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)!

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.