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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Allstate Awards Girl Scouts $25,000 Grant for Healthy Living Initiative

Allstate Awards Girl Scouts $25,000 Grant for Healthy Living Initiative

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) has received a $25,000 grant from Allstate Insurance Company to support the council’s GirlSpace Healthy Living program, which supported nearly 500 girls primarily in Chicago’s Englewood community.

“Through GirlSpace Healthy Living, girls gain knowledge and skills that are the basis for healthier lives, along with the social and emotional skills that will help them be successful adults,” said Ede Crittle, Director of Community Outreach for GSGCNWI. “Additionally, girls are empowered to live healthier lives, positively impact their families and influence their communities.”

GirlSpace Healthy Living is one of three 12-week components that comprise GirlSpace, an after-school program for at-risk girls that operates year-round and partners with approximately 40 Chicago schools and Chicago Park District sites on the city’s underserved South and West sides. The program reaches about 3,000 girls annually and seeks to bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to life through a variety of curricular areas, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), financial literacy and healthy living.

The program has helped girls such as Madison, a second-grader at Beasley Elementary School who has struggled with childhood obesity.

“Madison now comes to the program with updates on what she is doing in her community to be active, such as helping an elderly neighbor take a walk, and she’s also discovered a fondness for kiwi and pineapples,” said LaKesha Purdue, a GirlSpace supervisor. “We recently had a jump rope contest and Madison did very well. She’s committed to doing more physical activity every day.”

Allstate, which is known for its outreach efforts, also partnered with Girl Scouts last year for an environmentally-focused pilot program, GirlSpace OUTSIDE, EcoGirls!

“Our society’s future depends on today’s youth,” said David Woolwine, Director, Corporate Citizenship.  “At Allstate, we believe good starts young. That’s why we are committed to empowering young people with the skills and confidence to step up as leaders in their communities and achieve success in their lives.”

The GirlSpace Healthy Living program is also offered in Chicago communities such as Auburn-Gresham, Bridgeport, Chatham, East Garfield, South Shore and West Woodlawn. More than 113,000 girls have been served through GirlSpace since it began in the mid-1980s.

Girl Scout Team Places at World LEGO Robotics Championship

Girl Scout Team Places at World LEGO Robotics Championship

Girl Scouts are pioneers when it comes to innovation, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Newton Busters, a team from Wilmette, Illinois, earned 10th place at the FIRST LEGO League World Championships earlier this year in St. Louis.

“Getting to the world championships was really cool,” said Yara Goldina, a 16-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador. “There were a lot of teams and they were all pretty advanced, so it was really interesting to see all of the different robots and strategies. It was also our first time getting to far in FTC and because we’re only a second-year team, I thought it was really cool that we go through to the last level and performed pretty well.”

Teammate Simone Wall, a 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, agreed.

“I really enjoyed my experience. The days were long and tiring, but in a good way,” she shared. “It was interesting to see all of the creative solutions people came up with and to talk to them about their design and how they came up with it. It was also fun to meet teams from others countries – some of them spent almost 24 hours traveling just to make it to St. Louis.”

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The four-day event featured more than 15,000 students from 33 countries. In preparation for the competition, the Newtown Busters team performed driving tests for their robot and held meetings to practice their presentation.

“We focused a lot on testing robot components this year to improve them,” said Athena Zheng. “We mainly tested our robot for any imperfections in our programs, as well as revised some mechanisms of our robot to make it more efficient.”

Simone was also happy to see her design come to life.

“With Newton Busters, I was able to learn a lot more about programming, hardware design and fabrication,” she said. “It was exciting to see a design I drew out on paper become a real thing that actually worked.”

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) has sponsored more than 500 girls on teams in LEGO Robotics programming throughout the last seven years. This year, Girl Scouts LEGO Robotics program sponsored 27 teams at various levels of FIRST Robotics for a total of 140 girls.

“We’re committed to encouraging girls to embrace their imaginations and develop the creative problem-solving skills that will empower them to tackle 21st-century challenges in their communities, classrooms, careers and beyond,” said Candice Schaefer, director of program for GSGCNWI.

2017_05_01 Girl Scouts Collage FTC Velocity Vortex World Championship

The Girl Scouts LEGO Robotics program is made possible through generous funding from Exelon and additional funding from Motorola Solutions Foundation.

“What we love about the LEGO Robotics program is that it helps gets young girls interested in STEM in a really fun and creative way,” said Steve Solomon, vice president, Exelon Corporation in Chicago. “We fund programs like this one to get more young women interested STEM and thinking about careers in the energy industry. Not only does it teach them skills to build the robots, but this program teaches problem-solving, critical-thinking and team-building skills which they can use throughout their lives.”

Gloria Fountain, a Girl Scout troop leader and Newton Busters coach, couldn’t agree more.

“Girl Scouts helps our girls recognize their potential so that when they go into a male-dominated industry, they feel empowered,” she said. “At the end of the day, I’m so amazed by their journey,” said Gloria Fountain. “They start with nothing and create innovative solutions. People marvel at their presentations and it’s so amazing.”

In addition to the LEGO Robotics program, ComEd, an Exelon company, also hosts an annual Icebox Derby competition for young women.

“Girl Scouts has provided me multiple opportunities to learn about STEM,” said Athena, who has also participated in ComEd’s Icebox Derby. “In FTC, I have learned how to innovate new solutions to problems; write programs for testing; analyze date results from our test programs; create complex algorithms to complete tasks and much more.”

Newton Buster teammate and fellow Icebox Derby competitor Jasmine Wu has also enjoyed learning more about STEM through Girl Scouts.

“Girl Scouts helped me develop my love for STEM by creating and sponsoring so many programs,” Jasmine, a 16-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, said. “In the summer of 2014, I took part in the Icebox Derby. We built a car from a fridge and raced it. My interest in STEM was furthered when we won and traveled to the national flight academy the next year.”

“Girl Scouts helped our team stay together so that we could afford to participate in FTC and les us continue to build robots and compete,” said Yara, who plans to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. “They encourage us to keep going and work hard to learn more.”

And the encouragement doesn’t stop there. Several of the girls have mentored younger Girl Scouts who’ve expressed an interest in STEM.

“I have been mentoring Girl Scout [First LEGO League] teams since fifth grade and find it so rewarding since all the girls gain so much from the experience,” said Samantha Fountain, a 15-year-old Girl Scout Senior. “Girl Scouts is the perfect place to find STEM activities to try and see if you have a passion for it.”

To learn more about the Girl Scout LEGO Robotics program, click here.