Travel with Girl Scouts this Summer 2020!

Already looking for a summer travel adventure? Look no further than one of our council-sponsored trips! This summer, we’re headed to, Mackinac Island, Nashville, and Milwaukee (click on these to check out our new registration system!).

You-And-Me on Mackinac Island

Grab your mom, aunt, or grandma and board the GSGCNWI coach bus for a getaway on Mackinac Island! Once on the island, take a horse-drawn carriage tour, photograph the butterflies, and choose from other fun activities. Multiple meals, hotel stay, group activities, and coach bus included in the cost.

Approximate Cost: $400 per person

When: August 9-11, 2020

Who: Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes (grades 2-8) with a favorite female adult family member or friend

Registration closes Feb. 28 or when trip is sold out!

Capital Tour: Nashville

NEW! 50 state capitals, 50 new Girl Scout trips! In this first year of the series, we’re headed to Nashville, Tennessee!

We’re hopping in a van and taking in the sites along the way. Once we get to Music City, we’ll tour the capital building, take part in a service project, and visit the sites. This trip is for Girl Scouts ONLY; we’ll have 2 chaperones on the trip!

Cost: $375 per girl

When: June 25-27, 2020

Who: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (grades 6-12)

Register here before May 14 (only 5 spots remaining!)

Junior Jetaway: Milwaukee

Join GSGCNWI for this brand-new, one-day Juniors-only getaway to Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Girls will depart from the Vernon Hills Gathering Place and head to the Dairy State!

You’ll get a chance to check out a museum of your choice, eat cheese curds, walk through the historic Third Ward and more. Sightseeing, travel to/from Milwaukee and two meals included in the cost. This trip is for girls ONLY! There will be two Girl Scout chaperones attending.

Cost: $75 per girl

When: June 28, 2020

Who: Juniors (grades 4 & 5)

Register here by June 14 or before trip is sold out!

Dreaming of 2021 travel?

Look ahead at our new council-sponsored offerings and get excited to explore the globe with GSGCNWI!

Intro to Travel: Montreal

Calling all Cadettes! Girl Scouts of GCNWI will be inviting 12 girls and 2 adults to join us on a Canadian adventure!

Next up in our Intro to Travel series for Cadettes, we’re headed to Montreal, Canada, the home of poutine, plenty of churches, and steamed bagels. On this introduction to international travel, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how to plan a travel adventure, including budgeting, itinerary planning and how to find accommodation.

Cost: $1,200 per girl

When: 5-day trip in June 2021 (exact dates TBD)

Who: Cadettes only (must be in grades 6-8 during the 2020-2021 school year)

Girl applications are due May 15, 2020

Adventure in Colorado

Summer is a great time for exploring the great outdoors! Join us at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado, for fun activities including horseback riding, hiking, archery, ropes courses, zip lining, climbing wall and much more. Group activities include a day at Rocky Mountain National Park, whitewater rafting and team-bonding experiences.

A $400 trip deposit is due September 30, 2020.

Approximate Cost: $1,100 + cost of activities chosen

When: July 1-8, 2021

Who: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (grades 6-12); troops and individually registered members are also invited. Leaders and parents are invited to attend and serve as group chaperones.

Register here by Sept. 30!

Hiking the Swiss Alps

Take the Swiss Hiking Challenge with your fellow Girl Scouts! This once-in-a-lifetime experience will be full of adventure, challenge, nature, new friends, and LOTS OF FUN!

This trip will include a visit to Our Chalet, a WAGGGS World Centre, where you’ll hike some of the most popular trails in the area, rock climb, learn about Swiss culture, and make new friends from around the world.

GSGCNWI is also looking for six girls to serve on a Girl Planning Committee to help plan a Switzerland adventure before our time at Our Chalet.

Approximate Cost: $3,500

When: approximately 2 weeks, June/July 2021, exact dates TBD

Who: Seniors and Ambassadors (must be in grades 9-12 during the 2020-2021 school year)

Applications to join the trip and the trip planning committee are due May 15, 2020

Adventure is Out There…

When you travel with Girl Scouts, you unlock amazing experiences, unforgettable memories, and skills (and friendships) that will last a lifetime. These are just some of the incredible travel opportunities we have for Girl Scouts this year.

Check out our travel page to find out about everywhere we’re going next.

For more information, contact Ashley Christensen at

Gold Award Spotlight: From Girl Scouts to Harvard

Contributing post by Amanda Dynak

My name is Amanda, and I am an Ambassador Girl Scout from Chicago, IL. I have been a part of Girl Scouts for twelve years, and have always loved reaching out to my community with my troop. In the past, I have earned both the Bronze and Silver awards, and I was excited to continue that tradition of service through my own Gold Award Project. 

Going for Gold

My project was titled “Changing the Future of Diabetes.” I wanted to connect my love of science with my passion for supporting my community. Specifically, my project targeted the American diabetes epidemic through the power of information.

I believe a large cause of the rise of Type 2 diabetes, which is contributing to a global shortage of insulin, is a lack of information that people need in order to take the right preventative measures, as well as a need for greater medical research. We also face a continuing presence of Type 1 diabetes, which itself is misunderstood and in need of continued research. I aimed to get this information into the hands of the populations in my community that need it. 

Through my project, I tried to unite and inform my community in two ways: first, by providing new ways to become educated about diabetes, and second, by creating opportunities to contribute to research and prevention. I accomplished these goals by working towards them from several different angles. I began by informing myself through conducting in-depth research about Type 1 diabetes at one of the top research universities in the country. I used that information to develop a website, a testimonial blog, a brochure, and a children’s book each explaining diabetes in unique ways. 

Making an Impact

I wanted to empower people by giving them different ways of understanding how diabetes functions, how it can be prevented and treated, and how to support those already living with it. I wanted to target age groups in my community that aren’t always targeted when it comes to medical information. For example, I specifically wanted to find new ways for young children to understand the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and how to engage with their friends who are living with either condition. For teens and young adults, I created an online blog that allowed young and adult women across the country to share their stories of living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

I think both of these age groups benefited immensely. The women I asked to share their stories on the blog were grateful for the opportunity to highlight their unique experiences, and my own friends who read the blog found it eye-opening; many of them realized they didn’t know as much about diabetes as they thought they did.

The book I shared through friends, family, and my local library, titled “Hankreas the Pancreas,” was read by many young kids who later told me they had heard of someone in their family having diabetes, but hadn’t really understood what it meant until now. Both of these groups became more compassionate towards those living with diabetes and more empowered to ask questions and to take ownership of their health.

I learned so many important lessons from this experience that I will carry with me to college, including how to set achievable goals, manage my time and money responsibly, and how to turn my passion for science into something that can support my community.

The most valuable thing I learned was how critical it is to provide others with a platform to share their stories. By creating a blog and connecting with the women who vocalized their experiences, I learned so much about how the topics I researched actually manifest in their daily lives. It also allowed them to fight back about the stigma and misinformation that exists around diabetes. I learned that by combining social awareness and compassion with science, we can take even bigger steps toward addressing public health problems.

The Future is Gold

When it came time for me to apply to college, I needed to really think about what I wanted to get out of my education. I reflected on the things that matter most to me: science, service, and community. Each of those components was an important part of my Gold Award project, and I soon realized they were also integral to what I was looking for out of my college experience. Identifying these important components through my project helped me better understand myself and the kind of impact I want to have on the world around me. It also helped me learn to better articulate my goals and how I want to achieve them.

Working on my Gold Award project was such an important experience for me that I wrote about it in my college essays. It was often the first thing that interviewers asked me about – and I loved talking about it! In December, I received the exciting news that I was accepted to Harvard University, and I can’t wait to begin studying biomedical engineering and finding ways to make it accessible to the populations that need it most.

I’m so grateful for my family, friends, and my troop for supporting me as I pursued a project that I am truly passionate about. Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award was a huge honor, but more importantly, it allowed me to reconnect with my community in a meaningful and lasting way. I definitely encourage all Girl Scouts to use the Gold Award as an opportunity to use your passions to do what we are always told as Girl Scouts to do when we go camping: to leave the world around us a little better than we found it.

Learn About the Gold Award

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Once achieved, it shows colleges, employers, and your community that you’re out there changing the world.

Join a century of women who have done big things. Learn more about Gold Award scholarships, the history of the Gold Award, and the benefits of going Gold. 

Save the Date for Girl Scout Week 2020

March 8-14

Girl Scout Week is celebrated each year during the week surrounding Girl Scouts’ Birthday, March 12. On that day in 1912, our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting in Savannah, Georgia!

While we finalize some green new things for this year to get you excited for Green for Good, we want to help you prepare in advance for a few time-honored traditions of Girl Scout Week.

Girl Scouts has longstanding traditions of celebrating with faith communities during this week. We do this to share information about Girl Scouts and its benefits, to thank faith partners and adult volunteers for the support they have provided over the past year, and to give girls the opportunity to be recognized in their places of worship as Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts Celebrate Faith observances can be celebrated by any faith group. In general, Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) extends from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, the Christian holy day is Sunday, and the Muslim holy day is Friday. In 2020, the celebration dates for these faith traditions are below.

Girl Scout Sunday (Christian)—Sunday, March 8, 2020

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.

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.

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.

Get your Girl Scout Sunday patch

Girl Scout Jumah (Muslim)—Friday, March 13, 2020

Another word for Friday in Arabic is Jumah, also known as a day of collaborative prayer in the Muslim community. One staple ritual participants partake in is the thorough cleansing, or purifying, of the body.

Jumah is also a say of charity. 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 at Girl Scouts OR start one with your family, friends and/or troop!

Cancer Survivor Kits. Help people battling cancer by collecting a few simple items in a small tote bag; chemo patients will know the small difference you made! Once your items are collected and your kits are assembled, you can drop them off at your nearest cancer support center. We have instructions for how to make these items, as well as potential drop-off locations.

Service Bars. Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors who are passionate about giving back can earn service bars. The Community Service Bar and the Service to Girl Scouting Bar each require a minimum of 20 hours of service to one organization or Girl Scout activity/troop.

Girl Scout Sabbath/Shabbat (Jewish)—Friday/Saturday, March 13–14, 2020

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.

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. 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

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

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

Then stay tuned for a complete GREEN-themed daily breakdown of activities for Girl Scout Week 2020!

World Thinking Day 2020!

You may have heard by now: as a Girl Scout you are a part of an international sisterhood. That’s right! Girl Scouts USA is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), an organization spanning over 150 countries!

Every year, WAGGGS and Girl Scouts celebrates World Thinking Day, a day specifically designed to learn about the food, music, and culture from parts of the world we aren’t familiar with. It is a day of international friendship and an opportunity for Girl Scouts in the United States to show solidarity with our sisters all around the globe.

Read on to find out how Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) are celebrating this year!

Where In The World Is Juliette Gordon Low?

Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors, join us at the Friendship Center on February 22 or at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on February 23 to use your five senses and discover where Juliette Gordon Low is traveling! Girls will work toward their World Thinking Day award, including learning about Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in other countries and how we’re all connected through our similarities and differences.

Register here by February 16 for one of these events.

World Thinking Day Dinner

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are cordially invited to a festive dinner at the Friendship Center on February 22, and at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on February 23!

Celebrate World Thinking Day by attending a dinner with guest speakers from various international organizations. Girls will work toward their World Thinking Day award!

Register for one of these dinners by February 16 here.

The World Is Round, It Has No End…

…that’s how long I’d like to be your international friend!

World Thinking Day is more than just an awesome global party– it is a chance to connect with our sisters across the world, learn about diverse cultures and traditions, and start taking action and speaking out on issues that matter to all our Girl Guiding and Scouting sisters.

Ready to Go Green for Good?

REGISTRATION IS OPEN and the countdown to Green for Good is on! In just a few months, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana will be hosting a massive eco-expo for Girl Scouts, families, and friends, where we’ll be learning up on how to take action for the planet.

Going Green for Good doesn’t have to start on May 9. We are hosting FREE lead up events so you can jumpstart your commitment to the environment! These are opportunities to make an impact on the environment (and earn an exclusive Go Green for Good patch).

Read on to find out what we’ve got planned in the coming months, and a special sneak peak at Girl Scout Week 2020!

Official Pre-Green Events

Bees, Birds, and Butterflies

February 16 | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | SOLD OUT

We rely upon creatures like bees, birds, and butterflies for the pollination of our crops, meaning we can thank them for helping grow much of the food we eat!

Join us at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Danada House to meet naturalists, learn why pollinators are so important, and find out the everyday things YOU can do to help them survive and thrive.

Community Recycling Day

March 14 | 10:00 AM | Vernon Hills Gathering Place

In honor of the Girl Scout Birthday and Green for Good, everyone is welcome to bring recyclables to the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on March 14!

Register here and find out what items are acceptable to contribute.

Lake Michigan Beach Clean-Up

April 18 | Several Locations

Offered in partnership with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, we are getting together on April 18 across the Lakeshore to clean up the beach and learn about the pollution affecting our local ecosystem.

Gloves and garbage bags will be provided; all you need to bring is yourself!

The Chicago meetups are sold out, but there are still lots of spots open for the meetup at Marquette Park Beach and West Beach in Gary, Indiana!

SAVE THE DATE: Girl Scout Week 2020!

Sunday, Mar. 8 to Saturday, Mar. 14

We are so excited to announce that this year we are doing things a little bit differently! This year we are changing the ways we impact the environment with awesome GREEN-THEMED Girl Scout Week activities! Whether its green initiatives and challenges you do at home or school or on your community, or hearing form our expo partners to help you live greener, there is a ton that is happening. We can’t wait to share it with you all!

Choose Your Own Adventure 2020!

Each year, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) hosts a Choose Your Own Adventure trip where Girl Scout Cadettes and Seniors get to choose where the group travels! This year, the girls chose Southeast Wisconsin, including Kenosha and Milwaukee.

Read on to learn about their adventures and how you can Choose Your Own Adventure!

Day 1: Bowlin’ and Ballin’

Written by Girl Scouts Megan and Lucy

We had a great first day on the Girl Scouts Choose Your Own Adventure Trip! Last night and this morning we planned out what we would be doing for the next couple of days.

We started in Rosemont today. In the afternoon, we had a great time at King’s Bowling. After that, we went to the Fashion Outlets of Chicago and enjoyed shopping, dinner, and dessert.

We are settling down in Kenosha tonight and are so excited for what the next couple of days will bring!

Day 2: Go Ahead and Jump!

Written by Girl Scouts Kelsey, Isabella, and Peyton

On our second day in Wisconsin, we did a lot of things. First, we had breakfast at the hotel and headed to an escape room. The escape room was really fun and challenging. Sadly, we didn’t escape, but we had a good time!

Then, we headed to lunch at the Public Market. It was very delicious. We then headed to the Mitchell Domes and saw a lot of beautiful nature. We also got some delicious treats and candy at the mall!

After that, we went to the Helium Trampoline and Adventure Park. We had so much fun jumping around and going in the obstacle course. Even Ashley joined in on the fun!

We later had dinner at MOD Pizza. It was wonderful. Then we went to Target and bought crazy stuff. We went back to the hotel, and now we’re writing this report.

Day 3: Jelly Belly Joy!

Written by Girl Scout Kesley E.

Today we went to the famous factory of the Kringle called Racine Danish Kringle. Then, we went to a vintage shop. We enjoyed shopping and eating at the Mars Cheese Castle. We then went to the Jelly Belly factory and bought a lot of jelly beans!

Where to next?

Interested in joining GSGCNWI on another adventure? Check out our travel webpage!

Want to plan your own version of Choose Your Own Adventure? Check out our CYOA Travel Resource or contact Ashley Christensen at

The New Registration System is Here! Access Your Account Now

Updated 2/3/2020

The new Girl Scouts GCNWI program registration system is finally here! Now from a single system you can register for day camp, resident camp, and programs for girls!

Follow the instructions below to access your account for the first time to make your camp and program registration process easier.

How to Access Your Program Registration Account

Existing Members and Parents/Caregivers of Existing Members

Existing Girl Scouts GCNWI members, we have pre-loaded your membership information into the program registration system, so all you have to do is reset your password!

  1. Visit the program registration “Sign In” page
  2. Once on the site, select “Forgot Password”
  3. You will be prompted to enter an email address and name. Please use the ADULT’S email and name from your primary MyGS account. Your MyGS email address is the primary account used when you renew a Girl Scout membership online. If you do not know which email is used for this, please contact
  4. Then check your inbox for an email from “” with a link to reset your password.
  5. Choose a new secure password, log-in to the registration site, then verify that your family members are correct and update if necessary.

Visit the program registration site to reset your password

Non-Members and Troop Leaders

If you are not a current member of GSGCNWI or are a troop leader wishing to register girls in your troop for programs or camp, you must first create an account.

  1. Visit the program registration “Create an Account” page
  2. Name & Address
    • Troop leaders, add your troop number after your last name
      (For example: First Name: Jane; Last Name: Doe-troop12345).
    • Parents and caregivers of non-member girls, create your account first, then you’ll be able to add any children as “Family Members.”
  3. Contact Information
    • When creating a troop account, you must use an email address that is not associated with an existing MYGS or program registration account.
  4. Choosing a Customer Type under Personal Information
    • Group: For Profit – Organization of family wishing to reserve property.
    • Group: Not for Profit – Organization with verified 501(c)3 status wishing to reserve property.
    • Individual: Non-Member – Individual without an active Girl Scout membership.
    • Member: GS GCNWI – Individual or Troop with current Girl Scouts GCNWI membership.
    • Member: Other GS Council – Individual or Troop with current Girl Scouts membership outside of GCNWI Council.

Important Information

  • Any existing accounts from previous GSGCNWI program registration systems do not transfer.
  • Property and equipment (like flags and parade kits) will still be reserved through their current processes. We’ll release these through the new system at a later date.
  • Adult and volunteer training registration will continue to be taken through the Learning Portal.
  • The program registration site is NOT connected to your MyGS account. To make things easier on you, we have imported membership information from MyGS into this separate system.
  • Girl Scout membership registration and renewal will still occur through MyGS, accessible through the main Girl Scouts GCNWI website.

Browse the 2020 Camp Guide

Green for Good is LIVE!

May 9, 2020 | 10 a.m.–4 p.m. | Navy Pier, Chicago, IL

Registration is Now Open to Attend this Extra-Ordinary Expo!

Green for Good is no ordinary expo! It’s a life-changing, family-friendly experience to spark innovation, creativity, advocacy, and action to make the world a better place. Hosted by the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI), Green for Good will feature a wide variety of learning experiences for all youth and their families.

Why Green for Good?

It’s in Girl Scouts’ DNA. Our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was a famous lover of nature. Today, Girl Scouts honors her legacy by promoting respect and love of the great outdoors far and wide.

Through Girl Scouting, girls learn to value the Earth as their home, and are inspired to develop a lasting commitment to the environment through care, conservation, and responsibility.

Register to attend Green For Good: Powered by Girl Scouts »

Lead In Events

In preparation for our Green for Good expo we have some events to inspire, educate and kick-start a “greener” way of life! These events are open to EVERYONE both non and current Girl Scouts.

Bees, Bats, Butterflies – Feb. 16

Did you know that a lot of our food and produce comes from crops that are pollinated by cross-pollinators like bees, bats, and butterflies? Presented with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, this event is perfect if you’re curious about pollinators and our environment.

You’ll learn why pollinators are so important, and everyday things YOU can do to help them thrive. Through hands-on activities, you’ll get to meet and learn from naturalists, animal caretakers, and heritage interpreters from the forest preserve!

Register now »

Community Recycling Day – Mar. 14

It can be difficult to recycle many items that aren’t collected by traditional recycling programs. So, In honor of the Girl Scout Birthday and (of course) Green for Good, bring your “hard-to-recycle” recyclables to the Vernon Hills Gathering Place.

SURPRISING items include:

  • Keys (household, luggage, car)
  • Any and All Musical Instruments
  • Holiday Lights
  • Cords (phone, computer, etc.)
  • Eyeglasses & Sunglasses
  • Bowling Balls
  • and more!

Check off items on our recyclable list and register for this GREEN event »

Beach Clean Up Day – Apr. 18

When summer rolls around, the beach is the place to be! But the experience can be tainted when we see trash and waste at our favorite spots. It can truly ruin an awesome summer experience! But we are here to help.

Working in partnership with Alliance for the Great Lakes, we are hosting a beach clean up day at several locations this spring along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Sign up for the clean ups at:

West Beach at the Indiana Dunes »
63rd Street Beach »
Marquette Park Beach »
Clark Street Beach »

Get Your Green for Good Tickets

Be a part of something bigger—an initiative to save our planet!
Register to attend our Green for Good expo »

Career and College Workshops for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors!

If you’re a Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador Girl Scout, you probably fielded a lot of career aspirations and college planning questions over the holidays. Don’t let all those family members scare you–– you have more than enough time! Preparing for the future can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Thankfully, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) has your back. Find out how you can start preparing to pursue your passions with our upcoming programs for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors.

Think Like An Engineer

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are invited to the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on Feb. 8 to Think Like an Engineer! Learn how engineers use the design thinking process to solve problems, create prototypes using this process, and brainstorm your Take Action project together.

Register here before February 1!

Spark Tank

Ever dream of running your own business? Maybe you have a great idea for an invention, or the business savvy to start a company?

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are invited to join GNCWI’s Spark Tank at Camp Greene Wood on March 27 to develop your idea, prototype it, and develop marketing. The program ends with a panel presentation to potential “investors/sharks!”

Register here before March 22 to snag a spot!

Three C’s: College, Career, Choose Your Own Path

Seniors and Ambassadors are invited to explore opportunities after graduating high school! Whether it’s attending college, starting your career, or choosing your own path, we are here to provide the resources you need. We’ll have college advisers, career counselors, trade school representatives, and travel advocates educate girls on all the options available.

Register here before April 19 to attend the April 25 workshop at Camp Greene Wood, and register here before April 26 for the May 2 workshop at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place!

College Knowledge

Seniors and Ambassadors, it’s almost time for college! From test prep to financial aid, explore the ins and outs of the college admissions process with Girl Scouts at various workshops available from January through April. Badge included!

For the March 14 workshop at the Merrillville Gathering Place register here, and register here for the April 4 workshop at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place!

The Future Looks Bright!

Whatever you see for yourself in the future, whether it’s becoming a bestselling author, a business-owner, a teacher, a public defender, an artist (the list goes on and on!), Girl Scouts has the resources and programming to help your dreams become reality. You have the potential within you–– let’s unleash it together.

Check out our programs page to see all the awesome opportunities lined up for this year for all ages (and some just for you CSAs).

Interested in earning one of the council’s Highest Awards? Find out how you can go Silver or Gold!

Go Gold: Mythbusting the Gold Award!

Welcome to the first blog in our Go Gold series! To start, we are breaking down some processes and procedures for the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn–– and busting some common myths you may have heard. It’s true that nowadays the common way to find answers to questions is, “Google it!” but the Gold Award is a bit different, because every council has their own set of procedures.

Here we have combined some of the most common questions and some commonly misunderstood rules for earning your Gold Award through Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Stay tuned for more in our Go Gold blog series!

Have a question that’s not answered here? Contact Annie Gilmartin for more information!

You may have heard…

Myth #1: The Gold Award requires a ton of paperwork!

Sort of true–– but it’s not as bad as you think! For the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, yes, there is paperwork you need to complete. But remember this: it’s only two sets of paperwork, a proposal, and a final report. As of October 2019, all girls beginning their Gold Award process should utilize Go Gold online as the platform to collect all their information in one place.

The project proposal is a girl’s expression of how her project will address the root cause of an issue, create lasting change, be sustainable beyond her involvement, and connect to a national and/or global issue. The final paperwork gives girls a chance to show off how their project achieved her goal and made the lasting changes she sought!

Remember, with a proposal and final report, girls are responsible for including detailed project plans, timelines, and budgets. These are considered supplemental materials for the proposal and final report. Thanks to the Go Gold online platform, they are easily populated and integrated into proposals and final reports. There’s no longer a need for multiple additional documents and attachments.

Myth #2: Gold Award interviews are hard to schedule!

In the past, yes, but good news: we have recently made changes to alleviate this issue! As of October 2019, girls who submit paperwork (either a proposal or final report) will not need to interview with our committee. Instead, the paperwork will be reviewed by our Gold Award Panel. Panel reviews will happen every two weeks. Once our Gold Award Panel reviews your paperwork, you will receive an email from council with your next steps! See our step-by-step guide for more details on what comes next, specifically for proposals and final reports.

Myth #3: Girls must finish by their 18th birthday!

Myth! All graduating senior Girl Scouts have until September 30 of the year they graduate to have their Gold Awards approved by our committee. Please remember: this means projects need to be reviewed and approved by our Gold Award Panel prior to September 30 to be considered complete. Our suggestion would be that all graduated seniors submit their final paperwork no later than September 1 to ensure you receive full approval by September 30.

Other things you might be wondering…

Who should my project advisor be?

Someone who works with the organization you are partnering with for your Gold Award project! For example, if you plan to work with a food pantry to develop a community garden so they always have fresh fruits and vegetables, you may select the director of the food pantry at your advisor. Project advisors should be selected based on their ability to assist you in completing your Gold Award. Remember: project advisors should NOT be your troop leader or any family member or friend.

What hours count towards the 80?

Great question! Some myths throughout the years have thought that all volunteer hours of those helping with Gold Award projects count towards the girl’s total 80 hours, but that is NOT TRUE! Only the hours the individual girl spends working on her Gold Award project count towards the 80. Don’t worry about it too much up front–– almost all projects have no problem achieving 80 hours of girl time!

Is there a list of pre-approved projects?

Myth! This is just an old campfire tale that seems to recirculate every few years, but remember–– it doesn’t exist! Girls looking to earn the Gold Award are challenged to take a look at their own passions and communities and see where the need lies. Once a girl determines where her interests and the community needs overlap, she should take a step back and identify the root cause of the issue she is tackling.

Pro Tip: Go Gold Online has great resources (and examples) to help identify the root cause of an issue.

What does it mean for a project to be sustainable and have a national or global reach?

It’s not as difficult as it seems! Sustainability and global reach tend to be daunting words when talking about Gold Awards, but don’t worry, they aren’t as bad as they seem! For a girl’s project to be considered sustainable, it needs to carry on or have continued impact even after the girl has earned her Gold Award. In other words, she has created a lasting change. For national or global reach, a girl should be able to explain how her project connects to an issue that is relevant worldwide.

Pro Tip: Go Gold online defines and shows examples of how girls can make their projects sustainable and have a national/global link.

Can I start a project after I graduate high school?

Not recommended! Graduating senior Girl Scouts must submit a Gold Award proposal to council no later than June 1 of the year they graduate. Girl Scouts GCNWI has this procedure in place to be sure girls give themselves enough time to complete a project that meets all requirements. This deadline gives graduated seniors at least four months to work through and complete their projects.

Money earning…?

Ah! The big question. Here are the basics:

  • Girls looking to raise funds for their Gold Award project should utilize product sales (Fall Product and Cookies) as their first resource. The more product you sell, the more money you can raise!
  • If additional money is needed for a girl’s Highest Award project after she sold Fall Product and Cookies, she is eligible to do an additional money earning activity. This could be garage sales, bake sales, wreath sales, gift wrapping, etc. If a girl plans to raise more than $100 with such activity, an additional money earning form needs to be submitted to council (some blackout dates apply).
  • Donations work too! If a girl would like to ask for donations from a source (like Home Depot, Lowes, or other retailers) they must take an adult with them. The girl is welcome to explain the project and outline what she plans to do, but the adult must be the one to ask/solicit the donation of goods/items. The girl should not ever solicit things herself. Remember that girls should include all donations on their final budget.

Go for Gold!

Going Gold is not easy, but it is worth it, not only as an investment in your own future, but in your community, your nation, and your world.

Stay tuned for more Gold Award blogs in the future as a part of our Go Gold series!

Questions about highest awards? Email Annie Gilmartin.

Learn More

Learn More about the Gold Award

Meet the Girl Scouts GCNWI 2019 Gold Award Recipients