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.

Looking back at Summer Camp 2021!

Looking back at Summer Camp 2021!

It was such a joy to be at camp this summer, in a year where Girl Scouts needed the fresh air and connection the most!

Summer camp 2021 with Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) was a blast because nothing could stop our Girl Scout friends from having the best summer ever! Our staff shared some of their stories from spending the summer with the campers at several locations across our council: gather around the campfire and read on to reminisce.

Written by GSGCNWI Staff Members

Le’Claire Park Summer

“During the summer, Community Engagement partnered with the Chicago Park District for a 6-week summer camp program. The Park’s focus area for this week was about kindness and Hippie Day. The girls started with art and crafts; they all got a chance to create world peace signs. After that, we decided to focus on the Science of Happiness badge, which highlights the scientific method behind happiness. We asked the girls questions, like what makes you happy? What are you grateful for? How could you make others happy? 

Then we played a game called ‘Don’t make me laugh’; each girl got a Laffy Taffy candy and we had them stand up and say the joke on the wrapper out loud, it helps with their public speaking and gets them out of their comfort zone. Lastly, we closed with self-portraits. We wanted the young ladies to understand that it’s important to love yourself and most importantly to figure out what makes you happy in that process. We had lots of fun! 

About a week later, one of our summer camp girls Kay-C came up to me and said, ‘Miss Diamond, I had my mom go to the store to buy me Laffy Taffy candies, so I could tell her the jokes on the back of them to make her happy.’ I was so excited to hear this because that’s exactly what we wanted the girls to gain from that session. We wanted them to learn self-regulation, so they can go home and use those skills, not only for themselves but others they love as well.

With the past year that all of us have had, it’s important that we all must try to intentionally make ourselves smile but others as well, when we can. Girl Scouts does an awesome job with giving girls those hands-on skills and now we can make a difference in their emotional learning as well.”

Diamond Franklin, Director of Service Partnerships

Flying High

“The Albert C. Hanna High Adventure course is a place where girls find their courage, by taking part in ‘challenge by choice’ — girls go as far as they want to go, and while they are encouraged to stretch outside of their comfort zone, we understand that for some, even a small step can be a huge deal. That was the case with Paige. She was a little nervous about the high ropes tower, and for her, every step up the ladder to enter the course was a BIG DEAL. Slowly she made it to the top of the ladder, then to the first platform at 25 feet up in the air. Each step up, she visibly challenged herself beyond her comfort zone and found her courage. She even took a step out onto a cable, and then decided that was her challenge for the day. On her way down, to the cheers and applause of her fellow campers, she was very emotional. When asked at the bottom (after catching her breath) if she was proud of herself, she had a little smile and said, ‘Yes.’

Early this summer, a tornado touched down in Woodridge/Naperville close to Camp Greene Wood. While the camp was not impacted, the decision was made to cancel camp for the day to allow emergency services open roads to assist in cleanup efforts. One Brownie, seeing what had happened, decided she wanted to help. She (with mom and camp director Sprout’s help) organized a canned food drive during day camp check-in that Thursday, leading her other fellow campers in helping make a difference for families in need in the camp community. 

That same week in resident camp world, it was a very stormy week, leading to a lot of activities girls were looking forward to getting rescheduled. One girl at the end of the week shared that while they hadn’t gotten to do everything they wanted to do, in the order they wanted to do it, she didn’t really mind because of the friendships she had made with the other girls in her group throughout the week.”

Katie Young, Director of Outdoor Programs

Biking for Days

“I spent 6 days over 2 weeks leading middle school girls in the resident camp biking unit. Middle school girls get a bad rap — these girls could not have been more supportive and respectful of each other! They were master negotiators, easily navigating the difficult conversations about who should ride in what order and why. Adults could learn from them — they clearly knew each other well enough in a short amount of time to discuss the riding order with respect for each individual girl’s abilities and desires.

These girls were resilient, too. We weathered a flat tire, riding past many dead animals and a girl who on the last day realized she’d been riding in a difficult low gear all week! Not to mention that only two of these girls had EVER ridden their bike on a real road or highway.

They loved to talk — and were not shy about it. Conversations surrounded books they loved to read (they begged for more library time on each of our trips that included a library destination), who took what meds for which conditions, menstrual cramps and sexual identity. I saw high fives between girls who shared learning disabilities and anxiety issues.

These girls still need supervision and guidance but truly, we adults can learn a lot from them about respect, support and caring for one another.”

Julie Gilmartin, Director of Volunteer Services

All Kinds of Girls

“Camp was very introspective for me as a newer employee to GSGCNWI. It really helped to personify a lot of the key phases we use when talking about Girl Scouts, like ‘make new friends’ and ‘a place for every girl.’ And I did meet a variety of girls: girly-girls, sporty girls, girls that were into sci-fi fantasy and anime, girls that loved bugs and nature, shy girls, and girls with personalities perfect for reality TV. 

The main thing that stuck out for me during camp was the formation of the ‘buddy line.’ Anytime we had to move from one location to the next, girls had to find a buddy that they could partner with while they walked in line to the next activity. The counselors were often strategic with how the buddy line was formed, encouraging girls to partner with someone they haven’t partnered with before, or find a partner who you have something in common with. The random selection prevented cliques from forming and indeed helped girls ‘make new friends.'”

Sherrie Green, Marketing Manager

Camp Adventures!

Make New Friends, Keep the Old

For more than 100 years, Girl Scout camp has brought girls outdoor adventures full of learning, challenges, a whole lot of friendship, and tons of fun. This happens through a community—each girl who comes to camp is welcomed into a group of girls who together can discover together.

When you are ready to meet in-person with your troop, Girl Scout camps will be open! You can reserve outdoor shelters, lodges, and other campsites on our new registration and reservation site. 

Locations open for use*: 

  • Camp Butternut Springs (Valparaiso, IN) 
  • Camp Greene Wood (Woodridge, IL) 
  • Camp Juniper Knoll (East Troy, WI)
  • Camp Palos (Palos Park, IL) 

*Some sites may not be available in the winter months. 

Not sure where you want to go? Check out an overview of our camps & locations!

Learn more about our outdoor programs and camp experiences.

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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Cyndee Timmerman!

Volunteer Spotlight: Cyndee Timmerman!

All of our volunteers deserve a spotlight because they make sure our Girl Scouts thrive! This week we are recognizing an extra-special volunteer from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI), Cyndee Timmerman!

Read on to learn more about Cyndee’s work for our council, in her own words.

Making Precious Memories

I was a Girl Scout when I was in elementary school and I absolutely loved it. I remember singing songs and being silly with my friends, going to a sleepover in our town’s Girl Scout Little House. I remember selling cookies door to door and trying to meet my 100-box goal that seemed almost impossible at the time. All the girls in our troop that sold 100 boxes got to go on a trip to an amusement park that year.  That was a big deal for me because I lived in a very small town in Kansas, hours away from any amusement park. I ended up meeting my goal and getting to go on the trip, and it was the first time I ever had the chance to ride on a big roller coaster. I was terrified, but my best friend was also on the trip and she told me not to be scared. I listened to her and ended up loving it.

I wanted my daughter to have the same experiences I had when she started school. Since there weren’t any Daisy troops at her school, I created one and became the leader. We started out with 12 girls in our troop during her kindergarten year and this past year, my third year as a leader, we became a multi-level troop with 26 girls.

At the very first service unit meeting that I attended, I met our Service Unit Manager and told her I would be happy to help her if she ever needed anything. She soon took me up on my offer and asked me to be the Fall Product coordinator for our entire service unit. Although I had never sold Fall Product before, I willingly took on the role. I have also helped our service unit with cookie sales the past two years, and will be a co-manager of our service unit this year in preparation to become the Service Unit Manager next year!

Although I have a busy life outside of Girl Scouts, I love everything about Girl Scouts and find it worth my time to volunteer. 

I want to give girls the opportunity to try new things and have experiences that they might not have otherwise. Since we live in Chicago, I really want my daughter to be able to experience nature like I did growing up in Kansas. I want her to experience camping, canoeing, and all the other million fun things that there is to do in nature.

I remember a moment from a Girl Scout training session that I attended, where a leader shared that her goal was to get girls out of the zip code that they live in. That is also my goal as a leader. As a child, I never had the chance to travel internationally, but I hope to be able to give the girls in my troop that chance as a young adult one day.

I have so many great memories as a Girl Scout leader that is hard to narrow it down to just one! From the very first troop meeting, where we taught the girls what it meant to give someone a compliment and we had them practice by going around the circle and giving each other a compliment, to the time we read a book about Juliette Gordon Low and learned how brave she was to start an organization like this for girls during a time that it was unacceptable for them to play outside and do fun things in nature. 

We have visited so many cool places and done so many fun things in just three years even though half of that time was during a pandemic, that I can’t imagine all of the fun experiences we still have to come! We have gone hiking several times, toured a vet’s office, a fire department, and a police department, made gingerbread houses with residents at a nursing home, went to a hockey game, went to a musical, created and maintained a sensory garden for our school, went indoor climbing together, made pet beds for a pet shelter, donated food to a food pantry, experienced a cat café, cuddled with bunnies, and rode horses.

For one of our service projects this year, the girls voted on making blessing bags for those without homes. I had the older girls in our troop plan this project and shop for the items needed for the bags.  They did an incredible job leading this project and helping the younger girls assemble the bags.

Although sometimes it feels like I’ve bit off more than I can chew, I always end up being able to juggle it all and happy that I did when it’s over.  A grandmother recently pointed out to me that my children will not always be this age and I won’t regret spending this valuable time with them creating memories.  Do you want your children to remember sitting at home watching tv with you or would you rather them remember going camping and canoeing with you?


Thank you to Cyndee for your years of service and contributions!

Whether you have kids, grandkids, or no kids of your own, you can have a front-row seat to the fun and community, too. Press play and volunteer with Girl Scouts. You’ve got what it takes to change girls’ lives!

Your time to shine? Now!

Her next adventure to take, new territory to explore, or barrier to break, is all waiting her in the new Girl Scout year! We have carefully curated experiences to help girls think creatively and discover their interests, passions and ambitions without limitations.

On-time renewal ends today, Sept. 30! Press play on the new membership year and allow Girl Scouts to continue being that guiding light down her path to self-discovery.

Looking back at the Smart Cookies Badge Bash

Looking back at the Smart Cookies Badge Bash

Last Thursday, Sept. 23, community members, leaders in Girl Scouting, and supporters gathered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to celebrate and garner excitement for the Girl Scout mission at our annual fall fundraiser, Smart Cookies Badge Bash, hosted by our Associate Board!

Attendees got a first-hand look at what Girl Scouts really do through interactive booths led by staff and alums from our council. These former Girl Scouts taught booth participants about fundamental Girl Scout experiences, from testing their speed at tying a bowline knot to putting their crafting skills to the test by designing a face mask. At a STEM-based booth sponsored by InventorCloud, attendees also got a chance to make their own Newton Disc to learn about color-light interactions.

All of these booths showcased exactly why investing in Girl Scouts matters: we provide Girl Scouts with experiences that help them find their voice, their interests and passions, and make an impact. Girl Scouts empowers young people who can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class.

Thanks to your support, we raised $67,000 and counting!

Check out all of the photos from the event here.

Your donation is an investment in girls, setting the stage for moments that will transform their lives.

Help ensure that ANY girl, ALL girls, can participate in Girl Scouts, right now, when they need it most.

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!

Corinne Schillings Memorial Garden finds new home at Camp Palos

Corinne Schillings Memorial Garden finds new home at Camp Palos

Girl Scout camp is a special place, and a site of treasured memories for many, and now Camp Palos in Palos Park, IL, is home to a special memorial garden in honor of Corinne Schillings, a Girl Scout alum who lost her life on March 6, 2004.

The garden, until this year, had a special place at the Homewood Gathering Place. After Corinne’s passing, “we requested people not send flowers but asked that they plant trees,” Karen, Corinne’s mother and longtime Girl Scout volunteer explained. “We had over 60 trees planted in her memory in the parks in Homewood. That’s when the volunteers in the South Cook council asked the board if something could be made in [Corinne’s] memory at the office, so they planted evergreen trees and a garden.”

“When I found out the [Homewood] office was going to be sold, I asked if we could have the garden moved,” and the Corinne Schillings Memorial Garden now has a home at Camp Palos in the entrance of camp, a beautiful way to welcome our Girl Scouts into a meaningful camp experience. Karen hopes Girl Scouts and volunteers can take ownership of the garden and continue to pay tribute to Corinne, who loved to learn and explore.

The Corinne Jeannine Schillings Foundation is dedicated to preserving the memory of Corinne Schillings and providing scholarships to former Silver or Gold Award Girl Scouts who intend to study a foreign language or study abroad during college or university.

GCNWI CEO Nancy Wright shared, “A special thank you to the Schillings family for welcoming our girls and families with this beautiful garden celebrating Corinne’s life, as well as inspiring everyone to have fun making special camp memories.”

If you make it out to Camp Palos, take a second and reflect at Corinne’s memorial garden.

It’s time to come back to Girl Scouts

Nearly 80 percent of Girl Scouts told us that “Girl Scouts helped me feel more connected to other girls and my community.” When you press play on Girl Scouts, you press play on connection, community, and making treasured memories.

Renew your membership today!

The History of Girl Scout Calendars

The History of Girl Scout Calendars

Time for a Girl Scout History Lesson from the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Historians! 📚💚

Girl Scouts aren’t just known for cookies; calendars were also a hit, and are a great example of the resilience and quick-thinking that Girl Scouts have shown for over a century!

Calendar sales began as an alternative to cookies during World War II when sugar and other ingredients were hard to come by due to wartime rationing. The Girl Scout National Equipment Service produced the first calendar for the year 1944 and it sold for 25¢.

Many councils also produced their own calendars. DuPage County Council Senior and Cadette Girl Scouts first produced a local calendar in 1972 and sold it for 35¢.

Ruth Caragher, formerly a Girl Scout with Ship 167 in Downers Grove, recalls working on the 1991 calendar, “The best thing I remember about the experience was that the girls really did all the work. We had a weekly schedule and weekly goals. We had gobs of photos of girls doing stuff that leaders and others had taken and given to us to go through and consider for possible inclusion.

“We learned what makes a good photo for inclusion in the ‘collage’ style pages. We tried to have themes for each page, things like Cadette Senior Jamboree and camping, winter activities, regular troop meetings and girls in uniform and American flags, parades, ceremonies, etc.”

“In the end we each got a full case of printed calendars. Our ‘WORK’ was now in our laps and we had to go and SELL THEM! It was good though because I was proud of my work on the project. I wish I could do it again with the friends I made in Girl Scouts.”

Preserving 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.

Become a part of our story!

Her next adventure to take, new territory to explore, or barrier to break, is all waiting her in the new Girl Scout year! We have carefully curated experiences to help girls think creatively and discover their interests, passions and ambitions without limitations.

Get ready to “press play” on virtual and in-person opportunities we have coming this fall and renew your membership!

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.

Camp CEO brings Girl Scouts and professional mentors together!

Camp CEO brings Girl Scouts and professional mentors together!

Girl Scouts and community leaders gathered at Camp Greene Wood for the fifteenth year of our premiere leadership program Camp CEO! Influential women making waves in their own careers met with high school Girl Scouts for a hybrid in-person and virtual week full of networking, leadership challenges, inspiring dialogue, and some fun in the sun.

At Camp CEO, Girl Scouts focus on self-awareness and self-discovery, learning public speaking, effective communication and collaboration skills, all while getting exposure to professional women in their community. Camp CEO mentor and SVP and Chief Customer Officer for NiSource Jennifer Montague shared: “During the week several senior executives shared our journeys with the girls and focused on exercises and topics ranging from leadership, teamwork, personal branding, listening with intention, networking and interviewing. Great fun!”

Girl Scout Courtney reflected on the experience: “The leadership challenge was amazing! It was so fun to be with girls I didn’t know that well, and by the end, we were the best trio ever.”

The Girl Scouts took away plenty from the experience; Courtney shared, “I learned that networking is a really great skill to have. Also hearing from a lot of the mentors that you should follow your heart [was] really inspiring.” Girl Scout Sydney added, “I always thought [networking] was something fancy when in reality it is just talking and meeting new people.”

Girl Scout Corrine continued, “I think Camp CEO provided me with many life skills. I learned that being a leader doesn’t mean being the loudest in the room; you need to be an understanding and adaptable leader that can help your whole team succeed.”

CEO/Founder of Driver’s Seat Tiana Clark shared, “I had a great time at Girl Scout’s Camp CEO. At Camp CEO, mentors like myself spent time with Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana teens engaging in discussion and activities around leadership, branding, networking, navigating challenging situations and everything in between! I had a blast!”

Managing Director and Head of Office for Marsh Julie Marcello added, “Loved being part of Camp CEO and joining all these great mentors and mentees. Full steam ahead for all these amazing high school Girl Scouts!”

Thank You!

We want to thank all of the incredible women involved in making Camp CEO a success, from our sponsors and community partners, to the mentors, to the staff, to the Girl Scouts themselves!

Open the door to amazing opportunities!

It’s not too late to join or renew your membership with Girl Scouts! Join today and get access to amazing leadership experiences like Camp CEO and so much more.