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UPDATED: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Girl Scouts GCNWI

Updated March 25, 2020 

National, state and local health and safety protocols continue to evolve rapidly. Since late last week, the urgency of all recommendations, including ours, is escalating.  

Based on the information we have to date, Girl Scouts GCNWI offices will now remain closed until April 6. Staff are still working remotely while our physical offices are closed.  

All in-person GCNWI programs, activities, and outdoor programs are now cancelled or postponed until May 1 (originally March 29).   

  • This includes rentals at any GCNWI property.   
  • If you have a program or camp reservation between now and May 1, you will be contacted by a staff member to work with you to reschedule your program or troop camping reservation. 

We are beginning to roll out virtual programming!  

Watch The Buzz, our Facebook page, and our blog for emerging program opportunities. 

Contact Us 

Please contact us at customercare@girlscoutsgcnwi.org or 855-456-8347, ext. 6313, with questions or concerns.  

Our response time may be delayed as the volume increases. Keep checking our website, social media pages and blog as new information leads to additional announcements.  

We thank you for your patience during this time. 

Previously Announced Cookie Program Updates

  • We have paused the cookie program during this unprecedented time. Our primary focus is joining local and state “stay in place” efforts to minimize the impact and spread of COVID-19. 
  • For the time being, cookie booths are not permitted for the health and safety of our girls, families, volunteers, and the public. 
  • Booths are no longer appearing in the Cookie Finder App.  
  • All cookie cupboards are closed until further notice.  
  • All scheduled loop booth sites are canceled.     
  • The ACH Sweep has been postponed to April 10. If more time is needed, you may file an adjustment form before April 8.  

If you have specific questions about the cookie program, please reach out to productprogram@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.  

Previously Announced Affected Events 

  • The in-person Annual Meeting and Adult Recognition event planned for April 4 will not take place. The Annual Meeting will now be a virtual meeting, and all voting will be done electronically, as allowed by our council bylaws. All voting members of the council have been notified.
  • Our Adult Recognition celebration will be postponed. Discussions about how to honor our council award recipients are underway. We will share details when they are available.  
  • Tribute to Achievement has been canceled (was scheduled for March 25, 2020).  
  • The Gold Award Ceremony has been postponed to August 8, 2020.  
  • Green for Good has been postponed one year until May 8, 2021.  

Program Refunds  

We are suspending our established refund policy until further notice. If you are registered for an event or program set to occur between now and May 1, 2020, you will receive an email with specific details about any cancellation or postponement. Refunds or credits will be given.  

Volunteers or families with girls scheduled to attend any GCNWI-sponsored event, program, workshop, or activity beyond the next few weeks may cancel their participation to receive a credit to apply toward a future activity. If no other future events are desired, or there are extenuating circumstances, a full refund will be issued. To cancel a program or camp registration, please email reghelp_events@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.    

Service Unit and Troop Activities  

All in-person activities, including troop meetings and cookie booth sites, are canceled until further notice. Read our guide to Virtual Troop Meetings! 

Retail  

To honor the merchandise needs of our volunteers and girls, we will offer FREE SHIPPING on all previously placed in-store pickup orders and new orders from our online shop through March 29.  

Preventative Measures  

Please remember that the best protection is self-protection and self-monitoring, especially in this flu season. Health officials recommend the following measures to minimize your risk of contracting any virus:  

  • Wash hands frequently especially after sneezing, shaking hands/bodily contact with another individual, and before eating. Use soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.  
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.  
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick – health officials call this “social distancing” and recommend staying about three feet away from someone who is sick.  
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like your phone or computer.  
  • Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing then throw the tissue in the trash, or as a last resort cough into the elbow  
  • Stay home when you are not feeling well.  
  • Get plenty of sleep, good nutrition, stress-relief, and exercise – a healthy body is the best defense against illness.  

Additional COVID-19 Resources  

For additional information and resources about the COVID-19, we recommend the following:  

Help Her Be Happy and Healthy 

Raising Awesome Girls Blog 

Girl Scouts has created a way to talk to girls, not by avoiding the topic, but by tackling it head-on.  

How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus 

Featured

Girl Scout Activities You Can Do from Home!

So you’re stuck at home, and suddenly regretting all those times you begged your parents to skip school. Maybe you’ve been staring outside your window, yearning for the great outdoors, or maybe you’ve just been missing a little bit of Girl Scout sisterhood. 

Don’t fret! You may be social distancing, but Girl Scouts is not cancelled! You can be a Girl Scout anywhere, even from at home. There are plenty of things you can do to keep your Girl Scout spirits high, and we collected some of them for you here! 

Patch Programs Exclusive to GCNWI!

Looking for something fun to do while on a break? Check out our  GSGCNWI patch programs! Many of these can be done from home including the Barilla Girl Scout Food Camp, Girl Security, Global Action Award, and MORE! All patches can be purchased on our shop website and mailed directly to you—and get free shipping with no minimum through March 31!

Explore the Outdoors in Your Own Backyard

Cross off 15 outdoorsy tasks from this list—like fort building, learning about springtime flowers, playing with a pet outside, and so much more—to earn the BackyardFunChallenge! Make sure to always follow the Safety Activity Checkpoints when doing the challenges, and remember to wash or sanitize your hands after being outside.

Download the activity checklist! [PDF]

Tips on Hosting a Virtual Girl Scout Troop Meeting

While we can’t be in-person, keep your Girl Scout troop connected through online meetings to keep girls engaged with one another, while keeping safe. Here are some tips on how to run a productive, fun and engaging online meeting.

  • Choose a virtual platform: There are several different virtual tools you can use to host an online meeting. Here are several suggestions to help you.
  • Keep Girls Connected: Designate the first 10 minutes to have girls share what they’ve been up to and how they are feeling. This will keep girls socialized and engaged with one another.
  • Prepare: Create an agenda and a purpose for your meeting with the girls. Ask each parent to complete the Girl Scout internet safety pledge.
  • Make it Girl-led: Have girls choose a topic they are interested in discussing or learning about and create a simple action plan.
  • Use Online Resources: Take advantage of learning tools online! From Virtual Field trips to online patch programs there are multiple activities you can do with your girls.

Don’t Forget the Volunteer Toolkit!

Troop Leaders, don’t forget you can support your troop activities from afar! Look to the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). Download pdfs of the badges your troop is working on and send them off to parents and caregivers. Easy and simple way to keep the Girl Scout fun going for your troop! 

Not sure how to do that? Check out our VTK Resource Guide.  

Girl Scouts Take the Lead in a Time of Need 

Are you looking for ways to help others while you are home during the next couple weeks? Here are a few options to consider: 

  • As part of our Silver Lining patch program in partnership with BCBSIL, please consider sending letters, cards, emails, or drawings to senior citizens at retirement homes or centers. Although it is not recommended to visit during this time for the safety of the elderly, it would be a nice gesture to reach out and send some cheer their way. 
  • Do you have a neighbor or family member who lives alone? Take some time out of your day to call or video chat with them. You can see if they need anything, but it is also just nice to hear from someone in this time when we are all stuck at home. Human interaction is important! 
  • Check out littlefreepantry.org to see if you could set up or support a food resource for others in need. 
  • Send cards of thanks to healthcare workers like this group of Girl Scouts from Naperville.

Tell Us What You’re Up To!

Whether you’re writing thank-you letters to your local hospital staff and doctors, learning all about different plant species around the world, completing a Patch Program, or spending time with loved ones, we want to know what you’re up to! Share your story with us here.

Resources from around the web!

We’ve compiled some resources from around the internet including websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, and apps. You can take virtual tours, play games, practice a foreign language, and so much more!

Websites
girlscoutsgcnwi.org 
pbskids.org 
khanacademy.org 
code.org  
coolmath.com 
sesamestreet.org 
kids.nationalgeographic.com 
starfall.com 
scholastic.com 
funbrain.com 
timeforkids.com 
highlightskids.com 
duolingo.com 
abcya.com 
codecombat.com 
scratch.mit.edu 
vidcode.com/hourofcode 
kids.sandiegozoo.org/activities 

Apps
Quick Math  
JuniorLightbot: Code Hour 
Brainpop Jr.  
Movie of the Week 
Swift Playgrounds 
Nick Jr. 
Youtube Kids 
PBS Kids Games 
Funbrain Jr. 
Science 360 
NASA Viz 
Todo Math 
Scratch Jr. 
Thinking Blocks Multiplication 
Kodable 
Pili Pop  

Podcasts
Wow In The World 
Molly of Denali 
Smash, Boom, Best 
Book Club For Kids 
Story Time 
What If World 
Stories Podcast 
The Past and the Curious 
KidNuz 
Brains On 
Tumble 
Noodle Loaf 
Flyest Fables 
Eleanor Amplified 

YouTube
GirlscoutsGCNWI 
TED-Ed 
AsapSCIENCE 
Crash Course Kids 
Minute Physics 
Smithsonian Channel 
The Brain Scoop 
Cosmic Kids Yoga 
Homeschool Pop 
Peekaboo Kidz 
Free School 
5-Minute Crafts PLAY 
National Geographic Kids 
Kids Learning Tube 
PBS Kids 

Stay safe, and hopefully we’ll be together in-person again soon!

Girl Scouting from Home Part 2: Apart But Still Connected!

Week two of social distancing and the sisterhood is still going strong! We are so excited to have new programming to entertain you from home.

Join our Virtual Sing-Along

Looking to connect with friends and family while singing your heart out? Join us for a virtual sing-a-long on Saturday, March 28, at 7:30-8:10 p.m, by Zoom video chat!

Our camp staff will lead 40 minutes of favorite Girl Scout and camp songs and you can join along from home. Comfy clothes are encouraged!

Download the lyrics book »

RSVP for the Virtual Sing-Along on our Facebook Event Page »

Participate in Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) encouraging communities to turn off non-essential electric lights, for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. as a symbol of commitment to the planet.

Join us in observing Earth Hour this Saturday. We’ve got a whole list of ideas for when you turn out the lights!

Download our Earth Hour Activity Worksheet [PDF] »

Earn Badges From Home

We’re excited to debut our first-ever how-to guides for earning badges from home! Download these PDFs that will guide any adult—not just troop leaders—in helping a girl earn a badge.

And we’re working on SO many more so stay tuned!

Free Shipping through March 31!

Shop from the comfort of your own home with FREE online shipping! That’s right! The Girl Scouts GCNWI shop has FREE shipping on all online orders from now until March 31!

In Case You Missed It

Girl Scout Activities From Home Part 1

Tips for Hosting a Virtual Troop Meeting

Service Spotlight: Naperville Brownie Troop Donates Cookies to Rush Healthcare Workers

Hosting a Virtual Girl Scout Troop Meeting

If you’re a troop leader, you may be feeling worried about how you’re going to keep the Girl Scout spirit going while we are socially distant. Know that you are not alone––and you don’t need to worry!

During this time, you can keep your troop connected through online meetings to keep girls engaged with one another, while keeping safe. Here are some tips on how to run a productive, fun and engaging online meeting. 

1. Choose a virtual platform

There are several different virtual tools you can use to host an online meeting. Here are several suggestions to help you. 

Troop leader Annette Paredes noted that the Zoom app is free for 40 minute meetings, and you are able to see and be seen by the entire group!

2. Prepare

Create an agenda and a purpose for your meeting with the girls. Ask each parent to complete the Girl Scout internet safety pledge

Check out our Volunteer Essentials, where you can find information on troop management, how to engage girls and family, and more. 

Leader Annette also told us about her plan: “We’re coming up with badge-work for them to do, and work on it in the meetings.” She leads a multi-level troop, Daisies through Cadettes, so she’s taking time to schedule different meetings for each level.

3. Keep Girls Connected

Designate the first 10 minutes to have girls share what they’ve been up to and how they are feeling. This will keep girls socialized and engaged with one another. 

Emphasize that these will be girl-led meetings by having girls choose a topic they are interested in discussing or learning about and creating a simple action plan to boost engagement!

For advice on how to make Girl Scouting a girl-led experience, check out our blog post here.

4. Use Online Resources

Take advantage of learning tools online! From Virtual Field Trips to online patch programs, there are multiple activities you can do with your girls.

Check out our GSGCNWI patch programs! Many of these can be done from home including the Barilla Girl Scout Food Camp, Girl Security, Global Action Award.

Also take a look at our last blog post–– there is a long list of websites and other resources on the internet to educate and entertain kids.

Don’t Forget the Volunteer Toolkit!

Troop Leaders, don’t forget you can support your troop activities from afar! Look to the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). Download PDFs of the badges your troop is working on and send them off to parents and caregivers. Easy and simple way to keep the Girl Scout fun going for your troop! 

Not sure how to do that? Check out our VTK Resource Guide.  

5. Have some fun!

Don’t forget to entertain yourselves and take time to just enjoy each other’s virtual company. Troop leader Terez Stewart hosted a TV-watch party using the Google Chrome app Netflix Party, which sounds like a ton of fun!

You can also curate a Troop Watch/Playlist, where everyone in the troop shares their favorite TV shows, movies, podcasts, YouTube channels, musicians, etc, for everyone else to enjoy during downtime! This is a great way to get new suggestions for your TV-or-media time, and find out something new about your Girl Scouts. 

Lastly, if you can, please take time for yourself, away from Girl Scouting and current stress, to just relax. You are an essential part of these girl’s Girl Scout experience, but do not burn the candle at both ends!

6. Tell us what you’re doing!

We know you are a superstar leader with a bunch of awesome ideas on how to keep Girl Scouts going from afar––we want to hear from you! Please share your story with us so we can share with other leaders, girls, and supporters of Girl Scouts that the Girl Scout spirit can live on from afar! Submit your story here.

Service Spotlight: Naperville Girl Scout Troop Gifts Cookies to Rush Medical Center Healthcare Workers

Looking for some good news? We have some!

Girl Scout Brownie Troop 55693 from Naperville wrote cards and donated Girl Scout Cookies to healthcare professionals at Rush University Medical Center!

This super-thoughtful service project was inspired by Brownie Ruhi S., whose dad works at Rush University Medical Center. When her dad was explaining to her about the long hours Rush Medical Center staff is working in effort to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community, she had an idea to spread kindness.

Ruhi already wants to help others when she grows up, but realized she doesn’t have to wait until she grows up to help others––she can do something now to appreciate those who are working tirelessly in these unprecedented times.

So, she gathered up Girl Scout Cookies, and made thank you cards with her sister Brownies, and the much-appreciated donations were delivered by an adult to Rush University Medical Center staff!

Thank you so much to Lauren Torres, leader of Troop 55693, for sharing this story with us, and GREAT JOB to these super generous girls!

How to Help from Home

Are you interested in finding ways to help your community while you stay home over the next couple weeks? Here are some ideas:

  • As part of our Silver Lining patch program in partnership with BCBSIL, please consider sending letters, cards, emails, or drawings to senior citizens at retirement homes or centers. Although it is not recommended to visit during this time for the safety of the elderly, it would be a nice gesture to reach out and send some cheer their way. 
  • Do you have a neighbor or family member who lives alone? Take some time out of your day to call or video chat with them. You can see if they need anything, but it is also just nice to hear from someone in this time when we are all stuck at home. Human interaction is important! 
  • Check out littlefreepantry.org to see if you could set up or support a food resource for others in need. 
  • Send cards of thanks to healthcare workers just like the Girl Scouts in Troop 55693!

How are You Staying Connected to Girl Scouts from Home?

We could all use a little more positive news these days, so please tell us if you’re doing something as a Girl Scout (or just a community member) to help spread some cheer or provide resources for those in needs. Share your story with us here!

Celebrate Girl Scout Week 2020

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is challenging you to Go Green for Good during Girl Scout Week 2020, happening March 8-14.

In addition to carrying on Girl Scout week traditions, this year’s theme challenges you to begin making sustainable changes in your home, community and world.

Join us as we implement seven days of green initiatives through interactive activities, specialized patches, and innovative events the whole family can enjoy!

Sunday | Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Go Green for Good Fun Patch

Tell us about any service projects, pledges, or events you take part at any point this year (not just Girl Scout week!) and get a free Go Green for Good fun patch! Just tell us about it so we can share all the great green acts happening across our council!

More Ways to Go Green for Good »

Sunday, March 8: Girl Scout Sunday

Wear your Girl Scout uniform to worship. Talk with your Girl Scout sisters and family to connect with a local place of worship and learn about how Girl Scouts can be represented on Girl Scout Sunday.

To help you engage your community of worship during Girl Scout Week, downloadable assets for bulletins and inserts are available here!

Girl Scout Sunday [PDF]
Girl Scout Sunday (Espanol) [PDF]

Host a Girl Scout Cookies and milk party after worship. Bring Girl Scout Cookies—and possibly sell some, too! Share what your cookie sale goals are, and talk about the skills you have learned from the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Invite people from your place of worship to Green for Good. This event, happening May 9 at Navy Pier, is hosted by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, but is open to ALL!

Download and share the Green for Good flier [PDF]

Earn your ‘My Promise, My Faith’ Award. Work with your family and faith leaders to earn the pin to celebrate the connection between the Girl Scout Promise and Law and your faith.

Make new friends. Talk to someone from a different culture, religion, town, school, or neighborhood.


Monday, March 9: Learn how to Eat Good for You, Good for the Planet with Barilla®

Learn how to eat better for you AND the planet with Barilla!

Have you ever wondered exactly where your food comes from or about the people that help get it to your table?

As we share meaningful meal time with our friends and families, we rarely stop to think about the food we are eating and how it connects to our planet earth. Barilla—who is a Platinum Sponsor of Green for Good—utilizes the double food pyramid, also known as the Mediterranean way of eating, to help us better understand how the food we eat can impact the ecological footprint.

Today, for Girl Scout Week, check out the Good for You, Good for the Planet Patch Program which Girl Scouts GCNWI developed along with Barilla. This program—which has activities designed for Girl Scouts of all ages—will teach you about the importance sustainable farming techniques when growing and harvesting ingredients, and how food impacts your life through more than just nutrition.

Then visit Barilla’s Lucky Penne Truck at Green for Good where you’ll get to learn how to create healthy meals from garden-to-table!


Tuesday, March 10: Combat Single Use Plastics with REI

Outdoor retailer REI, a Bronze Sponsor of Green for Good, launched Opt to Act in 2019 with 52 weeks of sustainable action to leave the world better than you found it.

This week’s Opt to Act challenge: Count the number of single-use plastic items you use in a week.

Conduct a waste audit in your home and school to determine which products are made from plastic. This includes straws, cutlery, cups, plates, and more! You may be surprised by the number of plastics you use. Then identify what you might be able to swap for more durable, reusable alternatives. 

Once you’re aware of the single-use plastic items you’re using, try to cut that number in half or more!

Don’t miss REI at Green for Good on May 9!


Wednesday, March 11: Reduce Plastic Pollution in our Waterways with the Shedd Aquarium

Yesterday REI taught us personal accountability for our own use of single-use plastic. Today, join our Green for Good environmental partner and exhibitor, Shedd Aquarium, to learn about reducing plastic pollution in our waterways.

First, read these astounding facts from the Shedd:

  • Each year, over 17 billion pounds of plastic finds its way into our oceans and 22 million pounds of plastic enters the Great Lakes. That’s heavier than 7,300 beluga whales!
  • On average, every American throws away 270 pounds of plastic each year. Since only 9% of this plastic is recycled, much of it ends up in landfills or as plastic pollution in our environment.
  • In 2019, 90% of the litter removed from Great Lakes beaches was made of plastic.

By refusing single-use plastics, restoring natural areas, and raising our voices together, we can protect our waterways and the people and wildlife that depend on them.

Your Challenge Starting Today

Download this shareable flier from the Shedd about plastic pollution [PDF]. Use the information from the flier to educate your friends, classmates, teachers, and community about the hazards of plastic pollution, and ways to reduce plastic waste.

Here are a few ways to make a difference

On May 9, at Green for Good, you can visit the Shedd Aquarium’s mock campsite where you’ll get to wade through a “stream,” and pull samples to identify species. Then look under the microscope to see plankton and how they’re affected by microplastics. Then create an up-cycled craft to divert “trash” from landfills.

Thursday, March 12: Celebrate Girl Scout’s Birthday!

March 12 is the Girl Scout Birthday! On this day in 1912, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled a group of eighteen girls from Savannah, Georgia, for the first-ever Girl Scout meeting.

Learn more about Juliette Gordon Low. Visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace website. Every year many troops visit the birthplace as an extended trip. Interested in learning more? Check out our Traveling with Girl Scouts packet.

Help more girls get access to the Girl Scout experience! Make a gift of $10  in honor of our founding year, and receive the Family Partnership fun patch (pictured above)! Family Partnership donations go toward helping girls who are facing hardships become Girl Scouts; supporting our awesome volunteers; and keeping our camps fun and pristine.

Donate to Family Partnership and Get the NEW Fun Patch! » 

Wear your Girl Scout uniform to school to celebrate your Girl Scout sisterhood. Today, over 3.2 million girls and adults are active Girl Scout members, and over 50 million women are Girl Scout alumnae. In honor of the Girl Scout Birthday, take a moment to recognize and celebrate all that Girl Scouts of the USA has done for local communities across the country!

Birthday Party Collection

Brighten the day for a child battling homelessness with a birthday party in a box! Through March 31, our council will collect various items for celebrating a birthday. These items include:

  • Cake mixes
  • Cupcake liners
  • Cans of frosting
  • Candles
  • Tablecloths
  • Blank birthday cards
  • Decorations

Your Green Challenge for Today

Plan a green birthday party for Girl Scouts! Taking what you have learned so far about choosing food and using materials that benefit both you and the planet, invite members of your troop or girls who are not yet Girl Scouts to celebrate with an eco-friendly birthday party!

Challenge yourself to skip the balloons and plastic decorations and opt for do-it-yourself or reusable decor instead. Choose healthy food choices, make your own freshly squeezed refreshments, and even implement green-friendly activities for your guests to enjoy. Our partner, WTTW, also has awesome ideas on ways to retrieve eco-friendly gifts you can donate to a local charity and other innovative ways to take your green birthday party to the next level!

Friday, March 13: Girl Scout Jummah / Get Outside with Nature Cat

Another word for Friday in Arabic is Jummah, also known as a day of collaborative prayer in the Muslim community.

Wear your Girl Scout uniform to worship. Talk with your Girl Scout sisters and family to connect with your mosque.

To help you engage your community of worship in Girl Scout Week, a bulletin insert is available. Download the Girl Scout Jumah bulletin insert [PDF].

Your Green Challenge for Today

Explore nature in a fun way while earning the Nature Cat Explorer Patch! Spark your curiosity in the outdoors and have fun while doing it while you team up with Nature Cat and his pals, from the WTTW Kids television program! 

Discover nature and have a blast all while earning the free Girl Scouts GCNWI Nature Cat Explorer Patch presented in partnership with WTTW! Kids can explore topics from Nature Cat’s curiosity list: Amazing Animals, Super Science, Outdoor Exploration, and Environmental Stewardship. Complete all four to earn your free patch! 


Saturday, March 14: Girl Scout Sabbath / Community Recycling Day

Rest and Reflect. Take this Sabbath Day to reflect on all your work with Girl Scouts. Let those moments inspire you to create new and innovative ways to share with the world what it means to be a Girl Scout.

Wear your Girl Scout uniform to worship. Talk with your Girl Scout sisters and family to connect with your temple.

Reflect in a Journal Entry: Write down some green goals for the rest of the year. Reflect on the previous week: what were challenges, successes, insights with moving towards a green lifestyle? How will you be green in the future? How were your green initiatives received by peers, classmates, friends, worship-groups etc? What did you learn? What more do you want to learn?

Your Green Challenge for Today

Girl Scouts have a rich history of giving back to their communities. Be part of this tradition by participating in one of the service projects we offer through Girl Scouts OR start one with your family, friends and/or troop!

Attend a Day of Service event. Today is the official Green for Good lead-in event, Community Recycling Day in Vernon Hills, IL. Dispose of your hard-to-recycle items responsibly by participating in this event!

All Girl Scout GCNWI Gathering Places are collecting bread tags as well!

Plan a bread tag collection drive at your school, church, mosque, or temple. Did you know that the plastic tags that seal your bread are non-recyclable and millions of them end up in landfills each year?

Inspired by SCARCE’s partnership with non-profit organization Danielle Cares for Chairs, we invite you to CHAIR-ish your bread tags! That is, don’t throw them away—collect then donate them, so they don’t just end up in a landfill.

You can drop off bread tags in-person at any of our six gathering places. If you’re mailing bread tags, please send in higher quantities to reduce the project’s carbon footprint.

Check out Danielle Cares for Chairs website for more information!

Paint the Town Green with the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Show your green pride with Girl Scouts at St. Patrick’s Day! Girl Scouts, families and friends are invited to walk together in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago on Saturday, March 14, at 12 p.m. Sign-up to walk in the parade with Girl Scouts.

Go Green For Good: A Pollinators Recap

On a sunny Sunday in mid-February, Girl Scouts and community members gathered at the Danada House for an educational and interactive program highlighting the importance of local pollinators–bees, birds, and butterflies.

In partnership with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, attendees sat through three mini-presentation diving into the need for preserving the habitats and more of honey bees, monarch butterflies and local hummingbirds.

Afterwards, the presenters from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County lead participants around the presentation space where they set their hands on real local animal pellets, interacted with a decommissioned bee hive, wore distorting glasses to mimic insect eyes and more!

At the end of the program, guests left with local seed packets, silicone straws and the knowledge of how to preserve and protect our local pollinators.

Why Pollinators?

While the local hummingbird population is not as risk for extinction, the honey-bee and monarch butteries are! Some people may think, well that is that important? Here’s why:

  1. Honey bees are extremely important when it comes to food growth and production, like our favorite fruits, nuts coffee and more! What does this mean? There could be a future without ICE-CREAM SUNDAES! Scary right? The honey bees are very important also in preserving nature. Because they help pollinate plants and trees, they also spread these pollen and seeds to other geographic regions allowing them to grow and reproduce! This means bigger forests = more trees = more oxygen = better for our planet!
  2. Monarchs, are similar in that they help cross-pollinate plants as well! After they emerge from their cocoon, they greatly contribute to the wealth of our planet. The Monarch Joint Venture says, “The declining monarch population parallels other declining pollinator populations, which in turn impacts human food systems. Similarly, monarchs and other pollinators are part of a natural food web and ecosystem. Providing enough habitat, like milkweed for monarchs, is essential in maintaining a balanced food web within the ecosystems that are critical in sustaining us.”

Help at Home

Here are some ways you can help your local pollinators!

  1. Plant local flowers and plants. Check out these resources from Garden Illinois and the City of Chicago.
    • Monarchs like Milkweed
    • Bees prefer blue/purple and yellow plants that are open like sunflowers, cone-flowers and more!
    • Hummingbirds like red and yellow cone or bulb shaped flowers for their long beaks
  2. Avoid chemical pesticides and insecticides around the house and garden.
  3. Let weeds grow! Yes you hear that right! Bees love clovers and dandelions because they are the first to bloom int he spring and are their best food source after winter hibernation.
  4. Educate others on the importance of our pollinators!
  5. Shop locally and organically to help support these awesome planet-helpers!

What’s the Buzz?

Check out these awesome video resources provided by our hosts from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County!

Go Green for Good: Hummingbirds

Go Green for Good: Butterflies

Go Green for Good: Bees

Go Green for Good with Girl Scouts GCNWI!

Our goal is for everyone—whether a Girl Scout or not—to join the movement and get excited about making the world a better place for all.

We have events, service opportunities, and patch programs that all lead in to our main event, Green for Good, which will take place on May 9.

Register for our Recycling Day and Beach Clean-Up Days!

Haven’t purchased your ticket for Green for Good?

The early bird ticket period ends April 3! Get your tickets before they increase in price!

Follow our BLOG for more Green for Good announcements including exhibitors and more!

Once a Girl Scout, Now an Intern

By Susana Cardenas-Soto, Marketing Intern at GCNWI

As I sit down to write this, I realize I have been involved in Girl Scouts for over a decade. The Girl Scouts program, from cookie selling to summer camp, was a fundamental part of my upbringing, and fostered skills I continue to use to this day. With Girl Scouts, I gained confidence, work ethic, and a passion for the empowerment of girls and women.

Girl Scouts is also an organization deeply embedded in my own family. My aunt Lidia Soto-Harmon is the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, my cousin Cristina Chapa is a camp counselor in California, and my cousin Nina Harmon recently started in Eastern Pennsylvania’s council as the Signature Events and Development Coordinator. Clearly, we each have a deep commitment to the Girl Scout mission.

Since last summer, I had the very special opportunity to intern with the Marketing Department at the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. I have written blogs, updated the website, edited program guides, translated content into Spanish, and I have had a wonderful time along the way. I have made meaningful connections and relationships, and continued to harness my hard-earned skills.

I feel very lucky indeed to have my Girl Scout journey come full circle.

Heading to the Headquarters

I never pictured working at the Girl Scouts, let alone in the Marketing Department. I have often heard college students find jobs in the fields they least expected–– this much is true for me, a Creative Writing and Psychology major.

As this was my first “real” office job experience, I was quite literally shaking in my sandals for the first week as I learned everything on the fly. However, I quickly acclimated to the environment, which wasn’t difficult at all. I have never worked somewhere so friendly, and it makes sense–– Girl Scouts are of course known for their kindness.

Quickly, I found myself doing things I never thought I’d do: live-editing a website, organizing a video shoot, running around camp interviewing Girl Scouts. I found myself succeeding in areas I didn’t even consider as possibilities.

Come Rain or Shine

I suppose my biggest challenge throughout my internship was believing in myself. Like many, I have struggled with insecurity all my life. Though I have always been intelligent, hard working, and passionate, I have not always seen myself as such. Part of my anxiety starting at the Girl Scouts was linked to something many call “impostor syndrome,” a phenomenon in which people (often people of color) believe they will be “found out” as not-so-great after all.

As I encountered both positive and negative feedback, I realized this much: I am by no means an impostor. Working here at the Girl Scouts has reminded me of my strengths and weaknesses, which I believe is essential to constructing a well-rounded, realistic self-concept.

I would like to share some positive affirmations that helped me get through last summer. These positive affirmations are for everyone, Girl Scouts and beyond.

You are worthy of love and praise.
You are doing your best, and your best is amazing.
Mistakes are proof that you are trying.
You are in charge of making every day the best it can be.

Always a Girl Scout

My experience interning with the Girl Scouts has been, frankly, life changing. I can earnestly say working here has contributed to this summer and year being the best of my life so far. Without a doubt, I am a more confident person than I was back in June.

Thank you so, so much to all in the Marketing Department and at the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana for allowing me to have this life changing experience. I am thrilled to continue my work with GCNWI throughout the year!

The Girl Scouts, as an organization, remains at the forefront of girl empowerment in the United States and abroad. I believe this is because of the countless members of the organization, employees or otherwise, who dedicate long hours to making sure girls have the best programming available. I am incredibly grateful to have been a small part of a group dedicated to such a mission.

If you have been wondering how you can give back to the Girl Scouts in your adulthood, you may want to consider coming on-board as an employee of the organization. You will not only gain incredible hands-on career experience, but a deeper appreciation for the organization and the amazing things girls can do.

Find out how you can join us as an employee at GCNWI.

Travel with Girl Scouts this Summer 2020!

Already looking for a summer travel adventure? Look no further than one of our council-sponsored trips! This summer, we’re headed to, Mackinac Island, Nashville, and Milwaukee (click on these to check out our new registration system!).

You-And-Me on Mackinac Island

Grab your mom, aunt, or grandma and board the GSGCNWI coach bus for a getaway on Mackinac Island! Once on the island, take a horse-drawn carriage tour, photograph the butterflies, and choose from other fun activities. Multiple meals, hotel stay, group activities, and coach bus included in the cost.

Approximate Cost: $400 per person

When: August 9-11, 2020

Who: Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes (grades 2-8) with a favorite female adult family member or friend

Registration closes Feb. 28 or when trip is sold out!

Capital Tour: Nashville

NEW! 50 state capitals, 50 new Girl Scout trips! In this first year of the series, we’re headed to Nashville, Tennessee!

We’re hopping in a van and taking in the sites along the way. Once we get to Music City, we’ll tour the capital building, take part in a service project, and visit the sites. This trip is for Girl Scouts ONLY; we’ll have 2 chaperones on the trip!

Cost: $375 per girl

When: June 25-27, 2020

Who: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (grades 6-12)

Register here before May 14 (only 5 spots remaining!)

Junior Jetaway: Milwaukee

Join GSGCNWI for this brand-new, one-day Juniors-only getaway to Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Girls will depart from the Vernon Hills Gathering Place and head to the Dairy State!

You’ll get a chance to check out a museum of your choice, eat cheese curds, walk through the historic Third Ward and more. Sightseeing, travel to/from Milwaukee and two meals included in the cost. This trip is for girls ONLY! There will be two Girl Scout chaperones attending.

Cost: $75 per girl

When: June 28, 2020

Who: Juniors (grades 4 & 5)

Register here by June 14 or before trip is sold out!


Dreaming of 2021 travel?

Look ahead at our new council-sponsored offerings and get excited to explore the globe with GSGCNWI!

Intro to Travel: Montreal

Calling all Cadettes! Girl Scouts of GCNWI will be inviting 12 girls and 2 adults to join us on a Canadian adventure!

Next up in our Intro to Travel series for Cadettes, we’re headed to Montreal, Canada, the home of poutine, plenty of churches, and steamed bagels. On this introduction to international travel, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how to plan a travel adventure, including budgeting, itinerary planning and how to find accommodation.

Cost: $1,200 per girl

When: 5-day trip in June 2021 (exact dates TBD)

Who: Cadettes only (must be in grades 6-8 during the 2020-2021 school year)

Girl applications are due May 15, 2020

Adventure in Colorado

Summer is a great time for exploring the great outdoors! Join us at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado, for fun activities including horseback riding, hiking, archery, ropes courses, zip lining, climbing wall and much more. Group activities include a day at Rocky Mountain National Park, whitewater rafting and team-bonding experiences.

A $400 trip deposit is due September 30, 2020.

Approximate Cost: $1,100 + cost of activities chosen

When: July 1-8, 2021

Who: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (grades 6-12); troops and individually registered members are also invited. Leaders and parents are invited to attend and serve as group chaperones.

Register here by Sept. 30!

Hiking the Swiss Alps

Take the Swiss Hiking Challenge with your fellow Girl Scouts! This once-in-a-lifetime experience will be full of adventure, challenge, nature, new friends, and LOTS OF FUN!

This trip will include a visit to Our Chalet, a WAGGGS World Centre, where you’ll hike some of the most popular trails in the area, rock climb, learn about Swiss culture, and make new friends from around the world.

GSGCNWI is also looking for six girls to serve on a Girl Planning Committee to help plan a Switzerland adventure before our time at Our Chalet.

Approximate Cost: $3,500

When: approximately 2 weeks, June/July 2021, exact dates TBD

Who: Seniors and Ambassadors (must be in grades 9-12 during the 2020-2021 school year)

Applications to join the trip and the trip planning committee are due May 15, 2020


Adventure is Out There…

When you travel with Girl Scouts, you unlock amazing experiences, unforgettable memories, and skills (and friendships) that will last a lifetime. These are just some of the incredible travel opportunities we have for Girl Scouts this year.

Check out our travel page to find out about everywhere we’re going next.

For more information, contact Ashley Christensen at achristensen@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Gold Award Spotlight: From Girl Scouts to Harvard

Contributing post by Amanda Dynak

My name is Amanda, and I am an Ambassador Girl Scout from Chicago, IL. I have been a part of Girl Scouts for twelve years, and have always loved reaching out to my community with my troop. In the past, I have earned both the Bronze and Silver awards, and I was excited to continue that tradition of service through my own Gold Award Project. 

Going for Gold

My project was titled “Changing the Future of Diabetes.” I wanted to connect my love of science with my passion for supporting my community. Specifically, my project targeted the American diabetes epidemic through the power of information.

I believe a large cause of the rise of Type 2 diabetes, which is contributing to a global shortage of insulin, is a lack of information that people need in order to take the right preventative measures, as well as a need for greater medical research. We also face a continuing presence of Type 1 diabetes, which itself is misunderstood and in need of continued research. I aimed to get this information into the hands of the populations in my community that need it. 

Through my project, I tried to unite and inform my community in two ways: first, by providing new ways to become educated about diabetes, and second, by creating opportunities to contribute to research and prevention. I accomplished these goals by working towards them from several different angles. I began by informing myself through conducting in-depth research about Type 1 diabetes at one of the top research universities in the country. I used that information to develop a website, a testimonial blog, a brochure, and a children’s book each explaining diabetes in unique ways. 

Making an Impact

I wanted to empower people by giving them different ways of understanding how diabetes functions, how it can be prevented and treated, and how to support those already living with it. I wanted to target age groups in my community that aren’t always targeted when it comes to medical information. For example, I specifically wanted to find new ways for young children to understand the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and how to engage with their friends who are living with either condition. For teens and young adults, I created an online blog that allowed young and adult women across the country to share their stories of living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

I think both of these age groups benefited immensely. The women I asked to share their stories on the blog were grateful for the opportunity to highlight their unique experiences, and my own friends who read the blog found it eye-opening; many of them realized they didn’t know as much about diabetes as they thought they did.

The book I shared through friends, family, and my local library, titled “Hankreas the Pancreas,” was read by many young kids who later told me they had heard of someone in their family having diabetes, but hadn’t really understood what it meant until now. Both of these groups became more compassionate towards those living with diabetes and more empowered to ask questions and to take ownership of their health.

I learned so many important lessons from this experience that I will carry with me to college, including how to set achievable goals, manage my time and money responsibly, and how to turn my passion for science into something that can support my community.

The most valuable thing I learned was how critical it is to provide others with a platform to share their stories. By creating a blog and connecting with the women who vocalized their experiences, I learned so much about how the topics I researched actually manifest in their daily lives. It also allowed them to fight back about the stigma and misinformation that exists around diabetes. I learned that by combining social awareness and compassion with science, we can take even bigger steps toward addressing public health problems.

The Future is Gold

When it came time for me to apply to college, I needed to really think about what I wanted to get out of my education. I reflected on the things that matter most to me: science, service, and community. Each of those components was an important part of my Gold Award project, and I soon realized they were also integral to what I was looking for out of my college experience. Identifying these important components through my project helped me better understand myself and the kind of impact I want to have on the world around me. It also helped me learn to better articulate my goals and how I want to achieve them.

Working on my Gold Award project was such an important experience for me that I wrote about it in my college essays. It was often the first thing that interviewers asked me about – and I loved talking about it! In December, I received the exciting news that I was accepted to Harvard University, and I can’t wait to begin studying biomedical engineering and finding ways to make it accessible to the populations that need it most.

I’m so grateful for my family, friends, and my troop for supporting me as I pursued a project that I am truly passionate about. Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award was a huge honor, but more importantly, it allowed me to reconnect with my community in a meaningful and lasting way. I definitely encourage all Girl Scouts to use the Gold Award as an opportunity to use your passions to do what we are always told as Girl Scouts to do when we go camping: to leave the world around us a little better than we found it.

Learn About the Gold Award

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Once achieved, it shows colleges, employers, and your community that you’re out there changing the world.

Join a century of women who have done big things. Learn more about Gold Award scholarships, the history of the Gold Award, and the benefits of going Gold.