On October 5, close to 300 volunteers and Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) gathered at the Tinley Park Convention Center to celebrate volunteers who are proactive, dedicated to girl empowerment, and demonstrate that Action Speaks Louder!
Whether the volunteers were brand new to the role, bridging to the next level with their troops, or seasoned members of service unit teams, all in attendance were provided with new resources, insider tips, and much more at several educational group sessions!
While volunteers attended different Breakout Sessions, Girl Scouts in attendance participated in all environmentally themed craft activities: taking old t-shirts and making them into bags, using natural dyes for water color painting, and recycling paper drawings. The girls also met Daisy, the Girl Scout character from WTTW’s Nature Cat and our Nature Cat program!
Breaking Out Of The Box
The Breakout Sessions at this year’s Leadership Expo were designed for volunteers to dive deep into two of five subjects of their choice: Think Outside the Cookie Box, Drop-In Tech Corner: Log on, Link & Explore, Create Your Own Dream Team, Go Beyond the Badge, and The Ultimate Balancing Act!
The Ultimate Balancing Act session was facilitated by two of our volunteer trainers who are also experienced troop leaders: Lindsay Hayden and Melissa Young-Bridgeforth. They ran two sessions aimed at helping leaders understand how to utilize all of the available resources: Volunteer Tool Kit, National Program Portfolio, Expert Connection, Program Wall, and Camp Programs.
Our year’s theme, Action Speaks Louder, resonated throughout the session and each participant was asked to make a commitment to help her troop become more girl led. Our leaders are on track to take their personal commitments and make this a great troop year!
In addition, volunteers learned about council updates like becoming a National Delegate, our environmental expo Green for Good, Product Program and Fall Product for 2019-2020, outdoor programming, and more!
Some Very Cool Volunteers
Alice Perez Calzada and her daughter Alexandra are third year troop leaders of Daisies and Brownies, and this was their second year attending a Leadership Expo! Alice was Alexandra’s troop leader, and got back into the game again because of her younger daughter.
Alice and Alexandra came back to this year’s Leadership Expo because they wanted to make connections with other service units, learn tips and tricks to become better and more open leaders, in the hoped to connect more with their Girl Scouts!
Their advice for leaders? “If you have Girl Scouts in high school, make sure you are providing girl-led programs, and being there as a guide and not a leader.” This includes creating a relaxed environment where girls feel comfortable sharing their ideas. They also suggested getting girls especially excited for the amazing travel opportunities offered by GCWNI.
Leticia Carmona, an adult volunteer who helps out with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, is yet another awesome volunteer who attended this year’s Expo! Her favorite part of being a part of the GCNWI council is “getting to see the girls do all their activities and the excitement in their faces… seeing the pride in the girls when they participate and complete a girl-led program.”
Leticia’s advice for troop leaders and volunteers is simple: take ownership of your role. “If you are a parent volunteer, really commit to that position and engage your girls into being in attendance to every meeting and participating in as many programs and activities as possible.”
Lead The Way!
If you missed this session of the Leadership Expo, don’t fret! There is another session on Saturday, October 19, in Skokie, Illinois at the Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore!
Interested in fostering girl empowerment? Find out how you can volunteer with the Girl Scouts today.