Girl Scout Gifts A Trip to Disney!

Chicago, Illinois (May 17, 2019) — a day that forever changed the life of a young boy from Dolton, Illinois.

Today we have a special shout-out for a special Girl Scout. Junior Girl Scout Anne Nelson, 11, had a “simple” goal – sell 5,000 Girl Scout cookies to earn a trip to Disney World. But the goal wasn’t to do this for herself. Anne, inspired by a lesson in class about generosity, wanted to gift the trip to another child.

“Everyone should be kind to other people and generous because if someone wants to go somewhere or do something and they never have a chance to do it, it would make them feel amazing to do it.”

Anne N.

The Heart Behind the Gift

Anne went above and beyond those 5,000 boxes required to earn the trip for two to the ‘happiest place on Earth’ and is now a member of the Cookie CEO club at the council. Cookie CEOs are the top five local Girl Scouts who sell the most cookies during the season. With Anne selling more than 6,000 boxes total, she sets a wonderful example of diligence and dedication.

Anne’s mother, Michelle Nelson, encouraged her daughter’s dedication to her cookie sales endeavor, but even she was surprised by Anne’s desire to give back in such a grand way. “Anne learned about the needs of those less fortunate than others and it really resonated with her. She decided she want to give this trip away to a kid who wouldn’t be able to go otherwise, and she worked so hard to make it happen,” said Michelle.   

The product team at Girl Scouts GCNWI was just as surprised, with this being the first time in the council’s history where a cookie program participant shared her travel reward so grandly. “Anne told our product team early on that this is why she was working so hard to sell 5,000 boxes and we are so glad to see that with Courage, Confidence and Character, any girl can meet and exceed her goals!” said Susan Rakis, Director of Product Program.

Anne’s surprise reveal took place on Friday, May 17th at the Disney Store located inside the Chicago Ridge Mall. Joined by her Girl Scout troop, family and friends, Anne was able to surprise the young boy, age 11, with a special Disney inspired video, detailing his gifted trip to Orlando.

When asked what she hopes to share with others about her gift she said, “I want all kids to know that they can do big things because kids have big hearts and enough in them to make a change. One small thing can make a big difference.”

Next year she hopes to sell 5,000 more boxes of cookies to give the Disney trip to another child in need and she encourages her fellow Girl Scouts to do the same, “What I like best about Girl Scouts is helping people. Helping other people makes me feel like I am making a difference and it can help to inspire other people to help out as well.”

Check Out Anne on ABC7

Interview with Anne

What are your selling goals for next year?
Next year I want to sell 5,000 boxes of cookies and I want to give the trip to another kid who is sick because, many of the kids in Dolton and Riverdale do not have the chance to travel and I want to give a sick kid the trip so they can forget about being sick for a few days and have fun like regular kids. 

Anything else you’d like to share?
Never give up on something you want.

What do you love most about being a Girl Scout?
What I like best about Girl Scouts is helping people. Helping other people makes me feel like I am  making a difference and it can help to inspire other people to help out as well.

What inspired you to donate your cookies/trip to a Girl Scout? And how close are you to your goal?
I felt inspired to donate my trip after seeing a commercial with sick kids in it. It really made me sad for them because of how much they have to go to the hospital. It made me want to help someone.  

What would you like everyone to know about your donation initiative?
I want all kids to know that they can do big things because kids have big hearts and enough in them to make a change. One small thing can make a big difference.

Why should other Girl Scouts consider donating their rewards?
Girl Scouts all over should consider donating their trip and other prizes because there are so many kids who are sick, poor, or going through tough times. Donating to needy kids will brighten their day because they know someone cares about them. It feels good to help out other kids and their families

Giving Back—it’s in a Girl Scout’s DNA! 

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. 

Learn more about becoming a Girl Scout and spread the word!

Celebrate National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend! Some Tips for YOU…

Now is the perfect time to join the Girl Scout Cookie fun! This time of year, there are more ways than ever to participate and reach your goals! Plus, don’t forget that rewards are cumulative, so keep your eye on the prize!

Is your troop hosting cookie booths? Are you selling online with Digital Cookie? Did you know you can still take orders through the Goal Getter Program?

Girl Scout Cookies are in demand! Hosting a cookie booth is an excellent way for girls to achieve their goals, while bonding with sister Girl Scouts!

Troop leaders sign up for booth sites and can order cases of cookies to stock booths through eBudde. Sign up now!

Check out the 2019 Cookie Cupboard Schedule »

Use these 5 tips to make sure customers can easily find and buy cookies from you!

1. Be Visible! Share the online Cookie Finder, so customers can see where booths are happening. Bling your booth to stand out even more! Create a theme and special signs or get a Booth in a Bag Kit. You can even dress up in a cookie costume; check with a Gathering Place location for availability!

2. Go Digital! Accept credit card payments using the Digital Cookie Order Card app! Download the app today: App Store | Google Play

Note: Friends and family who want cookies shipped directly to them can order from your Digital Cookie site!

Reference the Troop Cookie Managers Cookie Season Guide for more digital sales tips!

3. Time It Right! Host a booth on National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, Feb. 22-24.

4. Show Off Cookie Varieties! An attractive display will attract customers. Offer free, bite-sized samples and consider themed bundles, grouping a few boxes together with ribbon and a bow. 

5. Don’t Give Up! For customers not interested in buying cookies for themselves, you can always ask if they would be willing to donate cookies through the Gift of Caring program.

6. Look to Your Fellow Girl Scouts for Inspiration! Step out of your comfort zone and find innovative ways to share the Cookie Program with new customers. Check out Maddie’s cookie presentation to her dad’s coworkers at iHeartMedia!

Ask your parents/guardians, family, and friends if you can make a sales presentation of your own at their place of work. 

Or make a “pitch” video of your own and be creative! Take an example from viral sensation and Greater Los Angeles Girl Scout Kayla:

Save the Date: National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend

Only Girl Scouts can sell Girl Scout Cookies, and customers are eagerly awaiting! While friends and family are a great place to start, get creative with selling techniques. You’ll exceed your goals and power even more awesome Girl Scout activities.

Help Girl Scouts Break a World Record

Help Girl Scouts Break a World Record

Join Girl Scouts, the Chicago Wolves and your community for a family-friendly event with Girl Scout Cookies and hockey activities at Allstate Arena.

Do you want to set a world record? This is your chance! We know every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risktaker, Leader)TM is amazing, and we can make it official. Like, Guinness World Record official.

3…2…1…DUNK! Be officially amazing.

We need YOU! Help us attempt to collectively dunk more cookies in milk than ever before. We’ll take the lead to break a Guinness World Record and kick off an amazing 2018 Girl Scout Cookie Program!

The day includes interactive cookie activities; hockey activities for the whole family; meet-and-greet with Chicago Wolves mascot Skates; skate on the ice (skate rental is not provided); and performances by Carly and Martina, plus much more!

To learn more and buy your tickets, click here!

Chicago Girl Scout Sells More Than 30k Boxes of Cookies

Chicago Girl Scout Sells More Than 30k Boxes of Cookies

What does it take to be one of the top Girl Scout Cookie sellers in the country?

A lot of hard work, dedication and help – at least that’s the recipe for success according to Giada Gambatese, the 9-year-old Chicago Girl Scout Junior who sold 30,120 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies earlier this year.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said.

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Giada, who was also Girl Scout of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s top seller last year with more than 13,000 cookies, credits her record-breaking sales to some serious tech savviness. She recorded videos asking for donations to the council’s Gift of Caring Program, which sends Girl Scout Cookies to organizations that bring comfort to the women and men serving in the armed forces.

“My Papa [grandfather] was in the Marines and he helped me, so I want to help others,” said Giada.

Then she sent emails and letters to potential customers and followed up with phone calls. Afterward, she created handmade thank-you cards to everyone who donated to Gift of Caring.

“We wanted to up the ante this year so we targeted her Papa’s local President’s Club of which he is a member,” said Giada’s mom, Gianna Franzia. “All of the members are remarkable companies and were eager to donate knowing it went to aid our men and women in the armed forces.”

Originally, Giada wanted to sell 20,000 boxes, but when she heard about other Girl Scouts across the country selling more than that, she tapped into her inner entrepreneur and kicked her sales strategy into high gear with a bit of PR.

In March, Giada appeared on The Steve Dahl Show in Chicago to talk about her business approach and saw a boost in sales.

“It was really fun and cool to talk into the microphone,” she said.

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Nancy Wright, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, poses with Cookie CEO Giada Gambatese

 

Giada, whose favorite Girl Scout Cookies are Thin Mints and S’mores, is also considered a Cookie CEO, which celebrates the top five cookie sellers in the council. Cookie CEOs enjoy a busy day at the GSGCNWI’s Chicago office meeting with the council CEO, Nancy Wright; holding an all-staff conference call, lunch and much more.

“My favorite part was meeting the CEO, she’s really nice,” Giada said.

Next year, Giada wants to 100,000 boxes of Girl Scouts of Cookies. And for other Girl Scouts who want to become Cookie CEOs, she has the following advice.

“Have help, set a goal and have fun,” Giada said. “And when you’re selling cookies, be organized. It takes time to do everything, so be patient. My mom always says ‘nothing happens overnight.'”

To learn more about the Girl Scout Cookie Program, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Song and Sisterhood Abound at Easterseals Academy Girl Scout Troop

Song and Sisterhood Abound at Easterseals Academy Girl Scout Troop

More than 100 years ago in Savannah, Georgia, Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts on the belief that girls can change the world.

Today, that principle is alive and well at Girl Scout Troop 25226’s monthly meetings at Easterseals Academy, which serves people and families with disabilities in the Chicagoland and Rockford region.

“Autism disproportionally affects boys, which means there’s already a small population of girls here,” said Jamie Fagerburg, an occupational therapist at Easterseals. “Girl Scouts is a great way to bring the girls together.”

Camp out Girl Scouts photo grid 2

Every meeting, the students start by reciting the traditional Girl Scout Promise and Law.

“On my honor, I will try…”

Afterward, the girls practice the official Girl Scout handshake and receive their sashes so they can continue earning petals, which are the special Daisy version of badges earned by older Girl Scouts.

“We created this structure and stick to it so the meetings are predictable for the girls,” explained troop leader Carrie Browne. “They really enjoy a lot of those rituals. When we call everyone’s name to get their sash, they cheer for each other.”

During their February meeting, the girls earned their clover petal for using resources wisely. After watching a brief video about recycling, they decorated pots and planted seeds for a vegetable garden.

“There’s a particular who typically has a difficult time in groups, but in Girl Scouts, she’s the happiest you’ll ever see her,” said Libby Puckett, a speech language pathologist at Easterseals. “She’s clapping and smiling, she’s beside herself with happiness. So it’s great to see how Girl Scouts affects her overall demeanor.”

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The troop started meeting a little more than a year ago and, since then, the girls have sold Girl Scout Cookies, participated in a campout and visited the Lincoln Park Zoo, just to name a few activities.

“One of the reasons our troop has been so successful is because of the staff participation,” said Browne. “They’re really invested in it and they enjoy it as much as the girls.”

And the girls appreciate the sisterhood and solidarity Girl Scouts offers them. At the end of the meeting, everyone joins hands in a Friendship Circle and sings the chorus from Rihanna’s hit song “Umbrella.”

“When the sun shine, we shine together/ Told you I’ll be here forever/ Said I’ll always be your friend/ Took an oath, I’mma stick it out until the end.”

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“Girl Scouts really provides the closest thing to what their peers are typically doing,” said Fagerburg. “It gives them opportunities for social exchanges in an environment with girls with similar disabilities. They’re in it together.”

To learn more about Easterseals, click here. To join Girl Scouts or become a volunteer, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Why I’m Giving Back to Girl Scouts

Why I’m Giving Back to Girl Scouts

All of my friends were doing it. Admittedly, that isn’t a great reason for choosing something you would spend the next decade or so doing, but it is the reason I joined Girl Scouts as a kindergartner. That, and I really wanted to do all of the craft projects.

While the allure of plaster of paris and friendship bracelets was enough to get me involved, it was the different badges that kept me interested. Each badge opened up something completely new to me. Learning canoeing and archery at summer camps. Participating in World Thinking Day. Attending a ballet for the first time. Running a cookie booth at our town’s annual holiday parade. Restoration projects at the Dunes.

Being a Girl Scout allowed me to have so many different experiences, some that I may have never tried on my own. Each badge and project we pursued was our choice. Each of us had a voice and our opinions mattered. Our troop leaders guided us and facilitated the projects, all while making us feel like the ones leading.

On #GivingTuesday, my inbox was filled with appeals from worthy causes, but the Girl Scouts email stuck out to me. I hadn’t thought about my time as a Girl Scout for a while (beyond my annual cookie order). Reading the email, I was reminded of what I loved about Girl Scouts: friendship, opportunity, empowerment. Girl Scouts has helped so many girls become leaders in our world today, including myself. Though my donation was not large, I know it is still meaningful. Even a small donation can have a huge impact on a girl’s life.

And that is why I’m giving back to Girl Scouts. So other girls can explore the world. So they can discover something new about themselves. So they can feel free to be curious. So they can become the leaders they are meant to be. And because of how much Girl Scouts gave me.

Hayley Trezzo is a Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana alumnae and Gold Award recipient.

To join or become a volunteer, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Girl Scouts Build Solar-Powered Cookie Booth

Girl Scouts Build Solar-Powered Cookie Booth

No outlets? No problem.

After struggling to keep the lights on for their blinged-out cookie booth, Girl Scouts from Troop 60194 in Chicago had the brilliant idea to create a solar-powered, 3D-printed masterpiece to help them sell Girl Scout Cookies.

In order to make their dreams come true, the troop enlisted the help of Exelon to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to “build a brighter tomorrow.”

But the fun doesn’t stop there.

The troop is planning to donate 500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to wounded veterans in Baltimore and D.C. through the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s Gift of Caring program.

Learn more about their journey here and watch their booth-building adventure below.