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.

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.

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.

IMG_20171213_0001_1995_brownie_investiture (1)
“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.



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.



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.

IMG_1859 (1)

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.

15 Ways to Start the New Year with Service and Community

15 Ways to Start the New Year with Service and Community

It’s the New Year’s resolution to end all New Year’s resolutions, and it’s so, so Girl Scouts! This year, do things a little differently, and resolve to give back to yourself by giving back to others. That’s right. We’re calling for a resolution of service! Because when you help others, you just can’t begin to imagine how much good it actually does for your own soul. It’s really the best kind of win-win.

And it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, it’s really the accumulation of all the small ways we can be of service to others every day that can make our lives significantly brighter and more meaningful, while helping us feel more connected within our communities. In 2018, what do you say we all resolve to make the world a better place, together, by committing to practice these powerful and simple acts of service to others as often as possible?

  1. Be kind, particularly to those who are not exactly your cup of tea, so to speak. It might be hard, but it will be meaningful.
  2. Be gentle with the environment. Avoid littering, recycle, and regularly sign up for community cleanups. The more we do to keep the outdoors in good shape, the more we can all enjoy it!
  3. Show compassion. Sometimes that’s the greatest gift we can offer someone.
  4. Practice good manners. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way in making others feel appreciated and respected.
  5. Be helpful as much and as often as possible. Help create a sense of community wherever you go.
  6. Listen more. Sometimes all people truly want is to be heard, and to know they matter.
  7. Volunteer once a month—or more if you can. Learn about volunteering with us—it’s important work and so much fun!

To read the full blog post, visit girlscouts.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.


On behalf of Phoebe and every girl like her, thank you.
Donate Button CTA.JPG

Butterfly Garden Coming to Camp Greene Wood

Butterfly Garden Coming to Camp Greene Wood

The following is a guest post from our outdoor conservation and stewardship specialist, Lauren Somogyi…

You might ask, what is a Monarch Waystation and why do we need one?

Well, to start, the monarch butterflies are currently on the path to extinction. Their populations have been declining for many years due to loss of habitat, insecticide and herbicide use, and intensive agriculture.

Monarch butterflies are considered an indicator species, which can help determine whether environments and ecosystems are healthy. If an indicator species population declines, it is possible that their specific living environment is also changing and something is wrong.

Also, while conserving the monarch butterflies, we help other pollinators as well, such as bees, by providing these native plant based habitats. Conserving these habitats can have a cascading effect to the conservation of the entire ecosystem.

So, now, why is having a Monarch Waystation important?

Creating a Monarch Waystation will help provide habitats for monarchs to breed, develop, and survive. The more areas that have these designated areas, filled with milkweed and other critical plants, the easier it is for monarchs to find areas to live.

A Monarch Waystation is an area that contains specific host and nectar plants critical to the survival of the monarch butterflies. These waystations are managed specifically to provide food, shelter, and habitat for monarch butterflies.

Following the guidelines provided by Monarch Watch, a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program, these waystations need to be at least 100 square feet and be exposed to six hours of a sun per day.

The plant criteria includes having at least 10 native host plants, made up of two or more species, as well as multiple native nectar plants. The host plants provide a location for butterflies to lay their eggs and are the sole food source for developing caterpillars, while the nectar plants provide food for the adult butterflies.

The main host plant for Monarchs is milkweed. Milkweed is the only type of plant that monarch caterpillars feed on when growing and developing. It is a critical plant to the monarch butterfly. By including these plants in waystations, abundance food sources are available to the monarchs.

How can I help?

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is offering multiple workshops next year for girls to come out and assist in developing our butterfly garden and Monarch Waystation.

We want girls to be able to learn about conservation techniques, specifically to the monarch butterflies, as well as engage them in hands-on gardening activities that will help them develop skills that they can take home.

We hope to provide fun and education workshops for girls to gain a better understanding of the environment around them and care for the Earth.

Let It Grow: Butterfly Buddies is open to girls in kindergarten through fifth grade. To learn more and to register, click here.