Girl Scouts Visit Our Cabaña in Mexico

Girl Scouts Visit Our Cabaña in Mexico

Ever wonder what it’s like to travel with Girl Scouts? In this guest blog post, members of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana share their experience at Nuestra Cabaña in Mexico…

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Day One

Greetings from Mexico! This is Gillion (Joliet, IL) and Leianna (Chicago, IL) writing to you all. Today, we went to Plaza De Las Tres Cultras and we learned about the history of the Mexican government and why it is important to the Mexican culture.

When we went to Teotihuacan we learned that it is the “City of Gods” and there is a plant that gave the Aztecs the basic needs (paper, soap, needle and thread). We also learned that they made their blankets and sweaters out of the cactus fibers. We then went to the Teotihuacan (pyramids). The majority of the girls walked up and down the pyramids, and let us tell you; the view was beautiful. There were shops throughout the pyramids (technically called temples) that sold bracelets, shirts, shoes, etc.

Then we went for lunch at a buffet where a mariachi band played for us. Our tour guide Marco sang a song for us and he had a beautiful voice. After lunch we went to the Nueva Basilica de Guadalupe (the Shrine of the Virgin Mary). We visited the old and new shrine then walked into the chapel. When we were just about to leave the shrine, it was pouring rain. When it calmed down, only by 10 percent, we ran to our cars to head for dinner. We had a ton of fun at dinner. Last, but not least, we got churros to end our night. Overall, our day was very long, but it was all worth it in the end.

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Day Two

Greeting from Ticalli! This is your amigas Nina and Taryn. We had a jam packed day full of fun. To start our day we went to Xochimilco and rode on a boat through the last Aztec canal in Ciudad de Mexico. Xochimilco is known for its floating gardens and is a colorful burst of Mexican culture. While on the boat we enjoyed elote, quesadillas, and many vendors showing off their trade. We used our new-found bartering skill, courtesy of Jan, to get the best deal!

Afterwards, we travelled to Coyoacan where we enjoyed a lunch of tostadas and aqua de fruta. From there we walked to Casa Azul, the home of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, and her husband Diego Rivera. While we were there, we learned more about the difficult and painful life that Frida endured and how it inspired many of her famous works. Inside the house there is not only many beautiful works of art, but also articles of her clothing and other remnants of her life.

On our way to the restaurant, we stopped to take pictures at “Alas de la Ciudad,” “The Wings of the City.” When we arrived to the restaurant, we saw the locked doors and the vacant restaurant, so we made other plans. The brave Jodi Lynn and Ashley ventured through the thunderstorm to get us our delicious pizza. Although the day was filled with twists and turns, it ended with lots of laughter, smiles, and beautiful memories.

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Day Three

This is Jordan (Green Bay, WI) and Gillion again writing to you from Our Cabaña in Cuernavaca, Mexico! Today we woke up and ate breakfast at Ticalli, like usual and then went to Zocalo, a large town square in Mexico CIty. There is the Palacio Nacional, the Gran Hotel, and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Then, walked to a restaurant near by to eat lunch. After lunch, we drove near Central Alameda Park and the Fine Art Museum to get back to Ticalli in time to get picked up to head to Our Cabaña. When we arrived, we got a tour of the World Center and ate dinner. After dinner we played games with all 60 girls staying with us to get to know them. It was a day filled with fun activities and meeting many new people.

Our Cabana

Day Four

This is Jenna (Wisconsin) and Jaelyn (Virginia) coming to you live from Our Cabaña. Today we woke up and had breakfast. We then participated in team building activities where we met girls from all around the world. At lunch we got to try the best chocolate flan cake ever. We then played a real life version of chutes and ladders. We were split up into groups and went to different stations; some of the stations were Our Cabaña trivia, Mexican food, camping tips, Day of the Dead (face painting), and water activities. Some of the girls also worked on a challenge to earn a limited edition patch for the 60th anniversary of Our Cabaña. After dinner we had a campfire and sung campfire songs.

Day Five

Hola! This is Kate (Lewisvile, NC) reporting on the activities of this past day. Today, the entire camp ran activity stations for the kids of a local orphanage, boys and girls ages 3-12. Our table held the materials to design your own paper plate sun catcher, complete with sequins, colored cellophane bits, and stickers. LOTS of stickers. Later into the day, the majority of us split off with one child to have fun hula-hooping, eating popsicles, and dancing our hearts out.

After we said “Adios,” our group set off in shifts to a nearby mall, only 25 minutes away by walking. We didn’t find much, but our leaders did find a McDonald’s – a MEXICAN McDonald’s. We wrapped up the evening with games that the whole center played, Jenga, Head’s Up, a clapping concentration game, and a round of Bang where the leaders (Mrs. Machota) were especially trigger-happy. As I am writing this, Nieve, the camp cat, has claimed Ms. Christensen’s lap for herself, and is working on a campaign for her laptop bag. We will continue the war front updates tomorrow. Cheers!

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Day Six

This is Caroline (Boston) and Sierra (Iowa) writing to you from Our Cabaña. After a rushed breakfast, we headed out on an adventure with our group, girls from Pennsylvania, and girls from an island in the Caribbean. We took a bus and a truck to Mil Cascadas (the site of the waterfalls) then hiked the rest of the way. There were seven waterfalls of varying heights that could be attempted.

Every girl hiked and most jumped at least one. The tallest was 10 meters and the shortest was 2 meters. The instructors were helpful with getting our equipment (helmets and life jackets), steadying us along the way, and guiding us once we were in the water. No one hit a rock, but there was at least one accidental belly flop. Following the jumping, we had lunch by the water then hiked back. We saw lots of donkeys, horses, and cows on our journey. Some locals were even waterfall jumping too. Lots of girls took advantage of the ride back by taking naps.

Day Seven

Writing to you is Sophia (California) and Zuri (Pennsylvania) live and in stereo. This morning, we had a buffet-style breakfast. Then at 10 a.m., we boarded a tour bus to drive to a cathedral in downtown Cuernavaca where we learned the history of the location and Hernan Cortez.

Then, we had free time to go shopping at the local craft market where girls bought authentic Mexican items such as hammocks, dresses, and handmade bags. We arrived at Our Cabaña at 1:30 p.m. where we had a delicious lunch which was followed by a fun-filled pool party. Later this evening, we had a traditional dinner and a Nuestra Cabaña scavenger hunt. Now we are off to bed awaiting the 60th Anniversary party tomorrow.

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Day Eight

Hola, it’s Taryn and Sierra writing to you about yesterday. The morning started off with an optional trip to the local pyramids called Teopanzolco. Girls could walk there or have a free morning. After returning, we came back for lunch. The 60th anniversary party was in the afternoon. Girls got dressed up in party clothes.

There were super fun arcade games, a cute photo booth with costumes and props, a piñata filled with traditional Mexican candy, Spanish, American, British, and Brazilian music, and lots of high energy dancing. During dinner there was even a mariachi band. They brought in caterers for dinner with traditional Mexican food- tacos, elotes, quesadillas, etc. To end the party, girls jumped fully clothed into the swimming pool.

Day Nine

This is Leianna (Chicago) and Celina (Missouri) writing to you all about our day. Today we worked on our scrapbook page for the Cabaña’s scrapbook. The book is basically full of all the Girl Scouts and Girl Guides that have visited the Cabaña. Then we planned out our international night swaps. We practiced our song and a brief sentence about each of our swaps. Then we had free time to do what we wanted like swim or go to the craft house.

The Cabaña had set up two programs for us to choose from. One was about self-confidence and the other was about types of violence. The classes they set up for us was to learn different views of what goes on in today’s society. When dinner time came the leaders left for dinner. The Girl Scouts stayed at the Cabaña to eat dinner and play capture the flag with the volunteers. All the girls are really enjoying themselves and don’t want to leave just yet.

If you’d like to learn more about our council’s travel opportunities, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

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Girl Scouts Explore Colorado

Girl Scouts Explore Colorado

Ever wonder what it’s like to travel with Girl Scouts? In this guest blog post, members of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana share their experience in Colorado…

Day One

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We started off meeting at the airport at 9:30 a.m. We got all of our plane tickets and went straight to our gate. Some girls went out and got food before our flight. Soon our plane was ready to be boarded! The flight was two-and-a-half hours to Denver. We practically played Mad Libs at least half of the plane ride. Yay!

We flew over Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado. Once we landed, we boarded our bus and saw the most beautiful mountains and hills. The two-hour bus ride was a blast when all of a sudden the girls burst out into the song “Titanium”. Our bus driver also took us to Starbucks so we could eat before the camp dinner time.

We arrived at the camp successfully and learned about different activities we could do during free time. Many girls went out for a dusk hike and even saw a deer! Soon it was time to go to bed so we could have an amazing day tomorrow.

Day Two

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We started off the day with an early-morning horseback ride through the mountains. We were on the trails for about an hour and the views were incredible. We had big, super friendly horses … although some of them were a bit slow. Some of us liked that the horses started trotting, that was fun! Our tour guide also took us through a small creek so the horses could stop and get a drink of water.

In the afternoon, a bunch of people enjoyed doing mosaics, and other crafts at the craft cabin while some swam at the pool. Our favorite part about the pool was the rock-climbing wall. Many of us have gone adventuring off to explore the property and saw llamas and goats.

Later in the day we did the low-ropes course. It was all about team building and communication. We learned to always make a plan and think outside of the box. There was also a small challenge course. Another lesson learned is that it is better and easier when everyone joins in and tries their hardest.

Day Three

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Today was our whitewater rafting trip! When we got to the Mad Adventures Rafting, we were split up into two different groups for rafting. The two guides were really funny and nice. At first we were in slow, smooth, and peaceful water.  Later we ended up in rapids and we got very wet even on the boat.

We went to a small cliff with two different levels, the lower one being 5 feet and the higher one being 20 feet. Some of us climbed up the cliffs and jumped into the river. In the middle of our trip, we stopped to rest and eat lunch (on land). The guides set up a sandwich station and we got to make our sandwiches and eat cookies.

After lunch, we got back out on the water. We played many games, for example, Rodeo. Rodeo was a game where you stood at the front edge of the raft and the rest of the boat would go in circles, trying to make you loose your balance and fall into the river. The people who jumped in had very surprised looks on their faces. Today was an enjoyable day and everyone enjoyed it!

Day Four

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Today we went tubing, and had fun doing archery as well. Some of us also had fun rollerskating and swimming. We also enjoyed a cook out dinner and had a campfire afterwards where we enjoyed S’mores and sang songs.

Day Five

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Today was definitely a fun-filled day! First, we started off with the adventurous canoeing. Girls were playing music, dancing and playing different types of competitive games. Sadly, the hour was short although, it was an awesome start to the day.

After the drive back to camp most of the girls went to lunch. We had a walk back to the forest zip line. Most of the girls went for a second turn because it was super fun. Some put their fears aside and went for it and ended up with the biggest smile on their faces! We headed back to our chunk of free time. Girls did activities including swimming, visiting the library, mini golf, and hiking.

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Later that afternoon, nine girls set off for the steak dinner and horseback ride. The food was amazing and horseback riding was even better! With a trot, walk, fun fact learning, and singing, and joke telling, the two-hour horse ride was a complete success. After that activity, girls decided to go play the human version of Hungry Hungry Hippos and some stayed for rollerskating.

Day Six

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Today we went to the Rocky Mountain National Park. While there we encountered a herd of elk, learned how to lasso a wooden horse, some of us took a tour of a homestead and learned of the family that lived there.

We went on a photo tour, going to different spots to take photos. We climbed the Alpine Ascent at 12,000 feet! After our climb in the wind and cold (plus a little snow!), we did some souvenir shopping.

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We also went to the Continental Divide for a photo op. Then we went to a town called Grand Lake. We enjoyed ice cream and trinket shopping.

Day Seven

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To start the day, some girls went on a breakfast horseback ride. The horses were very energetic; they trotted numerous times. The food was delicious — we had giant cowboy pancakes, seasoned eggs, bacon, and sausage.

After our ride, we went to lunch and later that afternoon, four of us went to the high-ropes challenge course. Some of the obstacles were the Jacob’s Ladder, the “Leap of Faith,” and other trust activities. Some people went for a beautiful waterfall hike, went swimming, and went to the craft cabin.

If you’d like to join our council’s next trip to Colorado in 2019, click here to learn more and register. For more information about our travel opportunities, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Together We Are Girl Scout Strong

Together We Are Girl Scout Strong

Dear Girl Scout Family, Neighbors and Friends,

Yesterday, on International Day of the Girl, Boy Scouts of America announced plans to open its membership to girls. I want to assure you that Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is more committed than ever to ensuring that girls take their rightful place as leaders in their communities, their country and the world.

With more than 100 years of research, experience and results, Girl Scouts remains the premier leadership organization for girls. Our unique girl-led approach and girl-friendly environment is unmatched in creating a safe space where girls are free to be themselves, take risks and thrive.

Research shows that participating in Girl Scouts helps girls develop key leadership skills they need to be successful in life. Compared to non-Girl Scouts, our girls are more likely to have confidence in themselves and their abilities; seek challenges and learn from setbacks; take an active role in decision making; and solve problems in their communities.

In fact, the Girl Scout Gold Award, which represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, requires girls to identify a community issue, create a sustainable solution and take action. With more than 80 hours of community service, the Girl Scout Gold Award is a top-tier credential that enables girls to earn college scholarships and enter the military one rank higher.

Simply put, Girl Scouts works. And we’re here to stay.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Nancy Wright

CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

 

To learn how you can make a difference in a girl’s life, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Learn About Financial Literacy at the Girl Scout Game of Life

Learn About Financial Literacy at the Girl Scout Game of Life

Think “financial literacy” is a snoozefest? Girl Scouts sure don’t! In fact, for the third year in a row, the Girl Scout Game of Life is pumped up to show you just how interactive, engaging, and yes – FUN – learning about money can be.

On Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., hundreds of Girl Scouts from across the council footprint will gather at Journey World at the Joliet Gathering Place (1551 Spencer Road, Joliet, IL) for this interactive adventure where girls choose a career, earn a salary, and navigate their way through games and activities to learn about money and more.

The Girl Scout Game of Life, presented in partnership with RSM US LLP, is for all ages. Depending on grade level, Girl Scouts have careers to try out and goals to meet. Did you go last year? Fear not! So much is new and glimmering with charm to even the most skeptical Girl Scout:

New at the Girl Scout Game of Life

* Brand new careers to try, including Young Adult AuthorMiddle School Teacher, and Professional Chef!

* The World’s Best DMV, where you can make your license (with a real photo!) and select the car of your dreams

* A cool, branded Girl Scout Game of Life wallet for Girl Scouts to keep their special Game of Life license and paycheck in (and real currency ).

A fabulous vacation suite where you can celebrate your first paycheck! Missed last year’s video? Check it out here!

“It’s a complete reinvention of what learning about fiscal responsibility can look like,” says Annie Gilmartin, Manager of Financial Literacy and Journey World. “While it might sound like we’re playing the board game, I promise upon Shakespeare’s grave that I will personally dispel that misconception into a thousand tiny pieces. Come to the Girl Scout Game of Life to see just what I’m talking about!”

According to Gilmartin, one of the most exciting parts of the Girl Scout Game of Life is watching parents and troop leaders learn as well.

“It’s easy to forget that the building blocks of financial literacy are about need versus want, and that you can make saving money into a game by re-framing how you think about things. And, if our inaugural Girl Scout Game of Life [in March 2016] is any indication, everyone had an amazing time doing just that.”

The Girl Scout Game of Life takes place on Sunday, November 5, 2017 from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Joliet Gathering Place, 1551 Spencer Road, Joliet, IL. Admission is $15 per girl and free for adults. Register here now through October 29, 2017.