Song and Sisterhood Abound at Easterseals Academy Girl Scout Troop

Song and Sisterhood Abound at Easterseals Academy Girl Scout Troop

More than 100 years ago in Savannah, Georgia, Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts on the belief that girls can change the world.

Today, that principle is alive and well at Girl Scout Troop 25226’s monthly meetings at Easterseals Academy, which serves people and families with disabilities in the Chicagoland and Rockford region.

“Autism disproportionally affects boys, which means there’s already a small population of girls here,” said Jamie Fagerburg, an occupational therapist at Easterseals. “Girl Scouts is a great way to bring the girls together.”

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Every meeting, the students start by reciting the traditional Girl Scout Promise and Law.

“On my honor, I will try…”

Afterward, the girls practice the official Girl Scout handshake and receive their sashes so they can continue earning petals, which are the special Daisy version of badges earned by older Girl Scouts.

“We created this structure and stick to it so the meetings are predictable for the girls,” explained troop leader Carrie Browne. “They really enjoy a lot of those rituals. When we call everyone’s name to get their sash, they cheer for each other.”

During their February meeting, the girls earned their clover petal for using resources wisely. After watching a brief video about recycling, they decorated pots and planted seeds for a vegetable garden.

“There’s a particular who typically has a difficult time in groups, but in Girl Scouts, she’s the happiest you’ll ever see her,” said Libby Puckett, a speech language pathologist at Easterseals. “She’s clapping and smiling, she’s beside herself with happiness. So it’s great to see how Girl Scouts affects her overall demeanor.”

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The troop started meeting a little more than a year ago and, since then, the girls have sold Girl Scout Cookies, participated in a campout and visited the Lincoln Park Zoo, just to name a few activities.

“One of the reasons our troop has been so successful is because of the staff participation,” said Browne. “They’re really invested in it and they enjoy it as much as the girls.”

And the girls appreciate the sisterhood and solidarity Girl Scouts offers them. At the end of the meeting, everyone joins hands in a Friendship Circle and sings the chorus from Rihanna’s hit song “Umbrella.”

“When the sun shine, we shine together/ Told you I’ll be here forever/ Said I’ll always be your friend/ Took an oath, I’mma stick it out until the end.”

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“Girl Scouts really provides the closest thing to what their peers are typically doing,” said Fagerburg. “It gives them opportunities for social exchanges in an environment with girls with similar disabilities. They’re in it together.”

To learn more about Easterseals, click here. To join Girl Scouts or become a volunteer, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

United Way of Will County Celebrates 80 Years of Service to the Community

United Way of Will County Celebrates 80 Years of Service to the Community

United Way of Will County recently reached a major milestone.

On February 1, 2017, the organization celebrated 80 years of service to the community. Today, United Way of Will County funds more than 100 programs provided by 46 not-for-profit organizations that serve the residents of Will County, including Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

In fact, Girl Scouts was one of the original partner agencies going back to 1937.

“We recognize and support the United Way’s mission of uniting communities and resources to empower people and creative positive, sustainable change,” said Nancy Wright, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “We’re proud to be one of the partner agencies that receives funding from United Way to change lives.”

To date, United Way has helped impact thousands of girls since the first Will Country troop was formed in 1922 at Farragut School in Joliet with approximately 50 girls. Last year, Will County had 6,282 Girl Scouts and 2,903 adult volunteers.

“We believe in what Girl Scouts is about, the services they provide to young women and how they’re empowering them for the future,” says Michael Hennessy, CEO of United Way of Will County. “It really makes a difference. We’re proud of the mission and we’re really grateful for the support.”

To learn more about United Way of Will County, visit uwwill.org and to get involved in Girl Scouting, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

 

Girl Scouts Honor Civic and Corporate Leaders at Tribute to Achievement Dinner

Girl Scouts Honor Civic and Corporate Leaders at Tribute to Achievement Dinner

It’s been said it takes a village to raise a child and on Thursday, March 16, 2017, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana honored three leaders of that village and the impact they’ve had on young women.

This year’s Tribute to Achievement honorees were: Luminary Award: Cheryl Burton, anchor at ABC7; ToGetHerThere Award: Carole Segal, co-founder of Crate and Barrel; Corporate Appreciation Award: Deloitte, accepted by Carl Allegretti, Chicago managing partner.

The council’s premier fundraising dinner, which was held at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, raised more than $650,000 in support of programming that prepares girls to be go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders.

According to the latest State of the Girls report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, more girls are living in poverty today than they were 10 years ago and girls from low-socioeconomic backgrounds face considerable challenges that affect their health, happiness and achievement.

“For girls, growing up has never been more complicated. But there is a silver lining,” said Nancy Wright, CEO of GSGCNWI. “Research shows that girls thrive in places where their academic achievement is supported by activities such as Girl Scouts, which enhances their learning and skill development.”

During the event, select Girl Scouts shared testimonials about how the organization has improved their confidence, exposed them to a variety of leadership and educational opportunities and inspired them to give back to others.

“Through my involvement as a girl representative on the Girl Scout Board of Directors, as well as a myriad of other experiences I have had as a Girl Scout, I know that my voice matters,” said Aleena Ismail, a 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, at the opening of the event. “My actions matter. I know that even one person can make a difference.”

To view event highlights and learn more about how you can get involved in Girl Scouting, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Why I’m Giving Back to Girl Scouts

Why I’m Giving Back to Girl Scouts

All of my friends were doing it. Admittedly, that isn’t a great reason for choosing something you would spend the next decade or so doing, but it is the reason I joined Girl Scouts as a kindergartner. That, and I really wanted to do all of the craft projects.

While the allure of plaster of paris and friendship bracelets was enough to get me involved, it was the different badges that kept me interested. Each badge opened up something completely new to me. Learning canoeing and archery at summer camps. Participating in World Thinking Day. Attending a ballet for the first time. Running a cookie booth at our town’s annual holiday parade. Restoration projects at the Dunes.

Being a Girl Scout allowed me to have so many different experiences, some that I may have never tried on my own. Each badge and project we pursued was our choice. Each of us had a voice and our opinions mattered. Our troop leaders guided us and facilitated the projects, all while making us feel like the ones leading.

On #GivingTuesday, my inbox was filled with appeals from worthy causes, but the Girl Scouts email stuck out to me. I hadn’t thought about my time as a Girl Scout for a while (beyond my annual cookie order). Reading the email, I was reminded of what I loved about Girl Scouts: friendship, opportunity, empowerment. Girl Scouts has helped so many girls become leaders in our world today, including myself. Though my donation was not large, I know it is still meaningful. Even a small donation can have a huge impact on a girl’s life.

And that is why I’m giving back to Girl Scouts. So other girls can explore the world. So they can discover something new about themselves. So they can feel free to be curious. So they can become the leaders they are meant to be. And because of how much Girl Scouts gave me.

Hayley Trezzo is a Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana alumnae and Gold Award recipient.

To join or become a volunteer, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Girl Scouts Build Solar-Powered Cookie Booth

Girl Scouts Build Solar-Powered Cookie Booth

No outlets? No problem.

After struggling to keep the lights on for their blinged-out cookie booth, Girl Scouts from Troop 60194 in Chicago had the brilliant idea to create a solar-powered, 3D-printed masterpiece to help them sell Girl Scout Cookies.

In order to make their dreams come true, the troop enlisted the help of Exelon to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to “build a brighter tomorrow.”

But the fun doesn’t stop there.

The troop is planning to donate 500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to wounded veterans in Baltimore and D.C. through the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s Gift of Caring program.

Learn more about their journey here and watch their booth-building adventure below.

Girl Scouts and Women’s Energy Summit Partner for Girl Power-Get Energized

Girl Scouts and Women’s Energy Summit Partner for Girl Power-Get Energized

Our girls had an electrifying time with the Women’s Energy Summit at the Illinois Institute of Technology recently.

 

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Girl Scouts from our after-school GirlSpace program and local troops participated in Girl Power-Get Energized!, which featured energy- and electricity-based activities with female professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Participants also learned about fun and interesting careers with an interactive panel.

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Women with a variety of backgrounds shared personal and professional advice about what it takes to become successful in STEM; how to achieve work-life balance; the importance of grit and how to follow your passion.

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Many thanks to the Women’s Energy Summit and the Illinois Institute of Technology for planning such a wonderful event and to all of the volunteers for donating their time.

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s upcoming programs and events, click here.

Celebrate the Girl Scouts’ Birthday By Giving Back

Celebrate the Girl Scouts’ Birthday By Giving Back

To celebrate 105 years of Girl Scouting, we’re giving back to the community.

Join us on March 12 at our Vernon Hills Gathering Place or March 14 at our Merrillville Gathering Place for this year’s Girl Scout Birthday Bash and service project to support newborn babies.

Bring a much-needed newborn item with you and receive an additional fun patch for your participation. Suggested donation items include clothing, non-perishable formula, bottles, and toys.

You can earn your Girl Scout Way badge, eat cake, and celebrate your favorite activity – Girl Scouts!

If you can’t attend the Birthday Bash, you’re more than welcome to work on the project on your own or with your troop.

For more information, click here and to learn about all of your programs and events visit gcnwiprograms.org.