Local Girl Scouts Honor Famous Alumnae for Women’s History Month

Local Girl Scouts Honor Famous Alumnae for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, Girl Scouts at Sator Sanchez Elementary School in Joliet, Illinois paid homage to famous Girl Scout alumnae during an after-school performance.

Aranza S., an 11-year-old Girl Scout Junior, presented the biography for Christa McAuliffe, a former Girl Scout and troop leader. She was an astronaut killed in the Space Shuttle Challenge disaster in 1986.

“The thing I like most about being a Girl Scout is that we get to learn about different things,” Aranza said. “I liked learning about Christa because she went to outer space. I’m really into space and like to learn about all the different planets.”

Other famous Girl Scouts honored during the performance included Josephine Groves, who founded the first African-American Girl Scout troop in 1942; Sandra Day O’Connor, retired associate justice of the Supreme Court; and first lady Michelle Obama, the honorary national president of Girl Scouts of the USA.

“I never knew she was a lawyer and a writer,” said Luz M., an 11-year-old Girl Scout Junior, who presented the biography for Obama. “It also surprised me she was born in Chicago.”

During the performance, the girls also thanked United Way of Will County for supporting the GirlSpace program, which serves girls in at-risk communities and seeks to bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to life through a variety of curricular areas, including science, technology, engineering and math, financial literacy and healthy living.

“Without the generosity of supporters, such as United Way, we can’t make this program grow,” said Patricia Colin, a GirlSpace facilitator.

Erika Diaz, assistant principal at Sanchez Elementary School, said it’s important for girls to learn about other influential Girl Scouts, especially during Women’s History Month.

“A lot of times, girls don’t hear about women scientists or inventors,” said Diaz, who was a Girl Scout growing up. “They need to feel empowered.”

Lisa Marie Moreno, principal of Sanchez Elementary School who was also a Girl Scout, agreed.

“It’s so necessary for girls to feel confident, have a sense of purpose and learn about giving back to the community,” she said.

What I Learned on a Girl Scout Destination to Costa Rica

What I Learned on a Girl Scout Destination to Costa Rica

While in Costa Rica, things ran very differently than they would at home. No electronics-no phone, no iPad, no music, and no TV. We didn’t even have clocks! But we had each other. Every night, we had a share circle. We sat with the entire group and went around saying what we appreciated and our highs and lows of the day.

Towards the end of the trip, our sharing circle began right before dinner as usual. But this night was different. By this point, everyone knew all thirty names and could even list where most were from. Approximately halfway through the circle, one of my Sister Girl Scouts began her appreciations. She said, “At school, I couldn’t even imagine half of you approaching me, much less wanting to learn more about me.”


She continued by saying how appreciative she was that we all took the time to get to know her, even though we may have had nothing in common. To hear something like that was so touching. Never before did I stop and realize that my being friendly or sharing a smile would mean so much to someone.

The rest of the trip was just as amazing as the first half. Most would expect that having thirty girls all together for ten days would lead to chaos and drama. These girls were different though; everyone wanted to learn about each other and we all shared a common interest in making an impact in the community we were staying in.


Not only did we work with sea turtles and see firsthand the circle of life, but we were also able to connect with local children through soccer games. On our fourth day at the beach site, we were invited to a 1st birthday party of a little local girl. The entire extended family was there, and they made us dinner, let us partake in the games, and danced with us! They enjoyed getting to see the “chicas.”

Since coming home, I have made it my objective to be as genuine as possible in my everyday life. It’s so easy to get swept up in a small friend group and to isolate yourself from the rest of your peers. Additionally, I have come to realize all the luxuries I have here at home. For example, hot showers and toilets you can actually flush toilet paper down! Several times during the trip we were able to discuss just how lucky we were to be apart of this adventure and to be able to explore a new country with a great group of new friends. I am still in contact with all of these girls, as we have started our own group chat.

Olivia Ottenfeld is a Girl Scout Ambassador from Chicago.

Want to join Girl Scouts on a fun-filled travel adventure? Learn more about our Destination to Our Cabaña in Cuernavaca, Mexico next year and apply today.

Find Out What These Girl Scouts Love Most About Summer Camp

Find Out What These Girl Scouts Love Most About Summer Camp

Campfires, crafts and canoes are certainly part of the Girl Scout camp experience, but girls today have more options than ever before.

Take, for example, the Engineering Design Challenge resident camp at Camp Juniper Knoll in East Troy, Wisconsin.

“It’s definitely my favorite camp,” shares Elizabeth L., a 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadette. “The challenge changes every year. The first year was a mission to Mars and last year we made LEGO robotics.”

She loves the camp so much, she’s recruited several friends to join her in the two-week long session. During the camp, participants work in teams to solve challenges using the Engineering Design Process.

“We’re all girls and we get to talk about the same thing,” says Elizabeth. “We’re at engineering camp so we all have the same nerdy interests. And our counselors are nerds just like us.”

Elizabeth and Maggie heading off to camp

And it won’t be long before Elizabeth joins the rank of camp counselors. This summer, she’s also attending the counselor-in-training day camp at Camp Greene Wood in Woodridge, Illinois.

“I’ve wanted to sign up for it ever since I started camp three years ago,” she said. “I can’t wait to spend time with the younger girls and lead them in songs.”

Elizabeth’s enthusiasm for camp has certainly rubbed off on her younger sister, Maggie L., a 9-year-old Girl Scout Junior. She’s excited to go horseback riding at Camp Juniper Knoll and attend Make It, Take It, a creative craft day camp at Camp Greene Wood.

“I like going to camp because we get to sing fun songs, the counselors are really nice and we get to do a lot of really fun activities,” she said. “I’m really, really excited to go horseback riding because I’ve never been on a horse before. But my favorite part about camp is getting to meet new people and try new things.”

Want your girl to enjoy an exceptional experience at camp? Check out our full list of summer programs in our 2016 Camp Program Guide and register today!

Girl Scouts Perform at Macy’s Flower Show

Girl Scouts Perform at Macy’s Flower Show

Members of Troop 20759 performed a medley of patriotic songs at Macy’s Flower Show on Friday, March 25.

The 42nd annual Macy’s Flower Show, which kicked off on Sunday, March 20 – the first day of spring – also served as the reveal of the 2016 Girl Scouts Girls’ Choice badges.

This year’s flower show theme, America the Beautiful, aligns with Girl Scouts’ Art in the Outdoors badge series that encourages all Girl Scouts – from urban areas to rural locations to explore the are around them.

The 42nd annual flower runs until Sunday, April 3. Admission is free. For more information, please visit macys.com/flowershow.

Girl Scouts Take Over Downtown Chicago During Loop Site Day

Girl Scouts Take Over Downtown Chicago During Loop Site Day

If your commute was a little sweeter this week, you can thank a Girl Scout.

On Wednesday, March 23, Girl Scouts took over downtown Chicago for the first of four Loop Site Days this spring. During Loop Site Days, girls sell Girl Scout Cookies in the lobbies of downtown businesses.

Ryeleigh M., 6, and Fabiola V., 5, both Girl Scout Daisies from Troop 55190 in Algonquin, Illinois were excited for their first Loop Site Day.

“We’re saving our cookie money to go to Build-a-Bear,” Ryeleigh said.

“And buying crafts for children at the Ronald McDonald’s House,” added Fabiola.

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Ryeleigh (left) and Fabiola (right) created signs to promote their cookie business.

Meanwhile, Caity S., 10, Zoe V. , 9, and Stephanie B., 10, Girl Scout Juniors from Troop 40306 from Mundelein, Illinois plan to use their cookie money to go camping at Camp Juniper Knoll in East Troy, Wisconsin.

“It feels so grownup to sell cookies and it’s just so amazing that adults are trusting us to do this,” shared Zoe.

Stephanie agreed.

“It’s great because we’re cookie bosses and we can decide what to do with the money and where we want to go on trips,” she said.

(From left to right): Zoe, Caity and Stephanie from Troop 40306


In addition to meeting new people and learning new business skills, Cara C. an 11-year-old Girl Scout Junior in Troop 41101 from Lake Villa, Illinois enjoys helping people while selling Girl Scout Cookies.

“During our site sales at grocery stores, we offer to help people take their groceries to their car,” she said. “It feels good to give back.”

Missed the first round of Loop Site sales? Be sure to get your fix at downtown Chicago businesses on March 31, April 7 and April 19!

Become a Superhero with the Girl Scout Super Gold Power Patch Program

Become a Superhero with the Girl Scout Super Gold Power Patch Program

If you’ve ever wanted to become a superhero, now’s your chance.

In celebration of the centennial of the Highest Award this year, we’ve developed a program for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors to learn about what it takes to be a super Girl Scout!

The Super Gold Power Patch Program features fun, high-energy games about the history of the Highest Awards in Girl Scouting; colorful comic strips featuring real-life examples of Bronze, Silver and Gold Award projects that have had a deep impact on the community; activities for girls to create their own one-of-a-kind superhero comic strip and emblem – and envision their own Highest Award project for the future.

The curriculum and patches are $5 for each Girl Scout participant. To learn more about the Super Gold Power Patch Program and to register, click here.

An Open Letter to Powerful Girls Everywhere

An Open Letter to Powerful Girls Everywhere

My name is Brandi Hoover and I’m a 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador. Ever since I was a Daisy in kindergarten, Girl Scouts has done nothing but support me and give me opportunities that no other organization would have been able to, such as camping with my friends, attending Camp CEO, being a girl representative on the Board of Directors and so many more.

Having already earned my Silver Award, I’m currently working on my Gold Award, which is the highest award in Girl Scouting. When trying to think of what to do for my Gold Award project, I started noticing how big of a problem low self-esteem is in girls my age.

Girl Scouts was always there showing me the true value of my life. So I kept asking myself, “what can I do about this?”  How can I make others feel the way Girl Scouts has made me feel. Now, it has always been a dream of mine to impact the world and make a difference. So I thought what better way to make my dream a reality. 


Nearly a year ago, I started a blog called Hello Powerful You. The purpose behind my blog is to empower girls and help them raise their self-esteem. I post a variety of things from how I overcame barriers in my life to pictures of inspirational quotes. I think that every person deserve to live a happy life with a high self-esteem.

I think that Girl Scouts really helped me realize the full potential that I had. The organization as a whole really showed me the leadership skills I had. They proved to me that I could do anything I set my mind to. They not only supported me through this whole process and continue to support me, but they have also given me so many opportunities and way to help me network. One of my goals for this blog is to turn it into an organization like Girl Scouts. They have helped me turn my dreams and aspirations into a reality.

Now one of the things I regularly think about when trying to motivate myself to stay positive is how an issue will affect my life. I first think about how it will affect my life right now, and then I think about how it will affect my life in five years. If I realize that this problem will not affect me in one year or even five years, then why am I stressing about it now?

You should never stress about something that is not going to affect your life in the long run. Failing one math test is not going to break your future. Your boss in five or even ten years will not look back on that one test you failed in middle school or high school.

I use this method to help me work through problems on a daily basis. Now one year into my blog, I have many goals for Hello Powerful You. I hope that one day this blog can become something even bigger as I said earlier something like an organization to empower girls … just like Girl Scouts.

Most importantly, I want to change the world one girl at a time. So please check out my blog and tell me what makes you powerful.


Experience Leadership at Camp CEO

Experience Leadership at Camp CEO

What does it take to be a leader in today’s world? What is it really like being a woman in a management position?

You can find out the answers to these questions and more at the 10th annual Camp CEO, a fun-filled, five-day overnight camp hosted by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

An experience like none other, Camp CEO brings together a select group of teen girls to engage in outdoor leadership activities with some of Chicagoland’s most prominent female business leaders.

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#Selfie time at Camp CEO

“Camp CEO had managed to bring a diverse crowd of women and girls together to learn from each other, ultimately so that we could utilize our acquired skills in the real world,” said Eva Lewis, a 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, who participated in last year’s session (pictured above, right). “We were bettering ourselves to make the road to become a successful woman easier. Not only were we investing in our futures, but by doing this we were investing inthe futures of those who will come after us.”

From campfire conversations to archery practice, Camp CEO is an exceptional experience combining the adventure of overnight camp with the personal growth and business savvy of leadership seminars.

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Archery at Camp CEO

“Camp CEO taught me to be ambitious, courageous and passionate – and it all started at a game of kickball with my Camp CEO mentor,” said Kavya Anjur, a Girl Scout and Camp CEO alumna. “After following her advice, I networked with a local lab and got a summer internships, which helped me win a national science contest. I recommend Camp CEO to every high schooler out there – you’ll learn the skills necessary to be successful in this day and age.”

Camp CEO takes place Aug. 7 -12, 2016 at Camp Butternut Springs in Valparaiso, Indiana. Tuition is $150 for Girl Scouts and $180 for non- Girl Scouts and include accommodations, meals and more. Financial aid available.

For more information and to apply, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org/campceo. Applications are due May 9.


Girl Scout Donates Cookies to Homeless Kids

Girl Scout Donates Cookies to Homeless Kids

After learning about homeless children living at Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Zara, a 6-year-old Girl Scout Daisy in Troop 20438, decided to donate nearly 60 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to help cheer them up.

“It’s important to give back because they don’t have many treats and I thought they’d be happy to have treats,” Zara said.

She even enlisted the help of her classmates to create handmade cards to accompany the cookie boxes.


Zara, who sold 2,500 boxes last year, is hoping to sell 5,000 boxes this year so she can go to Disney World. So far, she’s sold 3,500 boxes and has donated nearly 400 of those to Gift of Caring, which sends Girl Scout Cookies to women and men in the military.

“This was all her idea,” her mom, Melissa Smejkal, said. “I’m really proud of her for being so caring and sharing with others.”

Do you have a Girl Scout Cookie story you’d like to share? Tell us on social media or email gsmarketing@girlscoutsgcnwi.org!


Join Girl Scouts at Our Cabaña in Mexico

Join Girl Scouts at Our Cabaña in Mexico

Calling all travel-loving teens!

In 2017, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana will host a Girl Scouts of the United States of America Destination to Mexico.

From the traditional crafts to the tasty cuisine and ancient architecture to the upbeat music and dancing, Mexico’s vibrant culture is rich and exciting. This Destination will begin in Mexico City, the home to Frida Kahlo, Ballet Folklorico, and 2,000-year-old pyramids.



Next, our travels will lead us to Our Cabaña in Cuernavaca, which is located in the heart of Mexico. At this World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Centre, our group will meet  Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from the around the world in an adventure of a lifetime. Here, we’ll take part in a community service project, learn about Mexican culture, go white water rafting or waterfall jumping, and travel to nearby historic sites.

And the best part is Girl Scouts from our council will have the chance to plan parts of the trip! If you’re going to be a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador in 2017, you can submit your application and reference form before the April 18, 2016 deadline.


The trip, which will take place between July 20 – 31, 2017, costs approximately $2,500 and includes meals, accommodations, round-trip airfare from Chicago to Mexico City, transportation within Mexico and much more.

For a sneak peek at what you can see and do at Our Cabaña, check out our travel vlog below and be sure to apply HERE before April 18, 2016.

If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Christensen, our manager of arts, cultural awareness and travel programs, at achristensen@girlscoutsgcnwi.org or 312-912-6322.