Staying Connected with your Girl Scout Sisters from Home

Troop 50367 at their first Virtual Meeting

It has been such a joy to see and hear all about how Girl Scouts across Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana have made the best out of our current separation. While we stay-at-home, troop leaders and Girl Scouts have come up with so many ways to stay connected to the Girl Scout sisterhood–– and we just have to share them with you!

Read on to learn about what troops are doing across the council to keep the sisterhood strong!

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Leading the Way

These awesome troop leaders have gotten creative when it comes to organizing Girl Scout activities, from hosting virtual meetings to helping Girl Scouts accomplish their larger Highest Award projects.

Many leaders have utilized social media and internet resources to keep their girls busy: leader Jessica Koslowski went around to each of her Daisy’s doors with a packet of activities to earn the last petal, “then I posted a video of our ‘meeting’ to our Facebook page for the girls to watch. They loved it and posted pictures of their finished activities!”

Plenty of Girl Scouts have been meeting via Zoom, and leader Amanda Leonard Shanbaum is facilitating her troop’s badge work through! Yvette Esquivel Jania collected a lot of random patches over the 16 years of being a leader, so she dug through her supply and created virtual programs for her troop. “We have hosted 11 fun patch programs and girls have earned over 40 patches. Girls have two weeks to complete the patches.”

One of the activities leader Amy Scheeringa shared a great and inspiring activity to pass the time with your girls: “After every storm comes the sun, and if you’re lucky, a rainbow emerges from the clouds. Today we would like to encourage everyone who is at home to make a rainbow using whatever art supplies you have and put it up on your doors or windows. Take a walk with your family this afternoon or evening and see how many rainbows you can find.”

Advice from a Board Member/Troop Leader!

Jennifer Mikulina—Vice President of the GCNWI Board for the past five years, partner at law firm McDermott Will & Emery, AND leader of Troop 40560—shared some great advice on how to keep girls engaged and checked-in to Girl Scouts.

Over spring break, Jennifer hosted nightly troop meetings using several different multimedia resources: in the morning, she emailed badge requirements to her girls, and in the evenings they checked in on each other’s progress. Jennifer improvised from badge manuscripts, then let the girls lead the rest of the experience.

Girls voted over several badge options through Survey Monkey, shared their progress on badge work through a group chat and Slack, and met nightly through Zoom, but flexibility was important––girls only participated if they wanted to.

Over the weeks, these girls started several badges, including New Cuisines and Eating for Beauty, along with doing some Virtual Museum Tours together! Jennifer noted that flexibility and tech savviness were keys to working with older girls; the more internet resources, the better.

Making a Difference

Girl Scouts are still leaving legacies in their communities even from afar. After observing that children with speech and language disorders have difficulty using electronic talking devices or AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) on the playground, troop 41997 from Arlington Heights wanted to help everyone in their school have a voice at recess. They talked to the school’s administration, learned all about AAC, worked to design a board that matched their peer’s devices, and fundraised enough money to create a low tech AAC board installed on their playground!

Now, the board can be used to communicate with peers and teaching assistants, and the girls planned to switch their recess so they could facilitate its use with the kids in hopes that all children would interact with it. Though school is out indefinitely, these Girl Scouts are sure to have a lasting impact of the community.

Girl Scouts Carry On!

As you now know, you can be a Girl Scout and lead Girl Scouts from anywhere, even at home! We’re so happy to see girls meeting virtually and completing online badges, and we have so much more to share with you.

From patch programs to badge webinars, highest award workshops and fun activities, we’ve got a bunch going on to keep your Girl Scout spirits high. Keep your eyes peeled for more at-home activities in the coming weeks!

Share your ideas, thoughts, and strategies for staying connected and your story might be featured!

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