Girl Scouts GCNWI’s Annual Meeting and Adult Recognition Event was a Smashing Success

On Saturday, April 6, 2019, more than 500 Girl Scout adult members gathered for the annual council meeting, and to celebrate the service and tenure of dedicated Girl Scout volunteers!

With this year’s council theme being Action Speaks Louder, Nancy Wright, CEO, gave a riveting State of the Council keynote, sharing details about the work that has been done over the past year, and more importantly, the strategic work of the council for the current year and beyond. Board President, Kathy Scherer followed and with the help of girl board representative, Colleen Christian, installed new officers and directors to the Board of Directors.

Several stand out, celebratory moments from the day included;

  • Heidi Gannon and Marlene Knapp were added to the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Hall of Fame.
  • We celebrated the following GSUSA honorees:
  • Christine Alfred, Thanks Badge
  • Melissa Young-Bridgeforth, Thanks Badge
  • Christina Robinson, Honor Pin
  • Tonya Belcher, Appreciation Pin
  • Scott Bennett, Appreciation Pin
  • Dawn Brook, Appreciation Pin
  • Cori Chojnacki, Appreciation Pin
  • Keth Goodman, Appreciation Pin
  • Starr Hochbaum, Appreciation Pin
  • Christina Johnson, Appreciation Pin
  • Mike Kizman, Appreciation Pin
  • Nzsenga McClendon, Appreciation Pin
  • Patricia McCoy, Appreciation Pin
  • Nicole Mitchell, Appreciation Pin
  • Claire Mosshamer, Appreciation Pin
  • Janet Skogsberg, Appreciation Pin
  • Suzanne Stewart, Appreciation Pin
  • Two staff members were honored with the D.A.I.S.Y. (Dynamic and Incredible Staff of the Year) award:  Peggy Brothers, AVP, Camp Program and Property and Jenny Waszak, HR Director.
  • We celebrated the dedication and action of 30 Service Units who received the President’s Award—this is a record number of Service Units earning the award!
  • Also, part of the celebrations were volunteers who’ve provided service to Girl Scouts from 5 to 60 years!  A record number of volunteers received their 5 and 10 year pins at this year’s event. 
  • Guests enjoyed continental breakfast, empowering music, a photo montage of awardees, cupcakes and time to reconnect with Girl Scout friends.

Thanks to everyone who made this year’s Annual Meeting such a great success. We remain grateful for all our staff and volunteers who make the Girl Scout world a wonderful place to work and serve!

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Daydreaming About Travel? Study Abroad

By Maureen Ewing

As a Girl Scout, you’ve grown curious about the world, eager to ask questions and challenge yourself with new experiences. As a Girl Scout traveler, you’ve honed important leadership skills like budgeting for a trip, money-earning to make it possible, and working together to plan a great itinerary. You’re an independent young woman who wants to see the world!

Some of the most fulfilling benefits of travel come from learning about new cultures and meeting new people. When you think about travel, you might think about vacation with your family, a troop trip, Girl Scout Destinations, or council-sponsored trips – trips that are often a week or two. Now, it’s time to think longer!

See the World While You Study!

When you spend a summer, semester, or year studying in another country, you will immerse yourself in a new culture, expanding our horizons while learning more about the country and cultures around you. Start daydreaming now about where you’d like to study!

In high school, some schools offer exchange opportunities through language departments. If your your school doesn’t offer them, there are many organizations and companies that offer opportunities for high school students, such as Rotary International and EF Tours. There are also scholarships available for travel through organizations like Hostelling International and ACIS. You might even consider doing some travel and volunteering before going to college through organizations like AIFS, Greenheart Travel or Cross Cultural Solutions.

Most people study abroad in college because there are more opportunities. When choosing a college and a course of study, do research about what study abroad and exchange programs are available. Most colleges and universities offer some type of study abroad, but each school differs as to what credits transfer and when you can go during your degree. If your school doesn’t offer programs that appeal to you, consider an organization like IES Abroad, which offers independent study abroad programs.

Dream It & Make It Happen

If you want to study abroad, you can make it happen; it just takes curiosity and motivation! You’re a Girl Scout – You’ve Got This! Start early by visiting the International Programs or Study Abroad office on your campus to see what programs you can attend.

Here are some things to consider as you daydream:

Once you start asking daydreaming, you’ll find it difficult to choose where to go. Travel is a lifelong adventure, and there’s always somewhere new to go!

There are scholarships and fellowships available to travel all over the world. You just need to do your research and stay organized! As we say in the Global Action Volunteer Team: Dream It, Plan It, Travel!

Maureen Ewing is a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts with 12 years as a girl member and over 25 years as an adult volunteer. She currently serves on the Global Action Volunteer Team and is co-leading a Destination to India and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Centre Sangam this summer. Maureen studied abroad for a full academic year at Nottingham University in the UK and did graduate studies at Rhodes University in South Africa, where she earned her Master’s Degree.


Travel with Girl Scouts GCNWI!

If you are not headed off to college or university next school year, check out the GSGNCWI Travel page for information on how to plan a troop trip—where you can choose to go backpacking—or join a GSUSA Destination!

Future Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts, if you want to try your hand at camping and experiencing another part of the world, apply for the Camping in the UK 2020 trip!

Why You Should Try Backpacking on Your Next Travel Adventure!

Why You Should Try Backpacking on Your Next Travel Adventure!

Want to try something new for you first or next Girl Scout travels? Consider backpacking for your next adventure! Global Action Volunteer Team member Alex Porter shares her take on why backpacking is an awesome option as well as highlights the benefits and skill-building skills any Girl Scout can gain with this challenging and rewarding form of travel.

You can also read more about our Global Action Volunteer Team! Check our Blog 1 and Blog 2 now!

Backpacking?
You mean, you’re going to travel with just a backpack?

Those two questions summarize many of the responses I get when I tell people that I’m going on another “backpacking” trip.

Alex at the Great Wall of China.

To me, backpacking is about feeling free to move around easily and without restrictions. It is about being able to wake up in Paris one morning and arrive in Berlin the next. Backpacking also teaches you organizational and planning skills that are not easily mastered. When you are forced to fit all of your clothes/toiletries/etc. in one backpack for a week or a month (or in my case, four months+), you really test your understanding of necessity over convenience.

When it comes to the planning and execution of travel, you have to constantly make decisions based on necessity—this especially includes the items you carry with you on your back. For example, do you really need that hair straightener for the one to no times you will actually use it or would you rather have that headlamp to help you navigate?

Backpacking teaches you that you can live without nail polish, makeup, 100 different shoe and dress options, and still have an absolutely amazing time.

Since you are not fully stocked, you learn to be resourceful in many aspects. Through trial and error, you will learn, for example, what food you can take with you on a 12-hour bus ride overnight through Indonesia without it melting or smelling. You learn how to communicate in hand signals, smiles, nods, and gestures—essentially learning a different language!

Alex staying in a hostel.

One of my favorite parts of backpacking is staying in hostels. If you’re not familiar, a hostel is an inexpensive accommodation, similar to a hotel, where travelers, who are strangers, bunk together for a short time. Hostel-dwellers typically share a bedroom—think bunk beds or dormitory style—as well as common areas like a restaurant and/or a kitchen. My absolute favorite part of staying in a hostel is being able to meet people from all over the world! I would argue that I’ve learned more about different cultures from my time spent in hostels than all my time spent in both college undergraduate as well as graduate programs.

All in all, backpacking is a wonderful way to explore the world, meet amazing people, and learn more about yourself.   


Travel with Girl Scouts GCNWI!

Check out the GSGNCWI Travel page for information on how to plan a troop trip—where you can choose to go backpacking—or join a GSUSA Destination!

Future Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts, if you want to try your hand at camping and experiencing another part of the world, apply for the Camping in the UK 2020 trip!