Explore the World Through Girl Scout Destinations

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

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

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

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

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

GSUSA Destinations 

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The Girl Scout Difference of Giving

2019 #GivingTuesday

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

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

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

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

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

 

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We Thank YOU!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy Birthday Juliette!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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Help the JGL Birthplace Win Preservation Funding!

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

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

Vote daily for the birthplace through October 29, 2019!

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

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

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

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

Posted in General

Making Girl Scouts Part of Your Family

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

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

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

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

 

via GSUSA families

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What Adventure Awaits Your Troop?

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

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

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

 

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

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30-Minute Learning Sessions – Leader Chats

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

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

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

December 2019
Creating a Girl Boss.  Financial literacy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Posted in Volunteers | Tagged

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

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

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

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

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Get Your Girls Outside This Fall

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reprinted GSUSA

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Step Back and Let Your Girls Take the Lead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reprinted from Girl Scouts of the USA

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Kick Start Your Troop Year

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

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

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

Give a Girl Scout welcome

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

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

Introduce the world of Girl Scouts

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

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

Set aside time for paperwork

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

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

Set expectations

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

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

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

Close your meeting, with intention

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

More troop leader pro tips

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

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

Join Girl Scouts today!

Reprinted from Girl Scouts of the USA

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How to Grow Your Girl Scout Troop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reprinted from Girl Scouts of the USA

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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 problems she sees—all while building the skills she needs to shine today and tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

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

Join the movement for every girl!

Reprinted from Girl Scouts of the USA

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

Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Leader

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

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

Why I Volunteer

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

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

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

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

Learning from my girls

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

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

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

Experiencing new things

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

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

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

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

Reprinted from GSUSA Why I Love Being a Troop Leader

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

Adventures Await

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

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

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

Registration for 2019-2020 begins August 7, 2019! 

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

BIG NEWS: 42 New Girl Scout Badges

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

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

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

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

Learn more about the 42 New Badges!

Posted in Uncategorized

The Importance of Trying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GSUSA Raise Her to be a Leader Series

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

Help Test New STEM Program!

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

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

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

Why participate? Your troop will…

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


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

Troop Participation Requirements:

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

STEM

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

Operation Cookie Share – Springfield, June 20

What is Operation Cookie Share

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

Here’s how you can help!

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

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

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

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

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

OCS Springfield, June 20, Hickory Point Bank

Sponsored by  Hickory Point Bank

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

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

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

Posted in Advocacy | Tagged , , , , ,

7 Ways Summer Camp Can Help Your Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Ultimate Summer Bucket List!

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

18_MarComm_Recruitment-New-Program_Social-Media_Blog_960x500_V3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

— excerpt from GSUSA Raise a Happy Girl

 

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

Operation Cookie Share – Decatur, May 30

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

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

OCS Decatur – May 30, 2019, Central Park

 Sponsored by Earthmover Credit Union

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

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

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

Unleash. Unplug. Discover Summer Camp!

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

Sumemr Camp Webpage Graphic

What makes Girl Scout camp unique?

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

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

 

Posted in Summer Camp Activities | Tagged , , , ,

How Girl Scouting Has Impacted Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda Breeden

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

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

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

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

Posted in Advocacy | Tagged , ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about Girl Scouts and become a member.

 

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

Kindness is Her Superpower

Kids have heard that bullying isn’t OK, but what about flipping that message and making superpowersure they’re specifically being kind?

“Young people sometimes think they have to be popular—at any cost—to have power, but it’s important that we teach our kids about the power of kindness,” says Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “When you’re kind, not only do you get a boost of the brain chemical serotonin, which makes you feel happy and calm, but so does the person you’re being kind do and all the people who witnessed that act of kindness get that same rush of feel-good hormones. So by taking the effort to do the thoughtful or compassionate thing, your girl can influence the mindset of a whole group of people.”

But it’s not enough to simply encourage our kids to be kind—we need to show them how. According to kids aged 9-11, the top reason they gave for not extending kindness to a kid who’s being picked on or left out is that they didn’t know what to do or say.

So how can you be a kindness role model? Follow these three steps!

1.     Give her the words
There’s no doubt that your girl wants to be kind to others, but her mind might be at a loss when kind words are needed most. Talk her through some scenarios that might happen at school or in her social groups, and ask what she might say. If she’s having trouble coming up with something to say to someone who’s being bullied or who might feel lonely, practice these ice breakers that can be used in many different situations:

  • What they said wasn’t right. Are you OK?
    Calling out bullying and checking in with people is a great way to show you care.
  • Come sit with us!
    A simple invitation can do a world of good.
  • Hey, I really liked your [drawing/poem/science project—something specific to that kid].
    Showing people that you pay attention and value their talents or something different or special about them will make them (and you) feel good.

2.     Set the bar
Practice random acts of kindness, especially in front of your girl! Whether that’s getting a drive-through meal for a homeless person in your community, regularly checking in with a friend who’s going through a tough time, or offering to drive an elderly neighbor to the library, tell your girl about it and let her know why you’re taking action. Brightening someone else’s day isn’t just nice—it’s the right thing to do.

3.     Call out kindness
When someone does something nice for you or your family in front of your girl, identify it as an act of kindness by saying something like, “That was so kind. Thank you!” By pointing out kindness when it happens, you’ll let people know how much you appreciate their caring ways and show your girl a wide variety of ways she could be kind in the future.

Above all else, remember that kindness—using compassionate words, being inclusive, and showing care through action—can and should start at home. Kids who are unkind at school are often treated unkindly by siblings at home, or are taught that some forms of unkindness are simply “teasing” which they should never be. By creating a loving, supportive, and kind home base for her, you’re already giving her a head start in being a super kind kid!

Reprinted from GSUSA

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

Easy Ways to Help Her Explore STEM!

Changing the World with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Girls are natural-born scientists! They look at the world around them with inquisitive STEM.jpgeyes, experiment and push boundaries, and learn as they go.

We introduce Girl Scouts of every age to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to help them see how they can actually improve the world—whether they’re discovering how a car’s engine runs, learning to manage finances, or caring for animals.

So how can you ignite your daughter‘s interest in STEM—and help her see that a future in STEM can make the world a better place?

Just look around! There are super-simple ways you can find “teachable moments” in your day-to-day life. Whether your girl is in grade school, middle school, or high school, she can have fun and learn about STEM at the same time—with your help!

Don’t sweat it. You don’t need to be an expert to introduce your girl to STEM; you just have to start the conversation…and she’ll learn the rest. Just get her thinking to spark her curiosity. And if she raises a question you can’t easily respond to, just say “good question” and find the answer together!

Here are easy activities to try, matched to her grade level:

Grades K–5
Younger girls are natural explorers. Help her spot interesting STEM topics every day!

  • Secret Lives of Animals
    Getting outside and exploring nature is a perfect time to think about science. Look around for birds, squirrels, pigeons, dogs, even bugs. Do they walk, fly, or crawl? Do they interact with humans, or are they social with one another? Do they live in trees, in the ground, in our homes? Are they furry, feathery, or scaly? This is a great way introduce your girl to the environment, biology, and other sciences.
  • Motion and Energy
    Next time your daughter is running around bursting with energy, channel her enthusiasm into something entertaining—and educational. Encourage her to dance and explore body movement. Explain how movement requires energy, and explore how our bones and muscles make it possible for us to walk, run, jump, swim—and, of course, dance!
  • Magical Magnets
    Wait! Before you stick her latest artistic masterpiece on the fridge, here’s a perfect opportunity to explore magnets and magnetic attraction. Ask her to touch the magnet to different surfaces. See how it sticks to some metals, but not to wood, clothing, or the family pet. Grab another magnet and see how the two magnets attract—or repel—each other. And finally, use the magnet to hang the budding Picasso’s artwork on the fridge!

Middle School
At this age, she’s thinking about her future and is ready to find her passion in STEM.

  • Food Science
    Baking is science—so it’s an easy way to teach kids about STEM. Bake a cake, a pie, or cookies to explore how ingredients like flour, sugar, milk, and water change when mixed together. Watch as the batter or dough rises in the oven, changes from liquid to solid, and then browns (or burns). Then talk about how our taste buds let us enjoy delicious treats. Chemistry, thermodynamics, and biology—triple score!
  • Plants Made Easy
    How do plants grow? Find out with fresh peas, a paper cup, and water! Wrap some paper towels around the inside of the cup, and place the peas about halfway down between the paper and the side of the cup. Add water and place the cup in a well-lit area. Soon the pea will sprout and your daughter can watch it grow. Plant it in a pot for even more learning fun!
  • Pizza Party
    Pizza is more than a meal; it’s an opportunity to learn about math. Help your girl explore fractions by considering how many slices of pizza make up the whole pie. Calculate the average number of pepperoni pieces per pizza slice. Get geometric by thinking about how the circular pizza fits in the square box. While you’re at it, consider why (most) pizzas aren’t square…or pizza boxes round.)

High School
She’s ready to explore her independence—and STEM may be the perfect vehicle to help her find her future.

  • Stargazing
    Go outside at dusk to watch the stars (and planets) emerge. Watch the moonrise to learn about how the Earth rotates. Stick around for the constellations to appear. Use a telescope to take a closer look at stars, planets, even satellites! You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to think like one or appreciate the beauty of the night sky.
  • How Things Are Made
    Getting ready for a bike ride in the park? Before you pedal off, take a quick look at how the bike is designed and made. Talk about the thinking that went into its design, how people actually use bikes, and the materials used (metal, rubber, plastic). Take a moment to see how moving the pedals move the gears, which move the chain, which spins the wheel. Are there improvements that could make biking easier or safer? That’s engineering!
  • Under the Hood
    High-schoolers are always on the go! So get her thinking about transportation and energy use. Whether it’s a car, school bus, or train, it uses energy. How does the motor or engine convert fuel to the power necessary to move us? What can we do to use energy wisely and still get to school on time? Think about how even though a bus requires more fuel, it may be more efficient because it moves more people. She’ll be thinking like a scientist in no time!

Remember, when you’re encouraging your daughter to explore STEM subjects, it’s not about having the answers—it’s about raising the questions. Help her explore and find her own answers, and she’ll be thinking like a scientist before you know it!

Reprinted from GSUSA STEM

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

Thank You Cookie Bosses!

SFMCHeader 4-12-19A great BIG SHOUT OUT to our amazing lead-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 good as BOLD!

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:

  • How their work makes a difference to you and the girls they serve
  • One thing you appreciate most about their efforts during cookie season (and beyond!)
  • One time they really helped you or one of your girls out of a bind
  • 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-you and fill up on all that heart-warming, life-changing, bond-forming appreciation!

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

Cookies Power Amazing Adventures for Girls!

Sure, they’re awesomely delicious, but beyond the sweetness, Girl Scout Cookies® are an cookiesopportunity for girls to do extraordinary things.

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

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

Beyond that, when you support her success through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, you’re narrowing the female entrepreneurship gap by nurturing that go-getter spirit early on and equipping her with the confidence and know-how to dream big and do bigger.

Find your favorite Girl Scout Cookies!

Posted in Cookie Activity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy 107th Birthday Girl Scouts!

March 12, 2019 commemorates 107 years of Girl Scouting! Juliette Gordon Low’s visionHB 2019 was to establish the first, largest and only girl-led organization that prepares girls for every day leadership. The core of that vision was to provide rich experiences for girls to explore new interests and face challenges, form new friendships and make lasting community contributions and I am immensely proud that it continues to be at the center of our mission today.

Now, 107 years later, we each play a role in keeping that vision alive for a new generation and our mission has never carried more weight. Our girls are at the forefront of where we are going, and we need to be right there with them to ensure they know that no career and no future path is out of their reach.

As we honor our proud legacy while looking to the future and all that it holds for Girl Scouting, We know Daisy Low would be proud of all that the Movement she founded has accomplished, and we are convinced that the best is yet to come.

So happy birthday, Girl Scouts! And thanks to all of you for everything you do to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

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

Celebrate Girl Scout Week with 7 Days of Awesomeness!

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

Girl Scout Week is definitely something to celebrate—seven straight days to show off your Girl Scout pride and lift up all that this worldwide sisterhood has given you, your community, and the world. Join us in treating each day from Sunday, March 10, through Saturday, March 16, as a day of action focused on a powerful yet simple way to get involved.

National GS Week_Fb Cover Photo.png

 

Sunday, March 10
Girl Scout Sunday is a special day dedicated to thinking about your beliefs and how they’re reflected in the Girl Scout Law. Think of the things the two have in common and share your thoughts with others.

Monday, March 11 
Give a big shout-out to your Girl Scout sisters! Whether you tag other Girl Scouts on social media or get creative and make a card or gift for a Girl Scout in your life, don’t be bashful about sharing the love.

Tuesday, March 12

It’s Girl Scouts’ 107th birthday! Honor the Girl Scout Movement by sharing on social media an issue you’re passionate about and what you’re doing to make a difference. You’ve got this, Girl Scout!

Wednesday, March 13
Get out your green gear—it’s Girl Scout Spirit Day! Whether you sport a Girl Scout tee under a blazer at the office or rock a trefoil sweatshirt at the gym, let everyone know you’re a G.I.R.L. at heart.

Thursday, March 14
Perform an act of kindness. Whether you pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee or visit an elderly neighbor, every bit of positivity Girl Scouts put out there helps make the world a better place.

Friday, March 15

Kick off the weekend by giving back to your community. Could the local park use a cleanup? Does the food bank need volunteers? As always, the best person for the job is a Girl Scout!

Saturday, March 16
Besides reflecting on your beliefs and how they’re echoed in the Girl Scout Law, we urge you to take some time this Girl Scout Sabbath to learn something new about someone else’s faith.

So, are you with us? Ready to go green and shout your Girl Scout love from the rooftops?

Replicated GSUSA Blog post February 15, 2019 

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Who Knew a Cookie Could Be So Powerful!

11 Business skills you learned while selling Girl Scout cookies

1. Goal setting

Whether you’re trying to sell enough cookies to make it to Girl Scout summer camp or you’re trying to top your record from last year, goal setting is a great skill to practice in your youth and carry into your professional life as an adult. Setting goals can help you accomplish feats you never thought possible – and they allow you to continually improve upon yourself.

2. Interpersonal skills

Let’s face it – everyone loves Girl Scout cookies! So chances are good you’re going to interact with customers from all walks of life during sales season. The exposure is great practice for Girl Scouts’ interpersonal skills. Comprehending both verbal and nonverbal communication is not just valuable when you’re trying to land a cookie sale — it’s an essential skill any professional needs.

3. Business ethics

Selling Girl Scout cookies is a great primer for business ethics. Girl Scouts learn right from wrong in sales and learn about hard work and honest business. They learn how to chase their goals while never compromising the core values of the Girl Scouts.

4. Strategic thinking

The 3 Ps – plan, plan, and plan. The cookie sales season to get an edge up on competitors? Set up shop next to a high-traffic store? These are the brilliant ideas of a strategic Girl Scout that can transform her into a critical and analytical thinker down the road.

5. Money management

Selling Girl Scout cookies is good practice for Girl Scouts to handle real money. Not only is counting change great math practice, but it also lays the foundation for accountability and responsibility. And after cookie selling season ends, troops need make wise choices on how to use their earnings together.

6. Persuasiveness

Make sure to have your sales pitch ready, and practice, practice, practice. Never underestimate the value of a persuasive person. Girl Scouts with a compelling pitch gain plenty of experience in mastering effective communication and winning over customers. A persuasive Girl Scout with a good sales pitch is a force to be reckoned with – both in her troop and as she later moves on in her career.

7. Accepting rejection

Believe it or not, there are people out there who turn down a box of Girl Scout cookies. Not every pitch lands a sale. Handling rejection is critical to anyone – and knowing how to accept that and move forward is a priceless skill not just for someone’s professional development, but for their personal arsenal for whatever life throws their way.

8. Stepping up to competitors

There’s no shortage of Girl Scouts vying for your purchase during selling season each year. Naturally, when you’re edging up against other troops, you’ve got to be able to handle the competitive climate – a skill that goes far beyond your cookie-selling days.

9. Marketing

Selling Girl Scout cookies forms a marketing mindset in young troops. Girls learn the product and are able to make it appealing to the market. They’re promoting the product to each person who comes along, making them realize its importance and why they need it in their life.

Girl Scouts of today are becoming increasingly savvy in selling off those coveted boxes. Gone are the days of relying on door-to-door sales. It’s common for troops to set up shop in grocery stores, outside of restaurants, at mall kiosks and other clever locations. Some  package boxes together for bundle purchases to reach higher sales. Others rely on email lists or visual marketing. Selling Girl Scout cookies also teaches troops to understand the customer’s buying process.

10. Teamwork

Some Girl Scout troops find power in numbers and team up to tackle cookies sales together. Learning to cooperate with peers and find common ground in disputes while working towards a mutual goal is one of the fundamental lessons girls develop during their cookies selling days. Learning to work together as a team with other girls will help in developing a healthy working relationship and communication skills.

11. Branding

There’s a reason Girl Scouts wear their uniforms when selling cookies. Each Girl Scout is a representative of the organization and carries the responsibility of upholding the brand. Selling Girl Scout cookies gives troops experience representing a company and its values to learn the importance of branding.

Now you know…

Eating Girl Scout cookies may be a cherished American tradition for the public, but the lessons and business skills Girl Scouts take away extend far beyond the selling season. The transferrable skills and practical experience is invaluable as they grow up and take on the corporate world.

Find your favorite Girl Scout Cookie!

 

Take in part from article by Kristina Ericksen, Rasmussen College, March 2016.

 

Posted in Cookie Activity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

World Thinking Day 2019

Take the lead on February 22 to celebrate World Thinking Day with Girl Scouts and Girl wtd_badge_for_shop-02.width-500Guides from 150 countries! (That’s one big celebration!)

Promoted by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS for short) along with Girl Scouts of the USA, World Thinking Day originated in 1926. That’s when delegates from around the globe met at Camp Edith Macy—now called Edith Macy Conference Center—in New York State and agreed that February 22 would henceforth be known as a special day for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts worldwide.

Every year since, World Thinking Day has called for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to join together and take part in activities that promote changing the world for the better. This year’s World Thinking Day theme is Leadership; check out the activity guide to explore many different ways girls can be leaders and create the change they want to see in the world—and celebrate being part of the global sisterhood that is Girl Scouts and Girl Guides!

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

Cookie Pro 2019™

Calling all G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ entrepreneur superstars participating in the 2018-2019 Girl Scout Cookie Program—the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world!

We know you’re out there shining bright like Girl Scouts do—working hard, taking the lead, crushing your goals, learning so many new skills, and changing the world all cookie season long. And we want to hear from you.

Enter the 2019 Cookie Pro™ contest today by sharing your unique cookie story for a chance to head to sunny California and meet the DC Super Hero Girls™, who—just like Girl Scouts—are motivated, resilient, and determined to succeed!

 

That’s right. Girl Scouts and the similarly self-starting, passionate, and creative DC Super Hero Girls™ have teamed up to help young cookie entrepreneurs across the country unleash that unstoppable G.I.R.L. shine, share their cookie stories with the world like super heroes, and enter for a chance to win an epic adventure they’ll never forget!

Twenty-four girls nationwide—four per Girl Scout grade level—will be selected for the epic opportunity to:

  • Travel to sunny southern California for an all-expenses paid Cookie Entrepreneur Experience
  • Go on an incredible behind-the-scenes VIP adventure at Warner Bros. Studios
  • Take part in super-cool activities featuring the inspiring DC Super Hero Girls™
  • Meet successful entrepreneurs and business leaders
  • Attend a very special Girl Scout Cookie Pro recognition event
  • And more!

All you have to do to enter is participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program this season and highlight your unique cookie story of skill and strength by 1) answering questions about your entrepreneur experience and the skills you learned, and 2) creating cookie pro patchyour very own mini graphic novel—fun!

Limited-Edition Patch
Every cookie entrepreneur who enters GSUSA’s Cookie Pro Contest 2019 will receive instructions by email on how to unlock this awesome, limited-edition Cookie Pro 2019 patch for optional purchase—rock it with pride, girls!

Find cookies here!

Posted in Cookie Activity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Go For Bold . . . Girl Scout Cookie Program!

Let’s get ready for the largest girl-led financial literacy program in the world! The Girl Scouts Cookie Program is designed to be led and conducted by girls. The Cookie Program runs from February 8 – March 17, 2019.

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

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

Digital Cookie®

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 sale and ultimately—your success.

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

Plus, on 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 to the next level.

It’s everything you already love about the Girl Scout Cookie Program, supercharged. The Digital Cookie platform allows you to customize the way you learn and earn, using technology in new and engaging ways, all while earning cool cookie business badges along the way.

Looking for cookies? Click here to find your favorite Girl Scout Cookie!

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Top 10 Reasons to Support the Girl Scout Cookie Program

Girl Scout Cookies are about so much more than the sweet treats we anticipate each mtc_top_photo-1season; your purchase powers life-changing adventures for girls while helping them build real-life skills. Here’s how it’s done.

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

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

Offering hands-on, girl-centered learning in STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship, as well as abundant opportunities to develop invaluable life skills, Girl Scouts helps all girls take the lead early and often. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience pairs girls with strong, caring female role models and mentors who encourage them to step up and make their voices heard. And we’re backed by more than 100 years of experience.

The sweetest part of all?

Your purchase and support of a Girl Scout’s cookie business means that you, too, are making sure data is not destiny; research shows that female-founded start-ups generate more revenue over time than male-founded start-ups, but unfortunately, only 17 percent are female-founded. Thanks to the Girl Scout Cookie Program, however, we’re changing that—girls as young as five are building business savvy that proves to be crucial to shattering glass ceilings through skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. It’s no wonder over half of female entrepreneurs are Girl Scout alums.  So, at a time when the world needs more women in the boardroom, support a more equitable future and treat yourself—it’s a win-win!

Because the iconic cookie program is not only developing the next generation of female business leaders but also inciting real change in communities across the globe.

A cookie has never tasted so sweet.

Are you ready to help girls succeed? Use our Cookie Finder to find Girl Scout Cookies near you! 

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Let’s Get Ready for Summer Camp!

Attending summer camp is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills, and Camp Tap develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether for a day, a week, or longer, Girl Scout summer camp gives girls an opportunity to grow, explore, and have fun under the guidance of caring, trained adults.

Here are just a few Girl Scout summer camp experiences for you to check out:

lifebuoy_32 Resident camp is for girls who have finished first grade. Girls camp for two (mini-resident) to fourteen (resident) days and nights (the average is five nights). They plan activities with their counselors/volunteers, taking advantage of the resources available at the campsite.

  Day camp is for girls in first grade to sixth grade. Typically activities run throughout the week (Monday – Friday) from 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. The occasional overnight camp may be offered.

 

  S’more Adventures is for girls in various grade levels (depending on the adventure), and typically lasts for two days and one overnight (weekend). Weekend camps are planned and carried out by our program staff members.

 

fire_32 Travel camping is for experienced and teen girls. The group travels from one site to another on foot or via motorized or non-motorized transportation over a period of three or more nights, staying at different campsites along the way. Some of the longer, more advanced travel camps can be up to two weeks and involve traveling to national parks, campsites and attractions in other states.
Summer camp registration opens January 30 at 8:00 a.m. For more information on summer camp click here. To view our 2019 Summer Camp guide click here.
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Smart Cookies Change the World!

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

As cookie entrepreneurs, girls learn essential life skills like:

 Goal setting
  Decision making
  Money Management

   People skills

   Business ethics

…and sooo much more. Girls learn to work as a team to accomplish common goals and solve problems, while building the confidence they need to shine as girls, as young women, and as future leaders. And did we mention fun? They have a ton of that along the way, too.

Every year Girl Scouts all over the area use their cookie earnings to do amazing things in their communities and beyond. From helping animal shelters and feeding the homeless to raising awareness about bullying, making public areas more accessible to people with disabilities, and tons more, Girl Scouts can and will do anything they put their hearts and minds to.

Remember: smart cookies don’t only better their own lives—they also have the vision to change the world.

Ever wondered about the history of cookies? Learn more about this incredible girl-led entrepreneurial program!

The Girl Scout Cookie Program runs from February 8 to March 17.  Learn more about the Cookie Program!

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Dropping in to deliver holiday greetings!

2018 Holiday Header

2018 was a BIG year for Girl scouts, and we couldn’t have done it without you! With your endless support, we continue to shine as the largest – ad best – leadership development organization for girls in the world. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being part of the magic.

Here’s to another year of helping girls unleash their incredible G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ potential as they pave the way toward a brighter, stronger future for all of us.

Happy holidays to you and yours, and best wishes for a 2019 full of courage, confidence, and character!

From all of us at Girl Scouts of Central Illinois

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She’s All Girl Scout. Are you?

cq5dam.web.1280.1280At Girl Scouts, girls are exploring what’s possible, turning dreams into reality, and changing the world. Here, you’ll take on leadership roles as you engage in all sorts of girl-led activities and develop skills you’ll use to make a difference. You’ll unleash the confidence you need to pursue what you love and stand up for what you believe in.

Whether you’re part trendsetter, part change-maker, and part athlete, or part engineer, part artist, and part go-getter, you know who you are and where you want to go next. And you’re all Girl Scout.

Are you ready to take the lead? Because at Girl Scouts, it’s your time to shine.

Change-makers. Risk-takers. Go-getters. They’re all Girl Scout.

 

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Volunteer Toolkit

The Volunteer Toolkit is a leader’s online tool to plan and manage your Girl Scout year.

The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a digital resource that supports troop leaders and co-leaders, making the process of running a troop easier and more efficient. Check out some 1538061026087of the toolkit’s top features below. Then watch the video playlist above for a detailed walk-through.

Look What’s New to the VTK:

  • Outdoor Journey for Dasies, Brownies and Juniors with multi-level content.
  • Three (3) brand-new STEM Journeys in engineering, programming and citizen science.
  • 38 new badges and Journey awards to chose among, including the first-ever Daisy Outdoor and Citizen badges.

Through the VTK, troop leaders can:

  • Plan the troop’s calendar year
  • Email parents with one click.
  • View the troop roster, renew girls’ membership, and update their contact information.
  • View Daisy, Brownie, and Junior Journeys and badges to plan for troop meetings. There are three prepopulated year plans in the VTK for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior leaders, with 15 meetings each.
  • Customize meetings by troop year with other badge and Journey options.
  • NEW! Access the VTK as a multilevel troop (troops with a mix of girls in Daisy, Brownie, and Junior levels).
  • Explore individual meeting plans that show a breakdown of every meeting, including a list of the materials needed, and editable time allotments for each activity within a meeting.
  • Record girls’ attendance at meetings and their badge and Journey achievements.
  • Add council or custom troop events to the troop’s calendar.
  • Enter the troop’s finances (depending on the council’s process).
  • Easily locate resources, such as Safety Activity Checkpoints.
  • NEW! Access 18 activities that now include a “Get Outside” option, which provides alternative outdoor options.

What About Parents?

  • Parents can now access the VTK to see what their girl’s troop or group is doing (e.g, meeting information and which badges and Journeys she is working on).
  • Parents can also view the troop’s finances.

Leaders who are first time user check out this overview step-by-step guide.

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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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