Girl Scout Gifts A Trip to Disney!

Chicago, Illinois (May 17, 2019) — a day that forever changed the life of a young boy from Dolton, Illinois.

Today we have a special shout-out for a special Girl Scout. Junior Girl Scout Anne Nelson, 11, had a “simple” goal – sell 5,000 Girl Scout cookies to earn a trip to Disney World. But the goal wasn’t to do this for herself. Anne, inspired by a lesson in class about generosity, wanted to gift the trip to another child.

“Everyone should be kind to other people and generous because if someone wants to go somewhere or do something and they never have a chance to do it, it would make them feel amazing to do it.”

Anne N.

The Heart Behind the Gift

Anne went above and beyond those 5,000 boxes required to earn the trip for two to the ‘happiest place on Earth’ and is now a member of the Cookie CEO club at the council. Cookie CEOs are the top five local Girl Scouts who sell the most cookies during the season. With Anne selling more than 6,000 boxes total, she sets a wonderful example of diligence and dedication.

Anne’s mother, Michelle Nelson, encouraged her daughter’s dedication to her cookie sales endeavor, but even she was surprised by Anne’s desire to give back in such a grand way. “Anne learned about the needs of those less fortunate than others and it really resonated with her. She decided she want to give this trip away to a kid who wouldn’t be able to go otherwise, and she worked so hard to make it happen,” said Michelle.   

The product team at Girl Scouts GCNWI was just as surprised, with this being the first time in the council’s history where a cookie program participant shared her travel reward so grandly. “Anne told our product team early on that this is why she was working so hard to sell 5,000 boxes and we are so glad to see that with Courage, Confidence and Character, any girl can meet and exceed her goals!” said Susan Rakis, Director of Product Program.

Anne’s surprise reveal took place on Friday, May 17th at the Disney Store located inside the Chicago Ridge Mall. Joined by her Girl Scout troop, family and friends, Anne was able to surprise the young boy, age 11, with a special Disney inspired video, detailing his gifted trip to Orlando.

When asked what she hopes to share with others about her gift she said, “I want all kids to know that they can do big things because kids have big hearts and enough in them to make a change. One small thing can make a big difference.”

Next year she hopes to sell 5,000 more boxes of cookies to give the Disney trip to another child in need and she encourages her fellow Girl Scouts to do the same, “What I like best about Girl Scouts is helping people. Helping other people makes me feel like I am making a difference and it can help to inspire other people to help out as well.”

Check Out Anne on ABC7

Interview with Anne

What are your selling goals for next year?
Next year I want to sell 5,000 boxes of cookies and I want to give the trip to another kid who is sick because, many of the kids in Dolton and Riverdale do not have the chance to travel and I want to give a sick kid the trip so they can forget about being sick for a few days and have fun like regular kids. 

Anything else you’d like to share?
Never give up on something you want.

What do you love most about being a Girl Scout?
What I like best about Girl Scouts is helping people. Helping other people makes me feel like I am  making a difference and it can help to inspire other people to help out as well.

What inspired you to donate your cookies/trip to a Girl Scout? And how close are you to your goal?
I felt inspired to donate my trip after seeing a commercial with sick kids in it. It really made me sad for them because of how much they have to go to the hospital. It made me want to help someone.  

What would you like everyone to know about your donation initiative?
I want all kids to know that they can do big things because kids have big hearts and enough in them to make a change. One small thing can make a big difference.

Why should other Girl Scouts consider donating their rewards?
Girl Scouts all over should consider donating their trip and other prizes because there are so many kids who are sick, poor, or going through tough times. Donating to needy kids will brighten their day because they know someone cares about them. It feels good to help out other kids and their families

Giving Back—it’s in a Girl Scout’s DNA! 

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. 

Learn more about becoming a Girl Scout and spread the word!

Destinations Spotlight: Exploring the Rainforest

Destinations Spotlight: Exploring the Rainforest

Girl Scout Destinations are the ultimate adventure for individual girls ages 11 and older! With different trips every year, there’s something exciting for every girl! You will not only acquire new life-changing experiences, but you will also make friends from all over the country as you travel with Girl Scouts from different states.

This past summer, some of the girls in our council went on their own Destinations adventures; three of our Girl Scouts participated in Space Camp at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, one explored the European Alps and the other trekked through the Costa Rican Rainforest! We hope you enjoy this story from Girl Scout Veronica as she explored one of wettest places in the world!

Veronica and her fellow Girl Scouts hiking through the mountains.

Veronica Kleinschmidt’s Trip Journal

This past summer, I spent two weeks in Costa Rica on the Rainforest, River, & Reef Destination trip. Along with six other girls, I spent eight days hiking in the rainforest while staying with local families and experiencing the local culture first hand. We got a chance to make brown sugar out of sugar cane, empanadas with fresh home-made cheese, and learn about and plant banana trees. Afterwards, we spent two days at the beach near the Manuel Antonio National Park, enjoying ourselves and the plentiful wildlife of the park.

We rounded out our trip with some high adventures: zip-lining on a canopy tour, rappelling down a waterfall, and whitewater rafting on a nearby river.

This trip opened my eyes to a different, simpler lifestyle. The families we stayed with were very friendly and open, and so were their houses. Most had no windows or doors and those that had them,kept them open all the time. The families relied on the land for food, eating fruits from their own fruit trees, chicken and tilapia that they raised, and milk and cheese from their own cows. The banana trees were used not only for harvesting bananas, but the leaves served as wrappers for food to take along, and for making fire. Even entertainment was provided by nature. Together with the young children of one of the families, we enjoyed jumping and swimming in a nearby waterfall and running a makeshift obstacle course built in a ditch in between the sugar cane plantation, the chicken coop, and the pig sty. Children from the whole settlement tended to play together unsupervised.

Most houses had no TVs or other electronics, and we didn’t even wear a watch during the whole trip. Life there goes at a measured pace; we woke up with the rooster’s cry, ate when we were hungry, and went to bed when it got dark.

This trip made me appreciate the benefits of a simple lifestyle, separate from what we experience daily in the modern world. There was a huge contrast between the life we experienced in Costa Rica and our lifestyle at home. Even though they had much fewer possessions than we do in the US, they enjoyed their lives just as much or even more than we do.

My days in Costa Rica inspired me to slow down in my own life, and to try to incorporate the “Pura Vida” motto in my daily life (Pura Vida means a simpler life, less stress, being thankful for what one has, and dwelling lesson the negatives). It also confirmed my desire to make adventure a part of my life.I will continue to participate in adventure activities and I hope I can continue to travel and discover new cultures.

If you’re interested in going on a Destination, check out the GSUSA website.

Learn more about other GCNWI travel opportunities.


What Girl Scouts Means to Me

What Girl Scouts Means to Me

When people ask me to define myself, one word I always use is “marketer.” Marketing has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl. I couldn’t figure out what shaped the passion of mine until one day at the grocery store I realized, cookies! Girl Scout Cookies – the Tagalongs, Samoas, Thin Mint goodness – was the reason I am so intrigued with marketing and decided to pursue it as a career. Girl Scouts and their famous cookie program, played a much larger role in my life than I ever thought it would.

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Myself and my proud parents in 1997 after earning top cookie seller in my troop.

I was a Girl Scout throughout my school years with six years being the highest cookie seller in my troop. The more I look back on my life experiences, I can confidently say that Girl Scouts taught me how to think independently, be confident in my thoughts and actions, and shape my ability to make critical decisions. The cookie program in particular, taught me at a young age the responsibility of money management and embedded a strong work ethic to achieve what I want.

I grew up in a small town in Alabama. When I reached my high school years, I became a registered independent Girl Scout to continue working at day camp over the summer – a job I loved and made friends, most of whom, 15 years later, I communicate with regularly. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, I never earned the coveted Girl Scout Gold Award.

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“Twist me and turn me and show me the elf. I looked in the water and saw MYSELF”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve looked for those defining moments of what shaped me into the strong independent woman I’ve become today. I can confidently say – Girl Scouts. Because of this, I decided to give back to the organization that taught me so much, and in this past year, I’ve contributed and experienced opportunities I never imagined possible.

Today, I am a founding member of one of the first Girl Scouts associate boards in the country. I’ve met with Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. But can I tell you the most exciting thing I’ve done this year?

On this year’s International Day of the Girl, I filed my paperwork to become a lifetime member of Girl Scouts. An action that I’ve worked up to for so many years and take such pride in completing. I can now officially loudly and proudly say that I will forever be a Girl Scout.

Amanda Modelski is a member of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Associate Board. To learn more about this exciting leadership opportunity, click here.

#BecauseOfGirlScouts

#BecauseOfGirlScouts

When I sat down to write about all that Girl Scouts has meant to me, I was surprised at how hard it was to start. It didn’t seem possible to filter through all that I had done and choose just a few important events. Every picture I looked at brought with it a swarm of memories. Every patch that I’d earned had a novel’s worth of stories to tell.

Girl Scouts has given me so much more than just patches and memories. It has given me more than skills, camping trips, and cookies. More than all these things, Girl Scouts has given me confidence in who I am and all that I can accomplish.

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Throughout my years as a Daisy, Brownie, and Junior, Girl Scouts taught me to explore new things. Each meeting we would earn a new patch or go on a field trip and learn something new. Thanks to Girl Scouts, I discovered my interests in music, cooking, and exploring the outdoors. Girl Scouts provided me a place to try new things, learn skills, and discover who I am.

As I grew, my Girl Scout experience grew with me. We started to talk less about what we could do in Girl Scouts and more what we could do as Girl Scouts. Somewhere along the way, my Sisters and I had found a sense of empowerment, and that sense of empowerment changed everything.

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Rather than being told what to do like at school, Girl Scouts gave us the opportunity to take control. We decided as a troop what badges to earn and how to earn them, organized our own service and Take Action projects, and planned our own outings and camping trips. Girl Scouts provided me a place where I could be accountable for my learning and experiences.

I became empowered to speak up about what mattered. Girl Scouts was a place where I knew what I said would be heard and wouldn’t be taken lightly. I found a place where I could express my opinions and ideas and not be dismissed as a kid. Having even one place where I trusted that my voice mattered taught me to keep speaking up and to never back down from what I believed in.

GS friendship circle

It gave me faith that someday my voice would be heard in the rest of the world. Just as important, I learned how to listen to others and to value their opinions and beliefs no matter how greatly they may have differed from my own. In speaking up, I learned the power of acceptance. In listening, I found the importance of being heard.

Even more than giving me a place to be in control or to express myself, Girl Scouts gave me a place to just simply be. After a long week at school, I couldn’t wait to unwind with my Sisters at our Sunday night meetings.

GS Niles Board meeting

Being in an all-female environment I never felt the pressure to “perform” or to be anything other than myself. Our meetings were a place where we could talk about anything from sexism to s’mores and from Take Action Projects to tough times at school. It was at these meetings that I learned to be confident, for it was at Girl Scouts that I always felt accepted for just being me.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Girl Scouts taught me to be a person of integrity, confidence, honesty, and character. Yes, I learned how to sew and babysit, but I also learned how to change oil, pitch a tent, and save a life. Thanks to Girl Scouts, I learned how to change the world in big and small ways and to believe that I could accomplish anything. Because of Girl Scouts, I am a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker and leader) , and thanks to Girl Scouts, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Katie Daehler has been a Girl Scout for the past 13 years and is now a lifetime member. She is a Freshman at Northwestern University, and is working on starting a Daisy troop to continue her Girl Scout experience as a volunteer. 

To learn more about Girl Scouts, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

What I Learned from Traveling as a Girl Scout

What I Learned from Traveling as a Girl Scout

The following is a guest post from Girl Scout Lillian H…

The Eyes to the Skies Destination at Camp WaBak in Marietta, South Carolina has inspired me to do things differently in many ways. One of those ways is to always look up, because you never know what you might see. Another one is to try new things, even if you think you won’t like them at first. Finally, don’t be afraid to mess up or fail, everyone makes mistakes.

During the solar eclipse, we all thought that the sky was going to remain cloudy during totality. However, when it reached totality we all looked up and the clouds had parted.

Even when it was cloudy we all kept looking for changes in the environment. On the brink of totality an owl flew from the woods surrounding us to a secluded pine tree.

At this destination, at least for me being from Illinois, there were tons of new opportunities. We all went for barbecue, I tried hush puppies for the first time. There was a flight simulator at the Challenger Learning Center, I was a little scared at first, but it turned out to be tons of fun. Trying new things will never be a disappointing opportunity to experience.

There were a lot of things that I messed up on. We made bottle rockets out of two two-liter bottles, mine wasn’t the best but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it failed. We also did creek walking and I have to say, that’s the one thing that I messed up. Once we had gotten to the waterfall I slipped and fell into the knee deep water and skinned my knee on a stone. After that I had tons of fun wading in the ankle deep water with some of my new friends.

This destination has really taught me to always look up, try new things, and not to be afraid of messing up.

 

If you’d like to learn more about our council’s travel opportunities, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Your Gift Helps Girls Like Phoebe Find Their Voices

Your Gift Helps Girls Like Phoebe Find Their Voices

For girls, growing up has never been more complicated. In the age of social media, bullying and peer pressure can start at a very young age. And our girls are feeling the impact. With cases of bullying on the rise, a gift today helps a girl find her voice— girls like Phoebe.

Phoebe encountered bullying beginning in 2nd grade. She felt alone and didn’t know how to ask for help. Phoebe knew she wanted a group of friends to surround her, support her, and like her for being herself. It wasn’t until she saw a Girl Scout troop in her neighborhood that she found hope that she could have that. She joined Girl Scouts right away.

From her very first meeting, Phoebe didn’t feel alone anymore. The other girls instantly welcomed her into the troop and made an effort to get to know her. This was a new experience for Phoebe and lifted her confidence. Even though she was the new girl in this group, she didn’t feel like an outsider, as she often did at school.

Girl Scouts gave Phoebe a safe space. She found an all-girl environment where she was not pressured to change herself in order to fit in or be seen—Phoebe found value in her uniqueness. She knew she could overcome challenges and grow from them. She went back to school with a newfound courage to talk to her teachers about the bullying and ask for help.

Phoebe learned a lot in 2nd grade, and Girl Scouts has been there for her ever since. Now in 8th grade, Phoebe credits Girl Scouts for building her courage, confidence, and character, so that she can practice a lifetime of leadership.

Each Girl Scout program proved to Phoebe that she could learn something new, achieve a goal, and have fun. For Phoebe, troop activities encouraged teamwork and collaboration; Girl Scout camp taught independence and resourcefulness; and the Girl Scout Cookie program instilled a strong work ethic and people skills.

Phoebe knows she’ll face challenges in life, and now she has the skills and experiences to help her soar. It doesn’t hurt that she also has her Girl Scout Sisters in her corner. Phoebe is excited for all the new adventures that await, even going to high school with hundreds of new people.

Now Phoebe sees new possibilities for her future, and she’s discovered her dream of owning a restaurant. With the skills she’s honed in her Girl Scout troop, she knows how to take the lead and make her dream a reality.

 

You are an important part of Phoebe’s Girl Scout experience. As a Girl Scout supporter, you are part of the village that has helped Phoebe become the confident and
courageous girl of character that she is today. You are part of the 112-year history of Girl
Scout leadership that has shaped the lives of millions of girls like Phoebe.

Your donation of any amount today, empowers girls to face challenges,
grow, and find purpose. You can make a difference for girls like Phoebe seeking a welcoming space to be themselves—girls who want to make the world a better place.

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On behalf of Phoebe and every girl like her, thank you.
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Girl Scouts is the Ultimate Training Course for Life

Girl Scouts is the Ultimate Training Course for Life

Make a gift today to support the inclusive, all-girl experience of Girl Scouting.
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When Mary Ann Tuft was in high school back in the late 1940s, her teacher invited all the girls in the class to be in an exclusive sorority – everyone except for Mary Ann that is. She was not invited because she was Jewish. Although that may have been very deflating for some girls, Mary Ann had her Girl Scouts troop that accepted her no matter what.

Because Girl Scouts was so impactful on Mary Ann’s life, she decided to be one of the founding members of the Juliette Gordon Low Society – Girl Scouts Planned Giving Society. Mary Ann, who currently lives in Chicago, is happy to give back to an organization that has given her so much.

Mary Ann fondly recalls her troop leader and experiences as a Girl Scout. She says she felt a sense of belonging and her experience helped build her confidence as a young girl. She went camping across the country where she developed the love of the outdoors.

Learning how to collaborate and work as a team were key components of camping, she explains. They shared common goals and worked together to accomplish them. “There was a focus on others,” says Mary Ann. “We helped each other, it was never just about oneself.”

Mary Ann Tuft

Today, hanging in her kitchen, is a Girl Scout certificate from 1947 for a cooking class she completed. At age 83, she laughs at this because now she is the first one to call a caterer.

One Girl Scout opportunity led to the next Girl Scout opportunity for Mary Ann. After graduating from college, she started teaching the third grade and served as a volunteer Girl Scout leader. One of her favorite memories was taking the girls to Colorado Springs to go camping like she did when she was a Girl Scout.

Then Girl Scouts of the USA asked Mary Ann to be a representative to Girl Scouts in Israel. She lived in Israel for six months and never stayed in a hotel. She lived with many different families and learned a new culture and way of life. “Girl Scouts had always been ahead of the times,” says Mary Ann. “Girl Scouts has always accepting of other cultures.”

When she returned from Israel, she served as a national trainer for the Girl Scouts. Her leadership courses were even better than her college courses. With troop leaders, she shared her love and enthusiasm for Girl Scouts. Then those troop leaders passed on that love of scouting to future generations of girls.

“Girl Scouts is the ultimate training course for life,” says Mary Ann. After leaving Girl Scouts of the USA, she went on to be the Executive Director of the Radiological Society of North America in Oak Brook, Illinois. And then went on to start her own business, Tuft and Associates.

She says, “None of this would have happened without Girl Scouts.” She has owned her own business for 30 years and is still working today. “Any success I have had,” she says, “is because I had Girl Scouts as my foundation.”

To learn more about the Juliette Gordon Low Society, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Your donation of any amount ensures more girls find a safe space at Girl SCouts!
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