Nature Cat Brings Outdoor Fun to Girl Scouts at Camp Greene Wood!

Fine Feathered Friends

On Thursday, July 11, we joined our programming partner, WTTW and PBS Kids, to bring Nature Cat to the Daisy and Brownie day campers at our Camp Greene Wood for a day of nature-fueled fun! 

Nearly 170 girls were given the opportunity to interact with Nature Cat himself and participate in a WTTW-curated wind-direction activity while learning with their fellow camper friends. Girl Scout fun was had by everyone! 

Activities like these at the GCNWI summer day camps are so wonderful because they provide opportunities for girls to meet new friends, learn outdoor skills, and grow in courage, confidence, and character. By experiencing the great outdoors, these girls become environmental stewards!

The Cat’s Meow

Learn how you can earn your Nature Cat Explorer Patch!

Our patch program partnership with WTTW and Spiffy Partners has given our council the opportunity to introduce more girls to outdoor education from a young age in a fun way!

Learn more about Nature Cat’s show on WTTW!

We certainly look forward to seeing more girls exploring the great outdoors and hope to see Nature Cat, and his friends Daisy, Squeeks, Hal, and Ronald at more events in the future! 

Girl Scouts GCNWI offers camp and outdoor programming for girls, Girl Scout troops, groups, and families all year round! Learn more on our website!

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 3!

The Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, is no easy feat. The award requires patience, planning, and perseverance.

From building apps to assisting women with breast cancer, from teaching music programming to painting murals, each of the girls honored in the May 18th ceremony accomplished magnificent things.

Please assist us in congratulating the spectacular achievements of these Gold Award Girl Scouts!
View the photo album and program booklet from this year’s recognition ceremony.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »
Part Two: Meet the next 10 girls (last names B-D) »

Part Three: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award Girl Scouts throughout this blog series!

Denise F.

For her Gold Award project, Denise intersected her passion for biology and computer science by building an interactive biology review app geared toward high schoolers. Her goal was to inspire other people, especially girls, to explore STEM fields for themselves. The app is called BioGirl and can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store!

Lucy F.

Lucy’s Gold Award project addressed the lack of access to appropriate food and veterinary care for pets in lower-income homes. Out of these concerns, Lucy worked with Michelle Duca, founder of both Kibble Kitchen Pet Food Pantry and the Feline Community Network to keep pet-owners suffering from economic crisis from relinquishing their pets by providing free pet food until the owner is able to afford care.

Victoria Ann F.

For her Gold Award, Victoria Ann started Meeples for Peoples, an after-school club dedicated to donating, sharing, and playing board games. Students gather every other Thursday to learn and teach new games, make friends, and practice communication and social skills. She has donated over 140 games!

Alexis K. F.

Alexis K. dedicated her Gold Award to something near and dear to her heart. When visiting her aunt in the hospital before she passed away from cancer, Alex noticed many patients covering their heads with uncomfortable wigs or hats. For her project, she created silk head coverings, enabling women to feel comfortable and beautiful while undergoing treatment.

Madison G.

Madison was on a mission to save Monarch butterflies from future endangerment. Her rising passion for environmental stewardship resulted in her Gold Award project. In partnership with her community, Madison increased the number of milkweeds in her neighborhood by planting the butterfly habitats around the local elementary school and retirement home.

Emma Caroline G.

Emma’s Gold Award project encompassed a message of self-worth, self-love, and self-respect. Her Inspiration Walls, murals painted in the girls’ and boys’ bathrooms at her school, began as an attempt to raise students’ self-confidence. These hopeful messages remain painted in the school’s common area bathrooms, so visitors, staff, and students can continue to view them.

Kimberly G.

Kimberly G. noticed many of her high school peers struggling to find time for extracurriculars. Her Gold Award project provided a fun and individualized solution: bullet journals, notebooks to be converted into personalized planners, habit trackers, and calendars. In her Bullet Journal Club, students organized their schedules, practiced time management, and felt empowered to plan the future.

Krystyna G.

For her Gold Award, Krystyna gathered a team of community members to tear off the deteriorating plywood siding and gutters on a mobile unit located on the property of St. Alexander Parish in Palos Heights, IL. Together, they replaced old materials with new house wrap, wood siding, and gutters, so the unit can be used for years to come.

Dina G.

Dina’s Gold Award focused on providing music programming for schools with limited resources. Her program, “Music in Motion”, involved collecting recorders and xylophones, while creating a curriculum for reading and playing music. Songs ranged from beginner to advanced to encourage participation.

Dannielle J. H.

For her Gold Award, Dannielle worked with the LifeSpring Foundation to make purses for women and stuffed animals for children who are going through tough times. She wanted to nurture, comfort, and shine a light of hope for people who are struggling.

Heart of Gold

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

All three awards give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a community garden at your school, or inspire others to eat healthy foods for your Bronze. You might advocate for animal rights for your Silver, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others and yourself along the way. 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your corner of the world—and beyond. The possibilities are endless.

Learn more about earning the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »
Part Two: Meet the second 10 girls (last names B-D) »

Girl Scout Adventure in India: Part 2

Girl Scouts from across the US recently spent two weeks adventuring in the gorgeous cities of Pune, Delhi, and Mumbai, India to connect with their sister Girl Guides (WAGGGS) and Girl Scouts. On the second half of their journey, the girls met with international community partners, tried out “laughing yoga”, and visited the Taj Majal!

Read the second part of their trip below, and find out how you can travel with the Girl Scouts!

International Connections

The girls had the incredible opportunity to visit one of Sangam’s community partners, MAHER, an organization whose work spans across India and aims at providing support, resources, and homes for women, children, the elderly, and the mentally ill, especially those who are victims of violence. During their visit, they learned about MAHER’s efforts in family reunification and social services for the disadvantaged.

One of their most moving experiences in India was their visit to another community organization, a cafe called Sheroes run by survivors of acid attacks. During their visit, they watched a documentary about the survivors, and the girls chose to donate to the cafe to help their efforts stopping acid attacks and limiting accessibility to acid.

Though learning about systemic violence is challenging and discomforting, it is imperative to the development of Girl Scouts to educate themselves on issues like these. Through their contributions and their conversations with the people at Sheroes and MAHER, the girls gained a deeper comprehension of the injustices towards women and children globally. By meeting with these organizations, the girls became empowered to take action and make their own contributions to struggling populations in their local and global community.

Explorations and Education

The cross-cultural ties continued as the girls completed the Pune Leadership Challenge, exploring different parts of the city and completing an assortment of quiz questions. The girls later celebrated with an Indian afternoon: they learned how to tie Sarees, paint henna, and play Indian games. For dinner, they had an Indian wedding feast, and finished off the evening with a dancing class. By honoring and participating in these diverse cultural traditions, the Girl Scouts were able to see the links between their world and the world abroad.

Along with these different impactful experiences, the girls embarked on several adventures: water-tower climbing, “laughing yoga,” and visits to the biggest Mosque in India—Taj-ul-Masjid, a beautiful tomb, and an exquisite Sikh Gurudwara (a Sikh place of worship).

On their last full day of sightseeing, the girls started their four-hour voyage to Agra, the city where the Taj Mahal is located. They visited the Red Fort, a cultural landmark surrounded by a deep moat, holding a multitude of palace-like buildings influenced by Persian and Islamic architecture. The Red Fort was partially designed by the man who built the Taj Majal. Their next stop was the Mehtab Bagh (“Moonlit Garden”), where the girls took pictures in front of the close-up view of the Taj Mahal.

Finally, the girls made it to the Taj Mahal, where they explored the beautiful wonder of the world and took several hundreds of pictures.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

The girls are back home, and we are so happy to share their experiences and photos with the Girl Scouts of Chicago and Northwestern Indiana.

We hope by sharing stories like these that more girls will be encouraged to explore this giant, beautiful world. We hope Girl Scouts continue to practice cultural empathy and appreciation. More importantly, we hope girls become inspired to take action and make positive contributions to the world, whether in their own neighborhood, or places far, far away.

Learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

Read Part 1 of their India Adventure on the blog now!

Featured

Announcing 42 NEW Girl Scout Badges!

We are so excited to announce the release of 42 new badges and one new Journey exclusively for girls in grades K-12!

These new badges give girls the opportunity to influence and experience the world in their own unique way. From snow mountain adventures to coding lessons to space science, the new Girl Scout badges help girls move beyond their comfort zones, make their own choices, and build their confidence!

Among these new badges are the Outdoor High Adventure badges that feature, for the first time in Girl Scouts’ history, two different activity options, letting girls choose how they want to earn each badge!

Giving girls choices is important for developing a sense of self. Research from the World Bank Group shows decision-making abilities are key to improving women’s lives and communities. And research shows Girl Scouts are more likely than other girls to take an active role in decision making (80% vs. 51%)!

Every badge is an opportunity to discover something new and become inspired. We are so happy to share these new badges that let girls build new skills, make choices, positively impact their communities, and have a good time while they’re at it!

The Brand-New Badges

New for girls in grades K-12:

With the new programming release, all Girl Scouts in grades K–12 will have the opportunity to earn their Cybersecurity and Space Science badges, as well as complete the Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey.

Eighteen Coding for Good Badges

Funded by AT&T and Dell Technologies

Girls in grades K-12 can learn the basics of coding, algorithms, game design, and app development. Every Coding for Good badge includes a plugged-in and unplugged version, so all girls can learn regardless of their access to technology.

Twelve Outdoor High Adventure Badges

Funded by The North Face

The new Outdoor High Adventure badges are designed for girls K-12 to explore adventures like backpacking, snowshoeing, skiing, rock and tree climbing. These are the first Girl Scout badges that members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths.

New for Girls in Grades 6-12:

Nine Cybersecurity Badges

Funded by Palo Alto Networks

Through earning the new Cybersecurity badges, girls in grades 6-12 can learn about the inner workings of computer technology and cybersecurity, and apply concepts of safety and protection to the technology they use every day. Activities include decryption and encryption, proper protection methods for devices, and real-world hacking scenarios.

Three Space Science Badges

Funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute*

The new Space Science badges give girls in grades 6-12 the opportunity to explore the universe and their place in it, properties of light, and careers in space science.

Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey

Funded by Johnson & Johnson and the Coca-Cola Foundation

In the Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey, girls participate in interactive activities to practice observation techniques, collect data, and share their findings with real-world scientists through an online network. As with all of Girl Scouts’ Leadership Journeys, girls use their newly honed skills to take action on a community issue of their choosing.

Cyber Challenge

Funded by Raytheon

To prepare girls in grades 6–12 to pursue computer science careers, Girl Scouts will launch the organization’s first Cyber Challenge events in select areas this fall. At these events, taking place October 19, girls will learn crucial cybersecurity skills by completing challenges, such as running trace routes and identifying phishing schemes.

From the CEOs

“Girl Scouts continues to be at the forefront of innovative programs for the girls of today who will soon be the leaders of tomorrow,” said GSGCNWI CEO, Nancy Wright. “Our council is proud to be able to bring these unique badges and activity opportunities to the girls in our region as they work to build their own courage, confidence, and character at their own pace, in a safe and welcoming space.”

“Girl Scouts has ignited the power and potential of girls for over a century, and we are committed to ensuring that today’s girls are the future of American leadership,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Girl Scouts is where girls can explore new subjects, discover their passions, learn to take smart risks, and become their best, most confident selves—whether they want to become a NASA astronaut, an entrepreneur, a rock climber, a coder, or a cybersecurity agent.”

At Girl Scouts, girls discover their passions and what they want to achieve, both today and in the future. These 42 new badges aim to help them learn, grow, and lead!

Getting Started!

You can find requirements and instructions for earning these new badges in the Volunteer Toolkit.

Keep your eyes peeled this fall for GSGCNWI programs where girls can earn the new badges!

Visit our Girl Scout shop to purchase the new badges.

Learn about every badge Girl Scouts can earn with the Girl Scouts Award and Badge Explorer!

To share your badge-earning stories, fill out this form and you might be featured on our social media or in a publication!

Not a Girl Scout yet? No problem! Troops are forming now—join Girl Scouts today.


* “Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts” is based upon work supported by NASA Science under cooperative agreement No. NNX16AB90A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 2!

The Gold Award Equation

80 Girl Scouts + 6,400+ service hours = amazing projects that create impact in our community.

The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The Gold Award projects from our 2019 class impacted many different aspects of communities both in Chicago-land and abroad. Girl Scouts created projects that focused on health education, environmental protection, exposure to STEM, child literacy, and so much more. Providing an everlasting effect on communities was something each girl worked hard to achieve and they all succeeded.

Assist us on congratulating this hard working group of Gold Award Girl Scouts! View the photo album and program booklet from this year’s recognition ceremony.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »

Part Two: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

DeVonna B.

DeVonna’s project was a series of videos on a YouTube channel she created called S.C.A.L.E. which stands for Sickle Cell Awareness and Lifestyle Empowerment. The videos were created to educate the general public about Sickle Cell Disease, and to give those who suffer from the disease tips and tricks to ease symptoms and improve treatment.

LaTosha Desiree B.

LaTosha created educational videos about living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. For example, how to check their blood sugar and what to do when your blood sugar is high or low. She hosted two events where girls watched the video and were challenged to make smoothies under 30 carbohydrates. The girls were given hands-on experience administering shots of Insulin and Lantus into grapes. View LaTosha’s videos.

Kaitlyn Elizabeth B.

Kaitlyn created science videos aimed to help fifth graders gain a better understanding of multiple STEM topics in a fun and engaging way. Along with her videos, she created instructions for household science experiments so children can practice STEM using items from around their home! With the help of her family and adviser, she created these videos for several middle schools.

Gillian B.

Gillian built a three-bin composter, hand-washing station, and website with a seed donation platform for an urban community garden in Maywood, Illinois. She worked closely with Maywood community activists—Proviso East High School student volunteers, Proviso Partners for Health, and Chicago Botanic Gardens—to empower citizens and offer support and introduce healthy lifestyle practices in a historically marginalized, food desert community.

Lindsey M. B.

Lindsey’s Gold Award, For the Love of Adler, raised community awareness for the David Adler Cultural Center. In 2019 the center is celebrating the 100-year mark of the estate. For this project she used her love of the arts and talent for research to make professional and educational brochures. She worked with the staff and historians to create a brochure with a timeline, organizational history, biography of Mr. Adler, historical pictures, and the center’s current mission.

Alita C.

Alita’s Gold Award project provided gardening experience that enriched and benefited the health and lives of clients at St. Agnes Adult Day Service Center. She enriched their lives through gardening in a raised bed.

Tiffany Diane C.

Tiffany Diane’s project helped families from homeless shelters receive basic toiletries needed for everyday living. She held a donation drive dinner where more than 250 people were in attendance. This project had such a huge impact on the community that other organizations will be presenting their own donation drives in years to come.

Kourtney C.

Less than half of people practicing in the STEM field are females. Kourtney’s project addressed this issue by spreading the word to girls about how fun and rewarding STEM can be. She did this through planning and executing a STEM workshop for 4th and 5th grade girls, maintaining a Facebook and Instagram page, and delivering information about STEM to Housing Opportunities.

Sofia C.

Sofia created 80 literacy reading kits for children in Pre-K through grade 8 that utilize the Libertyville Township food pantry. She worked with literacy experts, librarians, and her project adviser to create these kits (that contained a book, resources sheet, parent guide, stuffed animal (for the younger kids), journal and dictionary (for the older kids), and fun things like stickers and bookmarks. She will continue her project by creating a three year cycle which the Libertyville Township will take over and fund.

Lauren L. D.

For her Gold Award, Lauren trained her dog to become a therapy dog, and worked with him to receive his certification. She took her dog to many places once he was certified, including nursing homes to help the residents with loneliness, schools to help reduce stress, and a day camp to educate kids about therapy dogs and other types of working animals.

Girl Scouts Highest Awards

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

All three awards give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a community garden at your school or inspire others to eat healthy foods for your Bronze, advocate for animal rights for your Silver, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others (and yourself). 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your corner of the world—and beyond. The possibilities are endless.

Learn more about earning the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Girl Scout Adventure in India: Part 1

This summer, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts from across the U.S. embarked on an incredibly exciting voyage across the sea to India to visit Sangam, a center affiliated with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). From unexpected bus mishaps and interacting with locals, to riding rickshaws, these Girl Scouts experienced an unforgettable journey; one, they want to share with you all!

Read the story of their India trip below, then learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

The First Days

After two days of bonding and exploring in Chicago, the group hopped on a 16-hour flight to Mumbai, something none of the girls had experienced before! Once they landed, the girls boarded a bus to take them to Sangam. Even after their long flight, their trip didn’t come without additional challenges. On the way there, they realized the road was closed, but, just like the resourceful Girl Scouts they are, the girls decided to ride rickshaws through the neighborhoods in Pune to their destination.

Upon arriving in Pune, they tasted delicious food, met and interacted with the locals, then visited ancient temples and a Punjabi fabric market. The Girl Scouts also practiced yoga, embroidery, painting, and explored the vibrant city around them. The girls met with local Nivedita Guides—local area Girl Guides—together, they sang and danced; teaching the WAGGGS Girls the “Cotton Eye Joe” line dance and in-turn learning a traditional Bollywood dance.

Serving a Community Internationally

After visiting holy temples in Alandi and Tulapur, the girls traveled to an organization called Ishwari—a Sangam community partner. The girls worked with Ishwari to help local women create crafts like embroidery, cards, and food, in order to make money to support their families.

Why Travel?

Experiences like these are so important for Girl Scouts, not only because they get to see different parts of the world, but different parts of humanity. International travel and cross-cultural exchange is good for the soul!

Learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

The journey continues: Part 2 coming soon!

Related Travel Blogs

Dreaming About Travel

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

Why You Should Try Backpacking on Your Next Travel Adventure!

Fund Your Girl Scout Travels

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients

Join Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana in congratulating the 2019 class of Gold Award Girl Scouts! In this eight-part blog series, we will highlight the projects from all of our Gold Award recipients!

The Ceremony: A Recap

On Saturday, May 18, 2019 friends, family and supporters gathered to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of 80 young women as they officially became Gold Award Girl Scouts. At the annual ceremony, girls received their Gold Award Pin, patch and certificate and were honored by our CEO, Nancy Wright, and Board President, Kathy Scherer. Attendees were also treated to an empowering “Words of Inspiration” speech by Girl Scout Alum and U.S. Coast Guard Commander Zeita Merchant.

This year, each of the girls worked through projects focusing on a variety of topics such as child-literacy, women in STEM, environmental conservation, homelessness/poverty, civic issues, animal rights and more. As a group, these young women spent more than 6,400 hours taking action in their communities all to make a lasting, sustainable difference on issues they saw with their own eyes.

Please join us in congratulating this outstanding group of Gold Award Girl Scouts. View photos from this year’s Gold Award Ceremony in our photo album on Facebook.

To learn more about Gold Award projects, check out the informational program booklet on our website.

Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

Samantha A.

Samantha started the campaign “#sayno2straws.” Along with the hashtag, she created a website, Instagram hashtag, and promotional video and educated girls at the Bolingbrook Jamboree on the importance of using sustainable products. Later, she made a speech and showed her video to the whole camp to raise awareness for her project and spread the word of sustainability.

Melanie Elizabeth A.

For her Gold Award, Melanie Elizabeth hosted a culinary class for girls in grades 4 through 8. During the class she taught them basic and necessary cooking skills. Putting what they learned in action, she had them practice on fruits and vegetables. She also taught them how to make a pizza from scratch, and finished the class by making smoothies and veggie plates.

Maeve A.

Maeve’s Gold Award project focused on improving mental health education. She worked with Erika’s Lighthouse and Our Lady of Humility Primary School in Beach Park to create a program that could be delivered to 7th and 8th graders preparing for high school. The main focus of the program was to teach girls how to be aware of their own feelings and how to cope with stress.

Kendra A.

Kendra’s project was geared toward helping children undergoing chemotherapy. She created bags centered around making their first chemo visit a better experience for them and their families. The bags provided personal care items, books, toys and positive notes of support, and reached patients in Illinois, North and South Carolina, and Texas. Each bag had HOPE imprinted on them, the acronym standing for ‘Have Only Positive Expectations’.

Zoe B.

Zoe’s Gold Award project focused on community service. She worked with multiple organizations such as Disney, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and local churches in order to obtain food and grooming supplies for homeless people in Chicago. These items were collected in bags and then distributed to the homeless men, women and children in or near Chicago.

Olivia B.

Olivia’s project was all about self love and appreciation. To combat negative self image and social comparison in young girls, Olivia sought to spread love not only in her school, but in her Glenview community using the campaign slogan “You Are Worthy.” She used brightly painted rocks to attract local pedestrians and put signs in various windows with the inspirational message “You Are Worthy.”

Sarah B.

For her Gold Award, Sarah gave back to her church by creating a place for the congregation to enjoy and feel more in touch with God. She worked with a group of volunteers to transform the old courtyard into a spectacular garden and place for prayer or meditation, in hopes of attracting butterflies and the eyes of the congregation.

Amanda Lynn B.

When Amanda started her Gold Award, she decided to focus on homelessness, specifically on the lack of access to education for homeless children. For her project, she started a tutoring program at a shelter in Joliet with a group of volunteers that she recruited. They helped the children with homework as well as played games with the younger kids.

Sarah B.

For Sarah’s Gold Award, she created a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math) event to inspire youth to see the bridge between STEM and the arts. Attendees participated in activities for each letter of STEAM and learned about different opportunities to put the right and left sides of their brain to work.

Mary Theresa B.

Mary’s Gold Award project was a reading mentorship program between local high school and elementary school students. At a local elementary school’s Learning Resource Center, high school students helped younger students with reading curriculum and developing positive, encouraging relationships. Her project was designed to improve literacy and foster a love of and confidence with reading.

Highest Awards

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

All three awards give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a community garden at your school, or inspire others to eat healthy foods for your Bronze. You might advocate for animal rights for your Silver, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others (and yourself). 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your corner of the world—and beyond. The possibilities are endless.