Dreaming Your Future Week!

The future may seem uncertain right now, but there’s no reason you can’t keep dreaming. In fact, GCNWI has a whole week of virtual programs to help you on your path forward! Join us for Dreaming Your Future Week and begin unleashing your potential! Whether it’s learning how to use your voice to share your story, or learning how to prepare for college, this week is for you! 

Join us on the Digital Stage

Tuesday, Apr. 28 at 2:30 p.m. | For Girl Scout Juniors and Cadettes (Grades 4-8) | Webinar

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on our ‘digital stage’ as we as our sister Girl scouts and share the stories and projects you’ve created as a part of your Scribe or Public Speaker badge. Each girl will get 1-2 minutes to virtually perform their piece and complete their last badge requirement. If you’re registered you’ll receive the webinar link in your email. We can’t wait to see what you’ve created!

Registration has closed for this event

Find Your Inner SuperHERo

Thursday, Apr. 30 from 4-4:45 p.m. | For Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors (Grades K-5) | Webinar

Girl Scout Brownies, Daisies, and Juniors are invited to join us as we discover our inner superpowers to become a SuperHERo! We’ll be brainstorming, coming up with our own superhero characters based on ourselves, drawing these characters, and talking about what makes us each a superhero!

Download the SuperHERo worksheet »

Register for SuperHERo »

Shop Social Together!

Thursday, Apr. 30 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. | For Girl Scouts of All Ages, Families, Leaders, and Service Unit Managers| Facebook Live

Get ready for GCNWI’s first SHOP SOCIAL on Facebook Live! Find your comfy PJs, grab some snacks and shop with your Girl Scout Council shop – all from your couch! Our online shop is still open and we want to share all of our new products, your favorites, uniform essentials and fun items for every girl! Throughout the night we will have a Girl Scout trivia contest for FREE prizes!

Watch live on Facebook this Thursday »

Older Girls, Let’s Hang Out Virtually

Every Thursday at 4 p.m. | For Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors (Grades 9-12) | Webinar

Older girls, join one or all of our weekly hangouts to interact with other older Girl Scouts to talk about anything and everything. Each week we’ll have a different topic, then you’ll get to guide the discussion and activities.

Register for the weekly hangout »

Increase Your College Knowledge

Friday, May 1 at 3 p.m. | For Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors (Grades 9-12) | Webinar

Girl Scouts GCNWI Seniors and Ambassadors, it’s almost time for college! Join us for a badge webinar where girls in grades 9-12 will complete fun activities focusing on scholarships and habits for success!

Girl Scout Ambassadors who complete the activity book and the webinar will have earned the College Knowledge badge. For the best webinar experience, Ambassadors should download and complete activities 1, 2 and 5 from the College Knowledge activity book.

Girl Scout Seniors attending the webinar will work towards the Financing My Future badge, but will have additional requirements to fulfill on their own before completing the badge.

Register for the webinar »

We can’t wait to see and hear your amazing ideas! Don’t forget to share with us what you got up to during Dreaming Your Future week on social media or on our website!

You can be a Girl Scout from anywhere, even when circumstances keep you at home. Find more activities and resources on Girl Scouts from Home!

Important Announcement Regarding GCNWI Summer Programming

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

Member Monday Roundup!

Sheltering-in-place is in full swing, but so are the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. We’ve been up to a lot: donating Girl Scout cookies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to essential workers in our communities, attending virtual webinars, hangouts, and dance parties with our Girl Scout friends, celebrating Earth Month, and so much more!

Read on to learn about what local girls have been doing to pass the time–– Girl Scout style!

Happy Earth Month!

Happy Earth Day from Troop 20461!

This year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with a series of videos on different green activities for you to try (watch those videos here!) but some Girl Scouts came up with their own ways to celebrate Earth Day and Month!

Daisy Girl Scout Liliana has taken pride in her inside compost bin! She has looked over videos and researched what a compost is, which kind she wanted to make (and which would work where she lives apartment), and she now knows how to take care of it and what belongs inside one. Great job, Liliana!

Aside from her being very diligent with her school work, Girl Scout Maddie has also been working hard on earning Brownie badges. For Earth Day, Maddie created an informational video about pollution, steps we can take to help our planet, and a fun craft to celebrate Earth Day. Watch her video now!

Lastly, Girl Scout Troop 60533 made the very helpful flyer below for their community members to use as part of their Bronze Award project! Thank you so much for sharing these tips and tricks!

Girl Scout Service Spotlight!

The good deeds from our local Girl Scouts have not stopped, and we continue to be proud and impressed of these girls! Here are just some of the many ways local Girl Scouts have stepped up to serve their communities:

Girl Scout Anaya (pictured above) and her brother Ayaan purchased 300 boxes of Girl Scout cookies using their own savings to donate to their neighborhood Walgreens and to the Greater Elgin Family Care Center! The siblings decided that a little positivity and cheer in these difficult times goes a long way for these everyday heroes.

Thanks so much to Vocalo Radio for the shout out, and great job to the Girl Scouts from Rogers Park and Evanston who stepped up and delivered cookies! Girl Scouts from Troop 55532 also donated cookies to frontline workers at the Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, IL—their leader said it was an “emotional and teachable” moment for all of the girls.

Our last member story for this week comes from Daisy Girl Scout Seraphina, who shared with us her idea for spreading kindness: hug cards. “I hope this helps people that are lonely. I wish that everyone would stay healthy.” We do, too, Seraphina!

Do you have a story to share with us about community service, at-home troop meetings, virtual programs, or anything else that strikes your fancy? Share with us on on our website!

Stay safe, and we’ll “see” you around!

Play Earth Day Bingo for Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary!

Today isn’t just any Earth Day–– it is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! First celebrated and founded by Gaylord Nelson in 1970, the day was meant to increase climate awareness and create a movement that focused on environmental protection. On the very first Earth Day, 20 million people gathered in streets, parks, and auditoriums in order to fight against pollution that contributed oil spills, pollution from factories and power plants, toxic dumps, pesticides, extinction of wildlife, and loss of wilderness.

What was truly amazing about the first Earth Day day was that everyone, despite their different backgrounds, came together to fight for a common goal: to protect the environment from further harm. The first Earth Day had quite an impact, eventually leading to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the passing of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts!

Today, millions of people around the world celebrate Earth Day by taking action, advocating, and learning how to help the Earth! We invite you to join in with the millions of other people and join in on the celebration–– and we have plenty for you to do.

Let’s Play Earth Day Bingo!

Looking for ideas on how to celebrate the occasion? Look no further! We have two Bingo cards for you, each with 25 items, totaling 50 activities and ways you can celebrate Earth Day not just today but EVERY day!

Download printable Earth Day Bingo cards

The “Earth” card has fun activities you can do while celebrating our lovely planet, and the “Day 50” card has ideas for lifestyle changes you can adopt into your everyday routines. When you put the two cards together, they read “Earth Day 50”!

Begin by selecting either card and completing activities to get five in a row. If you’re up for the challenge, see how many “Bingos” you can make! Can you do all the activities on one card?

Even if you’re able to complete just a few activities here and there and don’t quite get a Bingo, that’s totally OK! We encourage you to do your best and have fun with it. One small act can have a huge impact.

Download your Bingo cards now

Earn a Patch!

Save the planet while you save some energy! Earn your Save Our Energy Patch. For this patch, you will focus on what action we can do individually to slow climate change. When each of us does our part to save electricity and water at home, together we make a significant difference in reducing our carbon footprint.

How to Complete Earth Day Bingo Activities

We have put together a few resources for completing many of the Earth Day Bingo activities. First, download the activity packet that walks you through step-by-step instructions for some things you can do!

Download the activity packet and watch the videos below!

You can also watch these awesome videos that teach you about a few other activities!

  • How to make a nature journal
  • A nature walk and exploration
  • How to build a solar oven out of a cereal box
  • Composting indoors and outdoors
  • How to plant a seed indoors
  • The 7 Leave No Trace Principles
  • How to make a reusable bag out of an old t-shirt
  • Relaxation with nature yoga

Watch all the videos now!

Share Your Earth Day Story

We are so excited to see what lifestyle changes you make or are planning to incorporate into your life! We would love for you to share your photos and ideas with us so we can see how our Girl Scout community is helping the earth. For the photos that you share, we ask that you write down the lifestyle change you made on a sign and pose with it while you’re in action. Be creative with your photos, and make sure your sign is visible!

Share your story with us!

We can’t wait to see all the ways you’re going to help our planet! Have fun, and have a happy Earth Day!

Service Story Round-Up: Girl Scout Strong from Home

Another week of staying indoors, another week of Girl Scouts making waves nationwide! Throughout this global pandemic, Girl Scouts across the country have stepped up and served as leaders and helpers in their communities. Here at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, our girls and volunteers have been spreading joy, gathering resources, and dispensing them to those in need.

Just reading all of the stories our council members have shared with us has been truly amazing! Read on to learn about some of our local Girl Scout super-stars (and a very special shout-out we received from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot)!

Shout-Out from Mayor Lightfoot!

You read that right: local Girl Scouts have donated several thousand (and counting) boxes of Girl Scout cookies to healthcare professionals and essential workers in the community! This is in addition to the care packages, thank-you cards, homemade masks and other items that have made their ways to several local hospitals, including Rush University Medical CenterLa Rabida Children’s HospitalAdvocate Trinity Hospital, Roseland Community Hospital and many more.

Thank you to Mayor of Chicago (and Girl Scout alum) Lori Lightfoot for your amazing support and acknowledgment! YOU can share your service projects directly with her office by posting on social media with #ChicagoGoodWorks.

Service Spotlight!

Girls from Troop 55191 donated four cases of cookies, boxes of personal care items (for staff staying in hotels), and thank-you cards to staff at Alexian Brothers Medical Center, and Girl Scout Emily from Troop 45169 also donated eight cases of cookies to the same center!

Troop 10055 sent 17 boxes to Community Hospital’s nurses and staff in Munster, IN, and Girl Scout Caelyn from Troop 45420 made thank-you cards and donated cookies to the staff of Little City, a Chicago organization that provides services to people with developmental disabilities. Thank you, girls!

Girl Scout Natalie from Troop 35138, along with her mom, worked for 10 hours straight to sew, iron, clean, and pack 57 homemade face-masks to be donated for local hospitals! So far Natalie has made more than 122 masks, and she isn’t stopping any time soon.

Highland Indiana Animal Control received a very generous donation from Girl Scout Troop 10099, including bleach, soap, paper towels, cat and dog feed, toys, treats, leashes, bowls and more!

Service Unit 402 donated over 500 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to Northwest Community Hospital, Arlington Heights Fire Department, Arlington Heights Post Office, Wheeling Police Department, Wheeling Post Office, Buffalo Grove Police Department, Buffalo Grove Post Office, and Lincolnshire Police Department. Shout out to Girl Scout troops 40624, 40666, 40694, 42575, 43108, 43266, 45325, 45568, 45582, 45710 45832, and 45916!

Final shout-outs go to Troops 55144, 55599, 26030, 60303, 55191 and 42025 for their donations of masks, cookies, treats, and thank-you cards to local police and fire departments, hospital staff, and essential workers. You rock!

Bonus: check out this Tik Tok nurses from Comer Children’s Emergency Room made to thank Girl Scouts for their cookie donation!

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has shared their story with us, whether it’s been about your at-home service project, staying connected as a Girl Scout, or just a fun activity to pass the time.

If you’re donating cookies, resources, or spreading joy to your community, we want to know. Tell us all about it on social media or on our website!

Staying Connected with your Girl Scout Sisters from Home

Troop 50367 at their first Virtual Meeting

It has been such a joy to see and hear all about how Girl Scouts across Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana have made the best out of our current separation. While we stay-at-home, troop leaders and Girl Scouts have come up with so many ways to stay connected to the Girl Scout sisterhood–– and we just have to share them with you!

Read on to learn about what troops are doing across the council to keep the sisterhood strong!

Don’t Forget Your Virtual Troop Meeting Badge!

You can order the Virtual Troop Meeting Badge from our online shop!

Get free shipping with no minimum through May 1!
Order Here!

Leading the Way

These awesome troop leaders have gotten creative when it comes to organizing Girl Scout activities, from hosting virtual meetings to helping Girl Scouts accomplish their larger Highest Award projects.

Many leaders have utilized social media and internet resources to keep their girls busy: leader Jessica Koslowski went around to each of her Daisy’s doors with a packet of activities to earn the last petal, “then I posted a video of our ‘meeting’ to our Facebook page for the girls to watch. They loved it and posted pictures of their finished activities!”

Plenty of Girl Scouts have been meeting via Zoom, and leader Amanda Leonard Shanbaum is facilitating her troop’s badge work through Flipgrid.com! Yvette Esquivel Jania collected a lot of random patches over the 16 years of being a leader, so she dug through her supply and created virtual programs for her troop. “We have hosted 11 fun patch programs and girls have earned over 40 patches. Girls have two weeks to complete the patches.”

One of the activities leader Amy Scheeringa shared a great and inspiring activity to pass the time with your girls: “After every storm comes the sun, and if you’re lucky, a rainbow emerges from the clouds. Today we would like to encourage everyone who is at home to make a rainbow using whatever art supplies you have and put it up on your doors or windows. Take a walk with your family this afternoon or evening and see how many rainbows you can find.”

Advice from a Board Member/Troop Leader!

Jennifer Mikulina—Vice President of the GCNWI Board for the past five years, partner at law firm McDermott Will & Emery, AND leader of Troop 40560—shared some great advice on how to keep girls engaged and checked-in to Girl Scouts.

Over spring break, Jennifer hosted nightly troop meetings using several different multimedia resources: in the morning, she emailed badge requirements to her girls, and in the evenings they checked in on each other’s progress. Jennifer improvised from badge manuscripts, then let the girls lead the rest of the experience.

Girls voted over several badge options through Survey Monkey, shared their progress on badge work through a group chat and Slack, and met nightly through Zoom, but flexibility was important––girls only participated if they wanted to.

Over the weeks, these girls started several badges, including New Cuisines and Eating for Beauty, along with doing some Virtual Museum Tours together! Jennifer noted that flexibility and tech savviness were keys to working with older girls; the more internet resources, the better.

Making a Difference

Girl Scouts are still leaving legacies in their communities even from afar. After observing that children with speech and language disorders have difficulty using electronic talking devices or AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) on the playground, troop 41997 from Arlington Heights wanted to help everyone in their school have a voice at recess. They talked to the school’s administration, learned all about AAC, worked to design a board that matched their peer’s devices, and fundraised enough money to create a low tech AAC board installed on their playground!

Now, the board can be used to communicate with peers and teaching assistants, and the girls planned to switch their recess so they could facilitate its use with the kids in hopes that all children would interact with it. Though school is out indefinitely, these Girl Scouts are sure to have a lasting impact of the community.

Girl Scouts Carry On!

As you now know, you can be a Girl Scout and lead Girl Scouts from anywhere, even at home! We’re so happy to see girls meeting virtually and completing online badges, and we have so much more to share with you.

From patch programs to badge webinars, highest award workshops and fun activities, we’ve got a bunch going on to keep your Girl Scout spirits high. Keep your eyes peeled for more at-home activities in the coming weeks!

Share your ideas, thoughts, and strategies for staying connected and your story might be featured!

In Case You Missed It

Girl Scouts From Home

Tips for Hosting a Virtual Troop Meeting

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