It’s time to get back to Girl Scouting with new Winter Programs!

It’s time to get back to Girl Scouting with new Winter Programs!

We’re so excited to launch our programs for winter because we have in-person and virtual opportunities for Girl Scouts to press play and get back in the swing of things. Get ready to start the New Year off with new programs!

Registration for programs from now through April are now OPEN! Ready to join us?

Programs are available for Girl Scouts of all ages and give them the opportunity to reconnect with nature, their Girl Scout friends, and self-discovery in general! Make sure to look through our events calendar above or through our ActiveNet registration portal to see all of our available programs!

Custom Programs for Girl Scouts!

Our custom programs are still available to sign-up for, which includes a fun list of offerings and brand new dates for the upcoming months! Make sure to visit our website to learn more about scheduling an in-person or virtual custom program.

Join us for Team STEAM programs!

Are you a STEAM enthusiast? Then join Team STEAM, where you can connect with other girls who love STEAM and women in STEM careers. Once you complete your first STEM badge as a troop, individual, or council, you can sign up to join the team! You will receive some Team STEAM swag and information about our meetings every other month to connect to other STEAM enthusiasts and hear from women who work in STEM careers.

There are opportunities for all ages of Girl Scouts to become an astronomer, LEGO robotics expert, engineer, and more: explore our website to register!

All Girl Scouts are invited to celebrate our Virtual Cookie Badge Bash on January 8 by joining us for two very special workshops catered to earning NEW cookie badges!

Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors will learn about the cookies, how to set goals, come up with a sales pitch, and learn how to build your team, while Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors will expand upon their knowledge of the cookie businesses, learn marketing tips, and work on building their own customer base!

Reminder: Cookies are “crumbing” December 15!

Become a Digital Leader!

The digital world is run by technology. If you want to change the real or digital world, technology can connect you to people, information, and causes in an instant. It provides tools to help you inform, organize, and mobilize others.

We have a set of programs that will expand upon girls’ knowledge of the digital world and how the internet works, while learning valuable life skills, internet safety, and more!

Camp Registration Opens March 1!

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 their ability to better solve problems and overcome challenges.
  • Develop leadership skills, build social bonds, and become team players.
  • Increase their level of overall happiness and gratitude, and care for the environment.

Registration opens March 1, but in the meantime, we have a TON of outdoor winter programs to get you in the camp spirit!

Volunteer programs are back!

As always, we have plenty of opportunities for v[AC1] olunteers, so be sure to browse those as well! These include resources for the cookie season, our Adult Enrichment series, CPR and First Aid, and more!

Your time to shine? Now!

Time to Renew, Girl Scout!

Connecting. Testing her strength. Making a difference. Renew today to make sure your Girl Scout continues to shine her brightest.

She’s ready to explore, learn, and create. She’s ready to come back.

Press play with Girl Scouts and watch her confidence soar.

Volunteers get together for annual Leader Enrichment Activity Program!

Volunteers get together for annual Leader Enrichment Activity Program!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about the role on our blog.

What is a Juliette?

What is a Juliette?

Girl Scout Juliettes, or Individually Registered Members, have the power to build their very own Girl Scout experience without a troop! Girl Scouts of all ages, with the support of a mentor, can participate individually, doing all of the things Girl Scouts in troops do, including earning badges, attending council programs, earning highest awards, selling cookies and Fall Product, and more.

Named after Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, being a Juliette is a great option for girls who:

  • want to work on Girl Scout activities on their own time
  • don’t have troops in their grade level at their school or community
  • whose troop has disbanded or doesn’t work with their schedules

Juliettes aren’t alone; instead of a troop leader, Girl Scout Juliettes have mentors, parents or trusted adults who volunteer to guide these Girl Scouts through girl-led experiences. And we have plenty of resources for Juliettes and their mentors, including:

  • The Juliette Guidebook – it includes everything available to Juliettes, who to contact information, a suggested layout of how to plan your Girl Scout year for each Girl Scout level
  • Juliette Mentor Quarterly Chats – live chats with council staff and other Juliette mentors
  • Volunteer Toolkit – planning tools to help plan out your Girl Scout Badgework and activities
  • A private BAND group (online forum) specifically for Juliettes and mentors to share information and network

If you’re looking for a way to stay engaged in Girl Scouts in a different way, Juliettes may be perfect for you!

Visit our website to get started.

Are you a Girl Scout Juliette or mentor with a story to tell?

Share your story with us for a chance to be featured on our blog and social media!

Celebrating our volunteers at the 2021 GCNWI Adult Recognition Ceremony

Celebrating our volunteers at the 2021 GCNWI Adult Recognition Ceremony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about the role on our blog.

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!  

A Safe Return to Girl Scouts

A Safe Return to Girl Scouts

Our girls need us, now more than ever. Girls younger than ever are facing unprecedented challenges navigating mental, social and emotional wellness and it is affecting how they navigate their daily lives. 

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana recognizes the effects lifestyle changes presented from a pandemic can have on our members. Girls have not been interacting with friends and family in a manner that they are used to. Their social interactions at school or extra-curricular activities had been paused or severely adjusted. Some girls encountered challenges with being in quarantine for extended amounts of time. Other girls had to process and deal with the aftermath of societal responses to racial injustices.

There has never been a more urgent time to help girls connect with others, make friends, and learn techniques that build resiliency in times of great stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. 

Advocating for the health and safety of girls in a physical sense is what we have always done. Extending that care and concern to the emotional and social health and wellness of our members is critical.  As we enter a new membership year, Girl Scouts is committed to building an ecosystem of wellness, health, and social-emotional wellbeing around girls. 

Check out the new trainings on trauma-informed practices.

How Girl Scouts Plan to Support the Ecosystem  

Girl Scouts is dedicating its resources to building resiliency in girls and creating a safe space for them to return to in the following ways:  

Resources for Volunteers  

Our curriculum and training modules help volunteers and families recognize trauma and put into practice ways to resolve conflict and build empathy, mindfulness, and coping skills. Log in to your Girl Scout account, select gsLearn from the menu on the left, and click on “content library” to take the available trainings:

  • Trauma-Informed Practices – Support all girls (and yourself) with best practices in social-emotional learning, developed with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s Center for Childhood Resilience.
  • Basics of Inclusion– Inclusion is at the core of who we are—sisters to every Girl Scout!
  • Grade Level Training for Bridging Leaders – Empower yourself with the confidence to lead girls as they bridge into their next program level.

“Girl Scouts is no longer a nice thing to have; it is a necessity,” says Girl Scout GCNWI CEO Nancy Wright.

It is time to do more than worry about girls and their well-being. It is time to act.  If you haven’t already, renew your membership for FY22 and get ready for a fun, yet safe return to Girl Scouting!  

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!

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.