Barilla and INVENTORCLOUD sponsor International Day of the Girl program!

Barilla and INVENTORCLOUD sponsor International Day of the Girl program!

In 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 as International Day of the Girl “to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.” Girl Scouts of the USA adopted International Day of the Girl (IDG) as a global action day and for the past four years, we at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) have proudly hosted programming for our area Girl Scouts to honor this day by working together to envision a better world for girls.

These programs have also helped Girl Scouts work toward their Global Action Award, which each year tackles one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, with the support of Barilla and INVENTORCLOUD, Girl Scouts tackled Climate Action, working together to create solutions that save our environment.  

In October, Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors learned what farmers—and they!—can do to help slow climate change. The Cook County Farm Bureau shared how farmers help to grow all of the ingredients in Girl Scouts’ newest cookie, Adventurefuls. It was a delicious way to learn about climate action! 

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors joined INVENTORCLOUD for a program about fast fashion and low waste lifestyles. We had two experts in these fields share with Girl Scouts how they, too, can affect climate change—with the clothing they wear and the items they buy.  

The older Girl Scouts then used INVENTORCLOUD’s online platform to work through the creative design process to come up digital ideas for sharing climate action with their peers. Girl Scout Grace shared her idea to create a website for people to check if the clothing brands they wear participate in fast fashion, and Ellie thought up an app to address air pollution, where users can see if their activities have any pollutant output.

If you want to earn your Global Action Award on Climate Action, check out our council’s own Patch Programs, and when you’re ready to purchase the award, you can find them on our shop site!  

Meet our 2021 Becker Eco-Advocacy Grant Recipients!

Meet our 2021 Becker Eco-Advocacy Grant Recipients!

Working to make the world a better place, and protecting our natural world and resources, is part of the Girl Scout DNA and founder Juliette Gordon Low’s legacy. Girl Scouts are an integral part of the mission to serve and preserve our environment, and a few Girl Scouts from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) have been recognized for their efforts by receiving the Phillip J. Becker Eco-Advocacy Endowment.

The Philip J. Becker Eco-Advocacy Endowment Fund honors the memory of Philip J. Becker, a life-long educator who was devoted to inspiring young people to embrace careers in the sciences, especially physics, energy, and astronomy. He felt a deep calling to help his children, grandchildren, and all young people understand the urgency of transitioning to innovative, renewable, and sustainable energy sources. His family, with strong Girl Scout ties, honors his memory and his passion for the environment by funding these grants to inspire girls to take action to make the world a better place.

Our Becker Eco-Advocacy Grant recipients are Girl Scouts currently working on a service or highest award project exclusively dedicated to environmental issues. Congratulations to this year’s Becker Eco-Advocacy Award grant recipients, Natalie, Sofia, Ava, Sloane, Rebecca, and Rachel from Troop 70748 and Ariella, Harper, Hailey, Olivia and Abby from Troop 50367! Read about their efforts toward making the world a better, healthier, and safer place for all.

Pollination Station

Natalie, Sofia, Ava, Sloane, Rebecca, and Rachel (Cadette Girl Scouts from Troop 70748) will use their grant funds to plant a pollinator garden and distribute seed packets, to help bees, butterflies, and other pollinators pollinate, and to teach others about the importance of pollination. “This will also help put more oxygen in the air,” Ava explained.

“We hope to encourage more people to start planting from our seed packets, bring people to see our pollinator garden, help pollinators live a better life, and last, grow healthier plants for a healthier environment,” Sloane shared. “We are very excited to be given the chance to share more about the importance of pollinators and help our environment to be a more nature friendly area for pollinators and people to enjoy their surroundings.”

“I love animals and I know bees and other pollinators are important, but their numbers are decreasing. I am also worried about climate change, and the more plants we plant, the better,” Ava also shared. “We need to start thinking about the effects of what we do. The more people that reduce, reuse and recycle the better, [because] we only have one earth. I think Girl Scouts will help in many ways like spreading the word and doing projects that help the earth.”

Cleaning up the Beaches

Ariella, Harper, Hailey, Olivia and Abby (Cadettes Troop 50367) have a history of doing park, beach, and local waterway clean-ups, and want to start encouraging others to join their mission. They will use their funds to set clean up stations at local lakes to facilitate voluntary trash pick-up to keep our beaches clean: “Trash at beaches and rivers and parks can accumulate, harming the animal habitats, hurt wildlife and aquatic life, and interferes with our enjoyment of the nature that surrounds us.”

Their troop leader Keri shared, “This troop has been a set of girls that are passionate about animals and wildlife. They have donated to local shelters and Willowbrook Wildlife Center, and just have a pure love of animals and therefore their environment they live in. For example, as part of [earning] their Silver Award they collected thousands of bottle caps to turn into a bench. The bench they donated to their middle school. This exemplifies the Leave No Trace while enjoying nature’s beauty.”


We are so proud of your accomplishments, Girl Scouts! Thank you for sharing your stories and for making the world a better place.

Meet the Pinnacle Award Class!

Meet the Pinnacle Award Class!

In partnership with our Adult Recognition Committee, and council staff who work directly with Girl Scouts, we are proud to introduce some of the first-ever Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Pinnacle Award recipients!

These 19 Ambassador Girl Scouts and recent alums earned the Pinnacle Award for demonstrating outstanding leadership and action in our council and their communities, each earning at least seven “leadership points” achieved through a combination of Girl Scout and other extracurricular experiences.

Read on to meet some of these Girl Scouts and learn about their drive to make a difference.

Girl Scout Melissa earned the Pinnacle Award for earning the Girl Scout Silver Award, serving as a Counselor in Training, attending Camp CEO, providing leadership in her Service Unit, serving as a District or National Delegate, and holding other leadership roles in and outside of Girl Scouts.

What is the value of Girl Scouting in your life?

Girl Scouts taught me the importance of self-sufficiency, but also the value of teamwork. It introduced me to so many people and opportunities that I would otherwise have been oblivious to. Girl Scouts got me into volunteer work and helping with younger troops helped me to see that I wanted to be a teacher. I’m not sure where I’d be without Girl Scouts, it’s been
such a big part of my life for so long.

What do you wish others knew about Girl Scouts?

I wish other people understood the community that Girl Scouts provides. I’ve been a Girl Scout since the first grade, and it’s allowed me to meet an incredible variety of people with similar values to my own. The program is fully girl oriented and a place to be yourself while you figure out who that is. Growing up, it let me see that girls can do and be anything so long as they’re willing to try. Girl Scouts made me the best version of myself and taught me to be that person unapologetically.

Girl Scout alum Leah earned the Pinnacle Award for serving as a Counselor in Training, a Volunteer in Training, a National Delegate, and for providing leadership in and outside of Girl Scouts.

What is the value of Girl Scouting in your life?

Girl Scouting has helped me to meet so many incredible people that I look up to, who inspire me to keep working to bring change to the world in whatever ways I can. I hope to be able to also inspire whoever I cross paths with to use their skills to make their mark on the world. Whether that be globally or in their own neighborhood, everyone has something to bring to the table, and being a Girl Scout has helped me to see that.

What do you wish others knew about Girl Scouts?

I wish people knew that Girl Scouts is for all girls and women. No matter how old you are or where you come from, there’s always a way to get involved. Whether you start at age 5 or 95, there’s plenty of different things you can do to be a Girl Scout. 

Girl Scout alum Molly earned the Pinnacle Award for earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, attending Camp CEO, and for her leadership outside of Girl Scouts.

What is the value of Girl Scouting in your life?

The value of Girl Scouting in my life is the importance of community service that I developed from working on the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards and the other projects and activities offered through Girl Scouts. I learned to listen and work with others to create effective solutions. The issue of inclusion was part of my Gold Award project, which I have continued to advocate for while attending college. I value the confidence and courage that Girl Scouting helped me to gain. I use the skills I learned as a Girl Scout in my daily life as I pursue my career goals and help others in my community.

What do you wish others knew about Girl Scouts?

I wish others knew that Girl Scouts is not about selling cookies. It is about empowerment, confidence, creativity, community service and so much more. Girl Scouting is not just for young girls in grade school, it is for everyone. I am now a Girl Scout lifetime member and will continue to strive to make the world a better place.

Girl Scout alum Lillian earned the Pinnacle Award for earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards and for her leadership outside of Girl Scouts.

What keeps you going? What drives you to make a difference in the world?

Growing up on the Southside of Chicago and seeing the lack of access to quality education, food, and housing that plagues much of the area has instilled in me a drive to make the world a place where every child has the opportunity to succeed regardless of their socioeconomic status. My deeply personal desire to promote equity and the love of service that Girl Scouts built in me continue to inspire me to make a true difference in the world. 

What types of changes do you think need to happen in society and your community? How do you see Girl Scouts affecting these changes?

I feel that Girl Scouts as individuals can help to promote the equity and compassion that our society lacks. The Girl Scout values of respect for others, compassion, wise use of natural resources, and service to one’s community could go far if applied to societal problems like systemic racism and climate change. Girl Scouts can affect these changes by engaging in projects like the Gold Award throughout their lives, promoting these Girl Scout values in their careers, and encouraging others to do so. 

Girl Scout alum Korey earned the Pinnacle Award for earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, and for serving in a leadership capacity outside of Girl Scouts.

What is the value of Girl Scouting in your life?

Girl Scouts has been a 13-year constant in my life, as I began as a kindergarten Daisy. Since then, I have met some of the most amazingly supportive people in my life. Together, we have worked through countless problems from parents passing away, moving across the country, teen pregnancy, and so many more. As a troop, we have worked together to keep a simile on our faces as we continue to aid the community. Although we aren’t attending the same school, living in the same states, or even in the same realm of life, we uplift each other whenever we see each other. I have managed to find some of the most amazing people in Girl Scouts as we grew up serving the community together.

What keeps you going? What drives you to make a difference in the world? 

My life has been a whirlwind of different ups and downs. I always saw the need to help the people around me, whether they were strangers or not. At the age of 17, I founded my own nonprofit, Girl in Lansing, which focuses on helping families put food on their tables. I have endured countless interactions with serving community members, from single parents, orphaned children, to households of 11. Each one of these families rings in my ears as I struggle to keep serving my community. They may not have a support system like mine, so why can’t I be part of theirs? I will be part of their support system. I will be a reason for them to keep pushing. I will uplift them in any way that I can. Likewise, they will continue to be my reason to continue!

Girl Scout Maggie earned the Pinnacle Award for earning the Bronze and Silver Awards, for serving as a Program Aide and Counselor in Training, providing Service Unit leadership, and for her leadership outside of Girl Scouts.

What keeps you going? What drives you to make a difference in the world?

Something that keeps me going to make a difference in the world is the want for the best results for everyone. I have personally learned in Girl Scouts about different cultures, expanding my vision to a bigger world than my own. It is my personal goal to leave the world a little bit better of a place than I found it.

What types of changes do you think need to happen in society and your community? How do you see Girl Scouts affecting these changes?

I think some changes that need to happen in our community is learning to be more tolerant of each other and to respect each other’s different opinions. I see Girls Scouts as a way of opening up the conversation for other girls to share their ideas to try and build a better community.

What do you wish others knew about Girl Scouts?

I wish people knew about how life changing some of the experiences can be, the lifelong friends you make through Girl Scouts, and how fun just being a Girl Scout can be.

Girl Scout Emily earned the Pinnacle Award for earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, and for traveling on a Destination.

What is the value of Girl Scouting in your life?

Girl Scouts has a lot of value because there are so many opportunities to make friends, develop your character, and build your skillset to get you ready to be an adult. 

What do you wish others knew about Girl Scouts?

I wish more adults and younger girls within Girl Scouts knew that there is so much to do still even as an older Girl Scout. Girls can go on and earn the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards which are three of the highest awards that you can earn as a Girl Scout. There are cool trips that girls can take within the United States or to another country through Girl Scout Destinations. Camp CEO is a program that helps connect high school girls with mentors. Also, older girls can apply to be a Girl Representative to the Board, where they can represent the council at the board meetings and provide input to help make Girl Scouts even better.

Girl Scout alum Arwen earned the Pinnacle Award for earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, serving as a Program Aid and Counselor in Training, and for providing leadership in a Service Unit.

What keeps you going? What drives you to make a difference in the world?

My unwavering will to do good in the world keeps me going. I strive to make a positive impact on the world around me each and every day. This is not to say that I am perfect — but I am a human — a Girl Scout for life — trying to do good in the world. I remind myself that, at the end of the day, the world is good. My parents instilled that belief in me. My mom, my Girl Scout troop leader, raised me to see the good in myself, the good in others, and the good in the world. I know I have the power to be part of that good. Because I am one woman, one Girl Scout, one human — I know I can make a positive impact on the world around me. 

What do you wish others knew about Girl Scouts?

One thing I wish others knew about Girl Scouts is that there is no “one way” to be a Girl Scout. There are so many different opportunities for Girl Scouts, each individual Scout can have her own special journey. From STEM programs, to cooking and first aid badges, to camp opportunities, each Girl Scout can pursue fields of interest that she is passionate about. In my experience speaking with those who do not know much about Girl Scouts, some of them have the mistaken understanding that Girl Scouting is only about selling cookies and doing crafts. While I love cookie season and crafting as much as anyone, it is important for the public to better understand that Girl Scouts is about inspiring creativity, leadership, and responsibility in young women. 


We also want to congratulate:

  • Alonda, for serving as a Volunteer in Training, attending Camp CEO, serving as a National Delegate, traveling on a Girl Scout Destination, providing leadership in her Service Unit, and for her leadership outside of Girl Scouts.
  • Sierra, for earning the Bronze and Silver Awards, serving as a Program Aide, Counselor in Training, and Volunteer in Training, and serving in leadership roles outside of Girl Scouts.
  • Allison, for earning the Bronze and Silver Awards, attending Camp CEO, traveling on a Girl Scout Destination, and for leadership outside of Girl Scouts.
  • Margaret, for earning the Bronze Award, serving as a Girl Rep on the Board of Directors, attending Camp CEO, traveling on a Girl Scout Destination, providing leadership in her Service Unit, and for other leadership outside of Girl Scouts.
  • Rebecca, for earning the Bronze and Silver Awards, serving as a Program Aid and CIT, traveling on a Girl Scout Destination, and for other leadership roles.
  • Mary, for earning the Gold and Silver Awards and for her leadership outside of Girl Scouts.
  • Lily, for earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards
  • Kendall, for earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, serving as a Girl Rep on the Board of Directors, attending Camp CEO, providing leadership in a Service Unit and other leadership outside of Girl Scouts.

You are each outstanding individuals and we wish you the best as you enter the world with confidence and character!

Applications for the 2022 Pinnacle Award class are now open!

Details and application submission form can be found on our website.

Girl Scout Alum and Volunteer Carol Macola Honored in Operation Herstory Honor Flight

Girl Scout Alum and Volunteer Carol Macola Honored in Operation Herstory Honor Flight

Illinois’ first all-women veteran honor flight to Washington, D.C. took off from Chicago Midway International Airport last week, and Council Delegate, volunteer trainer, and Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Historian and alum Carol Macola was among the 93 honored veterans who participated. Carol’s service to Girl Scouts GCNWI has spanned over 40 years, and we are incredibly proud to share her story about her military service and Operation Herstory with you, in her own words.


I was a Girl Scout for 10 years (Brownie through Senior Girl Scout), and after my military service, I became a leader for the different age levels over the years, as well as Service Unit Manager. I have been an adult volunteer and Liftetime Member now for over 40 years.

I learned many things as a Girl Scout: how to cope with changing conditions at camp, how to make new friends, how to work as a team, and how to turn a disaster into a learning experience. Most of all, I learned how to put on my “Brownie smile” when grumpiness would have been easier.

I was a Second Lieutenant Military Police Officer in the U.S. Army, and as a female at that time, with a platoon of 42 men, I was challenged. I led by example. I had to know each person in my platoon. I had to put my best foot forward — usually in a spit-shined boot rather than polished pumps (ladies small heeled shoe).

The same is true for every Girl Scout. As a Girl Scout, one moves through levels, always mindful of being a model for those younger, and always building leadership skills. As a Girl Scout, one knows what is right and what is wrong, what will help another girl, and what could damage a girl’s self-esteem. Every person counts and is valuable. This translates into a team spirit that can improve the world around us—be it at home, at school, in our community, or beyond. 

I laughed when I returned to Chicago after my military commitment and referred to Girl Scouts as the “mini-militia.” Like the military, Girl Scouts serve in so many ways and Girl Scouting sets values that are forever.

That courage, confidence, and character from my Girl Scouting years led me to my service in the U.S. Army, and still guide my life today.


Thank you, Carol, for your service to Girl Scouts, our council, and for being a shining example of courage and strength for all of us.

Our volunteers are clearly incredible — you can be a part of an organization that works to develop girls’ dreams, from the time they’re starting their first cookie business to the time they’re getting their first diploma. Whatever they want to do, you can support them. Learn more about volunteering with Girl Scouts today.

Apply to be a National Delegate for the National Council Session!

Apply to be a National Delegate for the National Council Session!

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) is seeking applications for National Council Delegates for the National Council Session/56th Convention, July 2023 (Dates TBD), in Orlando, Florida!

This is a very exciting opportunity for Girl Scouts and volunteers to share their voices and make change in our national community. National Delegates play a vital role in providing strategic direction to the Girl Scout Movement, and last year, two proposals authored and presented by GSGCNWI were passed, so your input is especially important. No experience is necessary!

To be a National Delegate for GCNWI, you must:

  • Be available to attend the National Council Session/56th National Convention in Orlando, Florida, July 2023* (at no expense to the Delegate)
  • Be a citizen of the United States (this is based on our Congressional Charter, not GSUSA policy)
  • Be a registered member of the Girl Scout Movement
  • Be 14 years of age or older at the time of election (GSGCNWI Annual Meeting April 7, 2022)
  • Be committed to participating in National Delegate training and preparation sessions offered by the council
  • Be committed to a three (3) year tenure as a National Council Delegate (April 7, 2022 – April 2025)
  • Be committed to participating in National Council Session follow-up activities sponsored by the council
  • Be committed to participating in GSGCNWI Delegate Meetings, including Delegate Quarterly Meetings and the GSGCNWI Annual Meeting while a National Delegate

*Exact dates of the National Council Session will be announced soon. Historically, it takes place over three days.

Applications are being accepted through November 3, 2021!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply to be a National Delegate?

Any registered member of GSGCNWI (youth or adult) who is 14 years of age or older by time of election (April 7, 2022).

What is the application process?

National Delegate Applications will be open online between September 1 and November 3 2021. National Delegate Applications will be reviewed and applicants will be asked to attend a virtual interview in November or December. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application in early 2022.

Do I need any previous experience to be a National Delegate?

No previous experience is required. Training will be provided to all National Delegates on Robert’s Rules of order, parliamentary procedures and items of business prior to the National Council Session.

What is the time commitment?

National Delegates and Alternates serve a 3-year term, from April 2022-April 2025 and must be able to attend the National Council Session (NCS) in Orlando, Florida, July 2023 (Exact dates TBD). Typically, the National Council Session takes place over 3 days. Prior to NCS, National Delegates and Alternates will be expected to attend training and webinars offered by GSGCNWI and GSUSA to prepare for NCS. They will also be asked to read and review materials on their own to be informed on important topics related to NCS.

In addition to NCS related meetings, National Delegates are asked to attend and vote at the GSGCNWI Annual Meeting and Delegate Quarterly Meetings. Many of these meetings happen virtually via Zoom or other webinar/conference call methods. National Delegates and Alternates should expect robust engagement in the 6 months leading up to the National Council Session, with occasional engagement outside of that time frame.

I am graduating high school between April 2022- April 2025. Can I still apply?

Yes! If you are graduating during the 3-year term, you are still welcome to apply! We just ask that all Delegates keep an active registration with our council.

Is there a cost to being a National Delegate?

GSGCNWI will cover many of the costs associated with travel and attendance of the 56th National Council Session. There may be additional minimal costs for Delegates. For example, Girl Scout Uniform is typically worn at certain National Council Session meetings, which is the responsibility of the National Delegate (Financial Aid is available to assist with certain uniform needs).

What is an Alternate National Delegate?

Each council is allotted a certain number of Delegates based on their membership numbers the year before NCS. GSGCNWI always selects multiple Alternate Delegates in case a National Delegate is no longer able to serve in their role. Alternates will be called up to replace National Delegates as needed and are an important part of our democratic process and making sure the voice of GSGCNWI is heard.

Due to changes in when the National Delegate Application process happens, councils will be electing their delegates before they know the exact number of delegates they are allotted. For this reason, GSGCNWI will be bringing on additional Alternates with the hope that they will be able to move up to National Delegate once the allotment is received. Alternates will participate in training and meetings to be informed on the process and prepared to step into the role should they be pulled up. Alternates are not allowed to vote on council or national issues until they are pulled up and they do not attend the National Council Session unless they are pulled up as National Delegates. In the case an Alternate is not pulled up, they may attend the National Council Session at their own expense.

Alternates are welcome to attend local governance meetings, such as the Annual Meeting and Delegate Quarterly Meeting.

Questions or further information needed? Please email Alaina Greene, Delegate Liaison, at nationaldelegate@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Meet the Girl Scout Delegates from last year, and read about the monumental 55th Session.

Let’s celebrate Girl Scouts Change the World Month!

Let’s celebrate Girl Scouts Change the World Month!

Starting October 1, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSCNWI) are celebrating International Day of the Girl (October 11) and all the amazing ways girls have and WILL change the world! Girl Scouts of all ages are invited to join national and local virtual events where they can become inspired to make global and personal change, from Take Action workshops to Gold Award celebrations and more.

Read on to get the full scoop.

Girl Scouts Change the World

Tune in Saturday, October 9, for a FREE virtual celebration to discover how you and your friends can make the world a better place for girls everywhere. You’ll meet some of the 2021 Gold Award Girl Scouts and see how you (yes, YOU) have what it takes to become a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award Girl Scout.

If you’ve already earned your Gold Award, you can look forward to a special breakout session honoring all you’ve achieved. It’s a day of inspiration, sisterhood, and global action. You won’t want to miss it!

Earn your Global Action Awards and order your badges from our shop site.

International Day of the Girl Celebrations

Girl Scout Brownies through Ambassadors are invited to celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 17 by joining us for two very special workshops sponsored by Barilla and INVENTORCLOUD!

Brownies and Juniors will explore how to reduce their impact on the environment through the food they eat, while Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors will explore what it takes to have a zero waste lifestyle (that’s NO plastic!) and fast fashion!

Highest Awards and Take Action Workshops

Every Girl Scout goes above and beyond to make a difference in her community and the greater world. And the skills and experiences she gains along the way set her up for special recognition through the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards.

We have training for Girl Scouts who want to earn their BronzeSilver, or Gold Awards! We also have a special Take Action Workshop on October 13 for Girl Scouts who want to learn more about service projects and are thinking of earning a Highest Award.

Looking for even more to do?

Check out our Highest Awards webpage for ideas, inspiration, and next steps for earning a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award!

You can also complete the SuperGold Patch Program for more information on Girl Scout Highest Awards!

This year, in collaboration with UNICEF’s IDG 2021 Theme “Digital Generation, Our Generation,” you are invited to a girl-led virtual roundtable on International Day of the Girl (October 11) to listen to a diversity of girls to hear what they need and highlight sustainable and innovative solutions to issues that they face.

Join us for Becoming Me Workshops!

Inspired by former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama’s book Becoming: Adapted for Young Readersour Becoming Me workshops help you explore the truth of your own story, use the power of your voice, and introduce you to unique experiences!

There are opportunities for all ages of Girl Scouts to become a trail adventurer, go behind the ballot, make new friends, and more: explore our website to register!

Order your Becoming Me patch, badges and FREE requirements from our shop site.

Meet Shaela, National Gold Award Scholarship Recipient!

We are thrilled to announce that Girl Scout Shaela is the Gold Award Girl Scout from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) to be awarded a national scholarship from Girl Scouts of the USA for extraordinary action in addressing the issue of food insecurity. Shaela’s work in building a relationship with Help for Hope, a local food and supply pantry in Coal City, has earned her national recognition, and we are so proud.

Read our blog to hear about Shaela’s initiative, in her own words.

Girl Scout Shaela recognized with the National Gold Award Scholarship

Girl Scout Shaela recognized with the National Gold Award Scholarship

What does success look like? A confident shade of Girl Scout gold. And when a Gold Award Girl Scout shares the real-world skills gained from earning the Gold Award—team building, managing a complex project from start to finish, or public speaking, to name a few—their resume sets them apart from their peers.

A Gold Award Girl Scout, no matter their background or ability, learns to tap into the world-changing power within her. She takes the lead in designing and enacting a plan for change and makes a positive impact in her community and beyond.

We are thrilled to announce that Girl Scout Shaela is the Gold Award Girl Scout from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) to be awarded a national scholarship from Girl Scouts of the USA for extraordinary action in addressing the issue of food insecurity. Shaela’s work in building a relationship with Help for Hope, a local food and supply pantry in Coal City, Illinois, has earned her national recognition, and we are so proud.

Read on to hear about Shaela’s initiative, in her own words.

Coal City Community Care Project

Written by National Gold Award Scholarship Recipient Shaela

From the very beginning all the way to my current role in Girl Scouts, it has truly been one of forming lifetime friendships and acquiring priceless life and survival skills. I enrolled in Girl Scouts as a Daisy, the very first step of a beautiful journey I will never regret taking. My mother, aunt, and grandmother were all Girl Scouts before me, so it was important to me to continue the chain of strong, independent women in my family. Together with my cousin, I began the Girl Scout journey and the climb up the ladder of learning, exploring, leading, and providing service to others.

To earn my Gold Award, I partnered with the Help for Hope Food Pantry, a local food and supply pantry in Coal City, to assist my community physically and emotionally. I implemented a Letters of Love box for others to receive supportive and heartfelt letters which provide encouragement for the Help for Hope frequenters. In addition, I also constructed a Blessing Box/Micro-pantry, Drop-Off Donation Box, and provided numerous collection bins throughout town to collect needed food, supplies, cleaning products, personal products, and other items for the Help for Hope community. Finally, I planned and started an annual Drive-Thru Donation Drive in which community members can bring in donated items and supplies safely from the trunk of their car. All structures and events implemented went to the betterment of my community and to increase products offered at Help for Hope.

The number of people in need in my community was really what pushed me to work hard and continue with my Gold Award project. After volunteering at Help for Hope for a couple years prior to my project, I was able to see the large number of families and individuals frequenting the facility. In seeing the variety of items they offered at the pantry, I was deeply motivated to help them move forward as much as possible.

After the pandemic began, my passion to help others through difficult times only grew stronger as people began to lose their jobs and fall into financial struggles. With COVID-19 came a wave of unity among people, and I wanted nothing more than to partake in that very mission. So many are suffering right now because of this virus’s effects, and the mission of Help for Hope deeply inspired me to assist others, especially at such a crucial time. Thus, it was the heartbreaking suffering of those around me and those greatly impacted by the pandemic that pushed me to encourage members of my community and reach out as much as I could.

As someone who has been active in volunteer service for many years, my drive to continue to make a difference is something that is housed deep inside my empathy and compassion toward others. I have always had a very strong connection with people, and I have been able to form incredible connections with others by being able to lend a listening ear or a helping hand to those who I know are facing struggles. Knowing how these people feel, what they fight for, or what they are going through pushes me to continue to help and make a difference in the world.

I wish more than anything to provide aid that can assist in making that shadow leave my community and the world to establish peace and understanding for all. Getting rid of these negative emotions and actions that exist in today’s society is how humanity can achieve true unity. That goal of having acceptance, aid, equity, and love in the world is what keeps me going.

Girl Scouting is something that I truly value and treasure close to my heart. It has been such a constant part of my life for the longest time that I honestly couldn’t imagine life without it. Through all the meetings, camps, projects, trips, journeys, and events I have participated in, I have learned how to be strong, determined, compassionate, courageous, caring, helpful, and so much more. I have learned not only how to “make the world a better place” but how to follow each step of the Girl Scout Law and Promise.

I will forever fondly look back upon my younger years in Girl Scouts and treasure the inspiration I received from the program and the invaluable scouting experiences with my dear cousin and all my family and friends. They led me to where I am today and enabled me to make an impact. Thank you, Girl Scouts!

Time to Go Gold

Self-confidence and an unstoppable shine? You’re looking at a Gold Award Girl Scout, and she carries her remarkable leadership skills with her for life.

Join a century of women who have done big things. Learn more about Gold Award scholarships, the history of the Gold Award, and the benefits of going Gold

Sign up for our Highest Award trainings or a Take Action workshop to get started on your journey!

Get ready for Girls Change the World month!

We’re celebrating Girl Scouts Change the World Month and International Day of the Girl (October 11) with lots of programs and special events!

Stay tuned for more information!

Congratulations to the 2021 Pinnacle Award Class!

Congratulations to the 2021 Pinnacle Award Class!

Introducing the first-ever Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Pinnacle Award recipients! This award was created in partnership with our Adult Recognition Committee and council staff who work directly with Girl Scouts.

These Ambassador Girl Scouts are each amazing examples of young people stepping up and using their voice, taking the lead, and committing to their communities. Girl Scouts who earn the Pinnacle Award will receive a pin to wear proudly, a letter of congratulations from our CEO, and be listed in the Annual Recognition booklet.

Congratulations to these Girl Scouts!

The Pinnacle Award honors Ambassador Girl Scouts who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through their Girl Scout experience. To qualify for this award girls must document their experiences by earning at least seven leadership points achieved through a combination of Girl Scout and other extracurricular experiences.

Applications are currently closed, but be on the lookout for when they open to apply!

Press play on Girl Scouts!

Connecting. Testing her strength. Making a difference. Renew today to make sure your Girl Scout continues to shine her brightest.

She’s ready to explore, learn, and create. She’s ready to come back.

Press play with Girl Scouts and watch her confidence soar. Renew your Girl Scout membership today.

Introducing 28 new Girl Scout badges for all ages!

Introducing 28 new Girl Scout badges for all ages!

We are so excited to introduce 28 new badges for Girl Scouts of all ages!

Become a digital activist; make your own Cookie Business plan; explore the natural world through the lens of math; it’s time to take on something new! With these 28 new badges in Math in Nature, Entrepreneurship, and Digital Leadership, and new Global Action Awards, Girl Scouts will have the chance to break new ground in whatever they’re passionate about, whether it’s reinventing the way they sell cookies or finding out that STEM is for them.

See the new badges below and use the Badge Explorer to start your badge-earning journey!

Purchase badges and badge guides on our shop!

The Brand New Badges

New for Girl Scouts of All Ages

All Girl Scouts in grades K-12 can now earn Cookie Business and Digital Leadership badges!

13 Cookie Business Badges

Girl Scout Daisies to Ambassadors will be challenged to think beyond the cookie booth and become Cookie Goal Setters, Bosses, and Influencers! Digital sales and marketing will be just part of this curriculum where Girl Scouts will learn how to make the most of the Cookie Season and the Digital Cookie® platform!

6 Digital Leadership Badges

Sponsored by Instagram

Girl Scouts of all ages looking to explore the power of social media should look no further than the Digital Leadership badges! Learn to be safe online and manage screen time, how to create social impact and become a digital activist, and connect with your local and global community!

2 Global Action Awards Badges

There are two new major awards for Girl Scouts of all ages: World Thinking Day Award and Global Action Award. Girl Scouts will be able to start creating global impact today with these two new awards–one for each Girl Scout level.

New for Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors

Girl Scouts in grades K-5 can now earn brand-new Math in Nature badges!

9 Math in Nature Badges

Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson

Get outdoors and explore the worlds of mathematics and nature, at once! These badges help Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors (K-5) live in the intersection of science and math, discovering the Fibonacci sequence, finding patterns in the planet, and much more.

Get Started Today!

These badges are ready to go, and through Girl Scouts at Home, GSUSA has free self-guided activities available online now!

You can also access a suite of Girl Scout programming online through the Volunteer Toolkit, including troop meeting plans, tips for volunteers, and other resources to help Girl Scouts earn badges and awards! There are also 28 training videos for volunteers: search gsLearn for “Badges” to watch all the mini-courses!

Explore all of the amazing badge opportunities online using the Award and Badge Explorer!

Purchase badges and badge guides on our shop!

Renew to Press Play

Connecting. Testing your strength. Making a difference. Renew today to make sure you continue to shine your brightest.

Press play with Girl Scouts: renew your membership today!

Meet the Gold Award Class of 2021

Meet the Gold Award Class of 2021

Gold Award Girl Scouts are the dreamers and the doers who take “make the world a better place” to the next level. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable and proof that not only can they make a difference, but that they already have.

Seniors and Ambassadors who earn the Gold Award tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond. Think of the Gold Award as a key that can open doors to scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, and amazing career opportunities. 

The Gold Award Class of 2021 from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) are young changemakers; they are innovators, organizers, and advocates. Each of these Girl Scouts poured their hearts and energy into projects that will leave a positive and lasting impact on others, and we are so proud of them!

Scroll through to meet the Gold Award Class of 2021!

Alexis T. Staying Alive

My original idea for my project, “Staying Alive,” was to CPR-certify members of my community. This new skill would allow people to act in the case of an emergency and have the potential to save lives. Due to the pandemic, I had to slightly change my project. I decided to start making face masks for people within my community and I attached a card that outlines the basic steps of CPR. These cards can be kept in wallets, cars or wherever else may be useful. The face masks I made were used by members of my community in order to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. It was important to me that I incorporated a new plan of action once I determined that I could no longer safely certify people. Even though I could no longer certify people in person, I knew that I still wanted to share this skill with others. By making the cards and masks, it allowed me to share this skill while still staying safe.

Allie D. From Eigth Grade to High School

My project is a presentation that is going to be put up on Bannockburn Elementary School website. The project gives tips and advice to help the eighth graders transition to the major high school in our town. The topics are clubs, academics, athletics, and some other social aspects.

Allison S. Pollinator Garden

Our church had a third of an acre “forest” full of invasive plants. I cleaned and mulched the area and created a pollinator garden using native plants. We also removed invasive trees and bushes, replacing them with native species.

Alyssa N. Fish Measuring Boards and Portable Tables (FLAG)

I made fish measuring boards and portable tables for the Will County Forest Preserve.

Alyssa S. Gaming for Women

I created a tournament for competitive Pokemon specifically designed to welcome women to play. Named the “Women’s Tournament,” I was able to create a safe space for women to feel welcome and play Pokemon, and also interact with other women in the community. I also created a Discord server for people to join and use that as the hub for women to practice and meet each other and view tournament information. I was able to livestream the event on Twitch so that everyone else in the community could watch and support the women playing in the tournament.

Amber D. Growing With The Elderly

I built and painted two raised gardening beds with wheels and have them to the American House Cedarlake Assisted Living Facility. Each bed has four wooden walls, caster wheels (for mobility), soil, and seeds. Since the residents are not allowed outside of the homes, adding a garden with fresh vegetables and herbs would gave them a new hobby (gardening), some new scenery to look at while inside of the home, and a new garden filled with fruits and vegetables that they can eat.

Amelia R. Prayer Garden

In order to bring attention to the ever growing awareness around mental health, a garden for prayer, reflection, meditation, and mindfulness was made to be accessible to the students and staff at the Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. Complete with a bench, carefully hand painted rocks, and a mailbox with wonderful messages of positivity and mindfulness along with guides to meditation, this garden has been an exceptional addition to the school especially due to how no spaces at the school were specifically designed for students to go to for complete privacy prior to the completion of the garden. Located in the school’s outdoor garden, it gives students the chance to reconnect with nature and to take a moment to destress, away from the stressors of every day life at school.

Anna B. Mokena School and Park District Pet Cleanup

My Gold Award addresses the issue of pet waste left on the grounds of the community park and on the grounds of the adjacent school. The park and the large area around the school are very popular places for members of the community to walk with their dogs and these areas see a great deal of foot traffic. By providing pet waste receptacles, I have helped the community maintain the health and beauty of the grass and keep it free of pet waste, thereby allowing members of the community to better enjoy these outdoor areas.

Aren S. Supply Station

My project was created to help students who may not have access to important daily school supplies. I selected a school that over 76% of the population is on the free and reduced lunch plan. I wanted students to focus on their education and not on the financial burden that buying supplies places on those kiddos. I fundraised and had many supplies donated. After supplies were donated bags were created with school supplies the students needed. The additional school supplies were in a general location at the school for students to access when they were needed throughout the school year.

Arwen R. St. John’s Cemetery Veteran Memorial Map Project

My project makes sure that all veterans buried at St. John’s cemetery in Mokena, Illinois receive proper recognition by flag placement at the foot of their grave for Memorial Day. To achieve this goal, I worked with both the head of St. John’s Cemetery and the Mokena VFW Post 725 to produce a map of the cemetery that has the locations and names of all deceased veterans. This map is reproduced and distributed to those placing flags on the graves the weekend before Memorial Day and helps to ensure that no veteran is forgotten or left behind.

Ashley S. Comfort Carts

My project addresses the need for providing children’s ministry services for families with special needs children. After working in the Peer Partner program at my high school, I realized the importance of having more opportunities for inclusion for these children in my community. As a result, I researched, designed, and created a special needs program for Alleluia Lutheran Church called Caring Connect whereby special needs children can be assimilated into age appropriate Sunday School classrooms to promote independence and growth as well as build self-esteem for these children. The project also included the development of two mobile comfort carts that contain fidgets and specialized equipment needed to incorporate these children into a classroom in a safe and comfortable way. To reduce costs, I constructed several items such as sensory bottles, weighted lap pads, and weighted stuffed animals. The project also involved development of the program procedures and a training program and manual to qualify and train volunteers. After training, each special needs child is provided with a “buddy” each week to serve as their mentor.

Avery M. Distance Marker Project

I worked to support my community by implementing distance marker signs along the path in a local park. Also included with the distance markers is an opening sign with a summary of the history of the town and park. The goal is to encourage outdoor activity and beautify the park.

Brianna D. For the Love of STEM

I planned and hosted a virtual STEM event for 100 third and fourth graders in my community. Additionally, I made a website with curriculum, instructions, and required materials for future use. I aimed to decrease stigmas within STEM classes and courses that lead to disinterest. While instructing participants through a variety of STEM-related activities, I taught technical skills and soft skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.

Cali L. Mental Health Videos

During our turbulent teenage years, there’s a lot of things that can wrong and that can change. One thing that is affected during this time, though, is mental health. When I first started this project, I identified
that my mental health was not the strongest and that led to a series of issues, such as me losing friends
and stopping activities that I was passionate about. I wanted to make videos to help try to reverse those
things.

Caroline E. Outdoor Oasis

The Outdoor Oasis project entailed creating a garden for hands-on agricultural and biological experiences for school children. In this project, I created a tiered “vertical” garden with many garden boxes in order to efficiently use the space, as well as created a traditional raised garden bed. The grade levels have split up the various gardening areas and will include it as part of their curriculum when teaching about plants. Additionally, they will be able to use the vegetables once they are grown. Finally, the garden also serves to beautify the courtyard that it is located in.

Claire B. Little Free Libraries

I went out and built/installed three Little Free Libraries around my community in places where they would be helpful and/or spark interest in reading. I aimed to provide as diverse stories as possible to expose my community to a broad variety of different narratives!

Delaney B. Diapers for Dignity

Nationwide, researchers estimated that 7 million children need diapers, and only about 300,000 of these children receive support from diaper banks. Diapers are an essential and often an overlooked need for
families who are struggling financially. Dignity, and overall family well-being are at stake when parents
and caregivers cannot afford an adequate number of disposable diapers. Diaper Depot provided low
income families in the North/Northwest region of Chicago the support they needed.

Eden H. Kenilworth Union Church Cares

I created a junior care guild to provide support to those struggling with mental health issues in my community. My project directly fought the negative impacts that COVID-19 had on the mental health of youth in my community. My junior care guild provides all types of support to teens in the area who are struggling such as delivering goodies and mailing cards.

Elliana B. Remodeling the Early Childhood Education Center at Concordia University

As schools are reopening this fall, they have an unexpected challenge to address, especially how to safely educate students during a pandemic. The Early Childhood Education Center at Concordia University Chicago has been working for many years to improve their playgrounds but they still had a few issues to address. These issues include having unusable outdoor storage for their toys and equipment and needing a wider variety of areas for children to play and explore.

I created two platforms that lifted the storage containers out of the mud and allowed the doors to swing freely. This also allowed for the toys inside to be stored cleanly instead of having them sit directly in the mud. I also created a kitchen to match the pots and pans that the teachers already had. This created an entirely new play area for the preschoolers who must spend most of their day playing outside due to COVID-19.

Heidi S. Raised Herb and Flower Boxes

My Gold Award involved the creation of three elevated garden bed boxes at a local retirement home in my community. These boxes allowed residents to have an outlet for the planning, growing and harvesting of their own herbs, vegetables and flowers. It also allowed for the socialization of the residents and collaboration of their efforts.

Janine G. Girls in STEM

I hosted three workshops with 29 girls. I did five experiments that related to science and also gave a presentation that looked at what STEM was and other resources that girls can use to continue their learning in relation to STEM. Each workshop was about an hour and a half and most of the girls were Girl Scouts; all of them were in grades 3-5.

Jenna H. Butterfly Prairie Garden

For my Gold Award I designed a butterfly garden at Camp Greene Wood. I did this by cutting and mulching a sitting area and path through a prairie, building butterfly houses which were placed along the path, and built an entrance arbor for the garden. I also made informational booklets to guide troops through the path and educate them about prairie plants and flowers as they walk through the garden. For the garden, I picked and harvested seeds to spread and plant in the spring to continue to sustain the prairie.

Jennifer B. Composting Makes Changes

I created a double decker compost bin at the garden plots at the Lisle Food Pantry. The goal of my project was to find a more sustainable way to get rid of waste that comes from a garden. I used two large drum barrels as the composters and used wood supports in order to stack them and make the barrels easy to turn. Another goal of the composter was to make it easy to use.

Jordan E. Grab and Go Book Bags

I collected reusable bags and books for children at the Lake County Children’s Advocacy center to choose from. The LCAC deals with children and teens who have been abused and the teens are often forgotten when people are giving donations. I collected books geared towards teens and they can fill up a bag to take with them.

Jordan K. “Pop In” Boxes

I organized a donation drive for two homeless shelters in my area. I made the boxes myself, developed social media sites for the drive, and also created a website. This drive was created because these specific shelters were struggling throughout the holiday season during the pandemic, and I wanted to find a way for myself and the community to help out.

Jordanne N. Hey Pretty Girl

Many girls develop low self-esteem and body image issues due to how media portrayals. I created the website www.heyprettygirl.net, a safe space where girls can discuss and express their feelings and emotions about themselves through links to books, poetry, and affirmations that uplift. My final pieces were a self-esteem workshop, creating a club at my school, and growing a long-lasting social media presence.

Karina V. Be Smart, Don’t Start

My project was about raising awareness on the dangers of drug abuse amongst youth. I spent time researching, interviewing experts, and creating a presentation that I gave to youth groups. I also shared the presentation with local schools and a non-for-profit organization as an additional tool augment their health curriculum. My presentation also created anti-drug youth ambassadors.

Katie C. Befriend a Butterfly

My Gold Award addressed the decreasing Monarch butterfly population, and the steps that community members could take towards positively impacting the species. I lead educational classes that taught how to identify butterfly eggs in the wild and raise caterpillars from home. At the end of each class, I gave participants take-home kits which included instructions on how to raise them, two or three butterfly eggs, and a stalk of milkweed that was grown from seed. The intention of including the kits was to not only help inflate future monarch generations by adding to their population, but also promote awareness within younger generations. Additionally, I worked with my local public works department to install a large monarch habitat in the community park. The butterfly garden included several caterpillar and butterfly food sources, as well as an assortment of perennials and a flagstone path for kids to walk across.

Kayla A. How to be a Teen Advocate

According to Everytown USA, nearly 2,900 children and teens (ages 0 to 19) are shot and killed annually, and nearly 15,600 are shot and injured—that’s an average of 51 American young people every day. My project is to increase awareness of this problem by being a teen advocate to reduce gun violence against kids ages (0-19) while helping others advocate for their cause.

Keeley M. Girls in STEM!

My Gold Award addressed the underrepresentation and stereotypes of women in STEM fields. Often, girls are not encouraged or directed to pursue a passion in a STEM field. In order to address this, I completed a two-part project. For the first part of my project, I attended 11 younger Girl Scout troop meetings in my local area and I coordinated STEM based troop meetings. I directed activities such as a coding team-building maze, building platform shoes from recycled materials, making kinetic sand, a math scavenger hunt, and a race car coding activity. For the second part of my project, I moderated a live, 2-hour zoom webinar, in coordination with the Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien, Illinois. Five accomplished women in STEM fields were on the panel. They answered various questions relating to STEM, including their experiences in the workplace and how they became so successful. Through this, I was able to give and provide opportunity to my community at large.

Kendall B. Climate Connection

I built a bridge to ensure safety to those horseback riding or hiking over a small creek. Additionally, I further educated younger scouts and children how to take care of the outdoors and love the Earth!

Korey Z. Bethel Church Micro-pantry

Located in Lansing IL, I created a micro-pantry at Bethel Christian Reform church, where I saw a need for struggling families. A micro-pantry is a small box-like structure that offers non-perishables and other basic necessities to anyone who needs them. This created an anonymous place where people can get items without judgement and donate without contact of others.

Lia P. Community Benches

I researched the importance of social skills, friendship, and cooperation among the youngest of school children, and decided to develop a community bench. To do this, I assisted in the researching, building, and execution of plans to build the bench for a local preschool. In addition, I created an instructional video and survey to measure the effectiveness of my project in the classroom.

Lillian R. Girls Leadership Club

The Girls Leadership Club is a space dedicated to the young women of my school community’s personal empowerment and promoting both female empowerment and discussion of women’s issues school-wide. Girls Leadership Club invites girls from grades 9-12 to gather in a space that is safe and comfortable to express themselves, develop leadership skills, and broaden their own understanding of women’s issues, all while cultivate a culture of female empowerment in our school. We engaged in service for women facing housing insecurity, spent time discussing ways to improve our school’s culture surrounding women, and spent time reflecting on our own self-image as young women. Girls Leadership Club is both an all-purpose empowerment space and advocacy group for the women of my school and the world.

Lily P. Domestic Violence Prevention

Education outreach in schools and in the community and promoting healthy relationships was my main goal for my project. I wanted to bring awareness of unhealthy relationships and to provide a source of support to those who may find themselves in an unsafe environment. By going out into the community, I was able to collect much needed donations for the Apna Ghar Women’s Shelter as well as sharing educational materials and tools to the community.

Lindsey M. Shelter Garden

[I beautified] a shelter for the homeless to make clients feel better about where they are. Just because they are homeless, doesn’t mean they should have to go to a shelter that looks like it isn’t cared for. Having a beautiful place to call home will inspire residents to keep going on their path.

Madeline H. Empowerment Program

My Gold Award addressed teen girl empowerment and was designed to serve teenaged high school girls as part of a new program being developed at Naperville’s Alive Center. The project focused on the development of program content and activities for the newly created teen-led, teen-driven program as well as the creation of a resource brochure on teen issues. The brochure, designed to help teens navigate various teenager challenges, was distributed free distribution at Alive Center’s various locations as well as provided in electronic form for continued distribution.

Maeve D. Duck Deck Construction

For my Gold Award, I worked alongside Willowbrook Wildlife Center to build “duck deck.” These are raised, waterproof platforms made from decking material to provide shelter for the ducks at the Willowbrook nature center. With a hide-box and a hinged ramp, these decks can be submerged in a adequate environment for waterfowl and serve as a habitat for up to 25 years. The construction took about 4 days start to finish, with several months of planning and communication between those involved and myself.

Maheen S. Adopt-a-Grandparent

A safe space where youth and senior citizen members from the local community could come together to share experiences and learn from one another. Events included game night, storytelling, arts and crafts, small group interviews and gardening.

Margaret S. Beautifying Countryside Park

My Gold Award addressed the issue of improving the ecosystem and beautifying Countryside Park. It is important for my project to improve the ecosystem of [the park] and to enhance the presence of native plants
as well as water ecosystems in the area. If this area is well maintained, it can impact the ecosystems
around the park which would impact the [community] as a whole. This project did teach my community about
native plants and the work it takes for a community to make something sustainable. My community will
takes care of Countryside Park while I am away. As an example, I hope my community realizes not littering can help the garden and ecosystem flourish.

Neeharika K. Facilitating Intergenerational Engagement and Improving the Livelihood of our Elderly

Many local low-income senior citizens face challenges such as food insecurities, health issues, financial struggles, and loneliness. Additionally, there is seemingly little communication and understanding across generations. I decided to address these issues by hosting a care package event to support the senior community and create an opportunity for students and seniors to interact. Just as I had finalized my plan, the pandemic hit canceling my event indefinitely. I persevered and made adjustments to fit new regulations, eventually delivering care packages to 100 local seniors. After distributing the care packages, I was grateful to listen to stories from seniors and hear I inspired new hope for youth leadership. Further motivated by this, I coordinated an intergenerational pen-pal project to create a lasting impact. I believe my project showed seniors a community of youth that cared for their health and wanted to bring them some joy.

Olivia J. STEM in the Park

“STEM in the Park” are signs that combine Science, Technology, Engineering and Math activities that use the playground equipment. Elementary school children can experience engaging learning activities while playing at Union Creek Park in Frankfort. Children will explore concepts like shapes, friction, gravity, speed, angles and much more.

Patricia M. POW/MIA Memorial

In my local cemetery I created a Prisoners of War (POW)/Missing in Action (MIA) memorial for the military. I also refurbished an old wooden chair for the local American Legion to use in their annual Memorial Day parade. This was a reminder for the community to always pay their respects to the ones who gave their lives for us at the Civil War cannon.

Rachel D. Christmas Shelter Store

My Gold Award addressed the issue of poverty by working with local homeless shelters to help reorganize and remodel their Christmas store in time for the holidays. This store allows people in the community to buy newer clothes and necessities with “Hesed Bucks” to help with the stressors the holidays can bring.

Rebecca F. Small Changes, Big Differences

I created a three week long video program where I reached out to young ladies and we talked about exercise, healthy eating, yoga, skin care, and mental health! Each day of the week I put out a new video I made onto our group Facebook page talking about one of our five core concepts, sharing tips and tricks to improve their everyday lifestyle! Throughout the three weeks I had talked to many of the girls via email and surveys to hear feedback from them and about the positive impacts that this experience gave them!

Scarlett O. Hats for Little Warriors

For my project, I learned to crochet hats for premature babies. I made four different sizes of the hats, as a way to impact a larger group of people. The hats that I made, I donated to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Edward-Elmhurst Hospital. These hats were brightly colored, and served as a way to remind the families of the babies in the NICU, that someone is thinking of them as they go through this difficult time in their lives.

Shaela O. Coal City Community Care Project

My goal was to increase the physical and emotional support for clients of Help for Hope and those in need in my community. Help for Hope is a local food and supply pantry in Coal City. I was able to achieve this by first implementing collection bins for supply donations at local churches, businesses, schools, and organizations. I also constructed a micro-pantry and donation drop-off box that provides anytime access to food, personal products, or other household supplies to those in need. In conjunction with the micro-pantry, I also created an instructional video on how to construct one as well, so that others may learn and become inspired to build one and spread love and assistance around their area as well. Additionally, I built a Letters of Love box, which allows community members to write letters of encouragement and hope to frequenters of the Help for Hope pantry, and help to bring a ray of sunshine to their day. Finally, I organized a drive-thru food and supply donation drive in order to be able to continue spreading awareness and support for Help for Hope, as well as restock their shelves annually. Overall, I was able to achieve my goal of lending a hand physically and emotionally to help those in need in my community.

Sheila T. Little Free Libraries

I built three Little Free Libraries and collected over one thousand books to stock them with. I gave three townships in Lake County a Little Free Library and at least two bins full of books for them.

Sloane J. The Importance of Freshman Year

My project was created to help incoming high school freshmen balance high school life. I talked about how it is important to stay focused freshmen year to be on track for what comes after graduation. I talked about how to balance social life with school work, how to manage time, SAT tips as well as options for after high school.

Taylor M. Niles North High School College Resource Center

The college resources center at Niles North High School did not maintain a list of educational summer programs. Currently, few students participate in summer programs, but I feel that more would enroll if the information was available. I created a comprehensive website containing educational summer programs. The site has over 25 different subject areas, each populated with info and the links to access these programs of their day playing outside due to COVID-19.

Teagan W. Theatre Content Organization Initiative

My project was centered around cataloging and organizing the storage spaces of my school’s theater program. I started by sifting through all of the materials in the storage spaces and separating the useful materials from the unusable materials. Next I cataloged the remaining materials in a spreadsheet. Finally I organized the materials by function, using shelving units and storage containers.

Tess O. RBHS Volunteer Choir

I founded and directed a student volunteer choir to perform at local nursing homes. The project addressed issues of senior isolation, while also providing choir students with opportunities for service. It was a great way for high school students to connect with the community, and to bring music to places that needed it most.

Drive-through, outdoor celebrations at both Camp Greene Wood and the Vernon Hills Gathering Place honored dedicated individual young Girl Scouts from throughout our council who earned their Gold Awards in 2020 and 2021: read our blog to see pictures and hear the story!

Learn more about earning the Gold Award on our website.