Update on GoldieBlox Kits and Mechanical Engineering Badges

Update on GoldieBlox Kits and Mechanical Engineering Badges

What are the Mechanical Engineering Badges?

Last summer, GSUSA released new STEM badges nationally. There are new badges and journeys for each level of Girl Scouts. Six of the new awards are Mechanical Engineering badges, where girls explore the engineering process with fun, hands-on activities. These badges are unique because they approach STEM in a new way using trial and error as a main focus. The girls are encouraged to make mistakes, and then try again and again, as they learn how to become innovators and problem solvers.

The six new Mechanical Engineering Badges are all described in detail on the Volunteer Toolkit:

  • Daisy Board Game Design Challenge
  • Daisy Model Car Design Challenge
  • Daisy Roller Coaster Design Challenge
  • Brownie Fling Flier Design Challenge
  • Brownie Leap Bot Design Challenge
  • Brownie Race Car Design Challenge

What are the GoldieBlox kits?

70246_main-01GSUSA partnered with GoldieBlox to offer custom kits that troops could use to earn their Mechanical Engineering badges. Each kit contains all of the materials necessary to earn any of the three Daisy Mechanical Engineering badges and the three Brownie Mechanical Engineering badges. The kit contains pieces that snap, click, or link together that girls use to create innovative new designs.

What is the availability of GoldieBlox kits?

Last year, GSUSA partnered with GoldieBlox to offer specially priced kits that troops could use to earn their Mechanical Engineering badges. Due to supply chain limitations, Girl Scouts can no longer order the kits. However, the kits that troops and councils have already purchased can still be used to complete the Mechanical Engineering badges. Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) purchased GoldieBlox kits, and these kits are now available for you to rent!

How will girls earn their Mechanical Engineering badges if they don’t have GoldieBlox kits?

GSUSA has created “unplugged” or “DIY” Mechanical Engineering badge requirements for Daisies and Brownies. (“Unplugged” or “DIY” means that the activities can be done with common household objects rather than a special kit.)

Plus, GSGCNWI ordered GoldieBlox kits that you can rent! Here are the details about how to rent a kit:

  • Visit a GSGCNWI Shop and complete a rental agreement.
  • Rent a kit from GSGCNWI for four (4) weeks at the discounted price of $35.
  • Get access to all the kit’s pieces needed to complete the the Mechanical Engineering badges for a Daisy or Brownie troop of up to 12 girls.
  • You can even save yourself a trip and buy the badges while you rent your kit.

Now Daisies and Brownies will have three options for earning their Mechanical Engineering badges:

  • They can use the unplugged/DIY version. The directions for the DIY version are on the Volunteer Toolkit online.
  • They can rent a GoldieBlox kit from a GSGCNWI Shop location.
  • They can use GoldieBlox kits if they already have them.

How can volunteers and girls get the new DIY requirements?

PDFs of the new DIY requirements are posted on the Volunteer Toolkit online.

How can volunteers get the current GoldieBlox requirements?

Troop leaders who have GoldieBlox kits can find the current GoldieBlox badge requirements on the Volunteer Toolkit. The current GoldieBlox badge requirements and physical badges are not included in the GoldieBlox kits.

What about the physical badges?

The physical badges will remain the same for Daisies and Brownies. They can be purchased at any GSGCNWI Shop location and online.

And a final note…

We’re grateful to GoldieBlox for their collaboration and for their diligent efforts to find a solution to the inventory issue. As engineers say: Let’s try something new. We will either succeed or we will learn something. We succeeded in creating new STEM badges that are fun for girls to earn and easy for volunteers to facilitate. We learned a great deal about meeting demand for program-related products. We’ll use that knowledge as we continue to test new ways to give girls a great STEM experience.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have questions, please contact:

Council Programming and GoldiBlox Rental: Rose Coughlen, Manager of STEAM Programming, 312.912.6309 or RCoughlen@girlscoutsgcnwi.org


A Girl Scout’s Account of Her First Destination

A Girl Scout’s Account of Her First Destination

Girl Scout Lucianna A., 13 years old, describes her first Destination. She attended the trip “3…2…1…Happy New Year from Mexico” during winter break 2017. She was one of a group of girls from the United States who met girls from around the world at Our Cabaña, the WAGGGS World Centre.

Destinations2As a young adult, I was extremely excited to take part in this trip because it would pretty much start my journey around the world. Being at Our Cabaña opened my eyes to so many other cultures and I made some international friends of course! Going to Our Cabaña was something I thought I’d never do. My experience helped me understand cultural differences and what it really means to be a part of WAGGGS. Meeting international friends taught me to respect cultural differences and know what is also in other countries.

Destinations3This trip has made me live in the present because having to leave after the short time I spent on the trip. The friends I made on this trip made me want to visit more countries around the world and obviously see them again. Staying at Our Cabaña really made me see that there are many people who can only speak a non-English language and this surprised me because so many people are bilingual/trilingual in the U.S. My Destination experience really made me curious on what I could see if I traveled more. I can’t wait to do a Destination again and experience more!

Destinations are trips for individual Girl Scouts from across the nation. With a ton of different trips to apply for every year, there’s something amazing for everyone to experience. You decide where to travel—whether it’s Morocco, Madison, or New Mexico—then fill out the application using this information.

NOTE: Application deadline extended to Feb. 1, 2018.

Learn About Financial Literacy at the Girl Scout Game of Life

Learn About Financial Literacy at the Girl Scout Game of Life

Think “financial literacy” is a snoozefest? Girl Scouts sure don’t! In fact, for the third year in a row, the Girl Scout Game of Life is pumped up to show you just how interactive, engaging, and yes – FUN – learning about money can be.

On Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., hundreds of Girl Scouts from across the council footprint will gather at Journey World at the Joliet Gathering Place (1551 Spencer Road, Joliet, IL) for this interactive adventure where girls choose a career, earn a salary, and navigate their way through games and activities to learn about money and more.

The Girl Scout Game of Life, presented in partnership with RSM US LLP, is for all ages. Depending on grade level, Girl Scouts have careers to try out and goals to meet. Did you go last year? Fear not! So much is new and glimmering with charm to even the most skeptical Girl Scout:

New at the Girl Scout Game of Life

* Brand new careers to try, including Young Adult AuthorMiddle School Teacher, and Professional Chef!

* The World’s Best DMV, where you can make your license (with a real photo!) and select the car of your dreams

* A cool, branded Girl Scout Game of Life wallet for Girl Scouts to keep their special Game of Life license and paycheck in (and real currency ).

A fabulous vacation suite where you can celebrate your first paycheck! Missed last year’s video? Check it out here!

“It’s a complete reinvention of what learning about fiscal responsibility can look like,” says Annie Gilmartin, Manager of Financial Literacy and Journey World. “While it might sound like we’re playing the board game, I promise upon Shakespeare’s grave that I will personally dispel that misconception into a thousand tiny pieces. Come to the Girl Scout Game of Life to see just what I’m talking about!”

According to Gilmartin, one of the most exciting parts of the Girl Scout Game of Life is watching parents and troop leaders learn as well.

“It’s easy to forget that the building blocks of financial literacy are about need versus want, and that you can make saving money into a game by re-framing how you think about things. And, if our inaugural Girl Scout Game of Life [in March 2016] is any indication, everyone had an amazing time doing just that.”

The Girl Scout Game of Life takes place on Sunday, November 5, 2017 from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Joliet Gathering Place, 1551 Spencer Road, Joliet, IL. Admission is $15 per girl and free for adults. Register here now through October 29, 2017.

Girl Scouts Celebrate Innovation at ‘Smart Cookies’ Fundraiser

Girl Scouts Celebrate Innovation at ‘Smart Cookies’ Fundraiser

More than 300 people attended Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s (GSGCNWI) eighth annual Smart Cookies Awards Breakfast on Sept. 20, 2017, at the Union League Club in Chicago. 

This year’s honorees were Rita Sola Cook, Midwest Region Executive, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Chris-Tia Donaldson, CEO, Thank God It’s Natural; Katy Lynch; Co-founder of Codeverse; and Jennifer Sherman, President and CEO, Federal Signal. 

“This event provides us with the opportunity to honor innovators and entrepreneurs who have stepped outside of their comfort zones, defied gender stereotypes and pursued their passions,” said Kathy Scherer, board president for GSGCNWI. “It is exactly what we hope to inspire in every girl who becomes a Girl Scout.” 

During the breakfast, which raised more than $130,000, guests enjoyed LEGO robot demonstrations from Newton Busters, the GSGCNWI team that placed 10th at world championships earlier this year, as well as the chance to purchase Girl Scout Cookies from a solar-powered cookie booth built by Troop 60194. 

According to the National Science Foundation, half as many girls as boys are interested in STEM careers. While 50 percent of girls ages 7-11 found STEM subjects to be fun and enjoyable, this percentage dropped to 31 percent and 36 percent in the 11-14 range. 

“The older girls get, the more likely they are to be influenced by gender stereotypes,” said Nancy Wright, CEO of GSGCNWI. “But Girl Scouts is changing that. We help girls build their confidence, self-esteem and resilience so they have the necessary qualities to not only survive in male-dominated industries, but thrive.” 

To learn more about how you can get involved with Girl Scouts, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org

Girl Scout Go-Getters Guest Post Part III

Girl Scout Go-Getters Guest Post Part III

In this guest blog series, we’d like to introduce you to a few members from our Girl Scout Go-Getters team, which will be participating in the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Our final post is from Rebecca Brewer…

Why am I running for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana?

Well, it was THAT moment that did it. You know the one.  The moment in which you remember a distant experience from the past and realize the deep influence it had been quietly making, your whole life.

It was late 2014 and as an adult settling into a new city, I longed for a new volunteer opportunity. The local Girl Scout council crossed my path. After just a few short weeks into my troop leader journey, I felt overwhelmed with the realization of the impact my own distant Girl Scout years had made in my life.

As a girl, I enjoyed a few wonderful years as a Girl Scout Brownie and, later, a Girl Scout Junior. I remember my first camping trip, many chatter-filled troop meetings, the joyful pride of completing projects around our community, and looking at all of the different badges available, eagerly choosing the next one.

Finally, there was the unforgettable feeling that only comes from exceeding one’s goals, cookie sale goals that is.  This, of course, achieved after many long walks through the neighborhood getting orders, the careful organization, labeling, and bagging of the orders, and then the longer walks to deliver cookies while the family station wagon – packed full of orders – crawled along the evening lit street.

My parents, church, and school all taught me about friendship, honesty, the value and reward of hard work, and the joy of doing something you really really love, but Girl Scouts allowed me to experience the deep impact of those values. When I became an adult, I was ready to take on my career and own my world.

Like many girls, my Girl Scout days faded slowly behind the experiences of high school, college, and starting a career. But when I was reviewing all of the fun options I had available to me as a Girl Scout leader — to pass on the same Girl Scout Promise, Law, and values I had learned so many year before — I became profoundly aware that they had always been a part of my motivation and drive and I reveled in recalling all that they had inspired me to achieve, so far.

And now, what would the girls in my troop do with it? How would they impact their communities and the world? I became so excited for them, and the future!

Over the decades, Girl Scouts continues to be a place where girls can learn who they are, what they love about life, and explore the interest of the present moment! They learn and grow alongside other girls, guided by women and men who believe that, in every girl, lies a leader, a game changer, and a history maker!  I love that I get to be a part of it all!

I’m running in the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana because the girls of today are the women the world will need tomorrow! It is a unique forum that offers something for every girl, no matter her interest, her ability, or her current circumstances. Every girl can become the woman she wants to be – that’s the opportunity that Girl Scouts provides.

To learn more about you can support Kassie and the Girl Scout Go-Getters, please click here.


Girl Scout Go-Getters Guest Post Part II

Girl Scout Go-Getters Guest Post Part II

In this guest blog series, we’d like to introduce you to a few members from our Girl Scout Go-Getters team, which will be participating in the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Next up is Kassie Giesel…

In just a few short weeks, I will be doing something bold in the upcoming year. I will be running my third Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2017.
Girl Scouts has been a part of my family for three generations and I’m happy to share that my daughter is the fourth generation! Being a leader is also part of our legacy. My great-grandmother was my grandmother’s leader, my mother was a Girl Scout and was also my leader, and now I am my daughter’s Daisy troop leader. 
Kassie G Daisy troop
My favorite memories from when I was a Girl Scout include camping at White Pines (I can’t wait to do this with my daughter!), horseback riding, crafting projects at monthly meetings, and all of the outings we went on. I can remember going to the zoo, aquarium, museums, bowling, and many more. 
Kassie G throwback picture
Growing up as a Girl Scout, I developed courage, confidence and character. It is all of these characteristics that have led me to running a marathon to raise money for charity.
To learn more about you can support Kassie and the Girl Scout Go-Getters, please click here.

Girl Scout Go-Getters Guest Post Part I

Girl Scout Go-Getters Guest Post Part I

In this guest blog series, we’d like to introduce you to a few members from our Girl Scout Go-Getters team, which will be participating in the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. First up is Alex Goh…

As the saying goes, ‘Once a Scout, Always a Scout’ and as an old Boy Scout, I can never resist a chance to support and keep the Scouting spirit alive among our younger generations.


Scouting has given me so much to live for and I’d like to share this message with everyone, boys and girls. My other passion is running marathons and to be able to engage in both activities in support of humanitarian effort is just truly a most fulfilling experience.


I am so looking forward to the Chicago Marathon in October and to meeting all our fellow runners and supporters and have a great time keeping the Scouting flames ablaze and contributing to building confidence and pride in the youth.

To learn more about you can support Alex and the Girl Scout Go-Getters, please click here.