Congratulations Volunteers!

The heart of Girl Scouting is our indispensable volunteers who make it all possible!TY Volunteers

volunteer serves as a partner and role model for girls. Whether you volunteer at meetings, go on field trips, or become a troop leader, the time you devote will help inspire today’s girls to become tomorrow’s leaders. Get inspired by our volunteer stories! Check out all the different ways to have fun at Girl Scouts.

Because volunteers contribute their time and skills in many ways, there are several Adult Awards that are available to recognize their efforts.

Each year, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois has the opportunity to recognize those volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of the girls served in our council. There are so many deserving individuals, and we are lucky to have such active volunteers and staff who work hard every day to serve as positive role models for girls.

Congratulations to our very dedicated volunteers! Click here to view our outstanding volunteers for 2020!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Bring Your Best!

Issues of the world, meet your match.

Gold Award Girl Scouts are the dreamers and the doers who take “make the world a Gold Awardbetter place” to the next level. Meet our Girl Scout Gold Awards who “Bring Your Best“.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable—proof that not only can she make a difference, but that she already has.

Seniors and Ambassadors who earn the Gold Award tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond. Think of the Gold Award as a key that can open doors to scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, and amazing career opportunities.

You can pursue your Girl Scout Gold Award if:

  • You’re in high school (ninth through twelfth grade, or equivalent) 
  • You’re registered as a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador
  • You have completed two Senior or Ambassador Journeys OR earned the Girl Scout    Silver Award and completed a Journey

Learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award by watching this short video.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Keep Her Engaged and Challenged!

Let’s get ready for another year of Girl Scouting by renewing your Girl Scout Renewalmembership early. Early renewal takes place from May 1 – 22, 2020.

All re-registering girls will receive a T-shirt and patch. All re-registering adults will receive a T-shirt. Renew your membership by May 22, 2020 to receive these incentives.

Inspire her with comforting experiences in challenging times!
In challenging times, our Girl Scout grit shines the brightest. That’s why we’re prepared to be a source of consistency for you and your girl when you need it most.

As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic together, we’re working hared to ensure your girl has access to the Girl Scout experience she knows and loves in a way she can access right now. And as things continue to evolve and change, we’ll continue to adapt to meet her needs.

We know many of the things she was looking forward to are canceled right now, but Girl Scouts is still happening. From home and online, for as long as she needs to she can

  • Keep the Girl Scout experience going and stay connected while earning badges through online activities with the Sparkle & Shine Girl Scout Home Edition.
  • Participate in live virtual events and safe service projects that keep her engaged and inspired.
  • Gain tangible, innovative problem-solving and life skills.
  • Grow confidence in her outdoor skills and learn how to champion for the environment.
  • Expand her imagination through hands-on activities.

The best part is that every experience and skill we can offer her right now will help her continue to be successful at school and in life when it’s time for us to all come together again.

Because while we have to remain physically apart right now, connection is more important than ever.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

A Parent’s Guide – Basics of Earning a Badge

Whether your troop has shifted to virtual meetings, or everyone’s decided to postpone all Badges 6 copyactivities for the time being, your Girl Scout still has the option to earn badges on her own at home. Parents who’ve relied on their troop leaders as their go-to for badge work—did I just hear a sharp intake of breath from you all? Not to worry! Badges aren’t as complicated as they might seem. We’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to help your girl earn a badge, from the very basics (What’s a badge anyway?) to how to customize activities to suit your girl. You can do this—we’ll show you how!

What’s a Badge?

Is there something your girl is passionate about, or has always wanted to try? Chances are, there’s a badge for it! Badges are a great way for girls to explore their interests and learn new skills. Every program grade level has their own set of badges and awards that girls can work on. Generally, each badge connects to a specific subject matter (like coding, first aid, or animal habitats) and enables girls to become proficient in that topic. Note that Girl Scout Daisies earn petals and leaves in addition to regular badges.

Side Question—What’s a Patch?

Also known as “fun patches,” these are given to Girl Scouts for participating in fun events, activities and other Girl Scouting-related programs. Unlike badges, girls don’t usually need to fulfill any requirements to get a patch. (FYI, patches always go on the back of the uniform.)

How Can I Help My Girl Earn a Badge?

Just like how a badge is broken down into separate steps, follow these to help your girl earn hers.

  1. Pick your badge. Girls can work on any badge that piques her interest! For a rundown of all the badges available for your girl’s age, head to the Award and Badge Explorer. You can filter your results by grade level and topic (like STEM, outdoors, life skills, entrepreneurship, etc.) and see what your girl will learn as she works on each badge.
  2. Review the steps. Every badge has a specific number of steps that a Girl Scout needs to complete; after she’s completed those steps, she’ll have learned the skills to earn the badge. Daisy petals, leaves, and badges typically consist of three steps (to account for their developmental age), while badges for Girl Scout Brownies and older consist of five steps.
  3. Decide on your activities. If you look at the badge requirements for the badge you’ve picked, you’ll see that each step has three different activities to choose from. Your girl just needs to complete one activity for each step. So that means five steps, five activities in total. If your girl isn’t jazzed about any of the activity options, feel free to brainstorm an alternative. As long as that alternate activity fulfills the criteria for that step, you’re fine!
  4. Get your badge. While all our council shops are closed until further notice, you can always order badges online and have them shipped directly to your home. Badges should be placed on the front of the uniform—wear ‘em with pride, Girl Scouts!

Is it Okay to Earn Badges That the Rest of My Troop Isn’t Working On?

In short, yes, it is! Many families and troops are trying to figure out how to best incorporate Girl Scouting into their new routines, so it’s likely that more girls will be earning badges on their own for the time being. If you’re concerned about working on a badge that your troop leader might already have plans for in the future, simply connect with them first and double-check.

Where Do I Find Badge Resources?

Girl Scouts offers a few different resources to help you and your girl complete badges:

Even when circumstances prevent them from meeting up in person, girls can still explore the wide world around them by learning new skills and earning badges.

Posted in Uncategorized

Girl Scouts Home Edition

Stay connected to Girl Scouts across the nation and around the world.

Bring the exploration, fun and learning of Girl Scouts to your family even when circumstances are keeping Girl Scouts from meeting up in person. After all, Girl Scouts Sparkle and Shineisn’t somewhere girls go or something they do—it’s who they are day in, day out.

Join the Girl Scout community through virtual learning opportunities – and even earn badges! Below is a list of virtual events, badges, and resources to help you through this time.

These are certainly trying times, but that’s also why this is the perfect time for Girl Scouts to shine their brightest. Girl Scouts have always been known for their willingness to try and for facing new, even sometimes overwhelming, challenges with optimism and creativity. Essentially, the world needs Girl Scouts right now more than ever. That’s why we’re proud to offer a new way for families to embrace the experiences, learning, and joy of Girl Scouts wherever they may be.

Learn more about Girl Scout Home Edition.

Posted in General, Membership, Program & Activities | Tagged , , , ,

Celebrate Earth Day – April 22

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate Earth Day 2020support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. 2020 marks 50 years of Earth Day.

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.

Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.

Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.

The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.

The first Earth Day in 1970 launched a wave of action, including the passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States. The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were created in response to the first Earth Day in 1970, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many countries soon adopted similar laws.

Earth Day continues to hold major international significance: In 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day when the historic Paris Agreement on climate change was signed into force.

What you can do to celebrate Earth Day

There’s so much you can do to help protect and restore our planet, from joining a cleanup or climate strike, to taking part in the world’s largest citizen science initiative, to hosting an event in your own community!

On April 22, tune into Earth Day online

Join the world’s largest civic event is going digital for the first time in its history. We’ll demand that leaders take science seriously, listen to their people and push for action at every level of society to stop the rising tide of climate change.

Posted in Uncategorized

Thank You Volunteers!

You bring the power of Girl Scouting to girls—thank you, volunteers!

Things may look and feel very different right now, but what hasn’t changed is the out-sized impact you continue to have on girls’ lives. When you take the lead as a volunteer, girls discover that they too can take on leadership roles and change the world.Volunteers

That’s why National Volunteer Month is so near and dear to our hearts. Every April, we celebrate the powerful, life-changing contributions our volunteers make to Girl Scouts all year long. No matter what the world throws at us, you are the ones who keep the Girl Scout spirit strong—and whatever you bring to Girl Scouts at this time, your efforts are incredible and appreciated. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Additionally, every year on April 22—Girl Scout Leader’s Day—we give extra kudos to you. Troop leaders: we love you, and we’re forever grateful to you for being the role models girls look up to, especially in challenging times like these.

Families and Girl Scouts, share the love!

For all of April, show your favorite Girl Scout volunteers, like your troop leader or your cookie manager, how much they mean to you. Even if you can’t see them in person right now, here are a few ways to show you care:

  • Call or video chat with them!
  • Personalize one of our predesigned card templates, one for younger girls and one for older girls. Add a straight-from-the-heart message then text or email it to your volunteer/s. They’ll love hearing how they’ve made a difference in your life!
  • Looking to get everyone in on the fun? Consider sending a digital group thank-you via Kudoboard! Each troop member and her family can share a message, photo, or video on your volunteer’s thank-you board. Kudoboard has been officially licensed for a limited time by Girl Scouts of the USA .

Use promo code girlscouts2020 to unlock unique Girl Scout backgrounds—like this one! —and get the following discounts:

  1. Mini board (up to 10 signers, FREE)
  2. Premium board (up to 100 signers, $4.99)
  3. Milestone board (unlimited signers, can play as slide show, $6.99)

Follow our easy instructions to get started!

  • Surprise them with something special! Throughout April, you can use code VOLUNTEER2020 * to get a 10% discount plus free shipping from the Girl Scout Shop, and bring a smile to your volunteer’s face with a thoughtful token of your appreciation.
  • During National Volunteer Week (April 19–25), share across your social channels what makes your favorite volunteer (or volunteers!) so special to you—everyone could use something cheerful in their feed! And remember to tag @girlscouts and use #NVW2020 so we can follow the love!

*Code is active April 1–April 30, 2020, for a 10% discount and free shipping from girlscoutshop.com. The code is for one-time use per customer, online only at girlscoutshop.com. Some exclusions apply.

Posted in Uncategorized

Eat. Share. Show Communities We Care.

Eat share Care

To protect girls and communities in the wake of COVID-19, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois have suspended door-to-door sales and cookie booths.

But you can still support your local Girl Scouts by purchasing your favorite cookies online today and have them shipped to your door—or donate cookies and we’ll distribute them safely to provide comfort to first responders, volunteers, and local causes in need.

3 Ways to Support Your Local Girl Scout

  1. Girl Scouts nationwide continue to sell cookies through the Digital Cookie® platform—including the Digital Order Card and Smart Cookies™. If you know a Girl Scout, reach out to see if she’s participating and if you can buy directly from her!
  2.  No surprise, Girl Scouts are getting creative—including by reimagining cookie booths during this time of isolation. They’re using the power of social media (with parental supervision) to make their sales pitch, collect orders, and deliver or donate the cookies when it’s again safe to do so. Watch for mention of “virtual cookie booths” that will enable you to support girls and troops that have inventory on hand.
  3. Supporters who may not be connected to a Girl Scout or who typically rely on door-to-door and traditional booth sales can visit Girl Scouts Cookie Care to safely order cookies for home delivery (pending local shipping availability) or spread the love by donating cookies to first responders, volunteers, and local causes.

All sales go directly to girls/troops. Cookie sales give girls the opportunity for adventures and camp. Girls work as a team, solve problems, set goals, build confidence and become future leaders. Our Girl Scouts appreciate your support!

Buy or Donate Cookies

Posted in Cookie Activity, Membership | Tagged , ,

It’s Almost Summer Camp Season!

Did you know that the average American child spends about 44 hours each week in front Summer Campof electronic media? And with school just about out and long summer days ahead, it’s all too easy to turn to screens for entertainment. But there’s no show on earth as fun, challenging, or immersive as the great outdoors.

The Proof Is in the Research! Did You Know?

  • Camp builds problem-solvers! Girls with more frequent outdoor experiences are more likely to seek challenges and are better at solving problems—qualities that will help them embark on a lifetime of leadership, both academically and personally.
  • Camp exposes girls to new experiences! Of girls surveyed, 72 percent said that Girl Scouts gave them the chance to build their skills or try new outdoor activities.
  • Camp builds courage and confidence! Spending time in nature improves a girl’s concentration and creative reasoning. Outdoor experiences also help promote healthy social development and increase her self-esteem.

We want your Girl Scout to love the outdoors and camp as much as we do! To build that love, a progression into the outdoors and camp is important. Progression allows girls to learn the skills and become comfortable in the outdoor activities. This progress is to happen at a girls pace, let her tell you when she is ready for the next step. It could be next week or next year. Check out the 2020 Summer Camp Guide.

Posted in General, Membership, Program & Activities, Summer Camp Activities | Tagged , ,

Get Your Girl Outdoors!

Experience exciting outdoor adventures that will challenge you and your group to a new outdoorslevel.

Studies show that girls today are not spending nearly enough time outdoors. Technology and structured activities leave less time for girls to get outside and enjoy nature. But as a Girl Scout, she’ll have plenty of opportunities to create her own outdoor adventures and develop a lifelong appreciation for nature and the out-of-doors—whether with her troop, at camp, or with friends and family.

It is important to give our girls opportunities to develop or improve their outdoor skills in different areas. Research has shown that integrating Environmental Education and outdoor activities into children’s daily lives received lower ratings for behavioral conduct disorders, anxiety, depression, and obesity than peers with less access to nature. Only through hands on outdoor activities can we truly advance our efforts to have the nation’s youth develop a lifetime of emotional awareness of the natural environment.

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois offers a variety of outdoor adventures including summer camp (day, community & resident camp), equestrian (horseback riding) challenge course & climbing wall, boating and archery.

And that’s great news—because when Girl Scouts get outside, they:

  • Discover that they can better solve problems and overcome challenges
  • Develop leadership skills, build social bonds, and are happier overall
  • Become team players and care more about protecting our environment

When girls spend quality time outdoors and increase their exposure to nature, they thrive physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

 

Posted in Program & Activities, Summer Camp Activities | Tagged , , ,

Service Ideas for Your Troop/Group

Time: there never seems to be enough of it to do all the things we want to do—to reach Volunteersfor every dream, help every person in need, or even get all the Zs we need each night. Girl Scouts means being a part of service to your community. Making it a better place to live. We don’t always have the time for service, but as Girl Scouts we know that success isn’t always about how much you have but what you do with what you have!

Here are five service ideas to make the most of your time and change the world!

  1. Donate your day. What better way to be of service than to donate your time? Sign up for a day of service in your community. Ask around and search online—there’s bound to be an organization with a great mission that needs your help. The experience might even spark a longer-term service project if you end up finding that you really enjoy giving your time to that particular cause. What a great way to set yourself up for a year full of service!
  2. Do something special for a friend or neighbor. People don’t always know how to ask for help when they need it. Have you noticed a family member, friend, or neighbor struggling to complete a task that you could help with? Perhaps it’s a homework subject you happen to be good at or mowing the lawn, cleaning up the kitchen, or tidying the yard—the possibilities are endless. And just a few hours of a helping hand could mean the world to someone who might never ask for help but desperately needs it. If you haven’t noticed anything specific, take the time to reach out and ask, “Is there something I can help you with today?”
  3. Make a service goal for the year. Think about how much time you want to dedicate to making a difference in your community and the world. Commit to spending a certain number of hours on service projects throughout the year. Maybe that means dedicating one or two Saturdays a month to picking up litter at your local park or beach, helping out at a food bank or homeless shelter, or reading to kids at your local library. Or you could set aside one hour every day to do something special for someone in your life who needs the extra hand. Making a specific goal keeps you more committed and is a great way to decide how you want to spend your time. Remember: every small act of service adds up to a huge difference, so it’s OK to focus on small, attainable goals instead of big projects.
  4. Learn something new. Knowledge is power. Find a lecture on a topic that interests you and take the whole family to listen. Read a book on a new topic. Talk to a veteran in your community and ask them about their experiences. Or maybe there’s a profession that intrigues you. Reach out to a nurse, a teacher, a police officer, a mechanic, or a politician (whatever interests you most!), and ask them to tell you about their typical day, the challenges they face, and what they wish others would understand about their jobs. The more we know, the better we can work together to make positive change every day.
  5. Do something good for the environment.  Plant a tree or a garden. Skip the car and bike or walk somewhere instead. Educate your neighbors about the importance of keeping the ocean clean. Nix the plastic water bottle and fill up a reusable one instead. Research easy ways to protect the environment through your daily choices, and then share what you find with your family and friends so they can learn to make better choices too.

There are so many ways to make a difference! Unleash that unstoppable Girl Scout imagination to connect with your community and make positive change. And always remember that every single act of kindness and service, no matter how big or small, adds up to a big difference.

Posted in Advocacy, General, Membership, Volunteers | Tagged , ,

Celebrate Girl Scout Week!

Whether you’re a Girl Scout alum, a current member, a dedicated volunteer, or you GS Weeksimply have an extraordinary Girl Scout in your life, you’re an important part of the Girl Scout family. And you know what families do together? Celebrate!

Girl Scout Week is definitely something to celebrate—seven straight days to show off your Girl Scout pride and lift up all that this worldwide sisterhood has given you, your community, and the world. Join us in treating each day from Sunday, March 8, through Saturday, March 14, as a day of action focused on a powerful yet simple way to get involved.

Girl Scouts honor 108 years of service and honors a 2.5 MILLION STRONG movement focusing on building female leaders. Girl Scouts was founded on March 12, 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low.

Girl Scouts today reflects the arc of Juliette Gordon Low’s remarkable life through the successes of millions of girls and adults. They celebrate her legacy during Girl Scout Week and also the powerful mission that is more relevant now than ever.

An ardent believer in the potential of all girls and the importance of fostering their individual growth, character, and self-sufficiency, Juliette is credited with establishing and nurturing a global movement that has changed the world. A meeting in 1912 with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, inspired Juliette to establish Girl Scouts that same year. Telephoning a cousin from her home, she announced, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!”

From that first gathering of a small troop of 18 culturally and ethnically diverse girls, Juliette broke the conventions of the time—reaching across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to ensure all girls had a place to grow and develop their leadership skills. Using her innate talent for fundraising and public relations, combined with her vast network of friends and supporters, she led Girl Scouts with passion and determination—ensuring it was, and always would be, an experience that was “girl led.”

Learn more about celebrating Girl Scout Week 2020.

Posted in Advocacy, Alumnae, General, Membership | Tagged , , , ,

Ways to Raise a Strong Girl in Today’s World

Strong girls are truly having a moment right now. Whether it’s physically strong teens,Liz-Blog-Raising-Strong-Girls-1 like Lindsey Vonn, championship skier, or emotionally strong female survivors calling for justice, today’s girls are showing us all just how many varieties of strength exist in the world.

But in a society where girls and women have been told for so long to let the boys and men in their lives literally do the heavy lifting—and where women are still being shown as damsels in distress in movies and TV shows—the act of actually being strong can be tricky for girls who are exploring the world and discovering who they are.

Can she be strong and pretty at the same time? If she speaks out and stands up to bullies, can she still be seen as sweet and lovable? The answer is a resounding yes—especially because today’s gender identities are more fluid than ever, and the walls of what’s “for boys” versus “for girls” are coming down fast—but that might not be obvious to your girl. Here are four simple ways you can help her embrace her inherent strength today.

  1. Give her strong girl role models
    There’s nothing wrong with having some fairy tales in the mix, but make sure fainting princesses aren’t the only heroines she’s focusing on. From listening to female-fronted rock bands on your next road trip to reading about the adventures of Amelia Earhart during story time, the more she sees (and hears about!) female strength, the more comfortable she’ll be owning her own strength.
  2. Toss labels in the trash 
    Gendered stereotypes like “girly girl” and “tomboy” reinforce the idea that there’s only one way to be feminine (or that one way is better than the others!), while everything else is better suited for guys. The time for that type of thinking passed long ago!
  3. Stop “fixing” her appearance 
    The more you fuss over her looks, the more she’ll fixate on them, too. That means she might shy away from trying out for the volleyball team for fear of getting sweaty in front of other kids or skip out of swim meets because she doesn’t want to have pool hair all day. That’s not to say she can’t use fashion and beauty as a form of self-expression and be strong—but let her rock her own look without projecting your own standards of beauty onto her.
  4. Talk to her about what strength really means 
    Many people equate strength with fearlessness or the ability to dominate in physical challenges. But strength is so much more than that, and it’s important for your girl to understand. Trying something new, even if she might not be great at it, takes strength. Trying her best takes strength. Creating boundaries and standing up for herself takes strength. Team up with your girl to create a list of at least ten ways that she’s strong. You know she’s made of tough stuff, but it’s important for her to realize that, too!

GSUSA excerpt Leadership and Life Skills

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

What Girls Learn From Cookies!

Teaching Essential Skills for a Lifetime
A well known component of Girl Scouting is the Cookie Program, the largest girl-run business in the world. Once a year, Girl Scouts around the country venture into the entrepreneurial world to learn business and financial skills and earn money to fund their Girl Scouting goals. Through “learning by earning,” Girl Scouting aims to empower girls through the development of five essential skills: goal setting, money management, people skills, decision making, and business ethics.

The Girl Scout Research Institute set out to understand the extent to which Girl Scouts actually develop these five essential skills, as well as to examine the specific ways girls benefit from their participation in the Cookie Program. Survey responses from 1417 Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts representing various regions of the country provide compelling evidence that girls do benefit from the Cookie Program through development of these essential skills.

5-literacy-skills-copy

Key Findings
Overall, a majority of Girl Scout “Cookie Entrepreneurs” develop the 5 essential skills.
85% of girls developed Money Management skills, reporting that they had developed budgets, taken cookie orders, and handled customers’ money.

83% of girls developed Business Ethics, learning to fulfill promises to customers, keep true to the Girl Scout Promise and Law in their business dealings, and consider how best to contribute to their communities with their earnings.

80% of girls developed the Goal Setting skill, learning how to set sales goals relative to action plans and to create a set of objectives with their team to reach their goals.

77% of girls developed the Decision Making skill, learning how to work as a team to develop a basic business plan, deciding when and where to sell cookies, and reaching agreements on what to do with the money they earned.

75% of girls developed People Skills, learning to talk, listen, and work with different kinds of people while selling cookies.

Learning the 5 essential skills has a positive impact on girls’ lives.

  • Significantly, more than half of girls (55%) achieved all 5 skills.
  • Girls who developed the 5 skills were more likely to report that they learned new things while selling cookies that will help them in school and other areas of their life than girls who did not (93% vs. 63%, respectively).
  • Overall, girls reported that selling cookies was fun (96%). Learning by earning made it even more fun. Girls were more likely to report cookie selling was fun when they developed the 5 skills than when they did not (98% vs. 90%, respectively).
  • Even though the vast majority of Girl Scouts were eager to sell cookies next year (95%), those who had achieved the 5 skills were even more eager than those who did not (95% vs. 90%, respectively).
  • Specific Girl Scout experiences can make the difference between achieving and not achieving the 5 essential skills.
  • Girls who attended troop or group meetings about selling cookies, practiced how to sell Girl Scout cookies with their friends and family, and worked toward the Cookie Business and Financial Literacy badges developed more goal setting, decision making, money management, people, and business ethics skills than girls who had fewer or none of those experiences.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

How the Cookie Crumbles

Girl Scout Cookies are about so much more than the sweet treats we anticipate each season; your purchase powers life-changing adventures for girls while helping them build real-life skills. Here’s how it’s done.

As the biggest annual financial investment in girls in the United States, the Girl Scout Cookie CrumblesCookie Program sets the stage for girls to discover their inner leadership potential. All year long, they map out their plans to influence the world around them, be it through nurturing their love of the outdoors or using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to create sustainable solutions. Their vision for a better tomorrow is realized when you support the largest girl-led entrepreneurship program in the world. For some girls, it means putting their cookie money toward impactful community projects right in their own backyards. For others, it means saving up to fund travel so they can see firsthand the world that they’ll one day transform.  And for others it is being able to afford to go to summer camp.

Whatever their plans are, one thing’s for certain: the proceeds from Girl Scout Cookies stay in your local area to benefit girls and Girl Scout councils. Councils depend on these earnings to run their programming, which prepares Girl Scouts for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure in a safe, no-limits place designed for and by girls!

For GSCI the cookie crumbles like this . . .

  • 60.6% per packageGirl and Volunteer Services – council services, shops, and camps, council-sponsored programs and events, financial assistance; outreach to girls in under served area, volunteer training and materials.
  • 22.5% per packageCost of Sale – payment to cookie company; payment to delivery company, cookie program material, forms and printed resources.
  • 16.7% per packageGirl Recognitions – includes girl recognitions, Cookie Dough, and troop profit.

Learn more about Girl Scout Cookies here!

Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales | Tagged ,

Cookies Are Here! Where to Find Your Favorites!

The countdown to Girl Scout Cookies begins!

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is such an important (and fun!) part of the overall Girl Scout experience—tons of learning for every Girl Scout and beyond-delicious cookies for our awesome cookie customers! It’s a win-win.

The Girl Scout Cookie sale begins February 7, 2020! Need to find your favorite varieties? It’s easy, just click on find cookies, put in your zip code and choose from a list of locations near you.

btn_find_cookies

When you make a Girl Scout Cookie purchase, you’re helping the next generation of girl entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful—teamwork, planning, and a positive outlook (for starters).

Proceeds from your purchase stay local and help power new experiences for her and every awesome G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) superstar who sells Girl Scout Cookies! Whether it’s a trip she’ll never forget; a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activity that opens her mind to a whole new world of possibilities; a service project that will change her community forever; or the opportunity to build a lifetime of memories at camp, Girl Scout Cookies make it all happen! Selling them also teaches girls essential skills they can use to be successful today and in the future—it’s a sweet deal.

Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales | Tagged ,

Summer Camp . . . It’s in Our Nature

From the backyard to the backcountry, Girl Scouts has a long and storied history of Camp Tap getting every girl outdoors. In fact, many Girl Scouts tell us “camping trips” are one of the best things about their Girl Scout experience. It’s true: connecting with the great outdoors in a girl-led setting is a big benefit of belonging to Girl Scouts.

Studies show that girls today are not spending nearly enough time outdoors. Technology and structured activities leave less time for girls to get outside and enjoy nature. But as a Girl Scout, she’ll have plenty of opportunities to create her own outdoor adventures and develop a lifelong appreciation for nature and the out-of-doors—whether with her troop, at camp, or with friends and family.

And that’s great news—because when Girl Scouts get outside, they:

  • Discover that they can better solve problems and overcome challenges
  • Develop leadership skills, build social bonds, and are happier overall
  • Become team players and care more about protecting our environment

When girls spend quality time outdoors and increase their exposure to nature, they thrive physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Summer camp allows girls to be a part of the great outdoors, learn new skills and make lifelong friends. View our 2020 summer camp sessions!

Posted in Summer Camp Activities | Tagged , , , , ,

Digital Cookie – More Ways to Sell Girl Scout Cookies

More ways to buy, more ways to learn 
The Digital Cookie® platform helps girls superpower their cookie sales as they go beyond digital cookiethe booth with mobile and online channels. That’s right. The platform is a fun, educational tool that helps girls run and manage their Girl Scout Cookie business online.

That means more ways for her to learn, and more ways for you to buy and support her success. It also means more opportunities to power new, unique, and amazing experiences that help her learn essential life skills, unleash her inner leader, and have a ton of fun!

What can she do with the Digital Cookie platform?
With a fun, robust, hands-on interface, the Digital Cookie platform is an amazing learning experience for every girl. Through it, she has access to even more tools that teach her about marketing, budgeting, resource allocation, and other critical business skills—encouraging and guiding her as she makes her way to cookie boss success.

On the platform, girls can set their cookie goals, track their progress, manage orders and inventory, learn Internet safety skills, and more—all while they earn age-specific Cookie Business badges and explore ways to help others by investing their earnings back into their communities.

With the Digital Cookie platform, girls can:

  • Gain new essential business and social skills in a fun and engaging way.
  • Invite cookie customers to easily order and pay for cookies online and through their mobile app.
  • Earn funds to power amazing year-round activities for her and her troop!

So, how does the Digital Cookie platform work?
It’s a lot like buying your cookies at a traditional cookie booth, but with an online twist!

  1. In true Girl Scout style, the girls initiate the cookie sale, whether online, via email, or in person at the cookie booth with their Digital Cookie mobile app.
  2. A Girl Scout you know may invite you to visit her personalized cookie website where you can place your order, pay using Visa Checkout or credit cards, have your order shipped or delivered by a Girl Scout,* or even donate cookies to charity. Some Girl Scouts may take in-person orders using a mobile app that also allows them to securely accept payments using credit cards.
  3. Select your cookies, place your order, and complete your transaction. Boom, just like that, you’ve got delicious Girl Scout Cookies coming your way!

You may start to order your Girl Scout Cookies on January 6, 2020 with your Girl Scout!

Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales | Tagged , ,

Parents Are Important During Cookie Season

Cookie season is here, and you’re feeling proud of your Girl Scout troop for rocking their cookiesgoal setting conversation and committing to a cookie goal that’ll power their weekend camping trip this summer. But before your girls break out their order forms, there’s another group you need to rally: your troop’s parents and caregivers.

That doesn’t sound difficult—after all, most troop families want to be supportive—but what happens when you have parents who see the cookie program as just another task on their lengthy to-do list rather than an entrepreneurial experience for their cookie boss?

The cookie program is a team effort, and adult support plays a major part. Here are a few ways to motivate any apprehensive parents in your troop.

Hold a cookie-specific meeting for parents and caregivers.
Even if you discussed the cookie program at your first parent meeting, make time to reconnect with troop adults. Hold a cookie parent meeting. Discuss how the cookie sale will operate, tasks for parents, deadlines for what is due when, skills the girls learn by participating, and how the girls want to spend the troop profit. Parents were more than happy to help their girls build these skills.

Your troop parents will likely have more questions about what’s expected of them and their girls, so be sure to review all aspect of the program. You can also let parents know at the meeting that you’re looking for some extra support.

Share your troop’s goal and how they’ll get there.
Open the conversation by outlining the goal or experience the girls are working toward, and talk about the girls’ decision-making process and that you’re proud of their ability to work as a team. When people ask why they’re selling cookies, they can say ‘we’re building a butterfly garden’ or ‘we have a camping trip we’re hoping to take.’” Families are much more supportive if they know where the cookie proceeds go; the same goes for customers and other members of your community!

Once you’ve shared your troop’s vision, let the adults know what the goal means for their girl. Open communication with the parents is key to a successful troop cookie sale.

Outline the immediate and long-term benefits of the cookie program.
Explain that the profit from the cookie program funds the rest of the year’s badges, programs, and events, and other activities and trips the girls have discussed. Remind them that the cookie program is not about the cookies or the money. Parents love to hear how the sale works—the girls set their own goals! We purposely set low and high goals so the girls can reach some but work hard for others. Once parents hear how hands-on the sale is for their daughters and how they’ll learn how to make change and speak to customers and work as a team, they’re much more willing to participate in the program.

Stress the five skills girls learn from the cookie program set them up for success in school, extracurricular activities, and beyond; helping parents and caregivers understand the big picture goes a long way in building the support you need.

Learn more about cookies! Explore the various resources that can help everyone . . . troop leader resources, girl resources, and parent resources.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Meet the New Girl Scout Cookie!

For the 2020 Cookie Program we are introducing a new cookie to our lineup! Meet Lemon-Ups, the newest addition to the Girl Scout Cookie menu! Inspired by real girls in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, and created for all Girl Scout Cookie Lovers, these new lemon cookies are positively fun. Just like G.I.R.L., each cookie has something bright and motivating to say.

Lemonup Cookie

Additionally, all your favorites are back and ready for purchase!

  • Somoas – a crisp cookies coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut and striped with dark chocolaty coating.
  • Tagalongs – crispy cookies layered with peanut butter and covered with a chocolaty coating.
  • Do-Si-Dos – crunchy oatmeal sandwich cookies with creamy peanut butter filling.
  • Trefoils – delicate tasting shortbread that is delightfully simple and satisfying.
  • Thin Mints – crisp wafers covered in chocolaty coating made with natural oil of peppermint.
  • Girl Scout S’mores – crunchy graham sandwich cookies with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling.
  • Toffee-Tastic – rich buttery cookie with sweet crunchy toffee bits.

Our cookie sale begins February 7, 2020 and runs through March 21, 2020.

When you buy a box of delicious Girl Scout Cookies, you’re powering amazing, year-round experiences for every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) extraordinaire in your community who sells them—that’s right, proceeds stay local and are reinvested in girls!

Big picture: as a cookie customer, you’re actually helping the next generation of female entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful—teamwork, planning, and a positive outlook. Beyond that, you’re actually narrowing the gender gap in entrepreneurship by nurturing girls’ skills early and often. How awesome is that?

Click here to view all the Girl Scouts Cookies available!

Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales | Tagged ,

Give Back in the New Year!

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

And it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, it’s really the accumulation of all the small ways we can be of service to others every day that can make our lives significantly brighter and more meaningful, while helping us feel more connected within our communities. In 2020, what do you say we all resolve to make the world a better place, together, by committing to practice these powerful and simple acts of service to others as often as possible?

  1. Be kind, particularly to those who are not exactly your cup of tea, so to speak. It might be hard, but it will be meaningful.
  2. Be gentle with the environment. Avoid littering, recycle, and regularly sign up for community cleanups. The more we do to keep the outdoors in good shape, the more we can all enjoy it!
  3. Show compassion. Sometimes that’s the greatest gift we can offer someone.
  4. Practice good manners. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way in making others feel appreciated and respected.
  5. Be helpful as much and as often as possible. Help create a sense of community wherever you go.
  6. Listen more. Sometimes all people truly want is to be heard, and to know they matter.
  7. Volunteer once a month—or more if you can. Learn about volunteering with us—it’s important work and so much fun!
  8. Give out lots of compliments, just because. Make someone’s day with the simplest acknowledgement of a great smile, a fun outfit, or an inspiring talent.
  9. Speaking of smiling, do it more often. It makes everyone feel good—even you!
  10. Leave notes of encouragement for family, friends, and coworkers. The right words can always make a day brighter.
  11. Forgive someone who has slighted you, even if you don’t feel they deserve it. It might move them to show the same compassion to someone else.
  12. Hold the door open for someone and give them the gift of feeling special, even if just for a few seconds.
  13. Strike up a conversation with a shy person and help them come out of their shell a little. Just because they’re not one to initiate conversation doesn’t mean they don’t have a story they’d like to share.
  14. Reach out to a friend you know is going through something hard and offer to spend time with them, or just listen. People won’t always reach out for help, but they will often accept it with open arms when it’s offered.
  15. Bake some goodies for an elderly neighbor, and hand-deliver them. Sit and chat a while. Let them share stories and feel the joy of friendship.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Greetings and Best Wishes for a New Year of Happiness in a World of Peace!

HolidayCard_Email

Posted in Uncategorized

G.I.R.L. 2020!

20_NatMeet_G.I.R.L.Lockup 21–25_700px

For three days, girls will dominate Orlando, Florida—and we want you to be there! On October 23–25, 2020, thousands of girls and their supporters from around the world will come together for G.I.R.L. 2020  in Orlando, Florida.

Hosted by Girl Scouts of the USA, the mega event will provide attendees with unforgettable experiences as they gain inspiration, tools to empower themselves, and the know-how to lead change in their communities—connecting with some of the most influential women in the world along the way. So awesome!

The next year is going to be a truly amazing one for Girl Scouts, and one of the highlights of the year will be G.I.R.L. 2020—our national convention, 55th National Council Session, and the largest girl-led event in the world—in Orlando next October 20–25. Girls, women, families, and supporters from across the globe will come to Orlando to celebrate the infinite power of girls and their limitless potential to change the world. 

Orlando is an amazing platform to showcase the power of Girl Scouts. A hub of innovation in tech, aviation, aerospace, and digital technology, it’s a city that will spark girls’ imagination and offer a host of exciting experiences. And as a rocket scientist, I have to say I’m very excited that it’s right down the road from Kennedy Space Center!

Planned by a team of 25 Girl Scouts from across the Movement—our incredible G-TEAM—G.I.R.L. 2020 is all about offering girls opportunities to lead the conversation around key issues, network, share unforgettable experiences, get inspired by some of the most influential women in the world, and tap into their G.I.R.L. spirit—their inner go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader.

During our week together in Orlando, delegates who have been elected by their councils will work together to chart the course for our Movement’s next three years. They’ll participate in a democratic and engaging governance practice that will lay the foundation for an even brighter future for Girl Scouts, while immersing themselves in a 21st-century leadership development experience designed by girls, for girls, and with girls at the center.

I am so excited today to officially kick off our “Countdown to G.I.R.L. 2020.” This special event will be a galvanizing moment for the Girl Scout Movement—and we need YOU to join us to make it all happen. Registration for G.I.R.L. 2020 opens in January 2020 with discounts and special incentives for those of you who act quickly, so be on the lookout for more information coming soon.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Explore the World Through Girl Scout Destinations

Every summer, Girl Scouts from across the USA travel to Costa Rica and Panama to Girl-Scouts-Destinations-Scubaparticipate in Girl Scout-exclusive programs with Outward Bound Costa Rica. One of these is titled Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure—an unforgettable experience featuring wildlife conservation learning, exciting outdoor activities, and even scuba diving certification! Part of Girl Scouts’ Destinations program and the ultimate experience for Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Girl Scouts, Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure is perfect for bold and courageous lovers of animals and the outdoors.

This life-changing experience is supported in part by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project, which helps girls grow as leaders in wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship—efforts that positively affect their communities and the world.

Girls who’ve experienced Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure have also shared that learning about wildlife on their Destinations trip inspired them to help others protect and conserve wildlife back home. And as noted in the Girl Scout Research Institute resource Four Ways Girl Scouts Builds Girl Leaders in the Outdoors (2019), having outdoor recreational experiences in early childhood strongly and positively influences people’s environmental attitudes, values, and behaviors, with activities like hiking and camping cultivating a sense of responsibility for nature.

Going on a Girl Scout Destinations trip is an incredible way girls can develop love and respect for the environment—as they discover new places, jump into challenges, learn a ton, and make awesome lifelong friends. Learn more about Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure and many other Destinations, including how you can apply to go on the trip of a lifetime!

New Destinations are announced every fall. Apply now for summer 2020!

GSUSA Destinations 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

The Girl Scout Difference of Giving

2019 #GivingTuesday

It’s #GivingTuesday!  When you donate to Girl Scouts, you power unique and amazing Giving.pngexperiences for girls in our communities—experiences that broaden their worlds, teach them essential life skills, and prepare them for a lifetime of leadership.

December 3rd marks the 8th annual #GivingTuesday, a very special day of global giving celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to kick off the charitable season following spending days Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

The Girl Scout Difference of giving is evident every day. Volunteers give their time and talent to lead the next generation of leaders. Girls in turn find and give their voice to lead for themselves, their sisters, and their communities.

Give in advance now or on the day of #GivingTuesday. You can also give on the day at #ILGive. And be sure to follow our Facebook page for special updates throughout the day.

Make a difference and give to The Girl Scout Difference. Because when you give to Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, Girl Scouts give back.

 

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service | Tagged , ,

We Thank YOU!

Thanksgiving Day in America is a time to offer thanks, a time for family gatherings and holiday meals.  A time of turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.  A time for us to give back to our fellow man, as well as your community.

At Girl Scouts of Central Illinois we are so fortunate to have awesome volunteers that help us move our mission in Girl Scouting forward. We could not do what we do with girls without our volunteers.  Being a volunteer adds a tremendous amount of value to what we are accomplishing with our girls and program.

There are as many reasons to serve as there are people who serve. Volunteering is not just an altruistic act. It’s an opportunity to advance in all areas of your life.  Here are a few of the things you can gain when you give your time and yourself:

  • Connect with your community.
  • Share your skills and gain new ones.
  • Develop self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Meet new people from all walks of life.
  • Promote a worthwhile organization or cause that is important to you.
  • Feel needed and valued.
  • Experience something new that you may not otherwise be able to do.

We give thanks for all our volunteers, past, present and future. We appreciate you opening your heart and sharing your time and talent with our organization. Our volunteers are our shining stars! You truly do make a difference in the lives of girls.

Volunteering for the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois can be so rewarding and at the same time giving a girl the gift of your talents to help her become the leader she will be now and in the future.

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy Birthday Juliette!

Happy Birthday Juliette! Founder of Girl Scouts, born October 31, 1860

JGL.jpgIn 1912, Juliette Gordon Low (1860–1927) founded Girl Scouts of the USA, an organization that today serves millions of girl members and alumnae, and reflects the arc of her remarkable life.

An ardent believer in the potential of all girls and the importance of fostering their individual growth, character, and self-sufficiency, Juliette is credited with establishing and nurturing a global movement that has changed the world.

Telephoning her cousin to tell her “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!” This was the beginning of Girl Scouts in 1912.

From that first gathering of a small troop of 18 culturally and ethnically diverse girls, Juliette broke the conventions of the time – reaching across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to ensure all girls, including those with disabilities, had a place to grow and develop their leadership skills.

Using her innate talent for fundraising and public relations, combined with her vast network of friends and supporters, she led Girl Scouts with a passion and determination – ensuring it was, and always would be, an experience that was “girl-led.”

Juliette died January 17, 1927, at her home in Savannah, Georgia, after a long battle with breast cancer.

Girl Scouts of the USA is 2.5 million strong who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with program from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of  leadership, adventure, and success.

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

 

Posted in General, Membership | Tagged , , , , , ,

Girl Scouts Highest Awards: Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards

Every Girl Scout goes above and beyond to make a difference in her community and the greater world. And the skills and experiences she gains along the way set her up for special recognition through the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable – and it’s only available Goldthrough Girl Scouts! To earn this unique award, Seniors and Ambassadors don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good by tackling issues dear to their hearts while driving lasting change in their communities and beyond. 

Silver AwardThe Girl Scout Silver Award allows Cadettes flex their leadership muscles by doing research and taking action on issues of their choice. Through their commitment to their communities, girls gain confidence and skills that will catapult them to Gold Award success—all while creating positive change. 

 

BronzeThe Girl Scout Bronze Award encourages girls to take action with others to improve their  communities, Juniors gain important leadership skills and learn that even seemingly small actions can make a big impact.

 

 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your corner of the world—and beyond. The possibilities are endless.

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois highly recommends you join us for an Award Chat the first Monday of each month. During the Award Chat you will learn the basic information on each award. Award Chats are free but registration is required. To register, visit the Events Calendar.

 

Posted in Membership, Program & Activities | Tagged , , ,

Help the JGL Birthplace Win Preservation Funding!

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 4.11.36 PM

The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is a finalist in Partners in Preservation, a program of American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

You—yes, you!—can help the birthplace continue its important work to preserve the site while ensuring it meets the needs of 21st century girls. Your votes will help the Girl Scout organization address preservation and accessibility needs at the birthplace and raise awareness about the transformative work taking place there.

Vote daily for the birthplace through October 29, 2019!

Known as the “front door” of the Girl Scout Movement, for more than 60 years the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace has helped visitors from all over the U.S. and world learn about the life of an incredible woman who in 1912 founded the largest, most powerful, and most successful girl leadership development program in the world: Juliette Gordon Low.

This year, Partners in Preservation is marking the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment by providing funding for historic buildings and sites dedicated to women. As the founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low was paving the way for women in leadership before the 19th amendment was passed.

Visiting Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace is an essential part of the Girl Scout experience—right up there with selling cookies, camping, and exploring STEM. Together we can ensure that Juliette Gordon Low’s legacy remains vibrant for future generations of girls and visitors from around the world!

Don’t forget to vote every day through October 29 for the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace—and help us spread the word!

Posted in General

Making Girl Scouts Part of Your Family

You probably already know that Girl Scouts can help your girl be happier, healthier, Girl Scout Family
more successful in school, and more satisfied with her life. But it’s not just your girl who benefits when you join—Girl Scouts makes family life better.

Make Her Experience Memorable
Want to play a meaningful role in her Girl Scout experience, but not sure where to start? Consider this the ultimate cheat sheet for all-star Girl Scout parents—no matter how busy you may be! And remember when you help with her troop, you’re not only doing her troop leader a favor but a

  • If You Have 15 Minutes a Week, offer to…
    Organize and manage the calendar for troop snacks or carpools. There’s no need to provide goodies or buckle up the girls every week yourself! Simply helping other parents sign up and commit to future meeting dates will make meetings go smoothly for everyone.
  • If You Have 30 Minutes a Week, offer to…
    Manage troop communications for the troop leader. This can mean anything from sending texts to parents to confirm meeting dates or to update them with changes to the schedule, maintaining the troop’s social presence, or organizing an old-fashioned phone tree in case of an emergency.
  • If You Have 45 Minutes a Week, offer to…
    Take photos or videos at meetings and Girl Scout events. Leaders are often too busy to document every exciting moment, so your help will likely be well-received. Just be sure all girls have signed photo releases and they’re on file with your council before snapping and sharing images.
  • If You Have 1–2 Hours a Week, offer to…
    Lead part of a troop meeting or guide girls through earning a specific badge. You can introduce them to a topic that you have special expertise in or explore a new activity and learn alongside the troop!
  • If You Have 2–3 Hours a Week, offer to…
    Take on the role of cookie volunteer for your girl’s troop. You’ll be playing a key part in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which raises funds for troop activities and teaches girls financial skills, how to be confident when speaking publicly, and how to make decisions and collaborate as a group.

No matter how you contribute to your girl’s troop, seeing you play an active role in her experience will give her a sense of pride—don’t be surprised if when her Girl Scout friends start to admire and appreciate you, she sees you in a whole different light! Plus, getting involved gives you something special that you’re part of together, which in our busy lives, is worth its weight in gold.

 

via GSUSA families

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

What Adventure Awaits Your Troop?

Let’s jump start your year with a guide to all things Girl Scouts. We’re busy planning the leadership experiences that you rely on from Girl Scouts to help deliver the mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

Within the pages of the Adventure Guide you will find information on phenomenal programs, large all-council events, camping opportunities, product sales programs and just about anything else you might need to get your troop moving in the right  direction!

We have created a short video on helpful hints on how to register for programs? 

 

Learn more about all the adventures your troop can participate! Starting planning your Girl Scout year today! Our events calendar can help you with your planning.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

30-Minute Learning Sessions – Leader Chats

GSCI has developed 30-minute learning sessions for our leaders and volunteers. Leaderleader Chats support our volunteers to make the process of running a troop easier and more efficient. It is a great way to help leaders plan and stay organized throughout the year! Be sure to participate each month from your computer to explore different topics in a 30-minute webinar. These chats will take place on the second Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. You can register for these chats via DoubleKnot, and a link to the webinar will be emailed to you one week before the Leader Chat as well as a reminder one day before the Leader Chat.

October 2019 
Who runs the world? GIRLS!  What does girl-led look like? GSLE, Classroom/Troop management tips.

November 2019
Money, Money, Money.  Money matters – ACH, Troop finance basics, end-of-year tips.

December 2019
Creating a Girl Boss.  Financial literacy.

January 2019
How to Marie Kondo your Cookie Sale.  How to organize your cookie sale.

February 2019
How to STEM: Don’t think you know how to lead STEM activities? Join us for some quick and easy tips!

March 2019
Level Up: How to Bridge like a Girl Scout

April 2019
Camping, Hiking and Fires, Oh My!: Taking girls outdoors

May 2019
On the Road Again: Travel safety, GS trips

June 2019
GIRL TV: Opportunity for girls to talk about accomplishments and community service ideas.

July 2019
What’s new? New Badges/Journeys available

Have questions, need assistance contact Customer Care or 888-623-1237

 

 

Posted in Volunteers | Tagged

8 Ways for Troop Leaders to have a Successful Year in Girl Scouts!

Getting back to school also means that girls and volunteers are getting back to their Volunteerstroop. Whether you have been a Girl Scout leader for years, have been with one troop for a little while, or are just starting, it can be tough to know where to begin. We asked Girl Scout troop leaders, parents, and volunteers what their best tips are for launching the new troop year, and their answers did not disappoint!

Use your support system. Connect with the service unit in your area so you know when its meetings will be. GSCI conducts all kinds of training for leaders to assist you with your troop. We have a monthly Leader Chat that is 30 minutes once a month (the 2nd Thursday of the month) and covers all types of subjects. Talk to other Girl Scout leaders, get information about what’s happening locally, and build your support network. Call us to help you find seasoned leaders in you area.

via Girl Scouts of the USA Blog – 9/13/2019

Posted in Volunteers | Tagged , ,

Get Your Girls Outside This Fall

Exploring the great outdoors—even if the “great outdoors” is a section of your local park—instills a sense of adventure in your troop. When your girls’ first outdoor experience is a positive one, they’re more likely to seek out new challenges, which is key to developing their leadership skills.

Though your girls’ activities will vary by age group, our outdoorsy volunteer experts have some tips for kicking off your Girl Scout troop year as sweater weather gets underway.

 

Find out what excites your girls.
Start by asking the girls to share stories of their favorite outdoor spaces and what makes them special in the fall. You’ll not only get them psyched for upcoming fall adventures—you’ll get a sense of their abilities and comfort level and how you might gently nudge your girls to push past that comfort level.

As you keep your activities girl-led, ask your troop members how they might connect the badges or Journey they’ve selected to the fall outdoor activities they love. If your Daisies can’t get enough of jumping into piles of crunchy autumn leaves, for instance, you might pique their interest with leaf rubbing art as part of the Daisy Outdoor Art Maker badge. If your older girls need an adrenaline spike after their busy Monday–Friday routine, a weekend of rafting and camping can give them the adventure they seek as they earn their Senior Adventure Camper badge.

Discuss activities and set expectations.
Preparation fuels confidence, so ease into your outdoor activities by explaining to the girls—especially those who are less than enthusiastic about the outdoors—how they can get ready for, and what they can expect during, a given activity.

Although it’s generally important to help girls prepare, you don’t need to spend a ton of time preparing younger girls for introductory activities. Everything we have done outdoors is usually an hour or two at most.

For fall-specific activities, you may want to research—or encourage girls to research, depending on their age—local trails and parks that show peak fall colors and/or how to best layer clothing in cooler temperatures.

Adapt badge and Journey activities for the outdoors.
If your girls enjoy their outdoor badge work, ask them how other badges might be adapted for the outdoors and see what creative ideas they come up with!

Look for outdoor opportunities on your council’s turf.
Browse through our event calendar and see what outdoor activities the council has planed. This makes it easier for you (leaders) and your troop to try new things outside their comfort zones. From horseback riding to rock climbing, fishing to orienteering, camp is a great first experience in a variety of activities for most girls.

And remember…
Be sure to keep troop parents and caregivers in the loop, especially if they’re also new to outdoor activities. Some worry about allergies, bugs, and poison ivy, so it’s important to educate the parents as it is the girls. Also, ask the parents to volunteer to come with you. Parents who enjoy the outdoors often happily volunteer.

And whether you love sleeping under the stars or get squeamish around anything with six legs or more, remember you don’t need to be an expert to lead your girls in outdoor activities. Both you and your girls have so much to gain by exploring the great wide open together, building confidence alongside one another.

Reprinted GSUSA

Posted in Community Service, Program & Activities | Tagged , , , ,

Step Back and Let Your Girls Take the Lead

One helpful Daisy spills handfuls of popcorn while passing a large snack bowl around the room; another excitedly squeals when she hears you might move the meeting outside img (1)and sprints toward the door with four other enthusiastic Daisies. At this moment you, as the troop leader, might be wondering, “Girl-led, or girl-led chaos?”

Girl-led activities are the secret sauce of Girl Scouting, and it’s easy to see why. When girls step up and take ownership of their decisions, they grow into confident leaders who can make informed and empowered decisions—a valuable skill they’ll carry throughout their lives.

For new troop leaders, however, stepping aside and letting the girls take charge might seem counter-intuitive, especially if you lead a troop of energetic Daisies or Brownies. And because girl-led activities start with you, how can you create a space where girls feel empowered to speak their minds and pursue their interests?

Girl-led programming means taking a step back as a leader and involving the girls in the decision-making process as early as possible to the extent of their abilities. It means helping them brainstorm together what they want to explore, achieve, or try in their Girl Scout year; guiding them in their discussions and compromising; and helping them achieve their goals.

As leaders, give suggestions that will help the girls go in directions they want to go, while allowing them to make the final decisions.

Just how active a role a leader takes in troop life will look differently across Girl Scout grade levels, but below are a few ideas from experienced volunteers.

“Girl-Led” for Younger Girls
Whether your girls are selecting a Journey or planning an event, they’ll need your support as they learn to take the reins. Girl-led for your Daisies and Brownies could mean that you consolidate their ideas and offer guided questions to help them reach decisions. Juniors will have more focused thoughts about what they’d like to do during their troop year but may need some support as they start planning activities. You might encourage them to review GSUSA’s Safety Activity Checkpoints document ahead of an outdoor activity or use the Volunteer Toolkit to help plan meetings.

Understanding what your younger girls want to accomplish makes guiding them easier. Remember that young girls don’t know half the information you know. When giving girls choices, remember what their goals are to help keep them on track. Girls can be a talkative and energetic bunch; sometimes it’s hard for them to stay focused.

In short? Be patient and understand that not everything will be as organized as you intended,  and that’s OK! What really matters is that your girls are empowered to make age-appropriate decisions about troop activities.

… And for Older Girls
Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors can take on more responsibilities, but your role as an advisor is still key as your girls hone practical skills that will benefit them throughout their careers, like planning an event from start to finish, taking the lead on a service project, or budgeting for activities. It’s probably easier and faster for leaders to take control of some aspects of the planning, but it’s a very powerful learning experience for the girls that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Understanding your girls’ interests is essential to keeping them engaged, so encourage them to think big and tailor activities as they see fit. Talk to them about what they value and what they want from their Girl Scout experience, which will become even more meaningful as your older girls pursue higher awards. Sure, they’ll be making outreach to local charities and facilitating community workshops—but you’ll be the one they turn to when they need advice or words of encouragement as they encounter roadblocks in their projects.

It might be tempting to step in for girls of any age, but remember that giving them space to make their own decisions—and mistakes—is how they’ll tap into their most confident selves. It’s sometimes hard to step back and let the girls lead. Girls can feel somewhat uncomfortable; after all [they’re probably not] used to being the ones in charge of making decisions very often. But practice, though it might not make perfect, helps, and the sooner the girls get used to the process, the easier it becomes. And letting girls take the lead will often get us all out of our comfort zones, which is a good thing—for girls and adults.

Reprinted from Girl Scouts of the USA

Posted in General, Membership, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , ,

Kick Start Your Troop Year

Whether you’re greeting a group of old friends or friendly new faces, your first parent/caregiver meeting is your opportunity to deepen the bonds among all members of 1561977859420your troop.

It takes a village to lift up the next generation of leaders, and to set the stage for a successful troop year for your girls, you need to set the tone for parents and caregivers. By helping the adults understand the roles they play in the troop, you’ll empower them to stay engaged and enhance the entire group’s Girl Scout experience.

What’s the best way to launch this initial meeting? Here’s how some volunteer  have run their first parent meetings:

Give a Girl Scout welcome

Kick off your meeting by introducing yourself and any co-leaders you’ll be working with, and have each parent/caregiver introduce themselves. Depending on the size of your group, you might also have the parents say what they hope their girl will gain through Girl Scouting. It’s an opportunity for you to not only get to know the adults in your troop, but to also get a sense of the kinds of activities that excite the larger group.

One of the best parts about Girl Scouting is the inclusive, welcoming environment, and as the troop’s leader, you can set that tone for parents. “As we went around the room with introductions, the parents fell into a pattern of leading off with whether they had been a Girl Scout, and we observed some shyness or hesitation among some parents who were unfamiliar with Girl Scouts,” shares one long-time volunteer. “We now proactively emphasize that it doesn’t matter whether or not parents were involved in Girl Scouts growing up. My co-leader, who is new to Girl Scouts, tells parents that she did not have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout growing up and that she feels very much a part of the organization now and is so glad that her daughter is having the experience.”

Introduce the world of Girl Scouts

Explaining the Girl Scout mission and the breadth of experiences the girls will enjoy is a great way to get all adults on the same page. “At our parent meetings we make sure to discuss that Girl Scouts is a leadership development program,” says a volunteer troop leader. “We meet in our school’s library, which we prearrange with the librarian, and show a short video by GSUSA on the three Girl Scouts processes: girl led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning. We share that over time, the girls will take on increasing responsibility for making decisions and for running the troop.”

Review information in the Volunteer Essentials handbook to explain Leadership Journeys to parents who aren’t as familiar with the programming. “It has been helpful to show parents how troop meetings are organized and how the girls earn badges,” says a volunteer.

Set aside time for paperwork

You’ll want to have enough copies of the Girl Health History & Emergency Medical Authorization, Girl Membership Registration, New Parent Guide to Girl Scouts, and information as to when meetings will be. Parents/caregivers can complete at the meeting.  Also give instructions for how to register as an adult Girl Scout or volunteer, because registered adult members can attend meetings or help with transportation, overnights, or field trips. Parents are usually very grateful for the information and impressed with the organization and planning.

Parents and caregivers will inevitably ask about dues, so have a list of costs ready, including dues, sash or vest, handbooks, and any other materials the girls may need during their troop year. If your troop is participating in the cookie program, let parents know how cookie sales work and how sales can help fund troop activities.

Set expectations

Teamwork makes the dream work, and your parent volunteers can help your troop dream big. Be prepared to share a list of specific tasks that you’ll need help with throughout the year—troop snacks, carpooling, managing the troop’s social media and communications—and note the time required for each so parents know what to expect. Some may be surprised that some recurring tasks will only take about 15 minutes of their time each week! When you can outline things three to four months out, parents feel more confident that they can manage the time commitment.

You can also take this opportunity to specify how parents can use their unique skills and strengths to pitch in. “If you’re a money person, a craft person, an outdoor person, there’s always something a parent can do,” says one volunteer.  Tell people that everyone brings their gift to the troop; the leader can’t do everything and that’s OK. Girls will get a variety of experiences if everyone pitches in.

Ask everyone to consider ways that they might want to contribute to the troop, and ask for specific skills. Later follow up by email to get people to sign up for specific tasks such as helping plan and lead a badge or bring snacks for a field trip.

Close your meeting, with intention

Leave time for any questions before you officially close the meeting, and let parents and caregivers know how you’ll stay in touch. Remind the group that by actively sharing in troop life, they’re also modeling what leadership looks like for their girls!

More troop leader pro tips

Need a few more tips for meeting success? Our Volunteer Experts have you covered!

  • Decide when to hold your meeting. Sound too obvious? Not so!
  • Explain adult membership to the caregivers in your group. The biggest discrepancy occurs when parents don’t understand that they also have to register for Girl Scouts if they want to attend meetings and events.
  • Make individual troop policies clear. Encourage parents to be on time when picking up their daughters and to escort them into and out of the meeting location for safety.

Join Girl Scouts today!

Reprinted from Girl Scouts of the USA

Posted in General, Membership, Volunteers | Tagged , , , ,

How to Grow Your Girl Scout Troop

Do you want to expand your girls’ network and bring new voices and perspectives into their world? Consider welcoming more girls into your troop! Growing your troop is a great way to share the power of the Girl Scout experience. And in the spirit of sisterhood, you’ll help your girls make new friends (and keep the old).

So if you’re ready to introduce more girls to Girl Scouting, what’s the best way to get the word out? Volunteers share their top ten tips for letting the go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders in your community know they can join in the fun with your troop!

img

1) List your troop in the Opportunity Catalog.
Whether your council dubs this online resource the Troop Catalog or Opportunity Catalog, creating a listing in it is a simple way to let your community know that your troop has open spots. You can also use this space to share what makes your troop unique and why potential Girl Scouts won’t want to miss out on all your troop fun!

2) Distribute and post flyers at schools and in the community.
What’s one of the most effective recruiting techniques, according to our volunteer experts? Being present at schools and other places where girls in your community assemble. Back-to-School Nights garner the most interest. Set-up a recruitment table with girls from the school’s troops.

Putting a “face” to the troop is particularly impactful. The personal contact at school events, directly with parents and girls by leaders and troop members, can be the most effective way of connecting and spreading the word on what Girl Scouting is about.

You can also encourage the girls to speak up at or outside of recruitment events! Have girls write out why other girls should join Girl Scouts, then she put those letters on a bulletin board at her school.

3) Share troop openings on social media.
Think of your most frequently used social touch points—maybe you’re part of a Google group for neighborhood parents or your town recreation department’s Facebook group. Consider writing a short post about the exciting, hands-on activities that girls can take on through Girl Scouts and that there’s room for girls to explore their interests in your troop. At the end of your post, be sure to let people know how to register their girls.

4) Use word-of-mouth tactics to share inspiring stories.
As helpful as social media and other apps are, word of mouth can be the actual proof that gets families excited about Girl Scouting. Ask the girls in your troop to share a Girl Scout experience such as a sleepover at the zoo, traveling, ziplining, Girl Scout camp over the summer, glass blowing, or whatever the girl found exciting.

5) Ask your girls to wear their sashes or vests to school on meeting days.
Just wearing their Girl Scout uniform to school on meeting days is a way of starting a conversation about Girl Scouts with their peers. It gives them an opportunity to share what they had learned when earning the different badges and all the activities related to patches.”

6) Spread sisterhood in your community.
It’s one thing to talk about what Girl Scouting is all about; it’s another to experience it! Your troop is an important part of your broader community, so consider adopting a “more the merrier” approach to events. Have your troop host a Me and My Guy Dance the first Friday in February every year, inviting all girls and their special guy—dad, grandpa, uncle—to the dance.

7) Use local media to share troop activities and achievements.
If you want to get the word out about Girl Scouts in your area, then you need to get the girls out and about. When your troop participates in community service, take a picture of our girls in uniform, and the local paper is great about putting the picture and information in there.

8) Have parents share their Girl Scout experience.
Just as your girls will share fun stories about their Girl Scout experience, so will their parents or caregivers! If parents feel that their daughters are having a great time at Girl Scout meetings and events, they will usually tell other parents about the troop.

Seeing is believing, so consider inviting the parents and caregivers in your troop to a meeting, or create a special event just for them. Plan a time for moms and caregivers to come and do an activity with their girls. It’s also a great way to find parents who fill a need in your troop; that’s how you include everyone and use your resources!”

9) Host a bring-a-friend night!
Bring-a-friend events. Plan an event such as a STEM night, or patch night where the girls can interact and learn about Girl Scouts. Give them a goodie bag to take home with a  ‘s’more in a bag,’ a patch, and some small Girl Scout items.

10) Recognize the role your girls play in growing their troop.
Consider giving the girls who helped bring new members to your troop a small token of thanks—a new patch, certificate, or personal thank-you note from your council.

And, don’t forget, you don’t have to set a deadline for girls to join your troop. Encourage girls to join any time of the year. Fall can be a busy time of the year and that the girl may not be able to join until winter. Accept new girls at anytime!

Reprinted from Girl Scouts of the USA

Posted in Community Service, General, Membership, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Sign Her Up For Girl Scouts!

Adventure. Confidence. Leadership.

Be a part of every inspiring moment she’ll experience as she unleashes her G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ potential to accomplish amazing things. At Girl Scouts, she’ll try new things, face challenges head-on, and find creative solutions to the problems she sees—all while building the skills she needs to shine today and tomorrow.

With your desire for her to dream more, create more, and experience more, combined with our expertise, she’ll discover the power of G.I.R.L. within her and embark on a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. One action, one project, and one Girl Scout Leadership Journey at a time, she’ll change the world and make it a better place for herself and others.

Girl Scouts offers every girl opportunity after opportunity to do more and be more. Greatness is already in her DNA; we just help her set it free.

Research shows that as a Girl Scout, she’ll benefit in five important ways:

  • STRONG SENSE OF SELF: She’ll find confidence in herself and all that she’s capable of as she tries new things, faces her fears, and learns from her mistakes—forming a healthy identity in the process.
  • POSITIVE VALUES: She’ll learn to act ethically, lead with honesty, be responsible, and show concern for others with every step she takes. When she leads with positivity, there are no limits to what she can accomplish.
  • CHALLENGE SEEKING: She’ll take appropriate risks, opening herself up to new opportunities and new experiences. At Girl Scouts, she’ll learn that failure is never a reason to give up, only another opportunity to try something different.
  • HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS: She’ll practice leading with positivity, learning to communicate her feelings directly and resolving conflicts constructively—the kind of relationship-building skills that will help her successfully navigate her school years and the future.
  • COMMUNITY PROBLEM SOLVING: She’ll identify problems in her community and create action plans to solve them. And she’ll always know her contributions are meaningful and filled with purpose.

We want every Girl Scout’s experience to be the best it can be. You can make that happen for your girl—and others—by signing up today.

Join the movement for every girl!

Reprinted from Girl Scouts of the USA

Posted in General, Membership, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Leader

Taking on the part of “role model” is courageous…and it’s what Girl Scout troop leaders Volunteer Unleash Strongare ready to embrace! There’s nothing like seeing your girls’ eyes light up when they try something new, or their smiles when they realize they’re not afraid of a challenge. We have lots of opportunities for adults to volunteer!

There are so many reasons that volunteers step up and support girls as they grow into the strong leaders they were meant to be. Girl Scout of the USA posed the question “what do you love about being a troop leader?” to a panel of Volunteer Experts across the U.S., and here’s what they had to say.

Why I Volunteer

“The best part about being a leader is getting to extend my family. I love watching the girls grow, learn, and change. There is nothing more satisfying to me than [seeing] the girls set a goal and helping them achieve it. As my older girls enter high school, I am happy that they continue to make time for our troop to thrive. They constantly keep me in the loop with their lives, and to me that makes all the hard work pay off.”
—Lisa Lamb, Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan

“I was a Girl Scout for 11 years and loved it! When my daughter was in first grade, we joined/rejoined Girl Scouts together and I was able to experience it again through her. Now that my troop is graduating, I feel that I don’t only have one daughter graduating, but a bunch of them! I love bringing new experiences to the girls and helping them do things they otherwise wouldn’t have.”
—Lara Cordeiro, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio

“Being a troop leader allows me to stay connected to my granddaughter and her friends. (And I get to go on fun adventures, too!) I enjoy watching the girls in my troop—some of whom I’ve known since kindergarten—grow into strong, independent young women. I am blown away by the depth of understanding they possess about the world around them and their strong desire to help others.”
—Kathy Wise, Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska

“I’m a stay-at-home mom, a Girl Scout, and a biologist. My love for the outdoors started when I was a Girl Scouts attending Girl Scout camp. It was important to me that my daughter have those same experiences. I decided to volunteer to be her leader after attending a meeting and realizing that I could not only help my daughter develop a love for outdoors and nature, but also other girls.”
—Kara Johnson, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio

Learning from my girls

“I have been taken way out of my comfort zone with my girls. I am crafty, but mediocre at best; they love to work with their hands. Science is not a strong point for me; the girls say ‘bring on the experiments!’ I have learned—and I think it is important for them to see—that it is okay to make mistakes. Things won’t always work as we intend. As long as we’ve tried our hardest and had fun in the process, that’s the real reward.”|
—Maranda Oliver, Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Badgerland

“What I have learned from the girls is that I have a lot more time, energy, and love to give than I thought. Never in a million years did I think I would love these girls this much and give so very much of my time to them.”
—Anna Jochum, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan

“Our troop has a girl member with a physical disability, and a former girl member has a visual disability. Both girls taught me how to best adapt programming so they could participate in Girl Scouts. They also taught me how resilient they are and how, with assistance and adaptations, they can perform and achieve just as much as girls who do not have disabilities.”
—Cheryl Lentsch, Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska

Experiencing new things

“Seven years ago, my Cadette troop (most of whom graduated this year!) helped in our local Goodwill store [through an initiative] called Project Blessing for the school year. They would ‘work’ (a.k.a. volunteer) one Saturday each month. They learned how to arrange clothing according to size, operate a cash register, and add tax to total the price manually. By the end of that school year, they had learned so much about retail; some of the girls even volunteered for Project Blessing outside of Girl Scouts, and a couple went on to work in local mom-and-pop restaurants at the register.”
—Laura Flanagan, Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan

“Last year, the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District met our troop at a creek to do a macroinvertebrates study. I was initially worried about my Girl Scouts not wanting to get in the creek, get wet, or even look at the creepy critters that live in the creek. However, I was pleasantly surprised! Not only did all my girls enjoy playing in the creek, but they were so excited to find the macroinvertebrates and learn their names and information about them. There were no screams of disgust, only screams of excitement when they found a new critter! Our Girl Scouts loved the experience, and I look forward to introducing them to many more outdoor activities in the future.”
—Kara Johnson, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio

“One of the most notable [programs] is a STEM program called The Magic of Chemistry; Juniors and Cadettes spend a day in science labs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha performing simple science experiments to solve clues for a mock investigation. To my knowledge, these types of programs didn’t exist when I was a Girl Scout as a child. Today’s Girl Scouts are fortunate to explore all of these wonderful opportunities that may spark interest in a new hobby or even a future career.”
—Cheryl Lentsch, Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska

“In July 2016, my service unit sponsored a trip to Savannah, Georgia, for 50 girls and volunteers. We enjoyed our entire visit, including our tour of Juliette’s home. What was probably even more impactful for my girls was that they worked for three years to raise funds to go on the trip! They worked so hard, and it was awesome to witness the fruits of their labor.”
—Chrissy Schaeffer, Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania

Reprinted from GSUSA Why I Love Being a Troop Leader

Posted in General, Membership, Volunteers | Tagged , , , ,

Adventures Await

We’d like to help jump-start your year with a guide to all things Girl Scouts. We’re busy RightRails_AdvGuide19_170x325planning the leadership experiences that you rely on from Girl Scouts to help deliver the mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Within the pages of our Adventure Guide you will find information on phenomenal programs, large all-council events, camping opportunities, product sales programs and just about anything else you might need to get your troop moving in the right direction!

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois looks forward to an awesome programmatic year for all of G.I.R.L.s. Whether your girls prefer to attend high-adventure activities like horseback riding, zip lining, high ropes courses, 3-D archery or one of many other adventurous activities, you will find our offerings here. If STEM is their thing, check out one of our many STEM offerings! A power plant experience, welding, a day-long seminar at a local community college dedicated solely to STEM–there’s something for all of their STEM
interests!

If the great outdoors is what you’re looking for, then look no further. Core troop camping, family camping, all interspersed with overnight camping opportunities throughout the year.

Registration for 2019-2020 begins August 7, 2019! 

Posted in Program & Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

BIG NEWS: 42 New Girl Scout Badges

This is big: new Girl Scout Journeys and badges are coming your way!

When girls, parents, and volunteers tell us what they want to do most, we listen. We’re Badges 6 copyalways evaluating—and enhancing—what girls do, how they connect, and how they grow as Girl Scouts. And then, in true Girl Scout fashion, we take action to keep our program relevant and engaging.

This year, we added new Journeys and badges in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and the outdoors. Plus, we’re highlighting awards in global awareness and advocacy.

  • Nine cybersecurity badges for Cadette, Senior, and Ambassadors where girls learn about the inner workings of computer technology and cybersecurity and apply concepts of safety and protection to the technology they use every date.
  • Three Space Science badges for Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador where girls explore topics such as the universe and their place in it, properties of light, and inspiring careers in space science.
  • Think Like a Citizen Scientist, a Girl Scout Leadership Journey, for Cadette, Senior, Ambassador, and Multi-age level also girls to practice observation techniques, collect data, and share their findings with real world scientists through an online network.
  • Eighteen Coding for Good badges allow girls to learn the basics of coding but also provides girls with opportunities to use their skills for good.
  • Twelve Outdoor High Adventure badges designed for girls to explore nature and experience exciting outdoor adventures. These are the first Girl Scout badges that members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths.
    • The first set of badges is Trail Adventure – for example Cadettes choose between a 3-mile trail run or a trail hiking challenge.
    • The other badge gives girls the choice between Snow or Climbing Adventure – for example Brownies choose between cross-country skiing or rock climbing on a climbing wall.

Learn more about the 42 New Badges!

Posted in Uncategorized

The Importance of Trying

Think back to when your girl was a toddler; do you remember that boundless enthusiasm and I-can-do-anything attitude? One day she wanted to be a writer and the Tryingnext day she’d switched to wanting to be a dentist/astronaut (because dental hygiene is important even in space. Naturally!). But as girls get older, studies show that their fearless sense of adventure starts to give way to something a bit less fun: the pressure to be perfect.

Just how serious is the problem though? By age 13, nearly half of girls say they “aren’t allowed to fail.” Scary, right?

“When girls think people are counting on them to do well—even at things that are seemingly trivial—it creates not only a fear of failure, but also a fear of trying anything new or challenging that could expose a weakness,” says Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “Everyone has to work to develop the skills involved in new activities, but girls are viewing their beginner abilities (or lack thereof) as proof that that they’re not qualified. And this in turn, is keeping them from trying new things altogether.”

It might not seem like a big deal if she’s too nervous to try out for the school talent show, but that tendency can make her less likely to raise her hand in class unless she’s positive she knows the “perfect” answer. And even if she does offer an answer in class, she might be more likely to start her statement with, “This probably isn’t right, but…”

This self-doubt and its ramifications can set up a behavior pattern that will follow her into adulthood. For example, research has shown that women are less likely to put themselves out there for a promotion unless they’re one hundred percent sure they’re going to get it.

The plain truth is that being “good” at everything isn’t what matters. It’s trying her best and being willing to work toward improving that will give her the fullest, most fun, and ultimately most successfullife.

So whether she dreams of landing a coveted solo at the choir concert this spring or is thinking of nominating herself for debate team captain, what matters isn’t whether she makes it or not—it’s that she’s trying in the first place.  Even something small, like trying a new food or playing a new game with friends can help set your girl up for future success.

How can you encourage her to test the waters and try new things?

  • Start Try-It Tuesdays in your family where everyone is challenged to try something new each week. Whether your girl raised her hand in class (yes!) or you all tried learning some new dance moves together after dinner, you’ll have fun, learn a lot, and discover new things about yourselves as you compare notes. Plus, any “failures” could spark new ideas for innovation and improvements to the way we do things. Let the day’s imperfections serve as inspiration!
  • When she does try something new, ask with her what she likes about it or how it makes her feel. If she looks to you for praise or validation, mention how you love to see her happy and how cool it is that she’s willing to try something new instead of critiquing the project or final product. We all learn better when we’re genuinely curious and enjoying the experience.
  • Just because she’s enjoying a certain activity doesn’t mean she’s needs to be signed up for a team, art classes, or any more structured version of it. Letting her have the time to play without that structure lets her enjoy the experience on her own terms. Deciding whether or not she wants to pursue it in a more serious way can be a decision she makes when she’s ready. And if an activity ends up being a one-and-done, that’s OK too.
  • Lead by example! If there’s something you’re interested in, sign up for a continuing education class or watch how-to videos online. Or it could be something you can do together, show her that having talents and enjoying the process are two different things. It’s not always about being the best; it’s about how an activity makes you feel while you’re doing it.
  • Remind her that not everything comes easy, and that even the “pros” need to try, try, and try again—even after they master the beginner stuff! Rarely does an artist put brush to paper and get it “right” on the first attempt. Similarly, the entire business of medicine is called a practice, because it’s something that takes trying and well, practice!
  • Teaching your girl to fail or struggle with grace gives her coping skills that she will use in all areas of her life as she gets older. So seeing the growth and improvement that comes with hard work in an activity, school subject, or sport, teaches her that her abilities can be improved with effort and time.

While the pressure to succeed will always be there, how you frame success—as the willingness to try—will ultimately be what helps your girl thrive!

GSUSA Raise Her to be a Leader Series

Posted in Advocacy, General, Membership, Program & Activities | Tagged , , , , , ,

Help Test New STEM Program!

Girl Scouts of the USA has teamed up with the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois to test the NEW Family STEM Night Facilitator Guides by hosting a Family STEM Night.

We need troops (both single-level and multi-level) to volunteer their time to prepare for and host a Girl Scout Family STEM Night.

No STEM experience necessary – all Girl Scout volunteers can participate!

Why participate? Your troop will…

  • Be the first to try new STEM activities.
  • Help develop national STEM guidelines for Family STEM Nights by providing feedback.
  • Earn a $50 Amazon gift card for their troop to support troop-related program expenses.


What’s Involved:
Each troop will be required to plan and hold ONE Family STEM Night between August 5, 2019 and October 25, 2019 and to participate in the pilot research and experience documentation.

Troop Participation Requirements:

Program Activities Research Activities Experience Documentation
Obtain program materials from GSUSA. Complete the leader post-survey. Five (5) photos and
(1) video clip (video
captured on a phone
is fine) of families participating in Family
STEM Night.
 Review program materials, gather any needed supplies, and prepare for and hold a Family STEM Night. Administer family post-survey to participating families.  At least two (2) quotes
from families about their experience.
Administer girl post-survey to participating girls. At least one (1) quote
from the leader about their experience.

STEM

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, General, Membership, Program & Activities, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Operation Cookie Share – Springfield, June 20

What is Operation Cookie Share

Join Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, Neuhoff Media and our title sponsors for the annual Operation Cookie Share radioathons, an initiative to honor all those who serve and WebBanner_OCS_500x655protect our communities and country. Our goal is to raise funds to send as many boxes of Girl Scout cookies as possible to active military members and local first responders, as well as support our local Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

Here’s how you can help!

We need Girl Scout Volunteers who can assist in setting up the Flag Garden on June 19 and assist in taking donations throughout the day on June 20.

All girls who volunteer will receive an OCS patch or a star to add to their OCS patch!

Click here to sign up for the Flag Garden on Wednesday, June 19th, 4-5 p.m.

Click here to sign up for time slots on Thursday, June 20th between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.

PLUS, there will be Girl Scout Activities from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. First Responders will be onsite with their emergency vehicles. Complete steps toward a First Aid badge, write a thank you letter to your heroes, lawn games, a food truck and Kona Ice truck!

OCS Springfield, June 20, Hickory Point Bank

Sponsored by  Hickory Point Bank

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Hickory Point Bank, 3131 Wabash Avenue, Springfield6
6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Lunch from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from Robert’s Seafood Market with 50% of proceeds donated back to OCS.

Listen to Neuhoff Media radio stations on June 20 or visit Operation Cookie Share to donate from your home or office.

Posted in Advocacy | Tagged , , , , ,

7 Ways Summer Camp Can Help Your Girl

Summer is when some of the most fun childhood memories are made, but did you know superpowerthat it’s also an awesome opportunity for your girl to grow, learn, and become her best self? Here are seven amazing benefits your girl will get from her summer camp experience.

1. She’ll make new friends
There’s nothing quite like giggling over games in the bunk or singing songs with new besties around a campfire. That’s why it’s actually good to send her to camp where she might not know many (or any) other girls! Having a diverse group of friends, not just kids she knows from school, will broaden her horizons and help her see her own worth, too.

2. She’ll see all she can be
In an all-girl environment like Girl Scout summer camp, girls are more comfortable trying new outdoor activities, and they get to take the lead every single time—meaning there’s plenty of room at the top for your girl to take charge and flex her muscle, both when it comes to outdoor adventure and crucial leadership skills that will last her a lifetime.

3.  She’ll turn off her phone and tune in to nature
Getting out in nature, soaking up the sun, or dashing inside during a sudden downpour is way more exciting than any app she might have on her phone and is all part of the adventure of camp. Unplugging for a while will keep her more present and truly enjoying every moment instead of simply watching it from a screen.

4. She’ll grow her grit
The truth is, she might scrape a knee or elbow while she’s away—and that’s a good thing! When she learns to get back up after minor setbacks, like scrapes and bumps, she’s building her resilience and learning that she’s a lot tougher than she thinks.

5.  She’ll meet new mentors
Having a variety of awesome role models will help your girl see the many ways to be successful and happy in life. And the incredibly supportive staff and counselors at your girl’s summer camp are ready to step up to the plate and inspire!

6. She’ll gain independence
Being away from home—especially if that’s a new thing for her!—might be a bit intimidating to both your daughter and you. But having that time away to explore and try activities on her own will make her more self-reliant and able to discover new things to share and teach you when she returns home.

7. She’ll have tons of time for play
Playtime is anything but a waste of time. In fact, studies show that play allows the neurons in a child’s brain to form new connections—and that this rewiring helps boost emotional intelligence, decision-making skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

The truth is, sending your girl off to camp is one of the best gifts you can give her. The fun, outdoor adventure, and friends will enrich her life and—perhaps without her even noticing—give her the courage, people skills, and leadership chops to succeed at whatever she sets her mind to.

We have lots of options for your girl’s summer camp fun. Find out more here!

Posted in Camps & Property, Summer Camp Activities | Tagged , ,

Your Ultimate Summer Bucket List!

Every wonder what you can do during your summer? We’ve got lots of solutions!

18_MarComm_Recruitment-New-Program_Social-Media_Blog_960x500_V3

It’s finally here—weeks upon weeks of gorgeous weather, lazier mornings, maybe a part-time job, pool parties, and ideally, buckets of free time. Summer is a magical time of year, and it would be an absolute waste to just sleep through it, so we’ve put together the ultimate summer bucket list that will make these warm weather months even more memorable (and give every girl something incredible to tell her friends about when she goes back to class in the fall).

All of these summer ideas work for both independent older girls, who can take on most challenges on their own—and for younger girls who can try their hand at these activities with the help of a parent or other caring adult.

Ready for your best summer yet? Let’s go!

Create Something Beautiful
Take your Instagram to the next level with some artsy shots, create a cool collage from your favorite magazines, or even try your hand at painting. The way you see the world is unique and cool, so share that vision with the world!

Sleep Under the Stars
No campground or plans to go camping on the horizon? Set up a tent in your own back yard. No back yard? Cut out paper stars and hang them from your living room ceiling with string and tape, then invite your crew over for an indoors campout. And don’t forget the S’Mores—they’re delish whether they’re made over a roaring campfire or in the microwave!

Do Something Scary
Test your skills on a ropes course, audition for a play, or try learning a cool skateboarding trick. There’s no need to be perfect—or even good—at whatever it is, the point is to just put yourself out there, try something new, and walk away with a cool story to tell your friends.

Daydream Under a Tree
Sure, the A/C inside feels good, but so does a nice summer breeze under the shade of a big tree. Take your headphones off, put your phone away, and let the birds serenade you as you dream up even more fun plans for you and your crew.

Make a New Friend
Chances are, you already know almost everyone in your neighborhood, so introduce yourself to a girl from a different community—maybe a girl at camp, at the pool in the next town over, or even get to know a friend’s cousin when she visits from out of town. New perspectives and ideas will make your summer a lot more interesting.

Get Lost in a Book
You always hear that the book is better than the movie, and nine times out of ten that’s true—but when school’s in and there’s so much assigned reading, it’s hard to find time to read anything else! Not sure where to start? Head to your local library. The staff there know all the latest and coolest in young adult titles as well as children’s books. Tell them what kinds of things you typically like, and they’ll deliver some solid suggestions.

Take a Hike
Whether you’ve got a rustic trail nearby or are in the middle of the concrete jungle, lace up your sneakers and check out all the snap-worthy sights. Bonus points? Pack a lunch and find a bench or shady park to have a mini-picnic.

Make a Family Tree
All families look different, and half the fun of creating a family tree is discovering what shape yours will take! Start with you and your siblings if you have any, then branch out to your parents or caregivers and their brothers and sisters, then to their parents and caregivers, and on and on as far as you can go. Dive deep and add some personal details to your tree, like photos, fun facts, and favorite memories. You’ll get to spend some prime quality time with the people you love the most, and might uncover a surprising or funny story or two along the way.

Be a Hero
Standing up for something you believe in doesn’t just help change the world, it feels really awesome, too. Learn more about organizations that support the causes you believe in, then volunteer, join a rally, or call your local government and speak up for the issues that matter to you. This is your world, and you can change it.

Get Cooking
Learn how to make one delicious meal—something that you love and that will totally impress your family and friends. Ask a relative to teach you their favorite recipe, hunt through cool cookbooks at the library, or just do a quick online search for simple and yummy ideas. Throw a bright table cloth on a picnic table at the park and dig in. Top Chef’s got nothing on you.

Send an Old-School Letter
Get yourself some cute stationary (or make your own) and write a letter to one of your besties or a relative you don’t get to see too often—then think of how psyched they’ll be to find your note in among the junk mail.

Give Back
If you think volunteering is boring, you’re doing it wrong. To give back (and have an amazing time, too) think about the things you like doing most. Chances are, those skills and activities could be turned into a cool community service project. Love singing or acting? Put on a show at the senior center or to raise money for your favorite cause. Obsessed with cute cat videos online? Sign up to help at the local animal shelter. Coding’s your thing? Help a younger girl (or, heck, even one of your parents!) learn how to set up her own website. Basically, you’ve got skills for days and the world needs them now.

Master One “Magic” Trick
This one might seem silly, but trust us on this one—knowing how to pull off one good trick will add a bit of fun to parties and other random hangouts for the rest of your life! Go online and research one simple card trick or other fun illusion. Practice it over and over until you can do it seamlessly, then test it out on family and friends. Presto! You’re ready for the spotlight.

Put Together a Cool Vision Board
Grab a bunch of old magazines and cut out words and pictures that represent the types of things you want to do or have in your life in the future. Include anything that inspires you—whether it’s fireworks in the night sky, cool pictures of hiking trails you’d love to explore, an adorable kitty, or portraits of athletes you look up to—then use tape, rubber cement, or a glue stick to attach them in any order you like on a poster board or piece of construction paper. Hang it in your room to motivate you and remind you of all the fun your future holds.

Make a Splash
Head to the beach, the lake, or the local pool to show off your backstroke, or even just dash out to the front yard or the driveway for an impromptu water balloon fight. On a hot day, there’s not much that feels better or that’s more fun.

Explore the Farmer’s Market
Check out your local farmer’s market with a friend and pick out a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before. Don’t like it? There’s no need to have it again. Love it? As foodies would say, you’ve just widened your palate. Basically, the world is delicious. Get out there and take a bite!

Earn Some Cash
Although some of the best things in life are, in fact, free—other good things (like, say, ice cream and trips to the movies) cost money. Get down to business and make some cash of your own with a simple lemonade stand or bake sale, through babysitting or dog walking, by mowing lawns, or even teaching an elderly neighbor how to use her new tablet. You’re a natural entrepreneur!

Learn a Language
Set aside a couple hours each week and learn the basics of another language—either the one spoken in the part of the world you’d like to visit most, or one that you’re simply interested in, like American Sign Language. Check out free apps, online videos, and your local library for books and other resources. You’ll impress friends when you show off your new skills and will be able to communicate with so many more interesting and cool people throughout your life.

Check Out Some Live Music
You don’t have to have tickets to that sold-out stadium show to hear some awesome music this summer. Chances are, your town or one nearby will feature live bands during community barbeques, fireworks, and other local events. So head out, discover some cool new music, and maybe even get inspired to start your own band while you’re at it.

Keep a Journal
You’ll want to remember all the epic fun you’ll have this summer for the rest of your life— so jot down your memories, funniest moments, inside jokes, random thoughts, and most exciting adventures in a journal each night before you go to bed. If you’re on social, you might post some of this there, too, but there’s something really special about a journal that’s just for you that you can keep and cherish forever. Not so into handwriting things? Make a video or audio journal instead, or think about creating a visual scrapbook and fill it with ticket stubs and other mini-souvenirs of your summer.

 

— excerpt from GSUSA Raise a Happy Girl

 

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Operation Cookie Share – Decatur, May 30

Join Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, Neuhoff Media and our title sponsors for the annual WebBanner_OCS_500x655Operation Cookie Share radioathons, an initiative to honor all those who serve and protect our communities and country. Our goal is to raise funds to send as many boxes of Girl Scout cookies as possible to active military members and local first responders, as well as support our local Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

Here’s how you can help!
Join us in person at one of our Operation Cookie Share events to experience first responder vehicles, our flag garden and donate directly to area Girl Scouts.  And stay for lunch!

OCS Decatur – May 30, 2019, Central Park

 Sponsored by Earthmover Credit Union

Thursday, May 30, 2019 
Central Park, 1 Central Park (off of Water Street), Decatur
6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
.

Lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from University Dogs with a portion of proceeds donated back to OCS.

Listen to Neuhoff Media radio stations on May 30 or visit Operation Cookie Share to donate from your home or office.
Posted in Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Unleash. Unplug. Discover Summer Camp!

Unplug. Unleash. Discover. This summer, bring her somewhere safe, enriching, and filled to the brim with opportunities – give her the change to camp #LikeAGirlScout! Check out the entire  2019 Summer Camp Guide to see what adventure await. Before you register for camp be sure to read the  Need to Know information about camp. The  Summer Camp At-a-Glance with dates and age levels should make planning her summer camp easier to avoid any conflict with other family activities.

Sumemr Camp Webpage Graphic

What makes Girl Scout camp unique?

Girl-led, learning by going, cooperative learning – these three processes are the key to Girl Scout camp. Learning by going and cooperative learning are experienced every day at camp thanks to hands-on activities. At Girl Scout camp, girls find a safe haven – a girl-inclusive space where they’re free to be themselves. The safe space offered by Girl Scouts fosters collaboration instead of competition and promotes support among girls. On the first day of camp girls participate in girl planning which puts them in control of their camp experience and makes their activities girl-led. The three processes are guided by caring and skillful camp staff, and these experiences lead to girls developing courage, confidence, and character that transfers into their everyday lives.

Learn more about our camps and what camp is the best fit for your girl.

 

Posted in Summer Camp Activities | Tagged , , , ,

How Girl Scouting Has Impacted Me

At a recent GSCI special event we asked a long-time Girl Scout to share her Girl Scout experience.

Hi, my name is Amanda and I’m a gender studies and sociology double major at Illinois Wesleyan University.  I currently work as a prevention educator and crisis hotline volunteer at YWCA McLean County.  I would first like to say that I am excited to be asked Amanda Breedento speak here about my experiences as a Girl Scout.  This organization has become such a big part of my life, and it holds a special place in my heart.

When my parents registered me as a Daisy Girl Scout at five years old, I never could have anticipated how much donning a patch-adorned vest and selling Thin Mints could transform me as a person.  Being a Girl Scout has given me a plethora of experiences, big and small, for which I am extremely grateful.  It has helped shape me into the feminist, leader, and person I am today.  Through my sixteen-year journey from a Daisy to a lifetime member, I have learned that this is a life-changing, world-changing program that brings out the best in its members by encouraging leadership, diversity, courage, confidence, and character.

I could take this speech in many different directions; a lot happens when you’re part of an organization for sixteen years.  Through Girl Scouts I’ve been able to attend and work at camp; strengthen my financial literacy skills by selling cookies; earn my Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards; lead younger troops; serve on my council’s board of directors and teen leadership board; film a public service announcement acknowledged by former president Barack Obama; attend the Girls’ World Forum and GSUSA National Convention; and meet inspiring people from every corner of the earth.  I never could have imagined being exposed to so many different people and opportunities before even graduating from high school.  But I think that, for today, I will start with a single anecdote from seven years ago, and finish with a realization I had when I studied abroad last year.

Being a Girl Scout helped me to see myself as a global citizen, and my participation in the 2012 Girls’ World Forum in Chicago was a turning point in my life.  I was selected to represent my state in a conference of over three hundred girls from ninety different countries; we gathered for a week to discuss the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and create related projects to bring back to our own communities. I quickly found myself in the company of Girl Scouts from every corner of the earth– from Argentina, to Finland, to Japan, to Zimbabwe. During the day we discussed global humanitarian crises, and at night we participated in cultural exchanges, celebrating a wide range of international food, dance, and art. I can now say I’ve explored Chicago and learned to dance with girls from Uganda, shared late-night stories and discussions with my roommate from Bangladesh, planted crops with girls from Bolivia and Peru, and have stayed in contact with many of the people I met over six years ago!

To say I felt empowered by the experience would be an extreme understatement; I was surrounded by hundreds of young women who were equally committed to bettering our surroundings.  Endlessly diverse, we drove each other to question our views and embrace new ways of thinking; none of us had known each other before the forum, but we were united in our unwavering desired to leave a positive impact on the world.  Because of this sisterhood, the forum was the first time I truly began to believe I could create substantial change in my community – and in the world.  I didn’t see myself as just a girl in the United States anymore.  I was a feminist, a leader, and someone who was forever learning; I was one global citizen in a world of seven billion endlessly interesting people, and I’ll never forget the beginning of that feeling.

I believe that this experience helped me prepare to study abroad because it was my first substantial exposure to the complexity and humanity of various global societies.  Each individual transcended stereotypes attributed to her culture, and was interested in exchanging information and knowledge with her international peers.  The Forum was a platform not only for multicultural education, but also for the discussion of complex and sometimes uncomfortable topics facing our world.  I learned not to tokenize or trivialize people with different experiences from mine; instead, I learned to appreciate each of them for their uniqueness and our connectedness.  Much can be gained from seeking authentic immersion into other cultures and taking the time to truly understand their inner workings and histories.

Today, as an adult woman, I am particularly struck by the fact that I witness the impact of Girl Scouts wherever I go.  I see it in the service work of the Kappa Delta sorority at Illinois Wesleyan.  I see it in the old Girl Scout campsite down the street from my Danish host mother’s home.  I see it written on the walls of the food bank I volunteered with in Tokyo.  I hear it in the voices of women I interviewed for my senior research this semester.  I feel it in the nostalgia that strikes me every time I set foot on the grounds of Camp Tapawingo.  I feel it in the confidence that drove me to single-handedly collect over 2,000 signatures demanding the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois, which finally passed while I was studying in Japan last summer.

I want as many girls as possible to have access to experiences and opportunities like these.  I am a product of this organization, and there are many stories out there like mine.

Amanda Breeden

*************************************************************************************

Amanda Breeden is a senior gender studies and sociology double major at Illinois Wesleyan University.  She has been a Girl Scout since Kindergarten and, upon earning her Gold Award in 2015, became a lifetime member.  Through Girl Scouts, Amanda has fostered a love for camping, served on the GSCI board of directors, filmed a public service announcement recognized by former president Barack Obama, and cultivated a sense of global citizenship that prepared her to study abroad in Denmark and Japan during college.

Amanda currently works as a prevention educator and crisis hotline volunteer at YWCA McLean County; in the past, she has been a camp counselor at GSCI’s Camp Tapawingo and a campus organizer for NARAL Pro-Choice America.  She has also been a part of a number of activist organizations, including the Illinois Wesleyan University Pride Alliance and the Equal Rights Amendment Illinois Coalition of Bloomington-Normal.

She will be graduating summa cum laude and with research honors in May.

Posted in Advocacy | Tagged , ,

7 Lessons I Learned from Being a Girl Scout . . .

Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success.

Think back on the time when you were in Girl Scouts – the countless wonderful B08 Girls in Circleexperiences you had the pleasure of taking part in have been crucial in shaping you into who you are today. Here are just a few of the many important lessons from being a Girl Scout.

To Care for My Community
It seems as though volunteerism and kindness for kindness’ sake is becoming a less common practice these days. Being a Girl Scout teaches girls from a young age that it is up to them to do all they can to help better their community, and most importantly to do it for the right reasons. From cleaning cages at the SPCA, to singing Christmas carols to folks in nursing homes, to donating our time and resources to local food pantries, there truly is no better feeling than giving back with no expectation of anything in return. Girl Scouts teaches you how rewarding it is to contribute to your community’s improvement.

Perseverance
There were multiple times that being a Girl Scout teaches you that you can accomplish anything in the world if you work hard and set your mind to it. This is so important to hear as a young girl.

Self-Confidence
This goes hand-in-hand with the last lesson. Every activity you participate in, every badge you earned, reminded you that you are intelligent, capable young girls. Bettering your community while bettering yourselves in the process was one of the most empowering experiences of your youth.

Citizenship
Being a Girl Scout teaches you how to be an upright citizen, a patriot, and an example of dignity and altruism to the entire community. It teaches you that it costs nothing to be a genuine, caring person and that in the long run you would love yourself more for doing so. The morals and values that are instilled upon you early on are irreplaceable

Respect for Others
You not only learn how important it is to have respect for yourself, but also for your peers and higher-ups. Showing everybody a certain level of courtesy is one of the first lessons taught in Girl Scouting, and it remains one of the most valuable. Being polite and complaisant is another lesson you can thank being a Girl Scout for.

A Close Bond with Your Fellow Girl Scouts
One of the most important lessons you will take away from being a Girl Scout is how to be a true friend. Some of your closest friends are the ones who are a part of your Girl Scout experience. There’s such a comfort in knowing that you have life-long friends to turn to always, no matter how far away you might be from each other or how long it’s been since you last spoke. There is no greater gift in this world than true friendship.

Every girl should be given the opportunity to be a Girl Scout and learn lessons that will shape her into who they are today, tomorrow and for a lifetime.

Learn more about Girl Scouts and become a member.

 

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, General, Membership, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , , , ,