Go Green For Good: A Pollinators Recap

On a sunny Sunday in mid-February, Girl Scouts and community members gathered at the Danada House for an educational and interactive program highlighting the importance of local pollinators–bees, birds, and butterflies.

In partnership with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, attendees sat through three mini-presentation diving into the need for preserving the habitats and more of honey bees, monarch butterflies and local hummingbirds.

Afterwards, the presenters from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County lead participants around the presentation space where they set their hands on real local animal pellets, interacted with a decommissioned bee hive, wore distorting glasses to mimic insect eyes and more!

At the end of the program, guests left with local seed packets, silicone straws and the knowledge of how to preserve and protect our local pollinators.

Why Pollinators?

While the local hummingbird population is not as risk for extinction, the honey-bee and monarch butteries are! Some people may think, well that is that important? Here’s why:

  1. Honey bees are extremely important when it comes to food growth and production, like our favorite fruits, nuts coffee and more! What does this mean? There could be a future without ICE-CREAM SUNDAES! Scary right? The honey bees are very important also in preserving nature. Because they help pollinate plants and trees, they also spread these pollen and seeds to other geographic regions allowing them to grow and reproduce! This means bigger forests = more trees = more oxygen = better for our planet!
  2. Monarchs, are similar in that they help cross-pollinate plants as well! After they emerge from their cocoon, they greatly contribute to the wealth of our planet. The Monarch Joint Venture says, “The declining monarch population parallels other declining pollinator populations, which in turn impacts human food systems. Similarly, monarchs and other pollinators are part of a natural food web and ecosystem. Providing enough habitat, like milkweed for monarchs, is essential in maintaining a balanced food web within the ecosystems that are critical in sustaining us.”

Help at Home

Here are some ways you can help your local pollinators!

  1. Plant local flowers and plants. Check out these resources from Garden Illinois and the City of Chicago.
    • Monarchs like Milkweed
    • Bees prefer blue/purple and yellow plants that are open like sunflowers, cone-flowers and more!
    • Hummingbirds like red and yellow cone or bulb shaped flowers for their long beaks
  2. Avoid chemical pesticides and insecticides around the house and garden.
  3. Let weeds grow! Yes you hear that right! Bees love clovers and dandelions because they are the first to bloom int he spring and are their best food source after winter hibernation.
  4. Educate others on the importance of our pollinators!
  5. Shop locally and organically to help support these awesome planet-helpers!

What’s the Buzz?

Check out these awesome video resources provided by our hosts from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County!

Go Green for Good: Hummingbirds

Go Green for Good: Butterflies

Go Green for Good: Bees

Go Green for Good with Girl Scouts GCNWI!

Our goal is for everyone—whether a Girl Scout or not—to join the movement and get excited about making the world a better place for all.

We have events, service opportunities, and patch programs that all lead in to our main event, Green for Good, which will take place on May 9.

Register for our Recycling Day and Beach Clean-Up Days!

Haven’t purchased your ticket for Green for Good?

The early bird ticket period ends April 3! Get your tickets before they increase in price!

Follow our BLOG for more Green for Good announcements including exhibitors and more!

Once a Girl Scout, Now an Intern

By Susana Cardenas-Soto, Marketing Intern at GCNWI

As I sit down to write this, I realize I have been involved in Girl Scouts for over a decade. The Girl Scouts program, from cookie selling to summer camp, was a fundamental part of my upbringing, and fostered skills I continue to use to this day. With Girl Scouts, I gained confidence, work ethic, and a passion for the empowerment of girls and women.

Girl Scouts is also an organization deeply embedded in my own family. My aunt Lidia Soto-Harmon is the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, my cousin Cristina Chapa is a camp counselor in California, and my cousin Nina Harmon recently started in Eastern Pennsylvania’s council as the Signature Events and Development Coordinator. Clearly, we each have a deep commitment to the Girl Scout mission.

Since last summer, I had the very special opportunity to intern with the Marketing Department at the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. I have written blogs, updated the website, edited program guides, translated content into Spanish, and I have had a wonderful time along the way. I have made meaningful connections and relationships, and continued to harness my hard-earned skills.

I feel very lucky indeed to have my Girl Scout journey come full circle.

Heading to the Headquarters

I never pictured working at the Girl Scouts, let alone in the Marketing Department. I have often heard college students find jobs in the fields they least expected–– this much is true for me, a Creative Writing and Psychology major.

As this was my first “real” office job experience, I was quite literally shaking in my sandals for the first week as I learned everything on the fly. However, I quickly acclimated to the environment, which wasn’t difficult at all. I have never worked somewhere so friendly, and it makes sense–– Girl Scouts are of course known for their kindness.

Quickly, I found myself doing things I never thought I’d do: live-editing a website, organizing a video shoot, running around camp interviewing Girl Scouts. I found myself succeeding in areas I didn’t even consider as possibilities.

Come Rain or Shine

I suppose my biggest challenge throughout my internship was believing in myself. Like many, I have struggled with insecurity all my life. Though I have always been intelligent, hard working, and passionate, I have not always seen myself as such. Part of my anxiety starting at the Girl Scouts was linked to something many call “impostor syndrome,” a phenomenon in which people (often people of color) believe they will be “found out” as not-so-great after all.

As I encountered both positive and negative feedback, I realized this much: I am by no means an impostor. Working here at the Girl Scouts has reminded me of my strengths and weaknesses, which I believe is essential to constructing a well-rounded, realistic self-concept.

I would like to share some positive affirmations that helped me get through last summer. These positive affirmations are for everyone, Girl Scouts and beyond.

You are worthy of love and praise.
You are doing your best, and your best is amazing.
Mistakes are proof that you are trying.
You are in charge of making every day the best it can be.

Always a Girl Scout

My experience interning with the Girl Scouts has been, frankly, life changing. I can earnestly say working here has contributed to this summer and year being the best of my life so far. Without a doubt, I am a more confident person than I was back in June.

Thank you so, so much to all in the Marketing Department and at the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana for allowing me to have this life changing experience. I am thrilled to continue my work with GCNWI throughout the year!

The Girl Scouts, as an organization, remains at the forefront of girl empowerment in the United States and abroad. I believe this is because of the countless members of the organization, employees or otherwise, who dedicate long hours to making sure girls have the best programming available. I am incredibly grateful to have been a small part of a group dedicated to such a mission.

If you have been wondering how you can give back to the Girl Scouts in your adulthood, you may want to consider coming on-board as an employee of the organization. You will not only gain incredible hands-on career experience, but a deeper appreciation for the organization and the amazing things girls can do.

Find out how you can join us as an employee at GCNWI.

Travel with Girl Scouts this Summer 2020!

Already looking for a summer travel adventure? Look no further than one of our council-sponsored trips! This summer, we’re headed to, Mackinac Island, Nashville, and Milwaukee (click on these to check out our new registration system!).

You-And-Me on Mackinac Island

Grab your mom, aunt, or grandma and board the GSGCNWI coach bus for a getaway on Mackinac Island! Once on the island, take a horse-drawn carriage tour, photograph the butterflies, and choose from other fun activities. Multiple meals, hotel stay, group activities, and coach bus included in the cost.

Approximate Cost: $400 per person

When: August 9-11, 2020

Who: Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes (grades 2-8) with a favorite female adult family member or friend

Registration closes Feb. 28 or when trip is sold out!

Capital Tour: Nashville

NEW! 50 state capitals, 50 new Girl Scout trips! In this first year of the series, we’re headed to Nashville, Tennessee!

We’re hopping in a van and taking in the sites along the way. Once we get to Music City, we’ll tour the capital building, take part in a service project, and visit the sites. This trip is for Girl Scouts ONLY; we’ll have 2 chaperones on the trip!

Cost: $375 per girl

When: June 25-27, 2020

Who: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (grades 6-12)

Register here before May 14 (only 5 spots remaining!)

Junior Jetaway: Milwaukee

Join GSGCNWI for this brand-new, one-day Juniors-only getaway to Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Girls will depart from the Vernon Hills Gathering Place and head to the Dairy State!

You’ll get a chance to check out a museum of your choice, eat cheese curds, walk through the historic Third Ward and more. Sightseeing, travel to/from Milwaukee and two meals included in the cost. This trip is for girls ONLY! There will be two Girl Scout chaperones attending.

Cost: $75 per girl

When: June 28, 2020

Who: Juniors (grades 4 & 5)

Register here by June 14 or before trip is sold out!

Dreaming of 2021 travel?

Look ahead at our new council-sponsored offerings and get excited to explore the globe with GSGCNWI!

Intro to Travel: Montreal

Calling all Cadettes! Girl Scouts of GCNWI will be inviting 12 girls and 2 adults to join us on a Canadian adventure!

Next up in our Intro to Travel series for Cadettes, we’re headed to Montreal, Canada, the home of poutine, plenty of churches, and steamed bagels. On this introduction to international travel, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how to plan a travel adventure, including budgeting, itinerary planning and how to find accommodation.

Cost: $1,200 per girl

When: 5-day trip in June 2021 (exact dates TBD)

Who: Cadettes only (must be in grades 6-8 during the 2020-2021 school year)

Girl applications are due May 15, 2020

Adventure in Colorado

Summer is a great time for exploring the great outdoors! Join us at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado, for fun activities including horseback riding, hiking, archery, ropes courses, zip lining, climbing wall and much more. Group activities include a day at Rocky Mountain National Park, whitewater rafting and team-bonding experiences.

A $400 trip deposit is due September 30, 2020.

Approximate Cost: $1,100 + cost of activities chosen

When: July 1-8, 2021

Who: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (grades 6-12); troops and individually registered members are also invited. Leaders and parents are invited to attend and serve as group chaperones.

Register here by Sept. 30!

Hiking the Swiss Alps

Take the Swiss Hiking Challenge with your fellow Girl Scouts! This once-in-a-lifetime experience will be full of adventure, challenge, nature, new friends, and LOTS OF FUN!

This trip will include a visit to Our Chalet, a WAGGGS World Centre, where you’ll hike some of the most popular trails in the area, rock climb, learn about Swiss culture, and make new friends from around the world.

GSGCNWI is also looking for six girls to serve on a Girl Planning Committee to help plan a Switzerland adventure before our time at Our Chalet.

Approximate Cost: $3,500

When: approximately 2 weeks, June/July 2021, exact dates TBD

Who: Seniors and Ambassadors (must be in grades 9-12 during the 2020-2021 school year)

Applications to join the trip and the trip planning committee are due May 15, 2020

Adventure is Out There…

When you travel with Girl Scouts, you unlock amazing experiences, unforgettable memories, and skills (and friendships) that will last a lifetime. These are just some of the incredible travel opportunities we have for Girl Scouts this year.

Check out our travel page to find out about everywhere we’re going next.

For more information, contact Ashley Christensen at achristensen@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Gold Award Spotlight: From Girl Scouts to Harvard

Contributing post by Amanda Dynak

My name is Amanda, and I am an Ambassador Girl Scout from Chicago, IL. I have been a part of Girl Scouts for twelve years, and have always loved reaching out to my community with my troop. In the past, I have earned both the Bronze and Silver awards, and I was excited to continue that tradition of service through my own Gold Award Project. 

Going for Gold

My project was titled “Changing the Future of Diabetes.” I wanted to connect my love of science with my passion for supporting my community. Specifically, my project targeted the American diabetes epidemic through the power of information.

I believe a large cause of the rise of Type 2 diabetes, which is contributing to a global shortage of insulin, is a lack of information that people need in order to take the right preventative measures, as well as a need for greater medical research. We also face a continuing presence of Type 1 diabetes, which itself is misunderstood and in need of continued research. I aimed to get this information into the hands of the populations in my community that need it. 

Through my project, I tried to unite and inform my community in two ways: first, by providing new ways to become educated about diabetes, and second, by creating opportunities to contribute to research and prevention. I accomplished these goals by working towards them from several different angles. I began by informing myself through conducting in-depth research about Type 1 diabetes at one of the top research universities in the country. I used that information to develop a website, a testimonial blog, a brochure, and a children’s book each explaining diabetes in unique ways. 

Making an Impact

I wanted to empower people by giving them different ways of understanding how diabetes functions, how it can be prevented and treated, and how to support those already living with it. I wanted to target age groups in my community that aren’t always targeted when it comes to medical information. For example, I specifically wanted to find new ways for young children to understand the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and how to engage with their friends who are living with either condition. For teens and young adults, I created an online blog that allowed young and adult women across the country to share their stories of living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

I think both of these age groups benefited immensely. The women I asked to share their stories on the blog were grateful for the opportunity to highlight their unique experiences, and my own friends who read the blog found it eye-opening; many of them realized they didn’t know as much about diabetes as they thought they did.

The book I shared through friends, family, and my local library, titled “Hankreas the Pancreas,” was read by many young kids who later told me they had heard of someone in their family having diabetes, but hadn’t really understood what it meant until now. Both of these groups became more compassionate towards those living with diabetes and more empowered to ask questions and to take ownership of their health.

I learned so many important lessons from this experience that I will carry with me to college, including how to set achievable goals, manage my time and money responsibly, and how to turn my passion for science into something that can support my community.

The most valuable thing I learned was how critical it is to provide others with a platform to share their stories. By creating a blog and connecting with the women who vocalized their experiences, I learned so much about how the topics I researched actually manifest in their daily lives. It also allowed them to fight back about the stigma and misinformation that exists around diabetes. I learned that by combining social awareness and compassion with science, we can take even bigger steps toward addressing public health problems.

The Future is Gold

When it came time for me to apply to college, I needed to really think about what I wanted to get out of my education. I reflected on the things that matter most to me: science, service, and community. Each of those components was an important part of my Gold Award project, and I soon realized they were also integral to what I was looking for out of my college experience. Identifying these important components through my project helped me better understand myself and the kind of impact I want to have on the world around me. It also helped me learn to better articulate my goals and how I want to achieve them.

Working on my Gold Award project was such an important experience for me that I wrote about it in my college essays. It was often the first thing that interviewers asked me about – and I loved talking about it! In December, I received the exciting news that I was accepted to Harvard University, and I can’t wait to begin studying biomedical engineering and finding ways to make it accessible to the populations that need it most.

I’m so grateful for my family, friends, and my troop for supporting me as I pursued a project that I am truly passionate about. Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award was a huge honor, but more importantly, it allowed me to reconnect with my community in a meaningful and lasting way. I definitely encourage all Girl Scouts to use the Gold Award as an opportunity to use your passions to do what we are always told as Girl Scouts to do when we go camping: to leave the world around us a little better than we found it.

Learn About the Gold Award

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Once achieved, it shows colleges, employers, and your community that you’re out there changing the world.

Join a century of women who have done big things. Learn more about Gold Award scholarships, the history of the Gold Award, and the benefits of going Gold. 

Save the Date for Girl Scout Week 2020

March 8-14

Girl Scout Week is celebrated each year during the week surrounding Girl Scouts’ Birthday, March 12. On that day in 1912, our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting in Savannah, Georgia!

While we finalize some green new things for this year to get you excited for Green for Good, we want to help you prepare in advance for a few time-honored traditions of Girl Scout Week.

Girl Scouts has longstanding traditions of celebrating with faith communities during this week. We do this to share information about Girl Scouts and its benefits, to thank faith partners and adult volunteers for the support they have provided over the past year, and to give girls the opportunity to be recognized in their places of worship as Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts Celebrate Faith observances can be celebrated by any faith group. In general, Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) extends from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, the Christian holy day is Sunday, and the Muslim holy day is Friday. In 2020, the celebration dates for these faith traditions are below.

Girl Scout Sunday (Christian)—Sunday, March 8, 2020

Wear your Girl Scout uniform to worship. Talk with your Girl Scout sisters and family to connect with a local place of worship and learn about how Girl Scouts can be represented on Girl Scout Sunday.

Host a Girl Scout Cookies and milk party after worship. Bring Girl Scout Cookies (and possibly sell some, too), share what your cookie sale goals are, and talk about the skills you have learned from the Girl Scout Cookie program.

Earn your ‘My Promise, My Faith’ Award. Work with your family and faith leaders to earn the pin to celebrate the connection between the Girl Scout Promise and Law and your faith.

Make new friends. Talk to someone from a different culture, religion, town, school, or neighborhood.

Get your Girl Scout Sunday patch

Girl Scout Jumah (Muslim)—Friday, March 13, 2020

Another word for Friday in Arabic is Jumah, also known as a day of collaborative prayer in the Muslim community. One staple ritual participants partake in is the thorough cleansing, or purifying, of the body.

Jumah is also a say of charity. Girl Scouts have a rich history of giving back to their communities. Be part of this tradition by participating in one of the service projects we offer at Girl Scouts OR start one with your family, friends and/or troop!

Cancer Survivor Kits. Help people battling cancer by collecting a few simple items in a small tote bag; chemo patients will know the small difference you made! Once your items are collected and your kits are assembled, you can drop them off at your nearest cancer support center. We have instructions for how to make these items, as well as potential drop-off locations.

Service Bars. Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors who are passionate about giving back can earn service bars. The Community Service Bar and the Service to Girl Scouting Bar each require a minimum of 20 hours of service to one organization or Girl Scout activity/troop.

Girl Scout Sabbath/Shabbat (Jewish)—Friday/Saturday, March 13–14, 2020

Rest and Reflect. Take this Sabbath Day to reflect on all your work with Girl Scouts. Let those moments inspire you to create new and innovative ways to share with the world what it means to be a Girl Scout.

Reflect in a Journal Entry: Write down some green goals for the rest of the year, reflect on the previous week, what were challenges, successes, insights. How will you be green in the future? How were your green initiatives received by peers, classmates, friends, worship-groups, etc. What did you learn? What more do you want to learn

To help you engage your community of worship in Girl Scout Week, downloadable assets for bulletins and inserts are available here!

Girl Scout Sunday [PDF]
Girl Scout Sunday (Espanol) [PDF]
Girl Scout Jummah [PDF]
Girl Scout Sabbath [PDF]

Then stay tuned for a complete GREEN-themed daily breakdown of activities for Girl Scout Week 2020!

World Thinking Day 2020!

You may have heard by now: as a Girl Scout you are a part of an international sisterhood. That’s right! Girl Scouts USA is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), an organization spanning over 150 countries!

Every year, WAGGGS and Girl Scouts celebrates World Thinking Day, a day specifically designed to learn about the food, music, and culture from parts of the world we aren’t familiar with. It is a day of international friendship and an opportunity for Girl Scouts in the United States to show solidarity with our sisters all around the globe.

Read on to find out how Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) are celebrating this year!

Where In The World Is Juliette Gordon Low?

Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors, join us at the Friendship Center on February 22 or at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on February 23 to use your five senses and discover where Juliette Gordon Low is traveling! Girls will work toward their World Thinking Day award, including learning about Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in other countries and how we’re all connected through our similarities and differences.

Register here by February 16 for one of these events.

World Thinking Day Dinner

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are cordially invited to a festive dinner at the Friendship Center on February 22, and at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on February 23!

Celebrate World Thinking Day by attending a dinner with guest speakers from various international organizations. Girls will work toward their World Thinking Day award!

Register for one of these dinners by February 16 here.

The World Is Round, It Has No End…

…that’s how long I’d like to be your international friend!

World Thinking Day is more than just an awesome global party– it is a chance to connect with our sisters across the world, learn about diverse cultures and traditions, and start taking action and speaking out on issues that matter to all our Girl Guiding and Scouting sisters.

Ready to Go Green for Good?

REGISTRATION IS OPEN and the countdown to Green for Good is on! In just a few months, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana will be hosting a massive eco-expo for Girl Scouts, families, and friends, where we’ll be learning up on how to take action for the planet.

Going Green for Good doesn’t have to start on May 9. We are hosting FREE lead up events so you can jumpstart your commitment to the environment! These are opportunities to make an impact on the environment (and earn an exclusive Go Green for Good patch).

Read on to find out what we’ve got planned in the coming months, and a special sneak peak at Girl Scout Week 2020!

Official Pre-Green Events

Bees, Birds, and Butterflies

February 16 | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | SOLD OUT

We rely upon creatures like bees, birds, and butterflies for the pollination of our crops, meaning we can thank them for helping grow much of the food we eat!

Join us at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Danada House to meet naturalists, learn why pollinators are so important, and find out the everyday things YOU can do to help them survive and thrive.

Community Recycling Day

March 14 | 10:00 AM | Vernon Hills Gathering Place

In honor of the Girl Scout Birthday and Green for Good, everyone is welcome to bring recyclables to the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on March 14!

Register here and find out what items are acceptable to contribute.

Lake Michigan Beach Clean-Up

April 18 | Several Locations

Offered in partnership with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, we are getting together on April 18 across the Lakeshore to clean up the beach and learn about the pollution affecting our local ecosystem.

Gloves and garbage bags will be provided; all you need to bring is yourself!

The Chicago meetups are sold out, but there are still lots of spots open for the meetup at Marquette Park Beach and West Beach in Gary, Indiana!

SAVE THE DATE: Girl Scout Week 2020!

Sunday, Mar. 8 to Saturday, Mar. 14

We are so excited to announce that this year we are doing things a little bit differently! This year we are changing the ways we impact the environment with awesome GREEN-THEMED Girl Scout Week activities! Whether its green initiatives and challenges you do at home or school or on your community, or hearing form our expo partners to help you live greener, there is a ton that is happening. We can’t wait to share it with you all!

Choose Your Own Adventure 2020!

Each year, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) hosts a Choose Your Own Adventure trip where Girl Scout Cadettes and Seniors get to choose where the group travels! This year, the girls chose Southeast Wisconsin, including Kenosha and Milwaukee.

Read on to learn about their adventures and how you can Choose Your Own Adventure!

Day 1: Bowlin’ and Ballin’

Written by Girl Scouts Megan and Lucy

We had a great first day on the Girl Scouts Choose Your Own Adventure Trip! Last night and this morning we planned out what we would be doing for the next couple of days.

We started in Rosemont today. In the afternoon, we had a great time at King’s Bowling. After that, we went to the Fashion Outlets of Chicago and enjoyed shopping, dinner, and dessert.

We are settling down in Kenosha tonight and are so excited for what the next couple of days will bring!

Day 2: Go Ahead and Jump!

Written by Girl Scouts Kelsey, Isabella, and Peyton

On our second day in Wisconsin, we did a lot of things. First, we had breakfast at the hotel and headed to an escape room. The escape room was really fun and challenging. Sadly, we didn’t escape, but we had a good time!

Then, we headed to lunch at the Public Market. It was very delicious. We then headed to the Mitchell Domes and saw a lot of beautiful nature. We also got some delicious treats and candy at the mall!

After that, we went to the Helium Trampoline and Adventure Park. We had so much fun jumping around and going in the obstacle course. Even Ashley joined in on the fun!

We later had dinner at MOD Pizza. It was wonderful. Then we went to Target and bought crazy stuff. We went back to the hotel, and now we’re writing this report.

Day 3: Jelly Belly Joy!

Written by Girl Scout Kesley E.

Today we went to the famous factory of the Kringle called Racine Danish Kringle. Then, we went to a vintage shop. We enjoyed shopping and eating at the Mars Cheese Castle. We then went to the Jelly Belly factory and bought a lot of jelly beans!

Where to next?

Interested in joining GSGCNWI on another adventure? Check out our travel webpage!

Want to plan your own version of Choose Your Own Adventure? Check out our CYOA Travel Resource or contact Ashley Christensen at achristensen@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.