Be Bold for Change on International Women’s Day

Be Bold for Change on International Women’s Day

Where would the world be without women?

It’s safe to say it would be a different place. Women have improved society and made their mark through their advancements, industriousness and inventiveness throughout time.

Would we be able to enjoy today’s technology without programming the first computers? Would 3,000 police officers have been saved from bullet wounds through the use of equipment reinforced with Kevlar? Would modern beauty and lifestyle brands be as successful if not for the the cutting-edge marketing of early entrepreneurs?

One thing is certain. Without women, there wouldn’t be Girl Scouts.

More than 100 years ago, a woman named Juliette Gordon Low saw fit that all girls should have a safe space to be themselves – a place where they could discover their strengths, passions and talents. And that place was (and still is!) Girl Scouts.

Some Girl Scout alumnae who’ve gone on to achieve great success are former

Secretaries of State Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who became the first female presidential nominee of a major party. There’s also former US Attorney General Janet Reno, astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, as well as Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

These women changed the world through their actions, which is why on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, also known as International Women’s Day, we invite you take the lead like a Girl Scout and #BeBoldForChange.

While there are certainly many accomplishments to celebrate, there is still work to be done. According to staggering statistics from The State of the Girls report, more girls are living in poverty and low-income households today than 10 years ago.

This is significant because we know that these girls with a low-socioeconomic status face considerable challenges that affect their health, happiness and achievement.

But together, we can improve conditions for girls across the globe. Because when girls succeed, we all succeed.

Let us know how you plan to #BeBoldForChange by sharing your stories on social media.

With purposeful action, we can create a better world — a more equal world for women and girls.

What I Learned at Girl Scouts Camp CEO

What I Learned at Girl Scouts Camp CEO

I applied to Camp CEO because I was approached via email by a Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana staff member, who told me about it being a leadership program. I had never done anything through Girl Scouts, besides what I did with my troop, so breaking away from that was something I was skeptical about.

I expected the camp to be loaded with a lot of Girl Scout stereotypes, such as making friendship bracelets and canoeing (both of which we did), but what I didn’t realize is that I would include making lifelong connections and friends.

We talked about real life experiences with the most intriguing and successful women. The women who led and spoke during our time together persevered through gender stereotypes, and broke through glass ceilings to get where they are today.

We went through exercises that would help us in diverse professional settings, along with conversational skills that could help us close a deal or confront issues in the workplace. This camp was lead and organized so that you could ask real-life questions to real-life adults who have gone through the same experiences that we will one day go through. This fact alone makes the whole camp unique, seeing as how mere high school students don’t often get to have heart-to-heart conversations with CEOs of companies.

Camp CEO is important so you can get to know yourself on a business level. It also urges you to think about what you want to do for the rest of your life, and sheds light on all the different opportunities you might not have thought about.

Amelia Harlocker is a 16-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador who attended Camp CEO. To learn more about Camp CEO and to apply, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Lifelong Girl Scout Recognized as Woman of Distinction

Lifelong Girl Scout Recognized as Woman of Distinction

For Nancy Fink, Girl Scouts is a way of life and her commitment to community service recently earned her a coveted spot as one of Lake County Journal‘s Women of Distinction.

“I was totally embarrassed,” she said of the honor. “I didn’t tell anyone at work, I just told my colleagues I was going to a luncheon. I don’t volunteer for the recognition. It feels better to do it than it does not to do it. To me, it’s embarrassing to be recognized for something I love to do.”

The Navy commander has been involved with Girl Scouts since she was a young girl growing up in Arizona.

“Girl Scouts was a means to independence and confidence,” said Fink. “We did a lot of canoeing, motorboating and water skiing. It gave you the courage to try new things because you’d already demonstrated what you could accomplish.”

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And Fink certainly accomplished quite a bit. In high school, she achieved her First-Class Award, which is the equivalent of today’s Gold Award and is the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn.

After high school, Fink attended Notre Dame to study math and later began teaching math and nuclear reactor theory with the Navy after college. And in 1991 she became an officer.

“It takes a lot of confidence in your character and your ability to compete in a group where you’re not in the norm,” she said. “I’m confident I got that ability to hold my own from being a Girl Scout.”

Today, she is the executive officer of Navy Recruiting District Chicago and lives in Libertyville with her family, including a daughter who’s a Girl Scout and three sons who are all Boy Scouts or Eagle Scouts.

In addition to being a Girl Scout volunteer and running her daughter’s troop, Fink also teaches religious education classes for first graders at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Parish.

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“Sometimes my older boys help in the classroom,” she said. “For my kids to hear me say out loud what I believe and how my faith impacts my life, it just makes them understand more about where I come from.”

Although Fink plans on retiring this year, she doesn’t have any plans to slow down as she becomes more involved as one of the service unit managers for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

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“Volunteering with Girl Scouts is an opportunity to give girls memories that really last a lifetime,” she said. “I don’t know what else you can do that takes an hour or two a month that can really stick with a young lady all the way into her adulthood like the experience you can give them through Girl Scouting. It’s good bang for your buck.”

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Join Girl Scouts at G.I.R.L. 2017!

Join Girl Scouts at G.I.R.L. 2017!

You’re invited to the largest gathering of girls and women in the world—G.I.R.L. 2017!

What an exciting time to be a G.I.R.L.! This October, join us for the 54th National Council Session, an one-of-a-kind event for every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ who wants to stand up, take charge and make the world a better place. You don’t need to be an official delegate to attend. Whether you’re an alumna, volunteer, staff, or just a big believer in all the amazing things Girl Scouts do, you’re invited to G.I.R.L. 2017!

We’re so looking forward to welcoming you to Columbus, Ohio, October 3–8, 2017. You won’t want to miss out on the events, incredible speakers and entertainers, influencers, leaders and policy makers from across the country and around the world who are joining us to celebrate and advocate on behalf of girls and women.

This is an extraordinary opportunity not to be missed. So don’t wait! This is your year to reunite with friends, deepen and share your knowledge of Girl Scouts, and help invigorate a global movement of girls, women and men around the theme, “Experience the Power of a G.I.R.L.”

Don’t delay! Learn more at www.girlscouts.org/girl2017.

Convention Video-Final from GirlScoutsUSA on Vimeo.

Girl Scouts Make Tote Bags to Help Lift Spirits of Patients Battling Cancer

Girl Scouts Make Tote Bags to Help Lift Spirits of Patients Battling Cancer

In the worst stages of her cancer treatment, what got Jessica Brubaker through were the messages of support, she said.

Brubaker now wants to assist others battling the disease. To help other chemotherapy patients, Brubaker has teamed up some Girl Scouts in Lemont Friday to assemble tote bags and write letters of support.

“We are making bags for cancer patients so they can feel better and they can lift their spirits,” said Lauren Tracy, 10, a Girl Scout at Saints Cyril and Methodius School in Lemont.

About 20 girls in the school’s kindergarten Daisy troop and fourth grade Junior Troop assembled 21 tote bags in conjunction with the #bettereveryday chemo care tote program, which Brubaker started last year with items to help “brighten the spirit of those going through treatment and bring a smile their way,” said troop leader Megan Plahm.

Using troop funds, donations from friends and family, as well as providing some of the supplies themselves, the girls filled the bags with items that would benefit chemo patients, Plahm said. According to a #bettereveryday flier, more than 150 chemo care totes have been gifted, filled with items such as reusable water bottles, Working Hands hand cream for chemo rash, Biotene mouthwash for mouth sores caused by chemo, adult coloring books, colored pencils and crayons to pass the time during treatment.

Bags also had Lifesaver candies to help offset the taste of saline during the cancer treatments, the flier said.

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As Brubaker, who is from Western Springs, prepared to meet the girls, she told the Daily Southtown about her battle with breast cancer. A mother of three small children, she underwent a double mastectomy and is nearly finished with her treatment, she said.

“After my first chemotherapy, I got very, very sick,” she said. “You’ve got to knock yourself down to build yourself back up.”

Fighting back tears, she recalled a conversation with her husband who reminded her that the only time she said she might not make it through was when she was on the bathroom floor vomiting in the toilet.

“When you’re knocked back down, it’s hard to know you will get back up,” she told the Southtown. “What helped me get back up” was knowing people cared.

In every bag she sends, she writes a personal note, and so did the Girl Scouts.

To read the full story, visit Daily Southtown. And to learn about other Girl Scout service projects, visit Girls Give Back.

Local Girl Scout Donates Unicorns to Kids with Cancer

Local Girl Scout Donates Unicorns to Kids with Cancer

After visiting her grandfather in the hospital, Galilea Gonzalez of Des Plaines, Illinois decided she wanted to help children who were in the hospital as well.

“Unicorns are my favorite and they’re special because they can help other kids,” said the 7-year-old Girl Scout Daisy.

Galilea mentioned the idea to her mother, Carmina Gonzalez, and together they came up with an idea to raise money for stuffed unicorns.

“We went to [Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s] program kickoff event at Allstate Arena and there was a sponsor making bath salts inside a Ziploc bag,” explained Carmina. “It was very simple and she loved it, so she said she would make them and sell them and use the money she made to buy the unicorns.”

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Galilea in the process of making bath salts.

Many bath salts bags later, Galilea was able to purchase more than 100 unicorns, which were distributed to local children with cancer. As a result of her hard work and empathy, Galilea received the “Lead Like Elena” award and was featured on the Disney Channel. The award is inspired by the leadership and bravery of Disney’s newest heroine, Elena of Avalor.

“I was excited,” Galilea said of her brief appearance on the Disney Channel.
For the Gonzalez family, Girl Scouting is a family tradition.

“I was a Girl Scout when I was living in California and I learned so many different things. We did a lot of camping and outdoor activities,” said Carmina, who’s also Galilea’s troop leader. “I come from a first-generation family and I learned a lot from my leaders. It was enriching for me and empowering and I want Galilea to feel empowered as a girl.”

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Galilea sold bath salts to buy unicorns for children in need.

Meanwhile, Galilea is having a ton of fun in her second year as a Girl Scout Daisy making friends and collecting fun patches.

“It’s fun and I want to do it every day,” she said. “I want to do it right now.”

And Carmina shares her daughter’s enthusiasm.

“I enjoy being a Girl Scout leader,” she said. “You’re teaching them, but they’re teaching you, too.”

Do you have a good idea for our blog? We’d love to hear from you! Submit your stories here for a chance to be featured.

Top 10 Reasons to Sign Up for Girl Scout Summer Camp

Top 10 Reasons to Sign Up for Girl Scout Summer Camp

It’s time to start dreaming of sunny skies, dips in the lake, and s’mores on an open fire!

At Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana camps, we provide exceptional experiences for girls to develop and grow a love for the great outdoors.

From day camp to resident camp and weekend getaways to family events and teen leadership opportunities, we have options for everyone. Need more convincing?

At Girl Scout Summer Camp, girls will…

1. Develop leadership skills alongside fellow campers and staff, like hearing the importance of having initiative.

2. Discover a sense of self by participating in activities that will build her confidence to make positive choices and stand up for her individual values and needs.

3. Gain independence through caring for herself and her belongings, and taking responsibility for her actions with the encouragement of our dedicated and compassionate camp staff.

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4. Overcome obstacles by challenging herself to attempt and learn new things with the goal of building character and generating a personal sense of accomplishment.

5. Become part of a Girl Scout camp community by learning to recognize opportunities to help others and be comfortable asking for help when it may be needed, and in doing so, discovering that camp is a fun place to spend the summer and a home away from home.

6. Rediscover the impact of personal connection by introducing herself to and bonding with fellow campers who share her passions and interests to build lasting camp memories and lifelong friendships.

7. Cultivate life skills for the future by being exposed to a diverse mix of people, programs and environments that strengthen natural curiosity, improve creativity and foster essential social skills.

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8. Practice by doing in a safe environment with enthusiastic and talented staff who encourage trial and error as an opportunity to grow, and using hands-on learning as the model for success in an active outdoor setting.

9. Relax and “unplug” from the constant hum of technology to reconnect with nature and escape the constant pressures and distractions of everyday life in order to fill the summer days with experiences that will allows her to better engage in the real world.

10. Have fun while experiencing living outdoors, making new friends, singing at the top of her lungs, expressing her creativity through art, developing the courage to explore the world, and discovering more about herself (so that she can share it with you)!

Ready to sign up for Girl Scout Summer Camp? Registration starts at midnight on Feb. 1, 2017!