of DyMynd (Dynamic Minds in Action), is one of Chicago’s leading voices in the movement for women’s financial empowerment. She has long been a pioneer in her field, famously the first woman to trade her own money in the pits of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange in 1976!
Along with being a Camp CEO 2019 Mentor, she is at the forefront of a financial innovation firm focused on uplifting women. As Carolyn says, “Financial literacy skills and an entrepreneurial mindset are exceedingly important for young women throughout their lives.” The more information a woman has, the more comfortable she will be taking charge, and “her community and her family will thrive” as a result.
The most important thing a young woman can do to jump-start financial success? Start making small investments, because “the younger you start, the more your adult self will gain.” Carolyn advises that an investment in a college education is especially important because “this is an investment in the self.”
Girls Just Wanna Have Funds!
Carolyn Leonard is just one of the many inspirational high-level professionals who joined GCNWI Girl Scouts to provide valuable mentorship and leadership experiences that last a lifetime at Camp CEO 2019. Thanks to these mentors, 40 teens from across the council dug deep into their own girl power and potential for success!
Just a glance at these girl’s responses to what their favorite leadership qualities they possess reveals an incredible amount of possibility for the new decade. These girls see themselves as good listeners, problem-solvers, communicators. They are loyal, empathetic, and deeply caring. They are confident, focused, patient, and determined. They “keep it real.”
One girl responded, “I have the commitment and compassion for what I’m doing, and the ambition and creativity to get it done.”
These are just some of our community’s and our country’s future teachers, writers, animators, chefs, business owners, computer programmers, marketing executives, artists, world travelers, and entrepreneurs. Pretty impressive, right?
Time to blaze some trails!
Girls can have it all–– and we are committed to helping make that happen.
Girl Scouts is the premier non-profit organization committed to the empowerment of girls. With the Girl Scouts, girls develop the attitudes, skills, and behaviors they need to succeed, giving them the courage to fail, the tools to create an independent future, and the power to do good in the world.
Thank you to Carolyn Leonard for her inspiring advice, and to the Girl Scout Research Institute for their hard work!
Do you love planning exciting trips, but dread the process of packing your bags? One of our awesome Global Action Volunteer Team members, Karen Zeller, has graciously shared with us her tips and tricks to help you through it! With her years of experience, you are sure to learn some useful information to make that process not-so frustrating.
Packin’ On Up
Written by Troop 50368 and Karen Zeller, Global Action Volunteer Team member and Troop Leader
A trip to Our Chalet (the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts world center in Switzerland): the experience of a lifetime. Add to that a few extra days, and our troop had a true European adventure. The girls couldn’t wait. They had been preparing for this for years. The fundraising was done, the arrangements booked, the forms filled out, the money exchanged. All we had left to do? Pack.
Packing, depending on who you’re talking to, can be the least favorite part of any trip. But somehow, over the years, our girls had come to take pride in their packing. They know what was needed to succeed, and how to make that success happen.
Here are some of our troop’s tried and true tips for making packing as pleasant as possible!
It all starts with putting together the perfect list to match what you need with what you’re allowed to carry. To fly internationally, we were allowed a bag that totaled no more than 62 inches in total dimensions and weighed no more than 50 pounds. We were also allowed one carry-on, plus one personal item.
To make sure you bring the essentials and make the most of your space at the same time, it helps to:
Make a packing list together as a troop to have everyone on board from the start.
Discuss basic clothing needs, appropriate dress for the location and activities planned, and a maximum amount of each item needed.
Figure out how to get access to a washer and dryer–– you don’t want to spend all your time washing clothes, but for long trips this is a must.
Remember you can comfortably re-wear and layer clothes throughout the trips!
Keep in mind the kinds of activities planned and how this will affect your packing list. For example, we were doing everything on this trip from hiking in the alps to visiting sacred sites in Rome, so girls had to decide between weighing their bags down with boots or wearing them while traveling.
Toiletries: To Share or not to Share?
This is obviously important to discuss! In previous trips, we had opted to buy toiletries when we got to where we were going and share as a group. We didn’t think this would work as well in Europe, so if you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s what we did:
Each girl either brought their own toiletries or worked in a group to share.
We brought a couple of hairdryers to share between us.
We tried our best to limit extras, like makeup, etc.
The leaders carried first aid kits and any extras the girls might need (lots of Band-Aids).
Make sure to clear out any hotel rooms of their soap before you leave–– you might as well!
Compressing and Compacting
Once our list was made, it was up to the girls to make the magic happen. They used several great techniques for consolidating suitcase space:
A favorite for several of the girls was packing cubes, which flatten out clothes for extra room.
We taught the girls how to roll clothes instead of folding them, another great tip for saving space.
We also talked about bringing extra Ziploc® bags for dirty and wet clothes, so they don’t get mixed in with the clean ones!
The girls bought expandable suitcases so if they left them un-expanded on the way over, they would have room for souvenirs on the way home.
Carryons and Cautionary Tales
For the long plane ride there and back, the girls made sure they had everything they needed in as little a bag as possible. In their carry-ons, they had:
An extra set of clothes
Any needed meds and small travel size toiletries
Compression socks or fuzzy socks for comfort
eBooks and downloaded movies on their devices
The girls also made a playlist for the trip, and all brought some sort of headphones and a small speaker for their hotel rooms!
Of course, you always have to leave room for souvenirs. Like I mentioned above, expandable suitcases made it possible for the girls to pick up some awesome items from our travels. This worked like a charm for everyone–– except for me. After leaving behind a couple things I didn’t need to bring back home and buying an extra-large “personal item” for the way home, I was still worried my suitcase was too full. Turns out: it was exactly 50 pounds! The girls, of course, were all well under the required maximum.
We may have done a good job teaching our girls how to pack over the years, but somehow, I am still learning.
What are you waiting for?
We would like to thank Karen so much for her contribution and wonderful advice (which we’ll all keep in mind next time we get ready for a trip)!
Now you have all these tips–– what are you gonna do with them? There are so many opportunities for traveling around the United States and abroad with the Girl Scouts, and it’s up to you to decide where you’re headed. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you are sure to embark on an unforgettable journey.