By Nancy Wright, CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana
We have so much to be grateful for this year, including each and every one of you for being a part of the Girl Scout community. We are also thankful for all of our girls, who continue to show the world that leading with empathy, truth, and respect matters.
As you gather with friends, family, and loved ones to take your seat at the Thanksgiving table to discuss important news and debate relevant issues, please remember all the tables that still exist today that do not invite enough women and girls to join.
This Thanksgiving, let’s practice gratitude and think about other tables we sit at in our lives. Can you pull out a seat for a girl or woman, so her voice can add value to a conversation and she can feel that she belongs?
Happy Thanksgiving! You give Girl Scouts one more reason to be grateful. Take a moment to hear the ways Girl Scouts give thanks.
Save 20% on the Winter Gift Set! Get ready for the holiday season with this winter fashion bundle! Includes super cozy navy and green plaid Girl Scout Scarf, our popular trefoil bangle bracelet, and our new tassel key chain! Save on the Winter Gift Set »
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Save 25% on the G.I.R.L. Gift Set You will stand out in any crowd with your G.I.R.L. pom pom beanie. Add the hair ties and everyone will know you are a Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker and Leader! Save on the G.I.R.L. Gift Set »
Buy three charms, get a mystery charm free! Add three-dimensional charms to any CHARM IT! bracelet or necklace and customize your collection with our adorable charms! Shop Charms »
In-Store Savings, Nov. 26-30
20% Off Official Apparel and Accessories
20% Off Holiday Ornaments
15% Off Program Publications (Girl Guides and Books)
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that amplifies the power of philanthropy in our communities, and we’re just one week away! Your gift will help girls turn their passion into action through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, preparing them for a lifetime of leadership.
While the task may be large, the time is NOW. Today, we are united by our growing need for empowered girls around the world. Will you stand with us as champions for girls andwomen?
Meet three girls in our community who are taking action to create the change we all want to see.
Ela, Age 11
Ela didn’t take for granted the idea that change starts within and radiates outward. When she realized that other kids in her school didn’t have lunches, she started to share her own. While food often brings us together, so too do Girl Scout cookies! Ela used proceeds from her cookie sales to create and partially fund a hot lunch program at her school that provides a warm and nutritious meal to other kids in need.
“I encourage younger people to do good things. You can make a big difference in the world.”
Here’s to the young difference-makers like Ela!
Eva, Age 20
Activists TAKE ACTION. Eva has done that and more. A Chicagoan championing for the fair treatment of all, Eva has worked within her community to elevate the voices of the marginalized to greater heights. As the founder of Youth for Black Lives, Eva has led peaceful protests in the city and spoken at the United Nations in New York to advocate for the organization’s mission.
Eva believes that young, gifted, and black people need to: “Help other people acquire knowledge, so that we can be free ourselves.”
Here’s to girls like Eva lighting the way to freedom for us all!
Kaitlin, Gold Award Girl Scout, Age 18
Kaitlin took her love for music and shared it with others on a grand (piano included!) scale. While working on her Gold Award project she created a wall mural, two middle school transition events, a music video, and a 5th grade private lesson program to increase the number of students continuing in band from middle school to high school. As a result of her program, the retention rate of band students increased 15%!
“Through earning my Gold Award, I learned what it was like to manage a program and take on a huge leadership position!”
Girl Scout Destinations are the ultimate adventure for individual girls ages 11 and older! With different trips every year, there’s something exciting for every girl! You will not only acquire new life-changing experiences, but you will also make friends from all over the country as you travel with Girl Scouts from different states.
This past summer, I spent two weeks in Costa Rica on the Rainforest, River, & Reef Destination trip. Along with six other girls, I spent eight days hiking in the rainforest while staying with local families and experiencing the local culture first hand. We got a chance to make brown sugar out of sugar cane, empanadas with fresh home-made cheese, and learn about and plant banana trees. Afterwards, we spent two days at the beach near the Manuel Antonio National Park, enjoying ourselves and the plentiful wildlife of the park.
We rounded out our trip with some high adventures: zip-lining on a canopy tour, rappelling down a waterfall, and whitewater rafting on a nearby river.
This trip opened my eyes to a different, simpler lifestyle. The families we stayed with were very friendly and open, and so were their houses. Most had no windows or doors and those that had them,kept them open all the time. The families relied on the land for food, eating fruits from their own fruit trees, chicken and tilapia that they raised, and milk and cheese from their own cows. The banana trees were used not only for harvesting bananas, but the leaves served as wrappers for food to take along, and for making fire. Even entertainment was provided by nature. Together with the young children of one of the families, we enjoyed jumping and swimming in a nearby waterfall and running a makeshift obstacle course built in a ditch in between the sugar cane plantation, the chicken coop, and the pig sty. Children from the whole settlement tended to play together unsupervised.
houses had no TVs or other electronics, and we didn’t even wear a watch during
the whole trip. Life there goes at a measured pace; we woke up with the
rooster’s cry, ate when we were hungry, and went to bed when it got dark.
This trip made me appreciate the benefits of a simple lifestyle, separate from what we experience daily in the modern world. There was a huge contrast between the life we experienced in Costa Rica and our lifestyle at home. Even though they had much fewer possessions than we do in the US, they enjoyed their lives just as much or even more than we do.
My days in Costa Rica inspired me to slow down in my own life, and to try to incorporate the “Pura Vida” motto in my daily life (Pura Vida means a simpler life, less stress, being thankful for what one has, and dwelling lesson the negatives). It also confirmed my desire to make adventure a part of my life.I will continue to participate in adventure activities and I hope I can continue to travel and discover new cultures.
If you’re interested in going on a Destination, check out the GSUSA website.
by Rebecca Brewer, Girl Scout and Two-time Runner for the GCNWI Go Getters Bank of America Chicago Marathon Team
I would like to start by stating the obvious:
Marathon training requires time, dedication, perseverance, sweat, and a willingness to get smelly and dirty.
Marathon training connects you to communities of marathon runners, both local and worldwide. Running communities feel warm and huge, and celebrate each person who crosses a finish line, regardless of the distance or time. When all of your friends, family, and co-workers who aren’t runners express that they can’t quite understand, a fellow runner will stand beside you with genuine awe and encouragement.
Now, I would like to discuss the less obvious:
Marathon training is a daily, sometimes hourly, pursuit. Most training is at least 18 weeks long with workouts or runs five to six days a week. Despite all of your dedication and effort to train for the marathon, life insists on continuing.
Your family, home, work, bills, and personal interests will still remain, vying for your time and attention, as marathon training requires more of everything from you: more laundry, more careful time and energy dedicated to meal planning, more sleep, more awareness of your body, more gumption to push through the workout or to stick to your training schedule, more questions… simply more.
Many people have asked why I ran a marathon for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana not just once, but twice!
Simply saying “the girls” didn’t seem to fully communicate the reasons that resonate deep in my heart about “my why.”
It was around mile 17 of this year’s marathon—when I was cold, aching, feeling low, questioning myself, wondering if I should quit—when I fully realized “my why.”
Being a Girl Scout requires time, dedication, perseverance, sweat, and, sometimes, a willingness to get smelly and dirty. It connects you to local and world-wide communities of Girl Scouts. A community that feels warm and huge; embracing everyone and celebrating each cherished experience and badge or award earned—regardless of how long it took to complete. When all of your non-Girl Scout friends, family, and co-workers express that they can’t quite understand, a fellow Girl Scout will stand beside you with genuine awe and encouragement.
For many girls, Girl Scouts not only provides them with all of that, but a place of respite from bullying, peer pressure, social expectations, and a barrage of media with messages of what they should wear, do, or think.
For many girls, it is also a place of physical, mental, and/or emotional safety. Girls don’t get to quit those races. When a Girl Scout is on a path to earn a badge or a Higher Award, life will insist on continuing around them.
I’ve run for the Girl Scouts in two marathons to show the girls “I feel you;” to remind everyone “Girl Scouts is here and strong;” and to remind myself of the impact Girl Scouts plays in the lives of so many girls.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, November 27, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that amplifies the power of philanthropy in our communities. Your gift will help girls turn their passion into action through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, preparing them for a lifetime of leadership. GIVE S’more this Giving Tuesday!
We know the work of one girl can rally other girls to join forces. And we know that girls need an army of believers behind them to break barriers.
Together, we use our power to amplify girls’ voices and action as they take the lead.
Girl Scouts gives EVERY girl a place where she can be herself among her peers and be embraced and valued for just being herself. It gives girls a safe space where they can find trusted adults who believe in their potential and experiences, and work to advocate for their growth as girls and leaders.
Meet three more members of our Girl Scout community, who have found their place to shine as individuals, have fun, make friends, and find encouragement from peers and trusted adults alike.
Laura (Mother of Bella, Girl Scout, Age9)
Laura has seen firsthand how the welcoming environment of en(courage)ment, confidence and character has helped her daughter Bella to flourish as she started connecting to her inner self! No longer the shy young girl waiting to see what others were going to do first, Bella took her first camping experience without her fellow troop members as the chance to learn that she could be as bold as she wants to be!
“Before camp, she wasn’t one to say ‘Hi, my name is Bella, who are you?’ Now she does. She really has been inspired by her Girl Scout experience.”
Laura even ran with her daughter’s growing experience and got further involved with Girl Scouts herself. A member of our council’s Associate Board, Laura saw this as a greater opportunity to help her daughter SHINE!
“When I first heard that there was an opportunity to serve on the Girl Scouts GCNWI Associate Board, it was one way that I could give back…to help drive participation and [provide] knowledge and information to everybody else in the community and help them realize Girl Scouts is important and can help open a child’s eyes.”
Amanda, Age 14
Moving even further beyond the idea that Girl Scouts is just the place for cookies and crafts, there are girls like Amanda, who found the support she needed to push through her most difficult emotional and mental times. Once a young woman struggling to find her place and work through her depression, Amanda found critical support and sisterhood in Girl Scouts, and learned valuable life skills.
Today she can proclaim, “I am proud to be a Girl Scout!”Amanda’s happy ending is one fueled by her inner strength and persistence to overcome. Her message is a hopeful one; there’s always someone who wants to help.
Carlie, Age 15
Carlie has no problem with calling it how she sees it; and she calls herself a feminist. She is boldly demanding equality and knows that there is room for EVERYONE to succeed. Her Girl Scout experience has been one where she can uplift the sisterhood further. She’s a force to be reckoned with and she’s ready to see more women taking charge and leading the way forward!
“Girl Scouts allowed me to be a role model.”
You are an important part of their story. When you give on #GivingTuesday, you give girls access to a welcoming space where they can be themselves and thrive. When girls have a community who roots for them to succeed, there’s no telling what they can achieve!
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Head to our Facebook Page to add our #GivingTuesday frame to your Facebook profile picture. The more we share, the more awareness and excitement we build to inspire others to become champions for girls!
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that amplifies the power of philanthropy in our communities. Your gift will help girls turn their passion into action through the Girl Scout Leadership experience, preparing them for a lifetime of leadership. GIVE S’more Today!
In today’s world, girls encounter more pressure than ever before. For the girl of today, the images she sees and voices she hears tell her what she should do, who she should be, and what she should look like.
But what if she finds her own voice? What if she discovers her bravery? What if she finds who she is, rather than who she’s told she should be?
Girl Scouts is the very place for this discovery of her own skills, talents, and confidence.
Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, “Can I?” quickly turns into “I will!”, as girls discover their potential through unique, girl-led activities.
Meet three Girl Scouts in our community who have discovered their passions and are turning them into action for good!
Erin, Age 18
A girl scout of 13 years, Erin learned for herself that she can be the change she wants to see in her own community. As a senior, her efforts in the completion of her Gold Award project brought an arts library with over 600 books and her own ‘artboxes’ designed to inspire creativity and entertain young patients to her local children’s hospital.
“Because of Girl Scouts, I have been exposed to worlds that I hadn’t understood before. Helping and volunteering has helped make me become a better person, a better citizen, and a more understanding friend.“
Luciana, Age 11
Luciana learned that with a bit of courage and confidence she can sing her way to new heights! Her gender-norm breaking turn as Geppetta the puppet-maker in Pinocchio in a school version of the play had this Girl Scout Junior taking the stage by storm. Broadway better look out!
“Girl Scouts helped me find my voice.”
Hadley, Age 6
While she may be young, she is MIGHTY! Hadley knows that in order to change the world one must also take part in engineering it. Despite not seeing as many females in her desired industry, that hasn’t deterred her from setting her sights on being an engineer when she grows up, and she looks forward to being the example for other girls just like her!
“There should be as many girl engineers as boy engineers.” We couldn’t agree more.
Don’t forget, you can be part of this change for nearly 53,000 girls right now – girls like Erin, Luciana and Hadley. Join us on #GivingTuesday and help build a lifetime of leadership for all girls in our community.
Your gift gives another girl the chance to find her passion and go after it.
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Tell the world how Girl Scouts has helped you or a girl you know discover their passion, find their voice, and use both to lead change!