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.

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Traveling with Troop 50384

Traveling with Troop 50384

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The following is a guest post from members of Girl Scout Troop 50834…

Recently, our troop traveled all throughout Europe visiting London, Paris and Barcelona. The trip was very interesting. We were able to see many famous landmarks: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Tower of London, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame, La Sagrada Familia.

We also saw famous people: Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward, Prince Charles, Camilla – Duchess of Cornwall, Felipe VI and Letizia – King and Queen of Spain. We also enjoyed seeing the play Wicked in London, it was amazing! We were able to meet one of the actors after the show.

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We rode the train everywhere we went and met different cultures of people from around the world; we also saw many different currencies. We visited PAX Lodge in London and received a Girl Scout pin. The Spanish markets had so many different foods and the crepes in France were fabulous! It was a trip of a lifetime that we will always remember.

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We also went to Savannah, Georgia. Getting the opportunity to experience the history of how Girl Scouts began was amazing. We were accompanied by another Girl Scout troop from Kansas during our time there as well.

Some of the highlights of our trip were visiting the birthplace of the Girl Scout founder, Juliette Gordon Low, and learning about how she interacted with and helped girls. Other high points were going on a dolphin cruise on Tybee Island and collecting seashells on the beach. We had a great time discovering our Girl Scout history and more about each other.

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

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You-and-Me: The First Step in Travel Progression

You-and-Me: The First Step in Travel Progression

You-and-Me on Mackinac Island 2018 marks the fifth Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana-sponsored trip to the Michigan island.

During this three-day, two-night adventure, Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes travel with their mom, grandma or favorite female adult friend for a fun-filled weekend adventure. The total price of the trip is approximately $350 per person which includes coach bus, accommodation, multiple meals and activities.

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The trip takes place from Aug. 5-7, 2018, and the group stays at the iconic Mission Point Resort in shared accommodation. Group activities include a horse-drawn carriage ride, butterfly house and admission to Fort Mackinac.

Girl Scouts and their family members get a full afternoon and evening to explore – whether that’s renting a bike to circle the 8.3 miles around the island, horseback riding, eating free fudge samples or shopping.

Following the success of GSGCNWI’s You-and-Me on Mackinac Island, the council has now added a second You-and-Me option in Door County, Wisconsin. Travel dates for this new opportunity are June 24-26, 2018.

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Again, Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes travel with their mom, grandma or favorite female adult friend for a three-day, two-night adventure. The total cost of the trip is approximately $275 per person, and includes coach bus, accommodation, multiple meals and activities.

Door County Trolley

The group will take part in a trolley tour, guided hike at the Ridges Sanctuary and a boat tour. There will also be free-time to explore the towns of Egg Harbor and Sister Bay. Accommodation is shared-suites at Newport Resort in Egg Harbor.

Registration for both trips closes on January 31, 2018 and requires a $150 deposit. You can register for the Mackinac Island trip here and register for the Door County trip here.

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

Girl Scouts Visit Our Cabaña in Mexico

Girl Scouts Visit Our Cabaña in Mexico

Ever wonder what it’s like to travel with Girl Scouts? In this guest blog post, members of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana share their experience at Nuestra Cabaña in Mexico…

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Day One

Greetings from Mexico! This is Gillion (Joliet, IL) and Leianna (Chicago, IL) writing to you all. Today, we went to Plaza De Las Tres Cultras and we learned about the history of the Mexican government and why it is important to the Mexican culture.

When we went to Teotihuacan we learned that it is the “City of Gods” and there is a plant that gave the Aztecs the basic needs (paper, soap, needle and thread). We also learned that they made their blankets and sweaters out of the cactus fibers. We then went to the Teotihuacan (pyramids). The majority of the girls walked up and down the pyramids, and let us tell you; the view was beautiful. There were shops throughout the pyramids (technically called temples) that sold bracelets, shirts, shoes, etc.

Then we went for lunch at a buffet where a mariachi band played for us. Our tour guide Marco sang a song for us and he had a beautiful voice. After lunch we went to the Nueva Basilica de Guadalupe (the Shrine of the Virgin Mary). We visited the old and new shrine then walked into the chapel. When we were just about to leave the shrine, it was pouring rain. When it calmed down, only by 10 percent, we ran to our cars to head for dinner. We had a ton of fun at dinner. Last, but not least, we got churros to end our night. Overall, our day was very long, but it was all worth it in the end.

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Day Two

Greeting from Ticalli! This is your amigas Nina and Taryn. We had a jam packed day full of fun. To start our day we went to Xochimilco and rode on a boat through the last Aztec canal in Ciudad de Mexico. Xochimilco is known for its floating gardens and is a colorful burst of Mexican culture. While on the boat we enjoyed elote, quesadillas, and many vendors showing off their trade. We used our new-found bartering skill, courtesy of Jan, to get the best deal!

Afterwards, we travelled to Coyoacan where we enjoyed a lunch of tostadas and aqua de fruta. From there we walked to Casa Azul, the home of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, and her husband Diego Rivera. While we were there, we learned more about the difficult and painful life that Frida endured and how it inspired many of her famous works. Inside the house there is not only many beautiful works of art, but also articles of her clothing and other remnants of her life.

On our way to the restaurant, we stopped to take pictures at “Alas de la Ciudad,” “The Wings of the City.” When we arrived to the restaurant, we saw the locked doors and the vacant restaurant, so we made other plans. The brave Jodi Lynn and Ashley ventured through the thunderstorm to get us our delicious pizza. Although the day was filled with twists and turns, it ended with lots of laughter, smiles, and beautiful memories.

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Day Three

This is Jordan (Green Bay, WI) and Gillion again writing to you from Our Cabaña in Cuernavaca, Mexico! Today we woke up and ate breakfast at Ticalli, like usual and then went to Zocalo, a large town square in Mexico CIty. There is the Palacio Nacional, the Gran Hotel, and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Then, walked to a restaurant near by to eat lunch. After lunch, we drove near Central Alameda Park and the Fine Art Museum to get back to Ticalli in time to get picked up to head to Our Cabaña. When we arrived, we got a tour of the World Center and ate dinner. After dinner we played games with all 60 girls staying with us to get to know them. It was a day filled with fun activities and meeting many new people.

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Day Four

This is Jenna (Wisconsin) and Jaelyn (Virginia) coming to you live from Our Cabaña. Today we woke up and had breakfast. We then participated in team building activities where we met girls from all around the world. At lunch we got to try the best chocolate flan cake ever. We then played a real life version of chutes and ladders. We were split up into groups and went to different stations; some of the stations were Our Cabaña trivia, Mexican food, camping tips, Day of the Dead (face painting), and water activities. Some of the girls also worked on a challenge to earn a limited edition patch for the 60th anniversary of Our Cabaña. After dinner we had a campfire and sung campfire songs.

Day Five

Hola! This is Kate (Lewisvile, NC) reporting on the activities of this past day. Today, the entire camp ran activity stations for the kids of a local orphanage, boys and girls ages 3-12. Our table held the materials to design your own paper plate sun catcher, complete with sequins, colored cellophane bits, and stickers. LOTS of stickers. Later into the day, the majority of us split off with one child to have fun hula-hooping, eating popsicles, and dancing our hearts out.

After we said “Adios,” our group set off in shifts to a nearby mall, only 25 minutes away by walking. We didn’t find much, but our leaders did find a McDonald’s – a MEXICAN McDonald’s. We wrapped up the evening with games that the whole center played, Jenga, Head’s Up, a clapping concentration game, and a round of Bang where the leaders (Mrs. Machota) were especially trigger-happy. As I am writing this, Nieve, the camp cat, has claimed Ms. Christensen’s lap for herself, and is working on a campaign for her laptop bag. We will continue the war front updates tomorrow. Cheers!

Mexico waterfalls

Day Six

This is Caroline (Boston) and Sierra (Iowa) writing to you from Our Cabaña. After a rushed breakfast, we headed out on an adventure with our group, girls from Pennsylvania, and girls from an island in the Caribbean. We took a bus and a truck to Mil Cascadas (the site of the waterfalls) then hiked the rest of the way. There were seven waterfalls of varying heights that could be attempted.

Every girl hiked and most jumped at least one. The tallest was 10 meters and the shortest was 2 meters. The instructors were helpful with getting our equipment (helmets and life jackets), steadying us along the way, and guiding us once we were in the water. No one hit a rock, but there was at least one accidental belly flop. Following the jumping, we had lunch by the water then hiked back. We saw lots of donkeys, horses, and cows on our journey. Some locals were even waterfall jumping too. Lots of girls took advantage of the ride back by taking naps.

Day Seven

Writing to you is Sophia (California) and Zuri (Pennsylvania) live and in stereo. This morning, we had a buffet-style breakfast. Then at 10 a.m., we boarded a tour bus to drive to a cathedral in downtown Cuernavaca where we learned the history of the location and Hernan Cortez.

Then, we had free time to go shopping at the local craft market where girls bought authentic Mexican items such as hammocks, dresses, and handmade bags. We arrived at Our Cabaña at 1:30 p.m. where we had a delicious lunch which was followed by a fun-filled pool party. Later this evening, we had a traditional dinner and a Nuestra Cabaña scavenger hunt. Now we are off to bed awaiting the 60th Anniversary party tomorrow.

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Day Eight

Hola, it’s Taryn and Sierra writing to you about yesterday. The morning started off with an optional trip to the local pyramids called Teopanzolco. Girls could walk there or have a free morning. After returning, we came back for lunch. The 60th anniversary party was in the afternoon. Girls got dressed up in party clothes.

There were super fun arcade games, a cute photo booth with costumes and props, a piñata filled with traditional Mexican candy, Spanish, American, British, and Brazilian music, and lots of high energy dancing. During dinner there was even a mariachi band. They brought in caterers for dinner with traditional Mexican food- tacos, elotes, quesadillas, etc. To end the party, girls jumped fully clothed into the swimming pool.

Day Nine

This is Leianna (Chicago) and Celina (Missouri) writing to you all about our day. Today we worked on our scrapbook page for the Cabaña’s scrapbook. The book is basically full of all the Girl Scouts and Girl Guides that have visited the Cabaña. Then we planned out our international night swaps. We practiced our song and a brief sentence about each of our swaps. Then we had free time to do what we wanted like swim or go to the craft house.

The Cabaña had set up two programs for us to choose from. One was about self-confidence and the other was about types of violence. The classes they set up for us was to learn different views of what goes on in today’s society. When dinner time came the leaders left for dinner. The Girl Scouts stayed at the Cabaña to eat dinner and play capture the flag with the volunteers. All the girls are really enjoying themselves and don’t want to leave just yet.

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

Girl Scouts Explore Colorado

Girl Scouts Explore Colorado

Ever wonder what it’s like to travel with Girl Scouts? In this guest blog post, members of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana share their experience in Colorado…

Day One

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We started off meeting at the airport at 9:30 a.m. We got all of our plane tickets and went straight to our gate. Some girls went out and got food before our flight. Soon our plane was ready to be boarded! The flight was two-and-a-half hours to Denver. We practically played Mad Libs at least half of the plane ride. Yay!

We flew over Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado. Once we landed, we boarded our bus and saw the most beautiful mountains and hills. The two-hour bus ride was a blast when all of a sudden the girls burst out into the song “Titanium”. Our bus driver also took us to Starbucks so we could eat before the camp dinner time.

We arrived at the camp successfully and learned about different activities we could do during free time. Many girls went out for a dusk hike and even saw a deer! Soon it was time to go to bed so we could have an amazing day tomorrow.

Day Two

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We started off the day with an early-morning horseback ride through the mountains. We were on the trails for about an hour and the views were incredible. We had big, super friendly horses … although some of them were a bit slow. Some of us liked that the horses started trotting, that was fun! Our tour guide also took us through a small creek so the horses could stop and get a drink of water.

In the afternoon, a bunch of people enjoyed doing mosaics, and other crafts at the craft cabin while some swam at the pool. Our favorite part about the pool was the rock-climbing wall. Many of us have gone adventuring off to explore the property and saw llamas and goats.

Later in the day we did the low-ropes course. It was all about team building and communication. We learned to always make a plan and think outside of the box. There was also a small challenge course. Another lesson learned is that it is better and easier when everyone joins in and tries their hardest.

Day Three

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Today was our whitewater rafting trip! When we got to the Mad Adventures Rafting, we were split up into two different groups for rafting. The two guides were really funny and nice. At first we were in slow, smooth, and peaceful water.  Later we ended up in rapids and we got very wet even on the boat.

We went to a small cliff with two different levels, the lower one being 5 feet and the higher one being 20 feet. Some of us climbed up the cliffs and jumped into the river. In the middle of our trip, we stopped to rest and eat lunch (on land). The guides set up a sandwich station and we got to make our sandwiches and eat cookies.

After lunch, we got back out on the water. We played many games, for example, Rodeo. Rodeo was a game where you stood at the front edge of the raft and the rest of the boat would go in circles, trying to make you loose your balance and fall into the river. The people who jumped in had very surprised looks on their faces. Today was an enjoyable day and everyone enjoyed it!

Day Four

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Today we went tubing, and had fun doing archery as well. Some of us also had fun rollerskating and swimming. We also enjoyed a cook out dinner and had a campfire afterwards where we enjoyed S’mores and sang songs.

Day Five

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Today was definitely a fun-filled day! First, we started off with the adventurous canoeing. Girls were playing music, dancing and playing different types of competitive games. Sadly, the hour was short although, it was an awesome start to the day.

After the drive back to camp most of the girls went to lunch. We had a walk back to the forest zip line. Most of the girls went for a second turn because it was super fun. Some put their fears aside and went for it and ended up with the biggest smile on their faces! We headed back to our chunk of free time. Girls did activities including swimming, visiting the library, mini golf, and hiking.

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Later that afternoon, nine girls set off for the steak dinner and horseback ride. The food was amazing and horseback riding was even better! With a trot, walk, fun fact learning, and singing, and joke telling, the two-hour horse ride was a complete success. After that activity, girls decided to go play the human version of Hungry Hungry Hippos and some stayed for rollerskating.

Day Six

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Today we went to the Rocky Mountain National Park. While there we encountered a herd of elk, learned how to lasso a wooden horse, some of us took a tour of a homestead and learned of the family that lived there.

We went on a photo tour, going to different spots to take photos. We climbed the Alpine Ascent at 12,000 feet! After our climb in the wind and cold (plus a little snow!), we did some souvenir shopping.

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We also went to the Continental Divide for a photo op. Then we went to a town called Grand Lake. We enjoyed ice cream and trinket shopping.

Day Seven

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To start the day, some girls went on a breakfast horseback ride. The horses were very energetic; they trotted numerous times. The food was delicious — we had giant cowboy pancakes, seasoned eggs, bacon, and sausage.

After our ride, we went to lunch and later that afternoon, four of us went to the high-ropes challenge course. Some of the obstacles were the Jacob’s Ladder, the “Leap of Faith,” and other trust activities. Some people went for a beautiful waterfall hike, went swimming, and went to the craft cabin.

If you’d like to join our council’s next trip to Colorado in 2019, click here to learn more and register. For more information about our travel opportunities, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Explore London with Girl Scouts

Explore London with Girl Scouts

Calling all Cadettes! Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana will be inviting 12 girls and 2 adults to join us next summer on a London adventure.

During this introduction to international travel, girls will plan where we go, how to get around, and where to eat. Is it Big Ben, Stonehenge, a Harry Potter tour, or the London Eye? Whether you’re a history buff, a Hogwarts fan, or just can’t wait to travel the world, this trip is for you!

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Before the 2018 trip, you will meet on a monthly basis to practice the basics of planning a trip. You’ll have a budget to stick within, travel guides, and the trusty Internet to plan the adventure.

This adventure is open to Cadettes who are in grades 6-8 during the 2017-2018 school year and you must be 12 years old before the start of the trip. The trip will take place July 30-August 3, 2018, and cost is approximately $2,000 (inclusive of airfare, most meals, accommodations, sightseeing and transportation). Financial aid is available.

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The application is now live for girls only. But don’t hesitate, the deadline to apply is June 1, 2017!

For more information, and to apply, click here.

Lessons Learned While Roaming Italy

Lessons Learned While Roaming Italy

While visiting Italy over the summer, our tour guide pointed our the difference in cultures in the various cities. Even Italian constants such as pasta differed from region to region! For example, Bologna was famous for inventing lasagna and tortellini, while I learned how to make ravioli in Rome.

Many of these cities also have different histories. Before Italy was a unified country, it was a collection of states — each with their own way of operating and separate governments. To this day, the different regions and cities boast their own history.

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In Rome, the residents celebrate the Roman Empire and the days when all roads lead to Rome. In Florence, they show off all of the important works of art that originated there and the crucial role their country played in the Italian Renaissance. Meanwhile, Venice teaches tourists about the days when the doge, or chief magistrate, ruled and their world-class glass blowing. Despite all of this, every region comes together to share in the collective history of Italy.

Seeing all of the cultural differences in Italy made me think of how we view culture in America. For the most part, we celebrate our own culture, and cherish different familial traditions. Many Americans hold tightly to where their ancestors came from and what their heritage means to them. All of the different cultures in America contribute to a mixture of different traditions, which is expected since America is a nation of immigrants.

However, there is still hostility towards cultures that certain Americans view as different and wrong. Instead of celebrating our differences and how the influx of immigrants has always brought prosperity and growth to America, some of us tear each other down. In Italy, the difference between regions is melded together to create a united country. While regions do compete with each other, it is always friendly and many choose to focus on similarities rather than differences.

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I think that Americans should learn to see different religions and cultures in a friendlier way, and we should celebrate the things that make America wonderful. Heritage is important to all of us, and we should still work hard to preserve our history and our culture. Many of the social problems that America is currently facing stems from the fact that we don’t respect each other ‘s differences. I believe that if we can learn to see each other as contributing something special and unique to the “American Melting Pot” culture, then we will have a much more accepting America. Italy showed me what it meant to truly love thy neighbor.

Nina Grotto is a Girl Scout Ambassador from Hinsdale, Illinois.

For more information about other Girl Scout Destinations, including  Our Cabaña in Cuernavaca, Mexico next year, click here.