Meet the GSGCNWI Council Historians: Part Two!

Girl Scouts gathered for a tea party in early March 2020

Last week we met the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Council Historians, a group of dedicated volunteers who work to collect, preserve, and share the history and legacy of Girl Scouts across the nation and in our area. These historians are essential to keeping the heartbeat of our movement strong, and we have more stories to share!

Read on to learn about some of the amazing, prestigious, unique items in the historian’s collection.

The Golden Eaglet

The GSGCNWI historical archive holds thousands of items spread across our council, and includes pins and insignias, guide books and records, photographs and videos, uniforms, cookie items, and much, much more. Some of these items are especially prestigious or unique, like cloche hats for leaders from the 1920s, the “enormous” wicker backpacks girls used for overnight camping, and the very first meeting minutes from the Girl Scout council in Gary, Indiana, in 1938. The original Girl Scout handbook is currently on display at the Chicago Gathering Place, and is signed by Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low herself (read our blog to learn more about what we have on display).

Among the favorite items of the historians is a quilt made as a fundraiser for Camp Manistee, a resident camp in the 1950s, which, for ten cents, girls could embroider their own square to be included. Also on the favorites list were the range of unique cookie jars from the various bakers of Girl Scout cookies in the past, evidence of the many different products sold during cookie and Fall Product seasons.

The oldest items in the archive are certainly precious, and include Brownie uniforms from 1918, khaki uniform items from 1915, and of course, the signed Girl Scout handbook. And the most unique items can even be found online: lucky for us, many of the original Girl Scout catalogs are digitized, so you can see for yourself all of the cute merch girls used to rock throughout the years, like purses, charms, and more. Probably the most interesting item the historians noted was a wool Girl Scout bathing suit— might have been fashionable, but certainly sounds uncomfortable!

And the most valuable, prestigious items are a couple of 14k gold membership pins and two original Golden Eaglet pins, the highest rank of Girl Scouting from 1919 to 1939. You can learn more about the Golden Eaglet by watching the short movie below!

The work the historians does goes beyond just archiving, and before the pandemic, they hosted many programs for Girl Scouts in our council over the years, ranging from “What’s WAGGGS” informational sessions, to historical tea parties and Girl Scout movie nights, to fashion shows where girls modeled vintage uniforms. Their work is essential to our council and we are so excited for what they come up with next!

Thank you to all of the GSGCNWI Council Historians:

Levita Anderson, Christine Caragher, Christine Cline, Rosemarie Courtney, Jane Doyle, Phyllis Drewno, Heidi Gannon, Janice Gerovac, Elise Gould, Nancy Hackett, Heather Linehan, Carol Macola, Mia Mehta, Catherine Mori, Kelly Pavlik, Veronica Pradelski, Margaret Rogers, Karen Schillings and Vikki Zack.

Are you interested in helping the historians?

If you’d like to learn more about the archive, how to become a part of the team, or something else about the GSGCNWI historians, email Rosemarie Courtney.

Keep Up With GSGCNWI

Meet the GSGCNWI Council Historians

If you’ve ever visited the Chicago Gathering Place, you’ll remember the cases that line the hallways, filled with guide books, uniforms, badges, and pins from the past 109 years of Girl Scouting. These artifacts remind our members, visitors, and staff that our history is as important as our future—and who better understands that than our Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) Council Historians?

Their mission statement, “to acquire, organize, and preserve artifacts related to the Girl Scout Movement, to make the collection available to our membership, researchers, and the general public, and to promote an enduring understanding of the rich history of Girl Scouts,” has held true even among the difficulties of the pandemic. In continuation of our celebration of Girl Scout Day (March 12), we are featuring these incredible archivists, who work tirelessly to preserve our council’s legacy.

Read on to meet some of the GSGCNWI Council Historians!

Honoring the Trailblazers

These historians have seen firsthand the changes Girl Scouts has undergone over the years, and part of their job is to, as Jane Doyle explained, “take what happened in the past and connect it to what we do today.” Veronica Pradelski continued: “A minute ago is history. History is every day. We have to preserve everything.” One of the historian’s most important missions is to pay homage to the risk-taking women who paved the way for present-day girls. Even camping was once taboo for girls and women to do—and as Karen Schillings puts it, “it’s a big thing for girls to appreciate all that had to be done to get to this point.”

The historians have a variety of training and educational background that lends to their project: from historic costume and textile restoration, to preservation of paper and text, to recordkeeping and photographic archival (and more). They represent the seven distinct legacy councils that merged in 2008 to become GCNWI, (Illinois Crossroads, Prairie Winds, Chicago, South Cook, Calumet, Trailways, and Drifting Dunes), as well as councils that merged into those seven entities over time.

Because of the diversity of historic items amassed over the years, the historians are now able to boast a large, fascinating collection of artifacts from all legacy councils that existed within the current geographic footprint. “We are where we are today because of those legacy councils,” Karen continues, each of them holding a rich local history carefully preserved by our historians.

Motivated by their passion for history and their love of Girl Scouting, these historians are doing the essential work of saving stories that might otherwise be lost. “Girl Scouting is the best thing going for girls and young women,” Jane Doyle said, reflecting on her motivations, “so being able to tell the Girl Scout story is what keeps me in this group.”

“My leader told me to give back to Girl Scouting what I got out of it,” Rosemarie Courtney shared. “So I never quit.”

Thank you to all of the GSGCNWI Council Historians:

Levita Anderson, Christine Caragher, Christine Cline, Rosemarie Courtney, Jane Doyle, Phyllis Drewno, Heidi Gannon, Janice Gerovac, Elise Gould, Nancy Hackett, Heather Linehan, Carol Macola, Mia Mehta, Catherine Mori, Kelly Pavlik, Veronica Pradelski, Margaret Rogers, Karen Schillings and Vikki Zack.

Are you interested in helping the historians?

If you’d like to learn more about the archive, how to become a part of the team, or something else about the GSGCNWI historians, email Rosemarie Courtney.


Check out some of these special items from the Chicago Gathering Place!

Read more about these artifacts on our blog.

Look out next week for more Girl Scout history talk with the GSGCNWI historians!

Catch Up with the GSGCNWI Blog

We Met The Moment Together at Tribute to Achievement

Every moment is an experience that can inspire, change, and ignite us. Last week, our Girl Scout community sparked those moments for girls at the first-ever virtual Tribute to Achievement. 

For over 30 years, the Tribute to Achievement annual fundraiser has been instrumental in providing financial support to Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI)—and though we didn’t meet in person this time, the evening was still a monumental success.  

During this year’s program, we focused on Moments that Matter: those moments in life, big or small, that forever change your future, your life, or the lives of those around you. And you, our supporters, made the Moment Matter like never before.  

Featuring stories told by girls, volunteers, and staff, as well as inspiring remarks from our three honorees and visions of what’s to come from our CEO and board members, we got an insight into the past, present, and future of GSGCNWI—and we couldn’t be more excited. 

Thanks to your generous donations, our council has raised more than $517,000 and counting. And if you missed out, not to worry—watch the recording of the entire event above! 

Read on to learn more about the evening and how you can support our council. 

Sharing Moments That Matter 

Click to listen to Connie’s story!

We were inspired by the powerful moments that mattered for our girls and volunteers – and that taught us so much about what Girl Scouts really means to our communities. Hosts Sherina Edwards and Therese Malinowski introduced us to several members who shared their personal turning points: we heard from alum Therese on her powerful National Gold Award initiative Project Dandelion, from troop leader Natalie Wynn on her first year as a champion for girls, and from Camp CEO mentor and Board member Monica Weed and alum Anusha Ebrahim on the power of a happenstance moment.  

Also joining us for the evening was Connie Lindsey, long-time Girl Scout supporter, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity & Inclusion at Northern Trust, and Past President of the Girl Scouts of the USA National Board of Directors, who shared her defining moment that changed the trajectory of her life. 

It was the moment Connie’s Girl Scout troop leader told her: “You matter— you are not what is the matter,” that everything changed. “I was seen, I was heard, and I was important. That informed my leadership and commitment to service for the rest of my life.”  

Reflections on 2020 & Looking Ahead  

Click to listen to CEO Nancy Wright and Board President Kathy Scherer!

“2020 challenged us and it changed us,” shared CEO of GSGCNWI Nancy Wright while reflecting on the last year with Board President Kathy Scherer. And even through a year of unprecedented moments, the power of Girl Scouts kept our heartbeat as a community strong. Kathy Scherer affirmed: “Girl Scouts never give up. We personify resilience.” 

The pandemic may have interrupted life as we knew it, but Girl Scouts persisted, transitioning to at-home camping experiences, quickly coordinating emergency service projects for their communities, and diving head-first into the waters of virtual programs. “Every one of those experiences taught us how much Girl Scouts really means to girls and our communities,” Nancy continued. “It’s a lifeline. A safe space. A welcome respite when life gets overwhelming.” 

While we don’t know what the future has in store, we will boldly move forward as THE place to champion the needs of our girls and their families in every way we can.  

Celebrating Our Honorees 

Together, we celebrated three incredible honorees who have championed moments of innovation, transformation, and change for girls. Receiving the Luminary Award was Carrie Hightman, longtime GSGCNWI supporter and recently retired Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer of NiSource. Polk Bros. Foundation was honored with the Girl Scouts Own Award, accepted on behalf of the organization by CEO Gillain Darlow, and the Corporate Award was given to Sidley Austin and accepted by Hille Sheppard, member of the GSGCNWI Board of Directors and co-leader of Sidley’s litigation practice. 

We are so grateful to our honorees who are tremendous partners in and champions for our movement. 

The Moment Still Matters 

ALL supporters of GSGCNWI now have the chance to triple their impact by making a tax-deductible contribution, thanks to the $75,000 Board Match announced the evening of the event!  

Give before March 31 to have your gift tripled dollar-for-dollar. 

Thanks to Our Supporters 

Girl Scouts Become Energized by Exelon Spark Day!

On a snowy President’s Day, thirty-one Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors joined Exelon employees to learn about several types of renewable energy and the incredible career opportunities in the field. Girls built windmills, watched videos of different career stories, learned how nuclear energy works, and spoke with a panel of four professionals, including engineers, a communications director, and an intern. 

The girls enjoyed watching informational videos and learning about various career paths in renewable energy. Several girls noted that they learned about careers they did not know existed before. “It was very informative and interesting,” one girl said.  “I actually learned something new,” said another. 

As many companies work towards investing in renewable energy and lowering their carbon emissions, this program was incredibly relevant to the direction energy is taking. Girls were able to engage with women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) in the career panel and hear their inspiring stories. 

One panelist graduated from the same high school that a few girls are currently attending, so they connected over education as well.  One girl even reached out for a further conversation with the panelist!

Thank you to Exelon and employees for planning such a fun event and taking time to open girls’ eyes to new career possibilities! Make sure to learn more about the Exelon STEM Leadership Academy.


Spring and Summer Programs Are Now Open!

As part of Kellogg’s commitment to creating Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030 and inspire healthier eating habits in children, the company is partnering with Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) to create 5,000 specialty Wellbeing Boxes, filled with fun activities and information focused on educating and nurturing your physical, emotional, and societal wellbeing. 

You can get a FREE Wellbeing Box when you register for a GCNWI program!

Learn more on our blog.

Catch up with GCNWI!

Girl Scouts Provide Weekly Sack Lunches For The Roberti Community House!

Happy International Women’s Day! March 8 is dedicated to uplifting the power of women and girls across the globe, who are challenging gender stereotypes and shattering glass ceilings every day of the year. To all the girls and women in our council, we applaud your dedication, strength, and perseverance this year and every year.

Over the past year, we have seen Girl Scouts step up in major ways to help their communities through the challenges of the pandemic. Girl Scouts as young as Daisies and Brownies are making an impact through service, and Girl Scouts from the Waukegan, IL area are making this impact every single week through their donations to the Roberti Community House.

Since last spring, many children who relied on their schools to receive lunch began to experience food insecurity; through the efforts of several troops in the area, Girl Scouts are now delivering between 200 and 400 sack lunches to the Roberti Community House weekly. Read on to meet one of the organizers of this project, Katherine Najjar, and some of the Girl Scouts who have been involved!

Tackling Food Insecurity, One Week at a Time

Katherine, Girl Scout troop leader and Cookie Manager for her Service Unit, came to the Roberti Community House with extra cookies left over from the season and left with a service opportunity for her and her girls to impact their community. As a result of the pandemic, “the need for food really skyrocketed,” Katherine explained, “and there’s already a lot of food insecurity in Waukegan.”

“What started with the Girl Scout cookies moved to these bags,” she continued, and now the service project, which has Girl Scouts putting together sack lunches for the Roberti Community House food pantry, has several troops in the area involved, collecting at least 200 bags per drop-off.

The impact of their service goes beyond the numbers, with Katherine reflecting, “It’s been really helpful for [the girls] to understand that there are so many people that just want a simple lunch. I think that by seeing the lines outside of the food pantry, they can see that we can really make a difference in our community.”

One of the participating troops, Brownie Troop 47764, collects 50 sack lunches to donate every other month. They affirm the importance of the service they’re doing: “It’s important to help people; everyone deserves something,” Girl Scout Vivian shared.


Spring and Summer Programs Are Now Open!

As part of Kellogg’s commitment to creating Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030 and inspire healthier eating habits in children, the company is partnering with Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) to create 5,000 specialty Wellbeing Boxes, filled with fun activities and information focused on educating and nurturing your physical, emotional, and societal wellbeing. 

You can get a FREE Wellbeing Box when you register for a GCNWI program!

Learn more on our blog.

Celebrate Girl Scout Week With Us!

Each year Girl Scouts across the country come together to celebrate Girl Scout Week, which is observed the week around March 12- the “Girl Scout Birthday”- and is filled with many traditions.

This year we’re breaking the mold and celebrating the ENTIRE MONTH! Frankly, after the year we’ve all had, seven days isn’t enough for us to say thank you to you all for keeping the Girl Scout heartbeat strong.

Read more on our blog.

Read More Girl Stories!

Girl Scouts Imagine A Better World For Girls!

For Girl Scout Week, we’ve decided to celebrate ALL MONTH LONG! Read our blog to learn how you can celebrate beyond Girl Scout Birthday (March 12!)

Girl Scouts have expansive imaginations and they envision a better world for girls– a world where girls can be treated equally, where girls are courageous to do what they want, where girls take risks and break new ground, shattering stereotypes. Through the GIRLtopia Journey, Girl Scout troop 42614 imagined a better world for girls: let’s learn more about their work and how they are joining the fight for social justice, all over Zoom.

Making the Future, One Step at a Time

A GIRLtopia is an ideal world that girls create, a place where everyone is accepting and uplifting, with equality for all ages, genders, and races. The girls, as part of their Journey, wrote poetry, came up with qualities that define visionaries, including open mindedness, power and faith, determination, and respect, and thought deeply about gender based injustice.

The girls had plenty of answers to what they want to see in the world: free healthcare, free feminine products (“because we can’t control that about our bodies, so why should we have to pay for that?”) and no more stereotypes restricting girls. “People should be able to express themselves and not be judged,” Katherine added, and Emilee continued, “Any girl should be able to wear what they want.”

Even very serious subjects were broached, with Danielle explaining, “I want safety, so we don’t need to fear just going outside past nine o’clock.” Natalie: “I think everyone should be paid equally for the same work.”

And these more than just a dream: this is an attainable goal that is coming to fruition as we move into the future.”50.2% of the college-educated workforce are women, and every year the women that receive STEM degrees increases by over 50,000 individuals. Things are finally changing, but we need YOUR Help to keep this energy going,” the girls wrote in their presentation.

“When we were Brownies and Daisies, we didn’t realize how powerful our voices could be. We want you to know you can make a real change in the world at any age.”


With opportunities to become a completely virtual or hybrid troop comes amazing experiences that would not have been otherwise possible. That’s what Girl Scouts provides: chances to change the world, to live through important moments, to change the present AND the future.

You can join a virtual troop right now: learn more.


Spring and Summer Programs Are Now Open!

As part of Kellogg’s commitment to creating Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030 and inspire healthier eating habits in children, the company is partnering with Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) to create 5,000 specialty Wellbeing Boxes, filled with fun activities and information focused on educating and nurturing your physical, emotional, and societal wellbeing. 

You can get a FREE Wellbeing Box when you register for a GCNWI program!

Learn more on our blog.

Catch Up With Us!

Empowered to Move Forward- Get Ready to Celebrate Girl Scout Week, all MONTH Long!

Each year Girl Scouts across the country come together to celebrate Girl Scout Week, which is observed the week around March 12- the “Girl Scout Birthday”- and is filled with many traditions.

This year we’re breaking the mold and celebrating the ENTIRE MONTH! Frankly, after the year we’ve all had, seven days isn’t enough for us to say thank you to you all for keeping the Girl Scout heartbeat strong.

  • Register for a program, get a FREE Kellogg’s Wellbeing Kit
  • Girl Scout Week- With Girl Scout Sunday, Sabbath, Jummah, Girl Scout Birthday and more!
  • #GIRLFest- virtual program for all ages!
  • The first ever Girl Scout Picture Day!
  • Meet our CEO and Board President!

Read on for an overview of everything happening this month!

Spring and Summer Programs are Open Now!

To kickoff Girl Scout Month, current GCNWI members can get a FREE Wellbeing Kit when you register for a GCNWI program! We are so excited to share with all the amazing programs we have in store, including new opportunities in outdoor programming, STEAM, leadership, social-emotional learning and more!

Learn more on our blog.

Girl Scout Week (March 7-13)

Get empowered and celebrate this week by participating in the daily activities below!

Sunday, March 7: Girl Scout Empowerment Sunday

  • Wear your Girl Scout uniform to worship. Talk with your Girl Scout sisters and family to connect with a local place of worship and learn about how Girl Scouts can be represented on Girl Scout Sunday. 
  • To help you engage your community of worship during Girl Scout Week, downloadable assets for bulletins and inserts are available here!
  • Get your ‘My Promise, My Faith’ Award. Work with your family and faith leaders to gain the pin to celebrate the connection between the Girl Scout Promise and Law and your faith.
  • Buy the Girl Scout Sunday patch

Monday, March 8: International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day we’re empowering girls to speak up! We’re teaming up with The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) to encourage girls to know their rights and challenge those who abuse them.

Tuesday March 9: Empowered to Live Well

  • For girls: We’ve teamed up with Kellogg’s to help keep our girls’ mind clear, sharp and stress-free. Learn more about our Kelloggs wellbeing kit and become eligible to get one free when you sign up for a program!
  • Watch our series of Mindful Monday videos on YouTube to learn how you can practice mindfulness and positive mental health.
  • For Adults: Girl Scout Leader Chat: Funding the Fun

Wednesday, March 10: Empowered to Do Good with UNICEF and Get Outdoors!

  • Give back while taking part in fun activities at your next virtual meeting or family gathering with UNICEF Kid Power!
  • Sign up for UNICEF Kid Power for free and gain access to over 150 videos of fun activities like dance routines, workouts, yoga and more!
  • By participating with this program, your troop can unlock virtual coins to support food banks and will help to support other socially responsible initiatives.
  • Bundle up and get outdoors to go for a walk or get started on the Backyard Challenge: Spring Edition 

Thursday, March 11: Empowered to Spread the Word

  • Think about a time when you felt really empowered after attending a Girl Scout event or experience.
  • Recall that story with a friend who is not a Girl Scout and invite them to try Girl Scouts for free!
  • Invite friends to celebrate Girl Scout birthday with you tomorrow and learn more about how Juliette Gordon Low became empowered to make a difference for all girls!

Friday, March 12: Girl Scout Birthday and Girl Scout Jummah

Girl Scout Jummah

Observe Jummah and get your Girl Scout Jummah Patch!

Saturday, March 13: Attend #GirlFest and Girl Scout Sabbath

This virtual event will highlight subject-area pathways including STEAM, cultural awareness, outdoors, and active citizenship. Each pathway will feature one hour of programming with multiple fun, girl-led, grade-level- appropriate, and interactive sessions in each pathway, as well as multiple “Mindful Minute” commercial breaks – a chance to close your eyes, breathe, and relax!

Want to have even more fun? Add on our #GIRLfest Event Kit at checkout. This kit will include a patch, t-shirt, and other fun things to help you participate in each pathway.

Register for #GIRLFest for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors Register for #GIRLFest for Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors

Girl Scout Sabbath

After attending #GIRLFest, take a moment to rest and reflect on all your work with Girl Scouts. Let those moments inspire you to create new and innovative ways to empower others on what it means to be a Girl Scout. 

Get your Girl Scout Sabbath Fun Patch in our Shop 

Girl Scout Picture Days

Grab your favorite Girl Scout gear and get ready for Girl Scout picture day March 12 and 13! Take a picture wearing your Girl Scout gear and send it to us via social media or the submit your story link using the hashtag #girlscoutpictureday to win cool prizes!

Jazz up your photos and use our virtual photo booth that will available on both days. Be sure to check our social media pages for more photo booth information.

Meet the GCNWI CEO and Board President

Celebrate our first ever Girl Scout Month with a virtual meet and greet with the Girl Scout GCNWI CEO, Nancy Wright, and outgoing Board President, Kathy Scherer on March 23 at 6p.m! Grab a snack, your favorite warm drink, and favorite stuffed animal or pet and settle in for a fun evening.

All girls in attendance will receive a free “I Met the CEO” patch and “Future Board Member” patch that will be mailed to your home after the program.

Register for Meet the GCNWI CEO and Board President

Our Girl Scout forecast is looking bright! We look forward to celebrating the month of March with you and hope you are too!

Catch Up With Us!

Celebrating Black History Month: Meet Jakki Smith!

We are continuing our celebration of the fantastic work our Black Girl Scouts, members, and staff contribute to the movement. This week, we have the pleasure of introducing Jacqueline (Jakki) Smith, a current Regional Membership Manager at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI)!

“My first encounter with Girl Scouts was at my church. Both of my daughters were interested, and I let them do their thing. At the time, the fifth grade Juniors were meeting with the Daisies and Brownies and being basically babysitters. I met young ladies that were going to quit [Girl Scouts] because they said it wasn’t fun for them.”

“At that moment, I said ‘Okay, let me see what I need to do.’ I had no idea what Girl Scouts was, I was never a Girl Scout, but my daughter enjoyed the program. And I became a leader overnight.”

“I know at the time it was optional for girls to have their uniforms, but not for me. I required the girls to wear [them] and we were always on point at council events. They would see all of these African American girls getting off this bus and they’re dressed from the top of their head to their toes. They wore their uniforms with such grace and pride.”

Jakki’s free-spirit allowed her and her Girl Scouts to make the most of the amazing programming opening up for Girl Scouts at the time, like the Studio 2B program, “which was such a trend-setting series for Cadettes. They were talking about the internet, about scholarship money, how to take care of their vehicles, how to budget, just life stuff you need to know.”

And her mentorship had a massive impact on the lives of the girls she led: “Out of the 40 girls [I had], over half of them received the Gold Award. They wanted to go as high as they could and they were very proud to be Girl Scouts. Still to this day, my daughter is thinking about coming back and being a troop leader. It was so rewarding for me to be a part of that foundation of helping girls identify who they are, to build that confidence, to see those skills in the workforce.”

For Jakki, being a role model to young African American girls was invaluable. “It is still a very fulfilling experience. It is rewarding to see the desire, the passion, has transferred to every girl. So to be able to touch my African American daughters and my Brown daughters, and all of the women of color, is powerful. I hope to inspire them to see the beauty of being different, to teach them that their voices are powerful, and we want to hear what they have to say.”

“Girl Scouts has always been a trendsetting organization, and I believe that’s one of the reasons I’m still with them, because we have loosened up and our eyes are open to all of the possibilities. We’re in this space of innovation and creation and it’s blowing everyone’s mind, this momentum and liberty and creativity.”


Thank you so much to Jakki for talking with us, sharing her story, and reinvigorating our mission.

Black History Month is just one month out of the year, but Black excellence and Black girl magic is something to be celebrated, cherished, and protected every single day. We remain committed to sharing and telling the stories of Black girls all year long.

Meet Girl Scout troop 65708, a troop dedicated to “making true-blue friends, saving the planet, standing up against stereotypes, and using their team power for the greater good.”
Meet Girl Scout volunteer Erica Cox from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and learn all about the Girl Scouts for Black Lives Instagram!
Meet Dr. Renee Matthews, leader in the healthcare industry, social media influencer, and Girl Scout champion.

Black Girl Magic

From taking civic action for social change to expanding access to clean air and water, to championing STEM education for marginalized populations, to addressing food insecurity, there’s no limit to what Girl Scouts can do—because they show us just that.

Read GSUSA’s blog to meet just a few of our Girl Scouts who are impacting their corner of the world in major ways to create a better place for us all.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We are asking for all Girl Scouts—girls, volunteers, alums, supporters, families, staff, and our suppliers and service providers—to commit to taking action to make the world a more equitable place. We have a lot of work to do—join usYou can start by signing the Girl Scout Anti-Racism Pledge.

Visit our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Page for more resources and ways to take action and take a stand.

Join the 21 Week Equity Challenge!

United Way of Grundy County and Will County are proud to join United Way of Illinois, and other local United Ways across the state to embark on the “21 Week Equity Challenge” and invites everyone to take this learning challenge.

This free, online learning program will provide lessons and resources for Illinoisans to learn about racial issues and systemic inequalities, together. The “21 Week Equity Challenge” encourages individuals, families, friends, and co-workers to have racial equity conversations to gain a deeper understanding of the impact systemic racism and inequality have on our state and in our local communities.

Learn more on their website.

Celebrating Black History Month: Meet Dr. Renee Matthews!

We continue our celebration of Black excellence in Girl Scouting and beyond by introducing Dr. Renee Matthews, leader in the healthcare industry, social media influencer, and Girl Scout champion. Dr. Matthews has an illustrious career: she’s been featured in Ebony and Essence magazines, was a contributing writer for Good Enough MotherEssence, MadameNoire and Black and Married With Kids, appeared on television shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show, and currently hosts the Ask Dr. Renee show, among so many other things. Dr. Matthews has a deep commitment to Girl Scouting as well, serving previously as a Daisy Girl Scout troop leader, currently as an assistant to the Service Unit Manager of SU 272, and as a mentor at Camp CEO. Read on to learn more about her!

“My mom was a Girl Scout, my grandma was, my aunts were too,” so Girl Scouting for Dr. Matthews was a family tradition. “I have severe asthma, so at the time, I had to take breathing treatments every four hours. The one time I went camping, my dad was recovering from brain surgery. Being the best mom and wife she is, [my mother] was like, ‘This girl has to go on this trip.’ She asked all seven of her sisters and they all said no.” But Dr. Matthews’ mom, knowing how important camping is to a Girl Scout, did not give up. “My mom explained [the situation] to my grandmother, who is from the island of Antigua, and in West Indian culture, they don’t do sleepovers.” Her grandmother went on the trip anyway, and years later, Dr. Matthews is a seasoned Girl Scout camper.

Dr. Matthews’ role as a Girl Scout leader came years later during Black History Month, while visiting a senior residence on the South Side of Chicago as a volunteer with the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League. “One of my friends brought all these young girls,” and after learning that they were Girl Scouts, Dr. Matthews became determined to become a leader. “Sure enough, that following September, I was in.”

Dr. Matthews is a committed advocate for women and girls, serving also as a mentor for the Save a Girl Save a World program, and is particularly concerned with addressing the health concerns of Black women. “My whole mission is to teach girls they can do anything. With a little work comes reward. I think the Girl Scouts really instills in girls that they can do whatever they put their minds to.” Dr. Matthews’ especially uses her non-traditional career as a freelance writer and public speaker as an example that Black women can carve their own paths: “Some of these girls may never meet anyone that has been on TV, or on a plane, or even left the South Side of Chicago. I want to show them, ‘I am a Black girl’, and that’s a big deal.”

Camp CEO Class of 2019

Thank you to Dr. Renee Matthews for sharing her story, and make sure to follow everything she does, from podcasting, blogging, and much more.

Black History Month is just one month out of the year, but Black excellence and Black girl magic is something to be celebrated, cherished, and protected every single day. We remain committed to sharing and telling the stories of Black girls all year long.

Meet Girl Scout troop 65708, a troop dedicated to “making true-blue friends, saving the planet, standing up against stereotypes, and using their team power for the greater good.”
Meet Girl Scout volunteer Erica Cox from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and learn all about the Girl Scouts for Black Lives Instagram!

Black Girl Magic

From taking civic action for social change to expanding access to clean air and water, to championing STEM education for marginalized populations, to addressing food insecurity, there’s no limit to what Girl Scouts can do—because they show us just that.

Read GSUSA’s blog to meet just a few of our Girl Scouts who are impacting their corner of the world in major ways to create a better place for us all.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We are asking for all Girl Scouts—girls, volunteers, alums, supporters, families, staff, and our suppliers and service providers—to commit to taking action to make the world a more equitable place. We have a lot of work to do—join usYou can start by signing the Girl Scout Anti-Racism Pledge.

Visit our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Page for more resources and ways to take action and take a stand.

Join the 21 Week Equity Challenge!

United Way of Grundy County and Will County are proud to join United Way of Illinois, and other local United Ways across the state to embark on the “21 Week Equity Challenge” and invites everyone to take this learning challenge.

This free, online learning program will provide lessons and resources for Illinoisans to learn about racial issues and systemic inequalities, together. The “21 Week Equity Challenge” encourages individuals, families, friends, and co-workers to have racial equity conversations to gain a deeper understanding of the impact systemic racism and inequality have on our state and in our local communities.

Learn more on their website.

Celebrating Black History Month: Meet Troop 65708!

Girl Scouts from Troop 65708 donating cookie bundles to essential workers!

This week, we’re continuing on with our celebration of Black History Month by once again shining a spotlight on the fantastic work of Black Girl Scouts, volunteers, and staff. This week, take time to meet Girl Scout troop 65708 from Matteson, IL, co-lead by Jeneya Hampton and Bria Hudson, a troop dedicated to “making true-blue friends, saving the planet, standing up against stereotypes, and using their team power for the greater good.” Read on to learn more about their outstanding community service and sisterhood!

Troop leader Jeneya Hampton has been an awesome representative of our council before, featured on our blog over the summer where she gave advice on how to continue troop meetings through the pandemic. As part of their work as volunteers for the council, leaders Jeneya and Bria have taken extra effort to be visible in the community. “Girl Scouting is especially important for African American girls,” Jeneya expressed. Now, with five years under her belt, Jeneya has seen the girls blossom into young leaders, and looks at them as part of her extended family.

This troop has remained as active as ever, even through the difficult circumstances of the last year. “We’ve made bags for kids in foster care, donated our extra cookies to frontline healthcare workers, and we’re also learning sign language,” listed Girl Scout Zoe on some of initiatives in the past year.

The girls also have plans to make menstruation kits to donate to local organizations, shelters, and schools. “I don’t think there’s any project that these girls haven’t been up for the challenge,” Jeneya added.

The Girl Scouts spoke on the subject of the importance of community service:

“I love being able to give back and it gives me a chance to reach out to my community members,” Morgan explained.

“I like being able to do community service because we can help people who don’t have the things they need,” Justise continued.

Giesel agreed, adding, “It helps you feel better to know you’ve done something to make others feel better.”

“[Girl Scouts] means a lot to me,” troop leader Bria shared, “because I was in Girl Scouts myself. It provides the girls opportunities to really become themselves, and learn how strong and powerful women are. It is definitely good to see brown and Black girls so involved and doing great things within our communities.”

Morgan added, “I feel that the commitment is rewarding. I’ve been a Girl Scout since I was a Daisy, and just to say that I’ve been a Girl Scout for that long and be able to help people honestly feels really good.”

Zoe continued: “I’ve made some of my strongest relationships in Girl Scouts. It’s really fun, but it’s also important because we also do things to give back and actually change the world in the future.”

“I like being in Girl Scouts because I get to just be myself, make new friends, and learn new things in a fun way,” Giesel responded.

“I like helping people in different ways, and participating in different activities, getting to interact with each other,” Kayla agreed.

Jeneya affirms that Black history should not be celebrated just one month out of the year: “We celebrate Black history all year round, 365 days a year,” Jeneya said. “We sprinkle Black girl magic in everything we do.”


We sincerely thank Troop 65708 for sharing their stories with us!

Meet Girl Scout volunteer Erica Cox from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and learn all about the Girl Scouts for Black Lives Instagram!

Black Girl Magic

From taking civic action for social change to expanding access to clean air and water, to championing STEM education for marginalized populations, to addressing food insecurity, there’s no limit to what Girl Scouts can do—because they show us just that.

Read GSUSA’s blog to meet just a few of our Girl Scouts who are impacting their corner of the world in major ways to create a better place for us all.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We are asking for all Girl Scouts—girls, volunteers, alums, supporters, families, staff, and our suppliers and service providers—to commit to taking action to make the world a more equitable place. We have a lot of work to do—join usYou can start by signing the Girl Scout Anti-Racism Pledge.

Visit our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Page for more resources and ways to take action and take a stand.

Join the 21 Week Equity Challenge!

United Way of Grundy County and Will County are proud to join United Way of Illinois, and other local United Ways across the state to embark on the “21 Week Equity Challenge” and invites everyone to take this learning challenge.

This free, online learning program will provide lessons and resources for Illinoisans to learn about racial issues and systemic inequalities, together. The “21 Week Equity Challenge” encourages individuals, families, friends, and co-workers to have racial equity conversations to gain a deeper understanding of the impact systemic racism and inequality have on our state and in our local communities.

Learn more on their website.