A Girl Scout’s Account of Her First Destination

A Girl Scout’s Account of Her First Destination

Girl Scout Lucianna A., 13 years old, describes her first Destination. She attended the trip “3…2…1…Happy New Year from Mexico” during winter break 2017. She was one of a group of girls from the United States who met girls from around the world at Our Cabaña, the WAGGGS World Centre.

Destinations2As a young adult, I was extremely excited to take part in this trip because it would pretty much start my journey around the world. Being at Our Cabaña opened my eyes to so many other cultures and I made some international friends of course! Going to Our Cabaña was something I thought I’d never do. My experience helped me understand cultural differences and what it really means to be a part of WAGGGS. Meeting international friends taught me to respect cultural differences and know what is also in other countries.

Destinations3This trip has made me live in the present because having to leave after the short time I spent on the trip. The friends I made on this trip made me want to visit more countries around the world and obviously see them again. Staying at Our Cabaña really made me see that there are many people who can only speak a non-English language and this surprised me because so many people are bilingual/trilingual in the U.S. My Destination experience really made me curious on what I could see if I traveled more. I can’t wait to do a Destination again and experience more!

Destinations are trips for individual Girl Scouts from across the nation. With a ton of different trips to apply for every year, there’s something amazing for everyone to experience. You decide where to travel—whether it’s Morocco, Madison, or New Mexico—then fill out the application using this information.

NOTE: Application deadline extended to Feb. 1, 2018.


What Girl Scouts Means to Me

What Girl Scouts Means to Me

When people ask me to define myself, one word I always use is “marketer.” Marketing has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl. I couldn’t figure out what shaped the passion of mine until one day at the grocery store I realized, cookies! Girl Scout Cookies – the Tagalongs, Samoas, Thin Mint goodness – was the reason I am so intrigued with marketing and decided to pursue it as a career. Girl Scouts and their famous cookie program, played a much larger role in my life than I ever thought it would.

Myself and my proud parents in 1997 after earning top cookie seller in my troop.

I was a Girl Scout throughout my school years with six years being the highest cookie seller in my troop. The more I look back on my life experiences, I can confidently say that Girl Scouts taught me how to think independently, be confident in my thoughts and actions, and shape my ability to make critical decisions. The cookie program in particular, taught me at a young age the responsibility of money management and embedded a strong work ethic to achieve what I want.

I grew up in a small town in Alabama. When I reached my high school years, I became a registered independent Girl Scout to continue working at day camp over the summer – a job I loved and made friends, most of whom, 15 years later, I communicate with regularly. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, I never earned the coveted Girl Scout Gold Award.

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“Twist me and turn me and show me the elf. I looked in the water and saw MYSELF”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve looked for those defining moments of what shaped me into the strong independent woman I’ve become today. I can confidently say – Girl Scouts. Because of this, I decided to give back to the organization that taught me so much, and in this past year, I’ve contributed and experienced opportunities I never imagined possible.

Today, I am a founding member of one of the first Girl Scouts associate boards in the country. I’ve met with Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. But can I tell you the most exciting thing I’ve done this year?

On this year’s International Day of the Girl, I filed my paperwork to become a lifetime member of Girl Scouts. An action that I’ve worked up to for so many years and take such pride in completing. I can now officially loudly and proudly say that I will forever be a Girl Scout.

Amanda Modelski is a member of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Associate Board. To learn more about this exciting leadership opportunity, click here.



When I sat down to write about all that Girl Scouts has meant to me, I was surprised at how hard it was to start. It didn’t seem possible to filter through all that I had done and choose just a few important events. Every picture I looked at brought with it a swarm of memories. Every patch that I’d earned had a novel’s worth of stories to tell.

Girl Scouts has given me so much more than just patches and memories. It has given me more than skills, camping trips, and cookies. More than all these things, Girl Scouts has given me confidence in who I am and all that I can accomplish.



Throughout my years as a Daisy, Brownie, and Junior, Girl Scouts taught me to explore new things. Each meeting we would earn a new patch or go on a field trip and learn something new. Thanks to Girl Scouts, I discovered my interests in music, cooking, and exploring the outdoors. Girl Scouts provided me a place to try new things, learn skills, and discover who I am.

As I grew, my Girl Scout experience grew with me. We started to talk less about what we could do in Girl Scouts and more what we could do as Girl Scouts. Somewhere along the way, my Sisters and I had found a sense of empowerment, and that sense of empowerment changed everything.

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Rather than being told what to do like at school, Girl Scouts gave us the opportunity to take control. We decided as a troop what badges to earn and how to earn them, organized our own service and Take Action projects, and planned our own outings and camping trips. Girl Scouts provided me a place where I could be accountable for my learning and experiences.

I became empowered to speak up about what mattered. Girl Scouts was a place where I knew what I said would be heard and wouldn’t be taken lightly. I found a place where I could express my opinions and ideas and not be dismissed as a kid. Having even one place where I trusted that my voice mattered taught me to keep speaking up and to never back down from what I believed in.

GS friendship circle

It gave me faith that someday my voice would be heard in the rest of the world. Just as important, I learned how to listen to others and to value their opinions and beliefs no matter how greatly they may have differed from my own. In speaking up, I learned the power of acceptance. In listening, I found the importance of being heard.

Even more than giving me a place to be in control or to express myself, Girl Scouts gave me a place to just simply be. After a long week at school, I couldn’t wait to unwind with my Sisters at our Sunday night meetings.

GS Niles Board meeting

Being in an all-female environment I never felt the pressure to “perform” or to be anything other than myself. Our meetings were a place where we could talk about anything from sexism to s’mores and from Take Action Projects to tough times at school. It was at these meetings that I learned to be confident, for it was at Girl Scouts that I always felt accepted for just being me.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Girl Scouts taught me to be a person of integrity, confidence, honesty, and character. Yes, I learned how to sew and babysit, but I also learned how to change oil, pitch a tent, and save a life. Thanks to Girl Scouts, I learned how to change the world in big and small ways and to believe that I could accomplish anything. Because of Girl Scouts, I am a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker and leader) , and thanks to Girl Scouts, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Katie Daehler has been a Girl Scout for the past 13 years and is now a lifetime member. She is a Freshman at Northwestern University, and is working on starting a Daisy troop to continue her Girl Scout experience as a volunteer. 

To learn more about Girl Scouts, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.


Get to Know…Your Friendly Senior Manager of Travel Programs: Ashley Christensen

Get to Know…Your Friendly Senior Manager of Travel Programs: Ashley Christensen

When I stepped off the plane in Beijing in May 2004, during my sophomore year of college, I knew that I was destined to live in China someday. That month-long study abroad throughout China and Hong Kong changed my life forever.

Not only did it inspire me to be more globally aware and a worldwide, lifelong traveler, it was the catalyst to me living in Hong Kong. Two college degrees, two elementary teaching positions, and six years later, I stepped off another plane, this time in Hong Kong.

I was carrying a bundle of nerves along with my three giant suitcases. Of course I was nervous about living in this strange world, but I was doing it all alone which increased my worry tenfold. Even though I got lost on innumerable occasions, had a hard time making friends at first, and missed my friends and family back home like crazy, this was an adventure that I had chosen and was excited about.

It took me many months to find my confidence. One month to go to a coffee shop and actually eat there by myself, not just take it and run back to the safety of my tiny apartment. Two months to go a movie alone. Three months to make my first real friend outside of the school where I taught. Four months to stop crying to my parents every week on our weekly Skype dates (this was before smartphones, mind you!).

And yet I found my confidence. For that, I am really grateful. Not only did I survive those first few hard months, I flourished for my nearly two years there. Hong Kong helped me to become a published writer, a certified yoga instructor, a world traveler (country #28 was ticked off in September!), and a confident, brave woman.

At first, I was honestly so worried about doing any single thing alone. “How in the world will I ever meet a friend if I can’t even leave the house?” I often asked myself. Then one day, I grew the gumption. I was gonna do it! I went by myself, of course, to see one of my now all-time favorite sites: Ten Thousand Buddhas. I’d been putting it out into the universe that I wanted to make a new friend, and lo and behold on this day that I’d shoved myself outside of my apartment, I met a friend.

I titled my blog post that day “Ten Thousand Buddhas and One New Friend.” From there, my social life skyrocketed. I have been in a friend from Hong Kong’s wedding, traveled to several countries with others after moving back to Illinois, and have Whatsapped for hours on end. In fact, one friend is even visiting Chicago as I type this!

Ten Thousand Buddhas
Ten Thousand Buddhas, Hong Kong

Not only was I changed during those two years, I often look back at my time in Hong Kong and the difference I made with my students. By profession, I’m an elementary school teacher, so I was able to teach third grade at an American school. When I went back to Hong Kong in 2016 to visit, I went to my school and saw some of my former students.

I wish I had a video camera recording their faces the day when they realized who I was; their faces of surprise and excitement were priceless. It still makes me teary-eyed thinking about the kids whose lives I impacted. On my birthday in September, I received an email from a former student wishing me a “Happy Birthday” from Hong Kong! I hadn’t seen this girl in five years!

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Visiting my students in Hong Kong, December 2016

Some of my fondest memories of my time in Hong Kong are with my students, first in our tiny, dripping classroom, and then to the new school. Though I am no longer a teacher, I still hope that in my current position at the Girl Scouts planning travel opportunities, I am able to make a difference in the lives of the girls.

I hope that through this work I can inspire these girls to be more globally aware and worldwide, lifelong travelers. Maybe, someday, these girls, too, will take that first step off the plane and just know, “Someday, I’m gonna live here!”

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With Girl Scouts in Mexico, August 2017

Learn more about the travel programs Ashley plans at girlscoutsgcnwi.org


Help Girl Scouts Break a World Record

Help Girl Scouts Break a World Record

Join Girl Scouts, the Chicago Wolves and your community for a family-friendly event with Girl Scout Cookies and hockey activities at Allstate Arena.

Do you want to set a world record? This is your chance! We know every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risktaker, Leader)TM is amazing, and we can make it official. Like, Guinness World Record official.

3…2…1…DUNK! Be officially amazing.

We need YOU! Help us attempt to collectively dunk more cookies in milk than ever before. We’ll take the lead to break a Guinness World Record and kick off an amazing 2018 Girl Scout Cookie Program!

The day includes interactive cookie activities; hockey activities for the whole family; meet-and-greet with Chicago Wolves mascot Skates; skate on the ice (skate rental is not provided); and performances by Carly and Martina, plus much more!

To learn more and buy your tickets, click here!