Volunteers get together for annual Leader Enrichment Activity Program!

Volunteers get together for annual Leader Enrichment Activity Program!

Most years, the fall season means L.E.A.P. (Leader Enrichment Activity Program) for many Girl Scout volunteers, an event that carried over to Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) from the former Girl Scouts of Chicago council. L.E.A.P. is coordinated by a group of dedicated volunteers to offer peer-to-peer networking, enrichment activities and fun. This year, L.E.A.P.—“Tricks and Treats with Daisy”—took place at Camp Butternut Springs from October 22– 24. Approximately 90 Girl Scout adults attended L.E.A.P. this year, and about half the volunteers had never attended L.E.A.P. before, so it was truly a “make new friends” event!

Annie Gilmartin, GCNWI Program manager from the zip-lining team, shared, “This year, at LEAP, I had the opportunity to facilitate the zip line course for our adult volunteers. We spent two sessions getting to know these volunteers and their thoughts on heights, zip-lines, and climbing high towers. It was wonderful to see that the majority of leaders who chose to attend this session were nervous, just like girls are! The main consensus between leaders who were zip-lining were that they were challenging themselves to do the zip-line so they could tell the girls how exciting it was. Even though many leaders were a bit scared, they all encouraged each other, just as I saw Girl Scouts do all summer at Butternut Springs. It was wonderful to see leaders encouraging one another and challenging themselves all to be able to share the experience with their Girl Scouts.”

Volunteer and L.E.A.P. attendee Noha ElSharkawy-Aref shared, “My experience attending L.E.A.P. for the first time was incredible! To be honest, it was my first time to ever camp in the woods. I have only ever stayed in family accommodations or hotels before this experience, and I have to say that I went in with a lot of fears and apprehensions. I had so much fun bonding with my co-leaders from my troop as well as other leaders from other troops throughout the Chicago and Indiana region. We talked through common scenarios and challenges and shared so much advice and experiences with one another during meal times and transitions. I learned so much from my peers and I left so inspired and motivated. I definitely think it should be a requirement for any leader who wants to take their girls camping to attend this event or something similar!”

Thank you to everyone involved in making this year’s program a great success!

The deadline to apply to be a National Council Delegate for the National Council Session has been extended to Nov. 21!

Apply to be a part of the 56th National Convention in July 2023 (dates TBD), an opportunity for Girl Scouts and volunteers to play a vital role in providing strategic direction to the Girl Scout Movement.

Learn more about the role on our blog.

Remembering a trip to Camp Rockwood

Remembering a trip to Camp Rockwood

Girl Scouts and travel adventures just go together—from the field trips they take as Brownies to the global exploration they go on as teens. Traveling as a Girl Scout has been a tradition for many years; we have a special look into a trip Girl Scouts from our council area took in 1965, thanks to our Girl Scouts GCNWI Historians! Read on.

On August 7, 1965, twenty-three girls and four leaders from Des Plaines Troop 64 and Wheeling Troop 609 boarded a bus for a 10-day trip to Washington, D.C.  According to a letter sent to parents outlining the details of the trip, the total cost per girl was $65.00, which would be $565 today, with a food budget set at $1.24 per day ($11 today).

Girls left in their “full Girl Scout Uniform—including hat, black or brown flats or heels, hose (no anklets) white g1oves, and the two-piece Senior Green uniform.” And then changed into their traveling clothes: “Girl Scout green Bermudas, white Girl Scout blouse, white knee-high hose, white tennis shoes and red flashes.”

In their one duffel and one carry-on tote, the girls needed to pack “towels, wash cloth, soap, toothbrush, tooth paste, head scarf, sewing kit, rain coat, plastic boots or something for [their] feet if it rains, flash light, jack knife, pencils, pen, drinking cup (have it handy on the bus), stationery, stamps, plastic bags for clothing and laundry, Scout uniform,” and much more.

While in the D.C. area, the girls and their leaders stayed at Rockwood National Girl Scout Program Center, located about 15 miles from the capitol in Bethesda, Maryland. The sixty-eight acre site was donated to the Girl Scouts in 1936 by Mrs. Carolyn G. Caughey, who had a vacation home there. The site included a mansion, tennis courts, a swimming pool and cottages—two of which had electricity, modern kitchens and bathrooms.

The camp opened in 1937 and was first operated by the local District of Columbia-Montgomery County Council, which started improvements and renovations to the site, but supply shortages during World War II halted the work until 1949 when the national organization assumed responsibility for the property.

By 1979, the area surrounding the camp was quickly becoming residential and the property was sold. Part of the former Rockwood property is now a facility of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission and continues to be used by Girl Scouts and the public.

Around the World and Around the Corner

These Girl Scouts visited the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama: where will you go? 🌎

When you travel with Girl Scouts, near or far, you’re doing more than making memories — you’re also exploring your passions and making global connections! Learn more about traveling with Girl Scouts GCNWI.

Help make travel adventures like these possible for more Girl Scouts through the GCNWI Travel Scholarship! Scholarship funds provide girls facing financial hardship with the resources to plan and pursue travel, from council-sponsored day trips to international journeys through the Destinations program. Together, we can help Girl Scouts become more knowledgeable, compassionate citizens of the world through global programming and travel opportunities.

Celebrating our volunteers at the 2021 GCNWI Adult Recognition Ceremony

Celebrating our volunteers at the 2021 GCNWI Adult Recognition Ceremony

To be inspired is great, but to be an inspiration is an honor. – Juliette Gordon Low

To all the mentors, leaders, changemakers, and explorers who volunteer with us: thank you. Thanks to your leadership and know-how, our Girl Scouts at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana have learned to listen to their hearts, think on their feet, and speak up for what they believe in. We know being a Girl Scout volunteer isn’t easy, especially recently, so we can’t thank you enough for your commitment, energy, and support. Guiding Girl Scouts—and yourself—through the past few years is nothing short of amazing.

Last month, we were able to gather in celebration of our volunteers for two Adult Recognition Ceremonies at the Joliet and Vernon Hills Gathering Places, formally recognizing just some of the amazing work GCNWI volunteers do. Adult Recognitions are defined by GSUSA and GCNWI, and awarded based on nominations and letters of endorsements reviewed by a dedicated team of volunteers—the Adult Recognition Committee.

From thanking our National Council Delegates, who influence the strategic direction of the Girl Scout Movement at the national level, to announcing the recipients of our formal recognition awards, these gatherings were wonderful opportunities to say hello and thank you to volunteers who have made an incredible impact in our community.

Honor Pin recipients Scott Bennett, Zahra Lalani and Heather Socie.

Every volunteer honored by an award has a storied connection to our council, whether through their enthusiastic leadership of a Service Unit, their preservation and recounting of our council’s history, their innovative and dynamic approach to Fall Product and Cookie sales, or over their 50+ year service. They include the Honor Pin recipients, Scott Bennett, Cathy Briggs, Robert Gale, Zahra Lalani, Scott Saunders, and Heather Socie. Zahra, as President of the Associate Board, initiated the Board/Associate Board mentorship program, which continues as a great success.

Hall of Fame awardees Gwen Ferguson, Levita Anderson and Lis Christensson

The Hall of Fame inductees this year, Levita Anderson, Lis Christensson, Gwen Ferguson, Heather Linehan, and Tresa Radermacher, have had a long and lasting impact on Girl Scouting in our council and have gone above and beyond their expectations of their positions as volunteers. As Service Unit Manager in the 2020-2021 year of challenges, Levita has used every form of communication to help her leaders: virtual meetings, additional telephone calls, emails galore, and even quick stops at leaders’ homes to deliver materials. She has passed on messages to find out who still had cookies when our cookie sales changed direction, connecting buyers with cookies.

Michelle Ptack, Thanks Badge honoree, shared: “I was honored to receive the Thanks Badge from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Northwest Indiana. Even more celebratory was being in a cohort with 4 other volunteers with whom I served on our council’s 2017 National Delegation, Beverly Suen Macrito, Denise Urban, Catherine (Cathy) Ziemkiewicz Neely, and Kathy Scherer. Many thanks to a volunteer even more deserving of recognition than all of us combined…the woman who nominated me, Karen Schillings. Congratulations all around, Girl Scouts!”

Thanks Badge honoree Denise Urban worked tirelessly to help the delegation draft proposals and actively assisted delegation during the National Council Session, culminating in her representation of our council by presenting our proposal to the entire 2020 NCS live. With her help fielding questions as part of the resource room and advocating for the good of all Girl Scouts, two proposals, authored and presented by GSGCNWI were passed, the first time two proposals from the same council have been approved at NCS. We are incredibly proud of everyone who made this happen!

Volunteer Jodilyn Machota shared, “Today I was surrounded by Girl Scouts as I received my 25-year Volunteer pin from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Northwest Indiana. Thank you to the women who set me on this path in 4th grade—my mom and gram, Mrs. Kroth, Mrs. Richards, and then Mrs. Betty Koran & Mrs. Joan Marchese who helped me earn my Gold Award & travel the world. They led by example and started me on my journey of service to empower girls by nurturing their courage, confidence, and character. Thank you to my Girl Scout sisters who always have proved to me that family is what you make it and I’m never truly alone. I love you all and hold you close.”

To see the complete list of all our outstanding 2021 volunteers, please find the Adult Recognition booklet on our website. We thank each and every one of you for your service!

The deadline to apply to be a National Council Delegate for the National Council Session has been extended to Nov. 21!

Apply to be a part of the 56th National Convention in July 2023 (dates TBD), an opportunity for Girl Scouts and volunteers to play a vital role in providing strategic direction to the Girl Scout Movement.

Learn more about the role on our blog.

Meet the 2021 Girl Scout Go-Getters Chicago Marathon Team!

Meet the 2021 Girl Scout Go-Getters Chicago Marathon Team!

For four years now, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) has been proud to participate in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Our Girl Scout Go-Getters, a team of 25 volunteers (19 of which completed the marathon), were ready to grab their running shoes and fundraise on behalf of our Girl Scouts, and this year they were able to raise over $24,000 for our council! Congratulations to them and thank you for your hard work and dedication to powering amazing experiences for Girl Scouts!

For some of the Go-Getters, like Natalie Stopka and Elise Gluck, the best part about running the marathon was “running the real thing” and “finishing,” while others like Joy Kogut, Rachael Ross, and John Chase enjoyed running with friends and family and enjoying the city. Dan Pietroburgo set a personal best and finished in the top 200!

Others thrived off of the “sense of accomplishment” and “encouragement from the crowds” along the way, and Wendy Cartier enjoyed “getting to meet other runners, especially the veterans. I was able to chat with a man who was doing his 30th Chicago marathon who was able to offer up some words of encouragement at the start line.”

For Autumn Oley, “the best part was definitely the cheering. I could not tell you how many times my mood and mindset was restored when I heard so many people cheering for the Girl Scouts. So many girls and parents were cheering for the Girl Scouts, calling me sister, yelling me their troop numbers. It was what I needed to remind me why I was running the marathon.”

Become a Girl Scout Go-Getter!

This is our fifth year hosting a team and we are excited to be growing each year. Don’t wait to apply! Space is limited. 

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. 

Apply to run the 2022 Chicago Marathon with us » 

After you apply, there will be a phone interview before you are approved and on the team. Applications will close on March 30, 2022 or when the team is filled. 

Fundraising Minimum is $1,250 prior to the lottery on December 9 and $1,750 from December 9 to March 31.  

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

  • Guaranteed entry into the 2022 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 start line with food, drinks, indoor restrooms) 

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

How we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month | Como celebramos Mes de la Herencia Hispana

How we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month | Como celebramos Mes de la Herencia Hispana

We had an incredible time celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month here at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI), from our rhythmic Latin Dance Night to Global Girl Scouts presentations! Hispanic Heritage Month, recognized from September 15 to October 15, is a celebration of the rich culture, heritage, and traditions that Latinx people have in the United States and around the world. Read on to learn how we did it at GSGCNWI!

¡Pasamos un tiempo increíble celebrando el Mes de la Herencia Hispana aquí en Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago y Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI), desde nuestra Noche de Baile Latino rítmica hasta las presentaciones del grupo Las Global Girl Scouts! El Mes de la Herencia Hispana, reconocido del 15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre, es una celebración de la rica cultura, herencia y tradiciones que los Latinos tienen en los Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo. ¡Siga leyendo para saber cómo lo hicimos en GSGCNWI!

Yo Soy Una Girl Scout

We started off with our Virtual Latin Dance Night, an opportunity for all ages of Girl Scouts and families to learn some of the most famous dances like Brazilian samba, Cuban salsa, and traditional Mexican dances. We had an awesome time moving and learning with you all!

Girl Scouts also took the opportunity to complete our Pilsen Neighborhood Walk Patch Program, exploring the historical murals, delicious food, and other hidden gems around the Mexican Chicago neighborhood. You can still do this Patch Program, and then buy the patch when you’re finished!

Explore art, community traditions, and discover Latinx history by earning the Yo Soy Una Girl Scout fun patch!
Find the requirements online and then buy the patch in our shop.

Comenzamos con nuestra Clase Virtual de Baile Latino, una oportunidad para que las Girl Scouts de todas edades y sus familias aprendan algunos de los bailes más famosos como la samba brasileña, la salsa cubana y los bailes tradicionales mexicanos. ¡Pasamos genial moviéndonos y aprendiendo con todos ustedes!

Girl Scouts también aprovecharon la oportunidad de completar nuestra caminata de Pilsen donde exploran los murales históricos, la comida deliciosa y otras maravillas escondidas en el vecindario Mexicano de Chicago. Todavía puedes completar este programa de parches y comprar el parche cuando completes tu paseo del vecindario.

¡Explora el arte, las tradiciones y historia de la comunidad Latinx completando las actividades del parche Yo Soy Una Girl Scout! Encuntre los requisitos en línea y luego compre el parche en nuestra tienda de Girl Scouts.  

Exploring Traditions | Explorando Tradiciones

Our Global Girl Scout group also hosted a program about Hispanic Heritage Month, focusing on several Latin American countries including Belize, Peru, and Argentina, and sharing their distinct traditions, cuisines, and fashion senses. Girl Scouts and sisters Maysa and Mali presented on the country Venezuela: “I learned that Girl Scouting began in Venezuela in 1958,” Maysa shared. “I presented on fashion in Venezuela and drew a traditional Venezuelan dress (video above!).”

“One thing I really enjoy about [being a part of] Global Girl Scouts is being able to learn new things about different places, and teaching them to others,” Maysa added.

Nuestro grupo de Las Global Girl Scouts organizo un programa sobre el Mes de la Herencia Hispana, enfocado en varios países de Latinoamérica, incluyendo Belice, Perú, y Argentina, y compartieron sus distintas tradiciones, comidas, y sentidos de moda. Girl Scouts y hermanas Maysa y Mali presentaron sobre el país de Venezuela. “Me enteré de que Girl Scouts comenzó en Venezuela en 1958”, compartió Maysa. “Presenté sobre moda en Venezuela y dibujé un vestido tradicional venezolano (¡video arriba!).” 

“Una cosa que realmente disfruto de ser parte de Global Girl Scouts es poder aprender cosas nuevas sobre diferentes lugares y enseñarles a otros,” continuó Maysa.

Honoring our Ancestors | Honrando a nuestros Antepasados

The party continued at our second annual Trunk or Treat and Day of the Dead celebration! Girl Scouts, friends, and family gathered at Camp Greene Wood for a tour around decorated trunks for trick-or-treating, and decorated some calaveras, made their own marigold flowers, and other fun crafts! Our Girl Scouts really went above-and-beyond with the costumes; look through the pictures above.

We were also impressed and moved by the altars and costumes Girl Scouts made for their at-home Day of the Dead celebrations. Day of the Dead is a two-day dedication to family, friends, and loved ones that have passed, during the first two days of November. Altars are traditionally decorated with bright yellow marigold flowers, photos of the departed, and favorite foods and drinks of those honored. We loved seeing your at-home dedications!

¡La fiesta continuó en nuestra segunda celebración anual Trunk or Treat y el Día de los Muertos! Girl Scouts, amigos y familiares se reunieron en Camp Greene Wood para un recorrido por los baúles decorados para pedir dulces, y también decoraron algunas calaveras, hicieron sus propias flores de caléndula y otras manualidades divertidas. Nuestras Girl Scouts realmente hicieron mucho más allá con sus disfraces; mira las imágenes de arriba.  

También quedamos impresionados y conmovidos por los altares y disfraces que las Girl Scouts hicieron para sus celebraciones del Día de Muertos en casa. El Día de los Muertos es una dedicación de dos días a la familia, amigos y seres queridos que han fallecido, durante los dos primeros días de noviembre. Los altares están decorados tradicionalmente con flores de caléndula de color amarillo brillante, fotos de los difuntos y las comidas y bebidas favoritas de los homenajeados. ¡Nos encantó ver sus dedicatorias en casa!

Celebrations continue | Continúan las celebraciones

Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors, and their family members are welcome to cozy up around the fire (and computer!) with hot chocolate in hand to experience winter holidays around the world. Join us on December 11 to learn more about both Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Las Posadas, holidays that are celebrated in Mexico. This virtual program includes singing songs, making a traditional buñuelo, and so much more.

Las Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, y Juniors, y sus familiares, pueden acurrucarse alrededor de una fogata (¡y la computadora!) Con chocolate caliente en la mano y celebrar los dias festivos de alrededor del mundo. Únase a nosotras el 11 de diciembre para aprender más sobre el Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y Las Posadas, fiestas que se celebran en México. Este programa incluye cantar canciones, cocinar buñuelos y mucho más.


Visit our website to find all of our upcoming programs in Spanish!

¡Visite nuestro sitio web para encontrar todos nuestros próximos programas en español!

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!  

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) recognizes the unique, enduring, and sacred relationship that exists between land and Native American and Indigenous people; we recognize that we are on the land of Peoria, Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Potawatomi, Sauk, and other nations and tribes, and honor their history and people. We recognize and honor our Native American and Indigenous Girl Scouts, volunteers, family, and community.

November, Native American Heritage Month, is dedicated to celebrating the rich culture and enduring traditions of Native American and Indigenous communities. Consider spending this month researching and honoring Native American and Indigenous communities throughout our nation and where you now call home. You can start by adding a land acknowledgement like the one above to start your Girl Scout meetings alongside the Pledge and Promise!

Hear from Girl Scouts of USA interim CEO, Judith Batty, on the significance of this month:

The celebration goes beyond just November: we invite you to take this opportunity to learn more about the cultures of the Indian Nations in your state and across the country by earning the Native American Heritage “I am a Girl Scout!” Fun Patch. We’ve got plenty of activities to choose from, so you can make new discoveries and have tons of fun learning.

As always, we encourage you to share your story!

If you are a Native American or Indigenous identifying-Girl Scout or volunteer, or know someone who is, please submit your story on our website for a chance to be featured on our blog and social media. And share with us what you learn throughout the month, too!

Volunteer Spotlight: Monica Reed!

Volunteer Spotlight: Monica Reed!

“I volunteer for Girl Scouts because the opportunities for girls seem limitless. Girl Scouts empowers girls to explore their interests and dreams.”

Thanks to the mentorship, support, and leadership provided by volunteers, Girl Scouts are getting ready to change the future and make the world a better place! We can’t thank you enough for the work you do to champion our Girl Scouts, which is why we dedicate a spotlight to a volunteer who has made an impact on girls’ lives in Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI). Read on to hear Monica Reed’s story!

“I have been a volunteer since 2004. I started a Pre-K Daisy troop and was the girls’ leader through 12th grade. I’ve been all levels of Girl Scout leader, Membership Coordinator, and Fall Product and Cookie volunteer. I began my current troop as a way for the girls to be involved in Girl Scouts during an unconventional school year. We were 100% online and the girls’ Zoom skills were unparalleled. I often commented that they had better manners than most adults on Zoom calls. We earned all our Daisy petals last year. Now we are working on our badges. We are also sending our Flat Daisies around the globe (this was a great activity so we could travel vicariously with our Flat Daisies)!”

“I fondly remember seeing my daughter singing “ The Camp Greene Wood Song” to a Grant Park crowd during the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts. Overall, seeing the “A-HA moments” when the Girl Scouts try something new is very rewarding. (I learn new things too!).”

Her advice to those interested in volunteering? “Take the opportunities to try something new! Volunteer. Try a new sport. Make new friends. Girl Scouts has all that and more in a fun, friendly environment.

“I can’t say enough about our troop leader, Miss Monica! We have been so privileged to have her as our guide. She goes way above and beyond to bring not just the girls, but the families, together. She puts so much effort in all that she does, and it shows from all the little personal touches she puts on things, and personalized cards and photos. It also amazes me how she has gotten to know each one of the girls and their unique personalities in just a brief amount of time. This is no small feat as most of our time together has been spent on Zoom, due to COVID. That’s another thing, she has always made sure to make everyone feel safe and comfortable during these very uncertain times,” shared Girl Scout parent Sabrina.


Thank you for all you do, Monica!

You have the power to change girls’ lives as a Girl Scout volunteer, helping to craft their experiences from the way they run their cookie business to the way they speak up in meetings. As girls learn, grow, and lead, you’re there through it all—shaping the future right along with us.

Visit www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org/volunteer and become a supporter of Girl Scouts in your area!

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.

Happy Birthday, JGL: Juliette Gordon Low and her Chicago Connection

Happy Birthday, JGL: Juliette Gordon Low and her Chicago Connection

In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low sparked a worldwide movement inspiring girls to embrace their individuality, strength, and intellect. She was the first in a line of supportive adults who dedicated their lives to empowering girls and young women, and we continue to celebrate and honor her legacy on her birthday, October 31. Learn more about JGL and her Chicago roots and get excited for Founder’s Day!

Guest Written by the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Historians

Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon was born in Savannah Georgia on October 31, 1860, but did you know she descended from early Chicago pioneers?  Her great-grandparents were John Kinzie and Eleanor Lytle McKillip Kinzie, who in 1804 bought a home that had originally belonged to Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, which was situated on the north bank of the Chicago River approximately where the Tribune Tower now stands.

Their son, John Harris Kinzie and his wife, Juliette Augusta Magill were Juliette’s grandparents. In 1857, they lived at Cass and Michigan Streets (now Hubbard and Wabash). Near the end of the Civil War, Juliette lived with her grandparents for a short time. 

Juliette’s Pearls

Juliette owned a beautiful strand of natural pearls that had been a wedding gift from her husband. She liked to wear her pearls on special occasions. In 1915, when the young Girl Scout organization needed funds, Juliette sold her pearls for $8,000. In today’s dollars, that generous gift would amount to nearly $217,000.

In 2011 and 2012 during the centennial anniversary celebration and in commemoration of Juliette’s gift, the Girl Scouts sold a limited edition pearl necklace and earring set.

Happy birthday, JGL!

Read more about Juliette Gordon Low and Girl Scout history.

Honoring the history of Girl Scouting in our local communities is a wonderful way to explore the evolution of one of the country’s oldest organizations dedicated to girls and women. You can read all about the GCNWI Girl Scout Historians on our blog, or visit our website for more information on how to get involved.

Take $10 off $75 in our shop site from today until Oct. 31 (no other discounts apply)!