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Announcing 42 NEW Girl Scout Badges!

We are so excited to announce the release of 42 new badges and one new Journey exclusively for girls in grades K-12!

These new badges give girls the opportunity to influence and experience the world in their own unique way. From snow mountain adventures to coding lessons to space science, the new Girl Scout badges help girls move beyond their comfort zones, make their own choices, and build their confidence!

Among these new badges are the Outdoor High Adventure badges that feature, for the first time in Girl Scouts’ history, two different activity options, letting girls choose how they want to earn each badge!

Giving girls choices is important for developing a sense of self. Research from the World Bank Group shows decision-making abilities are key to improving women’s lives and communities. And research shows Girl Scouts are more likely than other girls to take an active role in decision making (80% vs. 51%)!

Every badge is an opportunity to discover something new and become inspired. We are so happy to share these new badges that let girls build new skills, make choices, positively impact their communities, and have a good time while they’re at it!

The Brand-New Badges

New for girls in grades K-12:

With the new programming release, all Girl Scouts in grades K–12 will have the opportunity to earn their Cybersecurity and Space Science badges, as well as complete the Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey.

Eighteen Coding for Good Badges

Funded by AT&T and Dell Technologies

Girls in grades K-12 can learn the basics of coding, algorithms, game design, and app development. Every Coding for Good badge includes a plugged-in and unplugged version, so all girls can learn regardless of their access to technology.

Twelve Outdoor High Adventure Badges

Funded by The North Face

The new Outdoor High Adventure badges are designed for girls K-12 to explore adventures like backpacking, snowshoeing, skiing, rock and tree climbing. These are the first Girl Scout badges that members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths.

New for Girls in Grades 6-12:

Nine Cybersecurity Badges

Funded by Palo Alto Networks

Through earning the new Cybersecurity badges, girls in grades 6-12 can learn about the inner workings of computer technology and cybersecurity, and apply concepts of safety and protection to the technology they use every day. Activities include decryption and encryption, proper protection methods for devices, and real-world hacking scenarios.

Three Space Science Badges

Funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute*

The new Space Science badges give girls in grades 6-12 the opportunity to explore the universe and their place in it, properties of light, and careers in space science.

Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey

Funded by Johnson & Johnson and the Coca-Cola Foundation

In the Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey, girls participate in interactive activities to practice observation techniques, collect data, and share their findings with real-world scientists through an online network. As with all of Girl Scouts’ Leadership Journeys, girls use their newly honed skills to take action on a community issue of their choosing.

Cyber Challenge

Funded by Raytheon

To prepare girls in grades 6–12 to pursue computer science careers, Girl Scouts will launch the organization’s first Cyber Challenge events in select areas this fall. At these events, taking place October 19, girls will learn crucial cybersecurity skills by completing challenges, such as running trace routes and identifying phishing schemes.

From the CEOs

“Girl Scouts continues to be at the forefront of innovative programs for the girls of today who will soon be the leaders of tomorrow,” said GSGCNWI CEO, Nancy Wright. “Our council is proud to be able to bring these unique badges and activity opportunities to the girls in our region as they work to build their own courage, confidence, and character at their own pace, in a safe and welcoming space.”

“Girl Scouts has ignited the power and potential of girls for over a century, and we are committed to ensuring that today’s girls are the future of American leadership,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Girl Scouts is where girls can explore new subjects, discover their passions, learn to take smart risks, and become their best, most confident selves—whether they want to become a NASA astronaut, an entrepreneur, a rock climber, a coder, or a cybersecurity agent.”

At Girl Scouts, girls discover their passions and what they want to achieve, both today and in the future. These 42 new badges aim to help them learn, grow, and lead!

Getting Started!

You can find requirements and instructions for earning these new badges in the Volunteer Toolkit.

Keep your eyes peeled this fall for GSGCNWI programs where girls can earn the new badges!

Visit our Girl Scout shop to purchase the new badges.

Learn about every badge Girl Scouts can earn with the Girl Scouts Award and Badge Explorer!

To share your badge-earning stories, fill out this form and you might be featured on our social media or in a publication!

Not a Girl Scout yet? No problem! Troops are forming now—join Girl Scouts today.


* “Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts” is based upon work supported by NASA Science under cooperative agreement No. NNX16AB90A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 2!

The Gold Award Equation

80 Girl Scouts + 6,400+ service hours = amazing projects that create impact in our community.

The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The Gold Award projects from our 2019 class impacted many different aspects of communities both in Chicago-land and abroad. Girl Scouts created projects that focused on health education, environmental protection, exposure to STEM, child literacy, and so much more. Providing an everlasting effect on communities was something each girl worked hard to achieve and they all succeeded.

Assist us on congratulating this hard working group of Gold Award Girl Scouts! View the photo album and program booklet from this year’s recognition ceremony.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »

Part Two: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

DeVonna B.

DeVonna’s project was a series of videos on a YouTube channel she created called S.C.A.L.E. which stands for Sickle Cell Awareness and Lifestyle Empowerment. The videos were created to educate the general public about Sickle Cell Disease, and to give those who suffer from the disease tips and tricks to ease symptoms and improve treatment.

LaTosha Desiree B.

LaTosha created educational videos about living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. For example, how to check their blood sugar and what to do when your blood sugar is high or low. She hosted two events where girls watched the video and were challenged to make smoothies under 30 carbohydrates. The girls were given hands-on experience administering shots of Insulin and Lantus into grapes. View LaTosha’s videos.

Kaitlyn Elizabeth B.

Kaitlyn created science videos aimed to help fifth graders gain a better understanding of multiple STEM topics in a fun and engaging way. Along with her videos, she created instructions for household science experiments so children can practice STEM using items from around their home! With the help of her family and adviser, she created these videos for several middle schools.

Gillian B.

Gillian built a three-bin composter, hand-washing station, and website with a seed donation platform for an urban community garden in Maywood, Illinois. She worked closely with Maywood community activists—Proviso East High School student volunteers, Proviso Partners for Health, and Chicago Botanic Gardens—to empower citizens and offer support and introduce healthy lifestyle practices in a historically marginalized, food desert community.

Lindsey M. B.

Lindsey’s Gold Award, For the Love of Adler, raised community awareness for the David Adler Cultural Center. In 2019 the center is celebrating the 100-year mark of the estate. For this project she used her love of the arts and talent for research to make professional and educational brochures. She worked with the staff and historians to create a brochure with a timeline, organizational history, biography of Mr. Adler, historical pictures, and the center’s current mission.

Alita C.

Alita’s Gold Award project provided gardening experience that enriched and benefited the health and lives of clients at St. Agnes Adult Day Service Center. She enriched their lives through gardening in a raised bed.

Tiffany Diane C.

Tiffany Diane’s project helped families from homeless shelters receive basic toiletries needed for everyday living. She held a donation drive dinner where more than 250 people were in attendance. This project had such a huge impact on the community that other organizations will be presenting their own donation drives in years to come.

Kourtney C.

Less than half of people practicing in the STEM field are females. Kourtney’s project addressed this issue by spreading the word to girls about how fun and rewarding STEM can be. She did this through planning and executing a STEM workshop for 4th and 5th grade girls, maintaining a Facebook and Instagram page, and delivering information about STEM to Housing Opportunities.

Sofia C.

Sofia created 80 literacy reading kits for children in Pre-K through grade 8 that utilize the Libertyville Township food pantry. She worked with literacy experts, librarians, and her project adviser to create these kits (that contained a book, resources sheet, parent guide, stuffed animal (for the younger kids), journal and dictionary (for the older kids), and fun things like stickers and bookmarks. She will continue her project by creating a three year cycle which the Libertyville Township will take over and fund.

Lauren L. D.

For her Gold Award, Lauren trained her dog to become a therapy dog, and worked with him to receive his certification. She took her dog to many places once he was certified, including nursing homes to help the residents with loneliness, schools to help reduce stress, and a day camp to educate kids about therapy dogs and other types of working animals.

Girl Scouts Highest Awards

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

All three awards give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a community garden at your school or inspire others to eat healthy foods for your Bronze, advocate for animal rights for your Silver, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others (and yourself). 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your corner of the world—and beyond. The possibilities are endless.

Learn more about earning the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Girl Scout Adventure in India: Part 1

This summer, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts from across the U.S. embarked on an incredibly exciting voyage across the sea to India to visit Sangam, a center affiliated with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). From unexpected bus mishaps and interacting with locals, to riding rickshaws, these Girl Scouts experienced an unforgettable journey; one, they want to share with you all!

Read the story of their India trip below, then learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

The First Days

After two days of bonding and exploring in Chicago, the group hopped on a 16-hour flight to Mumbai, something none of the girls had experienced before! Once they landed, the girls boarded a bus to take them to Sangam. Even after their long flight, their trip didn’t come without additional challenges. On the way there, they realized the road was closed, but, just like the resourceful Girl Scouts they are, the girls decided to ride rickshaws through the neighborhoods in Pune to their destination.

Upon arriving in Pune, they tasted delicious food, met and interacted with the locals, then visited ancient temples and a Punjabi fabric market. The Girl Scouts also practiced yoga, embroidery, painting, and explored the vibrant city around them. The girls met with local Nivedita Guides—local area Girl Guides—together, they sang and danced; teaching the WAGGGS Girls the “Cotton Eye Joe” line dance and in-turn learning a traditional Bollywood dance.

Serving a Community Internationally

After visiting holy temples in Alandi and Tulapur, the girls traveled to an organization called Ishwari—a Sangam community partner. The girls worked with Ishwari to help teach local women different crafts like embroidery, card-making, and cooking, in order to make money to support their families.

Why Travel?

Experiences like these are so important for Girl Scouts, not only because they get to see different parts of the world, but different parts of humanity. International travel and cross-cultural exchange is good for the soul!

Learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

The journey continues: Part 2 coming soon!

Related Travel Blogs

Dreaming About Travel

Best Ways to Research Your Girl Scout Trip in the Mind of Gen Z

Why You Should Try Backpacking on Your Next Travel Adventure!

Fund Your Girl Scout Travels

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients

Join Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana in congratulating the 2019 class of Gold Award Girl Scouts! In this eight-part blog series, we will highlight the projects from all of our Gold Award recipients!

The Ceremony: A Recap

On Saturday, May 18, 2019 friends, family and supporters gathered to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of 80 young women as they officially became Gold Award Girl Scouts. At the annual ceremony, girls received their Gold Award Pin, patch and certificate and were honored by our CEO, Nancy Wright, and Board President, Kathy Scherer. Attendees were also treated to an empowering “Words of Inspiration” speech by Girl Scout Alum and U.S. Coast Guard Commander Zeita Merchant.

This year, each of the girls worked through projects focusing on a variety of topics such as child-literacy, women in STEM, environmental conservation, homelessness/poverty, civic issues, animal rights and more. As a group, these young women spent more than 6,400 hours taking action in their communities all to make a lasting, sustainable difference on issues they saw with their own eyes.

Please join us in congratulating this outstanding group of Gold Award Girl Scouts. View photos from this year’s Gold Award Ceremony in our photo album on Facebook.

To learn more about Gold Award projects, check out the informational program booklet on our website.

Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

Samantha A.

Samantha started the campaign “#sayno2straws.” Along with the hashtag, she created a website, Instagram hashtag, and promotional video and educated girls at the Bolingbrook Jamboree on the importance of using sustainable products. Later, she made a speech and showed her video to the whole camp to raise awareness for her project and spread the word of sustainability.

Melanie Elizabeth A.

For her Gold Award, Melanie Elizabeth hosted a culinary class for girls in grades 4 through 8. During the class she taught them basic and necessary cooking skills. Putting what they learned in action, she had them practice on fruits and vegetables. She also taught them how to make a pizza from scratch, and finished the class by making smoothies and veggie plates.

Maeve A.

Maeve’s Gold Award project focused on improving mental health education. She worked with Erika’s Lighthouse and Our Lady of Humility Primary School in Beach Park to create a program that could be delivered to 7th and 8th graders preparing for high school. The main focus of the program was to teach girls how to be aware of their own feelings and how to cope with stress.

Kendra A.

Kendra’s project was geared toward helping children undergoing chemotherapy. She created bags centered around making their first chemo visit a better experience for them and their families. The bags provided personal care items, books, toys and positive notes of support, and reached patients in Illinois, North and South Carolina, and Texas. Each bag had HOPE imprinted on them, the acronym standing for ‘Have Only Positive Expectations’.

Zoe B.

Zoe’s Gold Award project focused on community service. She worked with multiple organizations such as Disney, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and local churches in order to obtain food and grooming supplies for homeless people in Chicago. These items were collected in bags and then distributed to the homeless men, women and children in or near Chicago.

Olivia B.

Olivia’s project was all about self love and appreciation. To combat negative self image and social comparison in young girls, Olivia sought to spread love not only in her school, but in her Glenview community using the campaign slogan “You Are Worthy.” She used brightly painted rocks to attract local pedestrians and put signs in various windows with the inspirational message “You Are Worthy.”

Sarah B.

For her Gold Award, Sarah gave back to her church by creating a place for the congregation to enjoy and feel more in touch with God. She worked with a group of volunteers to transform the old courtyard into a spectacular garden and place for prayer or meditation, in hopes of attracting butterflies and the eyes of the congregation.

Amanda Lynn B.

When Amanda started her Gold Award, she decided to focus on homelessness, specifically on the lack of access to education for homeless children. For her project, she started a tutoring program at a shelter in Joliet with a group of volunteers that she recruited. They helped the children with homework as well as played games with the younger kids.

Sarah B.

For Sarah’s Gold Award, she created a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math) event to inspire youth to see the bridge between STEM and the arts. Attendees participated in activities for each letter of STEAM and learned about different opportunities to put the right and left sides of their brain to work.

Mary Theresa B.

Mary’s Gold Award project was a reading mentorship program between local high school and elementary school students. At a local elementary school’s Learning Resource Center, high school students helped younger students with reading curriculum and developing positive, encouraging relationships. Her project was designed to improve literacy and foster a love of and confidence with reading.

Highest Awards

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

All three awards give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a community garden at your school, or inspire others to eat healthy foods for your Bronze. You might advocate for animal rights for your Silver, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others (and yourself). 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your corner of the world—and beyond. The possibilities are endless.

Explore the Outdoors with Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend!

Girl Scouts Love State Parks is being celebrated the weekend of July 13–14 by over 100 councils across the country!

Through this national event, you can experience the great outdoors by participating in planned events hosted by state parks and council staff. Or take the opportunity to explore on your own with friends and family!

Check out all the exciting events to explore July 13-14 and all summer!

Bonus: Girls who participate are eligible to purchase our inaugural national Girl Scouts Love State Parks patch!

How to Participate

Planning a hike? Camping adventure? WE WANT TO SEE IT!

Tag us at @girlscoutsgcnwi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
and use the hashtags #GSLOVESPARKS and #GSOUTDOORS.

Full Moon Hike at Indiana Dunes State Park

Come along with Naturalists and volunteers for this special full-moon hike to Lake Michigan and back. Stories about our moon and up-close views will be shared. The evening begins with an indoor information presentation until about 8:15 p.m., and the hike runs from 8:15-9:30 p.m. Some “stellar” treats will also be served thanks to the Friends of the Indiana Dunes.
Sign-up for the Full Moon Hike »

Participating Indiana Parks

July 13

July 14

Learn more about these Indiana events at calendar.dnr.IN.gov.

See ALL Indiana State Parks Below

Participating Illinois State Parks

July 13

Learn more about these Illinois events at calendar.dnr.IL.gov

See ALL Illinois State Parks Below

Get the Patch!

More about Girl Scouts USA at girlscouts.org.

A WAGGGS Adventure in Mexico

By Kim DeWitt, Global Action Volunteer

Kim (top left) and her troop.

In November 1975, I had the opportunity to visit Our Cabaña, one of the WAGGGS (Girl Scouts is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) World Centers located in Cuernavaca, Mexico. My fellow Girl Scouts at Mitten Bay Council (now Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan) planned out trip to the center established in 1957, about 50 miles outside of Mexico City. We were incredibly excited to not only venture out of the United States, but also to have the opportunity to meet Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world. Although I don’t remember everything about the trip, it certainly was an experience of a lifetime and began a lifelong interest in travel! 

Planning for Mexico

We started planning the trip a year earlier using funds we gained from many money-earning activities. We sold crafts we had made at a number of craft fairs; I especially remember decoupage soap – think I may still have a bar somewhere! We also hosted Sarah Coventry jewelry parties. The estimated cost of the trip was $462 (about $2,000 today) and as a troop, we collectively worked hard to achieve our goal of traveling to Mexico. 

By the time we were ready to leave, I was a sophomore in high school. We had planned our trip to take place during the school year so we all got to miss school.

For most of us, it was our first airplane trip. We flew to Mexico City and visited a number of the tourist sites, including the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, meaning the “Place of Flowers”. One of the more memorable sites was the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was amazing to watch some of the parishioners crawl on their knees on the cobbled stone to the entry of the Basilica as a means of giving thanks. 

Learn more about My Cabaña

Hello Our Cabaña!

Then we were off to Cuernavaca. I remember Our Cabaña as having many flowers and great food. Trying the local cuisine, like pigeon, was a new and exciting experience—also delicious. During our time at Our Cabaña we met Girl Guides from other parts of the world including Mexico and El Salvador. We also volunteered at an orphanage. And we visited the city of Taxco, a city heavily associated with silver. We all bought souvenirs to take back home.

At the time, a trip to Mexico was quite unusual and we were in the newspaper several times before and after the trip. Back in 1975, it wasn’t that common to take an airplane trip out of the country (or in the US for that matter) especially for high school students. The fact that we were going to Mexico was a big deal especially in our smaller council in Michigan.  Amazingly, I had saved most of the mementos from the trip in a travel bag we received from the airline – a trip that truly was the experience of a lifetime. 

I encourage EVERY Girl Scout to travel to a new place with their troop or even on their own. Girl Scouts of GCNWI has amazing travel opportunities both nationally and internationally, and Girl Scouts USA has Destinations!—for those individual adventure seekers!

Kim and her fellow Cadettes at My Cabaña 1975

Travel with Girl Scouts

Learn more about the WAGGGS World Centres here, and more about how you can visit Our Cabana here.

GSGCNWI hosted a trip to Our Cabana in 2017; see more about our trip here.

Check out the GCNWI travel page for more information on how to plan your own trip or join a council-sponsored trip!

Check Out These Summer Programs for the Entire Family!

If you want activities for the whole family to enjoy, then look no further. Below is your guide to family friendly programs offered by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Get excited for all that summer has to offer!

Outdoor Adventures

Have a Sleepover Safari at Brookfield Zoo!

August 30–31 | Brownies–Ambassadors (Grades 2–12)

Your whole family is invited to the Brookfield Zoo for a summer sleepover! You’ll get to go on a night hike around the zoo, examine real skulls, and make treats for the animals to enjoy. Registration includes all activities, breakfast, and a fun patch! Get your Sleepover Safari Tickets »

Star Party

Saturday, August 17 | Camp Greene Wood, Woodridge, IL

How many constellations can you spot? Come celebrate the stars with other astronomy enthusiasts. We will have games, projects and crafts you can take home, and a chance to view the night sky with an astronomer. Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors: enjoy this event with your entire family. Sign-up now »

Camp

You & Me: Summertime Fun

Weekend of June 21 and Weekend of July 19 | Camp River Trails, Sheridan, IL
All ages!

Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and female guardians: spend a weekend at camp with your Girl Scout at a You & Me Camp Weekend! Each year we celebrate with a different theme, and this summer’s theme is “Hogwarts: Journey to the Forbidden Forest.” “Swish and flick” your way to summer fun with your girl! You’ll have your choice to stay in a lodge, prairie cabin, or screened in platform tent. Learn more and register for You & Me Summertime Fun!

Take the Whole Family to Camp!

Weekend of July 12 | Camp River Trails, Sheridan, IL
Weekend of September 13 | Camp Butternut Springs, Valparaiso, IL
All ages!

Enjoy a weekend at camp with the whole family! Fourth graders and older can try archery. You’ll stay in platform tents, screened-in cabins, or bring your own tent! Learn more and register for Family Camp!

Sports & Entertainment

Chicago Red Stars: Bark in the Park

Saturday, June 23 | SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL

This is a night for the dogs! Join us at SeatGeek Stadium for their 2nd annual Bark in the Park celebration where your pup is invited to cheer on the Red Stars. Everyone who purchases a Bark in the Park ticket receives a free bandanna for your pup and will participate on their halftime Pet Parade. Get your tickets now »

Girl Scout Night with the White Sox

Wednesday, July 3 | Guaranteed Rate Field

Due to inclement weather Girl Scout Day with the White Sox was postponed. The makeup date is scheduled for Wednesday, July 3rd at 1:10 PM as part of a split doubleheader and your game tickets will be good for Game 1.

Your previous ticket and parking pass are valid for the make-up July 3rd game ONLY. Tickets will only be good for Game 1 of the split doubleheader.

For those who did not purchase tickets for the previous game, check out our updates flier!

Girl Scout Night with the Chicago Dogs

Saturday, June 29 | Impact Field, Rosemont, IL

Come out to Impact Field for 2nd Annual Girl Scout Night on Saturday, June 29th at 7:05 p.m. Ticket purchase includes pregame parade on field, custom Girl Scout patch, Video Board Troop Recognition, Post Game Fireworks and a donation back to GSGCNWI. Learn more and purchase Chicago Dog Tickets »

Wizarding Celebration

Saturday, July 20 at Friendship Center, Country Club Hills, IL
Sunday, July 21 Vernon Hills Gathering Place, Vernon Hills, IL
All ages!

Girl Scouts! Do you love Harry Potter? Bring your friends and family & come join us to celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday. You’ll get to make potions, play quidditch, drink butterbeer & more! Family event. Fun patch included. Sign-up for Wizarding Celebration »

Attend a Cirque du Soleil Show

May 22 through July 6 | Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

Under the Big Top at Soldier Field lives a show so grand and so fun! Bring the entire family to this amazing and dazzling show that will be sure to satisfy any adrenaline lover. Check out the official flyer on how to purchase tickets to this great show » [PDF]


Don’t Let Her Miss Out!

Girls must be a current Girl Scout to participate in these fun activities! To join in on this summer fun, you can become a Girl Scout today for only $35, and her membership will be valid all the way through Sept. 30, 2020. That’s nearly a year and a half of fun ahead!