Year-End Wrap Up: Looking Back at 2020

You name it, Girl Scouts have done it. Donating cookies to essential workers, organizing community food drives, taking the lead on Highest Awards, participating in brand new virtual programs, “pivoting” to a whole new way of living the Girl Scout way. Girl Scouts, volunteers, and staff have proven time and time again that they are resilient and can weather the storm as a team. We thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for staying with us as everyone processes and makes their way through the year.

And even as we’ve struggled, we’ve had immense successes. Let’s take a look back at 2020, and what Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana have done along the way.

Facing Unexpected Turns

In the beginning of this monumental year, Girl Scouts were all ready for cookie season, Green for Good, and summer camp—but as circumstances changed rapidly because of COVID-19, all of us buckled-up for the bumpy ride. Girl Scouts quickly began to shift their plans and serve their communities in times of urgent need in creative ways. Girls donated cookies and formed their own independent service projects: girls were even featured on Chicago CBS for their work assisting first responders. We are so impressed with all of the impact our girls have had on their communities and the work our volunteers have done to support them.

Read our Girl Scout Service Spotlights:
Girl Scouts Take the Lead in Times of Need
Naperville Girl Scout Troop Gifts Cookies to Rush Medical Center Healthcare Workers
Girl Scout Strong from Home
Girl Scouts Staying Strong!

Girl Scouts Remixed

Girls also transitioned to attending virtual programs from home, including badge starters, campfire singalongs, and cooking workshops. We loved seeing everyone’s pictures: from seeing how you celebrated Earth Day to being inspired by your artistic creations!

We also hosted the first ever Great Family Camp-In, and hosted campers and families join us from all over the council throughout Illinois and Indiana as well as across the country including California, Nevada, Texas, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Washington DC, and more!

Taking a Stand

This year, our country experienced a collective grief for many people, but in June were forced to face the loss of Black lives at the hand of racism, including those of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many others. As a community, we stood, and continue to stand, against all forms of racism, violence, injustice, institutional and otherwise, and made an enduring pledge to change the world. That is an integral part of the Girl Scout mission: making the world a better place.

Our Girl Scouts showed their commitment to this pledge time and time again this year, and Troop 40681 (pictured above) showed that action speaks louder. The girls hosted a Black Lives Matter demonstration in their community, featuring speakers, performers, and a moment of silence in honor of George Floyd’s life, which was unjustly ended on May 25, 2020.

Girl Scout Kailey, when speaking to the Chicago Tribune, noted: “Black Lives Matter is an issue for everyone,” Lopez said. “It’s not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It’s not a partisan issue. It’s a human issue.”

We are inspired by our girl’s commitment to advocacy, allyship, and justice, and we promise to stand alongside them.

Staying Connected

As the summer continued, we hosted numerous virtual programs for girls to remain engaged and in touch, including our brand-new Summer Camp Revamp series! Girls got together every week for different themed activities, and some amazing creations came out of the experience! A highlight was our girls revamping famous art pieces and photographs.

Girl Scouts have been so generous sharing their work, thoughts, and stories with us. We are so grateful for the opportunity to share girl stories weekly, and if you haven’t read them, make sure to catch up on our blog. Girl’s voices MATTER! Hear from Nooriyah, Girl Representative to the Board, as she speaks about what Girl Scouts really need from troop leaders now and in the future.

Smart Cookies: Stand for More

Girl Scouts, this year especially, have shown how vital it is to stand up and act for themselves and others. As we all faced national lockdowns, civil unrest, and an uncertain future, our Girl Scouts stood for more, every day, through their continued acts of service and community engagement, and unbreakable spirits.

On Sept. 24, we hosted our first ever premiere virtual fundraising event, Smart Cookies: Stand for More, an evening dedicated to uplifting our tireless girls and members, and thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donors, we raised over $85,000!

Watch this premiere event below:

Groundbreaking Girl Scouts

We also had the chance to hear from each and every one of our amazing Gold Award Girl Scouts, amazing and groundbreaking leaders in the fields of service, STEAM, philanthropy, education, and so much more. Our Girl Scouts accomplished truly amazing feats, making waves in their own unique ways. Read all about them in our Gold Award blog series.

We also heard from other girl leaders in our council, including our Girl Scout Delegates, who made waves at the 2020 National Convention, (pictured above), our Eco-Advocacy Grant Awardees, and girls facilitating programs for the council, including girls from Service Unit 406 who hosted Democracy Badge events, our Global Girl Scouting Group, and more. We cannot forget our adult leaders: two proposals, authored and presented by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI), were passed at this year’s National Convention!

In 2020, Girl Scouts from GCNWI reached new heights of ambition and accomplishment, and Therese, a recent alum, made history last October, as she was named one of the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts. We had the special opportunity to sit down with Therese for an in-depth conversation about her Gold Award initiative, Project Dandelion, and the power of the Girl Scout in the mission toward equality and anti-violence.

Therese is just one of these amazing National Gold Award Girl Scouts—be sure to meet all of them!

The State of the Nation

Girl Scouts who were not old enough to vote in this year’s Presidential Election were not discouraged: in fact, they make calls to the community and country to vote and play a part in our nation’s democratic processes. From Democracy Badge workshops, public demonstrations, and politically-themed camp, our girls made the most of their voices and made sure everyone heard them.

Through the holidays, our girls continued to give back and say thanks: take a look at what our girls are grateful for below.

Looking Ahead

This year was unlike any other, as our social, political, and personal lives experienced unexpected upheavals, drastic changes, and serious griefs. We also experienced so many moments of joy, inspiration, hope, resilience, and achievement.

Because of our girls, volunteers, staff, and supporters, we can continue to forge the future for young women everywhere, in 2021 and beyond. We thank you immensely for your support and community, and look forward to connecting, learning, and growing even more.

Support the Mission

When times get tough, Girl Scouts show their resiliency and heart. In moments marked by the unknown, they walk boldly to help others.

Walk side-by-side with girls and provide the support they need to thrive with a gift today.

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