Support Girl Scouts on #GivingTuesday

Support Girl Scouts on #GivingTuesday

It’s seeing the impact she can make on her community.

It’s programming a robot and finding her voice as a team leader.

It’s the feeling that she belongs.

It’s moments like these that could change the course of a girl’s life. These moments enrich her life, energize her imagination and empower her to achieve big. And it all starts at Girl Scouts.

You can help a Girl Scout build a lifetime of exceptional experiences by donating to Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana on #GivingTuesday (Dec. 1).

A gift of $50 can purchase important program resources that give a girl an opportunity to do something amazing. One such resource is a Girl Scout Starter Kit, which includes a tunic, vest or sash and the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.

Click HERE to make a donation and be sure to share the news with your family and friends on social media:

#IGaveBecause I’m creating exceptional experiences for @GirlScoutsGCNWI. Join me on #GivingTuesday & support girls: girlscoutsgcnwi.org/givingtuesday

Your investment gives girls the courage and confidence to make the world a better place. Thank you for your generosity. We appreciate your support.

Heartfelt Thanks from CEO Nancy Wright

Heartfelt Thanks from CEO Nancy Wright

This time of year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Most of all, I am thankful for the big, ole Brownie smiles that we are able to put on the faces of our girls.

Every day I am inspired by the network of support that we’ve built across our council. And all because each of us believes in the importance of enriching a girl’s life.

I am thankful for the parents who drive to meetings and let cookies take over their living rooms.

I am thankful for the volunteers who lend their time and energy so that girls have memories full of giggles, science projects, field trips and friendship.

I am thankful for the donors who believe so deeply in our mission that they invest in the next generation of women leaders.

It’s the thought of supporters like you that makes me proud to be a part of this organization. And that’s what puts a big Brownie smile on my face.

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Nancy L. Wright

Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

Girl Scout Recognized by The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis

Girl Scout Recognized by The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis

After noticing a need for clothing at a local food pantry, Madison Fanta, of Saint John, IN, decided to do something about it. At age 9, she started donating her own clothing to the pantry to help other children. Shortly thereafter, her collection expanded to a dedicated room at the pantry and Maddie’s Helping Hands was born.

On Friday, November 13, Madison, a 15-year-old Girl Scout Senior, was honored for her work during the 11th annual Power of Children Awards by The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, IN. The award recognizes young philanthropists (grades 6-11) across the country for their significant contributions to society.

“My project was inspired by my Nana, who works at a local food pantry,” Madison explained. “When I went there and saw all the kids and people in need of clothing, I asked my family and friends to donate clothes for people in need. I think it’s important to give back because not everyone enjoys the same privileges.”

As one of five recipients, Madison received a $2,000 grant, which she plans to use for purchasing undergarments to distribute at the food pantry.

“Madison’s project reveals her compassionate and philanthropic nature,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum. “Her vision to clothe the underserved in her community, and her commitment to grow her project through recruitment of significant numbers of volunteers from the elderly to fellow Girl Scouts, demonstrate that Madison is precisely the kind of inspirational young person the Power of Children Awards program was created to honor and recognize.”

Madison, who is a lifelong Girl Scout, plans to use Maddie’s Helping Hands as the basis for her Gold Award project. The Girl Scout Gold Award, which celebrates its centennial in 2016, is the highest award that Girl Scouts ages 14-18 may earn. The leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment required to complete the process set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship. Girls complete seven steps to earn the Gold Award, including the completion of a significant service project.

“The Gold Award is important to me because it means that I am growing as a Girl Scout and I’m able to accomplish more than I ever thought,” she said. “The most important lesson I’ve learned as a Girl Scout is to give back to the community.”

To learn more about Maddie’s Helping Hands, watch the video below:

Guest Blog: Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Volunteer Part 2

Guest Blog: Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Volunteer Part 2

Behind every Girl Scout is a dedicated and passionate volunteer showing her the way. This month, we’ve asked two of our amazing troop leaders to share why they love Girl Scouts and how you can influence the next generation.

Being a Girl Scout is a tradition in my family. When I was a Brownie, my mom and grandma shared with me pictures and stories from when they were Girl Scouts. My favorite part about being a Girl Scouts was earning rewards during Cookie Season. My sister and I were always BIG cookie sellers in our troops.

NGSCW14_GE0525

As an adult, I’d forgotten all about this experience until one day I was at a community service project with another organization and saw one of my friends with all these young girls with her. I asked who they were and she told me it was her Girl Scout troop. I immediately wanted to get involved and give back to the organization that’d helped me so much.

That was five years ago in February and by Christmas, I had attended my first meeting as a Girl Scout troop leader. I love volunteering with Girl Scouts because it gives me a chance to interact with kids as I’m not a mom yet. I love talking to the girls to find out what they are thinking and helping to mold them into young ladies.

TX_MarComm14_104210

Sometimes, the girls enter Girl Scouts very timid, but after a few meetings, they have so much to say! I remember the first year we sold cookies at a local grocery store. The girls were so shy they barely wanted to speak to the customers.

But that all changed by the third weekend when they had their sales pitch in place and we sold so many cookies! Perhaps my favorite moment as a troop leader is passing out the cookie rewards to the girls because they work so hard to sell as many cookies as they can.

Since I’ve become a Girl Scout Daisy troop leader, I’ve met some wonderful women and I’ve also taken on leadership roles within my council as a delegate and product manager for our service unit.

We need more people to volunteer with the Girl Scouts so we can all mentor and mold more young girls into remarkable women. Every day, these girls teach me so much about myself. I love being part of an organization that is more than 100 years old and has helped develop numerous amazing female leaders. I believe it is my honor to serve God and my country and to live by the Girl Scout law.

Dr. Renee WHITE COAT

Dr. Renee Matthews has appeared on television shows such as, The Oprah Winfrey Show and TVOne’s NewsOne Now with Roland Martin where she discussed different health topics. Dr. Renee also hosts The Ask Dr. Renee Show, a weekly show to motivate and inspire viewers to “live the life they deserve.”

She’s been a contributing health writer for numerous websites such as MadameNoire.com, BlackandMarriedwithKids.com and BlackDoctor.org, as well as a sought after speaker for various health organizations and schools. In addition to writing about health, Dr. Renee conducts speaking engagements on social media, branding, motivation, and becoming an entrepreneur.

To read part one of our volunteer guest blog series, click here. To learn more about Girl Scouts or sign up as a volunteer, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Stock photos courtesy of Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Guest Blog: Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Volunteer

Guest Blog: Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Volunteer

Behind every Girl Scout is a dedicated and passionate volunteer showing her the way. This month, we’ve asked two of our amazing troop leaders to share why they love Girl Scouts and how you can influence the next generation.

All of my best stories come from being a Girl Scout leader. I can entertain any audience at parties with tales from my three troops – the adventures of the girl who went to camp with no shoes, the girl who couldn’t wait to ride a horse until she actually had to get on a horse, and the one who never listens to instructions until she is literally inches from falling into a creek.  But the most rewarding thing is hearing the girls tell stories.

DSCN4793

Our Brownies are bright, peppy second and third graders, for whom everything is new and exciting.  “We sold cookies last year, and we get to do it again?!  That’s great!”

Meanwhile, our Cadettes are in junior high and they are constantly on the lookout for new experiences and interesting places. “Chinatown this weekend to learn to make dumplings. And then woodworking, and then chemistry day, and then Ronald McDonald House, and then …”

Our Seniors are high school freshmen and sophomores are busy defining their interests and looking for adventures that appeal to their growing sense of independence. Their desire to do service projects is pretty inspiring.  When they’re all together, though, the giggling may lead you to believe you’re back with the Brownies.

DSC_0172Last year, I took five of the Cadettes along on a Brownie camping trip – girls from four different schools and three different grade levels. I thought the older girls would be helpful and maybe have some fun leading songs or crafts. At every turn, they astonished me.

From kitchen duty and nature hikes to games and badge work, I watched the Cadettes lead the way for the Brownies.  And then they sat around a campfire, which they built, and laughed themselves silly telling stories and sharing memories from their years in Girl Scouts. That is when it occurred to me exactly what it means to be a Girl Scout volunteer.

IMG_0442We give girls the chance to lead, to learn, to make friends, and to know they have an advocate cheering them on along the way. Years from now, these girls are going to find themselves in a position to make a decision, make a change, or make a difference, and they’re going to do it with confidence because they were Girl Scouts and had positive adult role models show them how.

Become a Girl Scout volunteer and mentor young girls. You can lead a troop or share your skills and interests with a troop a few times a year. If you’re like me and you love spreadsheets, you can help out with the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Enjoy being outdoors? Volunteering at a Girl Scout camp may be the perfect option for you. There are flexible opportunities available for everyone. And I promise you’ll have fun along the way and plenty of stories to share.

Alisia (Ally) Eckert has been a Girl Scout troop leader since 2001. She also serves as a regional volunteer for the product team and has been awarded the Leader of the Year, Outstanding Volunteer, Woman of the Century, Honor and Appreciation pins from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.  Ally works as the senior planned giving officer at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation (formerly Children’s Memorial). She loves to travel, dabbles in photography, and is a rabid ice hockey fan.   

Check back on Nov. 11 for part two of our volunteer guest blog series. To learn more about Girl Scouts or sign up as a volunteer, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Photos courtesy of Ally Eckert