Girl Scouts Develop Solutions at GSGCNWI’s First-Ever Hackathon

Girl Scouts of all ages met virtually last month to participate in Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s (GSGCNWI) first-ever Hackathon sponsored by Motorola and InventorCloud!

Girl Scouts of all ages rose to the occasion of different STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) challenges, designed to spark their creativity and brilliance. Daisies were tasked with using recycled materials and their ingenuity to create works of art and accessories for their stuffed animals; one girl created a pool and hot tub out of egg cartons and plastic containers, another built a robot costume and a mini swing!

Brownies and Juniors were challenged to create prosthetics for dolphins or ducks, and spent the day sketching, testing, and improving their designs, eventually presenting their final designs and explaining their thought processes, all while engaging with a group of inspiring women in STEAM who provided feedback on each project.

Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors took on a UN Sustainable Development Goal, coming up with an original solution in the areas of Quality Education, Health and Wellbeing, and Gender Equality. Several girls worked on educational solutions to global issues, which included everything from crowdsourcing peer tutors from around the world to support learners during COVID-19 (“Pens to Hearts”) to the “Homework Helper” app.

Other girls focused on mental health and wellbeing: Girl Scout Ariella created a “Happy App,” which encourages users to take breaks during the day to do something that makes them happy, Rachel proposed an app for girls to share stories, struggles, and support through middle school, and Girl Scouts Sarah and Natalie created a snack organizer to make kids aware of healthy snacks in a fun way. And Girl Scout Mac created an app designed to raise awareness and share information about the LGBTQ+ community, so people could find support around gender identity and sexuality. The thought and creativity that went into each solution were truly astounding and uplifting to see!

GSGCNWI would like to give special thanks to Motorola, who supported our Hackathon with funding and volunteers, and InventorCloud, who provided funding and the challenges. 


Girl Scouts is an integral part of the mission 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.

Our unique programming in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) helps girls turn their big ideas into real action and make an impact on their community.

Register for a STEAM program today!

Strength, resilience, togetherness, and the support of the community—that’s what Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is all about. So in this uncertain world, you can count on one thing for sure: today, tomorrow, together, we are on your team. Join Girl Scouts or renew your membership today!

Guest Girl Blog: Girl Scout Robotics Team Changes the Game with Fitness Innovation!

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI), powered by Motorola Solutions Foundation, have sponsored LEGO Robotics teams to compete in competitions since 2008!

One of those teams, the Gnarly Llamas of Wonder (G.L.O.W.), decided to take their robotics knowledge and turn it into an application with a real purpose: providing fitness opportunities and long-term lifestyle benefits for teens (or incarcerated youth) in juvenile detention centers.

GCNWI Girl Scouts Sonora, June, Emie, Kate, and Luci, are one of three FIRST Lego League teams in Illinois to win the Global Innovation Award!

Hear from the girls in their own words on how their project is helping to change the game and power the future.

Written by Girl Scouts Sonora, June, Emie, Kate and Luci 

We became a Girl Scouts sponsored rookie team in 2019, and we are now an enthusiastic robot-loving herd! G.L.O.W. is a Girl Scout sponsored team in the FIRST Lego League (FLL). This year’s FLL theme is Game Changer.  Since we were from multiple schools, we decided to strengthen our bonds by doing team-building activities and creating our mission modules together. 

As the season progressed, we interviewed experts to help solve the problem we identified: youth in juvenile detention facilities are not getting their daily 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) as recommended by the CDC. Our solution is a portable pod that projects beams of light to create a fun and engaging workout for the juvenile detainees while collecting data via a wearable device.

While working on this project, something that motivated us was thinking of the actual kids in these facilities that we would impact. Hearing about the lifestyle of kids in juvenile detention facilities and learning about the negative impacts of being inactive definitely drives us to make a difference. Knowing that our idea could really improve the lives of incarcerated kids motivates us to keep going, and it’s really fun to work as a team and create something beneficial and impactful to others! We really want to change the lives of these youth and help them.

Having our solution be part of a competition also provided motivation to continue working on this project because we had a rubric to work off of and judges to give us feedback. We also tested and researched to improve our robot design, attachments, and programming. 

At the Qualifiers, we won the Rising Star Award and moved on to States, and now, we are one of the three FIRST Lego League teams in Illinois to win the Global Innovation Project! We are the Gnarly Llamas of Wonder and are proud of all the growing we have done.


Girl Scouting has many important values. It teaches us how to work with other girls our age, and to build a respectful community. It also teaches us how to do many different things, and exposes us to different cultures. And finally, it emphasizes giving back and making an impact all while having FUN.

We wish people knew that being a Girl Scout is more than just selling cookies and singing songs. We learn life skills all in a supportive and encouraging environment. Girl Scouts are capable and awesome.

Thank you so much to these awesome Girl Scouts for sharing their story with us!

Learn More about Robotics! 

Girl Scouts offers programs and badges designed to learn more about robotics! Plus, our unique programming in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) helps girls turn their big ideas into real action and make an impact on their community.

You can attend a Design Your Own Robot Badge workshop to learn about what robots do and how they help people, then design your own!

Get involved in LEGO Robotics

As a part of a FIRST LEGO Robotics team within Girl Scouts GCNWI, teams will:

  • Design, build, test, and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS ® technology;
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts;
  • Research challenges facing today’s scientists;
  • Learn critical thinking, team-building, and presentation skills;
  • Participate in team meetings, tournaments, and celebrations.

If you are interested in participating and joining a formed team, please contact Corinna Christman.

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!

Join us for Summer Camp Revamp!

A Virtual Camp Experience

Six Sessions, July 6–August 14 | Grades K–12
$30 per girl/week | Registration is Now Open

Renew your Girl Scout membership before June 30 and save 15% on one week of Summer Camp Revamp!

This summer, the fun of connecting with others, exploring new things, and receiving snail mail combine to create a one-of-a-kind virtual experience for girls! It’s camp, reimagined… it’s Summer Camp Revamp!

How it Works

Summer Camp Revamp offers six themed, virtual camp sessions led by our council teams and older Girl Scouts. Join us for all six, or pick-and-choose the weeks that you like best!

Each week girls will get 10+ hours of fun-filled activities through online meetings, video, and a printable activity packet for on-your-own exploration. 

Register Now for Each Weekly Session

July 6–10: STEAM, Dreams, & Ice Cream 

July 13–17: GIRLapalooza 

July 20–24: Adventure Awaits 

July 27–31: Mastering Mystery 

August 3–7: Movie Magic 

August 10–14: Glowing and Growing 

Save 15% on one week of Summer Camp Revamp when you renew your Girl Scout membership by June 30!

Summer Camp Revamp is Fun for All Ages!

While activities are geared toward girls entering grades 2-8 this fall, girls in grades K-1 are welcome but may need additional parent/guardian assistance. 

Older girls (grades 9-12) are welcome to join-in on weekly activities with younger girls. If you are an older girl or Counselor in Training interested in helping out with Summer Camp Revamp programs, let us know by June 29 »

Camp Supplies Delivered to Your Doorstep

Don’t feel like going to the store? Not a problem!

Each week you can add an optional activity kit that is FULL of things to enhance your experience, plus a few fun surprises! You can also order a general supply pack with materials you’ll use all summer. Learn more »

Shop Summer Camp Revamp

Just in time for Summer Camp Revamp, get your kit that includes everything you need to make your very own tie-dye t-shirt. Plus, order your fun patch! Order Now »

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!

Play Earth Day Bingo for Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary!

Today isn’t just any Earth Day–– it is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! First celebrated and founded by Gaylord Nelson in 1970, the day was meant to increase climate awareness and create a movement that focused on environmental protection. On the very first Earth Day, 20 million people gathered in streets, parks, and auditoriums in order to fight against pollution that contributed oil spills, pollution from factories and power plants, toxic dumps, pesticides, extinction of wildlife, and loss of wilderness.

What was truly amazing about the first Earth Day day was that everyone, despite their different backgrounds, came together to fight for a common goal: to protect the environment from further harm. The first Earth Day had quite an impact, eventually leading to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the passing of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts!

Today, millions of people around the world celebrate Earth Day by taking action, advocating, and learning how to help the Earth! We invite you to join in with the millions of other people and join in on the celebration–– and we have plenty for you to do.

Let’s Play Earth Day Bingo!

Looking for ideas on how to celebrate the occasion? Look no further! We have two Bingo cards for you, each with 25 items, totaling 50 activities and ways you can celebrate Earth Day not just today but EVERY day!

Download printable Earth Day Bingo cards

The “Earth” card has fun activities you can do while celebrating our lovely planet, and the “Day 50” card has ideas for lifestyle changes you can adopt into your everyday routines. When you put the two cards together, they read “Earth Day 50”!

Begin by selecting either card and completing activities to get five in a row. If you’re up for the challenge, see how many “Bingos” you can make! Can you do all the activities on one card?

Even if you’re able to complete just a few activities here and there and don’t quite get a Bingo, that’s totally OK! We encourage you to do your best and have fun with it. One small act can have a huge impact.

Download your Bingo cards now

Earn a Patch!

Save the planet while you save some energy! Earn your Save Our Energy Patch. For this patch, you will focus on what action we can do individually to slow climate change. When each of us does our part to save electricity and water at home, together we make a significant difference in reducing our carbon footprint.

How to Complete Earth Day Bingo Activities

We have put together a few resources for completing many of the Earth Day Bingo activities. First, download the activity packet that walks you through step-by-step instructions for some things you can do!

Download the activity packet and watch the videos below!

You can also watch these awesome videos that teach you about a few other activities!

  • How to make a nature journal
  • A nature walk and exploration
  • How to build a solar oven out of a cereal box
  • Composting indoors and outdoors
  • How to plant a seed indoors
  • The 7 Leave No Trace Principles
  • How to make a reusable bag out of an old t-shirt
  • Relaxation with nature yoga

Watch all the videos now!

Share Your Earth Day Story

We are so excited to see what lifestyle changes you make or are planning to incorporate into your life! We would love for you to share your photos and ideas with us so we can see how our Girl Scout community is helping the earth. For the photos that you share, we ask that you write down the lifestyle change you made on a sign and pose with it while you’re in action. Be creative with your photos, and make sure your sign is visible!

Share your story with us!

We can’t wait to see all the ways you’re going to help our planet! Have fun, and have a happy Earth Day!

Girl Scouts Persevere and Triumph at LEGO Robotics Competitions!

Lego Queens jump for joy!

Powered by Exelon, and supported by BNY Mellon and Motorola Solutions Foundation

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana sponsors LEGO Robotics teams to compete in competitions. We have offered a LEGO Robotics program since 2008, and we now support 27 teams each year, impacting 100+ girls annually.  

In the 2018 season, GCNWI had 25 teams, including five rookie teams! Five of our veteran teams advanced to state championship tournaments.

Veteran Teams Advance to State! 

The Indiana GCNWI team, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Robot, competed in one of the many robotics competitions that took place in November and qualified for the state championship. At state, they were awarded the first-place award for Robot Strategy & Innovation as well as received a trophy for excellence in Robot programming.

Now that the season has ended, our girls are working on their Silver Award and have decided to sponsor a toothbrush drive for less fortunate members of our community. Their experience at the state competition, also led them to create a long-term strategy to pass the team on to younger girls.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Robot holding their trophy at the state competition.

The Super Bots competed at the state qualifiers for the fourth year in a row and swept away the competition, earning 212 points on their first table run. They earned the Tournament Champion award and qualified them to also compete at state level in January. They received the award for “Excellence in Robot Design.” These girls were one of the teams invited to tournaments in Turkey and Australia, which is a wonderful recognition!

Congratulations to the Super Bots!

Team Radioactive is small but mighty! They managed to capture the Championship trophy and advance to the state finals at the Vernon Hills qualifier in December.  At the state championship in January, these ladies took home the “Gracious Professionalism” award, which was well deserved.    

The Cybourg T.U.R.T.L.E.S. are fascinated by space exploration. Their initiative impressed the judges when they presented a 50+ question personality survey about Mars readiness, and this earned them the Project Award. They also advanced to state, where they made their best table runs of the season.  

These Cybourg T.U.R.T.L.E.S are ready for space exploration!

Rookie Teams Also Earned Recognition

Funding from BNY Mellon helped make it possible to add five new teams to our robotics programs!  

Holmes Hawks loved their first year as robotics team members!

Rookie team Holmes Hawks competed at their first qualifier in December. The team worked collaboratively to complete the competition’s course, and while they did not place, it never diminished their enthusiasm. The demonstrated exceptional problem-solving skills, collaborating and hypothesizing on how to run their mission. Their persistence and optimism earned them the “Rookie Award” for the competition, and they are excited to compete again next year. They plan to complete five missions!  

Another rookie team, the Slimemaniacsqualified for state on their first attempt! They also earned the award for Core Values. At the state championship tournament the girls won the “Rookie Award”!    

All our LEGO Robotics Teams together.

Learn More about Robotics! 

Girl Scouts offers programs and badges designed to learn more about robotics! You can attend a Design Your Own Robot Badge workshop to learn about what robots do and how they help people, then design your own! 

Get involved in LEGO Robotics

The Girl Scouts GCNWI LEGO program is in partnership with FIRST Robotics. You can be a part of the excitement! Applications open annually in May to participate in the following season.

We are looking for teams of Girl Scouts, who have between 2 – 10 participants, two team leaders, and are willing to dedicate 1 – 2 hours per week on LEGO Robotics from September through December. Girl Scouts participating do not necessarily need to be from the same troop.

As a part of a FIRST LEGO Robotics team within Girl Scouts GCNWI, teams will:

  • Design, build, test, and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS ® technology;
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts;
  • Research challenges facing today’s scientists;
  • Learn critical thinking, team-building, and presentation skills;
  • Participate in team meetings, tournaments, and celebrations.

Sign-up to be notified with the 2019-2020 applications are open!