Girl Scouts Take the Lead in a Time of Need

All Girl Scouts make a promise to help people at all times, so it is no surprise that our girls have been sources of joy and generosity when we find ourselves in times of crisis. Across the country, Girl Scouts are fulfilling both their promise and the Girl Scout Law by trying to make the world a better place, even under our current limitations.

In our greater Chicago and northwest Indiana communities, Girl Scouts are stepping up for people who needed it most even while staying safe at home. Whether by donating cookies to medical professionals, sharing cheer with neighbors through art, gathering resources for food pantries, even making their own PSAs, our Girl Scouts are showing themselves to be resilient and experts in spreading kindness.

Read on to learn about some of the ways Girl Scouts are walking the Girl Scout walk, even as we practice social distancing.

Kindness through Cookies

Medical professionals around the world have been working tirelessly on the front lines to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on their communities, and locally, many Girl Scouts have decided to donate some well deserved snacks to them.

Girl Scout Ruhi from Troop 55693 (featured in a blog post last week) already wants to help others when she grows up. She also realized she doesn’t have to wait until she grows up to help others, so she gathered up Girl Scout Cookies, and made thank-you cards with her sister Brownies. The much-appreciated donations were delivered by an adult to Rush University Medical Center staff!

Girl Scout Addison from Troop 45135 gathered up 93 boxes of cookies donated by Addison’s gracious customers and had them delivered to St. Alexius Medical Center. She said she was grateful she was able to help, even in this small way, because giving back ties into the service aspect of Girl Scouts! And the staff themselves were incredibly grateful, as they get very few breaks and little time to eat.

Across Service Unit 413, girls created over 100 signs and cards offering words of encouragement and appreciation to all health care workers serving on the front line of this pandemic. Additionally, troops 45621, 40469 and 41346 donated over 100 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to the health care workers. NorthShore University HealthSystem Hospital Emergency Departments located in Skokie, Highland Park, Evanston and Glenbrook were the recipients of the cards, signs and cookies. They all expressed gratitude and were very impressed with the generosity of all the troops! 

Melisa Gonzales Lopez and Annunciata Girl Scout Troop 60758 also donated cookies to Advocate Trinity Hospital, and Girl Scout Troop 55221 in Naperville made “Get Well” cards for those in isolation at Edward Hospital, both great ways to spread some joy from a distance.

Staying Connected

Girl Scout Leah P. from Elk Grove Village Troop 45421 got creative when it came to staying connected with her neighborhood: “To keep a sense of community for my friends and neighbors I packaged and delivered over 50 envelopes with Easter coloring sheets and activities to host a virtual coloring contest!”

Another artistic solution to keep in touch with others from a group of super kind Girl Scouts:

Girl Scouts from Troop 35424 in Crown Point, IN worked together virtually over the last two weeks to create a PSA video to generate awareness of the need to support local food pantries during this challenging time. These go-getters are working on their Bronze Award by helping people in their community who may experience job loss or food insecurity, and this was a great way to complete their Award while practicing social distancing.

You can check out that video on our Facebook page!

One more spot of good news!

Right before shelter-in-place started, Girl Scout Troop 55191 from Itasca was recognized by the Elk Grove Character Scout Coalition and the mayor for the work they do in the community!

This group of girls provides a full meal to guests at the PADS homeless shelter every year, and this year they tied it into their New Cuisines badge. They also completed their Bronze Award by providing fresh vegetables and activities for kids in shelters, and along with the broader Itasca community, the troop collected more than 1,000 pounds of Halloween candy to be donated to Packages for Patriots in Elk Grove Village!

Congratulations to this awesome Girl Scout troop!

We are beyond proud of these Girl Scouts, and Girl Scouts across the country, who have donated their time, effort, and kindness to people who need it. They are exemplifying what it means to be a Girl Scout: to be a source of strength and joy, to help others in need, and make the world a better place.

If you have recently contributed kindness to your community, we want to know! Please share your story with us here: http://bit.ly/shareyourgsstory

Clarification on Our 2020 Cookie Program

We hear your concerns, and want to clarify our intentions for the remainder of the cookie program for Girl Scouts GCNWI.
 
The one, most important point we want to make is that we care deeply about you, your health, your safety, and your financial concerns.
 
We understand the anxiety you are feeling. People are worried about loved ones, their jobs, the stress of balancing family life and work life, and how to begin to explain what is happening to their children. Cookies should be the  last thing you have to be concerned about, so please read this entire message.
 
We will restart booth sales and reopen our  cookie cupboards once the shelter-in-place order is lifted.
 
Once our gathering places can reopen, we will do everything we can to restart our  cookie program for approximately two weeks, including two weekends. Please check back here often for dates and times as they become available.

  • All Cookie Cupboards will reopen, including volunteer cupboards.
  • Goal Getters will resume.
  • Booth sites will return. We ask that you refrain from trying to secure your own right now. Many stores are unable to discuss until the advisory is lifted.
  • If COVID-19 requires us to be out longer than June, we will revise our plans with other solutions at that time. 

The ACH Sweep is scheduled for April 10, but you can file an adjustment request.

  • We are not trying to put any troop or person in harm’s way. Many  of our Girl Scout troops have finished, or nearly finished, their cookie selling season, and are ready to settle up their finances.
  • If you are concerned with the April 10 ACH date, please just fill out an adjustment form by April 8.
  • We know some of you still have cases of cookies in your stock, and as we have said all along, we will partner with individual troops to resolve that situation as best as we can so that no girl or troop is impacted financially as a result of this pandemic.

File an ACH Adjustment Form

What if you don’t want to wait for booths and cupboards to reopen?

We have heard of some creative solutions for troops who do not wish to wait for booths to reopen.

  1. Host your own “virtual cookie booth” so people can buy cookies using the CLOVER payment system (with GCNWI paying the transaction fees). We will support this payment process until June 30 for cookie transactions.
  2. People who want actual cookies and live near you can arrange to make the transaction through the CLOVER payment system, and you can do a “porch drop” with no personal contact.
  3. People who want to show first responders their support can purchase via your troop and designate them as Gift of Caring. Those cookies can be distributed through someone you know who is in that service or medical field (remember, no physical contact), or you can hold onto them until the advisories lift and deliver them later when it is safe.
  4. Ask a business that does carry-out or pickup orders if they would like to purchase a case or two so they can give away boxes to customers during this stressful time.

But don’t forget, booths and cupboards will reopen once the stay-in-place order is lifted, so you can also fill out the ACH Adjustment form, and wait for booths to reopen.

What you should NOT do

  • Troops may NOT set-up a Go Fund Me page, or anything similar.
  • Troops are NOT able to sell through Facebook marketplace pages.
  • Online orders have also ended for digital cookies.
  • Troops should not under any circumstances pay for a delinquent parent’s cookie payment. 
  • Volunteers should not take money out of their own pocket either. Please turn in an IC form for that parent.

Rewards
Thank you for submitting your final rewards on March 24!

  • Rewards will be delivered to your service unit cookie manager sometime in May (depending on advisories).
  • If your girls earn more rewards, a reward reorder form will be available sometime in May; those rewards will arrive in late June for pick up at your nearest Gathering Place (also depending on advisories).

Girl Scouts GCNWI is NOT participating in Girl Scouts of the USA’s “Eat. Share. Show Communities We Care” digital campaign.

We have had many questions about this national digital campaign which you may have seen.

  • This campaign is designed for the Girl Scout councils that were hardest hit, many who were just starting their cookie program. Our council does not fit that criteria.
  • GCNWI was nearly done with our cookie program when the pandemic hit. Other councils hadn’t even begun. Their initial order deliveries had just taken place. They are being incredibly hard hit, and it’s time for us to put in place the very heart of what this movement stands for which is helping others.
  • This means that when someone plugs in their zip code on the “Eat. Share….” page, they are directed to  the nearest council that did not get as far as we did in their cookie season before the coronavirus hit.

Every one of our girls, families, volunteers and communities is in our hearts right now. We are committed to helping resolve the stress you feel about cookies so you can fully focus on your families.
 
If you have additional questions, just ask us directly. Our product program team is here for you, even in these difficult and challenging days. Please contact us at productprogram@girlscoutsgcnwi.org or 855-ILOVEGS, ext. 6722.
 
Thank you for your patience. Stay safe.

Girl Scouting from Home Part 2: Apart But Still Connected!

Week two of social distancing and the sisterhood is still going strong! We are so excited to have new programming to entertain you from home.

Join our Virtual Sing-Along

Looking to connect with friends and family while singing your heart out? Join us for a virtual sing-a-long on Saturday, March 28, at 7:30-8:10 p.m, by Zoom video chat!

Our camp staff will lead 40 minutes of favorite Girl Scout and camp songs and you can join along from home. Comfy clothes are encouraged!

Download the lyrics book »

RSVP for the Virtual Sing-Along on our Facebook Event Page »

Participate in Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) encouraging communities to turn off non-essential electric lights, for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. as a symbol of commitment to the planet.

Join us in observing Earth Hour this Saturday. We’ve got a whole list of ideas for when you turn out the lights!

Download our Earth Hour Activity Worksheet [PDF] »

Earn Badges From Home

We’re excited to debut our first-ever how-to guides for earning badges from home! Download these PDFs that will guide any adult—not just troop leaders—in helping a girl earn a badge.

And we’re working on SO many more so stay tuned!

Free Shipping through March 31!

Shop from the comfort of your own home with FREE online shipping! That’s right! The Girl Scouts GCNWI shop has FREE shipping on all online orders from now until March 31!

In Case You Missed It

Girl Scout Activities From Home Part 1

Tips for Hosting a Virtual Troop Meeting

Service Spotlight: Naperville Brownie Troop Donates Cookies to Rush Healthcare Workers

UPDATED: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Girl Scouts GCNWI

Updated April 27, 2020

Repeated from this blog post: For the past few weeks, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana has remained optimistic that we would emerge from the impact of COVID-19 in time to run a full summer of activities for girls. 

Today, it absolutely breaks our hearts to announce that we have made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person programming through Aug. 14, 2020 — including all day and resident camp sessions — due to the risks associated with COVID-19 exposure and transmission.

There are just too many unknowns, and too many concerns about everyone’s health and safety, to proceed with business as usual this summer.  

This decision is incredibly painful for our entire council. Seeing girls laugh and learn in the outdoors is one of our greatest joys. However, we must do what is best for our girls, families, staff, and communities. 

While right now Girl Scouting looks radically different than what we’re used to, our spirits, sense of adventure, and commitment to serve our girls remain higher than ever.  

Though we will not be able to gather in person at our camps yet, our team is working relentlessly to develop and deliver creative, virtual experiences for girls to participate in now and throughout the summer months. New adventures, including backyard camping expeditions, activities and much more, will be rolled out and announced on Girl Scouts from Home.

And we will be there, ready, when it is safe to get back together in person again.

Your Support is Needed  

As with so many non-profit organizations, this pandemic has left us vulnerable with a funding gap. In a time when we’re facing significant reduction in program revenues, your continued support can make all the difference.  

We know this crisis is affecting so many. If you are able, please consider donating back your deposit or paid program fee to Girl Scouts GCNWI to enable us to continue to provide critical financial assistance to members in need, keeping Girl Scouting and future camp seasons accessible for EVERY girl, regardless of her family’s circumstances.   

We also know that for some, especially now, donating is not an option. Therefore, we have outlined the process below to proceed with rescheduling, crediting your account, or requesting a full refund. 

Next Steps for Paid Registrations  

Families and volunteers who were planning to participate in any of our summer programs or activities have several options for next steps. Follow the link below to our form to indicate your preferences.

These options are regardless of reservation or registration type, and they include day and resident camp; all council programs (including outdoor and custom); adult training; council-sponsored travel; participation in a volunteer-led day camp; troop, group and family camping reservations through Aug. 14. 

Make your selection by May 11 for how to allocate your paid registration fees: 

  • Donate all or part of your program payment to support Girl Scouting in challenging times 
  • Keep your payment as a credit on your account for future programs 
  • Reschedule a troop camp outing or custom program experience for after Aug. 14 
  • Receive a full refund (including the program deposit, which is typically non-refundable) 

Please fill out this form by May 11 to indicate your selection

Refund Specifics

Every effort will be made to process all refund requests as soon as possible. Due to unexpected circumstances and high cancellation volume, there may be significant delays in refund processing. We will begin processing refunds after May 11.

You will receive your refund in one of two ways: 

  • If you registered on or after Feb. 3 for a program, outdoor program, or summer camp: requested refunds will be issued back to the credit card that you provided with your registration or you will be contacted by a Girl Scouts of GCNWI staff member for your card information if you do not have a card on file.  
  • If you registered before Feb. 3 for a program or event: refunds will be issued as a paper check in the mail. 

We are here to provide comfort, suggest other virtual program options, hear your ideas, answer your questions, and help you select the option that best fits your family’s situation. You can contact us at customercare@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Our Commitment to You and the Future

Thank you for being part of our Girl Scout family. 

We need each other more than ever, and we are committed to finding bright spots to celebrate in this challenging time. Show your support by renewing your girl and adult memberships when our annual renewal campaign kicks off on May 4. You will not want to miss what we are already planning for the year to come.

Today and always we are grateful and privileged to serve our girls, families, and volunteers – especially in moments they need a sense of community the most. 

Sincerely,

Nancy L. Wright, CEO
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana


Current Cookie Program Updates (as of March 30)

The copy below was published in a blog on March 30. We have repeated the blog below for clarity.

We hear your concerns, and want to clarify our intentions for the remainder of the cookie program for Girl Scouts GCNWI.
 
The one, most important point we want to make is that we care deeply about you, your health, your safety, and your financial concerns.
 
We understand the anxiety you are feeling. People are worried about loved ones, their jobs, the stress of balancing family life and work life, and how to begin to explain what is happening to their children. Cookies should be the  last thing you have to be concerned about, so please read this entire message.

We will restart booth sales and reopen our  cookie cupboards once the shelter-in-place order is lifted.

Once our gathering places can reopen, we will do everything we can to restart our  cookie program for approximately two weeks, including two weekends. Please check back here often for dates and times as they become available.

  • All Cookie Cupboards will reopen, including volunteer cupboards.
  • Goal Getters will resume.
  • Booth sites will return. We ask that you refrain from trying to secure your own right now. Many stores are unable to discuss until the advisory is lifted.
  • If COVID-19 requires us to be out longer than June, we will revise our plans with other solutions at that time. 

The ACH Sweep is scheduled for April 10, but you can file an adjustment request.

  • We are not trying to put any troop or person in harm’s way. Many  of our Girl Scout troops have finished, or nearly finished, their cookie selling season, and are ready to settle up their finances.
  • If you are concerned with the April 10 ACH date, please just fill out an adjustment form by April 8.
  • We know some of you still have cases of cookies in your stock, and as we have said all along, we will partner with individual troops to resolve that situation as best as we can so that no girl or troop is impacted financially as a result of this pandemic.

File an ACH Adjustment Form

What if you don’t want to wait for booths and cupboards to reopen?

We have heard of some creative solutions for troops who do not wish to wait for booths to reopen.

  1. Host your own “virtual cookie booth” so people can buy cookies using the CLOVER payment system (with GCNWI paying the transaction fees). We will support this payment process until June 30 for cookie transactions.
  2. People who want actual cookies and live near you can arrange to make the transaction through the CLOVER payment system, and you can do a “porch drop” with no personal contact.
  3. People who want to show first responders their support can purchase via your troop and designate them as Gift of Caring. Those cookies can be distributed through someone you know who is in that service or medical field (remember, no physical contact), or you can hold onto them until the advisories lift and deliver them later when it is safe.
  4. Ask a business that does carry-out or pickup orders if they would like to purchase a case or two so they can give away boxes to customers during this stressful time.

But don’t forget, booths and cupboards will reopen once the stay-in-place order is lifted, so you can also fill out the ACH Adjustment form, and wait for booths to reopen.

What you should NOT do

  • Troops may NOT set-up a Go Fund Me page, or anything similar.
  • Troops are NOT able to sell through Facebook marketplace pages.
  • Online orders have also ended for digital cookies.
  • Troops should not under any circumstances pay for a delinquent parent’s cookie payment. 
  • Volunteers should not take money out of their own pocket either. Please turn in an IC form for that parent.

Rewards
Thank you for submitting your final rewards on March 24!

  • Rewards will be delivered to your service unit cookie manager sometime in May (depending on advisories).
  • If your girls earn more rewards, a reward reorder form will be available sometime in May; those rewards will arrive in late June for pick up at your nearest Gathering Place (also depending on advisories).

Girl Scouts GCNWI is NOT participating in Girl Scouts of the USA’s “Eat. Share. Show Communities We Care” digital campaign.

We have had many questions about this national digital campaign which you may have seen.

  • This campaign is designed for the Girl Scout councils that were hardest hit, many who were just starting their cookie program. Our council does not fit that criteria.
  • GCNWI was nearly done with our cookie program when the pandemic hit. Other councils hadn’t even begun. Their initial order deliveries had just taken place. They are being incredibly hard hit, and it’s time for us to put in place the very heart of what this movement stands for which is helping others.
  • This means that when someone plugs in their zip code on the “Eat. Share….” page, they are directed to  the nearest council that did not get as far as we did in their cookie season before the coronavirus hit.

Every one of our girls, families, volunteers and communities is in our hearts right now. We are committed to helping resolve the stress you feel about cookies so you can fully focus on your families.
 
If you have additional questions, just ask us directly. Our product program team is here for you, even in these difficult and challenging days. Please contact us at productprogram@girlscoutsgcnwi.org or 855-ILOVEGS, ext. 6722.
 
Thank you for your patience. Stay safe.

Previously Announced Affected Events 

  • The in-person Annual Meeting and Adult Recognition event planned for April 4 will not take place. The Annual Meeting will now be a virtual meeting, and all voting will be done electronically, as allowed by our council bylaws. All voting members of the council have been notified.
  • Our Adult Recognition celebration will be postponed. Discussions about how to honor our council award recipients are underway. We will share details when they are available.  
  • Tribute to Achievement has been canceled (was scheduled for March 25, 2020).  
  • The Gold Award Ceremony has been postponed to August 8, 2020.  
  • Green for Good has been postponed one year until May 8, 2021.  

Program Refunds  

We are suspending our established refund policy until further notice. If you are registered for an event or program set to occur between now and May 1, 2020, you will receive an email with specific details about any cancellation or postponement. Refunds or credits will be given.  

Volunteers or families with girls scheduled to attend any GCNWI-sponsored event, program, workshop, or activity beyond the next few weeks may cancel their participation to receive a credit to apply toward a future activity. If no other future events are desired, or there are extenuating circumstances, a full refund will be issued. To cancel a program or camp registration, please email reghelp_events@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.    

Service Unit and Troop Activities  

All in-person activities, including troop meetings and cookie booth sites, are canceled until further notice. Read our guide to Virtual Troop Meetings! 

Retail  

To honor the merchandise needs of our volunteers and girls, we will offer FREE SHIPPING on all previously placed in-store pickup orders and new orders from our online shop through March 29.  

Preventative Measures  

Please remember that the best protection is self-protection and self-monitoring, especially in this flu season. Health officials recommend the following measures to minimize your risk of contracting any virus:  

  • Wash hands frequently especially after sneezing, shaking hands/bodily contact with another individual, and before eating. Use soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.  
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.  
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick – health officials call this “social distancing” and recommend staying about three feet away from someone who is sick.  
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like your phone or computer.  
  • Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing then throw the tissue in the trash, or as a last resort cough into the elbow  
  • Stay home when you are not feeling well.  
  • Get plenty of sleep, good nutrition, stress-relief, and exercise – a healthy body is the best defense against illness.  

Additional COVID-19 Resources  

For additional information and resources about the COVID-19, we recommend the following:  

Help Her Be Happy and Healthy 

Raising Awesome Girls Blog 

Girl Scouts has created a way to talk to girls, not by avoiding the topic, but by tackling it head-on.  

How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus 

Hosting a Virtual Girl Scout Troop Meeting

If you’re a troop leader, you may be feeling worried about how you’re going to keep the Girl Scout spirit going while we are socially distant. Know that you are not alone––and you don’t need to worry!

During this time, you can keep your troop connected through online meetings to keep girls engaged with one another, while keeping safe. Here are some tips on how to run a productive, fun and engaging online meeting. 

1. Choose a virtual platform

There are several different virtual tools you can use to host an online meeting. Here are several suggestions to help you. 

Troop leader Annette Paredes noted that the Zoom app is free for 40 minute meetings, and you are able to see and be seen by the entire group!

2. Prepare

Create an agenda and a purpose for your meeting with the girls. Ask each parent to complete the Girl Scout internet safety pledge

Check out our Volunteer Essentials, where you can find information on troop management, how to engage girls and family, and more. 

Leader Annette also told us about her plan: “We’re coming up with badge-work for them to do, and work on it in the meetings.” She leads a multi-level troop, Daisies through Cadettes, so she’s taking time to schedule different meetings for each level.

3. Keep Girls Connected

Designate the first 10 minutes to have girls share what they’ve been up to and how they are feeling. This will keep girls socialized and engaged with one another. 

Emphasize that these will be girl-led meetings by having girls choose a topic they are interested in discussing or learning about and creating a simple action plan to boost engagement!

For advice on how to make Girl Scouting a girl-led experience, check out our blog post here.

4. Use Online Resources

Take advantage of learning tools online! From Virtual Field Trips to online patch programs, there are multiple activities you can do with your girls.

Check out our GSGCNWI patch programs! Many of these can be done from home including the Barilla Girl Scout Food Camp, Girl Security, Global Action Award.

Also take a look at our last blog post–– there is a long list of websites and other resources on the internet to educate and entertain kids.

Don’t Forget the Volunteer Toolkit!

Troop Leaders, don’t forget you can support your troop activities from afar! Look to the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). Download PDFs of the badges your troop is working on and send them off to parents and caregivers. Easy and simple way to keep the Girl Scout fun going for your troop! 

Not sure how to do that? Check out our VTK Resource Guide.  

5. Have some fun!

Don’t forget to entertain yourselves and take time to just enjoy each other’s virtual company. Troop leader Terez Stewart hosted a TV-watch party using the Google Chrome app Netflix Party, which sounds like a ton of fun!

You can also curate a Troop Watch/Playlist, where everyone in the troop shares their favorite TV shows, movies, podcasts, YouTube channels, musicians, etc, for everyone else to enjoy during downtime! This is a great way to get new suggestions for your TV-or-media time, and find out something new about your Girl Scouts. 

Lastly, if you can, please take time for yourself, away from Girl Scouting and current stress, to just relax. You are an essential part of these girl’s Girl Scout experience, but do not burn the candle at both ends!

6. Tell us what you’re doing!

We know you are a superstar leader with a bunch of awesome ideas on how to keep Girl Scouts going from afar––we want to hear from you! Please share your story with us so we can share with other leaders, girls, and supporters of Girl Scouts that the Girl Scout spirit can live on from afar! Submit your story here.

Service Spotlight: Naperville Girl Scout Troop Gifts Cookies to Rush Medical Center Healthcare Workers

Looking for some good news? We have some!

Girl Scout Brownie Troop 55693 from Naperville wrote cards and donated Girl Scout Cookies to healthcare professionals at Rush University Medical Center!

This super-thoughtful service project was inspired by Brownie Ruhi S., whose dad works at Rush University Medical Center. When her dad was explaining to her about the long hours Rush Medical Center staff is working in effort to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community, she had an idea to spread kindness.

Ruhi already wants to help others when she grows up, but realized she doesn’t have to wait until she grows up to help others––she can do something now to appreciate those who are working tirelessly in these unprecedented times.

So, she gathered up Girl Scout Cookies, and made thank you cards with her sister Brownies, and the much-appreciated donations were delivered by an adult to Rush University Medical Center staff!

Thank you so much to Lauren Torres, leader of Troop 55693, for sharing this story with us, and GREAT JOB to these super generous girls!

How to Help from Home

Are you interested in finding ways to help your community while you stay home over the next couple weeks? Here are some ideas:

  • As part of our Silver Lining patch program in partnership with BCBSIL, please consider sending letters, cards, emails, or drawings to senior citizens at retirement homes or centers. Although it is not recommended to visit during this time for the safety of the elderly, it would be a nice gesture to reach out and send some cheer their way. 
  • Do you have a neighbor or family member who lives alone? Take some time out of your day to call or video chat with them. You can see if they need anything, but it is also just nice to hear from someone in this time when we are all stuck at home. Human interaction is important! 
  • Check out littlefreepantry.org to see if you could set up or support a food resource for others in need. 
  • Send cards of thanks to healthcare workers just like the Girl Scouts in Troop 55693!

How are You Staying Connected to Girl Scouts from Home?

We could all use a little more positive news these days, so please tell us if you’re doing something as a Girl Scout (or just a community member) to help spread some cheer or provide resources for those in needs. Share your story with us here!

Girl Scout Activities You Can Do from Home!

So you’re stuck at home, and suddenly regretting all those times you begged your parents to skip school. Maybe you’ve been staring outside your window, yearning for the great outdoors, or maybe you’ve just been missing a little bit of Girl Scout sisterhood. 

Don’t fret! You may be social distancing, but Girl Scouts is not cancelled! You can be a Girl Scout anywhere, even from at home. There are plenty of things you can do to keep your Girl Scout spirits high, and we collected some of them for you here! 

Patch Programs Exclusive to GCNWI!

Looking for something fun to do while on a break? Check out our  GSGCNWI patch programs! Many of these can be done from home including the Barilla Girl Scout Food Camp, Girl Security, Global Action Award, and MORE! All patches can be purchased on our shop website and mailed directly to you—and get free shipping with no minimum through March 31!

Explore the Outdoors in Your Own Backyard

Cross off 15 outdoorsy tasks from this list—like fort building, learning about springtime flowers, playing with a pet outside, and so much more—to earn the BackyardFunChallenge! Make sure to always follow the Safety Activity Checkpoints when doing the challenges, and remember to wash or sanitize your hands after being outside.

Download the activity checklist! [PDF]

Tips on Hosting a Virtual Girl Scout Troop Meeting

While we can’t be in-person, keep your Girl Scout troop connected through online meetings to keep girls engaged with one another, while keeping safe. Here are some tips on how to run a productive, fun and engaging online meeting.

  • Choose a virtual platform: There are several different virtual tools you can use to host an online meeting. Here are several suggestions to help you.
  • Keep Girls Connected: Designate the first 10 minutes to have girls share what they’ve been up to and how they are feeling. This will keep girls socialized and engaged with one another.
  • Prepare: Create an agenda and a purpose for your meeting with the girls. Ask each parent to complete the Girl Scout internet safety pledge.
  • Make it Girl-led: Have girls choose a topic they are interested in discussing or learning about and create a simple action plan.
  • Use Online Resources: Take advantage of learning tools online! From Virtual Field trips to online patch programs there are multiple activities you can do with your girls.

Don’t Forget the Volunteer Toolkit!

Troop Leaders, don’t forget you can support your troop activities from afar! Look to the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). Download pdfs of the badges your troop is working on and send them off to parents and caregivers. Easy and simple way to keep the Girl Scout fun going for your troop! 

Not sure how to do that? Check out our VTK Resource Guide.  

Girl Scouts Take the Lead in a Time of Need 

Are you looking for ways to help others while you are home during the next couple weeks? Here are a few options to consider: 

  • As part of our Silver Lining patch program in partnership with BCBSIL, please consider sending letters, cards, emails, or drawings to senior citizens at retirement homes or centers. Although it is not recommended to visit during this time for the safety of the elderly, it would be a nice gesture to reach out and send some cheer their way. 
  • Do you have a neighbor or family member who lives alone? Take some time out of your day to call or video chat with them. You can see if they need anything, but it is also just nice to hear from someone in this time when we are all stuck at home. Human interaction is important! 
  • Check out littlefreepantry.org to see if you could set up or support a food resource for others in need. 
  • Send cards of thanks to healthcare workers like this group of Girl Scouts from Naperville.

Tell Us What You’re Up To!

Whether you’re writing thank-you letters to your local hospital staff and doctors, learning all about different plant species around the world, completing a Patch Program, or spending time with loved ones, we want to know what you’re up to! Share your story with us here.

Resources from around the web!

We’ve compiled some resources from around the internet including websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, and apps. You can take virtual tours, play games, practice a foreign language, and so much more!

Websites
girlscoutsgcnwi.org 
pbskids.org 
khanacademy.org 
code.org  
coolmath.com 
sesamestreet.org 
kids.nationalgeographic.com 
starfall.com 
scholastic.com 
funbrain.com 
timeforkids.com 
highlightskids.com 
duolingo.com 
abcya.com 
codecombat.com 
scratch.mit.edu 
vidcode.com/hourofcode 
kids.sandiegozoo.org/activities 

Apps
Quick Math  
JuniorLightbot: Code Hour 
Brainpop Jr.  
Movie of the Week 
Swift Playgrounds 
Nick Jr. 
Youtube Kids 
PBS Kids Games 
Funbrain Jr. 
Science 360 
NASA Viz 
Todo Math 
Scratch Jr. 
Thinking Blocks Multiplication 
Kodable 
Pili Pop  

Podcasts
Wow In The World 
Molly of Denali 
Smash, Boom, Best 
Book Club For Kids 
Story Time 
What If World 
Stories Podcast 
The Past and the Curious 
KidNuz 
Brains On 
Tumble 
Noodle Loaf 
Flyest Fables 
Eleanor Amplified 

YouTube
GirlscoutsGCNWI 
TED-Ed 
AsapSCIENCE 
Crash Course Kids 
Minute Physics 
Smithsonian Channel 
The Brain Scoop 
Cosmic Kids Yoga 
Homeschool Pop 
Peekaboo Kidz 
Free School 
5-Minute Crafts PLAY 
National Geographic Kids 
Kids Learning Tube 
PBS Kids 

Stay safe, and hopefully we’ll be together in-person again soon!

Celebrate Girl Scout Week 2020

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is challenging you to Go Green for Good during Girl Scout Week 2020, happening March 8-14.

In addition to carrying on Girl Scout week traditions, this year’s theme challenges you to begin making sustainable changes in your home, community and world.

Join us as we implement seven days of green initiatives through interactive activities, specialized patches, and innovative events the whole family can enjoy!

Sunday | Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Go Green for Good Fun Patch

Tell us about any service projects, pledges, or events you take part at any point this year (not just Girl Scout week!) and get a Go Green for Good fun patch! Just tell us about it so we can share all the great green acts happening across our council!

More Ways to Go Green for Good »

Sunday, March 8: Girl Scout Sunday

Wear your Girl Scout uniform to worship. Talk with your Girl Scout sisters and family to connect with a local place of worship and learn about how Girl Scouts can be represented on Girl Scout Sunday.

To help you engage your community of worship during Girl Scout Week, downloadable assets for bulletins and inserts are available here!

Girl Scout Sunday [PDF]
Girl Scout Sunday (Espanol) [PDF]

Host a Girl Scout Cookies and milk party after worship. Bring Girl Scout Cookies—and possibly sell some, too! Share what your cookie sale goals are, and talk about the skills you have learned from the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Invite people from your place of worship to Green for Good. This event, happening May 9 at Navy Pier, is hosted by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, but is open to ALL!

Download and share the Green for Good flier [PDF]

Earn your ‘My Promise, My Faith’ Award. Work with your family and faith leaders to earn the pin to celebrate the connection between the Girl Scout Promise and Law and your faith.

Make new friends. Talk to someone from a different culture, religion, town, school, or neighborhood.


Monday, March 9: Learn how to Eat Good for You, Good for the Planet with Barilla®

Learn how to eat better for you AND the planet with Barilla!

Have you ever wondered exactly where your food comes from or about the people that help get it to your table?

As we share meaningful meal time with our friends and families, we rarely stop to think about the food we are eating and how it connects to our planet earth. Barilla—who is a Platinum Sponsor of Green for Good—utilizes the double food pyramid, also known as the Mediterranean way of eating, to help us better understand how the food we eat can impact the ecological footprint.

Today, for Girl Scout Week, check out the Good for You, Good for the Planet Patch Program which Girl Scouts GCNWI developed along with Barilla. This program—which has activities designed for Girl Scouts of all ages—will teach you about the importance sustainable farming techniques when growing and harvesting ingredients, and how food impacts your life through more than just nutrition.

Then visit Barilla’s Lucky Penne Truck at Green for Good where you’ll get to learn how to create healthy meals from garden-to-table!


Tuesday, March 10: Combat Single Use Plastics with REI

Outdoor retailer REI, a Bronze Sponsor of Green for Good, launched Opt to Act in 2019 with 52 weeks of sustainable action to leave the world better than you found it.

This week’s Opt to Act challenge: Count the number of single-use plastic items you use in a week.

Conduct a waste audit in your home and school to determine which products are made from plastic. This includes straws, cutlery, cups, plates, and more! You may be surprised by the number of plastics you use. Then identify what you might be able to swap for more durable, reusable alternatives. 

Once you’re aware of the single-use plastic items you’re using, try to cut that number in half or more!

Don’t miss REI at Green for Good on May 9!


Wednesday, March 11: Reduce Plastic Pollution in our Waterways with the Shedd Aquarium

Yesterday REI taught us personal accountability for our own use of single-use plastic. Today, join our Green for Good environmental partner and exhibitor, Shedd Aquarium, to learn about reducing plastic pollution in our waterways.

First, read these astounding facts from the Shedd:

  • Each year, over 17 billion pounds of plastic finds its way into our oceans and 22 million pounds of plastic enters the Great Lakes. That’s heavier than 7,300 beluga whales!
  • On average, every American throws away 270 pounds of plastic each year. Since only 9% of this plastic is recycled, much of it ends up in landfills or as plastic pollution in our environment.
  • In 2019, 90% of the litter removed from Great Lakes beaches was made of plastic.

By refusing single-use plastics, restoring natural areas, and raising our voices together, we can protect our waterways and the people and wildlife that depend on them.

Your Challenge Starting Today

Download this shareable flier from the Shedd about plastic pollution [PDF]. Use the information from the flier to educate your friends, classmates, teachers, and community about the hazards of plastic pollution, and ways to reduce plastic waste.

Here are a few ways to make a difference

On May 9, at Green for Good, you can visit the Shedd Aquarium’s mock campsite where you’ll get to wade through a “stream,” and pull samples to identify species. Then look under the microscope to see plankton and how they’re affected by microplastics. Then create an up-cycled craft to divert “trash” from landfills.

Thursday, March 12: Celebrate Girl Scout’s Birthday!

March 12 is the Girl Scout Birthday! On this day in 1912, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled a group of eighteen girls from Savannah, Georgia, for the first-ever Girl Scout meeting.

Learn more about Juliette Gordon Low. Visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace website. Every year many troops visit the birthplace as an extended trip. Interested in learning more? Check out our Traveling with Girl Scouts packet.

Help more girls get access to the Girl Scout experience! Make a gift of $10  in honor of our founding year, and receive the Family Partnership fun patch (pictured above)! Family Partnership donations go toward helping girls who are facing hardships become Girl Scouts; supporting our awesome volunteers; and keeping our camps fun and pristine.

Donate to Family Partnership and Get the NEW Fun Patch! » 

Wear your Girl Scout uniform to school to celebrate your Girl Scout sisterhood. Today, over 3.2 million girls and adults are active Girl Scout members, and over 50 million women are Girl Scout alumnae. In honor of the Girl Scout Birthday, take a moment to recognize and celebrate all that Girl Scouts of the USA has done for local communities across the country!

Birthday Party Collection

Brighten the day for a child battling homelessness with a birthday party in a box! Through March 31, our council will collect various items for celebrating a birthday. These items include:

  • Cake mixes
  • Cupcake liners
  • Cans of frosting
  • Candles
  • Tablecloths
  • Blank birthday cards
  • Decorations

Your Green Challenge for Today

Plan a green birthday party for Girl Scouts! Taking what you have learned so far about choosing food and using materials that benefit both you and the planet, invite members of your troop or girls who are not yet Girl Scouts to celebrate with an eco-friendly birthday party!

Challenge yourself to skip the balloons and plastic decorations and opt for do-it-yourself or reusable decor instead. Choose healthy food choices, make your own freshly squeezed refreshments, and even implement green-friendly activities for your guests to enjoy. Our partner, WTTW, also has awesome ideas on ways to retrieve eco-friendly gifts you can donate to a local charity and other innovative ways to take your green birthday party to the next level!

Friday, March 13: Girl Scout Jummah / Get Outside with Nature Cat

Another word for Friday in Arabic is Jummah, also known as a day of collaborative prayer in the Muslim community.

Wear your Girl Scout uniform to worship. Talk with your Girl Scout sisters and family to connect with your mosque.

To help you engage your community of worship in Girl Scout Week, a bulletin insert is available. Download the Girl Scout Jumah bulletin insert [PDF].

Your Green Challenge for Today

Explore nature in a fun way while earning the Nature Cat Explorer Patch! Spark your curiosity in the outdoors and have fun while doing it while you team up with Nature Cat and his pals, from the WTTW Kids television program! 

Discover nature and have a blast all while earning the free Girl Scouts GCNWI Nature Cat Explorer Patch presented in partnership with WTTW! Kids can explore topics from Nature Cat’s curiosity list: Amazing Animals, Super Science, Outdoor Exploration, and Environmental Stewardship. Complete all four to earn your free patch! 


Saturday, March 14: Girl Scout Sabbath / Community Recycling Day

Rest and Reflect. Take this Sabbath Day to reflect on all your work with Girl Scouts. Let those moments inspire you to create new and innovative ways to share with the world what it means to be a Girl Scout.

Wear your Girl Scout uniform to worship. Talk with your Girl Scout sisters and family to connect with your temple.

Reflect in a Journal Entry: Write down some green goals for the rest of the year. Reflect on the previous week: what were challenges, successes, insights with moving towards a green lifestyle? How will you be green in the future? How were your green initiatives received by peers, classmates, friends, worship-groups etc? What did you learn? What more do you want to learn?

Your Green Challenge for Today

Girl Scouts have a rich history of giving back to their communities. Be part of this tradition by participating in one of the service projects we offer through Girl Scouts OR start one with your family, friends and/or troop!

Attend a Day of Service event. Today is the official Green for Good lead-in event, Community Recycling Day in Vernon Hills, IL. Dispose of your hard-to-recycle items responsibly by participating in this event!

All Girl Scout GCNWI Gathering Places are collecting bread tags as well!

Plan a bread tag collection drive at your school, church, mosque, or temple. Did you know that the plastic tags that seal your bread are non-recyclable and millions of them end up in landfills each year?

Inspired by SCARCE’s partnership with non-profit organization Danielle Cares for Chairs, we invite you to CHAIR-ish your bread tags! That is, don’t throw them away—collect then donate them, so they don’t just end up in a landfill.

You can drop off bread tags in-person at any of our six gathering places. If you’re mailing bread tags, please send in higher quantities to reduce the project’s carbon footprint.

Check out Danielle Cares for Chairs website for more information!

Paint the Town Green with the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Show your green pride with Girl Scouts at St. Patrick’s Day! Girl Scouts, families and friends are invited to walk together in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Chicago on Saturday, March 14, at 12 p.m. Sign-up to walk in the parade with Girl Scouts.