Mark Your Calendars: Girl Scouts GCNWI Fall & Winter Program Registration Opens August 30!

You heard it here first! Our Fall & Winter 2019-2020 programs will be announced on Friday, August 30!

We are so excited to announce this and next year’s events, programs, and travel opportunities! In 2019 and 2020, the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is offering a wide variety of programs for all ages, from city adventures to scavenger hunts, from Girl Scout celebrations to overnight camping trips.

Here at Girl Scouts, we are committed to providing unforgettable experiences for every girl! Girl Scouts across the council, as a troop or an individual, can participate in programs, events, and activities that enrich, educate, and empower them.

Girls will have a chance to jumpstart their journeys, workshop their badges, celebrate girls across the globe, and plan exciting trips with their troops!

What’s Goin’ On!

From STEM programs to career exploration, from outdoor adventures to Journey Jumpstarts, this and next year is full of opportunities for Girl Scouts to grow! Read on to find out about some of these exciting new programs, and how to make the world a better place with service projects!

College, Career, Choose Your Own Path

Join us as we help Seniors and Ambassadors explore their post-high school options. Whether it’s college, career or choosing their own path, we are here to provide as many resources as possible. We’ll have college advisers, career councilors, trade school representatives and travel advocates join us to educate girls on all options available to them!

Coding for Good

Become an Internet Soldier for good! Learn the basics of coding, and how to use these skills to build memes, games, and features that spread positive messages, tackle important issues, or promote healthy habits. 

Voter Girl

Earn your citizenship badge in one day with the League of Women’s Voters! Be part of the fun and excitement of a mock election with your fellow Girl Scouts. These fun, informative sessions include the basics of being an educated and involved citizen, voting and taking action to advocate for a cause. Badges provided by the League of Women Voters Naperville.

All Ages Core Camp

There’s no time like camp time! All ages are invited to come on out to camp on this weekend adventure filled with outdoor exploration and bonding with girls around the council! Get ready for a packed weekend with an emphasis on outdoor skills for both beginners and advanced campers.

Brownie Badge Workshop: Outdoor Art Creator

At the Outdoor Art Creator Brownie Badge Workshop, girls will bring the outdoors into their creative projects! They will play with different art forms, including sculpture, drawing, music, and dance–– all with an outdoor twist. Brownies will even get to bring home a project that will help make the outdoors a better place!

Tagalong with Us!

Girls will also have the chance to see breathtaking dance performances, train for their Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards, and meaningful service projects!

Mark your calendars for August 30, and get ready to plan the best Girl Scout year yet!

Check out our current programs, camps, and travel opportunities!

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 4!

This year, 80 young women from the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana area gathered together to celebrate their accomplishments as they officially became Gold Award Girl Scouts!

These girls amassed over 6,400 service hours combined by taking action and effecting positive change. Each of these girls showed thorough dedication to making the world a better place in their own unique ways.

View photos from this year’s Gold Award Ceremony in our photo album on Facebook.
To learn more about the Gold Award, check out the informational program booklet on our website.

Part Four: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

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

Rayna H.

For her Gold Award, Rayna sought to improve reading comprehension and literacy in students attending Georgetown Elementary. With a team of community members and peers, Rayna organized a book party to encourage reading and expose kids to different genres!

Adrianna H.

For her Gold Award, Adrianna supplied basic necessities for children in rural Cambodia. She reached out to businesses, secured reliable international shipping, acquired the needed items, and maintained a relationship with a school in Cambodia to provide resources.

Lura H.

The basement of Lura’s local church had extensive water damage and was painted a dark color, making the room unwelcoming to those attending Sunday School. For her Gold Award, Lura helped refinish and refurbish the classroom. The basement is now being used for fourth grade Sunday school students!

Katie Caroline H.

For her Gold Award, Katie Carline rallied her community to save the local jail that doubles as a Halloween Haunted House. Together, they cleaned and repainted the building. She continues to encourage other groups and troops in the area to pitch in and continue her efforts!

Makena H.

Makena wanted to celebrate the power of women everywhere. For her Gold Award, Makena gathered participants of all ages and genders to learn about 8 community leaders of various racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Each participant received beads after each workshop to make a bracelet, and a booklet of facts about each of the women with the hopes of continuing cultural awareness in young girls.

Hannah Louise H.

Hannah Louise combined her passion for girl empowerment and writing. Her program, Write On, Girl!, included a curriculum designed to inspire girls to express themselves through the power of the pen. Together, they explored different writing methods to help raise self-esteem, promote creativity, and cultivate their own unique voice.

Akayla J.

For her Gold Award, Akayla set out to raise awareness in her community about Lupus. Akayla created and directed a video telling her own personal journey with Lupus She also interviewed another Lupus patient, and included a Q&A for the most asked questions.

Jacqueline J.

Jacqueline was always curious about all the workers and their jobs whenever she visited her doctor’s office. Inspired by hearing their stories and their responsibilities in their positions—some of which she didn’t know existed—she decided to educate others on these cool and interesting jobs in the medical field. For her Gold Award, Jacqueline created a website highlighting careers in healthcare and medicine in order to expose the field to students who haven’t considered it yet.

Micayla J.

For her Gold Award, Micayla partnered with Rush University Rehabilitation department to collect clothes for patients who did not have gym clothes to do physical therapy. These donations allow patients to be more comfortable during their therapy sessions.

Vanessa K.

Vanessa K. focused her Gold Award project on improving and rehabbing two areas around her church that had been neglected. For her project, she re-painted and cleared debris from one side of her church as well as fill an area in the church garden with plants to attract pollinators!

Go for Gold!

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

These awards each give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a vegetable garden at your school, or inspire others to get exercising for your Bronze. You might advocate for environmental change for your Silver, or build a girl’s empowerment collective for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others and yourself along the way. 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your 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) »

A Quest in Colorado!

Summer is the perfect time to experience the wonders of the great outdoors. This summer, GCNWI had two groups of adventurous Girl Scouts from around the council set off for a journey of horseback riding, hiking, archery, ropes courses, zip lining, climbing walls, and much more!

One of those Girl Scouts, Peyton Haepp, has graciously shared her story with us about the June trip! Read on for her contribution, and learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

Colorado Adventures

Contribution By Peyton Haepp

On June 22, I flew to Colorado with my Girl Scout troop and lots of other Girl Scouts from our council. This was my first big Girl Scout trip and I was so excited! When we arrived in Denver, we got on a bus and drove about 2 hours to Granby, CO and arrived at the Snow Mountain Ranch. We saw lots of snow on our drive, which was funny because it was summer!

Snow Mountain Ranch was beautiful. There were mountains surrounding the resort. We spent most of our first full day at the ranch exploring all the exciting things they had to offer. We participated in many different activities, like swimming, skating, volleyball, craft cabin and archery. 

My favorite activity on the trip was whitewater rafting with MAD Adventures. It was my first time whitewater rafting, and I was a little nervous, but my friend Megan and I still volunteered to be the lead paddlers in the front of our raft. I loved when we hit rough waters and as leaders, we loved being challenged to take charge of a difficult part of the trip! We ended our day taking in the beautiful scenery and singing Girl Scout songs.

Horsin’ Around

June 26 was my 11th birthday! My friends decorated my room and sang “Happy Birthday” to me at breakfast and lunch. We did some of my favorite things on my birthday: swimming, roller skating, volleyball, going to the craft cabin, eating a steak dinner, and horseback riding. It was one of my best birthdays ever!

Rocky Mountain National Park was also fun. The views of the mountains and animals were beautiful. We saw some elk as soon as we arrived and later while we were exploring, we saw a moose close-up. We took pictures at the Continental Divide and also had a mini snowball fight. It was really cool that we were wearing shorts while there was so much snow.

The last full day of our trip, we went summer tubing. It was so much fun! The first time, I went down alone on a single tube. The next few times, I went in a double tube with my friends Megan and Isabella. It was awesome!

Colorado was such an amazing trip. I had so much fun with my friends and I became closer with some of the girls on the trip. I’m so glad I was able to participate in such an amazing adventure. We made so many memories and really bonded.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who is considering it. The trip meant so much to me. I faced fears, experienced many new adventures, made new friends and became closer with old friends. I’m looking forward to my next travel opportunity with Girl Scouts!

Joining the Fun!

GCNWI will be offering the Colorado trip again in 2021. If you’re interested in joining the trip, email Ashley Christensen, our council’s Travel Program Manager at achristensen@girlscoutsgcnwi.org

We are so happy to share Peyton’s story with the council! Traveling with the Girl Scouts offers endless possibilities for excitement. The world is your oyster–– get out there!

Learn more about how to travel as a Girl Scout on our travel webpage!

Girl Scout Adventure to India: Part 3

This summer, Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors from across the country gathered together for an incredible, informative two week journey on The Culture of India Destination trip!

These lucky girls had the very special opportunity to explore Pune, Delhi, and Mumbai, and connect with their sister Girl Guides (WAGGGS) and international community partners!

We are so excited to share a guest post from one of those Girl Scouts, Keeley Mahoney. Read on for her story, and catch up on parts one and two of this blog series!

The Culture of India through the Eyes of a Girl Scout

Contribution By Keeley Mahoney

Authentic Adventure

This trip was so unlike any experience I had ever had, and probably will ever have again! Every day was an adventure from start to finish. From the day we arrived at Sangam, I knew it was going to be life-changing.

What I liked most about this trip was the opportunity to experience authentic Indian culture. We weren’t in a very tourist-heavy area for the majority of the trip. We saw how Indian people lived their lives, the adversity they faced, how they celebrated, and what their most sacred places were.

Pune was the city we stayed in for the majority of the time. One of my favorite activities during our time in Pune was the “Pune Leadership Challenge.” Along with a chaperone and another girl, I was sent on a rickshaw chase through the city.

At first, I was very scared! It was something I had never done before. However, once we started our ride to a Jain Temple, I knew it would be a lot of fun. Our driver was new and wasn’t very familiar with the routes. After fifteen minutes, it seemed as though we were already lost! Either way, we managed to get to get to the temple. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I was absolutely mesmerized by the white marble engraved with the names of Jain Gods. Our driver even took a selfie with us!

International Happiness

Later in the trip, we visited a cafe in Agra called Sheroes, a cafe supporting the survivors of acid attacks. The servers were all survivors. For some background, we watched a video detailing what some of these women had been through. It was so moving, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe what these women had survived.

I also noticed how happy these women were regardless. They still had joy. They weren’t letting their past determine their future. To me, that was eye-opening. People are facing grave hardships all over India–– and yet, it was not unusual at all to see people laughing, smiling, admiring the beauty of their country. Many people are happy, even if they don’t have much.

I have learned many things on this trip, but what impacted me the most was the attitude of the Indian people. On this trip, in comparison to the American need to “have things”, I realized that you don’t need to have much, or anything at all, to be happy.

This lesson, and the trip overall, is something that I will never, ever forget. I am so grateful to have been able to go on this trip and experience what I did. Thank you!

Travel On!

Experiences like traveling are so important for Girl Scouts, not only because they get to see different parts of the world, but different parts of humanity.

Though learning about human suffering is difficult, it is essential to the development of Girl Scouts to stay informed. By meeting with organizations like Sheroes and MAHER, these Girl Scouts gained a deeper understanding of the injustices to women and children globally. The girls then took action and made their own contributions!

By sharing stories like Keeley Mahoney’s, we hope to inspire other girls to embark on their own international journeys, learn more about the great wide world, and help others along the way!

Learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

Catch up on parts one and two of this blog series!

A Girl Scout Guide to Safety While Traveling

by Madison Carroll; Global Action Volunteer

There are many great things you can be when you travel – adventurous, spontaneous, organized, cultured, open, fun – but there is one thing you must be when you travel, and that is SAFE.

To Travel is to Live

I’ve spent my career organizing programs for students studying abroad across the world. As much as I want participants in my programs to learn & grow from the experience, none of that matters if they aren’t safe.

Here are my top T.R.A.V.E.L. tips for staying safe while exploring the US and abroad with Girl Scouts.

TRUST

Although we always want to believe people are good at heart and only mean positive intent, when traveling, I pull back this belief slightly. Yes, most people are wonderful human beings, but there are pickpockets, thieves, and scammers in who are ready to mess with unknowing tourists.

If someone tries to sell you something, politely decline. If someone asks to borrow your phone, give them a coin to use a payphone instead. If someone is walking too close to you, quickly move in another direction. I believe there is always good in the world, but when traveling, always protect yourself first.  

RESEARCH

The best thing you can do for your safety when traveling is research! Research, research, research! Know what to expect when you get to your location. Know the local customs and what is normal/abnormal.

I always Google “What should I know before going to [fill in location]” before even starting to plan my trips. This helps you to know safe neighborhoods to stay in, safe phrases to say to locals, and the most common issues tourists encounter.

AWARENESS

Stay aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk through cities talking on your phone or texting––this signals that you aren’t paying attention and puts an easy target on you, inviting issues.

Take in your surroundings, enjoy your experience, and be aware of your belongings. Which leads to…

VALUABLES

Only keep things you absolutely need with you. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or whip your phone around. Keep only necessities with you––cash, your phone, and a credit card.

Keep all other valuables locked in your accommodations and keep your valuables as close to you as possible, ideally in a travel belt or a purse that you keep tucked under your armpit.

ENSURE

To ensure your safety and travels go as planned, insurance is always recommended. There are many different providers that will cover everything from travel delays to extreme medical expenses. I never travel internationally without it.

LOCKS

Lock up your suitcase before boarding the plane and use that lock to secure your belongings in your accommodations when you arrive. You can buy a cheap travel lock on Amazon, and I promise you it is an investment for all of your future travels!

Roam Around The World

Madison is a member of the Global Action Volunteer Team; a group of volunteers who love all things global and travel. They’ve traveled extensively locally, nationally and internationally with Girl Scouts and on their own.

People like Madison and the Global Action Volunteer Team are helping Girl Scouts broaden their horizons and explore the wide world around us! Learning about different traditions, meeting diverse people, experiencing authentic cultural immersion, and helping people all at once–– that’s what makes travel with the Girl Scouts so special!

Ready to travel with Girl Scouts? Check out all of your options on our travel page!

Nature Cat Brings Outdoor Fun to Girl Scouts at Camp Greene Wood!

Fine Feathered Friends

On Thursday, July 11, we joined our programming partner, WTTW and PBS Kids, to bring Nature Cat to the Daisy and Brownie day campers at our Camp Greene Wood for a day of nature-fueled fun! 

Nearly 170 girls were given the opportunity to interact with Nature Cat himself and participate in a WTTW-curated wind-direction activity while learning with their fellow camper friends. Girl Scout fun was had by everyone! 

Activities like these at the GCNWI summer day camps are so wonderful because they provide opportunities for girls to meet new friends, learn outdoor skills, and grow in courage, confidence, and character. By experiencing the great outdoors, these girls become environmental stewards!

The Cat’s Meow

Learn how you can earn your Nature Cat Explorer Patch!

Our patch program partnership with WTTW and Spiffy Partners has given our council the opportunity to introduce more girls to outdoor education from a young age in a fun way!

Learn more about Nature Cat’s show on WTTW!

We certainly look forward to seeing more girls exploring the great outdoors and hope to see Nature Cat, and his friends Daisy, Squeeks, Hal, and Ronald at more events in the future! 

Girl Scouts GCNWI offers camp and outdoor programming for girls, Girl Scout troops, groups, and families all year round! Learn more on our website!

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 3!

The Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, is no easy feat. The award requires patience, planning, and perseverance.

From building apps to assisting women with breast cancer, from teaching music programming to painting murals, each of the girls honored in the May 18th ceremony accomplished magnificent things.

Please assist us in congratulating the spectacular achievements of these Gold Award Girl Scouts!
View the photo album and program booklet from this year’s recognition ceremony.

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 next 10 girls (last names B-D) »

Part Three: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

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

Denise F.

For her Gold Award project, Denise intersected her passion for biology and computer science by building an interactive biology review app geared toward high schoolers. Her goal was to inspire other people, especially girls, to explore STEM fields for themselves. The app is called BioGirl and can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store!

Lucy F.

Lucy’s Gold Award project addressed the lack of access to appropriate food and veterinary care for pets in lower-income homes. Out of these concerns, Lucy worked with Michelle Duca, founder of both Kibble Kitchen Pet Food Pantry and the Feline Community Network to keep pet-owners suffering from economic crisis from relinquishing their pets by providing free pet food until the owner is able to afford care.

Victoria Ann F.

For her Gold Award, Victoria Ann started Meeples for Peoples, an after-school club dedicated to donating, sharing, and playing board games. Students gather every other Thursday to learn and teach new games, make friends, and practice communication and social skills. She has donated over 140 games!

Alexis K. F.

Alexis K. dedicated her Gold Award to something near and dear to her heart. When visiting her aunt in the hospital before she passed away from cancer, Alex noticed many patients covering their heads with uncomfortable wigs or hats. For her project, she created silk head coverings, enabling women to feel comfortable and beautiful while undergoing treatment.

Madison G.

Madison was on a mission to save Monarch butterflies from future endangerment. Her rising passion for environmental stewardship resulted in her Gold Award project. In partnership with her community, Madison increased the number of milkweeds in her neighborhood by planting the butterfly habitats around the local elementary school and retirement home.

Emma Caroline G.

Emma’s Gold Award project encompassed a message of self-worth, self-love, and self-respect. Her Inspiration Walls, murals painted in the girls’ and boys’ bathrooms at her school, began as an attempt to raise students’ self-confidence. These hopeful messages remain painted in the school’s common area bathrooms, so visitors, staff, and students can continue to view them.

Kimberly G.

Kimberly G. noticed many of her high school peers struggling to find time for extracurriculars. Her Gold Award project provided a fun and individualized solution: bullet journals, notebooks to be converted into personalized planners, habit trackers, and calendars. In her Bullet Journal Club, students organized their schedules, practiced time management, and felt empowered to plan the future.

Krystyna G.

For her Gold Award, Krystyna gathered a team of community members to tear off the deteriorating plywood siding and gutters on a mobile unit located on the property of St. Alexander Parish in Palos Heights, IL. Together, they replaced old materials with new house wrap, wood siding, and gutters, so the unit can be used for years to come.

Dina G.

Dina’s Gold Award focused on providing music programming for schools with limited resources. Her program, “Music in Motion”, involved collecting recorders and xylophones, while creating a curriculum for reading and playing music. Songs ranged from beginner to advanced to encourage participation.

Dannielle J. H.

For her Gold Award, Dannielle worked with the LifeSpring Foundation to make purses for women and stuffed animals for children who are going through tough times. She wanted to nurture, comfort, and shine a light of hope for people who are struggling.

Heart of Gold

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

All three awards give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a community garden at your school, or inspire others to eat healthy foods for your Bronze. You might advocate for animal rights for your Silver, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others and yourself along the way. 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your 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) »