2020 Gold Award Spotlight: Part 3!

When a Girl Scout imagines a better world, it doesn’t stop there. Gold Award Girl Scouts take their visions to the next level, enacting community service and civic engagement that creates lasting, effective change.

To earn the Gold Award, the highest award a Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout can earn, is an incredible accomplishment. We’re giving the Gold Award Class of 2020 from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana a spotlight: read on to learn about the next group of leaders and changemakers!

Providing Sustainable Menstruation Products

Days for Girls - Heart of Longmont

Gold Award Girl Scout Amelia envisioned a world where all girls and women have equal access to eco-friendly menstruation products—so she took action to make that a reality. To earn the Gold Award, and become a part of the fight for gender equality, Amelia partnered with the organization Days for Girls to create and distribute reusable menstruation materials to girls without proper access to them in her community.

Community Shower of Love

person holding baby feet

Girl Scout Kara received her Gold Award for her project, “Community Shower of Love,” addressing the needs of new mothers and families in her community. In partnership with the Martha and Mary’s Maternity House and local families in need of supplies, Kara impacted the lives of many families and adolescents with newborns by providing basic necessities including formula and sanitary supplies.

3K Run for Children in Need

As part of Girl Scout Muskan’s Gold Award mission, she organized and hosted a 3K run in support of children undergoing abuse or neglect. All proceeds raised at that race were then used to purchase new park supplies for a park in her area for children to de-stress and communicate with each other. She also hosted speaking engagement to address the issue of child abuse and neglect with her community.

Blessings in a Backpack

Gold Award Girl Scout Kaitlyn, in partnership with organization Blessings in a Backpack, sought to supply underserved families in her community with healthy, reliable food over the weekend. Kaitlyn, to earn the Gold Award, brought the national program to her school and provided food for students at Wheaton Elementary School! She was featured on WGN Radio– listen to learn more about her project!

Bags for Foster Care

Girl Scout Morgan’s Gold Award endeavor focused on providing children in foster care with belongings of their own. For her Gold Award, and in order to bring more awareness to foster care and adoption processes, Morgan compiled and delivered 60 bags for children in foster care including toiletries and comfort items for them to keep and cherish. The project continues to be carried on by her Service Unit!

Board Book Drive

pile of story books

To earn her Gold Award, Girl Scout Mia coordinated a board book drive between the Advocate Children’s Hospital Resource Center, the Glenview Public Library, and the bookstore the Book Market, to provide children’s books for the Resource Center. She regularly collected books from the library and bookstore and helped set up a “book nook,” a mobile bookshelf wheeled into children’s rooms at the hospital. Due to her efforts, they received over 200 books in total!

Supplies for Foster Care

Gold Award Girl Scout Lauren, also in an effort of providing resources to children in the foster care system, earned her Gold Award by collecting needed donations for the kids, including toiletries, clothing, blankets, hats, gloves, and flashlights. In her community, Lake County, she was able to reach many kids and provide them with new supplies collected just for them.

A Home Away from Home

Gold Award Girl Scout Elizabeth, in collaboration with Ronald McDonald House Charities, sought to bring comfort to families staying near Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL. With the help of her community, Elizabeth was able to donate family games, craft kits, and comfort items for families to enjoy. She also hosted a McDonald’s night to educate her community on Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Comfort for Family Court

brown bear plush toy on white surface

Before Girl Scout Alyssa got to the scene, there was no steady supply of comfort items available for children in family court in Chicago, an experience that can be frightening without an object to hold for a sense of security. To solve this issue, Alyssa created a supply chain for comfort items, like stuffed animals, to be distributed to children undergoing family legal processes in the city, of which more than 1,000 kids are seen a year.

Diabetes Awareness

Girl Scout Sydney’s mission was to raise awareness on the medical condition Diabetes. To earn her Gold Award, Sydney created informational pamphlets to hand out to community members, as well as presented information on the condition, how to live with it, and how to prevent it. Her presentation reached over 75 people in her community!

Adeline’s JR. High Survival Guide

Gold Award Girl Scout Adeline took her efforts to YouTube, creating her very own channel and series “Junior High School Survival Guide.” Topics range from body confidence (shown above), social media, friendships, and much more, and Adeline worked with a counselor and CEO of a local youth organization to ensure the channel can be a safe, trusted resource for middle schoolers. Make sure to check out her YouTube channel to learn more about her project!

Strength in Girls

Nikhila, to earn her Gold Award, focused on the empowerment and education of young girls on the subject of mental health. Partnering with the In Her Shoes Foundation, Nikhila presented at several galas and other workshops in order to raise awareness about the stigma around mental health, particularly for women and girls. She has been able to help over 200 girls through her presentations!

The Mark of the Truly Remarkable

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We extend our sincerest congratulations to these girls and all Gold Award Girl Scouts this year!

Want to share pictures of your project with us? Post on social media and use the #GCNWIGoldAward! You can also download these images to share your Girl Scout Gold Award pride.

Look out for next week’s 2020 Gold Award Spotlight! Catch up on the series on our blog.

2020 Gold Award Spotlight: Part 2!

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Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The mark of the truly remarkable, the Gold Award is earned by Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in their neighborhoods, nations, and the world.

We continue honoring the Gold Award Class of 2020 from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI), and this week, we’ll be learning all about the girls whose Gold Awards centered on the arts and interpersonal relationships. Read on to meet these impressive young women!

Mural for Our Lady of the Sioux Prayer Circle

In partnership with the Parish of Our Lady of the Sioux, located in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Gold Award Girl Scout Clara designed and created a mural for their parish grounds. Working with the parishioners, Clara incorporated Native American imagery and live flowers in her work, all in the aims of creating a beautiful symbol of worship for the people of the parish.

The CURE

Gold Award Girl Scout Elizabeth’s initiative started as a pro-kindness presentation to students at her school and continues as an established school club. For her project, which was awarded a Power of the Children award by the Indianapolis Children’s Museum in 2017, Elizabeth spoke to her classmates, developed a website, and installed a sign in her school. Her project is sure to have an impact on countless students for years to come!

A Lesson in Japanese American History

Gold Award Girl Scout Elyse earned her award by developing a history lesson plan designed to educate high school students about the process, development, and effects of mass hysteria in the United States before, during, and after the Second World War. Elyse’s curriculum focused on the Japanese American experience, and how a single group of people was discriminated against based on fear.

Adding Dazzle to the Special Stars

Gold Award Girl Scout Rebecca saw the need to add some dazzle to the special needs program at the local dance studio Special Stars—so she acted. Rebecca’s efforts to expand their curriculum culminated in brand-new lesson plans for differently-abled dancers, and she was able to teach 8 students in her class on a regular basis.

Standby Project Playhouse

Rebekah, inspired by her own experience as an actor, earned her Gold Award by developing an enriching curriculum for students at Children’s Playhouse. She knew that show directors always have their hands full and that older kids had trouble staying engaged in the program. To solve this challenge, Rebekah created a new curriculum for older students, which is now being used in a new class!

Our War Against Mental Illness

decorative pebbles

Gold Award Girl Scout Monica believes “it only takes a few kind words to have an everlasting impact on someone’s self-esteem.” To spread this message to her community, she engaged them in activities, encouraging others to spread kindness and positivity. Together, Monica and her community painted kindness rocks and positive phrases in her high school’s bathroom.

Puppet Show for Church

For Girl Scout Hailey, getting involved with her local parish in the form of theater was the focus of her Gold Award. Hailey built a puppet theater, wrote scripts coordinated to the day’s Sunday school lessons, and she drew quite a crowd for the final puppet show! Hailey said the best part was interacting with the kids in her parish.

Art for Kids

green white and yellow car print textile

“As someone who has benefited greatly from a strong arts education,” Gold Award Girl Scout Audrey says, “[I] sought to address the issue of fine arts education funding by providing supplies for local Chicago Public Schools.” In partnership with the Schools Count Corporation and other community organizations, Audrey founded Art for Kids, a multi-district wide annual art supply drive, collecting an estimated $5,000 worth of supplies to benefit 14 different schools in Chicago.

Music Therapy Awareness

Gold Award Girl Scout Bailey saw the need to raise awareness about the benefits of music therapy as a form of treatment for people with disabilities, so in response, she created over 200 pamphlets and a YouTube video to do just that. In preparation, she was guided by a professional music therapist and sat in during several of his classes. Every pamphlet of hers was picked up by the schools, libraries, and offices in which she left them.

Middle School Band Promotional Video

Girl Scout Bria’s Gold Award had two major components: the making of a promotional video to encourage elementary students in her area to join the Brooks Middle School band, and leading students and scouts in the refurbishing of the band’s display case. The video continues to be shown in elementary schools to inform students on what brand has to offer, and her efforts have overall improved the marketing of the band to the community!

Project Dandelion

Gold Award Girl Scout Therese knows how difficult it can be to find information about sexual violence on college campuses, and she feels that “everyone needs to feel safe at the school they choose to spend years attending.” Her vision culminated in the first resource of it’s kind, a database organizing information, resources, and statistics concerning sexual violence at colleges and universities in Illinois. Currently, the project encompasses every college in Illinois and is being continued in the future by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The Mark of the Truly Remarkable

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The Gold Award is the standout achievement of girls who develop meaningful, sustainable solutions to challenges in their communities and the world. These girls each have completed anything but a one-time service project, but have changed the world in tangible and lasting ways.

We extend our sincerest congratulations to these girls and all Gold Award Girl Scouts this year!

Want to share pictures of your project with us? Post on social media and use the #GCNWIGoldAward! You can also download these images to share your Girl Scout Gold Award pride.

Look out for next week’s 2020 Gold Award Spotlight!

2020 Gold Award Spotlight: Part 1!

The Gold Award, the highest award a Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout can earn, is no easy feat. As any Gold Award Girl Scout knows, the project requires hours upon hours of time, plenty of resources and community outreach, and a lot of heart.

Now, after months of thinking up big ideas, planning them out, and following through, it is time to celebrate the amazing achievements of our Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) Gold Award Class of 2020!

This week, we are featuring girls whose projects focused on animal rights, public safety, and sports. Read on to learn all about these impressive girls and their projects.

Power to the Bees

Mason Bees, like the other 4,000 bee species native to North America, are small but mighty creatures that are critically endangered. Girl Scout Shannon from Barlett, IL, for her Gold Award, decided to bring more awareness to the movement toward saving bees from extinction by bringing “Power to the Bees.”

She created a home for bees at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center, and has plans to build another with a display board inside their main building with more information on Mason Bees.

Cage Free Cat Room

In partnership with the People’s Animal Welfare Society of Tinley Park, Gold Award Girl Scout Alicia from Wheaton, IL, created a cage-free cat room. “A cage-free cat room creates a comfortable environment for the cats,” Alicia explained, “and leads to a greater chance of being adopted.”

She built and installed five shelves and cubbies for the kitties to climb on and sleep in, and her project helped those cats and many more find forever homes!

Pantry for Pets

Girl Scout Eileen saw the need for pet supplies in her community of Park Ridge, IL, and in response, crafted her Gold Award plan to fill that gap.

For “Pantry for Pets,” Eileen collected over 500 donations from different collection sites and donated them to a food pantry, eventually serving over 100 people! Eileen then donated the rest of the supplies to a few different animal shelters.

Picture Perfect Adoption

Combining her passion for photography and her love for animals, Girl Scout Marley teamed up with the Naperville Area Humane Society. Marley photographed over 130 pets over a seven-month span, edited the photos, created profile sheets, and shared those photos on social media to help the pups and cats get adopted in loving homes!

She STILL goes every week and takes pictures of the pets, and all 5 “veteran” dogs that had been at the shelter for a year or more were adopted!

Redecorating the Meeting Room!

Girl Scout Sophia from Lockport, IL, in hopes of getting more dogs adopted from the All Herding Breed Dog Rescue, decided to dedicate her Gold Award to refurbishing their meeting room.

She got to work, repainting the walls with a mural of a dog park and adding vinyl flooring, making the room cleaner and more welcoming, a great way to support the shelter and spread awareness for rescue and herding dogs.

Ga-ga Ball Pit

For her Gold Award, Girl Scout Katrina decided to design AND build a Ga-ga ball pit for a park in the Village of Antioch, IL.

Gaga Ball is a fast-paced high energy game played in an octagonal pit, similar to dodgeball, but you need a little more skill. She built the pits in hopes of benefitting the village’s preschool and summer camps. She also hopes it will increase the park’s future usage!

Woof@Wicker

Dog park

Girl Scout Amanda’s Gold Award “Woof@Wicker” consisted of a one-two punch: a campaign to raise funds for new equipment at the Wicker Memorial Dog Park in Highland, IN, and an educational component to teach youth about responsible pet ownership!

Amanda, after welcoming her community to a ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce the new park equipment, presented her knowledge on pet care to a large group of youth in the area.

The Equestrian Connection

Volunteer — Equestrian Connection

Girl Scout Emma, from Lake Bluff, IL, after seeing the need for the therapy barn at Equestrian Connection to have outdoor activities, combined her passion for horse riding and helping people with special needs.

After researching and planning hands-on sensory activities for therapy riders on horseback, she installed four multi-sensory outdoor games. Equestrian Connection serves riders from more than 70 cities throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, and several surrounding states, so her games are sure to add fun and learning for riders for years to come!

Flight from Threatened Livelihood

Girl Scout Nicole, from Palatine, IL, transformed her Gold Award vision into a reality by building a Monarch Waystation to support one of the world’s greatest natural wonders: the annual migration of Monarch butterflies.

The garden she constructed provides the nourishment necessary to help sustain the migration, with 14 different host and nectar plants that also bring benefits to the surrounding preserve. Her project also included an informational booth on the site of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust.

Bike Helmet Safety for Adults & Kids

Girl Scout Jessica, from Oak Park, IL, has always worn a helmet, but when she learned that not everyone in her community has the same habit, she decided to dedicate her Gold Award to spreading awareness about bike safety.

After surveying 169 adults and students in her area, she partnered with a bike shop and two police organizations and attended two local community events, presenting a pledge for everyone to sign.

Going, Going, Gold!

Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors who set out to earn the Gold Award take community service to the next level—tackling issues that are dear to them and driving meaningful and lasting change in their communitiesand beyond.

We extend our sincerest congratulations to these girls and all Gold Award Girl Scouts this year! Want to share pictures of your project with us? Post on social media and use the #GCNWIGoldAward! You can also download these images to share your Girl Scout Gold Award pride.

Stay tuned for next week’s 2020 Gold Award Spotlight!

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients, Part 2!

The Gold Award Equation

80 Girl Scouts + 6,400+ service hours = amazing projects that create impact in our community.

The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The Gold Award projects from our 2019 class impacted many different aspects of communities both in Chicago-land and abroad. Girl Scouts created projects that focused on health education, environmental protection, exposure to STEM, child literacy, and so much more. Providing an everlasting effect on communities was something each girl worked hard to achieve and they all succeeded.

Assist us on congratulating this hard working group of Gold Award Girl Scouts! View the photo album and program booklet from this year’s recognition ceremony.

Don’t miss out on meeting the previously featured Gold Award Girls Scouts!
Part One: Meet the first 10 girls (last names A-B) »

Part Two: Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

DeVonna B.

DeVonna’s project was a series of videos on a YouTube channel she created called S.C.A.L.E. which stands for Sickle Cell Awareness and Lifestyle Empowerment. The videos were created to educate the general public about Sickle Cell Disease, and to give those who suffer from the disease tips and tricks to ease symptoms and improve treatment.

LaTosha Desiree B.

LaTosha created educational videos about living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. For example, how to check their blood sugar and what to do when your blood sugar is high or low. She hosted two events where girls watched the video and were challenged to make smoothies under 30 carbohydrates. The girls were given hands-on experience administering shots of Insulin and Lantus into grapes. View LaTosha’s videos.

Kaitlyn Elizabeth B.

Kaitlyn created science videos aimed to help fifth graders gain a better understanding of multiple STEM topics in a fun and engaging way. Along with her videos, she created instructions for household science experiments so children can practice STEM using items from around their home! With the help of her family and adviser, she created these videos for several middle schools.

Gillian B.

Gillian built a three-bin composter, hand-washing station, and website with a seed donation platform for an urban community garden in Maywood, Illinois. She worked closely with Maywood community activists—Proviso East High School student volunteers, Proviso Partners for Health, and Chicago Botanic Gardens—to empower citizens and offer support and introduce healthy lifestyle practices in a historically marginalized, food desert community.

Lindsey M. B.

Lindsey’s Gold Award, For the Love of Adler, raised community awareness for the David Adler Cultural Center. In 2019 the center is celebrating the 100-year mark of the estate. For this project she used her love of the arts and talent for research to make professional and educational brochures. She worked with the staff and historians to create a brochure with a timeline, organizational history, biography of Mr. Adler, historical pictures, and the center’s current mission.

Alita C.

Alita’s Gold Award project provided gardening experience that enriched and benefited the health and lives of clients at St. Agnes Adult Day Service Center. She enriched their lives through gardening in a raised bed.

Tiffany Diane C.

Tiffany Diane’s project helped families from homeless shelters receive basic toiletries needed for everyday living. She held a donation drive dinner where more than 250 people were in attendance. This project had such a huge impact on the community that other organizations will be presenting their own donation drives in years to come.

Kourtney C.

Less than half of people practicing in the STEM field are females. Kourtney’s project addressed this issue by spreading the word to girls about how fun and rewarding STEM can be. She did this through planning and executing a STEM workshop for 4th and 5th grade girls, maintaining a Facebook and Instagram page, and delivering information about STEM to Housing Opportunities.

Sofia C.

Sofia created 80 literacy reading kits for children in Pre-K through grade 8 that utilize the Libertyville Township food pantry. She worked with literacy experts, librarians, and her project adviser to create these kits (that contained a book, resources sheet, parent guide, stuffed animal (for the younger kids), journal and dictionary (for the older kids), and fun things like stickers and bookmarks. She will continue her project by creating a three year cycle which the Libertyville Township will take over and fund.

Lauren L. D.

For her Gold Award, Lauren trained her dog to become a therapy dog, and worked with him to receive his certification. She took her dog to many places once he was certified, including nursing homes to help the residents with loneliness, schools to help reduce stress, and a day camp to educate kids about therapy dogs and other types of working animals.

Girl Scouts Highest Awards

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

All three awards give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a community garden at your school or inspire others to eat healthy foods for your Bronze, advocate for animal rights for your Silver, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others (and yourself). 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your corner of the world—and beyond. The possibilities are endless.

Learn more about earning the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Gold Award Spotlight: Meet the 2019 Recipients

Join Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana in congratulating the 2019 class of Gold Award Girl Scouts! In this eight-part blog series, we will highlight the projects from all of our Gold Award recipients!

The Ceremony: A Recap

On Saturday, May 18, 2019 friends, family and supporters gathered to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of 80 young women as they officially became Gold Award Girl Scouts. At the annual ceremony, girls received their Gold Award Pin, patch and certificate and were honored by our CEO, Nancy Wright, and Board President, Kathy Scherer. Attendees were also treated to an empowering “Words of Inspiration” speech by Girl Scout Alum and U.S. Coast Guard Commander Zeita Merchant.

This year, each of the girls worked through projects focusing on a variety of topics such as child-literacy, women in STEM, environmental conservation, homelessness/poverty, civic issues, animal rights and more. As a group, these young women spent more than 6,400 hours taking action in their communities all to make a lasting, sustainable difference on issues they saw with their own eyes.

Please join us in congratulating this outstanding group of Gold Award Girl Scouts. View photos from this year’s Gold Award Ceremony in our photo album on Facebook.

To learn more about Gold Award projects, check out the informational program booklet on our website.

Meet 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Continue to follow along to meet more Gold Award girls throughout this blog series!

Samantha A.

Samantha started the campaign “#sayno2straws.” Along with the hashtag, she created a website, Instagram hashtag, and promotional video and educated girls at the Bolingbrook Jamboree on the importance of using sustainable products. Later, she made a speech and showed her video to the whole camp to raise awareness for her project and spread the word of sustainability.

Melanie Elizabeth A.

For her Gold Award, Melanie Elizabeth hosted a culinary class for girls in grades 4 through 8. During the class she taught them basic and necessary cooking skills. Putting what they learned in action, she had them practice on fruits and vegetables. She also taught them how to make a pizza from scratch, and finished the class by making smoothies and veggie plates.

Maeve A.

Maeve’s Gold Award project focused on improving mental health education. She worked with Erika’s Lighthouse and Our Lady of Humility Primary School in Beach Park to create a program that could be delivered to 7th and 8th graders preparing for high school. The main focus of the program was to teach girls how to be aware of their own feelings and how to cope with stress.

Kendra A.

Kendra’s project was geared toward helping children undergoing chemotherapy. She created bags centered around making their first chemo visit a better experience for them and their families. The bags provided personal care items, books, toys and positive notes of support, and reached patients in Illinois, North and South Carolina, and Texas. Each bag had HOPE imprinted on them, the acronym standing for ‘Have Only Positive Expectations’.

Zoe B.

Zoe’s Gold Award project focused on community service. She worked with multiple organizations such as Disney, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and local churches in order to obtain food and grooming supplies for homeless people in Chicago. These items were collected in bags and then distributed to the homeless men, women and children in or near Chicago.

Olivia B.

Olivia’s project was all about self love and appreciation. To combat negative self image and social comparison in young girls, Olivia sought to spread love not only in her school, but in her Glenview community using the campaign slogan “You Are Worthy.” She used brightly painted rocks to attract local pedestrians and put signs in various windows with the inspirational message “You Are Worthy.”

Sarah B.

For her Gold Award, Sarah gave back to her church by creating a place for the congregation to enjoy and feel more in touch with God. She worked with a group of volunteers to transform the old courtyard into a spectacular garden and place for prayer or meditation, in hopes of attracting butterflies and the eyes of the congregation.

Amanda Lynn B.

When Amanda started her Gold Award, she decided to focus on homelessness, specifically on the lack of access to education for homeless children. For her project, she started a tutoring program at a shelter in Joliet with a group of volunteers that she recruited. They helped the children with homework as well as played games with the younger kids.

Sarah B.

For Sarah’s Gold Award, she created a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math) event to inspire youth to see the bridge between STEM and the arts. Attendees participated in activities for each letter of STEAM and learned about different opportunities to put the right and left sides of their brain to work.

Mary Theresa B.

Mary’s Gold Award project was a reading mentorship program between local high school and elementary school students. At a local elementary school’s Learning Resource Center, high school students helped younger students with reading curriculum and developing positive, encouraging relationships. Her project was designed to improve literacy and foster a love of and confidence with reading.

Highest Awards

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

All three awards give you the chance to do big things while supporting an issue you care about. You might plant a community garden at your school, or inspire others to eat healthy foods for your Bronze. You might advocate for animal rights for your Silver, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for your Gold. Whatever you choose, you’ll inspire others (and yourself). 

As you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your corner of the world—and beyond. The possibilities are endless.

Girl Scouts GCNWI’s Annual Meeting and Adult Recognition Event was a Smashing Success

On Saturday, April 6, 2019, more than 500 Girl Scout adult members gathered for the annual council meeting, and to celebrate the service and tenure of dedicated Girl Scout volunteers!

With this year’s council theme being Action Speaks Louder, Nancy Wright, CEO, gave a riveting State of the Council keynote, sharing details about the work that has been done over the past year, and more importantly, the strategic work of the council for the current year and beyond. Board President, Kathy Scherer followed and with the help of girl board representative, Colleen Christian, installed new officers and directors to the Board of Directors.

Several stand out, celebratory moments from the day included;

  • Heidi Gannon and Marlene Knapp were added to the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Hall of Fame.
  • We celebrated the following GSUSA honorees:
  • Christine Alfred, Thanks Badge
  • Melissa Young-Bridgeforth, Thanks Badge
  • Christina Robinson, Honor Pin
  • Tonya Belcher, Appreciation Pin
  • Scott Bennett, Appreciation Pin
  • Dawn Brook, Appreciation Pin
  • Cori Chojnacki, Appreciation Pin
  • Keth Goodman, Appreciation Pin
  • Starr Hochbaum, Appreciation Pin
  • Christina Johnson, Appreciation Pin
  • Mike Kizman, Appreciation Pin
  • Nzsenga McClendon, Appreciation Pin
  • Patricia McCoy, Appreciation Pin
  • Nicole Mitchell, Appreciation Pin
  • Claire Mosshamer, Appreciation Pin
  • Janet Skogsberg, Appreciation Pin
  • Suzanne Stewart, Appreciation Pin
  • Two staff members were honored with the D.A.I.S.Y. (Dynamic and Incredible Staff of the Year) award:  Peggy Brothers, AVP, Camp Program and Property and Jenny Waszak, HR Director.
  • We celebrated the dedication and action of 30 Service Units who received the President’s Award—this is a record number of Service Units earning the award!
  • Also, part of the celebrations were volunteers who’ve provided service to Girl Scouts from 5 to 60 years!  A record number of volunteers received their 5 and 10 year pins at this year’s event. 
  • Guests enjoyed continental breakfast, empowering music, a photo montage of awardees, cupcakes and time to reconnect with Girl Scout friends.

Thanks to everyone who made this year’s Annual Meeting such a great success. We remain grateful for all our staff and volunteers who make the Girl Scout world a wonderful place to work and serve!

Tribute to Achievement: A Night Where Actions Spoke Louder

The Girl Scouts, honorees and guests in attendance showed us all how to ACT FOR CHANGE at our 2019 Tribute to Achievement (TTA) dinner and we are grateful to so many for their generosity and support.

Girl Scout emcee Phoebe Williams kicked the night off as our Girl Scout emcee, much to the delight of those in attendance.

“There is no better time than right now for us to come together to lift up the girl voices that are speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo and working to change the world.”

The evening also featured a mini panel, with two of our Action Speaks Louder stars Amoolya and Carlie, as well as Connie Lindsey; Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity & Inclusion at Northern Trust and Past President of the Girl Scouts of the USA National Board.

Each of these women spoke about the impact of Girl Scouts in their individual lives and shared their hopes and dreams for change in the future.

Girl Scouts

“As adults, we have the responsibility and the privilege to create every opportunity possible for the girls in our lives to discover their own voices. We need to SEE them. We need to HEAR them. We need to ACT with them.” Connie Lindsey

See Amoolya, Carlie and other action taking girls in our council video “Action Speaks Louder.”

We also had the pleasure of honoring the following awardees; Luminary Award Recipient Kelly Grier of EY, Corporate Appreciation Award Recipient Exelon, received by Bridget Reidy, and the Girl Scout’s Own Award recipients, the Center for Childhood Resilience at Lurie Children’s Hospital, received by Dr. Colleen Chicchetti and Ms. Caryn Curry.

Honorees


Thank you to our honorees for showing the world that ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER!

We also want to thank everyone who supported Girl Scouts GCNWI at TTA this year! Your generosity will be the spark to help our Girl Scouts to become the best Go-Getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers and Leaders that they can be!

Together, we ACT for Impact. Your investment shows the world what you stand for and who you are. Your action speaks power to the importance of girls practicing leadership today.

These young women are the resilient change makers needed for a brighter future. We are grateful for your generous support. Support Girl Scouts GCNWI!

Are you ready to make a difference in the world? Earn the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Are you ready to make a difference in the world? Earn the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Wow—talk about impressive! Girl Scouts everywhere are changing the world in meaningful ways. What can we say? It’s in our DNA.

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn. All three awards give you the chance to do big things while working on an issue that’s captured your interest in a big way. Do you know a girl who is ready to be a part of this prestigious group of young women who are changing the world?

Learn more about the Highest Awards, and read on for an announcement about a change in requirements for the Girl Scout Silver Award and the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Attention Older Girl Scouts! As of October 1st, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is pleased to announce a change in requirements for the Girl Scout Silver Award and the Girl Scout Gold Award. Girls may now complete final projects that benefit the Girl Scout community. In order to make sure that this change doesn’t dilute the prestige, leadership efforts, or impact of each girl’s project, Silver and Gold Awards must still meet the requirements that are key to taking sustainable action:

  • The project makes a lasting difference in the local community, region, or beyond;
  • The project puts the Girl Scout Promise and Law into action;
  • The project includes provisions to ensure sustainability;
  • The project identifies national and/global links to the girl’s selected issue;
  • And the project inspires others.

This change does not impact girls who have already begun or submitted a project plan, since girls choose an issue first, and then add in the other parameters that will make it sustainable.

If you have any specific questions, please contact Annie Gilmartin, Manager of Highest Awards, the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

Video: Girl Scout Gold Award from GirlScoutsUSA on Vimeo.

Local Girl Scouts Give Back to Kids in Hurricane Victims

Local Girl Scouts Give Back to Kids in Hurricane Victims

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After watching a CNN special about students displaced after Hurricane Harvey, 12-year-old twins Allyssa and Ashley Smith joined forces with their Sister Girl Scouts in Troop 50384 to collect school supplies for kids in need.

“I saw the interview with a few students who were crying about losing all their stuff and not being able to go back to the same schools with their friends,” said Allyssa. “It made me really sad and I wanted to do something to give them hope that it was going to be okay. I thought if they had a new school bag with new stuff, it would let them know I care about what has happened to them even though I don’t know them.”

And her sister agreed.

“It is very important to help people in need because it can inspire them to get through their tough times into better times,” Ashley said. “There are so many mean people in the world who do bad things, but if more people are nicer and do good things to help each other, we can overcome the badness in the world. If no one starts, then the world will get worse. I want to be a part of the good people.”

Kids in the Gap

Inspired by a group called Kids in the Gap at their church, the girls and their friends decided to “stand for kids who can’t stand for themselves,” said Joyce Smith, Allyssa and Ashley’s mom.

The troop partnered with the Aurora Fire Department to reach their goal of 500 filled school bags for students in the Houston Independent School District.

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“By helping others, you are encouraging them. Showing compassion and giving kindness can really uplift a person when they are experiencing a rough time,” said 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadette Kendall Winston. “It lets them know that ‘I care for you,’ which can be great for someone who is hurting or suffering. My family and church family have also taught me that it is a blessing to help people when they need it most.”

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So far, the girls have received more than 100 bags from people in the community, as well as retailers such as JCPenney and Five Below. In addition to school supplies, each bag will contain a note of encouragement from the Girl Scouts as part of their Silver Award project, which is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.

“You never know when you may need help and you would want someone to help you,” said a 13-year-old Gelani Clark. “Right now, we are blessed to have more than what we actually need so why not be a blessing to someone who may be down on their luck if you can? When you have been blessed to have so much, it is good to give a blessing to others.”

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The girl are also collecting toiletries for those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Items can be dropped off at Aurora Fire Department stations.

“Girl Scouts has taught me that when you help others and give back to the community, you have a better impact on the work and it teaches you to be kind,” said 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadette Edniah Hamilton. “You have to think of others who may be less fortunate than you, so it’s nice to give back and help whenever you can.”

To learn more about how you can help with disaster recovery, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Your donation of any amount will continue to support Girl Scouts’ giving back!
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Local Girl Scouts Earn Silver Award

Local Girl Scouts Earn Silver Award

After noticing the gardens at a local residential facility were in need of some TLC this summer, Claireabelle Boudart, Emily and Lauren Balla of Arlington Heights, Illinois decided to take matters into their own hands, literally. The 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadettes helped spruce up the gardens at the Clearbrook Center in Rolling Meadows, Illinois as their Girl Scout Silver Award project.

“My uncle lived at Clearbrook for a lot of his life because he had Down syndrome,” Claireabelle said. “I went to visit him and saw the gardens needed a bit of work because everything was dead. So two of my other friends decided to make it our Silver Award project.”

The Silver Award is the highest award a middle school-aged Girl Scout can earn and it gives girls the chance to show that they are leaders who are organized, determined and dedicated to improving their community.

“When we visited the gardens, we saw it wasn’t very pretty,” Lauren said. “So we decided to do this as our Silver Award project because we figured it would put the residents in a better mood if they saw a nice garden and had somewhere to sit in the shade when it’s sunny.”

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With help from the Arlington Heights Garden Club and their mothers, Kathryn Boudart and Kristin Balla, the girls developed a plan to revitalize the gardens at Clearbrook, the largest provider of home-based services for people with disabilities in the state of Illinois.

“The garden clubs helped us dig up the old plants and figure out where to plant the new ones,” Emily said. “They were a really big help. I’m not sure how well we would have been able to complete the project without them.”

Unfortunately, Claireabelle’s uncle, Bill Ignacek, who was a longtime resident at Clearbrook, passed away before the garden renovation was complete.

“My uncle touched a part of my life and I felt like I had to give back,” Claireabelle explained. “He taught me how to behave around other people and how to respect everyone equally, so I wanted to pay it forward. If he was still around, I think he would be very happy with it.”

All of the girls are proud of their work and plan to pursue their Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.

“We were really surprised and happy and proud of ourselves that we were able to accomplish something like that,” Lauren said. “We learned that when you work hard as a group, you can accomplish a lot.”

Claireabelle agreed.

“I learned a lot from Girl Scouts, like how to give back, how to work with the community and how to work with other people,” Claireabelle said. “I think that giving back to your community is a very important part of your life because it does so much for you if you think about it.”

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