Girl Scout National Center West Set Back in Time 

Have you ever had the wider opportunity to sleep under the Milky Way in a Girl Scout platform tent in the Big Horn Mountains in Tensleep, Wyoming? Welcome to Girl Scout National Center West (NCW). 

In 1968 Girl Scouts bought 15,400 acres of rugged wilderness in the Big Horn National Forest, making it the most significant purchase Girl Scouts made at that time. The center was a national destination for many. NCW’s primary emphasis was on the Girl Scout Program in The Great Out-of-Doors for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides, ages 14 to 18. 

The camp was a place to explore Native American pictographs or for future geologists to sleep under a rock shelter called The Pow-Wow. Hiking The Peak was a 19-day pack trip up to Mesa and the backcountry. For novice backpackers, you could Tote n Trek 9 days out in the eastern foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. If you had a LOVE for horses, NCW was the Girl Scout Camp you sold a lot of cookies and fundraised for. Camp had three corrals on the property, and the programs included Ride Rap and Wrangle, Cadettes on Horseback, Buckskins, and Calico or Saddle Straddle. Each year a few new programs were added. Imagine your view of this country’s rugged wilderness from atop a horse, a priceless Girl Scout opportunity at its BEST!! 

If you loved western arts, the camp offered Stage in the Sage, Paint the West, Windows n Wildlife, Furs Feathers, and Fun for the eye behind the camera. NCW also offered Focus I & II, where you learned the art of developing your black and white, some color shots, and slides in the darkroom—capturing such beauty and friendships of the country and wildlife around them! Wyoming Trek offered a program for Girl Scout troops and families traveling to other destinations out west. 

National Center West ran programs from five base camps with pit latrines, running water, platform tents, a kitchen fly, a unit house with a staff office, showers, a food commissary, and a meeting room with a fireplace. We need to remember that NCW was a journey set back in time. For most participants, it was the first time they flew in an airplane. Just the red gravel Rome Hill Road up to camp had to freak the daylights out of you. But these strong Girl Scouts were prepared for this wider opportunity at National Center West. They each worked hard to be a participant in these programs and have the T-shirt, patches, and diddys to show from the famous Trading Post Log Cabin. 

Camp had full-time staff throughout the year and hundreds of summer staff members that came back year after year bonding with their Girl Scout sisters and brothers. Girl Scout sisters mostly ran the camp and were the hardest workers I had ever been around in the summers of 1983 and 1984. 

Sadly, in 1989, NCW saw the last campers. Due to high maintenance costs, the property was sold in 1991 to the State of Wyoming and Clay Ranch. 9,851 acres are preserved with the State of Wyoming Nature Conservatory, now called the Tensleep Preserve, and are open to the public. Clay Ranch picked up 4,749 acres. 

On July 5, 2018, after 35 years, I returned to the site of NCW, now Ten Sleep Preserve, for a bucket list trip and reunion on the property. More than 100 staffers/campers reunited like Girl Scout sisters do by picking up where we left off. On the day of the reunion, we hugged, hiked to The Pow-Wow, gathered for a pack-in lunch, sang and sang some more, toured the property on 

the cool school bus, and had the best Chuckwagon Dinner to end our day!! Time to get off the mountain and head into town to enjoy some live music.  

I can’t thank my mother enough, the Best GS Leader ever, for helping me make my dreams as a young adult to reach for those stars, even in the longest days. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer during my stay and passed away in May of 1984. I returned to the place National Center West that summer, where I knew I needed to be with my Girl Scout sisters and brothers. 

To this day, I (we) treasure these Girl Scout memories. When I hear the word “camp,” I know that these memories and moments truly last a lifetime! Thank you, Girl Scout National Center West! 

Yours in Scouting 

Kathy Webb 

gsgcnwi SU 714 support Council Historian 

The Cookie Rally Is Back! Join GSGCNWI for a Day of Fun.

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is thrilled to bring the Cookie Rally back as an in-person event at the Allstate Arena on January 7, 2023. GSGCNWI’s Cookie Rally is for Girl Scouts of all ages and their families to have some fun while preparing to #GoBrightAhead into everyone’s favorite program, the cookie program!

Doors will open only for Girl Scout Cookie Rally attendees at 3 p.m. There will be many family-friendly activities and photo ops, including:

  • Dunk your favorite Girl Scout Staff Member with our Dunk Tank
  • Family-friendly carnival games
  • Meet the Cookie CEOs 
  • Get a sneak peek of new Programs in STEM, Arts, and Outdoors
  • Get your photo taken at the Action Photo Booth

Have a pair of ice skates? Open skate will be from 3-5 p.m. Attendees must bring their own skates if they want to go onto the ice. Skate rental will not be available.

At 5 p.m., the Cookie Rally will take the ice to discuss all things cookie-related and tips on how to finish out phase 1 of the cookie program with a bang, and get ready to reach their goals in phase 2.

At 7 p.m., GSGCNWI will drop the puck and host the color guard presentation to kick off the hockey game and cheer on the Chicago Wolves!

Purchasing a ticket to our 2023 Cookie Rally includes entrance to the cookie rally, a commemorative T-shirt, a Chicago Wolves game ticket, and a Rally Patch for the Girl Scout. Tickets are $22 until December 4. Starting December 5, ticket prices will increase to $24.

Click here to purchase tickets. 

Get ready to rally this cookie season by learning this special cheer:

“C-o-o-k-i-e, Selling cookies is great for me.

C-o-o-k-i-e, We’ll reach our goals just wait and see.

C-o-o-k-i-e, Making a difference for you and me.

I’m a go-getter, nothing could be better.

I’m an innovator, nothing could be greater.

I’m a risk-taker, a mover and a shaker.

And I’m a leader, nothing could be sweeter.

C-o-o-k-i-e, selling cookies is great for me. 

C-o-o-k-i-e, We’ll reach our goals just wait and see.

C-o-o-k-i-e, Making a difference for you and me.”

Hope to see you at the Cookie Rally!

Why You Should Join the Girl Scout Go-Getters Chicago Marathon Team

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is incredibly proud to be a charity partner of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The Chicago Marathon is one of six Abbott World Marathon Majors and an experience of a lifetime. Each year, runners from 50 states and more than 100 countries run through 27 Chicago neighborhoods on a flat and fast course that starts and finishes in Grant Park.

Girl Scouts GCNWI is honored to compile a team each year to complete 26.2 miles around the city. The best part is — our runners work hard to raise funds that help to empower more than 25,000 girls in our council. 

A special shout-out to our 2022 Chicago Marathon runners; you fought through the muscle aches and fatigue and proved just how strong and resilient you can be. 

Take a look at what some of our Girl Scout Go-Getters said was the best part about running the Chicago Marathon. 

Experiencing 26.2 miles in a brand-new city — and supporting an incredible organization.

– Aliza Anderson

Finishing it! Honestly, the Chicago Endurance Sports community, the training, and the GSGCNWI support. It was incredible to feel the energy and cheerleading going into the race that morning – and on the course!

 – Jessica Wetmore

The community. The city of Chicago turns out for the marathon, and you feel the love and support along the entire course. I was so moved by the support from people I knew and strangers who gave their everything to cheer everyone on! Also, the community I built through the summer in my training program. I made some great friends who kept me going week after week! 

-Alaina Greene

“I am a Girl Scout alumnus, volunteer, troop leader, and lifetime member. I wanted to support Girl Scouts GCNWI and bring awareness to all the amazing things they do.”

-Katie Zabielski

Do you want to join the Girl Scout Go-Getter Team for the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon?

We are now accepting applications for the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which will take place on October 8, 2023. SPACE IS LIMITED – don’t wait to apply! 

Apply to run the 2023 Chicago Marathon with us » 

The fundraising minimum is $1,250 prior to November 16! After November 16, the required fundraising amount is $1,750.  

We will provide you with a personalized fundraising page and be with you every step in raising funds and running miles for the Girl Scouts! 

When you run with the Girl Scout Go-Getters, you will receive the following: 

  • Guaranteed entry into the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon  
  • Free virtual and in-person training options with Chicago Endurance Sports 
  • Official Girl Scout Go-Getters team running shirt and running belt 
  • Customizable fundraising page to help reach and surpass your goal 
  • Access to all team events (kick-off meeting, pasta party, and other events decided by team) 
  • Free access to Race Day Resort on race day (located next to the start line with food, drinks, and indoor restrooms) 

If you have any questions or need more information, contact Holly Johnson at 312-912-6329 or hjohnson@girlscoutsgcnwi.org

Troop 20450 Volunteers at Camp Trek

Safe, fun, and accessible to all is what Girl Scout programs are all about. Partnering with the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA) – another community organization whose mission aligns with Girl Scouts – was game-changing in creating memorable experiences for all. 

A volunteer opportunity came from GLASA’s Camp Trek, a camp for youth with disabilities to participate in sports in an inclusive setting, which was looking for camp counselors for their weeklong summer camp, and 10 Girl Scouts answered.

The 10 Girl Scouts from Troop 20450: Aaliya, Aila, Alisha, Alyssa, Arianna, Ayra, Iman, Nuha, Zenia, and Zoha gained valuable leadership skills and experienced life from another person’s perspective, which they will carry for a lifetime.

“It was a great way to build leadership skills and help others while having fun!”

– Alyssa, Girl Scout Troop 20450

Before attending the camp, the girls had to complete training to learn about the responsibilities and duties of being a camp counselor. Camp started on August 1, and the girls worked Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Their days consisted of providing day-long one-on-one support to camp attendees, who varied from ages 5-16, assisting them as they participated in every activity.

Take a look below at their activity schedule for each day.

Monday: Wheelchair Softball, Arts and Crafts, and Wheelchair Rugby

Tuesday: Wheelchair Basketball, Yoga, Tennis, Arts and Crafts, and Tennis

Wednesday: Kayaking, Fishing, and a Scavenger Hunt

Thursday: Wheelchair Football, Disk-Golf, Arts and Crafts, Obstacle Course, and Capture the Flag

Friday: Meeting Paralympians, Cookout, Talent Show, and Awards

When the troop was not providing one-on-one support, they assisted with management and administrative work as they shared ideas on marketing future programs for GLASA. The troop also helped with other camp logistics, such as meals and event planning.

Kelly Candotti Habas, Development Director from GLASA, shared that they expanded their programs to more students because Troop 20450 served as camp counselors.

“Camp Trek was a great experience – it helped me grow, learn, and meet many new people, and it was some of the most fun days I’ve ever had!”

– Alisha, Girl Scout Troop 20450

“I think volunteering at GLASA Camp Trek was an amazing experience, I loved meeting the campers, and I was filled with happiness and fulfillment after each day of the camp.”

– Zenia, Girl Scout Troop 20450

Thank you, Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association, for this opportunity, and the Girl Scouts and leaders of Troop 20450 for being a part of Camp Trek and making great memories for campers this year.

Troop 606 – Leave: July 28, 1991, 8:30 a.m. from Mrs. Caragher’s House 

<strong>Troop 606 – Leave: July 28, 1991, 8:30 a.m. from Mrs. Caragher’s House </strong>

By Chris Caragher, Girl Scout Historian

After years of being a Girl Scout troop leader for Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes, I yearned to visit the birthplace of Girl Scouting, Savannah, Georgia. I viewed that as the ultimate pilgrimage to our founder’s home and, by extension, the birthplace of my Downers Grove-based Cadette Troop 606. It was the girls’ last year in this troop as they were faced with the decision to move on to a long-standing Senior Girl Scout troop, a “Mariner troop,” known as Ship 167, or end their active membership as they started high school.  

At our meeting, we decided the trip would be a great idea, and we had enough cookie money in the bank to do it! 

The troop applied for a date, as required by the birthplace, and chose a “high tea” program and house tour. Our reservation was for August 1, 1991. Now, all we had to do was to figure out the transportation costs, logistics, and the care and feeding of each member. Our troop loved camping and had been on short trips to Mackinac Island and Wisconsin and used Camp Greene Wood often, even in the winter, but this was much bigger! So, I called an airline. Tickets to fly would take all our cookie money plus more! We had to figure out another way. 

My co-leader, Ginger, and I wondered if we could drive to Savannah, so we thought we’d check with the parents.  We knew that we had parents who owned vans. We asked, and two dads volunteered, but they would need gas reimbursement  to drive and would go for free. We calculated the miles, cost of gas, food, and activities.  

At that time, the birthplace provided a booklet called Birthplace Bound.It had ads for accommodations, restaurants, local attractions, and some discount admission coupons for Girl Scouts. I called the hotels recommended for Girl Scouts and got a special Girl Scout rate reservation at Budget Inn.  

The trip down to Savannah would take time, so we decided to leave early to do some activities on the way down and some on the way back; it turned into a 10-day trip. It was like a family vacation. We had snacks, drinks, games, camping equipment, luggage, and uniforms in each van.  

The itinerary as told by a Girl Scout:    

7/28 We visited the Kentucky Derby Museum and toured Churchill Downs. Afterward, we drove to Cave City, tent camped and cooked at Mammoth Cave National Park. 

7/29 Mammoth Cave Tour and lunch in their cafeteria, then departed to Indian Springs State Park near Macon, GA, where we visited the Historic District. When we arrived at the campground at 7 p.m., we discovered we had lost our campsite for being late, so we just found a long stretch of grass, set up our tents in a single line, and shared a fire with the friendly campers next door. We made a snack and settled into our tents. After breakfast in the morning, we waded in the creek before we left. 

7/30 We visited the Macon Historic District and a trinket store tourist trap, then drove to Savannah, GA, through a torrential rainstorm and arrived at a flooded Savannah. As troop leader, I was elected to wade through the water to check in to the Budget Inn, 3702 Ogeechee Rd., Savannah. It was an old, one-story motel with outside doors looking nothing like the ad in the Birthplace Bound booklet, but it was clean enough and turned out to be safe. The promised swimming pool was out of order and filled with rainwater, but we went swimming at one of the owner’s other properties. We ate at a real sit-down restaurant and ordered off the menu! Thank goodness! 

7/31 Toured the Savannah Visitor Center, the Savannah Experience, and the Ships at Sea Museum. We walked along the ocean, visited the Andrew Low House and other mansions, learned about the city’s squares, had fun, ate popcorn, shopped for souvenirs, saw a movie about Juliette Low and her childhood, and more. We walked ’til we dropped and ate out, but not at the famous restaurant everyone else was eating at. It was way too long of a wait time for hungry girls! 

8/1 Birthplace Day! – JULIETTE LOW DAY AT HER HOUSE! We had a lovely tour and took pictures. Saw all the rooms, including her bedroom and the old library. We went to the garden and learned all about JGL, her art, her wedding, the history behind the birthplace, and some things about the Civil War. We saw the real oil painting of Juliette Low in her pink party dress hanging in the living room. The docent answered all our questions. Then it was time for our activity program in the basement. We did a project to learn about the Girl Scout history of helping others and interacted with another troop that had signed up to try-on dresses that girls and women might have worn in JGL’s time. We invited the “dress girls” to our tea party.We had fun. Then we went to the gift shop for souvenirs. We all got a Birthplace Pin with a Daisy on it. Our precious spending allowance was also used, so everyone could bring home a keepsake. 

One of our troop’s favorite fun songs was Boom Chica Boom.We came up with new lyrics that didn’t really fit the tune but went like this:  

I said a Boom Chica Boom – a little bit Southern Style: 

“So down to Savannah we went, I said a Boom Chica Boom, 

Little did we know that the Budget Inn, I said a Boom Chica Boom!  

Would be only a little better than a TENT, 

I said a Boom Chica Rocka Chica Rocka Chica Boom!” 

8/2 We started heading home but not stopping the fun. We made our way north to Stone Mountain. This was a place where a large bare rock was carved to show the Confederate Generals. Although we were mostly Northerners, it was interesting to see and part of our country’s history. We stayed in the beautiful campground behind the rock. It was a lovely place. At night, a laser light show reflected off the rock carving and special effects to make it look like the generals were actually riding their horses across. It was kind of like a fireworks show. Very cool. We had a good time, and I shared with the girls that my maternal grandfather, Josepha Bouska, who had been a stone cutter in Chicago, was one of the cutters hired to work on carving the rock.  

I bought a book with a picture of all the stone carvers in a big group. I told the girls I could not figure out which one was my grandfather, but I wanted it anyway. 

8/3 We went home a different way through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. We stayed at the Tanglewood KOA Swannanoa, North Carolina, near Ashville, which had a swimming pool! It had a big hall in a red building with screens all around, but no windows. We visited the National Park Shop and signed up to learn horseback riding. We had hoped to do this activity while planning the trip, so we packed the helmets. We learned how to lead a horse, not be scared of the horse, and we went on a trail ride. Then we brushed the horses and helped put them in the stable. It was great! There were many water activities around the area as well. Although we could not do the tubing activity because no lifeguard was going down the stream with the group. We still interacted with the water at the edges of the stream and got very wet. This area was beautiful to drive through.  

8/4 Driving home through Indiana, it got to be late, so we decided not to camp. We found a nice hotel and a restaurant for a late dinner and collapsed from all the vacation activity.  

8/5 Arrived back home. We called our moms to let them know we were home. We cleaned out the vans and gave them a car wash to thank the drivers. We had a little goodbye ceremony on the front lawn. It was not only the end of the trip but the last thing for our beloved Troop 606, as we disbanded with hugs and tears all around. 

Camp Butternut Springs Gets New Pool and More! 

Rendering of how the new pool and shower house will look once completed.

Over the past year, Girl Scouts GCNWI has been working on planning, designing, and constructing a new pool and shower house at Camp Butternut Springs, allowing for improved facilities for campers. This 3.2-million-dollar project is the largest capital project that the council has ever worked towards and will be completed before the start of Summer Camp 2023. 

The old pool was over 50 years old, and it was time to replace and upgrade. The new pool will have a diving board and will be accessible. For those hot summer days, campers will stay hydrated and ready for camp activities with two separate water drinking fountains that include bottle-filling stations while enjoying the shade of a large canopy on the new pool deck. Along with the construction of the new pool, a brand-new shower house is to be built with 16 individual shower rooms with a sink and toilet to provide privacy for everyone using it. 

GCNWI has been working with VJS Construction and Whiteco Pool company to complete this work. GCNWI has previously worked with VJS Construction to complete projects, including the new dining hall at Camp Juniper Knoll and two new cabins at Camp Butternut Springs. 

A Groundbreaking Ceremony will take place on October 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Camp Butternut Springs to highlight all the hard work being done to improve our Summer Camp program for all Girl Scouts. The ceremony will last one hour. If you would like to attend, you must RSVP to vking@girlscoutsgcnwi.org no later than October 18.

Donate to a Sweet Cause through Girl Scouts Gift of Caring 

Have you ever been in a coffee shop drive-through, and the car ahead of you has decided to pay for your entire order? It’s a wonderful feeling to be the recipient of someone who chose to pay it forward. You can join Girl Scouts through the Gift of Caring service project to make someone’s day even sweeter – literally!

 Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Gift of Caring service project is offered when Girl Scouts participate in selling either Fall Products or Cookies. Gift of Caring is an option on Girl Scouts order cards and online purchases. When chosen, the proceeds go directly to pay for the items that are chosen by the GCNWI Council to use as the donation. The items are then distributed to many different community-based organizations, such as the military, first responders, and essential workers.

This small gift brings pure joy and gratitude to the recipients, who share how much it means that others think of them.

Help Girl Scouts and the Community

One hundred percent of the proceeds from Gift of Caring donated products stay in the community to fund Girl Scout activities and service projects. These activities allow girls to make new friends, challenge themselves, and take action to change the world for the better.

Girl Scout helps Rush volunteers unload 800 boxes of girl scout cookies in front of the Brennan Pavilion for distribution to frontline health care workers. Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. Thursday, March 10, 2022.

Last year, our council donated more than 14,000 items during the Fall Product Program. In 2022’s Cookie Season, more than 278,956 packages of cookies were collected for Gift of Caring by our Girl Scouts. One of the many cookie drop offs was made at Rush University Medical Center where a Girl Scout Cadette helped Rush volunteers unload 800 boxes of cookies for distribution to frontline health care workers.

You Can Donate During the Fall Product Program

You can donate to the Gift of Caring service project when you purchase products in our Fall Product Program starting September 23, 2022, through October 19, 2022.

During the fall product program, can choose the amount they would like to donate, and the Girl Scouts GCNWI Council will choose the items to be given in the Gift of Caring program.

To participate, a customer simply pays the funds and marks “Care to Share” on the order card or in the online storefront. When a Girl Scout collects seven or more donations, she’ll earn the Care to Share patch. Also, when girls participate in Fall Product, they get the chance to strengthen five essential leadership skills, including goal setting, decision making, people skills, and business ethics.


If you do not know a Girl Scout, and would like to participate in the Gift of Caring service project, you can do so here.

Your support of the girls and the community is greatly appreciated.

Click here to learn more about the items available in this year’s Fall Product Program.


Fall Products and Collectible Tins  

Girl Scouts have been selling calendars in the fall since the 1940’s. The calendars that were sold had themes for the different years and came in wall size and pocket size. As more people move away from the use of paper calendars and use calendars on their phones or tablets the need for paper calendars has decreased. To give girls and their troops another way to earn money Girl Scouts started selling candy and nut items and QSP magazines subscriptions. 

Girl Scouts have used two companies to supply the items for their Fall Product Program sales: Ashdon Farms and Trophy Nut, which is in its 30th year working with Girl Scout councils as a GSUSA approved supplier. 

The sale is held in the fall just in time for the holiday season.  Each year, there is a Girl Scout inspired tin and a winter scene/seasonal tin which many people collect, or gift, these tins are filled with candy or nuts.  The tins make great keepsakes.  The Girl Scout tins are perfect to use for setting up Girl Scout displays in libraries and other events, or as a place to keep your Girl Scout Memorabilia. 

Some examples of GS inspired tins are camping tins, such as a GS wicker backpack tin, a GS camera, 

and a GS metal tote bag for going places.   

In 2017, Ashdon Farms offered a replica tin with 1920’s camping scenes on the tin. There were tins shaped like Girl Scout books, a flowerpot from Ashdon Farms labeled “Helping Girls Grow,” and even tins shaped like Girl Scout uniforms of the past.  

For three consecutive years, there were tins that had different versions of the Girl Scout promise, each one from years when the Girl Scout promise was changed. In 2008, Trophy Nut had a tin labeled “Make New Friends.” 

Tins were also issued for special anniversary years in Girl Scouts.  For the new millennium in 2000 the tin was “Girl Scouts: Where Girls Grow Strong.”  In 2005, Trophy Nut had a tin of Juliette Gordon Lowe’s Birthplace, a National Historic Landmark and the headquarters for Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia.  For the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts, Trophy Nut had a green, round tin labeled 1912-2012. 

Collectible Girl Scout tins were also available from some of the Girl Scout Cookie Bakers: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. They were made in anniversary years.  Little Brownie Bakers had a Cookie tin containing an assortment of Girl Scout cookies for the 75th anniversary of Girl Scouts.  In the year 2000, ABC Bakers had a cookie tin for the New Millennium 2000.   

As the fall product season is quickly approaching, keep your eyes out for the Fall Product order forms to see what new tins will be available and place your order.  The candy and nut products make great gifts, and nuts and candies are very delicious. 

Join us for our Smart Cookies “Badge Bash”

Join Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) at our adult premier fall fundraising event,  Smart Cookies Badge Bash, this September 22, 2022, at Cafe Brauer in Lincoln Park. Hosted by our Associate Board, this event will give our supporters and community the chance to experience the fun and meaning of Girl Scouting firsthand, by meeting and learning from our Girl Scouts themselves.

At this signature Girl Scout event, we are showcasing a few of the unique experiences Girl Scouting provides at booths headed by girls in our council. Attendees will participate in hands-on activities and learn more about what Girl Scouting is all about.

We are excited to feature the Newton Busters, the FIRST LEGO League World Championships competitors, who will be present at the Smart Cookies Badge Bash with their own booth! This is an incredible team of robot-designing Girl Scouts in 7th to 12th grade who utilize several programs to showcase their technical design and team performance at local, state, and national competitions. They aim to raise awareness that women represent 25 percent of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workforce, and to increase the participation of girls in STEM activities through community outreach programs. Don’t miss out on a chance to see how these robots are made and get an opportunity to drive one!

Don’t miss out!

Bring your “troop” of friends and test your skills in earning badges and patches, led by today’s Girl Scouts, while enjoying bites, beverages, music, and much more.

Buy your ticket today!

Interested in sponsoring Smart Cookies? Check out the sponsorship benefits package

This event is for our adult supporters and community; the “badges” earned will be just for fun!

An Inside Look at How Council Historians Preserve Our Girl Scout Treasures

Who are the Historians you might ask? The Historian Team at GSGCNWI is made up of 26 volunteers who are interested in the history of Girl Scouts and actively work to preserve and present the story to our community.

History of the movement

Begun by Juliette Gordon Low on March 12,1912, Girl Scouts quickly spread throughout the country. Girl Scouts offered young women the opportunity to learn important life skills, as well as to live by the values of the Promise and Law – unselfishness, patriotism, loyalty and truth. Our current Council was formed in 2008 from seven councils in the Chicago media market following the guidance of Girl Scouts of USA (GSUSA). Those seven councils were the result of over 40 smaller councils that had been established, functioned and eventually combined over the years.

In the early days of the movement, individual towns were set up as councils that governed and guided their girl and adult members. Logistics, better governance and the opportunity to bring a better program to the girls brought these smaller councils together. What it also created was story after story about the local Girl Scout program.

Enter the Council Historian Team.

Historical Treasures

Some members of the team have been actively involved in preserving our memorabilia and stories since the 1980’s. GSUSA encouraged historians to step forward and provided professional level training in the preservation of all aspects of the history of Girl Scouts. Many of our team members have traveled to the Macy Program Center in New York, as well as multi-day programs held before National Council Sessions to learn the proper techniques to accession and store all the bits and pieces of history donated to us by our local community. Members of our team hosted “Learn to Preserve” in 2014 and were privileged to have experts from GSUSA and volunteer historians from throughout the Midwest attend our training.

When the words Girl Scout history come up, most people think of the uniform they wore and the handbook they used. We have all that and so much more. Each item that is donated to us is recorded and then passed along to the team member responsible for accessioning that category of material. We use simple excel spreadsheets to record our work and have over 70 categories of physical items in the council collection. Yes, we have magazines, dolls, camp canteens, mugs, postcards, volunteer gifts, tins, cameras, pens and pencils, membership cards…and the list goes on.

The collection is currently housed in the annex at the Joliet and Vernon Hills Gathering Place (GP). Team members meet on Mondays and Tuesdays each week at one of the GPs to process the literally thousands of pieces of historic memorabilia that have been donated to us over the years.

Over those same years, we have opened the gray archival boxes and shared the collection with our local communities. Sometimes it’s smaller displays at libraries, community meetings and events. We have produced fashion shows of uniforms for Alumnae and Service Unit events, as well as large scale shows at local malls. To celebrate our special anniversaries, we have held programs at Navy Pier (90-year anniversary) and at some of Chicago’s premier museums in 2012 to commemorate the 100 years of Girl Scouting. Currently there are displays in the Gathering Places in Chicago, Joliet and Woodridge. The displays are changed regularly to showcase just some of the treasures from the collection.

The team has offered Victorian themed tea parties throughout the council, taken books and uniforms to troop and Service Unit meetings, and participated in other council events, such as Trunk or Treat. We have put together kits that can be checked out by troops for use at their meetings – ranging from tea parties to history themed book and uniform bins from the 1960s and 1980s.

Take Home a Piece of History

This upcoming September 29 (10am – 4pm), 30 (10am – 6pm) and October 1 (10am – 2pm) will be our first sale of excess historical items from our inventory. We are always grateful for any donations, but we have limited storage space and must be selective about which items we accession. We invite you to the Joliet Gathering Place to shop for books, uniforms, badges and patches, and many of those extras that might be new to you.

Most of us are Lifetime Members of Girl Scouts and have served in many volunteer positions over the years. Our love of Girl Scouts and her history keeps us active in the movement and having fun. If you are interested in learning more about the team or donating some Girl Scout treasures, please contact our Archivist, Rosemarie Courtney at rdcourtney1940@gmail.com.