Say “Hello” to our 2019-20 Council Programs!

We are so excited to announce that this and next year’s events, programs, and travel opportunities are now live!

From city adventures and scavenger hunts, to Girl Scout celebrations and overnight camping trips, start planning your 2019-20 adventures in Girl Scouting!

View all programs for Daisies (Grades K-1) »

View all programs for Brownies (Grades 2-3) »

View all programs for Juniors (Grades 4-5) »

View all programs for Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors (Grades 6-12) »

Girl Scouts across the council, as a troop or an individual, can participate in programs, events, and activities that enrich, educate, and empower them.

Girls will have a chance to jump-start their journeys, workshop their badges, celebrate girls across the globe, and plan exciting trips on their own or with their troops!

Program Highlights

New Heights: High Adventure Day at Butternut Springs »
Various Dates, Camp Butternut Springs | Grades 4-12
Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassador, get a bird’s eye view of Camp Butternut Springs as you climb high on the Albert C. Anna High Adventure Course!

My Dream Life »
Nov. 9, Friendship Center | Grades K-8
Learn about different careers and adult life-skills in partnership with RSM. Simulate bank accounts, salaries, and vacations in this fun and interactive program that’ll give your Girl Scout the introduction to the adult-world! 

Day of the Dead Celebration »
Various Dates & Locations | All Ages
At this Día de los Muertos celebration, you are invited to create shoe-box Ofrendas (altars), decorate calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), fashion paper Marigold flowers, visit ofrendas, and have your face painted like la Catrina! 

Coding for Good »
Apr. 11, Joliet Gathering Place | Grades 6-12
Learn the basics of coding! Girls will learn how to use these skills to build memes, games, and features that spread positive messages and tackle important issues!

Junior Jetaway to Milwaukee »
Feb. 16-17 | Grades 4-5
Girl Scout Juniors are invited to a brand-new Juniors-only getaway to Milwaukee, Wisconsin! You will get a chance to check out a museum of your choice, eat cheese curds, walk through the historic Third Ward and more. 

Capital Tour: Nashville! »
Feb. 15-17 | Grades 6-12
50 state capitals, 50 new Girl Scout trips! Girl Scouts from grades 6-12 are invited the first stop on the tour of a cross-country adventure—Nashville, Tennessee! Once we get to Music City, we will tour the Nashville Capital Building, take part in a service project, and visit the sites. You’ll practice your budgeting and trip-planning skills while on the trip!

Unfolding Artifacts of Girl Scouts’ Past

Written by Susana Cardenas-Soto

How Girls Can Help Their Country Handbook and Photograph of Girl Guides in front of the Girl Scout Headquarters in Savannah, Georgia.

Every year at the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, council historians visit the Chicago Gathering Place and adorn the cases that line the hallways with artifacts of Girl Scouts’ past. Guide books, uniforms, badges and pins from the past 107 years of Girl Scouting now sit in display cases around the office for staff and visitors alike to admire and enjoy.

This year, the collection honors the vision of our favorite Daisy, Juliette Gordon Low, and the evolution of Junior Girl Scouts. It is a celebration of the triumphs, struggles, and transformations of the Girl Scouts from 1912 to now.

The Lady from Savannah

The display case dedicated to Juliette tells the story of her life. It features a pearl necklace similar to the dearly beloved one she sold to fund the fledgling Girl Guides organization in 1915. The “Lady from Savannah” was certainly devoted to her mission. It is a testament to her charitable nature, a value that has withstood the test of time and is ingrained in the Girl Scout philosophy.

Juliette Gordon Low herself was deeply embedded in the early history of the city of Chicago. As one historian said, Juliette and her family migrated to Chicago and resided in a building across the way from Fort Dearborn. It is fitting, then, that the council’s office is located not so far away!

Juliette Gordon Low’s campaign Stetson replica and Model Figure of JGL

The cases not only show J-Lo’s connection to Chicago, but also displays Girl Scout pride and history—through uniforms. The original Girl Scout uniforms were navy blue, as this fabric was more affordable than other colors in the early years of scouting. Eventually, as girls complained of the Alabama clay staining their uniforms, and the political climate of the United States changed, the uniforms were changed to the familiar khaki green.

The replica of the custom-made khaki green campaign Stetson Juliette favored also sits in the display case. This style of hat was typically worn by Girl Guides in her era. The hat can be seen on the beautifully detailed model of the Girl Scout founder, and on the girls in the photo in front of the Headquarters.

Juliette Gordon Low was, among other things, ahead of her time. She spearheaded the exploration of the new frontier of women leadership and empowerment, a tradition we continue to this day. The expression on the doll illustrates her legendary confidence and determination, qualities Girl Scouts continue to possess.

The Journey to Juniors

Did you know that the original Girl Scout troops were made up of teenagers? It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the Junior level was included. Among the fascinating early Junior artifacts is a collection of handbooks, one in Braille and one in large-print. The display case also features a photograph of a girl using the Braille book.

The 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s were times of rapid change within the Junior Girl Scout level, as uniforms and guidebooks transformed to suit the times. You will be able to spot a pair of vintage floral-printed uniform pants that certainly would have been popular in that era!

Junior Girl Scout Artifacts (1977-1999)

One rare artifact is particularly intriguing–– a doll of a Junior Girl Scout in her 1985 uniform, that can be seen on the top shelf of the display case shown above. This doll was part of a limited edition series of Avon collectible Girl Scout dolls of diverse races and ethnicities, all of which can no longer be found.

The personal history of the historian who owns the doll is ingrained in the doll itself. After her granddaughter gave the doll an unsolicited makeover: the doll now sports a choppy haircut and is missing her Junior handbook!

This doll is one of many pieces of Girl Scout history that not only reflects the larger rich-cultural time-period it is from, but tells the intimate personal history of an actual Girl Scout. What is so special about all of these precious mementos from Girl Scouts past is that each item has its own meaning, its own story to tell. They are not just pieces of history, but pieces of memory.

Those Who Learn From the Past

What, then, can we learn from the Girl Scouts of the past? What is the value in investigating and commending the efforts of Juliette Gordon Low and the countless other trailblazing Girl Scouts?

One historian answered succinctly: “It was Edmund Burke who said, ‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.'”

Indeed, it is incredibly important for Girl Scouts to know not only their personal histories, but the history of the organization and the stages of growth it has undergone. By looking at the past, we can be inspired to look forward and continue to effect groundbreaking change. What we learn from history enables us to understand what we should maintain, and where we can grow.

Juliette was ahead of her time–– Girl Scouts across the nation continue to be just the same.

We would like to thank the research and effort of these wonderful historians! The cases are currently on display at the GCNWI Chicago office, so come on by and see the precious historical Girl Scout items!

Learn more about our fascinating Girl Scouts history!

Walk Through History

This display is currently at the Downtown Chicago Gathering Place! If you are a Girl Scout and either you or your troop is interested in visiting, you can make an appointment by calling the Chicago Gathering Place: 312-416-2500.

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 5!

What happens when a group of Girl Scouts dedicate over 6,400 service hours to their passions? Amazing things.

This year, 80 Girl Scouts from the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana council became Gold Award Girl Scouts. Each girl earned this highest honor by showing incredible dedication, foresight, and follow-through in their own ways. Together, they are certainly an impressive group of young women!

View photos from this year’s Gold Award Ceremony in our photo album on Facebook.
To learn more about the Gold Award, check out the informational program booklet on our website.

Part Five: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

Catherine K.

For her Gold Award project, Catherine painted a mural and created a mindfulness-themed craft binder for The Alive Center—a teen center in Naperville. She designed the mural with the goal of inspiring visitors into considering the art activities offered at the facility, while the binder itself offers multiple of those activities as mindfulness-themed crafts.

Skyler K.

Skyler wanted to improve the natural hiking path in the Lake Bluff Park District ravine, as well as expand the options for summer camps, local hikers, and future generations. Skyler’s project culminated in the design, construction, and installation of two wooden boardwalks throughout the ravine, allowing drainage and keeping foot traffic from pounding roots down further.

Katherine L.

When exploring her community, Katherine noticed the special needs programs in her area did not include music programs. Using her musical abilities, Katherine filled that need by working with a local organization, Seaspar, and composed a playlist of calming music to play during sessions in the sensory room.

Ashley L.

Ashley’s project, Red Shoe Project Indoor, collected gently used or new board games to provide to local elementary school teachers. These games provide educational benefits to students while they may be stuck indoors during bad weather or winter months.

Katherine L.

The Larry Fink Memorial Park had been flooded for months due to shallow rooted turf grass, making the area unattractive and unusable. For her Gold Award, Katherine worked with the Park District of Highland Park, uprooted the turf grass, designed a rain garden featuring native plant species, and planted over 1,000 seeds at the park. She also held a seminar on the ecological importance of rain gardens.

Helen Rose L.

Helen worked to raise awareness for COOL, a non-profit organization in that helps transition families who were previously homeless into affordable housing. With money she raised, she purchased plantings and a shed for one of the housing units, where volunteers could store grounds-keeping tools and maintain the unit more easily. She also routinely cleaned and painted different units, and installed new flooring in one unit.

Talicia L.

For her Gold Award project, Talicia created a fun area for children to read and explore literature in Oak View, IL. She supplied brightly colored bookcases, which are very inviting to the students, encouraging more reading.

Kathryn L.

Kathryn, for her Gold Award, redid classrooms at Wildwood Church. With volunteers, Kathryn painted three classrooms and painted the white board in the computer room. Thanks to Kathryn, there is now an all-new fun space to host Sunday school!

Abbey L.

Abbey transformed a heavily-weeded area at her school into a beautiful place students and faculty can enjoy. She planted herbs and vegetables and fruits for the culinary classes as well as planted beautiful flowers so the art classes and photography classes to get to use to take photos and create art.

Olivia L.

For her Gold Award project, Olivia rehabbed the library of a Chicago Public School and formed a Spanish reading book club. This book club was established with the goal of connecting Latino students back to their heritage by reading in their first language.

The Golden Word

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

These awards each give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant pollinating flowers at your school, or inspire others to go green for your Bronze. You might advocate for the homeless for your Silver, or create music programming for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others and yourself along the way. 

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

Learn more about earning the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »
Part Two: Meet the second 10 girls (last names B-D) »
Part Three: Meet the third 10 girls (last names F-H) »
Part Four: Meet the fourth 10 girls (last names H-K) »

Girl Scout Adventure to India: Part 4

There is nothing quite like exploring a part of the world you’ve never seen before. It is exhilarating, inspiring, and life-changing. This summer, Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors from across the United States had the special opportunity to do just that: adventure in India for two weeks on the The Culture of India Destination trip!

Together, these girls experienced the sights, sounds, and culture of Pune, Delhi, and Mumbai, and connected with sister Girl Guides (WAGGGS) and international community partners. It was a trip they are sure never to forget!

Girl Scout Lucianna A. shares with us her perspective of the trip! Read on for her story, and catch up on parts one, two, and three of the Adventures to India blog series!

Destination Exploration

Contribution by Lucianna A.

Taking on this once-in-a-lifetime experience was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I expected the culture to be very different from mine, and it was absolutely beautiful in my eyes.

Cultural Communication

Upon arriving in Mumbai, we had a lengthy ride to Sangam World Centre in Pune, about five hours! When we arrived, it was around breakfast time, so we started the new day perfectly and had a very calm and relaxing evening.

Once we were settled, we took a tour of Sangam and the neighborhood of Pune, which was very helpful throughout our stay. The next day, we split up in groups for our first challenge—the Wadi Challenge, and spread out to find landmarks throughout town. Later that day, we took a class in Hindi where we learned the basics of the language, like the Hindi alphabet and numbers. We later participated in an amazing Zumba class, which was probably my favorite activity at Sangam!

We also had the opportunity to paint and embroider Indian art, and later we rode rickshaws throughout Pune and ate outside of Sangam!

International Kinship

Together with the Girl Guides, we met with the Nivedita Guides, Sangam’s local Girl Guide unit. We played games, taught each other songs and dances, had a celebration dinner, and played WAGGGS Jeopardy!

Our last few days in India were spent with our community partners at Sangam. We learned about the organizations Sangam is affiliated with, and why they are partners. We later had the chance to explore Pune for the Pune Leadership Challenge, and finished the day with a proper Maharastrian Jevan, an Indian feast.

Our few days in Delhi and Agra were relatively short, but we did many activities. We admired temples and mosques, visited an elephant sanctuary, and saw one of the most magnificent structures on earth, the Taj Mahal. 

Blooming Independence

This was my second Girl Scout Destination trip, and traveling to India was the furthest I have traveled away from home. I loved that the trip was girl-led and with the guidance of our mentors we were able to choose our own adventures and feel independent. I developed life skills such as money management and communication between new people. Overall, this unique trip positively changed my attitude and opened my eyes to see situations and cultures around the world other than my own.

Traveling to India with Girl Scouts this summer has brought me a love for travel greater than I have ever had. I will never forget the memories and friendships made on this journey.

Go With All Your Heart

For Girl Scouts, traveling is more than just an awesome adventure; it is an enriching, empowering experience. Being brave enough to explore different cultures is just a part of what makes Girl Scouts well-rounded citizens of the world.

We hope to encourage other girls to push their boundaries and venture into the unknown. Get out there, and learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

Catch up on parts one, two, and three of this blog series!

Mark Your Calendars: Girl Scouts GCNWI Fall & Winter Program Registration Opens August 30!

You heard it here first! Our Fall & Winter 2019-2020 programs will be announced on Friday, August 30!

We are so excited to announce this and next year’s events, programs, and travel opportunities! In 2019 and 2020, the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is offering a wide variety of programs for all ages, from city adventures to scavenger hunts, from Girl Scout celebrations to overnight camping trips.

Here at Girl Scouts, we are committed to providing unforgettable experiences for every girl! Girl Scouts across the council, as a troop or an individual, can participate in programs, events, and activities that enrich, educate, and empower them.

Girls will have a chance to jumpstart their journeys, workshop their badges, celebrate girls across the globe, and plan exciting trips with their troops!

What’s Goin’ On!

From STEM programs to career exploration, from outdoor adventures to Journey Jumpstarts, this and next year is full of opportunities for Girl Scouts to grow! Read on to find out about some of these exciting new programs, and how to make the world a better place with service projects!

College, Career, Choose Your Own Path

Join us as we help Seniors and Ambassadors explore their post-high school options. Whether it’s college, career or choosing their own path, we are here to provide as many resources as possible. We’ll have college advisers, career councilors, trade school representatives and travel advocates join us to educate girls on all options available to them!

Coding for Good

Become an Internet Soldier for good! Learn the basics of coding, and how to use these skills to build memes, games, and features that spread positive messages, tackle important issues, or promote healthy habits. 

Voter Girl

Earn your citizenship badge in one day with the League of Women’s Voters! Be part of the fun and excitement of a mock election with your fellow Girl Scouts. These fun, informative sessions include the basics of being an educated and involved citizen, voting and taking action to advocate for a cause. Badges provided by the League of Women Voters Naperville.

All Ages Core Camp

There’s no time like camp time! All ages are invited to come on out to camp on this weekend adventure filled with outdoor exploration and bonding with girls around the council! Get ready for a packed weekend with an emphasis on outdoor skills for both beginners and advanced campers.

Brownie Badge Workshop: Outdoor Art Creator

At the Outdoor Art Creator Brownie Badge Workshop, girls will bring the outdoors into their creative projects! They will play with different art forms, including sculpture, drawing, music, and dance–– all with an outdoor twist. Brownies will even get to bring home a project that will help make the outdoors a better place!

Tagalong with Us!

Girls will also have the chance to see breathtaking dance performances, train for their Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards, and meaningful service projects!

Mark your calendars for August 30, and get ready to plan the best Girl Scout year yet!

Check out our current programs, camps, and travel opportunities!

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 4!

This year, 80 young women from the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana area gathered together to celebrate their accomplishments as they officially became Gold Award Girl Scouts!

These girls amassed over 6,400 service hours combined by taking action and effecting positive change. Each of these girls showed thorough dedication to making the world a better place in their own unique ways.

View photos from this year’s Gold Award Ceremony in our photo album on Facebook.
To learn more about the Gold Award, check out the informational program booklet on our website.

Part Four: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

Rayna H.

For her Gold Award, Rayna sought to improve reading comprehension and literacy in students attending Georgetown Elementary. With a team of community members and peers, Rayna organized a book party to encourage reading and expose kids to different genres!

Adrianna H.

For her Gold Award, Adrianna supplied basic necessities for children in rural Cambodia. She reached out to businesses, secured reliable international shipping, acquired the needed items, and maintained a relationship with a school in Cambodia to provide resources.

Lura H.

The basement of Lura’s local church had extensive water damage and was painted a dark color, making the room unwelcoming to those attending Sunday School. For her Gold Award, Lura helped refinish and refurbish the classroom. The basement is now being used for fourth grade Sunday school students!

Katie Caroline H.

For her Gold Award, Katie Carline rallied her community to save the local jail that doubles as a Halloween Haunted House. Together, they cleaned and repainted the building. She continues to encourage other groups and troops in the area to pitch in and continue her efforts!

Makena H.

Makena wanted to celebrate the power of women everywhere. For her Gold Award, Makena gathered participants of all ages and genders to learn about 8 community leaders of various racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Each participant received beads after each workshop to make a bracelet, and a booklet of facts about each of the women with the hopes of continuing cultural awareness in young girls.

Hannah Louise H.

Hannah Louise combined her passion for girl empowerment and writing. Her program, Write On, Girl!, included a curriculum designed to inspire girls to express themselves through the power of the pen. Together, they explored different writing methods to help raise self-esteem, promote creativity, and cultivate their own unique voice.

Akayla J.

For her Gold Award, Akayla set out to raise awareness in her community about Lupus. Akayla created and directed a video telling her own personal journey with Lupus She also interviewed another Lupus patient, and included a Q&A for the most asked questions.

Jacqueline J.

Jacqueline was always curious about all the workers and their jobs whenever she visited her doctor’s office. Inspired by hearing their stories and their responsibilities in their positions—some of which she didn’t know existed—she decided to educate others on these cool and interesting jobs in the medical field. For her Gold Award, Jacqueline created a website highlighting careers in healthcare and medicine in order to expose the field to students who haven’t considered it yet.

Micayla J.

For her Gold Award, Micayla partnered with Rush University Rehabilitation department to collect clothes for patients who did not have gym clothes to do physical therapy. These donations allow patients to be more comfortable during their therapy sessions.

Vanessa K.

Vanessa K. focused her Gold Award project on improving and rehabbing two areas around her church that had been neglected. For her project, she re-painted and cleared debris from one side of her church as well as fill an area in the church garden with plants to attract pollinators!

Go for Gold!

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

These awards each give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a vegetable garden at your school, or inspire others to get exercising for your Bronze. You might advocate for environmental change for your Silver, or build a girl’s empowerment collective for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others and yourself along the way. 

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

Learn more about earning the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »
Part Two: Meet the second 10 girls (last names B-D) »
Part Three: Meet the third 10 girls (last names F-H) »

A Quest in Colorado!

Summer is the perfect time to experience the wonders of the great outdoors. This summer, GCNWI had two groups of adventurous Girl Scouts from around the council set off for a journey of horseback riding, hiking, archery, ropes courses, zip lining, climbing walls, and much more!

One of those Girl Scouts, Peyton Haepp, has graciously shared her story with us about the June trip! Read on for her contribution, and learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

Colorado Adventures

Contribution By Peyton Haepp

On June 22, I flew to Colorado with my Girl Scout troop and lots of other Girl Scouts from our council. This was my first big Girl Scout trip and I was so excited! When we arrived in Denver, we got on a bus and drove about 2 hours to Granby, CO and arrived at the Snow Mountain Ranch. We saw lots of snow on our drive, which was funny because it was summer!

Snow Mountain Ranch was beautiful. There were mountains surrounding the resort. We spent most of our first full day at the ranch exploring all the exciting things they had to offer. We participated in many different activities, like swimming, skating, volleyball, craft cabin and archery. 

My favorite activity on the trip was whitewater rafting with MAD Adventures. It was my first time whitewater rafting, and I was a little nervous, but my friend Megan and I still volunteered to be the lead paddlers in the front of our raft. I loved when we hit rough waters and as leaders, we loved being challenged to take charge of a difficult part of the trip! We ended our day taking in the beautiful scenery and singing Girl Scout songs.

Horsin’ Around

June 26 was my 11th birthday! My friends decorated my room and sang “Happy Birthday” to me at breakfast and lunch. We did some of my favorite things on my birthday: swimming, roller skating, volleyball, going to the craft cabin, eating a steak dinner, and horseback riding. It was one of my best birthdays ever!

Rocky Mountain National Park was also fun. The views of the mountains and animals were beautiful. We saw some elk as soon as we arrived and later while we were exploring, we saw a moose close-up. We took pictures at the Continental Divide and also had a mini snowball fight. It was really cool that we were wearing shorts while there was so much snow.

The last full day of our trip, we went summer tubing. It was so much fun! The first time, I went down alone on a single tube. The next few times, I went in a double tube with my friends Megan and Isabella. It was awesome!

Colorado was such an amazing trip. I had so much fun with my friends and I became closer with some of the girls on the trip. I’m so glad I was able to participate in such an amazing adventure. We made so many memories and really bonded.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who is considering it. The trip meant so much to me. I faced fears, experienced many new adventures, made new friends and became closer with old friends. I’m looking forward to my next travel opportunity with Girl Scouts!

Joining the Fun!

GCNWI will be offering the Colorado trip again in 2021. If you’re interested in joining the trip, email Ashley Christensen, our council’s Travel Program Manager at

We are so happy to share Peyton’s story with the council! Traveling with the Girl Scouts offers endless possibilities for excitement. The world is your oyster–– get out there!

Learn more about how to travel as a Girl Scout on our travel webpage!

Girl Scout Adventure to India: Part 3

This summer, Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors from across the country gathered together for an incredible, informative two week journey on The Culture of India Destination trip!

These lucky girls had the very special opportunity to explore Pune, Delhi, and Mumbai, and connect with their sister Girl Guides (WAGGGS) and international community partners!

We are so excited to share a guest post from one of those Girl Scouts, Keeley Mahoney. Read on for her story, and catch up on parts one and two of this blog series!

The Culture of India through the Eyes of a Girl Scout

Contribution By Keeley Mahoney

Authentic Adventure

This trip was so unlike any experience I had ever had, and probably will ever have again! Every day was an adventure from start to finish. From the day we arrived at Sangam, I knew it was going to be life-changing.

What I liked most about this trip was the opportunity to experience authentic Indian culture. We weren’t in a very tourist-heavy area for the majority of the trip. We saw how Indian people lived their lives, the adversity they faced, how they celebrated, and what their most sacred places were.

Pune was the city we stayed in for the majority of the time. One of my favorite activities during our time in Pune was the “Pune Leadership Challenge.” Along with a chaperone and another girl, I was sent on a rickshaw chase through the city.

At first, I was very scared! It was something I had never done before. However, once we started our ride to a Jain Temple, I knew it would be a lot of fun. Our driver was new and wasn’t very familiar with the routes. After fifteen minutes, it seemed as though we were already lost! Either way, we managed to get to get to the temple. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I was absolutely mesmerized by the white marble engraved with the names of Jain Gods. Our driver even took a selfie with us!

International Happiness

Later in the trip, we visited a cafe in Agra called Sheroes, a cafe supporting the survivors of acid attacks. The servers were all survivors. For some background, we watched a video detailing what some of these women had been through. It was so moving, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe what these women had survived.

I also noticed how happy these women were regardless. They still had joy. They weren’t letting their past determine their future. To me, that was eye-opening. People are facing grave hardships all over India–– and yet, it was not unusual at all to see people laughing, smiling, admiring the beauty of their country. Many people are happy, even if they don’t have much.

I have learned many things on this trip, but what impacted me the most was the attitude of the Indian people. On this trip, in comparison to the American need to “have things”, I realized that you don’t need to have much, or anything at all, to be happy.

This lesson, and the trip overall, is something that I will never, ever forget. I am so grateful to have been able to go on this trip and experience what I did. Thank you!

Travel On!

Experiences like traveling are so important for Girl Scouts, not only because they get to see different parts of the world, but different parts of humanity.

Though learning about human suffering is difficult, it is essential to the development of Girl Scouts to stay informed. By meeting with organizations like Sheroes and MAHER, these Girl Scouts gained a deeper understanding of the injustices to women and children globally. The girls then took action and made their own contributions!

By sharing stories like Keeley Mahoney’s, we hope to inspire other girls to embark on their own international journeys, learn more about the great wide world, and help others along the way!

Learn how you can travel with Girl Scouts!

Catch up on parts one and two of this blog series!

A Girl Scout Guide to Safety While Traveling

by Madison Carroll; Global Action Volunteer

There are many great things you can be when you travel – adventurous, spontaneous, organized, cultured, open, fun – but there is one thing you must be when you travel, and that is SAFE.

To Travel is to Live

I’ve spent my career organizing programs for students studying abroad across the world. As much as I want participants in my programs to learn & grow from the experience, none of that matters if they aren’t safe.

Here are my top T.R.A.V.E.L. tips for staying safe while exploring the US and abroad with Girl Scouts.


Although we always want to believe people are good at heart and only mean positive intent, when traveling, I pull back this belief slightly. Yes, most people are wonderful human beings, but there are pickpockets, thieves, and scammers in who are ready to mess with unknowing tourists.

If someone tries to sell you something, politely decline. If someone asks to borrow your phone, give them a coin to use a payphone instead. If someone is walking too close to you, quickly move in another direction. I believe there is always good in the world, but when traveling, always protect yourself first.  


The best thing you can do for your safety when traveling is research! Research, research, research! Know what to expect when you get to your location. Know the local customs and what is normal/abnormal.

I always Google “What should I know before going to [fill in location]” before even starting to plan my trips. This helps you to know safe neighborhoods to stay in, safe phrases to say to locals, and the most common issues tourists encounter.


Stay aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk through cities talking on your phone or texting––this signals that you aren’t paying attention and puts an easy target on you, inviting issues.

Take in your surroundings, enjoy your experience, and be aware of your belongings. Which leads to…


Only keep things you absolutely need with you. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or whip your phone around. Keep only necessities with you––cash, your phone, and a credit card.

Keep all other valuables locked in your accommodations and keep your valuables as close to you as possible, ideally in a travel belt or a purse that you keep tucked under your armpit.


To ensure your safety and travels go as planned, insurance is always recommended. There are many different providers that will cover everything from travel delays to extreme medical expenses. I never travel internationally without it.


Lock up your suitcase before boarding the plane and use that lock to secure your belongings in your accommodations when you arrive. You can buy a cheap travel lock on Amazon, and I promise you it is an investment for all of your future travels!

Roam Around The World

Madison is a member of the Global Action Volunteer Team; a group of volunteers who love all things global and travel. They’ve traveled extensively locally, nationally and internationally with Girl Scouts and on their own.

People like Madison and the Global Action Volunteer Team are helping Girl Scouts broaden their horizons and explore the wide world around us! Learning about different traditions, meeting diverse people, experiencing authentic cultural immersion, and helping people all at once–– that’s what makes travel with the Girl Scouts so special!

Ready to travel with Girl Scouts? Check out all of your options on our travel page!