Girl Scouts Connect with Groupon for Spark Day!

On April 27, Juniors and Cadettes joined Groupon’s incredible team to learn about careers, listen to dad jokes, participate in hands-on activities, and speak to women in STEAM.

Spark Day programs with Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) are instrumental to getting Girl Scouts hands-on career experience in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM)! When girls participate in Spark Day programs, they connect with industry professionals, participate in creative activities, and gain skills and knowledge that last a lifetime!

The keynote speaker at Groupon Spark Day, Christine, shared her and her three daughter’s individual career journeys and spoke about the importance of being true to yourself and identifying your unique skills and interests as you consider careers. Girl Scouts had the opportunity to get a little on-the-job experience through debugging, developing the perfect pitch, or taking a scavenger hunt virtual tour of Groupon’s website.

The event ended with a panel of inspiring women, who shared their stories, talked about what they love about their jobs, and introduced their pets. Girls had the opportunity to share their favorite subjects in school and what careers they are interested in.

The panel emphasized that no matter what your favorite subject is, from math to art, there are careers for you in technology. Girl Scouts left the event full of energy and excitement, saying that they hope to visit Groupon in person sometime in the near future!

Thank you, Groupon, for encouraging and inspiring Girl Scouts to explore STEAM!


Summer (and STEAM) Programs Are Now Open!

Girl Scouts is an integral part of this mission and has pledged to add 2.5 million girls to the STEAM pipeline in the next five years. At Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, we are committed to motivating a new generation of young women and girls to explore future careers in STEAM.

Register for a STEAM program today!

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

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

Learn more on our blog.

Learn more about career exploration with GCNWI on our website!

Girl Scouts Become Energized by Exelon Spark Day!

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

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

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

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

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


Spring and Summer Programs Are Now Open!

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

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

Learn more on our blog.

Catch up with GCNWI!

Girls Look into the Future with MetLife!

Our Spark Day programs are special opportunities for Girl Scouts to take a leap and explore the future with professionals at the top of their fields of expertise. From STEAM programming to career development, Girl Scouts learn the essential steps to take their ideas beyond their daydreams.

More than 30 Girl Scouts from Juniors to Cadettes made the most of their President’s Day off and gathered virtually to learn from MetLife employees about career development, careers paths, and get ahead of the game on resume-writing.

Perfecting the Elevator Pitch

The session began with a robust panel discussion by MetLife employees, and provided a space for girls to ask questions about their career paths, schooling, and other areas of interest. After the panel discussion, girls broke into small groups to tackle a wide variety of activities, including resume writing, elevator pitches, mock accident investigations, and finding out their own “personality color!” The girls were also given the resources to continue practicing these activities in their free time.

Two volunteers reflected on the event: “Working with young women who are passionate about learning and had great questions made my entire pandemic year! I truly enjoyed it!”

“This event was truly rewarding! To engage with our future leaders and provide a positive, impactful experience geared at making a difference in their lives makes my heart smile. I am better for having participated in the Spark Day event.”

Thank you to MetLife and their volunteers for running this amazing and creative Spark Day; these girls are now equipped with even more skills they need to achieve their biggest aspirations!


Girls Explore Careers at Spark Day with LGIM America!

People skills, creativity, and analytical thinking: these are three skills Girl Scouts have in spades. In the world of investment management and financial services, those three qualities come in handy. Cadettes and Juniors from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) had the awesome opportunity to develop these skills and connect with LGIM America (Legal and General Investment Management of America) to explore the world of the client services industry.

Girls curious about computers, working with people, and managing money virtually gathered on Jan. 14 to get an extra-special look directly into the world of financial services! The girls got a taste of many different career fields through a Q&A with members of every department. Participants also got to play the market like LGIM America professionals and test out their skills to see who could make the most revenue in the virtual world.

Here’s what some of these LGIM America Professionals had to say about the day:

“Participating in the Girl Scouts Career Day was an incredibly rewarding experience. The girls were all friendly, bright, and engaging. It was great seeing the gears turn in their heads as some made investment decisions. All of the girls are setting themselves up for success!” – Jillian Johnson

“It was great having the Girl Scouts at LGIMA. It was exciting to explore the world of asset management with them.” – Alejandro Sepulveda

“We were thrilled to host the Girl Scouts and happy to see how engaged they were with the stock-picking game. We hope they had fun and learned something new!” – Emma Cameron

Thank you so much to LGIM America for partnering with us to provide this very special program for our girls!

Interested in more STEAM opportunities?

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are invited to join us on Feb. 15 to meet with the employees of Exelon to learn about renewable energy, play games, and take a crack at building windmills!

This is a great opportunity to learn all about the many careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and engage in a hands-on challenge!

Register here to join us!

Member Monday: Sparking Interest in STEM!

Women hold less than 28% of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs in the United States, but make up more than 47% of the U.S. workforce. We look to girls and women, then, to become part of the 1 million new STEM professionals needed in the workforce by 2025.

Girl Scouts is an integral part of this mission and has pledged to add 2.5 million girls to the STEM pipeline in the next five years. At Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, we are committed to motivating a new generation of young women and girls to explore future careers in STEM.

West Monroe Partners is one of the visionary companies we have partnered with to spark an interest in STEM for girls in our council, culminating in two Spark Day programs earlier this month!

Continue reading to meet Carrie Camino, Director of Operations Excellence and co-chair of the West Monroe-GCNWI partnership, and learn all about the Spark Day initiative.

Girls of Tomorrow

For the first-ever virtual Spark Day with GCNWI, Girl Scouts had the opportunity to “visit” West Monroe Partners and get an inside look at what business and technology consulting is really all about. The girls had opportunities to speak with many people in a variety of fields, from green energy and water management, cybersecurity, software development, supply chain manufacturing, and more.

They engaged in hands-on activities developed by a team of 30 professionals at West Monroe, including deconstructing the manufacturing of a pencil, and simulating a Great Cookie Hack on the Digital Cookie platform, all to get insight on what day-to-day operations look like at West Monroe Partners.

The program was a huge success, and many girls left with a renewed interest in a future career in STEM. For Carrie Camino, Joel Brock, and Jodi Bednar, the co-chairs in our West Monroe collaboration, enriching the lives of girls with the STEM perspective is essential to building the next generation of leaders.

“My personal passion is to help girls of tomorrow think about what the future could look like.”

“My personal passion,” Carrie explained, “is to help girls of tomorrow think about what the future could look like.” West Monroe Partners is a firm focused on diversity of thought and experience, “and women and girls come at problems with a very different perspective,” one that is incredibly important to the consulting process and an economic imperative to the firm.

Carrie, a Girl Scout alum and parent herself, believes that the Girl Scout program can be a major stepping-stone to an interest in STEM. “Girl Scouts provides a structure of activities and opportunities to experience things you might not be afforded in any other environment.”

Her advice for Girl Scouts looking to make the most out of the experience? “Say yes to as many opportunities as you can.” And to young women interested in pursuing a career in STEM, Carrie says, “There is so much in the environment telling you what you can or shouldn’t do. Don’t listen. You can do or be whatever you want to be.”

Thank you to Carrie Camino for sharing with us, to partnership chairs Joel Brock and Jodi Bednar and to everyone that lent their expertise and creativity to bring the activities to life, and to West Monroe Partners for collaborating with us for this fantastic Spark Day initiative! Without them, Spark Day would not have been possible.

Curiosity Never Stops!

The new frontier of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is already here, and girls are taking the lead. The STEM Career Exploration badges for Girl Scouts in grades 2-8, funded by IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, are perfect for girls interested in breaking the mold in the world of STEM. Read our blog to learn about these badges!

Looking for STEM programming? Find some on our registration website!

Become Inspired by our National Gold Award Girl Scout

National Gold Award Girl Scout Therese combined her passion for STEM and social justice into a Gold Award project that won her national recognition. Watch the video above to learn more about her story!

Girl Scout Partners and Volunteers Create Virtual Space for Career Exploration

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) acted quickly to pivot from live, in-person programs, and events to an all-virtual platform this spring. Cross-functional teams aligned themed programming using online activity guides, webinars, and Zoom meetings.

Girls and their families jumped into this new programming format to enhance online schooling and to fill the void left without extracurricular activities.

One such program, provided by Girl Scouts GCNWI, used data from polls and surveys to curate a virtual experience that connects middle school and high school girls with professionals. Each Monday, Career Conversations feature 2-3 adults from a specified career field who share their insights and career paths with Girl Scouts and yield questions via Zoom.

Experts consist of Girl Scout volunteers, partners, and members of the Associate Board. Professionals typically volunteer to support badgework with Girl Scout troops in person, however with the current pandemic, the experts share their knowledge and insights virtually—no travel required!

Career Conversations launched with a focus on STEM careers and presenters included forensic fire scientist-Suzy Smith, civil engineer-Elizabeth Ottman, and architect-Jaclyn Marcus.

The second week featured other valuable Girl Scout partners in the fine arts profession. Adam Rudman, co-owner/writer/producer of Spiffy Pictures Inc. shared his career path as a writer for Sesame Street, Tom & Jerry, and other productions and how it led him to co-create, write and produce Nature Cat on WTTW.

Chelsea Hoy, Associate Artistic Director at the Trinity Irish Dance Company, explained to the girls how she uses her passion to empower children through the arts. Since its inception, Trinity Irish Dance Company has celebrated the strength, poise, and resilience of young female artists, consistently presenting males and females on equal footing. Through intentional casting, choreography, and costumes, they utilize their artistic platform to denounce the objectification of women.

Sarah Aronson, writing coach, teacher, and author of scholastic series, The Wish List, completed the panel. When Sarah is not writing or reading, she is talking to readers about creativity, writing, and of course, sparkle power!

Recent Career Conversations have included additional partners and experts including, US Navy Engineer- Erynne Bryd, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner- Laura Nolan, Attorney and Chief of Staff with the Chicago Transit Authority- April Morgan, Retail Buyer for GAP brands- Nancy Brandes, and Project Manager for Stericycle-Devyn Manshot.

Career Conversations are running through June 22 with an upcoming focus on cooking and animal careers. The popular series will resume in mid-July and run on Monday afternoons through mid-August. Specific career topics are being determined and will be posted on our activities schedule soon.

Are you an industry professional looking to speak at a Career Conversation with Girl Scouts? Visit HERE for more details!

Career and College Workshops for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors!

If you’re a Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador Girl Scout, you probably fielded a lot of career aspirations and college planning questions over the holidays. Don’t let all those family members scare you–– you have more than enough time! Preparing for the future can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Thankfully, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) has your back. Find out how you can start preparing to pursue your passions with our upcoming programs for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors.

Think Like An Engineer

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are invited to the Vernon Hills Gathering Place on Feb. 8 to Think Like an Engineer! Learn how engineers use the design thinking process to solve problems, create prototypes using this process, and brainstorm your Take Action project together.

Register here before February 1!

Spark Tank

Ever dream of running your own business? Maybe you have a great idea for an invention, or the business savvy to start a company?

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are invited to join GNCWI’s Spark Tank at Camp Greene Wood on March 27 to develop your idea, prototype it, and develop marketing. The program ends with a panel presentation to potential “investors/sharks!”

Register here before March 22 to snag a spot!

Three C’s: College, Career, Choose Your Own Path

Seniors and Ambassadors are invited to explore opportunities after graduating high school! Whether it’s attending college, starting your career, or choosing your own path, we are here to provide the resources you need. We’ll have college advisers, career counselors, trade school representatives, and travel advocates educate girls on all the options available.

Register here before April 19 to attend the April 25 workshop at Camp Greene Wood, and register here before April 26 for the May 2 workshop at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place!

College Knowledge

Seniors and Ambassadors, it’s almost time for college! From test prep to financial aid, explore the ins and outs of the college admissions process with Girl Scouts at various workshops available from January through April. Badge included!

For the March 14 workshop at the Merrillville Gathering Place register here, and register here for the April 4 workshop at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place!

The Future Looks Bright!

Whatever you see for yourself in the future, whether it’s becoming a bestselling author, a business-owner, a teacher, a public defender, an artist (the list goes on and on!), Girl Scouts has the resources and programming to help your dreams become reality. You have the potential within you–– let’s unleash it together.

Check out our programs page to see all the awesome opportunities lined up for this year for all ages (and some just for you CSAs).

Interested in earning one of the council’s Highest Awards? Find out how you can go Silver or Gold!

NIPSCO and the Girl Scouts Celebrate Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

NIPSCO and the Girl Scouts Celebrate Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

130 young girls filled NIPSCO and NiSource’s Merrillville Headquarters in celebration of Engineering Week with dozens of teams of both NIPSCO engineers and girl scouts working together to create their own devices.

This day was part of NIPSCO’s DAWN program who’s goal is to recruit, retain and accelerate the development of women at NIPSCO and serve as a voice to increase understanding and awareness of inclusion, diversity, and culture. Each of the girl scouts ranged from grades kindergarten to fifth grade and had one hour to work with NIPSCO engineers to create a device from materials provided.

“This has been the fourth year we have been doing this with NIPSCO and every time there is one thing that is always so amazing,” says Vice President of Programs and Property for the Girls Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Vicki King. “This event always embodies the true meaning of what a 1 to many mentoring model is. We serve 60,000 girls and we don’t have enough for a one on one form of mentoring. This event allows the girls to work immersively and develop a spark for engineering.”

To read the full story, visit ValpoLife.com.