Be Thankful

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.

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GSCI Creates First STEM Advisory Council

More than 20 Central Illinois women in key STEM careers selected to help guide girls into STEM related fields before entering college.

The Girl Scouts of Central Illinois has created the first Girl Scouts STEM Advisory Council to help provide troops with stronger, more focused programming in the fields of science, SWE Logotechnology, engineering and math.  More than 20 highly successful women from companies and organizations including Caterpillar, State Farm, Ameren, and the Society of Women Engineers-Central Illinois have been selected to make up the council with the goal of raising the level of STEM programming within the local Girl Scouts chapters and engage them to explore these field with greater depth at a young age.

“It’s not easy to choose a career path if your exposure to the real scope of opportunity is limited,” GSCI CEO Pam Kovacevich said. “We want to build confidence in our young ladies by providing them with role models who are successful leaders in STEM fields. We are beyond excited about the level of participation in this council and grateful to these women for giving their time and expertise to prepare the next generation of professionals in these fields.”

The council has been tasked with developing age-level appropriate STEM programming including curriculum and conferences that can be delivered in a variety of program settings and introduce more girls to STEM related occupations.  The goal is to build the confidence of girl members so they aspire to seek out careers within the STEM field as well as aid community partners in filling the pipeline of potential employees with former Girl Scouts.

Sowmya Nagesh a Senior Performance Engineer at Caterpillar and one of the first women to join the council. She has special interest in helping other women of color succeed in STEM and improve the educational path young girls take to be successful.

Recent studies by SWE (Society of Engineers) and NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) have shown only 10-13 percent of young women of color are retained in engineering fields by the time they get to Sophomore year of college. And messaging to tweens has not been where it can be. I want to work with the council to sharpen the message we send to K-8 female students to promote and highlight the possibilities in STEM careers.”

 “By creating a stronger concentration of STEM programming through the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, we can have the opportunity to plant a seed of curiosity and create an increased comfort level of STEM exploration in future generations of women,” Dr. Juanita Morris, professor at Benedictine University, and GSCI STEM Advisory Council member said.

Advisory Council members have agreed to serve 2-year term during which they would attend four meetings annually either in person or virtually, provide expertise in the field of STEM to GSCI program staff, help GSCI’s council identify funding sources for extraordinary programmatic efforts and most importantly, be a mentor and resource for these young women.

The council to date is made up of the following extraordinary women:

  • Sowmya Nagesh, Senior Performance Engineer, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Marla Brotherton, MBA, Technology Director – Systems at State Farm®
  • Dr. Ashlynn Stillwell, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  
  • Dr. Juanita Morris, entrepreneur, adjunct faculty
  • Mary Cave, PE, Associate at Chastain & Associates, Inc. 
  • Lee Breeggemann, Engineer, Caterpillar
  • Bobbi Fults, University of Illinois, Springfield
  • Mary-Margaret McHugh, Illinois State University
  • Jennifer Ogle, Caterpillar, Inc
  • Heather McConnell-Smith, Ameren, Inc
  • Mary Patton, University of Illinois, Retired
  • Amanda Martin, Caterpillar, Inc.
  • Angie Ostaszewski, Ameren, Inc.
  • Eileen Parn, Chief Human Resource Officer, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois
  • Mary Mueller, Chief Financial Officer, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois
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Why Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts is the BEST girl leadership experience in the world, period. Why GS FGBG GSCI Horizontal

Since 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA has given girls the necessary tools to lead, break
barriers, and 
create positive change. These are the girls and young women who dream 
big and do bigger.  

There’s never been a better time to be part of a Girl Scout troop, share the experience with friends and family, or volunteer with Girl Scouts. Regardless of race, class, or religion, every girl has a home at Girl Scouts. 

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind, proven leadership development program that pairs girls with strong, caring female role models and mentors who prepare them to take the lead from age 5 to 18 and into adulthood.

Our data-backed, time-tested programs are designed to meet the unique needs and specific interests of girls, including the way they learn best.

Learn more about Why Girl Scouts.

 

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Happy Birthday Juliette!

Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts of the USA, was born Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon on October 31, 1860, in Savannah, Georgia. “Daisy,” as she was affectionately called by family and friends, was the second of six children born to William Washington Gordon and Eleanor Kinzie Gordon.

Juliette spent several years searching for something useful to do with her life. Her search took a new path in 1911, when she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, and became interested in the new youth movement. Afterward, she channeled all her considerable energies into the fledgling operation.

Less than a year later, she returned to the United States and made her historic telephone call to a friend, saying, “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!” On March 12, 1912, Juliette Low gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides. Margaret “Daisy Doots” Gordon, her niece and namesake, was the first registered member. The name of the organization was changed to Girl Scouts the following year.

In developing the Girl Scout movement in the United States, Juliette brought girls of all backgrounds into the out-of-doors, giving them the opportunity to develop self-reliance and resourcefulness.

From the original 18 girls, Girl Scouting has grown to 3.2 million active members. Girl Scouts is the largest educational organization for girls in the world and has influenced the more than 50 million girls, women, and men who have belonged to it, culminating in a 100-year legacy that is still going strong!

It has been a great centennial celebration for Girl Scouting, and we hope all of you will take a moment to remember Juliette Gordon Low on her birthday on October 31. What a life she led. Daisy Low was a visionary, and she remains an inspiration to me and to so many of us in Girl Scouting. All of us in the Girl Scout Movement owe Daisy Low a debt of gratitude, and we know that the vision she had ”for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world” lives on in all of us who carry Girl Scouting forward into a new century.

Learn more about Juliette Gordon Low.

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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 Girl Tested Girl Approvedproblems 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!

reposted from GSUSA

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Be a Volunteer for Girl Scouts

As a volunteer, you’ll introduce girls to new experiences and help them unleash their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to take the lead and change the Volunteersworld.

You’ll be their cheerleader, guide, and mentor, helping them develop crucial skills and confidence to launch them into a lifetime of leadership. Imagine the excitement, the memories made, and the impact—this is what you’ll share as a Girl Scout volunteer.

Why volunteering is so important:

With the guidance and support of a volunteer, Girl Scouts can go as far as their imaginations will take them—and you can be there, right by their side.

When you volunteer, you will help girls:

  • Discover a world full of fun experiences and new activities
  • Build confidence and make a whole bunch of new friends
  • Explore interests and learn new skills in a safe, all-girl environment

You’ll not only be the role model who gets to show her something new, you’ll also get to share in all those memorable moments.

Check out what caregivers and volunteers have to say, according to our research, about volunteering with Girl Scouts:

  • Ninety-five percent of volunteers say they make girls’ lives better at Girl Scouts (and that makes them happy).
  • Eighty-eight percent of Girl Scout volunteers say their volunteer experience with us makes their life better.
  • Two-thirds of volunteers say Girl Scouts has helped them professionally.

Learn more about volunteering!

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Tips for Your First Parent Meeting

It takes a village to lift up the next generation of leaders, and to set the stage for a op cat 1successful 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 our Volunteer Experts 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 Denise Montgomery of Girl Scouts of San Diego. “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 Denise. “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.” Ask the council for assistance with material and videos.

Set aside time for paperwork

You’ll want to have enough copies of the Girl Health History & Emergency Medical Authorization, Meet My Daughter, Girl Membership Registration, and Photo Release forms for caregivers to complete at the meeting. Some experienced troop leaders have also found success in sharing a “troop contract” or “troop year charter” that tells parents exactly what to expect during the year. Prepare and share a document that covers meeting dates, fees, supplies, parent involvement, year plan, and Facebook share site.  Give them instructions o 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 outline things three to four months out, parents feel more confident that they can manage the time commitment.

Take the time in your parent meeting to specify how parents can use their unique skills and strengths to pitch in. If you’re a money person, a Martha Stewart of crafts, a lover of all things outdoor, there’s always something a parent can do to help. Everyone has talent and experiences that can help the troop. Girls will get a variety of experiences if everyone pitches in.”

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!

Learn more Tips for Troop Leaders!

reposted from GSUSA Tips for Troop Leaders

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How to Place Everything on Your Girl Scout Uniform

I’m so confused . . . Where does it all go?

There are so many different badges, patches, awards, and other insignia that Girl Scouts uniformscan wear, but where does it all go? Whether she has a vest, tunic, or sash, she can proudly show off her accomplishments. This handy guide illustrates where to place insignia on a Girl Scout uniform for every grade level—or you can check out the fun videos below!

Daisy Tunic Placement

Daisy Vest Insignia Placement

Brownie Sash Insignia Placement

Brownie Vest Insignia Placement

Junior Sash Insignia Placement

Junior Vest Insignia Placement

Cadette Sash Insignia Placement

Cadette Vest Insignia Placement

Senior Sash Insignia Placement

Senior Vest Insignia Placement

Ambassador Sash Insignia Placement

Ambassador Vest Insignia Placement

 

Replicated from GSUSA Blog, August 17, 2018

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Ways to Welcome New Girls to Your Troop

Your troop may already be up and running, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to welcome Join Unleash Strongnew members! Adding new girls to your troop—even midyear—can help energize your group, showcase the Girl Scout spirit of sisterhood and inclusion, and demonstrate by example how Girl Scouts is the best leadership development experience for girls in the world. Period.

After all, Girl Scouts is all about trying new things, building new skills, and getting to know new friends in a safe and supportive all-girl environment—with guidance from caring troop leaders like you, of course!

To smooth the transition for your newbies, incorporate these fun activities into your meetings, and new girls will feel at home in no time at all!

1. Set up a storytelling meet-and-greet!
One of the absolute best ways to connect with others is by swapping stories. Introduce newcomers at their first meeting, then have everyone else introduce themselves, covering the basics, like their first name, age, and years in Girl Scouts. Encourage your seasoned Girl Scouts to go a little more in-depth by sharing something about their families, pets, or interests. Maybe each girl can pick three things about herself she’d like her new Girl Scout sisters to know. Once all troop members have introduced themselves, ask new girls to share some of their own stories.

Be sure to build in time for questions so the girls have even more opportunities to connect and share. Make it super interactive and fun by finishing up the meeting with a cool trivia game to see how much they remember about one another!

2. Showcase what your troop loves to do most! 
At a new girl’s first or second meeting, work with the other girls to plan an activity around things the troop loves to do most, whether that be community service, outdoor adventure, photography, or science experiments. What better way to get a new Girl Scout’s experience off to an exciting and memorable start than to head straight into the action?

At the beginning of the meeting, have a couple girls take the lead and explain the activity and why they love it so much. For subsequent meetings, give new girls the opportunity to choose activities they love most and help them plan something special to share with the troop!

3. Encourage her to take the lead!

Girl Scouting is all about taking the lead and making things happen, so let newcomers do so early and often. You can start small, having them lead a simple activity, or go big by encouraging them to teach their Girl Scout sisters about an issue that really matters to them. You might also go around the room and have everyone share what taking the lead like a Girl Scout means to them, complete with real-life examples to help new girls really get a grasp of leadership and everything they have the power to accomplish as Girl Scouts. Allow them time to ask questions, too. Learning and leading, that’s how we Girl Scouts do it!

GSUSA April 2017
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The Girl Scout Difference

Girl Scouts offers the best leadership development experience for girls in the world.

Girl Scouts unleashes the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) in every girl, preparing her for a lifetime of leadership—from taking a night-time hike under the stars to accepting a mission on the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with her troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running her own cookie business today to tackling cybersecurity tomorrow.

Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that help girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world.

Research shows that girls learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment. Girl Scouts is a place where she’ll practice different skills, explore her potential, take on leadership positions—and even feel allowed to fail, dust herself off, get up, and try again.

Girl Scouts is proven to help girls thrive in five key ways as they:  

  • Develop a strong sense of self. 
  • Seek challenges and learn from setbacks. 
  • Display positive values. 
  • Form and maintain healthy relationships.
  • Identify and solve problems in the community.

The inclusive, all-female environment of a Girl Scout troop creates a safe space where girls can try new things, develop a range of skills, take on leadership roles, and just be themselves.

Girl Scouts takes the potential of girls, combines it with robust skill-building programming, and adds caring adult mentors and strong female role models. 

Everything a Girl Scout does centers around STEM, the outdoors, development of life skills, and entrepreneurship, and is designed to meet her where she is now and to grow along with her.Whether she’s building a robotic arm, coding her first app, building a shelter in the backcountry, or packing for her first hike, a Girl Scout has an exciting array of choices to suit her interests at every age.

At Girl Scouts, “Can I?” quickly turns into “I will!” as girls transform their ideas into action, turn their questions into adventure, and grow their confidence through practice. And with more than 50 million other G.I.R.L.s to cheer them on every step of the way, there’s no limit to what she can accomplish.

Girl Scout difference works. It’s the best leadership experience for girls in the world for one very good reason: because it’s girl-led!

Girls First!

 

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Tips for Girl Scout Troop Leaders

Starting a Girl Scout troop is a big deal! Some people jump in with both feet, and others might be a little nervous, perhaps not sure where to start or who to turn to for help.girl hands

We search our experts—bona fide troop leaders—for insight only they can provide. Specifically, we asked found the single best piece of advice they have for new troop leaders. We hope these serve you well as valuable guidance for new troop leaders (and even those who’ve been at it a while) on starting and running a Girl Scout troop.

  1. Get parents involved from day 1. Then later when you need them they will be used to lending a helping hand and it will be much easier.
  2. Don’t try and do it all, especially the first year. Focus on one or two things at a time. Recruit parents to take on some of the roles such as finances, camping, cookies, first aid, badge work, etc.
  3. Use the Volunteer Toolkit – it will save you a lot of time and help plan your year. It is a remarkable time-saver and planner!
  4. Go to service unit leader/volunteer meetings. They are a wealth of information from the council staff to the other leaders in attendance.
  5. Starting with Daisies, give each girl a composition book. Every time the girl does some kind of community service, have her write it in the book – date, time, place and what she did. By the time she has made her way to an Ambassador, she should have more than 500 hours of community service and a great deal of experience.
  6. Do what the girl want to do. This is an organization for girls, by girls. Provide them with lots of choices and facilitate what they are interested in.
  7. For older girls, have the girls in your troop vote on badges and Journeys. Each girl ranks her top three. Then assign 2 girls to work as a team on one badge and a meeting. They are responsible for presenting and engaging the troop in earning it.
  8. Take advantage of the council trainings. This is where you will learn and get all kinds of ideas. Make contacts with other leaders/volunteers to ask questions, and bounce ideas off of each other. New people = New ideas!
  9. Trust the program~ Don’t panic! The council has lots of information, troop meeting information and resources to help you! ASK!!
  10. Camp every year! Start taking the girls camping. If you don’t really like to camp or are unfamiliar with camping, ask the council to help out. There are always lots of volunteers who love camping and can help you and even join you and our troop.
  11. Ask questions! Don’t flounder on your own. ASK! the council and staff our here to help you!
  12. The best tip is HAVE FUN! A lot of focus is placed on procedures, roles, recruiting, and all that other good stuff. Those things along with safety come first. But we want you to have fun – as a leader, mentor as well as your girls! If you don’t enjoy what you are doing . . . you will burn out quickly. So make slime with your girls, take in the sights on a hike, make yourself a great big s’more! Not only will you have fun, it will allow you to develop a good connection with your girls!
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Girl Scouts is the best place for girls!

Today’s youth are increasingly vocal about the change they want to see—and Girl Scouts 18_MV_Fall-Recruitment_Council-Social-Media_1080x1080_09are the best equipped with the skills needed to make a real impact. In fact, girls who participate in Girl Scouting are more than twice as likely to exhibit community problem-solving skills than girls who don’t (57 percent versus 28 percent). The important soft skills like confidence and perseverance that Girl Scouts promotes, coupled with the hard skills linked with our standout, 21st-century programming definitely set Girl Scouts apart.

There’s just no doubt about it: Girl Scouts is the single BEST place for girls. Delivering a one-of-a-kind leadership development program (and the largest in the world for girls!), Girl Scouts provides girls with unlimited girl-led adventures found nowhere else. Troops are forming now—join Girl Scouts today.

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Girl Scouts Introduce 30 New Badges!

Girl Scouts releases new badges in environmental stewardship, space science, robotics, and more to help girls create positive change in their communities—and beyond.

18_MarComm_Recruitment-New-Program_Social-Media_Blog_960x500_V3

Earlier this summer, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) rolled out 30 new badges and 2 new Journeys (available now!) exclusively for girls ages 5–18—enhancing the time tested, one-of-a-kind leadership experience that has prepared countless women and girls to excel in life. The new programming will prepare girls to address some of society’s most pressing needs through hands-on learning in cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science, and space exploration.

The new programming for girls in grades 6–12 includes:

  • Think Like a Programmer Journey, funded by Raytheon and providing a strong foundation in computational thinking and the framework for Girl Scouts’ first ever national Cyber Challenge, coming in 2019. The programming will prepare girls to pursue careers in fields such as cybersecurity, computer science, and robotics. Learn more.
  • Environmental Stewardship badges, funded by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project and expanding on GSUSA’s current Environmental Stewardship badge offerings. Girls in grades K–12 are encouraged to prepare for outdoor experiences and take action on environmental issues they care about. Although Girl Scouts have been advocating for the environment since the organization’s founding 106 years ago, the new badges are the first to specifically mobilize girls to be environmental advocates who address problems, find solutions, and take the lead to protect the natural world. Learn more.
  • Robotics badges that teach girls how to program, design, and showcase robots, completing the suite of Robotics badges that GSUSA introduced for girls in grades K–5 last year. Now, every Girl Scout can develop robotics skills and earn badges while she’s at it! Learn more.
  • The College Knowledge badge for Girl Scouts in grades 11 and 12—the first badge dedicated to college exploration. By showing girls how to research the admissions process, financial aid, and other key factors, our College Knowledge badge meets a specific need and addresses the life skills girls have told us they’re interested in—and that many don’t find support for outside Girl Scouts. Learn more.
  • Think Like an Engineer Journey, which helps girls understand how engineers address and solve problems. As with all Girl Scout Leadership Journeys, girls complete hands-on activities and use their newly honed skills to take action on a problem in their community. Learn more.

Girls in grades K–5 can now earn badges in:

  • Cybersecurity. Funded by Palo Alto Networks, our new Cybersecurity badges introduce girls to age-appropriate online safety and privacy principles, how the internet works, and spotting and investigating cybercrime. Learn more.
  • Space Science. Funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute, these badges let girls channel their inner NASA scientist as they learn about objects in space and how astronomers conduct investigations. Learn more.
  • Mechanical Engineering. Girl Scout Juniors—girls in grades 4 and 5—design paddle boats, cranes, and balloon-powered cars; and learn about buoyancy, potential and kinetic energy, machines, and jet propulsion. Following last year’s introduction of Mechanical Engineering badges for girls in grades K–3, the addition of these badges means that ALL Girl Scouts in elementary school now have access to hands-on engineering experiences. Learn more.

Enhancing Girl Scouts’ proven girl-led programming, these new badges and Journeys will set girls up for a lifetime of leadership and success, and prepare them to take action to make the world a better—including greener and more equitable—place for us all.

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Girl Scout Leadership Experience

Girl Tested Girl Approved

At Girl Scouts, your girl will prepare for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure in a safe, no-limits place designed for and by girls!

How? Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience—a collection of engaging, challenging, and fun activities like earning badges, going on awesome trips, selling cookies, exploring science, getting outdoors, and doing community service projects.

At Girl Scouts, she’ll get to lead her own adventure (it’s her world!) and team up with other girls in an all-girl environment to choose the exciting, hands-on activities that interest her most.

The idea is to learn by doing, and at Girl Scouts, she’ll do lots of it.

She’ll be inspired to discover her talents and passions in a safe and supportive all-girl setting. She’ll join with other Girl Scouts and people in her community—and together, they’ll take action to change the world.

Along the way, she’ll gain important skills in four areas that form the foundation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience:

While she may be exposed to these subjects at school, in other youth programs, or even on her own, at Girl Scouts she’ll experience them in a unique way that puts her on a path to a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. And because our program is girl-led, girls decide what they’ll do, together.

Join Today!

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The Result? A Lifetime of Leadership

At Girl Scouts, “Can I?” quickly turns into “I will!” as girls transform their ideas into troopsaction, turn their questions into adventure, and grow their confidence through practice. And with more than 60 million other G.I.R.L.s to cheer them on every step of the way, there’s no limit to what they can—and will—accomplish.

In fact, being a Girl Scout helps girls thrive in five key ways. As a Girl Scout, she:

  • Develops a strong sense of self
  • Displays positive values
  • Seeks challenges and learns from setbacks
  • Forms and maintains healthy relationships
  • Learns to identify and solve problems in her community
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With Girl Scouts, she’ll do more than she ever thought she could, dream bigger than she ever imagined, and—oh, yeah—change the world, for herself and for others.

Who knew kayaking, building robots, or selling cookies could help her do all that?

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

Help Her Find Her Girl Squad

Think about that one friend of yours—the one you’ve known forever, who remembers your goofiest fashion moments, who’s cheered you on through every adventure (and, girl squadokay, a few misadventures), who you can go without seeing for months and pick right back up as if no time has passed at all. There’s no question you want your daughter to have the same kind of amazing friendships in her life, so do her a solid and steer her in the right social direction.

Show Her the Fun of Friendship
Your daughter probably knows several of your friends, so try telling her about how you met, whether it was in line at the grocery store or at school when you were younger. Understanding that you had to go through the whole getting-to-know-you process will give her more confidence in her own social skills—and get her excited about all the opportunities to make new friends.

Play Your Part
If your daughter is a bit shy, she might need a few hints of what to say when she meets someone new. “Come up with real-life situations she might be confronted with,” suggests Girl Scouts Developmental Psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “If they are in the lunch line together, how can she start a conversation?” Remember that the ice breakers you might use in your life (“That was a great presentation—want to grab lunch sometime?”) don’t necessarily translate to the swing-set crew! Asking about pets, commenting on the characters on the other girl’s shirt (“I like giraffes, too!”), or even a simple, “Want to play?” can open the door to new friendships.

Get Her Out There
Of course your daughter will meet other kids at school, but don’t limit her to just that group of little ones. Try signing her up for activities at the library, for the neighborhood soccer team, or finding a local Girl Scouts troop for her to join. “Introduce her to a host of different activities,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “Not only is it a great way to try new things, but it can help your daughter form friendships with children who share her interests.”

Make it Easy for Her
Believe it or not, your behavior can have a big impact on your daughter’s budding social life. By being a good listener and supporter to the friends in your life (and explaining why those are great qualities in a friend), she’ll be set up to be a superstar buddy. And finally? Try to get to playdates, troop meetings, and other activities on time. Yes, traffic is bad. Yes, you had to finish that one email before you could get out the door. But when you’re late to a social activity, your daughter might miss out on introductions and feel uncomfortable reaching out on her own.

replicated from GSUSA

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

Ten Reasons Girl Scout is (still) the Best Place for Girls

Every girl deserves a place where she can be her best self and unleash her inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™. And that place is Girl Scouts! Girl Tested Girl Approved

Girl Scouts has a track record of more than 100 years of providing extraordinary experiences just for girls. And although girls can choose from many activities and youth programs, there’s only one that’s proven to grow girls into the leaders we need today, tomorrow, and always.

Here are our ten favorite reasons (because we have many!) why all girls deserve a Girl Scout experience.

1. Girl Scouts is a girl-only space, and while that sounds obvious, we mention it because there’s a good reason! Girls have unique developmental needs, and participating in a program tailored to those needs has well-documented benefits. Girl Scouts is, and always has been, the expert on girls.

2. Girl Scouts is SO much more than a single-gender youth program; it’s the only one that’s girl-led! Girls choose the exciting, hands-on activities that interest them most—whether that’s earning badges, exploring the great outdoors, learning business skills while selling Girl Scout Cookies, or making a difference in their community. And together, they learn by doing.

3. All girls deserve the opportunity to participate in fun, confidence-boosting activities in a judgment-free space, and that’s why Girl Scouts will always be an inclusive, supportive community where girls are free to be who they want. There’s a place for every girl in Girl Scouts, and that’s why you’ll find us in urban, suburban, and rural communities in schools, community centers, and places of worship.

4. Girl Scouts offers hands-on, girl-centered learning in STEM, which can be a game-changer for many girls. Research shows that Girl Scouts who said they didn’t like math or science at the start of their STEM programs became more positive about these subjects after participating, and 77 percent said that because of Girl Scouts, they’re considering a career in technology.

5. It’s a fact: companies today seek employees with essential people skills who are prepared to be inspirational, empathetic leaders. Through Girl Scouts, girls discover the importance of teamwork, become creative problem-solvers, and glow with positivity, empowering others to be their best G.I.R.L. selves too—the kind of leader every workplace deserves.

6. Girl Scouts believe in leaving a place better than you found it, and becoming civically engaged is the first step in fighting injustice and making positive change a reality. There’s nothing more empowering than being a catalyst for change, and through the G.I.R.L. Agenda, girls learn to make their voices heard and to mobilize their community to make the world a better place.

7. That all-girl environment we mentioned earlier? It’s the most inspiring sisterhood she’ll be part of! Girl Scouts are continually leading amazing initiatives that improve their communities, whether they’re championing ocean conservationfighting child marriage, or enacting a smoking ban in their home state. With 1.8 million fellow change-makers to join her, she’ll discover there’s nothing she can’t accomplish!

8. The Girl Scout Gold Award is her chance to make a sustainable, positive impact on her community. But the experience also directly benefits her as she learns valuable community organizing and project-management skills, making her stand out on college applications, earning her scholarships, and enabling her to enter the military one rank higher. Talk about paying it forward!

9. Girl Scout alums break glass ceilings, and it’s easy to see why: the confidence and persistence needed to smash through barriers in the workforce and bust gender stereotypes is rooted in having a girl-only space where girls know anything is possible.

10. Building girls of courage, confidence, and character isn’t just mission statement fluff; it’s what we live and breathe at Girl Scouts, and the outcomes speak for themselves. Research shows that, compared to their peers, Girl Scouts are more likely than other girls to be leaders.

Bottom line? Girl Scouts is the best leadership development organization for every girl because it’s the place for her to do more than just well—it’s her place to thrive!

GSUSA Blog – June 11, 2018

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In a World of Boys’ Clubs, Give Her One of Her Own

Although your daughter likely goes to school with boys, and might play Saturday girl club.jpgmorning sports and share the local playground with them, the realities of her day-to-day life are anything but the same as those of her male peers. In fact, studies show that in coed learning environments, boys receive more praise than girls when they call out in class, making girls less likely to raise their hands. Furthermore, boys are allowed to problem solve on their own during class time, which fosters independence, whereas teachers tend to step in and “help” girls, leading girls to question their own abilities.

And outside of school? More than one in ten U.S. girls report being catcalled before their 11th birthday—and a whopping 85 percent report gender-based street harassment before they turned 17. Not only does this make girls see their worth in terms of their appearance but it also makes them more self-conscious and cautious overall when out in public. Add to that the fact that the worlds of tech, advertising, major league sports, politics, finance, and so many other fields are still considered “boys’ clubs”—sending not-so-subtle signals to girls about which industries or activities are for girls and which aren’t—and the world starts looking a whole lot less equal for your daughter.

The fact is, 99 percent of your daughter’s life is experienced alongside boys, where she either has to fight for attention or dodge the unwanted kind. Not only can that get exhausting but it can also lead your daughter to keep her head down and stop seeking attention completely. And when this is her day-to-day norm, it’s easy for her believe dynamics like this are normal or acceptable. Scary, isn’t it?

So, what can you do to raise a smart, confident daughter who’s equipped to succeed in this world? Make sure she’s getting some high-quality time surrounded by girls and girls only.

Now, we know this concept raises some questions. Isn’t putting girls in an all-girl environment basically like telling them they can’t compete with boys or do the same things boys can? In short, no. Girls are already mixed in with boys in so many areas, but because of society’s stereotypes about girls and the ways girls are treated—either consciously or subconsciously—by the people in their lives, girls are less likely to take risks or engage in competition in environments where boys are present. They’re also more likely to shy away from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities and sports for fear of being seen as less than feminine, or because they’ve been conditioned to believe that boys will simply be better at those things.

All-girl environments—be they all-female sports teams, regular slumber parties, or even her Girl Scout troop meetings—work as a type of oasis in her world. When there are no boys to be compared to (or to compare herself to!), she can discover her passions, stretch her limits, and shine her absolute brightest without the social pressures of being seen as too girly, too masculine, or really too anything. Essentially, she’s allowed to be herself and learn her own strengths on her own terms. She can build the bravery, confidence, and resilience that come with taking risks, struggling, failing, and trying again. She can learn to innovate and problem solve without anyone assuming she can’t do it on her own. And she can carry these experiences and skills with her into the wider world, where they’ll bolster her and help her rise to new limits despite any barriers in her way.

And as for the theory that girls in all-girl environments just end up getting catty and tearing one another down? Quite simply, it’s wrong. Here’s the thing: the harmful stereotype of girls and women being backstabbing “mean girls” has existed for hundreds of years. But girls are more likely to be ultra-competitive with one another in environments where there’s only one or two spaces for them to take the lead. In all-girl environments? Every leadership opportunity in every area will be given to a girl, so girls learn to champion one another and collaborate rather than feel threatened. The friendships she’ll forge through these groups will form the basis of a powerful network of women who can support one another as they grow.

And these benefits—a greater sense of confidence, a higher comfort level with taking risks, the ability to claim every space as a space where girls and women belong, and the support and encouragement of a strong female network—truly will help your daughter throughout her life. Studies show that girls who take part in certain all-girl activities go on to have more successful careers, experience higher levels of education, and be happier in life in general.

What can you do to give your daughter the benefits of the girls’ club? Set up playdates with female schoolmates early and often. Point out examples in real life and in the media where girls have joined together to support and lift one another up. Get her involved in an all-female activity like Girl Scouts, an all-female dance or sports team, or a STEM class filled with girls. Invite the neighborhood girls or perhaps her female cousins over for regular slumber parties or weekend day trips, exploring your local area and the adventures it has to offer. Not only will she have fun and make memories to last a lifetime but she’ll also grow stronger, more capable, and more confident than you ever dreamed.

replicated from GSUSA

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, General, Membership

6 Things All Girls Should Know Before They’re 16

Whether your daughter is in pre-K or heading to prom this year, it’s never too early (or girlstoo late) to give her the tools she’ll need to live her best life. And among the countless skills and bits of wisdom that will serve her over the years, having these six tricks up her sleeve will give her the confidence to truly take on the world.

1. Where to Draw Boundaries
You want your daughter to be courteous, respectful, and kind, but there’s a difference between that and being a doormat for others to take advantage of. Do her “friends” only want to hang out so they can copy her math homework? Is someone in her life—and adult or another kid—pressuring her to do things that feel uncomfortable? Talk to her now about these types of scenarios even if they haven’t come up yet. You want to make sure she has the skills to stand up for herself with confidence. Saying a simple “no,” without feeling the need to give excuses or apologies takes confidence—which you can help her with.

2. The Art of Managing Money
Understanding how to manage money isn’t just a nice-to-know, it’s a necessity for this generation. Help younger girls separate their allowance into amounts they’ll save, spend, or donate will set the groundwork for success. Then when your girl gets a little older, giving her a budget and having her plan her own birthday party will take that decision-making to the next level. Financial literacy will not only help your girl understand the value of a dollar, but also help ensure that she’ll be on secure financial footing for life.

3. When (and Who) to Call for Help
As early as possible, all children should know to call 911 in the case of an emergency—but what about when your girl is older? Will she feel comfortable calling you or another trusted adult for help in an emergency situation where you might disapprove of her actions or who she’s spending time with? It’s imperative to make sure your kids know that even if they use poor judgment, the adults in their lives love them and prioritize their safety above all else.

4. How to Avoid Burnout
We all know at least a couple people who are notorious for over-booking themselves or even sometimes have to bow out of commitments at the last minute out of sheer exhaustion. Don’t let your daughter become one of them! Get her a kid-friendly calendar to keep in her room and let her update it with birthday party invites, soccer matches, school project due dates, and anything else going on in her world. Then have her figure out where and when she has time in her calendar for rest and relaxation. Time management and balance are obviously super important in the working world, but as we all know, they go a long way in keeping yourself healthy and happy, too.

5. The Ability to Keep Moving
Whether she’s on a bike, navigating transit, or in a car, your girl should know how to get out of a fix. Help her learn how to repair her own bike, read a map, and change a flat on the family car when she’s old enough. Even if she’s not that excited to learn this stuff now, she’ll thank you later when she’s not stuck waiting around for a tow-truck.

6. How to be Heard
You can have 1,000 great ideas, but if you don’t communicate them in a way that will make people listen, they’re not going to help you much. Roleplay with your girl so she learns how to introduce herself with confidence when she meets new people face-to-face, help her understand basic strategies of making a compelling argument (she’ll need facts to back up her points!), and work on direct communication of facts, ideas, and feelings. Finally, talk her through the admittedly sometimes confusing world of social media, texts, emails, phone calls, and—yes!—even the hand-written letter, versus when an in-person chat is best. People skills like these will help her ace that college interview, launch herself into her dream career, and have healthy relationships with friends and partners as she grows up.

replicated from GSUSA

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, General | Tagged ,

Operation Cookie Share – Decatur, May 31

Join Girl Scouts of Central Illinois and Earthmover Credit Union in Central Park on May ocs31st for our 5th annual Operation Cookie Share. Our friends at Neuhoff Media will be live from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to honor all of those who serve and protect our communities and country.  Our goal is to send 10,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to military and local first responders.

Sponsors at the $500 level are welcome to join us the day of the event and engage in an on-air interview with the radio hosts. This will allow your business even more exposure, in addition to the gratification you’ll receive by sending Girl Scout cookies to our heroes. You will receive promotion during that hour via social media as well as on-air. Your donation supports Operation Cookie Share as well as the local Girl Scout Leadership Experience, and any level of support helps:

  • 1 Case =   $60 – membership for 2 girls (approximate)
  • 2 Cases = $120 – membership for 4 girls
  • 3 Cases = $150 – membership for 6 girls
  • 4 Cases = $240 – 1 week of  day camp for 1 girl
  • 5 Cases = $300 –1 week of resident camp for 1 girl
  • 6 Cases = $360 – 1 year of Girl Scouts for 1 girl

Visit Central Park on May 31st to donate and check out the first responder vehicles and flag garden. Or make a donation at any Earthmover branch. You also can call 217-875-1340 to donate.

Thank you for your support of Operation Cookie Share.

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, Fund Development | Tagged , ,

Show Our Planet Some Love!

We’re Girl Scouts. We know a thing or two about being green!

It’s in our DNA. Our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was a famous nature enthusiast—andgirl_scouts_conduct_plt__s_rotten_log_activity we always encourage everyone to use our planet’s scarce resources wisely, for themselves and for everyone!

On Earth Day—and every day—you can take action to help protect and honor the planet we all call home. There’s only one Earth, but there are so many ways to celebrate it!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Go outside. Nothing says you love Mother Nature like spending some quality time with her! Take a walk. Smell a flower. Listen to the birds. Take photos in a national parkand share your best shots on Instagram and Twitter using #gsoutdoors. Then check out your photos—and others.

2. Recycle. Items made from glass, paper, metal, or plastic can all be recycled into new products instead of clogging our landfills or spoiling the environment. So don’t trash it, recycle it! You’ll help conserve resources, prevent pollution, reduce greenhouse gases, and make the environment healthy for future generations.

3. Plant a garden. See firsthand how plants develop and thrive. Grow your own flowers, fruits, veggies, a tree, or all of them! You can start from seeds, cuttings, or potted plants. Go ahead—it’s OK to get your hands dirty for a good cause!

4. Say “goodbye” to plastic water bottles. It’s important to stay hydrated, but those disposable plastic water bottles are bad news for our animal friends and the environment. Just switch to a refillable water bottle you can carry with you. It’s healthy, environmentally friendly, and economical. Win, win, and win!

5. Flip the switch on energy use. Turn off lights, computers, televisions, game consoles, and other electronic devices when you’re not using them— simple, but so effective!

6. Go to an Earth Day fair. Find an Earth Day event in your community and go! It’s your chance to learn about environmentally friendly practices, products, and volunteer opportunities. Plus, you just might make new friends who share your interests or pick up a tip or two on how to be more environmentally aware.

7. Use less, reuse more. You can reduce waste by not creating it in the first place. Try to buy reusable items instead of disposable ones. Repair broken things instead of buying new. Do a good deed by donating unwanted clothing, toys, and other items to charity instead of tossing them in the trash.

8. Spark a conversation. Talk to your friends about environmental issues that interest you. Together, you can make a plan to have a positive impact on our planet. Or get in touch with elected officials and community representatives to share your ideas on the environment. Raise your voice and be heard!

9. Conserve water. Did you know that only 1% of the Earth’s water is suitable to drink? So let’s use it wisely. Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth. Take a quick shower instead of filling the bathtub. Be on the lookout for leaks at home and school. We can do this!

10. Organize a cleanup. Get your friends and family together and have some fun cleaning up your local park, beach, school, or playground. After you’re done, have a picnic to celebrate a job well done.

And that’s just the beginning!

Posted in Community Service, Volunteers | Tagged , , ,

Empower Your Girls Through the Outdoors

It’s once again time for your girl to check her outdoor gear, restock her daypack, and get ready to spend more time in the great outdoors this summer! Whether she’s going troop camping, or attending Girl Scout summer camp, visiting a National Park with her family, or even pitching a tent in her own backyard, there are so many ways to have a Girl Scout adventure.

Plus, she just might earn a Girl Scout badge or two…

Daisy Buddy Camper badge: Camping is a great adventure to do outdoors. Here she’ll play in nature, eat outside, and sleep under the stars with her family, friends, or Girl Scout sisters. When she earns this badge, your Daisy will learn how to plan for a camping trip and properly pack her outdoor gear—so she’s always Girl Scout prepared! Earn this badge.


Brownie Cabin Camper badge: When your Brownie earns this badge, it’s a chance for Brownie Cabin Camperher to spend time in nature and have fun with friends or family. She’ll dive deeper into planning her camping trip, learn how to use camping gear, prepare a delicious meal in the outdoors, and try her hand at a new camping skill! Earn this badge.


Junior Eco Camper badge: We already know it’s easy being green when you’re a Girl Scout, and with this badge, your Junior will not only learn the Leave No Trace Seven Principles but also how to apply them! She’ll plan meals with the environment in mind, prepare a minimal-impact campsite, and go on a conservation hike. Having fun and protecting the environment at the same time? We’re in! Earn this badge.

Cadette Primitive Camper badge: Primitive camping can be difficult, even for Cadette Primitive Camperexperienced campers, but we know your Girl Scout Cadette is up for the challenge! Through this badge, she’ll step up her outdoor skills—from planning a primitive camping adventure with her troop to gathering the gear she’ll need to succeed. Earn this badge.

 


Senior Adventure Camper badge: Girl Scouts are natural outdoor adventurers, and whether your Girl Scout Senior likes to kayak, mountain bike, or go rock climbing, why not combine her passion with an overnight camping trip to make the most of her outdoor experience? Adventure camping requires minimal equipment and gear because she’ll be active all day and possibly moving campsites. And thanks to this badge, your girl will know exactly how to prepare for the challenge. Earn this badge.

Ambassador Survival Camper badge: Is your girl ready to test her camping skills with minimal supplies? Once she earns this badge, she will be! She’ll learn what it’s really like to go off the grid, survive off the land, and explore the great outdoors with her crew. And she’ll not only be prepared for future adventures outdoors but also be able to share her knowledge with others. Earn this badge.

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Girl Scout Extended Year Membership Now Available!

In the past, members who joined Girl Scouts later in the membership year had to pay the girlscoutsfull membership fee again soon after their initial purchase if they wanted to continue with Girl Scouts into the fall.

This frustrated many members, but now we have good news! For the first time ever, through the new extended-year membership option available May 1, new girl and adult members can register for a 17-month, $35 prorated membership that allows them to begin Girl Scouts during the summer and then transition right into their traditional troop experience in the fall without paying double membership fees. It’s seamless—and a pretty sweet deal!

For new girls, extended-year membership provides the ultimate opportunity to get started on their Girl Scout adventure in the summer and then stay for the whole year. And it lets new adult members complete their onboarding process and maybe even begin recruiting for their new troop in the summer!

Questions about extended year memberships? Contact Customer Care at customercare@girlscouts-gsci.org or 888-623-1237.

Posted in Membership | Tagged , , , , ,

Lead Like a G.I.R.L.

Take the Lead Like a Girl Scout!

When she’s a Girl Scout, she’s also a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™.leader

When you think Girl Scouts, you might think cookies, campfires and friendship bracelets. And sure, those things are all part of this exciting, life-altering journey, but there’s so much more to it!

Girl Scouts are big thinkers, groundbreakers, and role models. They design robots, start garage bands, and improve their communities—and yes, they sell the best cookies on the planet.

Every day, Girl Scouts unleash the power of G.I.R.L. to make amazing things happen.

G-dot

Go-getter
She’s bold, honest, and determined to succeed. In her mind failure is no reason not to get back up and try again, and again, and again. That explains why half of all U.S. businesswomen were Girl Scouts. 

I-dot

Innovator
Thinking outside the box is her specialty, so she’s always looking for a creative way to take action. A clear correlation: 73 percent of current female senators were Girl Scouts. 

R-dot

Risk-taker
Courageous and strong, she’s keen to try new things and embrace the unfamiliar. It’s no wonder that nearly all of the 40 women who have flown in space were Girl Scouts.

L-dot

Leader
She’s confident, responsible, and committed to changing the world. Here’s proof: Every year, Girl Scouts collectively spend tens of millions of hours improving their communities.

These traits define girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. This is the Girl Scout DNA.

It could be part of your DNA, too—whatever your age, gender, or background. The only question is, are you ready to take the lead…like a Girl Scout?

 Learn more: How Girl Scouts Measure Up (PDF)

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

The Girl Scout Difference!

Girl Scouts offers the best leadership development experience for girls in the world.

Girl Scouts unleashes the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) in everygirl hands girl, preparing her for a lifetime of leadership—from taking a night-time hike under the stars to accepting a mission on the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with her troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running her own cookie business today to tackling cybersecurity tomorrow.

Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that help girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world.

Research shows that girls learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment. Girl Scouts is a place where she’ll practice different skills, explore her potential, take on leadership positions—and even feel allowed to fail, dust herself off, get up, and try again.


Girl Scouts is proven to help girls thrive in five key ways as they:
 Develop a strong sense of self. 
 Seek challenges and learn from setbacks. 
 Display positive values. 
 Form and maintain healthy relationships.
 Identify and solve problems in the community.

The inclusive, all-female environment of a Girl Scout troop creates a safe space where girls can try new things, develop a range of skills, take on leadership roles, and just be themselves.

The Girl Scout Difference!

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

Girl Scout Volunteers: The Love is Real!

Everyone can agree that change is constant. And that experiencing something new is so much better when you have a cheerleader, friend, or mentor by your side.

Girl Scout troop leaders and volunteers are the role models that help Girl Scouts unleash their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ spirit to take the lead and make changes in the world in big and small ways. After reading notes from Girl Scout volunteers across the country, we at Girl Scouts of the USA know that millions of girls are fearlessly facing “firsts” and taking on life’s challenges every day.

When we asked volunteers to share why the experience is worth their time, the responses made us break out the tissues. Here are some of our favorites!

“Every smile, every giggle, every time the light bulb goes on, every connection that builds a bond, every wow, every gasp, every sigh, every tear, every single time a girl gets to be a girl and a sister and a leader and on and on and on.”-Kathy P.

 

“In 2014, I was in the hospital recovering from a critical illness. One of my caregivers was one my former Girl Scouts. She took such good care of me. I felt safe whenever she was assigned to me.” -Jane G.

 

Your shy girl finally has some confidence to speak in front of people.”-Sheila L.C.
You get a surprise thank you card like this…she is not my daughter biologically but it makes my heart happy that she thinks of me that way.”-Sandi S.A.

 

“I love my time as a volunteer. Volunteering has given me so much love, friendship, and kindness from the girls, fellow volunteers, & GSNEO staff. These people who I now consider family have inspired me to be a better person. I have my troop leader to thank for starting me out on this life long journey of ‘On my honor…’”-Amy S.

“You’re recognized as the ‘Cookie Momster’ by a lot of people in town from the years you were SUCM. And you’re not wearing your ‘momster’ hat.”-Donna G.

 

“You get a call or card from a girl you haven’t seen in 35+ years to let you know that she appreciates what you did for her.”-Donna S.

 

“When your Cadette troop finishes their New Cuisine badge by learning how to make Gorditas from a troop member’s Mom from Mexico.”-Sarah H.L.

 

“You know how many cases of cookies fit in each type of vehicle.”-Angela K.C.

 

 

“You have a diverse group of girls and they are all friends who build each other up!!!!!”-Michele W.

 

Originally appeared on GSUSA Girl Scout Blog April 15, 2018

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

3 Ways to Unleash Your Daughter’s Inner Wonder Woman

With unstoppable bravery, super-human strength, and unwavering dedication to truth Camp Tap and justice (not to mention that awesome outfit) it’s easy to understand why little girls might be obsessed with Wonder Woman — and why parents might find the classic super hero to be a good role model. What mom or dad wouldn’t want a daughter who knows what she believes in and stands up for what’s right?

The problem is of course, that when girls are “kept safe” from even the smallest risks or failures, they are also being deprived of valuable experiences that could build up their resilience and help them grow into confident, strong, capable young women. And just as it’s only by taking the risk you realize her full potential and she transforms into the Wonder Woman we all know and love, your daughter may also need some freedom and space to realize her full potential.

Basically, the lesson here is whether your daughter is six or sixteen, you have to let go to let her grow. Here are just a few ways you can start doing that today:

Stand Back
When you see your daughter stretching to reach the cereal on a high shelf, do you walk over and grab it for her? Do you still order for her at restaurants, even though she’s old enough to read the menu and make her own decisions? When she has a problem at school, do you step in right away rather than letting her try to work it out first? If you said yes to any of these, you might be in need of some tough love. As a parent, we should  prepare our daughters for life. When you step in, you’re essentially blocking your daughter from stepping up and growing her own skill set (and the confidence that goes along with that). Plus, you could actually be making her doubt her own abilities. After all, if she were capable of handling these situations on her own, why would you be so eager to problem solve for her?

Encourage Adventure
Slumber parties and residential summer camp stays will help your daughter gain independence and see how brightly she can shine on her own. As she gets older, meeting up with friends for an unsupervised afternoon of fun—or even taking a day trip with her best friend—will give her a little more freedom and make her even more self-reliant. After all, your daughter is going to want to leave the nest someday. These baby steps will prepare her to stand courageously on her own when that day comes.

Cheer Her On
Allow your daughter to take chances and learn new skills, participate in a sport she has never done, or an activity that is new to her. So, if you’re worried that your not-so-coordinated daughter will hurt herself if she tries skateboarding? Keep those thoughts to yourself and let her hop on board. Think your tween daughter’s dreams of going to an Ivy League college one day are unrealistic? Tell her to look into what kinds of grades and scores she’ll need to get in, then encourage her to work for it. You know how people say if you shoot for the moon, you’ll at least reach the stars? The same goes here. If your daughter’s aiming for really big or slightly out-of-reach things and doesn’t succeed, it’s not a total wash. In fact, it can be a big win in terms of her learning about herself, her abilities, and where she has room for improvement. It’ll also help her grow more resilient and ready to handle life’s ups and downs. But who knows? Maybe she’ll hit her target. Life’s full of surprises, and your daughter is, too.

Taken in part from Girl Scouts Heart of Central California blog.

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

4 Awesome Ways to Thank a Girl Scout Volunteer

April is National Volunteer Month! Celebrate your favorite Girl Scout volunteers with blogthese thoughtful ideas! Whether you choose to do one activity or all, you’re sure to make the volunteers in your life feel loved and appreciated and remember all the reasons why they continue to give their time and hearts to the Girl Scout mission.

1. Send a personalized ecard! Who doesn’t love a fun ecard? This month, show the Girl Scout volunteer in your life—your Girl Scout VIP!—just how much they mean to you by choosing from one of four awesome predesigned ecard templates. Just fill in the blank to finish the sentence (keep it short and sweet, please!) and share your ecard with them on Facebook, on Twitter, or by email—SWEET! Get started.

2. Shout them out on social media! What better way to make your favorite Girl Scout volunteer feel special than to shout ‘em out for the world to know? They’re the best, and you’re proud to say it loud and clear: I love my Girl Scout volunteer!

During National Volunteer Week (April 15–21), head on over to your favorite social media pages and share why this volunteer (or volunteers!) is so special to you. Make sure to tag @girlscouts and @gscentraliland include the hashtag #NVW2018 so we can follow the love.

3. Write them a handwritten letter! That’s right. Imagine their surprise when they open their mailbox and find an old-school letter from you. Need a little inspiration? Here are a few things you could include:

  • Why your favorite Girl Scout volunteer is so special
  • An especially memorable time when you were happy to have their guidance and support
  • How they have made a difference in your life
  • Your three favorite things about them

4. Buy them something special with this offer from the Girl Scout Shop! Visit our shops located at all our service centers, or shop online and bring a smile to a volunteer’s face with a fun little token of your appreciation.

Know someone who isn’t a Girl Scout volunteer but would make a great one? Use one (or more!) of these thoughtful appreciation ideas to let them know how they could make a lasting difference in girls’ lives today!

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

Hello Spring!

It’s Spring! We are fortunate enough to have clear skies, sunshine, and blooming flowers, Outdoorswe bet you can’t wait to starting enjoying the outdoors. What better day to turn off the TV and video games and get active? After much of the country has spent months being cooped up inside during the winter months, we all need some fresh air!

Plus, it’s good for you! In 2014, the Girl Scout Research Institute proved the value of outdoor exposure in their study More Than S’mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts’ Outdoor Experiences. According to this report, the outdoors offers benefits often unavailable inside, including the freedom to move around freely and be as loud as you want. Whereas the indoors inhibits your ability to run, jump, and relay race—the outdoors is literally your playground!

The research also discovered four ways girls benefit by being outside:

  1. Girls really enjoy outdoor activities.
  2. Monthly outdoor exposure contributes to girls’ challenge seeking and problem solving.
  3. Girl Scouts who get outdoors are twice as likely to connect with and care for the environment than non-Girl Scouts.
  4. Girls of color and girls in lower socioeconomic backgrounds report even stronger benefits from outdoor experiences.

Get your girl outdoors! Summer camp is a great way to introduce the wonders of the outdoors! See all the awesome summer camp opportunities!

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

Thank You Cookie Volunteers & Parents

We are nearing the end of our Cookie Program and we want to SHOUT OUT our amazing 18_MarComm_Thank-You-Month_Social-Media_Bloglead taking, logistics crushing, mountain moving, make-it-happen-no-matter-what cookie volunteers and parents who work so hard and give so much during Girl Scout Cookie season to ensure girls’ success—you are a BOSS!

Because when you support girls as they run their very own cookie businesses (through the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world!), you’re playing a key role in powering unique experiences for them and their troops all year long. You’re also making it possible for them to learn essential life skills that will set them up for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure. Because success is the Girl Scout way, and the cookie program would not be as effective as it is without your undying passion, dedication, and hard work. That’s a fact!

So the next time you feel tired, a little overwhelmed, or even ready to quit, please know that we see you, we appreciate you, and what you’re doing for the girls in your community is meaningful and long-lasting. It is mentors like you who make sure your girls’ G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ spirit continues to shine bright—not just during cookie season but all year.

Today, no matter what your role is at Girl Scouts, take the time to celebrate everyone in our unstoppable Movement. Let the cookie volunteers, leaders, and parents you work with know:

  1. How their work makes a difference to you and the girls they serve
  2. One thing you appreciate most about their efforts during cookie season (and beyond!)
  3. One time they really helped you or one of your girls out of a bind
  4. A unique story about a girl who they might have had an extra special effect on through their mentorship during this super busy time of the Girl Scout year

Write them a thank-you note (have the girls in your troop join in on the fun too!); bring a special treat to your next troop meeting for them; or shout them out, loud and proud, on social media. We can’t wait to hear your best thank-yous and fill up on all that heart-warming, life-changing, bond-forming appreciation!

Posted in Cookie Activity, General, Product Sales, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Celebrate Girl Scout Week Like a G.I.R.L.

Girl Scout week is just around the corner, March 11-17. Let’s get ready for that special Girl Scout Weektime of the year when Girl Scouts of all ages celebrate and show the world what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™. To make this year’s activities extra special, we’ve created a Girl Scout Week celebration guide to get you started.

March 12, 2018 marks the day our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, started the first Girl Scout troop with 18 girls. And since one day just isn’t enough time to honor such a momentous occasion, we’ve dedicated a whole week to celebrating the greatness of Girl Scouts!

For 106 years, Girl Scouting has helped girls build courage, confidence, and character, promoting G.I.R.L. experiences where girls become go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders. Girl Scout Week is the perfect time to embrace your Girl Scout identity, reflect on our traditions, and reconnect with the Promise and Law.

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

How the Girl Scout Cookie Program Helps Girls and the Girl Scout Council

When you buy delicious Girl Scout Cookies, you’re helping to power new, unique and amazing experiences for girls—experiences that broaden their worlds, help them learn essential life skills, and prepare them to practice a lifetime of leadership. And guess what—100 percent of the money stays local! That means you’re not only supporting girls’ success, but the success of your community too—sweet!

Whether it’s a trip to a breathtaking place they’ve never been before, an opportunity to attend Girl Scout camp and revel in the power of the great outdoors, or the chance to try something new, every experience helps them find the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ within to do amazing things for herself and for her community.

Your Girl Scout Cookie Purchase = Amazing Experiences for Girls

5 Skills Learn

Our cookies are on a mission: to help girls learn five skills that are essential to leadership, to success, and to life.

Skill #1—Goal Setting
“I know I can do it!”

“We’re all about trying new things and having fun. Selling cookies is about both. My friends and I work together to set our team goal for the season; maybe we’ll donate to our local animal hospital or go on an adventure. Sure, selling the cookies is great. But what we do with the money we earn is even greater.”


Skill #2—Decision Making
“I make smarter decisions.”

“When I sell cookies with my Girl Scout forever friends, we make our own decisions, like how many boxes we want to sell. We all have to agree on what we’ll do with the money, which means talking it out and being okay not getting our way sometimes. And we have to figure out how to solve problems, like what to do when one of the girls is sick and can’t help out. Our decisions matter.”


Skill #3—Money Management
“I make change happen!”

“It’s cool that I get to make change when someone buys cookies. I’m really careful about it. I count it out twice, so I know it’s totally right. And I know each box sold gets us one step closer to our goal.”


Skill #4—People Skills
“I get a lifetime supply of confidence in every box.”

“I’ve met so many new people at our cookie booth. And I’ve gotten really good at chatting with them about how we are doing more than just selling Girl Scout Cookies. We’re earning money to achieve our cookie-season goals and do great things.”


Skill #5—Business Ethics
“Selling cookies is more than just business.”

“The other day at the cookie booth I made my friend’s mom laugh really hard and she totally forgot her change. I made sure she got it back. She was so impressed she bought another box of cookies. Now I’m even closer to reaching my goal for robotics camp.”



Girls put their cookie earnings to good use.
Did you know the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world? It’s true—and it’s pretty amazing!!

All of the net revenue raised through the Girl Scout Cookie Program—100 percent of it— stays with the local council and troops.

Or they may use the money earned to fund a project that will improve their community, or donate the money to a worthy cause.

Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales | Tagged ,

National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois will join Girl Scout councils February 23–25 to participate in National GS Cookie Weekend 2018National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend 2018, which celebrates all the fun, learning, and excitement that selling cookies has powered for girls over the last 101 year. The weekend highlights some of the most creative and successful Girl Scout Cookie entrepreneurs, as well as the positive change that cookie earnings make possible in communities across the United States. One hundred percent of the net revenue raised through Girl Scout Cookie sales stays with the local Girl Scout council and troop, so customers who purchase cookies are making an important investment in their communities and supporting millions of fun and formative leadership experiences for girls.

During Girl Scout Cookie season, each amazing young G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™is not only selling delicious cookies but also building essential life skills, such as goal setting, people skills, and business ethics—which are essential for 21st century leadership. And the more cookies girls sell, the more earnings they have to power impactful community projects and personal enrichment experiences, such as camping and traveling. From a Brownie troop that prepared meals for residents at a local homeless shelter, to a Senior troop that saved two years’ worth of cookie earnings to travel to the Amazon basin in Ecuador to help build a high school, Girl Scouts are doing amazing things made possible by each and every cookie sale.

“National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend is one of the most significant occasions on the Girl Scout calendar,” states Sylvia Acevedo, GSUSA’s interim CEO. “It is one of our signature opportunities to convey how the Girl Scout Cookie Program effectively prepares the next generation of female leaders. For more than a century, selling cookies has served as one of the most powerful and successful paths toward transforming girls into entrepreneurial trailblazers. The earnings generated from the cookie program benefit Girl Scouts and their communities by empowering the girls to take meaningful and important actions to effect positive change.”

National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend offers go-getter girls a chance to show off their cookie-selling skills by participating in booth, door-to-door, and digital sales throughout the country. During this year’s cookie weekend, hungry customers will be able to get their hands on their favorite Girl Scout Cookies, including the best-selling Thin Mints® and Samoas®—so join in the fun of National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend 2018! Visit www.getyourgirlpower.org.org or use the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder app, free on iOS or Android devices, to find Girl Scouts selling cookies near you.

Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales | Tagged , , , ,

World Thinking Day 2018

As a Girl Scout, you are part of a special group of girls that stretches across the world.

On February 22 of each year, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 146 countries WTD2018celebrate World Thinking Day. (That’s one big celebration!)

Celebrated since 1926, World Thinking Day is a day of international friendship. It is an opportunity to speak out on issues that affect young women and fundraise for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 150 countries.

World Thinking Day is a way to celebrate with girls all over the world by doing the same activities. The 2018 World Thinking Day theme is “Impact.” Making an impact means having a strong effect on something or someone.

This World Thinking Day, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides will think about what it means to make an impact on the world—and celebrate being part of the global sisterhood that is Girl Scouts + Girl Guides. Check out these World Thinking Day award activities.

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

5 Skills Girls Learn from the Girl Scout Cookie Program

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is about so much more than just cookies.

When you buy a box of delicious Girl Scout Cookies, you help power new, unique, and amazing experiences for every awesome G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) in your community who sells these purpose-filled treats—SWEET!

By practicing their pitch, deciding how to run their cookie booth and managing payments for a box of Thin Mints, girls are learning valuable skills that could lead to owning their own business or becoming a Fortune 500 CEO someday. Yes, really!

Learn more about the 5 Skills learned in the Cookie Program and, more importantly, why they matter:

Goal Setting: Girls set sales goals and create a plan to reach them. This matters because girls need to know how to set and reach goals to succeed in school, on the job and in life.

Decision Making: Girls decide when and where to sell, how to market their sale and what to do with earnings. Girls need to know how to make smart decisions throughout their lives.
Money Management: Girls develop a budget, take orders & handle customers’ money. Whether it’s an allowance or a paycheck, girls need to know how to manage money.
People Skills: Girls learn how to talk (and listen!) to their customers, as well as how to work as a team. This matters because it helps them do better in school and, later, at work.
Business Ethics: Girls act honestly & responsibly during every step of the Cookie Program. This matters because employers want to hire ethical employees and leaders in all fields.
Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Girl Scout Cookie Program: Thoughts from a GS Leader!

(This is from a Girl Scout Leader in El Paso, Texas that says it all! This is really how it is! We couldn’t of said it better!)

Girl Scouts all over the nation are out selling cookies. You’ll see them in their vests or AltogetherAwesome_Logosashes, in groups or with a parent, pulling wagons or carrying bags full of Thin Mints, Trefoils, S’mores, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-does, Toffee Tastics, and Savannah Smiles.

What you won’t see are the hours their leaders spent with them coaching on money skills, sales pitches, goal setting, and professionalism.

What you won’t see is a big number 250 or 700 or 1,050 written down in a little girl’s handwriting and taped up by her bed, her mind set on selling that number of boxes.

What you won’t see is the pounding heart of a little girl who gets nervous talking to strangers.

What you won’t see is her parent reviewing a summer camp brochure and scribbling down how much money she’ll need to save each month plus how many boxes of cookies her daughter will need to sell in order to get there.

So please smile back.
Please speak kindly.
Please buy a box or few, or donate boxes.
Please be patient while she counts money. Please let her do the math.
Please ask her about her cookie goal.
Please ask her about her badges.
Please ask her about her awards.
Please ask her about her adventures.

Please let her know she is valued.

Yep, a box of cookies can do all that.

Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales | Tagged , , , ,

Girl Scout Cookie Season – Digital Cookie

More ways to buy, more ways to learn 
The Digital Cookie® platform helps girls superpower their cookie sales as they go beyond the 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, soar in confidence, discover the leader within, 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 her personalized cookie site, she has access to fun quizzes, games, and videos that teach her about marketing, budgeting, resource allocation, and other critical business skills—encouraging her 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 troop 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!

Learn more about Digital Order Card here.

Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales, Program & Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Learn More About Girl Scout Scholarships

We know how hard all our girls work to make the world a better place, and we’re excitedscholarships to support you in your continued leadership journey! As a current Girl Scout you may be eligible to apply for various scholarships.

Linda S. Culver Memorial Scholarship Fund
The Linda S. Culver Memorial Scholarship is for a nationally registered Girl Scout in good standing with Girl Scouts of Central Illinois. This scholarship is named in memory of Linda S. Culver, a prominent Girl Scout leader and area business leader for many years.

Scholarship requirements include graduating seniors as well as returning undergraduate or graduate student who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and special consideration is given to any applicant who has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. Additional requirements and application can be found here. Deadline for application is March 1, 2018.

Brown Trust Scholarship
The Brown Trust Advisory Committee is pleased to offer a total of $5,000 in scholarships to be divided between worthy Girl Scouts from the Carlinville area who are enrolling in an accredited college, professional or vocational school. Brown Trust Scholarships are available each year. Please note: Taken into consideration, but not limited to, will be girls who have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award or the Girl Scout Silver Award.

Scholarship applications can be obtained by contacting Brenda Scupham at 888-623-1237 or bscupham@girlscouts-gsci.org. Brown Trust Scholarship paperwork must be received by noon March 16, 2018, at Girl Scouts of Central Illinois Springfield Headquarters/Service Center.

KPMG Future Leaders Program
KPMG LLC has announced a new charitable initiative, the KPMG Future Leaders Program focusing on developing future generations of women leaders. The firm also named 66th U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as its ambassador to help facilitate the program.

Funded by proceeds from the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, the KPMG Future Leaders Program affords top female high school seniors across the country the opportunity to enhance their personal growth through college scholarships, a leadership development retreat at Stanford University, a mentoring relationship with a woman business leader, and an introduction to golf. Learn more about the KPMG Future Leaders Program.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Scout of the Year Scholarship
Annually, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States awards three individuals who have earned their Girl Scout Gold Award and risen above their peers in exemplifying the qualities of that rank. Girl Scouts who are currently registered and have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award are eligible to apply.

Girl Scouts should download and submit a completed VFW Scouting Scholarship form, resume of high school activities, scouting record, community service record and letters of recommendation to a local VFW Post no later than March 1, 2018. A local VFW Post can be identified by zip code at www.vfw.org. Please note: The scouting record should be written by the Girl Scout herself.

For more information about the scholarship application review process and the application itself click here.

Posted in Membership | Tagged , ,

Get Connected with Digital Cookie

Getting Started with the Digital Cookie Platform is Quick and Easy!
With the Digital Cookie ® platform, the Girl Scout Cookie Program you know and love is better than ever. Fun, easy-to-use tools help you superpower your sale and go beyond the booth with online and mobile channels that make it easy for cookie fans near and far to support your cookie goals and ultimately your success.

That’s more ways to participate, more ways to sell, more ways to buy and more ways to learn! And guess what? Girls who used the platform in addition to traditional cookie sales sold more cookies and reached their goals faster!

The Digital Cookie® platform is your very own personalized cookie site: you get to play interactive games, watch videos, enjoy printable activities, take fun quizzes and more  – all while taking your cookie sale goal to the next level!

Excited to jump in? Get Altogether Awesomeness in four easy steps! Learn more!

Digital Cookie Graphic

Got questions about Digital Cookie® or need support and want to chat live, click here! Still need answers to some FAQs, click here!

Girl Scouts of the USA’s Cookie Pro 2018 Contest!
Are you a barrier breakin’, challenge crushin’, lead takin’ cookie entrepreneur? Do you put that unmatchable Girl Scout courage to the test every year to create positive change in your community and the world? We want to hear from you!

This cookie season, let’s show ’em how the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world prepares girls to lead, learn, succeed, and shine – not only for today but also for the future – by entering our national Girl Scouts of the USA’s Cookie Pro 2018 Contest from January 2 through April 30.

Grand Prize: Be the Star of a Girl Scout Cookie Box
Six nationwide, one per Girl Scout grade level, will be named Girl Scouts of the USA’s Top Cookie Pro 2018 and get the epic chance to:

  • Be featured on a Girl Scout Cookie box!
  • Travel to New York City for an all-expenses paid Cookie Entrepreneur Experience!

Every girl who enters Girl Scouts of the USA’s Cookie Pro 2018 Contest will receive an awesome, limited-edition Cookie Pro 2018 patch.

Learn more about the Girl Scouts of the USA’s Top Cookie Pro 2018 Contest and Cookie Pro Official Rules.

For questions, please contact customer care at  customercare@girlscouts-gsci.org or 888-623-1237.

Posted in Cookie Activity, General, Product Sales, Program & Activities, Volunteers | Tagged , , , ,

Altogether Awesome!

The Altogether Awesomeness of Girl Scout Cookies is upon us! Participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program is so much more than meets the eye. Girls who participate reap a harvest of business skills each cookie season. They gain a glimpse into the business AltogetherAwesome_Logoworld through the cookie program each year. Participating in the program provides a wealth of experience you may not notice at first glance.

What do girls do in the cookie sale?

They “earn and learn” – they earn funds for their Girl Scout activities while learning 5 key skills that will help them in business and life.

  • They learn to set goals and meet deadlines. That means your daughter won’t tell you last minute that her science fair project is due tomorrow.
  • They learn to work will with others. That means your daughter will do better on school projects or as a member of a sports team.
  • They learn to talk and listen to all kinds of people. That means your daughter will be able to ask a teacher for help or navigate the school cafeteria more easily.
  • They learn how to handle money and make decisions about how to use it. That means your daughter will learn about spending, saving, and giving to those in need.
  • They learn to act honestly and fairly. That means your daughter’s friends, classmates, and teachers will count on her and think of her as trustworthy.

Meet Digital Cookie!

The Digital Cookie®   platform helps girls superpower their cookie sales as they go beyond the booth with mobile and online channels. The platform is a fun, educational tool that helps your daughter run and manage her Girl Scout Cookie business online. That means more way for her to learn and more ways 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, soar in confidence, discover the leader within, and have a ton of fun!

Join us in January for the Cookie Rally in your area. Find out more about GSCI’s Cookie Program and get to know the cookie baker.

Please contact customer care at customercare@girlscouts-gsci.org or 888-623-1237.

Posted in Cookie Activity, Membership, Product Sales, Program & Activities, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , ,

Start the New Year with Community Service

It’s the New Year’s resolution to end all New Year’s resolutions, and it’s so, so Girl Scouts! GSCI Mural 4This 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. It’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 2018, 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.

GSUSA blog post December 20, 2017

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

What Girl Scouts Means to Me!

What today’s girls say about being in Girl Scouts

Being a Girl Scout means that I get to help and educate people, learn new things about the world, and have fun while I do it.
Tory, 13

We have a lot of fun. Once we  learned some sign language and about respecting authority. We often talk about behavior in terms of Girl Scouts, such as “Is that what a Girl Scout would do?” or “That’s being a good Girl Scout.” I have a great leader!
Olivia, 10

To me Girl Scouts has been a great experience, especially working on my Gold Award. I’ve learned so much about team work, leadership, responsibility, communication … Girl Scouts has been a great outlet for me for all these years, not to mention the cookies are delicious!
Grace, 17

As a Girl Scout I have stepped out of my comfort zone and helped others. It means doing things for people other than yourself and feeling good about it. Plus, we get to do a lot of fun exciting things like camping, visiting museums and senior centers, and go horseback riding and Christmas caroling.
Emily, 13

I have met a lot of people through Girl Scouts who I would never have met before. It has opened my eyes and shown me that I can make a difference.
Katie, 14

It’s fun and we learn new things every day.
Emma, 7

Girl Scouts has been the place for me to take chances. I have more confidence in myself because of the risks I have taken and accomplishments I have made. I am really proud of what I have contributed.
Mikayla, 9

To me, Girl Scouting means helping people, making a difference, and changing the world.
Jenna, 8

I get to help out my community and help other people when they need it. I love Girl Scouts because it lets me try new things, visit different places, and give back to my town. Our troop adopted a sister troop in Germany. We share things that we have done as a Girl Scout troop in America with that troop in then and they teach us stuff that they have learned — that is pretty cool.
Charlotte, 10

I realize that Girl Scouts is much more than what society sees us to be: young girls selling cookies, singing campfire songs, and wearing vests. Girl Scouts is about making new friends, creating amazing memories, and helping the community. It’s about different girls working together to try and better the environment around them, as well as better themselves along the way.
Shelia, Girl Scout Leader

Girl Scouts means that I can build confidence and character while having fun selling cookies and doing fun projects. I loved being in Girl Scouts for all these years and encourage all girls to try being a Girl Scout!
Arianna, 17

Girl Scouts has been a huge part of my life and my development. I am involved in a lot of activities, but when it came to writing college essays, my Girl Scout experiences is where I pulled all the leadership accomplishments from. When I sat down and thought about it, that is where I was able to lead and make real changes in my community.
Elizabeth, 16

Being a Girl Scout allows me to be with my friends and enjoy time that we all spend together growing up. It also teaches me to demonstrate leadership skills and help younger Girl Scouts achieve their goals. It has helped me become the young woman I am today.
Melissa, 14

Girl Scouts means everything to me because it isn’t always about you. It is about teamwork. For example, before the first day of school, our troop used teamwork by getting dirt from the pile or shoveling and putting the flowers in their hole in the ground. Also, my leaders will make sure there is nothing ever too easy or hard. It will always be just right for you.
Bella, 12

Posted in Community Service, Cookie Activity, General, Membership, Product Sales, Program & Activities, Summer Camp Activities, Trefoil Boutiques, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , ,

Are you up for the challenge of changing lives this summer?

Camp Tap Former Disney CEO, Michael Eisner, summed it up when he described his days as a summer camp counselor as some of the most valuable leadership training he has ever had.

From the outside looking in, many people see the camp counselor role as an extension of ones camper years or an opportunity to take the “summer off.” Little do they know that being a camp counselor is the hardest job one will ever have until becoming a parent themselves. Hot days, non-stop schedules, campers pushing limits and high expectation of following camp policies and protocols are just the start, however, all of this is nothing compared to the rewards one internalizes after the summer has faded.

We are looking for responsible, enthusiastic, creative team players who are comfortable in a rustic outdoor setting and seek out challenging adventures to be part of our summer camp staff. There will be some long, hot days, but what other job lets you be a part of forever changing the life of a girl? We provide training, certifications, leadership opportunities, and room and board at most camps. You’ll gain leadership experience, lifelong friends, problem-solving skills, confidence, and be a part of a great team of leaders guiding young women to success. Think you’re up to the challenge of changing lives? Learn more about summer camp jobs! 

There are so many benefits to working at a camp, so we’ve gathered 13 reasons why you should work at a camp for a summer:

1. You get to be a role model.
For however long you have the opportunity to interact with the campers, you quickly become one of the coolest (and most influential) people in their lives. Camp counselors especially have the opportunity to impact campers because of the amount of time spent with their kids. True bonds can form when you least expect them to: at the high dive at the pool, at the top of the zip line, tubing on the lake, or in the cabin late at night when homesickness sets in.

2. You get to unplug.
Among the woods and lakes, you might not find much Wi-Fi, but you’ll find plenty of nature just begging you to unplug and enjoy. Surrounding yourself with the
beauty of the great outdoors only helps with this. 

3. Crafts to the max.
Never tie-dyed a shirt before? No problem. Camp is a great time to learn (or perfect) tie-dying skills, tie thousands of tiny knots until your wrists are loaded with friendship bracelets, and make too many dream catchers. 

4. Boost your resume.
Through the experiences you have working for a camp, you will be able to proudly put on your resume that you not only survived a summer working for a camp but thrived in the environment as well. Former camp counselors are great communicators, life-long learners, leaders, team players, and creative thinkers, just to name a few.

5. You truly make a difference.
There are so many benefits to working at a camp, including making a difference.

6. Life-long friendships.
Within just a few days of arriving at camp for the beginning of the summer training sessions, you will meet some awesome people. Just think, your co-workers are some of the best, simply by them being there: they gave up their summer (just like you) to learn, grow, and impact others’ lives as well. Life-long friendships are bound to develop as you live and work.

8. Interview material.
After spending a summer at camp, you will surely find out some strengths and weaknesses for you to talk about in an interview, not to mention the crazy stories you can share

9. Peer networking.
Not all of your co-workers will be elementary education majors. In fact, you will meet a plethora of majors who have done the same thing you have: sought out a beyond-the-typical summer job. An awesome time to expand your peer networking to individuals from all over and from all walks of life.

10. Fresh air.
Believe it or not, the great outdoors can give you a sense of relaxation and recharge. Finding time to enjoy a more leisurely life by embracing the early sunrise and sitting up late under a sky full of stars can do more for you than you might have ever imagined. A little dirt never hurt anyone, right? 😉

11. You get paid to be crazy.
Now, our definitions of crazy may be different, but as a staff member for a camp, you get to participate in Wacky Wednesday, dress up crazy for skits, be the leader in the daily dance party, and genuinely show your campers how to have a good time.

12. You hone your leadership skills.
There are plenty of opportunities to improve your leadership skills by working for a camp because, at one point or another, you will be asked to lead. Whether you are leading other staff members or a handful of campers, you will be looked up to for direction and wisdom.

13. You will learn so much about yourself.
As awesome as camp life is, it also is challenging. You may not know how to deal with a situation with a camper, your co-counselor for the week might not be the most compatible with your sense of humor, and some days might seem like they drag on forever—is it lights out yet?! However, it is moments like these where your true colors shine. You will learn so much about yourself and, at the end of the summer, will be able to look back and be proud of all that you made it through.

Apply today!

Posted in Camps & Property, Community Service, General, Membership, Program & Activities, Summer Camp Activities, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

What is G.I.R.L. Agenda?

Inspire. Prepare. Mobilize.

Our time is now.

This is our moment to come together, lift our voices, and take action on issues that Girl Agendamatter to girls. Today is the day we unite to build an even brighter future for all of us.

Be a catalyst for change in your community—and the world. Champion your views, influence leadership, and advance the G.I.R.L. Agenda to make the world a better place.

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) launched the G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts, a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. The multi-year effort celebrates the Girl Scout legacy of civic engagement, and for the first time ever, GSUSA is sharing free, expert-curated civic engagement resources beyond its 2.6 million members. The resources are derived from Girl Scout programming that has driven generations of girls over the past century to become leaders.

Introduced at G.I.R.L. 2017, a gathering of girls and women from around the world, the G.I.R.L. Agenda makes it simple to access civic engagement resources that are tailored to prepare every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to stand up for what they believe in. The tools provide a roadmap for how people can take action in ways such as challenging unfair policies, mobilizing communities to support important causes, and meeting with public officials and community leaders to educate them about key issues. By making age-appropriate resources based on GSUSA’s proven programming accessible to all, and by providing actionable steps people can take through Girl Scouts’ advocacy network to help people influence policy issues that affect girls, the G.I.R.L. Agenda will give hundreds of thousands of girls and adults tangible ways to take civic action on topics of their choosing.

There has been increased attention around civic engagement in the United States since the 2016 presidential election: according to a study by the Pew Research Center, more than half of Americans are paying more attention to politics since the election, including nearly six in ten women (58 percent). However, research also shows that the public education system is not creating an adequate civic education foundation for all youth, and a Girl Scout Research Institute poll found that just 38 percent of girls say their teachers have encouraged them to pursue politics and community leadership.

Since its founding in 1912, Girl Scouts has emphasized the importance of being civically engaged, by teaching and encouraging girls to create positive change in their communities through advocacy and action. Girl Scouts learn to stand up for what they believe in, identify issues they care about, and take the lead like a G.I.R.L. to make the world a better place. The G.I.R.L. Agenda is for all those who support girls in standing up for issues and causes that are important to them.

Also part of the initiative, Girl Scouts announces its new Good Neighbor badge for Daisies (girls in grades K–1). It joins the organization’s existing Citizen badges—Celebrating Community, Inside Government, Finding Common Ground, Behind the Ballot, and Public Policy—which engage girls in age-appropriate activities involving community service, public policy, government, voting, and more. These badges are designed to foster girls’ interest in civic engagement and show them that their voices canbe heard. And by exploring the themes in an all-girl environment, girls build the confidence they need to become the civic-minded leaders our world needs.

“Many people, including girls, want to become active in public policy and learn how to advocate for positive change, but they don’t know where to start,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Through the G.I.R.L. Agenda and our proven civic-engagement programming, Girl Scouts serves as a nonpartisan resource for girls—and those who care about them―to learn concrete steps they can take to stand up for what they believe in. For more than a century, Girl Scouts has supported girls by offering tools that prepare them to lead, lift their voices, champion their views, and be advocates for the issues and ideas important to them. We’re excited to share resources on www.GIRLagenda.org, so people can learn how to take action for the cause of good in their communities. Because when we take small, yet meaningful steps together—across generations—we ignite a larger, lasting impact on our world.”

To amplify the reach and impact of the civic engagement resources, GSUSA has assembled media partners, nonprofits, corporations, and individuals to publicly support the G.I.R.L. Agenda. Among those championing the initiative are Accenture, Amazon, Dell, Girls Who Code, Girls Write Now, Global Citizen, Google’s Made with Code, Motorola Solutions Foundation, She Should Run, S’well, TD Bank, and Too Small to Fail.

Throughout the coming months, GSUSA will share stories from G.I.R.L. Agenda supporters who are advocating for girls and the issues they care about. This will include the experiences of past and present National Young Women of Distinction, the top Gold Award Girl Scouts recognized nationally for transforming an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with sustainable and far-reaching impact. If the public wishes to share such stories on social media, they should include #GIRLagenda.

To advance the G.I.R.L. Agenda and for tips on leading positive change through civic action, visit www.GIRLagenda.org.

 – Girl Scouts of the USA 

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

Summer Camp Registration Opens December 6!

This summer, give your girl the opportunity to camp #LikeAGirlScout! At Girl 500x655 Summer camp 2018Scout summer camp, she’ll face her fears and try new things, explore the great outdoors, build up her problem solving skills, and make a lifetime of memories with great friends. And guess what? Any girl can attend summer camp, so bring a friend and embark on this incredible adventure.

Camp registration opens December 6!

Surprise! All girls who register for camp from December 6 through December 22 may pick up a small gift for the holidays at the Trefoil Boutique at your nearest service center.

The gift must be picked up during regular boutique hours. Unfortunately, we are unable to mail the gift. Offer ends December 22, and all gifts must be picked up by noon. To redeem gift, show e-mail receipt at time of redemption. One gift per girl.

Need help or got questions? Call Customer Care at 888-623-1237 or email customercare@girlscouts-gsci.org.

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

Giving Back Everyday

Today, November 28 is a Day of Giving. A resolution that Girl Scouts are attuned to every 500x655-Giv Tues2017NEWday of the year in making the world a better place.

From singlehandedly picking up trash on Earth Day. To laying a wreath at a Memorial Day service.

To making birthday bags for a food pantry. Making Thanksgiving bags for families at their school. Packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and adding to their troop’s seven years of community service.

To helping host a weekly pet food pantry while working on their Bronze Award. To going for the Gold.

To simply giving a hand at their own camp.

Girl Scouts know the value of giving back and take great pride in their role.

So this #GivingTuesday, please consider a gift to Girl Scouts of Central Illinois. Because when you give to Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts give back.

#GivingTuesday #GSCIGivesBack #ILGive #DecatuILGivingTuesday #GivingTuesdayBloNo

Posted in Community Service, Fund Development | Tagged , , , ,