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.

Celebrate 100 Years of Girl Scouts Selling Cookies at the Cookie Kickoff Rally

Celebrate 100 Years of Girl Scouts Selling Cookies at the Cookie Kickoff Rally

What better way to celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies than with your Sister Girl Scouts? Join Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Wolves on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois for a fun, family-friendly day of cookies, contests and much more at the annual Cookie Kickoff Rally.

Your ticket includes admission to the rally, Chicago Wolves game, a rally patch for Girl Scouts and a commemorative t-shirt. You’ll also get the chance to flex your cookie boss skills at interactive sessions, such as our cookie recipe contest, business plan competition and Bling Your Booth contest. Plus, you’ll be able to win a special Girl Scout patch by visiting certain booths and participating in various activities to complete your Cookie Rally Passport.

But wait … there’s more! As a Cookie Kickoff Rally attendee, you’ll also get to meet Skates, the Chicago Wolves mascot, and have the opportunity to skate on the ice. After the Wolves game, break out your favorite dancing moves with your Sister Girl Scouts at the after-party, featuring a live DJ.

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Come with your troop, your family or friends and help us welcome the new Girl Scout S’mores Cookie! The S’mores-inspired crunchy graham sandwich cookie with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling is sure to be a hit among hungry cookie customers.

For more information about the Cookie Kickoff Rally and to purchase your tickets, click here. We can’t wait to see you there!

 

Girl Scouts Celebrate National S’mores Day with New Cookie

Girl Scouts Celebrate National S’mores Day with New Cookie

In celebration of 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies, we’re excited to announce a commemorative Girl Scout S’mores™ cookie today, National S’mores Day.

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana will offer a s’mores-inspired crunchy graham sandwich cookie with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling. The last new Girl Scout Cookies®, including the gluten-free Toffee-tastic, were introduced in 2015.

“Some of my favorite Girl Scout memories took place outdoors, roasting S’mores at summer camp,” said Nancy Wright, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and a former Girl Scout. “This new cookie brings an exciting and delicious way for our customers to help our girls learn five important life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.”

This s’mores-inspired cookie made with specialty ingredients was created with emerging consumer trends in mind. It contains no artificial flavors or colors, high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. This newly introduced cookie is the first of its kind for Girl Scouts. Cookies sold by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana are $5 per box.

Every penny of net proceeds earned from the sale of Girl Scout Cookies is reinvested into exceptional programming and activities for girls. At the troop level, girls manage the decision-making process for how to spend their troop cookie money and often reinvest it in their neighborhoods through service projects and learning experiences, including travel. Customers who purchase Girl Scout Cookies are not only getting a delicious treat—they are also investing in their communities and girls.

The tradition of making and enjoying s’mores in the outdoors was popularized by Girl Scouts as early as the 1920s. The organization was one of the first to publish the iconic recipe under the name “Some More” in a 1925 issue of Girl Scout Leader magazine and, then, as “somemores” in an official 1927 Girl Scout publication. The popular s’mores recipe is just one component of Girl Scouts’ longstanding commitment to the outdoors, a cornerstone of the organization that plays a vital role in girls’ leadership development.

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) More Than S’mores report, there is a clear connection between outdoor experiences and girls’ understanding of their leadership potential. Girls who spend time outdoors through Girl Scouts eclipse their peers in environmental stewardship, more readily seek challenges, and are better problem solvers, all of which are traits needed for twenty-first-century leadership. When consumers purchase a box of Girl Scout S’mores cookies or any other variety of Girl Scout Cookies, they are investing in a girl’s future and can feel good that their Girl Scout Cookie purchase powers amazing experiences for girls.

To learn more about Girl Scout Cookies, visit girlscoutcookies.org.

Girl Scouts Donate Nearly 200K Boxes of Cookies to Military Personnel

Girl Scouts Donate Nearly 200K Boxes of Cookies to Military Personnel

Giving back to the community is in every Girl Scout’s DNA, which is why Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s Gift of Caring program is such a success. This year, more than 14,600 girls donated one or more boxes of the iconic Girl Scout Cookies for a total of 199,780 packages of Gift of Caring boxes sold, exceeding the goal of 160,000 boxes.

“Gift of Caring donations provide twice the benefits with one simple purchase,” said Carl Canale, director of product program for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

“Girls learn life skills, local Girl Scout troops find their activities, community organizations benefit from the program, and the women and men serving in the armed forces get a great tasting reminder of home,” said Susan Rakis, who is also a director of product program for GSGCNWI.

Last year, nearly 153,700 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies were donated to military personnel through the council’s Gift of Caring program, which sends cookies to organizations that bring comfort to women and men serving in the armed forces. Some of those organizations include the Illinois National Guard, Manteno Veterans’ Home and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

“We get thank-you cards and letters and everything from these guys who receive Girl Scout Cookies,” said Linda Krone, a member of Johnson-Phelps VFW Post #5220 in Oak Lawn, Illinois. “The program works out really well and we get a lot of help from the girls.”

The program is especially important to Giada Gambatese, an 8-year-old Girl Scout Brownie who is GSGCNWI’s top cookie seller with more than 13,000 boxes sold, 12,000 of which benefited Gift of Caring.

“It’s important because we care about soldiers,” Giada, whose grandfather was in the Marines, explained.

Nina Grotto, a 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, is also passionate Gift of Caring.

“My father and both of my grandfathers are veterans, so it was really important to me to participate in Gift of Caring on a personal level,” Nina said.

Nearly 40,000 Girl Scouts sold 4.6 million packages of cookies in greater Chicago and northwest Indiana during the 2016 Girl Scout Cookie Program. Next year marks the centennial celebration of the Girl Scout Cookie.

Gold Award: A Look Back

Gold Award: A Look Back

I can still remember 2008 when I was asked what my greatest accomplishment was for my college essay, and I wrote, getting my Gold Award.

Very few people at the time stayed in Girl Scouts to get their Gold Award. The cute faces no longer sold all of those Girl Scout Cookies and the stigma of being a good girl “Girl Scout” wasn’t very popular in high school.

I was part of the cool Girl Scout group. We liked volunteering. We spent our Girl Scout money on a cruise to Mexico and we stayed at Embassy Suites rather than a campsite for our annual Girl Scout meeting. Girl Scouting really is what you make it and it can be cool at any age.

I love volunteering and building community and that desire began with Girl Scouts – it began as my sister did her Silver Award project cleaning a home for pregnant teenagers and sewing baby bags for them with her troop. It began as we planned a trip to Savannah, Georgia to visit Juliette Gordon Low’s House or the Kennedy Space Center where we slept under a rocket. It began as I worked on badges to learn how to cook.

When I was 17, I started working on my Gold Award project. I was one of two girls in my troop to get her Gold Award. This service project for a Gold Award had to be over 60 hours and had to be something that lasted. So, if it was an event, it had to be an annual event. To start, I had to analyze my community and various issues within my South Florida community. I was more involved with my church community as a Sunday School teacher. I decided to make a mural of all of the kids in my Sunday School class for my Gold Award. I’m not the best artist, so I worked with other artists to help draw and paint my students. I think when we are young, we see our limits and don’t realize how powerful and impactful we are. It was rewarding to have my students represent a piece of the church and be a visual reminder to the diversity different voices within the congregation.

As an adult, I wanted to volunteer in my community, and I did a Google search for empowering women organizations to volunteer. The first result was Girl Scouts. I was afraid to be a Girl Scout leader because I didn’t have children, and I didn’t know if I could still relate to children. But I pursued that option.

The Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana paired me with another single twenty something, and we started a new Girl Scout troop in Edgewater, Illinois. We started in the middle of Girl Scout Cookie Season and thankfully sold all of our cookies and made more in donations than in profits, so we could buy books and Girl Scout uniforms for every girl in our combination Brownie and Junior troop.

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My girls constantly surprised me with their insight, their energy, and their creativity. We participated in World Thinking Day by choreographing a dance, learning about Ivory Coast, and making too many plantains to share with the other Girls Scouts. We took a day trip to the Art Institute and completed our first Girl Scout badge. I got to teach and prepare the financial statements and most importantly, I got to know kids and families in my community.

It was a great experience and the four troop leaders who replaced us also were twenty-somethings without kids. I like to think we started a trend.

Amanda Elliott is a Chicago-based marketing professional and blogs about city life and the Chicago start-up community for Windy City Cosmo

Girl Scouts Take Over Downtown Chicago During Loop Site Day

Girl Scouts Take Over Downtown Chicago During Loop Site Day

If your commute was a little sweeter this week, you can thank a Girl Scout.

On Wednesday, March 23, Girl Scouts took over downtown Chicago for the first of four Loop Site Days this spring. During Loop Site Days, girls sell Girl Scout Cookies in the lobbies of downtown businesses.

Ryeleigh M., 6, and Fabiola V., 5, both Girl Scout Daisies from Troop 55190 in Algonquin, Illinois were excited for their first Loop Site Day.

“We’re saving our cookie money to go to Build-a-Bear,” Ryeleigh said.

“And buying crafts for children at the Ronald McDonald’s House,” added Fabiola.

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Ryeleigh (left) and Fabiola (right) created signs to promote their cookie business.

Meanwhile, Caity S., 10, Zoe V. , 9, and Stephanie B., 10, Girl Scout Juniors from Troop 40306 from Mundelein, Illinois plan to use their cookie money to go camping at Camp Juniper Knoll in East Troy, Wisconsin.

“It feels so grownup to sell cookies and it’s just so amazing that adults are trusting us to do this,” shared Zoe.

Stephanie agreed.

“It’s great because we’re cookie bosses and we can decide what to do with the money and where we want to go on trips,” she said.

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(From left to right): Zoe, Caity and Stephanie from Troop 40306

 

In addition to meeting new people and learning new business skills, Cara C. an 11-year-old Girl Scout Junior in Troop 41101 from Lake Villa, Illinois enjoys helping people while selling Girl Scout Cookies.

“During our site sales at grocery stores, we offer to help people take their groceries to their car,” she said. “It feels good to give back.”

Missed the first round of Loop Site sales? Be sure to get your fix at downtown Chicago businesses on March 31, April 7 and April 19!

Girl Scout Donates Cookies to Homeless Kids

Girl Scout Donates Cookies to Homeless Kids

After learning about homeless children living at Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Zara, a 6-year-old Girl Scout Daisy in Troop 20438, decided to donate nearly 60 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to help cheer them up.

“It’s important to give back because they don’t have many treats and I thought they’d be happy to have treats,” Zara said.

She even enlisted the help of her classmates to create handmade cards to accompany the cookie boxes.

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Zara, who sold 2,500 boxes last year, is hoping to sell 5,000 boxes this year so she can go to Disney World. So far, she’s sold 3,500 boxes and has donated nearly 400 of those to Gift of Caring, which sends Girl Scout Cookies to women and men in the military.

“This was all her idea,” her mom, Melissa Smejkal, said. “I’m really proud of her for being so caring and sharing with others.”

Do you have a Girl Scout Cookie story you’d like to share? Tell us on social media or email gsmarketing@girlscoutsgcnwi.org!