Our Girl Scout volunteers are just like our Girl Scouts: fearless and determined! If you haven’t heard of the Global Action Volunteer Team (GAVT), it’s time to get to know them! This month’s Volunteer Spotlight goes to a special group of volunteers from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) who are passionate about travel, cultural awareness, and sharing their knowledge with the Girl Scouts.
The Global Action Volunteer Team began in 2012 in conjunction with the GSUSA Global Girl Scouting initiative, and is lead by Maureen Ewing and council staff liaison Ashley Christensen. Current team members include Camille Gonzalez Jensen, Davia Wilkerson, Denise Urban, Fawna Black-Cicotte, JodiLyn Simmons-Machota, Karen Zeller, Kimberly DeWitt, Shari Schmidt, and Taylor Tengelsen, with new members Yaqoota Aziz and Geraldine Adams joining in 2021.
All the members LOVE to travel! The GAVT uses their experiences to engage and inspire girls to want to learn more about the world around them. They aspire to increase awareness of Global Girl Scouting amongst girls, parents, volunteers, and staff. The team wants to help other Girl Scout volunteers, especially leaders, understand the importance of and feel comfortable with travel and its progression throughout the Girl Scout program.
Maureen said, “Travel fosters confidence, compassion, curiosity, leadership, and independence. [Through travel,] girls learn to be citizens of the world and commit to making the world peaceful and equitable for all.”
Shari also believes that traveling with Girl Scouts helps girls in many ways: “Travel is an education that cannot be replicated with a video game or in a book or in a classroom. The best part of travelling is that the lessons are embedded. You don’t have to have a formal plan, even wandering from one place to another creates lifelong learnings that create the foundations for new adventures.”
One of the team’s greatest accomplishments is starting the brand-new GCNWI Travel Scholarship. More information on how girls can apply for this scholarship will be provided later this year!
The GSGCNWI GAVT believes that those who expand their worldview through global programming and travel opportunities will become more knowledgeable, compassionate citizens of the world. The team hopes that every Girl Scout has the opportunity to become a responsible and effective global leader. They want Girl Scouts to understand the world in a more open-minded, empathetic way. By seeing, and hopefully understanding other cultures, Girl Scouts can grow into conscientious citizens of the world.
If you want to learn more about traveling as a Girl Scout or about the Global Action Volunteer Team and how to join, check out our council’s travel webpage. If you are interested in giving a gift to the Travel Scholarship, you can do so on our website!
All of us at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana say a big thank you, to the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Global Action Volunteer Team (GAVT). We appreciate you, your dedication, work, and wonderful contributions to Girl Scouts!
The GAVT has their own blog series so you can get to know them a little better (and hear some awesome travel stories and tips, too!).
Who We Are Part 1 | Who We Are Part 2 | Why You Should Try Backpacking | Dreaming of Future Travels? Plan with GCNWI | Adventure to the World Centres: Our Chalet Switzerland! | Adventure to the World Centres: Our Cabaña Mexico! | Adventure to the World Centres: Pax Lodge London! | Adventure to the World Centres: Sangam India! | Guide to Safety While Traveling | Research travel as a Gen Z | Debunking the Myth: You CAN Save for Travel | How to Pack for a Big Trip
The Global Action Volunteer Team produced a series of videos showing off their neighborhoods! Watch the series on our YouTube, then check out these neighborhoods with your troop or family.
We want to know about your favorite town or neighborhood with your very own video! You can even bring Flat Juliette with you on your tour. Once you’ve made a video, share them on our website!
Help make travel adventures like these possible for more Girl Scouts through the GCNWI Travel Scholarship! Scholarship funds provide girls facing financial hardship with the resources to plan and pursue travel, from council-sponsored day trips to international journeys through the Destinations program. Together, we can help Girl Scouts become more knowledgeable, compassionate citizens of the world through global programming and travel opportunities.