To be inspired is great, but to be an inspiration is an honor. – Juliette Gordon Low
To all the mentors, leaders, changemakers, and explorers who volunteer with us: thank you. Thanks to your leadership and know-how, our Girl Scouts at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana have learned to listen to their hearts, think on their feet, and speak up for what they believe in. We know being a Girl Scout volunteer isn’t easy, especially recently, so we can’t thank you enough for your commitment, energy, and support. Guiding Girl Scouts—and yourself—through the past few years is nothing short of amazing.
Last month, we were able to gather in celebration of our volunteers for two Adult Recognition Ceremonies at the Joliet and Vernon Hills Gathering Places, formally recognizing just some of the amazing work GCNWI volunteers do. Adult Recognitions are defined by GSUSA and GCNWI, and awarded based on nominations and letters of endorsements reviewed by a dedicated team of volunteers—the Adult Recognition Committee.
From thanking our National Council Delegates, who influence the strategic direction of the Girl Scout Movement at the national level, to announcing the recipients of our formal recognition awards, these gatherings were wonderful opportunities to say hello and thank you to volunteers who have made an incredible impact in our community.
Every volunteer honored by an award has a storied connection to our council, whether through their enthusiastic leadership of a Service Unit, their preservation and recounting of our council’s history, their innovative and dynamic approach to Fall Product and Cookie sales, or over their 50+ year service. They include the Honor Pin recipients, Scott Bennett, Cathy Briggs, Robert Gale, Zahra Lalani, Scott Saunders, and Heather Socie. Zahra, as President of the Associate Board, initiated the Board/Associate Board mentorship program, which continues as a great success.
The Hall of Fame inductees this year, Levita Anderson, Lis Christensson, Gwen Ferguson, Heather Linehan, and Tresa Radermacher, have had a long and lasting impact on Girl Scouting in our council and have gone above and beyond their expectations of their positions as volunteers. As Service Unit Manager in the 2020-2021 year of challenges, Levita has used every form of communication to help her leaders: virtual meetings, additional telephone calls, emails galore, and even quick stops at leaders’ homes to deliver materials. She has passed on messages to find out who still had cookies when our cookie sales changed direction, connecting buyers with cookies.
Michelle Ptack, Thanks Badge honoree, shared: “I was honored to receive the Thanks Badge from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Northwest Indiana. Even more celebratory was being in a cohort with 4 other volunteers with whom I served on our council’s 2017 National Delegation, Beverly Suen Macrito, Denise Urban, Catherine (Cathy) Ziemkiewicz Neely, and Kathy Scherer. Many thanks to a volunteer even more deserving of recognition than all of us combined…the woman who nominated me, Karen Schillings. Congratulations all around, Girl Scouts!”
Thanks Badge honoree Denise Urban worked tirelessly to help the delegation draft proposals and actively assisted delegation during the National Council Session, culminating in her representation of our council by presenting our proposal to the entire 2020 NCS live. With her help fielding questions as part of the resource room and advocating for the good of all Girl Scouts, two proposals, authored and presented by GSGCNWI were passed, the first time two proposals from the same council have been approved at NCS. We are incredibly proud of everyone who made this happen!
Volunteer Jodilyn Machota shared, “Today I was surrounded by Girl Scouts as I received my 25-year Volunteer pin from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Northwest Indiana. Thank you to the women who set me on this path in 4th grade—my mom and gram, Mrs. Kroth, Mrs. Richards, and then Mrs. Betty Koran & Mrs. Joan Marchese who helped me earn my Gold Award & travel the world. They led by example and started me on my journey of service to empower girls by nurturing their courage, confidence, and character. Thank you to my Girl Scout sisters who always have proved to me that family is what you make it and I’m never truly alone. I love you all and hold you close.”
To see the complete list of all our outstanding 2021 volunteers, please find the Adult Recognition booklet on our website. We thank each and every one of you for your service!
The deadline to apply to be a National Council Delegate for the National Council Session has been extended to Nov. 21!
Apply to be a part of the 56th National Convention in July 2023 (dates TBD), an opportunity for Girl Scouts and volunteers to play a vital role in providing strategic direction to the Girl Scout Movement.