Smart Cookies: Savoring Science!

On Thursday, September 19, nearly 300 attendees gathered at the Ivy Room in downtown Chicago for an evening of beverages, bites, and food science exploration at our annual Associate Board led fall fundraiser, Smart Cookies: Savoring Science!

Emceed by pastry whiz and owner of Bon Vivant Cakes Emily Nejad, and Girl Scout Cadette co-host and sous-chef Natalia, the evening was full of sweet and savory experimentation.

Culinary Chemists

At this year’s event, Girl Scouts showcased their expert food-science knowledge with attendees from the opportunities they had with innovative program partners Ingredion and RXBAR. These girls each walked away with a deeper interest in STEM, stronger entrepreneurial skills, and some unique, delicious creations!

Ingredion recently hosted Girl Scouts at The Hatchery Chicago for a day of food-science investigation. The girls, led by Ingredion Chef Nelson Serrano-Bahri and two culinary entrepreneurs, broke down the anatomy of a chocolate chip cookie, and replaced different ingredients to see the effect it would have on the cookie. Abigail C., one of the Girl Scouts participated in the program enthusiastically described the day of interactive learning: “It was fun! Our cookies ended up looking like melting blobs of dough.”

The other girls featured at this year’s Smart Cookies were Ava and Carlie, the Girl Scouts who participated in the visited the RXBAR program in August. Both girls were especially impressed by the women-run aspect of the experience–– Carlie said it was inspiring to see “intelligent, nice, meticulous women” who have “care, heart, and motivation.” The girls took home their own creations of RXBARS, and a sparked interest in entrepreneurship and culinary science.

Let’s Get Cooking!

The evening featured on-site fundrasing from a call to action to a silent auction. Representatives from the Associate Board did the ask of attendees to donate on the spot–– with every $500 donated, they lit up LED bracelets all around the room that changed colors!

The total raised prior to the event and on-site was more than $100,000 for our council!

With the funds raised this year, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana will continue to provide exciting and cutting edge learning opportunities like these Smart Cookies: Savoring Science programs.

The Girl Scouts provides a wealth of opportunities to experience STEM first hand, opening up the doors for the next generation of women leaders. Whether its robotic programming or environmental stewardship, these programs are just one of many ways Girl Scouts can get a kick-start in STEM–– and there is so much more to explore! Isn’t STEM pretty sweet?

Thank you to our sponsors and donors, the Associate Board, our hosts and staff, and our platinum sponsor, Diner’s Club International, a part of the Discover Global Network. A special thanks to the Girl Scouts who showcased their stories!

Support Our Smart Cookies

We are so appreciate of all support and generosity as a result of Smart Cookies: Savoring Science. If you’re interested in participating in our silent auction, we have some items available for purchase.

You can also support Girl Scouts GCNWI by donating here!

Girl Scouts Will Travel: Wyoming to India

Written by Maureen Ewing, Global Action Volunteer Team member
Destinations India trip hosted by Girl Scouts GCNWI, where Maureen was a chaperone.

A Wide Opportunity

In 1986, I was a nervous 7th grade Girl Scout Cadette applying to attend my first Wider Opportunity (now called Destinations). I completed my application and found three references. On interview day, I put on my Girl Scout uniform, was driven to the Girl Scout office, and nervously answered questions about why I wanted to attend National Center West in Wyoming to ride horses for two weeks.

Seven months later, I was boarding a plane for the first time, and by myself, hugging (and probably while crying) my family as I walked through the gate.

Needless to say, I loved this trip. For the next five years, I attended five Girl Scout Wider Opportunities. In 1987 and 1988, I traveled to Wyoming to ride horses. In 1989, I went to Topeka, KS for a volleyball camp at the University of Kansas. In 1990, I hiked part of the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In 1991, I studied marine biology in San Francisco.

A GCNWI Girl Scout exploring Yellowstone National Park.

Foundations for Curiosity

Girl Scouts gave me the foundation for a curiosity about the world and a love of travel. As an adult, I studied abroad in England at the University of Nottingham, and earned my Master’s degree from Rhodes University in South Africa. I have visited 29 countries and have lifelong friends around the world.

I have volunteered with the Girl Scouts since I left high school. I was in Campus Scouts in college, assisted with a Girl Guide troop for a year while I studied in South Africa, volunteered at events, and in 2007, I took a group of girls to the WAGGGS World Centre in Switzerland.

Since 2012, I have been volunteering with GSGCNWI on the Global Action Volunteer Team. Our team works to make sure that girls learn about global issues, and we share our love of travel to help inspire girls to see the world. Girl Scouts can still apply to Destinations (formerly called Wider Opportunities when I was a girl) for travel all over the world. It is an especially important time for girls to stay connected and educated about issues that affect girls around the world.

Destinations India trip hosted by Girl Scouts GCNWI.

New Adventures

One of my bucket list items has always been to visit the WAGGGS World Centre, Sangam, in Pune, India. This summer, I finally had that chance as a chaperone on the Destination to India trip. Over a few weeks, we visited Pune, Delhi, and Agra, where the Taj Mahal is.

The trip was for the girls, but I was beyond excited to experience a new country (the 30th country I’ve visited!) as they did.

To Infinity, and Beyond

We would like to thank Maureen Ewing for sharing her story with us! We hope this inspires other girls not only to venture out into this great wide world, but to continue their relationship with the Girl Scouts throughout their lives!

Check out our other contributions from the Global Action Volunteer Team!
Who We Are Part 1 | Who We Are Part 2 | Why You Should Try Backpacking | Study Abroad |Adventure in Mexico|Safety While Traveling|Traveling as a Gen Z-er

Check out our Adventure in India blog series, written by the girls on the trip!
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Learn more how you can travel with the Girl Scouts by visiting our travel web-page or emailing Ashley Christensen.

Sleep Under at the Chicago Children’s Museum!

Saturday, November 2 | 6:00–10:00 p.m.
DaisiesCadettes (Grades K8) | Family Friendly!
Register on our programs site by Oct. 27 to secure your spot!

Girl Scout Daisies through Cadettes (in grades K-8) are invited to an exclusive and exciting Girl Scouts’ Sleep Under on Nov. 2 at the Chicago Children’s Museum! This event has all of the fun of a museum sleepover, but you get to sleep in your own bed at the end of the night!

Come and spend an evening with fellow Girl Scouts, earn patches, explore different exhibits, enjoy a light snack, and be among the first to experience the museum’s brand new climbable sculpture, Cloud Buster. All members of your family are welcome to join the fun!

Wonders of Water and Woodworking

The Chicago Children’s Museum is a staple of Chicago and Navy Pier, and is chock-full of exciting exhibits and activities for all ages. Visit the art studio to unleash your inner creativity, or get climbing on the schooner. Build a skyscraper at the Skyline, tell your story at the Story Hub, and splash around at WaterWays!

Whatever you choose to do, it’s sure to be an unforgettable evening at one of Chicago’s most popular museums!

Girl Scouts are also invited to build hands-on experience and work towards the Wonders of Water Journey and badges in engineering and art. Cadettes can even earn their Woodworking Badge in their wood shop! (Space is limited for wood shop activities–– first come first served!)

Night at the Museum

Fun patch is included for all Girl Scouts. Be sure to come in your PJs!

Price per adult and Girl Scout is $30.

Register on our program site before October 27th to secure your spot!

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 7!

The Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, requires courage, confidence, and character. It requires hours of service, months of planning, and an incredible amount of drive.

This year, 80 Girl Scouts from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana have shown they have what it takes. Every one of these girls, in their own unique ways, dedicated their time to making a difference in their worlds and beyond.

Join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of these Golden Girl Scouts! View photos from this year’s Gold Award Ceremony in our photo album on Facebook, and learn more about the Gold Award in the informational program booklet on our website.

Part 7: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

Miranda P.

For her Gold Award, Miranda partnered with the First Church in DeMotte, Indiana to help sponsor an orphanage in Haiti. She designed and built a place where church members can find out what items are needed, and drop off their donations. To kick off the process, she organized a peanut butter drive with the youth group, and extra jars were donated to the local food pantry.

Jessica P.

Jessica, for her Gold Award project, assisted in the ongoing movement of land restoration by leading her own restoration work day in New Lenox, Illinois. In addition to helping with the cause, she inspired and accumulated more visitors by creating an educational website to promote the work day.

Paige R.

For her project, Paige created an after-school club to help teenage girls find their own self-confidence and girl power. To combat the unrealistic body standards found on social media, the members learned different techniques to help them enjoy life, love themselves, and be the best they can be no matter their shape or size.

Elizabeth R.

The elementary school in Elizabeth’s neighborhood has a growing population of special needs students, but did not have anywhere for these students to take breaks when needed. For her Gold Award, Elizabeth filled carts with items to help them collect themselves and take “brain breaks.” She also made sure these students have a quiet area to regain focus for the rest of the school day.

Emily R.

For her project, Emily made surgical caps for children undergoing surgery. With help from her advisor, she gathered her troop and made 150 to 200 surgical caps for children and infants. She made the caps with cotton, and had options from fun cartoons ranging from superheroes to Disney characters.

Abigail M. R.

For her Gold Award project, Abigail worked with her former middle school to start a successful garden of native plant species. This was both needed and wanted in the community, as there were sparse numbers of plants around her school, including native species.

Kathyrn C. R.

For her project, Kathryn worked with the CareKit Foundation. The foundation collects and distributes toiletries, first aid supplies, socks, washcloths, snacks, and other supplies to homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and others in need. Kathryn encouraged Girl Scouts and others to start making CareKits of their own.

Charlotte E. R.

Charlotte’s Gold Award project aimed to introduced girls to STEM, particularly to engineering and design. For a National Night Out event, she had girls make tin foil boats to race and sink with pennies. She also gave them the opportunity to build card stock boats at a village picnic, and cardboard boats which were raced in the local Independence Day regatta.

Emma S.

Emma brought awareness to the needs of adult cancer patients in lower-income communities. Working with a team at the Rush Copley Cancer Care Center, she provided care packages to the patients, which included a fleece-tied pillow, water bottle, puzzle books, journal, peppermint candies, hand sanitizer, and pens. She also led informative programs where she taught students how to create the care packages, and provided brochures on cancer prevention and how to make donations to the center.

Katherine S.

Katherine’s Gold Award project, Art for All, aimed to provide art supplies to children in financially struggling families. Through community drives, direct donations, and funds from product sales and art contest awards, she collected art supplies to be sorted into kits. The kits were then provided to the Hanover Township Trustees Office to distribute through the food pantry.

As Good As Gold

Bronze. Silver. Gold. The highest honors Girl Scouts can earn.

Will you collect donations for your local food pantry for your Bronze award? What about spreading awareness about global warming for your Silver, or assisting with the refugee crisis for your Gold?

Learn more about earning the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »
Part Two: Meet the second 10 girls (last names B-D) »
Part Three: Meet the third 10 girls (last names F-H) »
Part Four: Meet the fourth 10 girls (last names H-K) »
Part Five: Meet the fifth 10 girls (last names K-L) »
Part Six: Meet the sixth 10 girls (last names M-P) »

Girl Scouts Learn Food Science with RXBAR and Ingredion

Leading up to this Thursday’s event—Smart Cookies: Savoring Science—local Girl Scouts joined two of our partners for a unique, two-part experience in culinary science and entrepreneurship with RXBAR and Ingredion Incorporated!

Join us at Smart Cookies: Savoring Science, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s premiere cocktail fundraiser where you’ll get to meet the Girl Scouts firsthand as they showcase what they learned.

Girl Scouts Carlie and Ava making their own RXBAR!


On Wednesday, Aug. 14, Girl Scouts Carlie and Ava visited RXBAR‘s offices in Chicago’s River North neighborhood to learn about the science of cooking and food development, hear directly from food scientists, and meet mentors who modeled potential career paths in the industry.

The experience with RXBAR was exclusively women-run so Carlie and Ava met one-on-one with female food scientists Leann Barden (Research Manager) and Eliana Pinilla-Ryha (VP of R&I) who broke down the “science” behind our favorite protein bars and opened their eyes to a new world of food! On top of that the girls were even able to make their own RXBARs to take home!

Through the partnership with RXBAR, we are exposing Girl Scouts to a career area they may not have thought of before. The partnership helped us spark girls’ interest in culinary arts and further develop entrepreneurial leadership skills in the world’s future leaders.

A group of Girl Scouts enjoying the beautiful day at The Hatchery and Garfield Park’s Neighborhood Market.


Ingredion Chef Nelson Serrano-Bahri and two culinary entrepreneurs hosted Girl Scouts on Saturday, Sept. 14 at The Hatchery Chicago. They led a day of interactive learning that included using science to break down how a chocolate chip cookie is made. This included testing ingredient adjustments to see what would happen if you left out eggs or baking soda.

Girl Scouts then toured The Hatchery, heard from chefs about the challenges of launching a new business, and worked in the chef kitchens to learn first-hand how the organization cultivates culinary talent.

Then girls worked in small groups to engage directly with each during four sessions:

Chef Nelson Serrano-Bahri of Ingredion Incorporated

Chef Serrano-Bahri used chocolate chip cookies as a way to hypothesize and test what happens when you introduce a variable in the cooking process; for example: what happens when one ingredient changes or is substituted (e.g. creating a sugar-free cookie or gluten-free cookie) and does the chemistry and final product of the cookie change with each adjustment. At the conclusion of the program, Girl Scouts compared the four final baked products to understand how the baking changes impacts the taste and texture of the cookie.

Tathy of Gifted Breads

Gifted Breads owner Tathy talked about her experience changing careers into the culinary industry after leaving her job as a corporate lawyer. She started Gifted Breads, a gluten-free bread company because she as Celiac disease and couldn’t find quality bread in Chicago; using her experience as an example, Tathy talked about changing careers to meet a gap in the market and how she worked through the challenges of entering an industry outside of her professional training. Girl Scouts sampled Gifted Breads’ baguettes in Tathy’s food-production kitchen at The Hatchery while learning to be industrious, resourceful, and persistent.

Maya-Camille Broussard of Justice of the Pies

Girls learned from Justice of the Pie owner, Maya-Camille Broussard, in her food-production kitchen at The Hatchery about her experience as a female entrepreneur and the biggest challenges of owning her own business. She created a dialogue where the girls could speak comfortably and confidently about what they wanted to be when they’re older—and what they can do to get there—all while sampling a custom-made Tagalong pie.

Garfield Park Neighborhood Market

The fourth station was a tour of the Garfield Park Neighborhood Market at The Hatchery. Girls went to each vendor, learning from the local community entrepreneurs and members of The Hatchery who were selling their locally sourced and handmade goods, with items ranging from fresh vegetables to mini cheesecakes and cupcakes to jewelry.

Join Us at Smart Cookies: Savoring Science

At Girl Scouts GCNWI, we want to continue to provide programs that inspire Girl Scouts to be leaders now and for the next generation through mentoring programs like these that show girls how think outside the box, meet the needs they see in the world, and be examples of breaking barriers to their peers and colleagues.

We need your support! Join us Thursday, Sept. 19 at Smart Cookies: Savoring Science, where Girl Scouts can show off what they learned in their exploration of food science and tell you how they are making the world a better place.

Join us for bites, beverages, an amazing silent auction, and much more!

Preview our silent auction before the event this Thursday Sept. 19!

Take Your Next Adventure with Girl Scouts Destinations!

Destinations for summer 2020 and 2021 are now open!

Girl Scout Destinations are the ultimate adventures for individual Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador girls! With different trips every year, there’s something for everyone. Pack your bags full of life-changing experiences and make friends from all over the country as you travel with Girl Scouts from different states.

Destinations require an application and reference form. There are two application rounds:

  • Round 1 Applications/References due December 1
  • Round 2 Applications/References due February 15

Adventure Is Out There

One parent of twin Girl Scouts that went to a horseback riding camp said of the application process, “When they told people that they were accepted into the camp, they were certain to include an explanation of the application process. There was something about applying and being accepted that was quite exciting for them.”

Joining one of these trips takes an independent spirit and for girls that “love being on their own,” as one parent put it.

Emily Jones, Girl Scout Senior, says of her trip to the Channel Islands: “Going on the Channel Islands Destinations trip has inspired me to travel the world and explore what is out there for me to see. I want to see the world, not just from photos, but in person.”

“[My experiences here] inspired me to want to find a profession that helps people in poverty or those experiencing violence,” stated Molly Sheridan, Girl Scout Ambassador, who traveled on a Destination to India in summer 2019.

“My journey made me see the world differently,” said Aubri Matthews, Girl Scout Cadette, of her Destinations trip to Australia and New Zealand.

Girl Scout Senior, Danielle Knudson, says, “After my Destinations trip, I want to try new things that might scare me. I want to find new activities to challenge myself.”

Ready to go?

If you’re wondering how to afford all of this travel, don’t fret! Travel Scholarships are available for girls who have been accepted onto a Girl Scout Destination.

Apply to start your next adventure with Girl Scouts Destinations!

Check out our blog series: How to Fund Your Girl Scout Travels!
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Check out our featured posts about our council’s most recent Destination trip to India summer 2019!
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Choose Your Own Adventure 2019 and 2020!

A Choose Your Own Adventure trip (CYOA) allows Girl Scouts the chance to plan a trip from start to finish, including

  • Choosing where they want to travel;
  • Planning an itinerary;
  • Mapping skills;
  • Transportation—how to get there and how to get around;
  • and Budgeting.

GCNWI has offered a Choose Your Own Adventure trip for the past three years, and we’ve gone to such fun places like Indianapolis, IN, Milwaukee, WI and Madison, WI! This year, we stayed close to home because of a snow-storm, but the girls turned the trip around! Read their story!

Girls that went on these trips met on a Friday night at Camp Greene Wood and were given options on where to travel. They picked the destination that night and were off on the road the next morning! From playing laser tag to visiting museums, jelly bean factories, and historic homes, a lot of fun was had by all! Not only did the Girl Scouts choose the group’s activities, they decided on accommodations (a hostel in Indianapolis), restaurants, and even how to get around town.

Coming Up This Year!

GCNWI will be hosting two CYOA trips this year: Choose Your Own Adventure: Chicago Style, and Choose Your Own Adventure: Midwest Style!

Chicago Style

For the Chicago trip, Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts will meet and stay the night at Hostelling International-Chicago and have the choice of where in the city they want to go. Will they choose to visit the Bean, walk around the Art Institute, or take a city tour? Maybe they’ll visit cultural neighborhoods like Chinatown or Pilsen! Whatever they choose to do, the girls are sure to have a great time!

Register for the November 10-11, 2019 trip here!

Midwest Style

For the Midwest trip, Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts will have four options within the Midwest from which to choose, including Milwaukee, WI; Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, OH; or Starved Rock, IL! The group will decide their adventure location Friday night at Camp Greene Wood and then head out Saturday morning.

Register for the January 17-20, 2020 trip here!

Making It Happen

Can’t make one of these council-sponsored trips? Your troop can plan their own! GCNWI created a CYOA resource guide with the steps you can take, trip planning resources, itinerary templates, and info on how to create a budget. Check out that resource here!

Want more info about how to plan your own trip, or how to join one of ours? Email Ashley at
Check out our travel page, too!

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 6!

Girl Scouts can do incredible things–– 80 young women from the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana area proved that.

Individually, the girls tackled issues they couldn’t ignore. Together, they make quite an impressive group of changemakers.

With over 6,400 service hours combined, these Girl Scouts earned their Gold Awards, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, and exemplified the passion and determination required to make a difference.

Continue along to meet some of these Girl Scouts, and view photos from this year’s Gold Award Ceremony in our photo album on Facebook!
To learn more about Gold Award projects, check out the informational program booklet on our website.

Meet the Next 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

Grace M.

For her Gold Award, Grace fundraised money for an organization called Selah Freedom to assist their efforts in liberating women from sex trafficking. By selling baked goods and jewerly, Grace raised enough to gift the women in the residential program a couch and blanket. While working on her project, she was able to raise awareness on teenage sex trafficking.

Grace M.

Grace wanted to bring the service opportunity to volunteer for the organization Operation Support our Troops. Her Gold Award project was aimed at bringing awareness to the needs of military troops in her community. In order to build awareness, she showcased O.S.O.T. literature and hosted a food drive at her church to collect items for the organization.

Jane Caroline M.

With the help of her school’s thespian society, Jane Caroline started “Posen Performers,” a free two-week theater camp for kids in her community. She wanted to bring these kids the chance to build confidence, practice teamwork, and have fun, all while experiencing the theater. She created schedules, advertised and produced the show, and directed the kids and staff!

Sherry M.

After learning that hospitals in her community lacked funding to provide books for chronically ill children, Sherry knew she had to help. She raised money, collected board books for the developmental clinic at Lurie Children’s Hospital, sewed book bags with other Girl Scouts, and designed a brochure about child language development with pediatric specialists.

Sophie Cole M.

Sophie Cole focused her efforts on preserving the Monarch butterfly population. For her Gold Award, she passed on sustainable solutions to the issue by teaching seminars to elementary students, harveting and planting seeds, and distributing mudballs (or seed bombs) to help plants regrow, germinate, and multiply.

Tiffany M.

After meeting with staff at AMITA Hospital in Bolingbook, Tiffany decided to dedicate her Gold Award to comforting families during their time in the hospital. She designed and published an activity book for the patients staying in the emergency room for long or short term periods, and she hopes the project will be sustained for years to come.

Kari Alexandra M.

It is estimated that 85% of textiles in the United States end up in landfills. For her Gold Award, Kari Alexandra decided to tackle this by collecting over 1,500 textiles at a recyling drive at her high school. She then donated the textiles to SWALCO, an organization that recycles fabric into usable new products.

Ana Nikol P.

Ana Nikol wanted to offer a sense of warmth to the bodies and souls of the homeless people in her community, and wanted to raise awareness on how prevalent the issue is. She distributed 85 homemade tie-blankets to the homeless population, and made sure they would be continue to be made and distributed annually.

Sabrina P.

For her Gold Award, Sabrina built an outdoor classroom and garden at one of her district’s elementary schools. She curated a lesson plan for the students about the plants in the garden and how to help the environment. The classroom can be continued to be used on nice days to get a refresher from an indoor education.

Christine P.

Christine saw the need to increase awareness in her community about chronic illness, and to support local youth who are struggling with it. For her Gold Award, Christine created a website and blog, flyers, and a brochure for children recently diagnosed with juvenile arthritis that she distributed to local schools and pediatric offices.

The Golden Age

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

When girls put their minds to it, they can achieve incredible things. Each of these awards give Girl Scouts the chance to make positive changes: whether its planting a vegetable garden for the Bronze award, creating care packages for cancer survivors for the Silver, or building an iPhone app for the Gold, they’ll change their corner of the world—and beyond. The possibilities are endless.

Learn more about earning the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »
Part Two: Meet the second 10 girls (last names B-D) »
Part Three: Meet the third 10 girls (last names F-H) »
Part Four: Meet the fourth 10 girls (last names H-K) »
Part Five: Meet the fifth 10 girls (last names K-L) »

Choose Your Own Adventure 2019: A Winter Recap!

An unknown adventure awaited eight Girl Scout Cadettes and Seniors on winter 2019’s Choose Your Own Adventure trip! 

What is Choose Your Own Adventure?

Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) is a girl-led trip, planned and executed by Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts. The girls can plan to venture to places like o Milwaukee, WI; Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, OH; or Starved Rock, IL! Or if they’d like they can keep it close to home with a Chicago adventure!

Whatever a group chooses to do, this is their own girl-led adventure where they will practice budgeting, planning and personalizing their own 3-day trip!

In January 2019, girls had multiple options of travel destinations to choose from for their voyage, but their plans were thwarted by a snowstorm. Together at Camp Greene Wood, the girls met for a night of bonding, planning, and budgeting for their Midwest 3-day trip. Then, they hit the road for their girl-led adventure!

Read on to hear a first-hand account of from our Girl Scouts regarding their Illinois journey.

Girl Scouts Make Do

By Kelsey, Megan, and Anya

We had a couple of options of places to travel to on the trip; however, the weather foiled our plans, so we decided to stay in Naperville. On Friday night, we stayed over at camp, bonded, planned our activities together and decided what we wanted to do over the weekend.

After breakfast on Saturday morning, we started our adventure by going snow tubing at the Blackwell Forest Preserve. It was very cold, but we had a lot of fun! After we went tubing, we went back to camp to pick-up our belongings and finalize our plans. We went to downtown Naperville and enjoyed lunch at Everdine’s Grilled Cheese. Afterwards, we explored downtown and had fun shopping and eating cookie dough. At night, we went to the Chicago Premium Outlets to shop and eat dinner.

We had so much fun on our first day of travel on the 2019 Girl Scouts Choose Your Own Adventure Trip! And while it wasn’t the initial trip we had in mind, we made the most of our time and had a blast exploring parts of the Chicago-land area we hadn’t been to!

Lasers and Laughs

By Lucy, Ava, and Adelina

Our second day was eventful! We did so many exciting activities. After breakfast, the group challenged each other to a couple rounds of laser tag. We played arcade games in between rounds and met other players!

After having a blast at laser tag, we ate a delicious lunch at Gemato’s Wood Pit BBQ. At first, we planned to swim at the Vaughan Aquatic Center in the afternoon, but after thinking it through as a group, we decided to go bowling instead. The bowling alley was packed with tons of people, but we had so much more fun than we expected! For dinner after bowling, we headed back to the hotel and ordered food for a fun “dinner-in-bed.”

Our last activity of the day was a super fun escape room. Half of our group did an Indiana Jones themed room, which gave them quite a scare! The other half of the group did a Sherlock Holmes themed room, and they escaped with 32 seconds remaining! After the escape rooms, we treated ourselves to some sweets at Baskin Robbins. To end our fun-filled day, we drove back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

American Ninja Girl Scout

By Calla and Rain

We had a lovely third day together. After waking up and starting our day, we headed downstairs for breakfast. Then, we headed to a place called Urban Air, where we jumped on trampolines, and made our way through a ropes course and an obstacle course that reminded us of American Ninja Warrior.

Later, we had lunch at Portillo’s together. After we finished lunch, we went to a movie theater and watched the new movie called A Dog’s Way Home. Finally, we made our way back to camp, where we parted ways and said goodbyes, then headed home with our parents and guardians.

Aspire to Adventure!

The world is your playground; where will you explore today? Where will you dream of conquering tomorrow?

Girl Scouts offers many travel opportunities to help girls to aspire to adventure. Whether it’s overnight camping trips, international voyages, or troop stay-cations, Girl Scouts are expanding their horizons.

Stay tuned to find out more about future Choose Your Own Adventure trips, and find out how you can explore the world with Girl Scouts!

Ready to Choose Your Own Adventure? You can sign-up for CYOA: Midwest and CYOA: Chicago Style! There is also a CYOA Resource Guide you can also include if you want, so troops can plan their own CYOA trip!

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 8!

Over the past few months on the GCNWI blog, we have highlighted Girl Scouts from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana who have achieved an incredible accomplishment: earning the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.

With over 6,400 service hours all together, these girls have shown what it takes to be a trailblazer, a change-maker, and a Golden Girl Scout. We have come to the end of our blog series, but these girls continue to stand as examples of young women with passion and commitment to making the world a better place.

Continue along to meet the last group of 2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts, view photos from this year’s Gold Award Ceremony in our photo album on Facebook, and learn more about the Gold Award in the informational program booklet on our website.

Part 8: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Natalie S.

For her Gold Award, Natalie helped the Riverside Arts Center organize their art supplies and work. She cleaned three of their large supply closets, and organized their materials for easy access. She also built three moveable cabinets that she donated to provide additional storage space.

Hannah S.

To help students decide what to choose as their major in college, Hannah gathered professionals from Argonne National Laboratory, Midwestern University, Joliet Junior College, CITGO, Northern Illinois University, and more, to educate middle school and high school students on the diverse career opportunities in STEM.

Angela S.

For her Gold Award, Save Our Teeth, Angela made dental health education videos for her local middle school and high school and the Allendale Assocation in order to further encourage hygiene and prevent illness. By working with teachers and health professionals, she instilled proper knowledge and skills into children that will eventually save money, health, and improve self-image.

Kyra S.

Kyra, for her Gold Award project, chose to run a workshop for children grades 1-5. During the workshop, she informed them about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and invited in a nutritionist to speak about how to start these practices at an early age. They then did a 20-minute Zumba session, and ate a healthy lunch!

Natalie U.

Natalie noticed that due to the construction of a new playground, the Spring Valley Nature Center had a plethora of new visitors, but they weren’t exploring the entirety of the center. To encourage them to do so, she made an activity book that guided them around the three ecosystems in Spring Valley. Her goal was to educate kids, and make sure they had fun doing it.

Mary Therese V.

On the campus of Mary’s parish, there are two mobile homes once used as classrooms. The two staircases leading to these mobile homes were in disrepair, and posed different safety issues to the groups that use the space. For her Gold Award, she calculated measurements, raised money, and acquired the supplies to refurbish the staircases.

Simone W.

Simone created The Camping Library for her Gold Award, a place where community members can check out and return camping equipment for free. By eliminating the large upfront costs of tents and camping equipment, she hopes to encourage others to go out and try camping. She also created a website and instructional handbook!

Brighid Kathryn W.

For her Gold Award, Brighid aimed to aid kids in her community that may not receive the same help with reading that she did in her childhood. She orchestrated a fundraising event for a local bookstore to purchase book for Washington Elementary’s library, and made sight word games for parent volunteers to use around the school. She also made reading games for the reading specialist!

Joan W.

Joan worked with girls in grades 3-8 to help instill confidence and a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. To do this, she held a 9-week long running program. She taught the girls how to set, plan, and reach their goals, and offered inspiration and encouragement.

The Golden Word

Now more than ever, it is essential for young women to stand up for their beliefs and make changes in their communities. There are many ways to do this–– and Girls Scouts are choosing to contribute to society through their highest award projects.

Whether its planting sustainable native species in a garden for the Bronze Award, supporting families in financial crisis for the Silver, or inspiring youth to become politically active for the Gold, Girl Scouts time and time again prove they have what it takes to change the world.

Learn more about earning the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »
Part Two: Meet the second 10 girls (last names B-D) »
Part Three: Meet the third 10 girls (last names F-H) »
Part Four: Meet the fourth 10 girls (last names H-K) »
Part Five: Meet the fifth 10 girls (last names K-L) »
Part Six: Meet the sixth 10 girls (last names M-P) »
Part Seven: Meet the seventh 10 girls (last names P-S) »