Explore the Outdoors with Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend!

Girl Scouts Love State Parks is being celebrated the weekend of July 13–14 by over 100 councils across the country!

Through this national event, you can experience the great outdoors by participating in planned events hosted by state parks and council staff. Or take the opportunity to explore on your own with friends and family!

Check out all the exciting events to explore July 13-14 and all summer!

Bonus: Girls who participate are eligible to purchase our inaugural national Girl Scouts Love State Parks patch!

How to Participate

Planning a hike? Camping adventure? WE WANT TO SEE IT!

Tag us at @girlscoutsgcnwi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
and use the hashtags #GSLOVESPARKS and #GSOUTDOORS.

Full Moon Hike at Indiana Dunes State Park

Come along with Naturalists and volunteers for this special full-moon hike to Lake Michigan and back. Stories about our moon and up-close views will be shared. The evening begins with an indoor information presentation until about 8:15 p.m., and the hike runs from 8:15-9:30 p.m. Some “stellar” treats will also be served thanks to the Friends of the Indiana Dunes.
Sign-up for the Full Moon Hike »

Participating Indiana Parks

July 13

July 14

Learn more about these Indiana events at calendar.dnr.IN.gov.

See ALL Indiana State Parks Below

Participating Illinois State Parks

July 13

Learn more about these Illinois events at calendar.dnr.IL.gov

See ALL Illinois State Parks Below

Get the Patch!

More about Girl Scouts USA at girlscouts.org.

A WAGGGS Adventure in Mexico

By Kim DeWitt, Global Action Volunteer

Kim (top left) and her troop.

In November 1975, I had the opportunity to visit Our Cabaña, one of the WAGGGS (Girl Scouts is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) World Centers located in Cuernavaca, Mexico. My fellow Girl Scouts at Mitten Bay Council (now Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan) planned out trip to the center established in 1957, about 50 miles outside of Mexico City. We were incredibly excited to not only venture out of the United States, but also to have the opportunity to meet Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world. Although I don’t remember everything about the trip, it certainly was an experience of a lifetime and began a lifelong interest in travel! 

Planning for Mexico

We started planning the trip a year earlier using funds we gained from many money-earning activities. We sold crafts we had made at a number of craft fairs; I especially remember decoupage soap – think I may still have a bar somewhere! We also hosted Sarah Coventry jewelry parties. The estimated cost of the trip was $462 (about $2,000 today) and as a troop, we collectively worked hard to achieve our goal of traveling to Mexico. 

By the time we were ready to leave, I was a sophomore in high school. We had planned our trip to take place during the school year so we all got to miss school.

For most of us, it was our first airplane trip. We flew to Mexico City and visited a number of the tourist sites, including the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, meaning the “Place of Flowers”. One of the more memorable sites was the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was amazing to watch some of the parishioners crawl on their knees on the cobbled stone to the entry of the Basilica as a means of giving thanks. 

Learn more about My Cabaña

Hello Our Cabaña!

Then we were off to Cuernavaca. I remember Our Cabaña as having many flowers and great food. Trying the local cuisine, like pigeon, was a new and exciting experience—also delicious. During our time at Our Cabaña we met Girl Guides from other parts of the world including Mexico and El Salvador. We also volunteered at an orphanage. And we visited the city of Taxco, a city heavily associated with silver. We all bought souvenirs to take back home.

At the time, a trip to Mexico was quite unusual and we were in the newspaper several times before and after the trip. Back in 1975, it wasn’t that common to take an airplane trip out of the country (or in the US for that matter) especially for high school students. The fact that we were going to Mexico was a big deal especially in our smaller council in Michigan.  Amazingly, I had saved most of the mementos from the trip in a travel bag we received from the airline – a trip that truly was the experience of a lifetime. 

I encourage EVERY Girl Scout to travel to a new place with their troop or even on their own. Girl Scouts of GCNWI has amazing travel opportunities both nationally and internationally, and Girl Scouts USA has Destinations!—for those individual adventure seekers!

Kim and her fellow Cadettes at My Cabaña 1975

Travel with Girl Scouts

Learn more about the WAGGGS World Centres here, and more about how you can visit Our Cabana here.

GSGCNWI hosted a trip to Our Cabana in 2017; see more about our trip here.

Check out the GCNWI travel page for more information on how to plan your own trip or join a council-sponsored trip!

Check Out These Summer Programs for the Entire Family!

If you want activities for the whole family to enjoy, then look no further. Below is your guide to family friendly programs offered by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Get excited for all that summer has to offer!

Outdoor Adventures

Have a Sleepover Safari at Brookfield Zoo!

August 30–31 | Brownies–Ambassadors (Grades 2–12)

Your whole family is invited to the Brookfield Zoo for a summer sleepover! You’ll get to go on a night hike around the zoo, examine real skulls, and make treats for the animals to enjoy. Registration includes all activities, breakfast, and a fun patch! Get your Sleepover Safari Tickets »

Star Party

Saturday, August 17 | Camp Greene Wood, Woodridge, IL

How many constellations can you spot? Come celebrate the stars with other astronomy enthusiasts. We will have games, projects and crafts you can take home, and a chance to view the night sky with an astronomer. Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors: enjoy this event with your entire family. Sign-up now »


You & Me: Summertime Fun

Weekend of June 21 and Weekend of July 19 | Camp River Trails, Sheridan, IL
All ages!

Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and female guardians: spend a weekend at camp with your Girl Scout at a You & Me Camp Weekend! Each year we celebrate with a different theme, and this summer’s theme is “Hogwarts: Journey to the Forbidden Forest.” “Swish and flick” your way to summer fun with your girl! You’ll have your choice to stay in a lodge, prairie cabin, or screened in platform tent. Learn more and register for You & Me Summertime Fun!

Take the Whole Family to Camp!

Weekend of July 12 | Camp River Trails, Sheridan, IL
Weekend of September 13 | Camp Butternut Springs, Valparaiso, IL
All ages!

Enjoy a weekend at camp with the whole family! Fourth graders and older can try archery. You’ll stay in platform tents, screened-in cabins, or bring your own tent! Learn more and register for Family Camp!

Sports & Entertainment

Chicago Red Stars: Bark in the Park

Saturday, June 23 | SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL

This is a night for the dogs! Join us at SeatGeek Stadium for their 2nd annual Bark in the Park celebration where your pup is invited to cheer on the Red Stars. Everyone who purchases a Bark in the Park ticket receives a free bandanna for your pup and will participate on their halftime Pet Parade. Get your tickets now »

Girl Scout Night with the White Sox

Wednesday, July 3 | Guaranteed Rate Field

Due to inclement weather Girl Scout Day with the White Sox was postponed. The makeup date is scheduled for Wednesday, July 3rd at 1:10 PM as part of a split doubleheader and your game tickets will be good for Game 1.

Your previous ticket and parking pass are valid for the make-up July 3rd game ONLY. Tickets will only be good for Game 1 of the split doubleheader.

For those who did not purchase tickets for the previous game, check out our updates flier!

Girl Scout Night with the Chicago Dogs

Saturday, June 29 | Impact Field, Rosemont, IL

Come out to Impact Field for 2nd Annual Girl Scout Night on Saturday, June 29th at 7:05 p.m. Ticket purchase includes pregame parade on field, custom Girl Scout patch, Video Board Troop Recognition, Post Game Fireworks and a donation back to GSGCNWI. Learn more and purchase Chicago Dog Tickets »

Wizarding Celebration

Saturday, July 20 at Friendship Center, Country Club Hills, IL
Sunday, July 21 Vernon Hills Gathering Place, Vernon Hills, IL
All ages!

Girl Scouts! Do you love Harry Potter? Bring your friends and family & come join us to celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday. You’ll get to make potions, play quidditch, drink butterbeer & more! Family event. Fun patch included. Sign-up for Wizarding Celebration »

Attend a Cirque du Soleil Show

May 22 through July 6 | Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

Under the Big Top at Soldier Field lives a show so grand and so fun! Bring the entire family to this amazing and dazzling show that will be sure to satisfy any adrenaline lover. Check out the official flyer on how to purchase tickets to this great show » [PDF]

Don’t Let Her Miss Out!

Girls must be a current Girl Scout to participate in these fun activities! To join in on this summer fun, you can become a Girl Scout today for only $35, and her membership will be valid all the way through Sept. 30, 2020. That’s nearly a year and a half of fun ahead!

Girl Scout Gifts A Trip to Disney!

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

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

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

Anne N.

The Heart Behind the Gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check Out Anne on ABC7

Interview with Anne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎺 Announcing the 2019 Spring Renewal Patch Design Contest Winner!

We are so excited to announce the winner of our 2019 Spring Renewal Patch Design Contest!

Margaux’s original patch design

Say hello to our new patch designed by Margaux P., a Girl Scout Brownie from Tinley Park, Illinois. Her design was selected from over 150 submissions from Girl Scouts across our council!

Members of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana will receive this patch for FREE when they renew their membership by June 26!

Margaux is, “excited that my design was chosen because everyone gets to have my artwork on their vests!”

You too can rock your very own 2019 Spring Renewal patch!

Renew your Girl Scout Membership by June 26!

So what’s in store for next year?

Even more fun, adventure, and friendship. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what your girl and her troop might choose to do. Check out the Badge Explorer with her to see all the possibilities.

And as a massive bonus, the longer your girl sticks with Girl Scouting, the more she’ll get out of it. Studies show girls who participate in Girl Scouts for three or more years are significantly more likely to:

  • have a positive sense of self,
  • be civically engaged,
  • achieve higher education and income,
  • practice leadership,
  • have healthy relationships,
  • and feel satisfied with their lives.

Who could want more? Invest in her future and secure her spot for the next Girl Scout year!

Renew her membership now!

Support Her Journey and Unlock Special Savings!

During Spring Renewal, any parent or guardian can sign up as a first-time troop support volunteer by June 26, and you’ll receive:

  • Save 10% on one $50+ in-store purchase during August
  • Save 5% on private label merchandise all year
  • FREE 2019 Girl Scout Decal*

Renew and volunteer today!