What Girl Scouts can do During the Summer!

Just because it’s summer and your Girl Scout troop isn’t meeting doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with Girl Scouts! Read about the many fun programs and events girls of all ages can take part in this summer—with or without your troop! Below are a few highlighted programs, or you can view all of the summer programs for your age group!

If you aren’t already a Girl Scout, that’s OK! To join in on this summer fun, you can become a Girl Scout today for only $35, and your membership will be valid all the way through Sept. 30, 2020. That’s nearly a year and a half of fun ahead!


Have a Sleepover Safari at Brookfield Zoo!

August 30– 31 | Brownies–Ambassadors (Grades 2–12)

See what happens after hours at the Zoo! Your whole family is invited to the Brookfield Zoo for a summer sleepover! You’ll get to go on a night hike around the zoo, examine real skulls, and make treats for the animals to enjoy.

Registration includes all activities, breakfast, and a fun patch!

Get your Sleepover Safari Tickets »


Get Outdoors at Summer Camp!

Various Dates and Locations | Daisies–Ambassadors (Grades K–12)

Girls need a safe space where they can just be themselves, a space with an incredible view where they can relax and try new experiences. That place is Girl Scout camp! Our council offers summer camp programs at eight locations in Illinois, Indiana, and even Wisconsin.

Girl Scouts will get to participate in a wide variety of program activities including hikes, crafts, and the opportunity sing songs by the campfire.

Browse the 2019 Camp Guide and register on our website.

Girls can attend day camp or resident camp, or you can even take your whole family!

Sign Her Up For Summer Camp »


Attend Summer Camp Programs Designed for Your Troop, Family, and More!

Troop Camporee: Sunny Fun

Weekend of June 28 | Camp Greene Wood, Woodridge, IL
Weekend of August 2 | Camp Pokanoka, Ottawa, IL

All ages!

Bring your troop to a Troop Camporee! You can choose to stay Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Sunday of either weekend program. Learn more and register for Troop Camporees!

Take the Whole Family to Camp!

Friday, July 12-Sunday, July 14 | Camp River Trails, Sheridan, IL
All ages!

Enjoy a weekend at camp with the whole family! Fourth graders and older can try archery. You’ll stay in platform tents, screened-in cabins, or bring your own tent! Learn more and register for Family Camp!

You & Me: Summertime Fun

Weekend of June 21 and Weekend of July 19 | Camp River Trails, Sheridan, IL
All ages!

Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and female guardians: spend a weekend at camp with your Girl Scout at a You & Me Camp Weekend! Each year we celebrate with a different theme, and this summer’s theme is “Hogwarts: Journey to the Forbidden Forest.” “Swish and flick” your way to summer fun with your girl! You’ll have your choice to stay in a lodge, prairie cabin, or screened in platform tent. Learn more and register for You & Me Summertime Fun!

Community Resource Listings

Ongoing Dates in Various Locations | Daisies–Ambassadors (Grades K–12)

The summer is the perfect time to take advantage of special offers and programs for Girl Scouts from our Community Resource Partners! Visit our website to view the list!


Earn Patches on Your Own

Ongoing Dates in Various Locations | Daisies–Ambassadors (Grades K–12)

Girl Scouts from any level can earn patches in our self-directed programs like the Passport to Chicago! Take the summer to learn more about culture, cities and counties in our council, STEM, and more! View all of the Girl Scouts GCNWI Patch Programs and Council’s Own awards on our website.


Complete a Summer Service Project

Ongoing Dates in Various Locations | Daisies–Ambassadors (Grades K–12)

Girl Scouts Give Back

Girl Scouts have a rich history of giving back to their communities. Be a part of this tradition by participating in a service project over the summer. We have a few options that you can complete on your own. View Service Projects on our website.



Bring Her to a Daisy Party!

Various dates and locations | For girls entering Kindergarten or 1st grade in Fall 2019

Let’s kick-off your Daisy year with a summer party! You’ll get to meet other Daisy Girl Scouts, play games, have a dance party, and learn all about the Girl Scout Promise and Law. You’ll even get a fun patch to add to your apron or sash! We can’t wait to show you how fun Girl Scouts is! Learn more and register for a Daisy Party!


FREE Summer Drop-In Days across the council!

Various Dates in Various Locations | For Daisies–Cadettes (Grades K–8)

Stop by our Gathering Places throughout the summer for a FREE Drop-In Day! You’ll have fun with themed activities, meet other Girl Scouts, volunteers, and staff! Learn more and register through the links below.


More Summer Programs for Girl Scouts!

View All Daisy Summer Programs (Grades K–1)

View all Brownie Summer Programs (Grades 2–3)

View all Junior Summer Programs (Grades 4–5)

View all Cadette Summer Programs (Grades 6–8)

View all Senior Summer Programs (Grades 9–10)

View all Ambassador Summer Programs (Grades 11–12)

Love Harry Potter? Bring your friends and family & come join us to celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday! You’ll get to make potions, play quidditch, drink butterbeer & more!


Don’t Let Her Miss Out!

Girls must be current Girl Scouts to participate in these fun activities! To join in on this summer fun, you can become a Girl Scout today for only $35, and your membership will be valid all the way through Sept. 30, 2020. That’s nearly a year and a half of fun ahead!

Best Ways to Research Your Girl Scout Trip in the Mind of Gen Z

Ever been overwhelmed by the thought of planning a Girl Scout trip? We’ve got you covered! Global Action Volunteer Team member Madison Carroll shares her tips and trick for travel planning for the tech-talented Gen Z-er, as well as her take on why planning a trip teaches great skill-building skills any Girl Scout can gain and carry with her as she travels and beyond.


“Don’t call traveling a dream, call it a plan.”

Traveling somewhere new is a huge decision and takes a ton of courage! Taking the first step to decide that you are going to travel as a troop, on a council-sponsored trip or GSUSA Destination is always a step in the right direction – but it can be overwhelming!

How do you decide where to go? How will you get there? Where will you stay? What do you need to know before you arrive? Are there language, currency, or cultural differences?

The best part about traveling in today’s world, is that you can find answers to all of these questions online in a matter of minutes. This past year, I planned a trip to Peru to climb Machu Picchu and was super excited, but also incredibly overwhelmed at the amount of planning needing to be done! I used the following 6 resources to research my trip (which turned out to be the trip of a lifetime!)

  1. Google
  2. YouTube
  3. Pinterest
  4. Blogs
  5. Travel Guides
  6. Instagram
Madison at Machu Picchu

Google

I always start with a google search of any place I’m headed. Googling the location is going to bring up MILLIONS of articles, information, history, politics, food, tourism, etc. – everything you could possibly want to know! Then, I always make sure to Google, “What should I know before traveling to X location?” This is where you’ll find awesome insights on exactly what you should prep and plan for!

YouTube

Get a lay of the land and a look at the city before even leaving the comfort of your couch! There are tons of YouTube videos on tourism for nearly every city in the world that offer you the chance to familiarize yourself with the location so you know what to expect when you get there.

Pinterest

Pinterest is great for seeing suggested itineraries and things to do! And to be honest, you get to see tons of photos of your destination so you know where to head for the best photo-ops! You can also save all of your pins on one board and come back to revisit later. I call my travel planning board, “Take Me There!”

Blogs

Do not underestimate the power of travel blogs. There are thousands out there and they can be found with a quick Google search. This is a great way to see how other people have visited the location you’re going to (and learn from their mistakes!). I recommend following blogs written by solo, female travelers; they are the best resource for tips and tricks–and safety measures– when it comes to both group and solo travel!

Travel Guides

Although it may not be the most tech savvy way to plan a trip, I still love grabbing a travel guide on my destination from my local library before traveling there. It’s helpful to learn more about the city through a quick read. I love Rick Steve’s Travel Guides and he has them for nearly every place in the world! There is also the Rick Steve’s Travel App for your phone which I would highly recommend for free in-country walking tours!

Instagram

You’re already a pro at it, so why not use your hashtags for travel good?! Search for the locations you’d like to go, or as a hashtag. Many tourism boards have made hashtags for their locations to help collate all of the photos for travelers (like #sunshinestate or #floridalife). We’re also loving the hashtag #girlscoutswhotravel!

Overall, no matter how you research your trip, as long as you do so thoroughly, will make your trip an adventure to remember! And of course, should you be planning any travel and want advice, help planning, tips or tricks, reach out to the GSGCNWI Global Action Volunteer Team! We are always more than happy to help make your dream trip a reality!


You can also read more about our Global Action Volunteer Team! Check our Blog 1 and Blog 2 now! And read our other travel blogs about backpacking and study abroad!

Volunteer Spotlight: 2019 Girl Scouts GCNWI Honorees

Marie Marino, 60 Years Pin Recipient

Opening her eyes to a world of possibilities? Helping her transform into a force for good? Unleashing her most confident self? As a Girl Scout volunteer, you’re an everyday hero with an extraordinary super power: you prepare girls for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure. Being a Girl Scout volunteer is one of the most powerful, rewarding journeys you’ll ever embark on.

That’s what makes National Volunteer Month so near and dear to our hearts! Every April, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) celebrates the meaningful and inspiring contributions our volunteers make all year long. Join us in celebrating these amazing volunteers who have dedicated their lives to supporting our girls! These volunteers were recently honored at our Annual Meeting and Adult Recognition (AMAR) event. Read the event recap.

Heidi Gannon

Hall of Fame 2019

From left: Heidi Gannon and Nancy Wright

Heidi began her Girl Scout career in the 1940’s on the South Side of Chicago where she grew up. As a girl member her favorite memories include earning her First Class Award, camping at Sweet Woods in Glenwood, Illinois, and selling LOTS of Girl Scout Cookies during the annual Cookie Sale. Heidi accredits her continued participation in the organization due to the continued efforts to support and grow girls into women leaders, as well as the camaraderie the organization provides for both fellow Girl Scouts and adults.

She became an adult leader for her daughter in Dolton as part of the legacy South Cook County Girl Scout Council (SCCGS). Heidi was a Troop Leader from 1967-1979; a Service Unit Manager (known as an Association Chair) in the 1970’s; was on the Board of Directors for SCCGS in the 80’s and 90’s; and was a National Council Delegate for the GS convention in Minneapolis in 1987. Heidi has also received many of the Adult Girl Scout awards, including the Thanks Badge, Thanks Badge II, and she received her 50 year pin last year.

Heidi is currently involved with GCNWI as a council historian, working to preserve the history of the former South Cook County Girl Scouts. Outside of Girl Scouts, Heidi is involved in her church, Bible Study Fellowship, and women’s Bible Study.

Marlene Knapp

Hall of Fame 2019

From left: Marlene Knapp and Robin Moss

Marlene was in Girl Scouts as a girl, in East Lake Porter Council, from second through sixth grade. Marlene became an adult Girl Scout member in 1983, when her daughter started as a Brownie. When she transitioned from assistant leader to troop leader, she stayed with the girls until they completed their Ambassador year. Her fondest memories include watching her daughters grow and mature through Girl Scouts. She loved seeing their communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills develop, and how they applied the skills beyond the organization.

Marlene has served in many roles in her 37 years as an adult Girl Scout. Positions include: Treasurer, Service Unit Manager, Consultant, Trainer, and Troop Organizer and well as a member of the Programs team of Drifting Dunes Council.

Marlene, for her amazing work, has received the Appreciation Pin, Honor Pin and Thanks Badge. She has also received the Porter County United Way Award. She is also the treasurer at her church and has served on many committees as chairperson.

Christine Alfred

Thanks Badge

Christine Alfred started as a girl member of Girl Scouts from first through fourth grade. Since becoming an adult volunteer, she has served in many roles including Leader, Troop Cookie and Fall Product Manager, Service Unit Cookie Manager and Fall Product Manager, Cookie Cupboard, Service Unit Manager, Council Delegate, all while serving on various committees. Along the way, she has received the Outstanding Leader Award, Outstanding Volunteer Award, and the Honor Pin. She has even received the St. Ann Medal for her work with helping Catholic Girl Scouts earn their religious awards.

The girls have always given Christine great inspiration, and volunteering has taught her how to work with a diverse group of people. Chris credits Girl Scouts with turning her into a social worker, event planner, master negotiator, financial analyst, master chef, and expert multi-tasker! She realizes that it’s not just the girls who develop skills through Girl Scouting, but also the adults who acquire so much more than could ever be imagined.

From left: Christine Alfred and Melissa Young-Bridgefort

Melissa Young-Bridgeforth

Thanks Badge

Melissa Young-Bridgeforth was never a girl member in Girl Scouts, but she did become an adult volunteer for the legacy Chicago council, and now for Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. There have been numerous reasons over the years for Melissa to continue to serve Girl Scouts. She believes in the mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character. Her enduring loyalty to Girl Scouts was demonstrated in 2018 when Melissa made the commitment to become a member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society.

Although Melissa has had a wealth of experiences as a Girl Scout volunteer, the one she recalls vividly includes sirens and flashing red lights! It seems a Chicago police officer was suspicious of her having a car full of Girl Scout cookies. Fortunately, the experience has not deterred Melissa from continuing her volunteer work for Girl Scouts!

Carol Stahnke

50 Years

Carol Stahnke (center) with Kathy Scherer (left) and Nancy Wright

When her daughter wanted to sign up to be a Girl Scout, Carol Stahnke agreed to become a Girl Scout leader for Lone Tree Council in 1968. Carol continued her involvement as a volunteer after her daughter was no longer a girl member because she had such a positive experience. She served as Service Unit Manager for Berwyn and became a member of the Board of Directors for Lone Tree.

Carol also served on various committees, such as the search committee for the new Lone Tree Service Center and the Cookie Selection Committee, and she held the position of Field Vice-President. One of her prize possessions is a sliver tray she received in 1978 which acknowledges her service as Field Vice-President.

Carol has fond memories of camping at Wild Rose in St. Charles, Illinois, and Wild Deer in Wisconsin, both former properties of the Lone Tree Council. She credits Norma Brown and Shirley Eatwell from the Lone Tree staff with giving her excellent support to fulfill her duties as a volunteer. Although Carol was only able to be an adult in Girl Scouting, the experience of being there for the girls has meant a lot to her. She has been a lifetime member—a gift her thoughtful husband had given to her knowing how much Girl Scouts meant to her.

Rosemarie Courtney

60 Years

Rosemarie Courtney (center) with Board President Kathy Scherer (left) and CEO Nancy Wright (right)

Rosemarie Courtney began her long association with Girl Scouts in 1950 when she joined Intermediate Girl Scout Troop 298 at Immaculate Conception Parish. She received her Curved Bar (forerunner of the Girl Scout Gold Award) in 1954. She remained a girl member with Senior Troop 1615 until 1958 at which time she registered as an adult with that troop. Rose continued with Troop 1615 throughout her college years. She credits her assistant leader and then Senior Adviser Anna Mae Idestein with giving her the confidence to attend college. Besides encouraging her to study science in college, Anna Mae helped Rose find part time jobs, so she could save the money needed for her tuition. She credits Anna Mae as being the most inspirational Girl Scout adult in her life and recognizes the importance that great adult leadership can impact a girl.

Since then, Rose has gone on to receive every adult national recognition there is, including the Thanks Badge II. She was also inducted into the Girl Scouts GCNWI Hall of Fame. From Secretary to the Board of Directors for DuPage County Council, to Council Trainer, to National Council Delegate, to Council Historian, Rose has held almost every volunteer position there is. She is truly one of Juliette’s pearls.

Joy Johnston

60 Years Pin

Joy Johnston is celebrating 60 years as a registered Girl Scout having started her Girl Scout career at the age of seven. Joy’s first Girl Scout Troop was number 78 in Chicago. People from legacy councils may remember that Joy’s parents were the caretakers at Camp Butternut Springs for many years. Her mother was a Girl Scout herself for over 50 years and was widely known as Mother Nature around Butternut. Joy’s parents, the Andersons, were very much admired for their service and dedication, and the lake at Butternut Springs is named after them.

Volunteering was an important part of Joy’s upbringing and she continues that tradition. She and her husband are the directors of the Duneland Resale Shop in Chesterton, Indiana. This adult community center serves the surrounding areas not only with a resale shop, but also a medical supply cabinet, and a food pantry that services more than 300 families and has given more than $1.5 million back to the community. Always a big dream of Joy’s, she has demonstrated that determination and hard work can make dreams come true.

Learn more about volunteering with Girl Scouts GCNWI!