Girl Scouts Help Team Win ComEd Icebox Derby

Girl Scouts Help Team Win ComEd Icebox Derby

What does it mean to take the lead like a Girl Scout? Two girls from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana found out firsthand after winning the 2016 ComEd Icebox Derby as part of Team Radiant Flames.

“I was so excited and so happy that we’d won,” said Therese Jager, a 14-year-old Girl Scout Senior. “We were all jumping around and giving each other high-fives.”

One of Therese’s teammates and Sister Girl Scout, Athena Zheng, said she was speechless when she realized they’d earned first place.

“The whole event, both the build days and especially race day, was filled with thrill and excitement,” said Athena, a 14-year-old Girl Scout Senior. “I really enjoyed the part during race day when I drove because I felt proud that I had contributed toward building this amazing car. I felt a sense of exhilaration course through me as I hopped into the car, put the seat belt on and pressed the pedal to start driving!”

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Girl Scout Therese Jaeger drives her team’s icebox car

Last month, 30 girls between the ages of 14 and 18 from the Chicagoland area competed in the third annual ComEd Icebox Derby where STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) advocate and ABC’s blackish star Yara Shahidi served as emcee of the event. Teams of six worked for weeks to make solar-powered race cars out of old refrigerators. In addition to Therese and Athena, Team Radiant Flames also included Morgan Jones, Taylor Clark and Tawashae Garrett, in addition to their ComEd mentors.

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ABC’s “blackish” star Yara Shahidi emceed the 2016 ComEd Icebox Derby

“The Icebox Derby is a special once-in-a-lifetime experience because it isn’t an everyday thing that girls get to construct racecars out of old, recycled refrigerators,” Athena explained. “Additionally, we gained new STEM-related skills and experiences. This included solving science problems during race day, learning what gear ratio is and creating series and parallel circuits.”

In addition to the technical skills, Athena said she also learned the power of teamwork.

“I did not know any of my teammates or mentors before Icebox Derby, but we developed a strong bond of friendship over the build days,” she said. “I believe that teamwork contributed to our win because I would have felt less confident without my teammates’ encouragement and support.”

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Members of Team Radiant Flames celebrate their victory

Meanwhile, Therese was excited to learn about circuits, use power tools and connect solar panels to the car. Both girls stressed the importance of getting girls involved in STEM at a young age.

“Because of Girl Scouts, I have had so many opportunities that I would not have otherwise had, such as participating in the Icebox Derby and First LEGO League robotics, meeting powerful women at the Executive Club luncheon and meeting with local politicians and government officials over the years through my work on various projects,” said Therese.

“I am truly grateful to ComEd for having this Icebox Derby program and I am so fortunate to have had this experience,” she continued. “I want to be an aerospace engineer someday, but I may have never known about this field or considered engineering as a career if I had not been exposed to it.”

To learn more abut the ComEd Icebox Derby, click here. For more information about our STEM programs, please visit www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org

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Girl Scouts Enjoy Juliette Day Out

Girl Scouts Enjoy Juliette Day Out

There are many ways to get involved in Girl Scouts. If a traditional troop doesn’t fit your needs, you can always register as an individual Girl Scout, also known as a Juliette (in honor of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low).

Last month, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) hosted its first Juliette Day Out at Camp Greene Wood in Woodridge, Illinois. The fun-filled day began with a traditional investiture and re-dedication ceremony, which highlighted the attributes that create the basis for the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

Afterward, the Juliettes had a chance to express gratitude toward their parents and mentors by giving them a single daisy, which symbolized the first level of being a Girl Scout and was also Juliette Gordon Low’s nickname.

Next up, the parents had a chance to connect with their daughters by pinning them with their Girl Scout level tab, WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) and Girl Scout pin provided by GSGCNWI’s Innovation and Inclusion Department.

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Following the ceremony, everyone took pictures and enjoyed refreshments before continuing with a day filled with old-fashioned Girl Scout fun, such as making S’mores and participating in art and crafts. The Juliettes and their families were also able to make SWAPS (Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere), take a mystery hike, and have a chance to learn more about Girl Scout opportunities, such as the Highest Awards.

Recent Gold Award honoree Annie Vitti told the girls about her project, which involved building a habitat for chimney swifts, a protected bird species, and inspired many Juliettes to pursue their own Highest Awards.

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Many thanks to everyone who helped make the Juliette Day Out a success! For more information or to register for Girl Scouts, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Girl Scouts Embark on a Swiss Adventure

Girl Scouts Embark on a Swiss Adventure

Nearly a dozen girls from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana traveled to Switzerland this summer on a council-sponsored trip. Accompanied by five adults, the group arrived in Zurich after an eight-hour plane journey from the States. Once there, they hit the ground running on a walking tour of Altstadt, or Old Town, in the Swiss city of Zurich.

The next day, the Girl Scouts went to the Swiss National Museum and the Zurich Zoo, where they happened to see Beyoncé! Next up was Bern, the capital of Switzerland. The group enjoyed many free sites here, such as a bear pit, rose garden and botanical garden.

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Girl Scouts in Bern, Switzerland

The following day, everyone participated in a walking tour of Bern and was luck enough to see Le Tour de France as the cyclists biked through the town.

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was the nine days the girls got to spend at Our Chalet, which is an international Girl Guide/Girl Scout centre and one of five World Centres of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, or WAGGS. While there, the girls met other groups from the U.S. and Canada, including their pen pals from Canada.

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Girl Scouts white-water rafting at Our Chalet

While at Our Chalet, the girls also went zip-lining, abseiling into a gorge, white-water rafting, met a woodcarver and did a lot of hiking. The views of the country were phenomenal. Finishing up the trip was a day in Lauterbrunnen where the participants saw Trummelbach Falls, the only waterfalls in Europe you can see inside of a mountain.

This trip was a culmination of a year’s worth of planning. Once the girls applied in June 2015, they began discussing their itinerary. They also attended a panel with people who had either worked at Our Chalet or visited there to get a better sense of what to expect.

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Girl Scouts at Trummelbach Falls in Switzerland

At the end of the trip, the girls agreed that Switzerland was one of the most beautiful places they had ever seen and they returned to the States with bags of cheese and chocolate for souvenirs.

To learn more about council-sponsored travel opportunities, click here. For more information about traveling as a Girl Scout, please email our senior program manager of arts, cultural awareness and travel programs at achristensen@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Girl Scouts Visit Mackinac Island

Girl Scouts Visit Mackinac Island

Curious about travel, but not ready to commit to a week away from home? Then Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan may be the perfect fit for you.

Recently, 23 Girl Scouts and their moms or grandmothers boarded a coach bus to the ferry. After a 40-minute smooth sail, the participants landed on Mackinac – an island with no cars and lots of fudge!

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Together, the Girl Scouts and their favorite female family members went on a horse-drawn carriage ride, explored the Butterfly Conservatory at the Wings of Mackinac, and explored Fort Mackinac.

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After some group fun, the girls and their moms and grandmas split up to spend some bonding time together. Some girls went horseback riding.

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While others opted to rent bikes and pedal the 8.2 miles around the island.

“My experience encouraged me to ride my bike more instead of riding a car, which prevents pollution,” said Girl Scout Lore Ann Sprouse. “I was encouraged because my destination didn’t have any motorized vehicles and the air felt so clean. I now ride my bike more because I want where I live to feel that clean, too, for myself and others.”

A few of the girls even got dressed up to have a fancy meal at the Grand Hotel. The Girl Scouts also went hiking, shopping and made new friends in the process.

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If you’re interested in how you can join next year’s trip, please email Ashley Christensen at achristensen@girlscoutsgcnwi.org. If you’re ready to sign up for your next adventure, you can register here. Space is limited, so sign up soon!