Press Play on Fall Programs!

Press Play on Fall Programs!

It’s time to get back to Girl Scouting with new programs that just launched!

We’re so excited to launch our programs for Fall, 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 Girl Scout year off right, from Becoming Me workshops to celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month and so much more!

Registration for programs from now through December 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 also launching today, which includes a brand-new list of offerings and 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 Becoming Me Workshops!

Inspired by former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama’s book Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers, our Becoming Me workshops help you explore the truth of your own story, use the power of your voice, and introduce you to unique experiences!

There are opportunities for all ages of Girl Scouts to become a trail adventurer, go behind the ballot, make new friends, and more: explore our website to register!

Order your Becoming Me patch, badges and FREE requirements from our shop site.

Celebrate International Day of the Girl!

Girl Scout Brownies through Ambassadors are invited to celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 17 by joining us for two very special workshops sponsored by Barilla and INVENTORCLOUD!

Brownies and Juniors will explore how to reduce their impact on the environment, while Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors will explore sustainable farming and fast fashion!

Highest Award trainings are here!

Every Girl Scout goes above and beyond to make a difference in her community and the greater world. And the skills and experiences she gains along the way set her up for special recognition through the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards.

We have training for Girl Scouts who want to earn their Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards! We also have a special Take Action Workshop on October 13 for Girl Scouts who want to learn more about service projects and are thinking of earning a Highest Award.

Join us for a Pumpkin Smash!

It’s pumpkin smashing season! Join us for our third annual Pumpkin Smash event (various times between November 5-7) and unite with others in the effort to help divert compostable material from landfills. Bring your old pumpkins to compost…and SMASH!

Want to do more? Attend our fun Fall Fest either before or after you smash your pumpkin! Participate in various activities that include making fall themed crafts, adventuring through the forest, either on a spooky or glow hike, playing games, and enjoying a pre-packaged snack around the campfire’s glow.

Register here!

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

During Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins on September 15 and continues until October 15, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) have some awesome ways to celebrate and show your pride!

Look out for a bilingual blog post soon, where you’ll get the full scoop on everything we have planned to celebrate!

Volunteer programs are back!

As always, we have plenty of opportunities for volunteers, so be sure to browse those as well!

The Leader Enrichment Activity Program is a valuable experience for all Girl Scout volunteers: take it from one volunteer, Robin! “LEAP is a fun weekend with old friends and learning new ideas, programs, crafts, and information at one of our favorite GCNWI camps! Give it a try, I am sure you’ll love it!”

Don’t miss out on this year’s Leader Enrichment Activity Program on October 22 at Camp Butternut Springs! Register and learn more!

Are you a troop leader, troop support volunteer, service unit team member, product program volunteer, or another Girl Scout volunteer? Come to Camp Greene Wood on November 14 for some one-on-one time with your Girl Scout!

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. 

Introducing 28 new Girl Scout badges for all ages!

Introducing 28 new Girl Scout badges for all ages!

We are so excited to introduce 28 new badges for Girl Scouts of all ages!

Become a digital activist; make your own Cookie Business plan; explore the natural world through the lens of math; it’s time to take on something new! With these 28 new badges in Math in Nature, Entrepreneurship, and Digital Leadership, and new Global Action Awards, Girl Scouts will have the chance to break new ground in whatever they’re passionate about, whether it’s reinventing the way they sell cookies or finding out that STEM is for them.

See the new badges below and use the Badge Explorer to start your badge-earning journey!

Purchase badges and badge guides on our shop!

The Brand New Badges

New for Girl Scouts of All Ages

All Girl Scouts in grades K-12 can now earn Cookie Business and Digital Leadership badges!

13 Cookie Business Badges

Girl Scout Daisies to Ambassadors will be challenged to think beyond the cookie booth and become Cookie Goal Setters, Bosses, and Influencers! Digital sales and marketing will be just part of this curriculum where Girl Scouts will learn how to make the most of the Cookie Season and the Digital Cookie® platform!

6 Digital Leadership Badges

Sponsored by Instagram

Girl Scouts of all ages looking to explore the power of social media should look no further than the Digital Leadership badges! Learn to be safe online and manage screen time, how to create social impact and become a digital activist, and connect with your local and global community!

2 Global Action Awards Badges

There are two new major awards for Girl Scouts of all ages: World Thinking Day Award and Global Action Award. Girl Scouts will be able to start creating global impact today with these two new awards–one for each Girl Scout level.

New for Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors

Girl Scouts in grades K-5 can now earn brand-new Math in Nature badges!

9 Math in Nature Badges

Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson

Get outdoors and explore the worlds of mathematics and nature, at once! These badges help Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors (K-5) live in the intersection of science and math, discovering the Fibonacci sequence, finding patterns in the planet, and much more.

Get Started Today!

These badges are ready to go, and through Girl Scouts at Home, GSUSA has free self-guided activities available online now!

You can also access a suite of Girl Scout programming online through the Volunteer Toolkit, including troop meeting plans, tips for volunteers, and other resources to help Girl Scouts earn badges and awards! There are also 28 training videos for volunteers: search gsLearn for “Badges” to watch all the mini-courses!

Explore all of the amazing badge opportunities online using the Award and Badge Explorer!

Purchase badges and badge guides on our shop!

Renew to Press Play

Connecting. Testing your strength. Making a difference. Renew today to make sure you continue to shine your brightest.

Press play with Girl Scouts: renew your membership today!

Join us for our Smart Cookies Badge Bash!

Join us for our Smart Cookies Badge Bash!

Join Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) at our premier fall fundraising event,  Smart Cookies Badge Bash, this September 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago! Hosted by our Associate Board, this event will give our supporters and community the chance to experience the fun and meaning of Girl Scouting firsthand, by meeting and learning from our Girl Scouts themselves.

At this signature cocktail reception event, we are showcasing the unique experiences Girl Scouting provides at 6-8 booths headed by Girl Scout alumns from our council! Attendees will participate in hands-on activities and learn more about what Girl Scouting is like by visiting booths such as Cadette Space, Science of Happiness, and the Coding Basics booth.

We are excited to feature the Newton Busters, the FIRST LEGO League World Championships competitors, who will be present at the Smart Cookies Badge Bash with their own booth! This is an incredible team of robot designing Girl Scouts in 7th to 12th grade who utilize several programs to showcase their technical design and team performance at local, state, and national competitions. They aim to raise awareness that women represent 25% of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workforce, and to raise the participation of girls in STEM activities through community outreach programs. Don’t miss out on a chance to see how these robots are made and get an opportunity to drive one!

Don’t miss out!

Bring your “troop” of friends and test your skills in earning badges and patches, led by today’s Girl Scouts, while enjoying bites, beverages, music, and much more.

Buy your ticket today!

Interested in sponsoring Smart Cookies? Check out the sponsorship benefits package!

This event is for our adult supporters and community; the badges earned will be just for fun!

Meet the Gold Award Class of 2021

Meet the Gold Award Class of 2021

Gold Award Girl Scouts are the dreamers and the doers who take “make the world a better place” to the next level. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable and proof that not only can they make a difference, but that they already have.

Seniors and Ambassadors who earn the Gold Award tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond. Think of the Gold Award as a key that can open doors to scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, and amazing career opportunities. 

The Gold Award Class of 2021 from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) are young changemakers; they are innovators, organizers, and advocates. Each of these Girl Scouts poured their hearts and energy into projects that will leave a positive and lasting impact on others, and we are so proud of them!

Scroll through to meet the Gold Award Class of 2021!

Alexis T. Staying Alive

My original idea for my project, “Staying Alive,” was to CPR-certify members of my community. This new skill would allow people to act in the case of an emergency and have the potential to save lives. Due to the pandemic, I had to slightly change my project. I decided to start making face masks for people within my community and I attached a card that outlines the basic steps of CPR. These cards can be kept in wallets, cars or wherever else may be useful. The face masks I made were used by members of my community in order to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. It was important to me that I incorporated a new plan of action once I determined that I could no longer safely certify people. Even though I could no longer certify people in person, I knew that I still wanted to share this skill with others. By making the cards and masks, it allowed me to share this skill while still staying safe.

Allie D. From Eigth Grade to High School

My project is a presentation that is going to be put up on Bannockburn Elementary School website. The project gives tips and advice to help the eighth graders transition to the major high school in our town. The topics are clubs, academics, athletics, and some other social aspects.

Allison S. Pollinator Garden

Our church had a third of an acre “forest” full of invasive plants. I cleaned and mulched the area and created a pollinator garden using native plants. We also removed invasive trees and bushes, replacing them with native species.

Alyssa N. Fish Measuring Boards and Portable Tables (FLAG)

I made fish measuring boards and portable tables for the Will County Forest Preserve.

Alyssa S. Gaming for Women

I created a tournament for competitive Pokemon specifically designed to welcome women to play. Named the “Women’s Tournament,” I was able to create a safe space for women to feel welcome and play Pokemon, and also interact with other women in the community. I also created a Discord server for people to join and use that as the hub for women to practice and meet each other and view tournament information. I was able to livestream the event on Twitch so that everyone else in the community could watch and support the women playing in the tournament.

Amber D. Growing With The Elderly

I built and painted two raised gardening beds with wheels and have them to the American House Cedarlake Assisted Living Facility. Each bed has four wooden walls, caster wheels (for mobility), soil, and seeds. Since the residents are not allowed outside of the homes, adding a garden with fresh vegetables and herbs would gave them a new hobby (gardening), some new scenery to look at while inside of the home, and a new garden filled with fruits and vegetables that they can eat.

Amelia R. Prayer Garden

In order to bring attention to the ever growing awareness around mental health, a garden for prayer, reflection, meditation, and mindfulness was made to be accessible to the students and staff at the Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. Complete with a bench, carefully hand painted rocks, and a mailbox with wonderful messages of positivity and mindfulness along with guides to meditation, this garden has been an exceptional addition to the school especially due to how no spaces at the school were specifically designed for students to go to for complete privacy prior to the completion of the garden. Located in the school’s outdoor garden, it gives students the chance to reconnect with nature and to take a moment to destress, away from the stressors of every day life at school.

Anna B. Mokena School and Park District Pet Cleanup

My Gold Award addresses the issue of pet waste left on the grounds of the community park and on the grounds of the adjacent school. The park and the large area around the school are very popular places for members of the community to walk with their dogs and these areas see a great deal of foot traffic. By providing pet waste receptacles, I have helped the community maintain the health and beauty of the grass and keep it free of pet waste, thereby allowing members of the community to better enjoy these outdoor areas.

Aren S. Supply Station

My project was created to help students who may not have access to important daily school supplies. I selected a school that over 76% of the population is on the free and reduced lunch plan. I wanted students to focus on their education and not on the financial burden that buying supplies places on those kiddos. I fundraised and had many supplies donated. After supplies were donated bags were created with school supplies the students needed. The additional school supplies were in a general location at the school for students to access when they were needed throughout the school year.

Arwen R. St. John’s Cemetery Veteran Memorial Map Project

My project makes sure that all veterans buried at St. John’s cemetery in Mokena, Illinois receive proper recognition by flag placement at the foot of their grave for Memorial Day. To achieve this goal, I worked with both the head of St. John’s Cemetery and the Mokena VFW Post 725 to produce a map of the cemetery that has the locations and names of all deceased veterans. This map is reproduced and distributed to those placing flags on the graves the weekend before Memorial Day and helps to ensure that no veteran is forgotten or left behind.

Ashley S. Comfort Carts

My project addresses the need for providing children’s ministry services for families with special needs children. After working in the Peer Partner program at my high school, I realized the importance of having more opportunities for inclusion for these children in my community. As a result, I researched, designed, and created a special needs program for Alleluia Lutheran Church called Caring Connect whereby special needs children can be assimilated into age appropriate Sunday School classrooms to promote independence and growth as well as build self-esteem for these children. The project also included the development of two mobile comfort carts that contain fidgets and specialized equipment needed to incorporate these children into a classroom in a safe and comfortable way. To reduce costs, I constructed several items such as sensory bottles, weighted lap pads, and weighted stuffed animals. The project also involved development of the program procedures and a training program and manual to qualify and train volunteers. After training, each special needs child is provided with a “buddy” each week to serve as their mentor.

Avery M. Distance Marker Project

I worked to support my community by implementing distance marker signs along the path in a local park. Also included with the distance markers is an opening sign with a summary of the history of the town and park. The goal is to encourage outdoor activity and beautify the park.

Brianna D. For the Love of STEM

I planned and hosted a virtual STEM event for 100 third and fourth graders in my community. Additionally, I made a website with curriculum, instructions, and required materials for future use. I aimed to decrease stigmas within STEM classes and courses that lead to disinterest. While instructing participants through a variety of STEM-related activities, I taught technical skills and soft skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.

Cali L. Mental Health Videos

During our turbulent teenage years, there’s a lot of things that can wrong and that can change. One thing that is affected during this time, though, is mental health. When I first started this project, I identified
that my mental health was not the strongest and that led to a series of issues, such as me losing friends
and stopping activities that I was passionate about. I wanted to make videos to help try to reverse those
things.

Caroline E. Outdoor Oasis

The Outdoor Oasis project entailed creating a garden for hands-on agricultural and biological experiences for school children. In this project, I created a tiered “vertical” garden with many garden boxes in order to efficiently use the space, as well as created a traditional raised garden bed. The grade levels have split up the various gardening areas and will include it as part of their curriculum when teaching about plants. Additionally, they will be able to use the vegetables once they are grown. Finally, the garden also serves to beautify the courtyard that it is located in.

Claire B. Little Free Libraries

I went out and built/installed three Little Free Libraries around my community in places where they would be helpful and/or spark interest in reading. I aimed to provide as diverse stories as possible to expose my community to a broad variety of different narratives!

Delaney B. Diapers for Dignity

Nationwide, researchers estimated that 7 million children need diapers, and only about 300,000 of these children receive support from diaper banks. Diapers are an essential and often an overlooked need for
families who are struggling financially. Dignity, and overall family well-being are at stake when parents
and caregivers cannot afford an adequate number of disposable diapers. Diaper Depot provided low
income families in the North/Northwest region of Chicago the support they needed.

Eden H. Kenilworth Union Church Cares

I created a junior care guild to provide support to those struggling with mental health issues in my community. My project directly fought the negative impacts that COVID-19 had on the mental health of youth in my community. My junior care guild provides all types of support to teens in the area who are struggling such as delivering goodies and mailing cards.

Elliana B. Remodeling the Early Childhood Education Center at Concordia University

As schools are reopening this fall, they have an unexpected challenge to address, especially how to safely educate students during a pandemic. The Early Childhood Education Center at Concordia University Chicago has been working for many years to improve their playgrounds but they still had a few issues to address. These issues include having unusable outdoor storage for their toys and equipment and needing a wider variety of areas for children to play and explore.

I created two platforms that lifted the storage containers out of the mud and allowed the doors to swing freely. This also allowed for the toys inside to be stored cleanly instead of having them sit directly in the mud. I also created a kitchen to match the pots and pans that the teachers already had. This created an entirely new play area for the preschoolers who must spend most of their day playing outside due to COVID-19.

Heidi S. Raised Herb and Flower Boxes

My Gold Award involved the creation of three elevated garden bed boxes at a local retirement home in my community. These boxes allowed residents to have an outlet for the planning, growing and harvesting of their own herbs, vegetables and flowers. It also allowed for the socialization of the residents and collaboration of their efforts.

Janine G. Girls in STEM

I hosted three workshops with 29 girls. I did five experiments that related to science and also gave a presentation that looked at what STEM was and other resources that girls can use to continue their learning in relation to STEM. Each workshop was about an hour and a half and most of the girls were Girl Scouts; all of them were in grades 3-5.

Jenna H. Butterfly Prairie Garden

For my Gold Award I designed a butterfly garden at Camp Greene Wood. I did this by cutting and mulching a sitting area and path through a prairie, building butterfly houses which were placed along the path, and built an entrance arbor for the garden. I also made informational booklets to guide troops through the path and educate them about prairie plants and flowers as they walk through the garden. For the garden, I picked and harvested seeds to spread and plant in the spring to continue to sustain the prairie.

Jennifer B. Composting Makes Changes

I created a double decker compost bin at the garden plots at the Lisle Food Pantry. The goal of my project was to find a more sustainable way to get rid of waste that comes from a garden. I used two large drum barrels as the composters and used wood supports in order to stack them and make the barrels easy to turn. Another goal of the composter was to make it easy to use.

Jordan E. Grab and Go Book Bags

I collected reusable bags and books for children at the Lake County Children’s Advocacy center to choose from. The LCAC deals with children and teens who have been abused and the teens are often forgotten when people are giving donations. I collected books geared towards teens and they can fill up a bag to take with them.

Jordan K. “Pop In” Boxes

I organized a donation drive for two homeless shelters in my area. I made the boxes myself, developed social media sites for the drive, and also created a website. This drive was created because these specific shelters were struggling throughout the holiday season during the pandemic, and I wanted to find a way for myself and the community to help out.

Jordanne N. Hey Pretty Girl

Many girls develop low self-esteem and body image issues due to how media portrayals. I created the website www.heyprettygirl.net, a safe space where girls can discuss and express their feelings and emotions about themselves through links to books, poetry, and affirmations that uplift. My final pieces were a self-esteem workshop, creating a club at my school, and growing a long-lasting social media presence.

Karina V. Be Smart, Don’t Start

My project was about raising awareness on the dangers of drug abuse amongst youth. I spent time researching, interviewing experts, and creating a presentation that I gave to youth groups. I also shared the presentation with local schools and a non-for-profit organization as an additional tool augment their health curriculum. My presentation also created anti-drug youth ambassadors.

Katie C. Befriend a Butterfly

My Gold Award addressed the decreasing Monarch butterfly population, and the steps that community members could take towards positively impacting the species. I lead educational classes that taught how to identify butterfly eggs in the wild and raise caterpillars from home. At the end of each class, I gave participants take-home kits which included instructions on how to raise them, two or three butterfly eggs, and a stalk of milkweed that was grown from seed. The intention of including the kits was to not only help inflate future monarch generations by adding to their population, but also promote awareness within younger generations. Additionally, I worked with my local public works department to install a large monarch habitat in the community park. The butterfly garden included several caterpillar and butterfly food sources, as well as an assortment of perennials and a flagstone path for kids to walk across.

Kayla A. How to be a Teen Advocate

According to Everytown USA, nearly 2,900 children and teens (ages 0 to 19) are shot and killed annually, and nearly 15,600 are shot and injured—that’s an average of 51 American young people every day. My project is to increase awareness of this problem by being a teen advocate to reduce gun violence against kids ages (0-19) while helping others advocate for their cause.

Keeley M. Girls in STEM!

My Gold Award addressed the underrepresentation and stereotypes of women in STEM fields. Often, girls are not encouraged or directed to pursue a passion in a STEM field. In order to address this, I completed a two-part project. For the first part of my project, I attended 11 younger Girl Scout troop meetings in my local area and I coordinated STEM based troop meetings. I directed activities such as a coding team-building maze, building platform shoes from recycled materials, making kinetic sand, a math scavenger hunt, and a race car coding activity. For the second part of my project, I moderated a live, 2-hour zoom webinar, in coordination with the Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien, Illinois. Five accomplished women in STEM fields were on the panel. They answered various questions relating to STEM, including their experiences in the workplace and how they became so successful. Through this, I was able to give and provide opportunity to my community at large.

Kendall B. Climate Connection

I built a bridge to ensure safety to those horseback riding or hiking over a small creek. Additionally, I further educated younger scouts and children how to take care of the outdoors and love the Earth!

Korey Z. Bethel Church Micro-pantry

Located in Lansing IL, I created a micro-pantry at Bethel Christian Reform church, where I saw a need for struggling families. A micro-pantry is a small box-like structure that offers non-perishables and other basic necessities to anyone who needs them. This created an anonymous place where people can get items without judgement and donate without contact of others.

Lia P. Community Benches

I researched the importance of social skills, friendship, and cooperation among the youngest of school children, and decided to develop a community bench. To do this, I assisted in the researching, building, and execution of plans to build the bench for a local preschool. In addition, I created an instructional video and survey to measure the effectiveness of my project in the classroom.

Lillian R. Girls Leadership Club

The Girls Leadership Club is a space dedicated to the young women of my school community’s personal empowerment and promoting both female empowerment and discussion of women’s issues school-wide. Girls Leadership Club invites girls from grades 9-12 to gather in a space that is safe and comfortable to express themselves, develop leadership skills, and broaden their own understanding of women’s issues, all while cultivate a culture of female empowerment in our school. We engaged in service for women facing housing insecurity, spent time discussing ways to improve our school’s culture surrounding women, and spent time reflecting on our own self-image as young women. Girls Leadership Club is both an all-purpose empowerment space and advocacy group for the women of my school and the world.

Lily P. Domestic Violence Prevention

Education outreach in schools and in the community and promoting healthy relationships was my main goal for my project. I wanted to bring awareness of unhealthy relationships and to provide a source of support to those who may find themselves in an unsafe environment. By going out into the community, I was able to collect much needed donations for the Apna Ghar Women’s Shelter as well as sharing educational materials and tools to the community.

Lindsey M. Shelter Garden

[I beautified] a shelter for the homeless to make clients feel better about where they are. Just because they are homeless, doesn’t mean they should have to go to a shelter that looks like it isn’t cared for. Having a beautiful place to call home will inspire residents to keep going on their path.

Madeline H. Empowerment Program

My Gold Award addressed teen girl empowerment and was designed to serve teenaged high school girls as part of a new program being developed at Naperville’s Alive Center. The project focused on the development of program content and activities for the newly created teen-led, teen-driven program as well as the creation of a resource brochure on teen issues. The brochure, designed to help teens navigate various teenager challenges, was distributed free distribution at Alive Center’s various locations as well as provided in electronic form for continued distribution.

Maeve D. Duck Deck Construction

For my Gold Award, I worked alongside Willowbrook Wildlife Center to build “duck deck.” These are raised, waterproof platforms made from decking material to provide shelter for the ducks at the Willowbrook nature center. With a hide-box and a hinged ramp, these decks can be submerged in a adequate environment for waterfowl and serve as a habitat for up to 25 years. The construction took about 4 days start to finish, with several months of planning and communication between those involved and myself.

Maheen S. Adopt-a-Grandparent

A safe space where youth and senior citizen members from the local community could come together to share experiences and learn from one another. Events included game night, storytelling, arts and crafts, small group interviews and gardening.

Margaret S. Beautifying Countryside Park

My Gold Award addressed the issue of improving the ecosystem and beautifying Countryside Park. It is important for my project to improve the ecosystem of [the park] and to enhance the presence of native plants
as well as water ecosystems in the area. If this area is well maintained, it can impact the ecosystems
around the park which would impact the [community] as a whole. This project did teach my community about
native plants and the work it takes for a community to make something sustainable. My community will
takes care of Countryside Park while I am away. As an example, I hope my community realizes not littering can help the garden and ecosystem flourish.

Neeharika K. Facilitating Intergenerational Engagement and Improving the Livelihood of our Elderly

Many local low-income senior citizens face challenges such as food insecurities, health issues, financial struggles, and loneliness. Additionally, there is seemingly little communication and understanding across generations. I decided to address these issues by hosting a care package event to support the senior community and create an opportunity for students and seniors to interact. Just as I had finalized my plan, the pandemic hit canceling my event indefinitely. I persevered and made adjustments to fit new regulations, eventually delivering care packages to 100 local seniors. After distributing the care packages, I was grateful to listen to stories from seniors and hear I inspired new hope for youth leadership. Further motivated by this, I coordinated an intergenerational pen-pal project to create a lasting impact. I believe my project showed seniors a community of youth that cared for their health and wanted to bring them some joy.

Olivia J. STEM in the Park

“STEM in the Park” are signs that combine Science, Technology, Engineering and Math activities that use the playground equipment. Elementary school children can experience engaging learning activities while playing at Union Creek Park in Frankfort. Children will explore concepts like shapes, friction, gravity, speed, angles and much more.

Patricia M. POW/MIA Memorial

In my local cemetery I created a Prisoners of War (POW)/Missing in Action (MIA) memorial for the military. I also refurbished an old wooden chair for the local American Legion to use in their annual Memorial Day parade. This was a reminder for the community to always pay their respects to the ones who gave their lives for us at the Civil War cannon.

Rachel D. Christmas Shelter Store

My Gold Award addressed the issue of poverty by working with local homeless shelters to help reorganize and remodel their Christmas store in time for the holidays. This store allows people in the community to buy newer clothes and necessities with “Hesed Bucks” to help with the stressors the holidays can bring.

Rebecca F. Small Changes, Big Differences

I created a three week long video program where I reached out to young ladies and we talked about exercise, healthy eating, yoga, skin care, and mental health! Each day of the week I put out a new video I made onto our group Facebook page talking about one of our five core concepts, sharing tips and tricks to improve their everyday lifestyle! Throughout the three weeks I had talked to many of the girls via email and surveys to hear feedback from them and about the positive impacts that this experience gave them!

Scarlett O. Hats for Little Warriors

For my project, I learned to crochet hats for premature babies. I made four different sizes of the hats, as a way to impact a larger group of people. The hats that I made, I donated to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Edward-Elmhurst Hospital. These hats were brightly colored, and served as a way to remind the families of the babies in the NICU, that someone is thinking of them as they go through this difficult time in their lives.

Shaela O. Coal City Community Care Project

My goal was to increase the physical and emotional support for clients of Help for Hope and those in need in my community. Help for Hope is a local food and supply pantry in Coal City. I was able to achieve this by first implementing collection bins for supply donations at local churches, businesses, schools, and organizations. I also constructed a micro-pantry and donation drop-off box that provides anytime access to food, personal products, or other household supplies to those in need. In conjunction with the micro-pantry, I also created an instructional video on how to construct one as well, so that others may learn and become inspired to build one and spread love and assistance around their area as well. Additionally, I built a Letters of Love box, which allows community members to write letters of encouragement and hope to frequenters of the Help for Hope pantry, and help to bring a ray of sunshine to their day. Finally, I organized a drive-thru food and supply donation drive in order to be able to continue spreading awareness and support for Help for Hope, as well as restock their shelves annually. Overall, I was able to achieve my goal of lending a hand physically and emotionally to help those in need in my community.

Sheila T. Little Free Libraries

I built three Little Free Libraries and collected over one thousand books to stock them with. I gave three townships in Lake County a Little Free Library and at least two bins full of books for them.

Sloane J. The Importance of Freshman Year

My project was created to help incoming high school freshmen balance high school life. I talked about how it is important to stay focused freshmen year to be on track for what comes after graduation. I talked about how to balance social life with school work, how to manage time, SAT tips as well as options for after high school.

Taylor M. Niles North High School College Resource Center

The college resources center at Niles North High School did not maintain a list of educational summer programs. Currently, few students participate in summer programs, but I feel that more would enroll if the information was available. I created a comprehensive website containing educational summer programs. The site has over 25 different subject areas, each populated with info and the links to access these programs of their day playing outside due to COVID-19.

Teagan W. Theatre Content Organization Initiative

My project was centered around cataloging and organizing the storage spaces of my school’s theater program. I started by sifting through all of the materials in the storage spaces and separating the useful materials from the unusable materials. Next I cataloged the remaining materials in a spreadsheet. Finally I organized the materials by function, using shelving units and storage containers.

Tess O. RBHS Volunteer Choir

I founded and directed a student volunteer choir to perform at local nursing homes. The project addressed issues of senior isolation, while also providing choir students with opportunities for service. It was a great way for high school students to connect with the community, and to bring music to places that needed it most.

Drive-through, outdoor celebrations at both Camp Greene Wood and the Vernon Hills Gathering Place honored dedicated individual young Girl Scouts from throughout our council who earned their Gold Awards in 2020 and 2021: read our blog to see pictures and hear the story!

Learn more about earning the Gold Award on our website.

Girl Scout Develops App to Celebrate and Educate about LGBTQ+ Community!

Girl Scout Develops App to Celebrate and Educate about LGBTQ+ Community!

June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to celebrating and uplifting LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and more) individuals and communities across the world. We love and support ALL of our Girl Scouts: they’re changing the world and making sure the future is brighter!

One Girl Scout Senior (soon to be Ambassador!) from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Mac, recently developed an app at our first-ever Hackathon sponsored by Motorola, an app designed to educate users on everything from appropriate pronoun usage, the diversity of gender and sexual identities, and more.

Read on to hear Mac’s story in her own words!

The battle is far from over.

Written by Girl Scout Mac

The LGBTQ+ community is surrounded by a lot of misinformation both internally and externally. The lack of information surrounding the topic usually leads to a lot of confusion and fear of LGBTQ+ individuals. The general public may not understand the community and the seemingly foreign terms they use such as cisgender, genderqueer, and asexuality. My app aims to provide a basic understanding of the LGBTQ+ community to eliminate some of the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding it. My app also provides a wide variety of useful information from the proper usage of pronouns, to the definitions of common sexualities. 

Every day, I see news of LGBTQ+ individuals facing discrimination and the constant trivialization of their rights. Anti-trans legislation and the erasure of LBGTQ+ celebrities are just a few examples of issues I see. As someone who knows many in the community, seeing their rights being taken away daily enraged me! I wanted to make a difference and spread awareness, even if it only reached a small number of people. That small difference could save an individual’s life, with the suicide rates of LGBTQ+ individuals still shockingly high, especially in the times we live in. People assume now that LGBTQ+ individuals can get married in the United States, that the battle is over. However, this development only came six years ago. The battle is far from over, and I’m ready to fight it. 

Normalization of LGBTQ+ individuals is really important to prevent them from feeling excluded. I would like to see the normalization of asking for pronouns and the support of trans and those of differing sexualities in Girl Scouts. I hope that above all, I can stop an LGBTQ+ individual from facing bullying and harassment. I’ve wanted to change the world for a while now; it’s just something about making an impact and leaving behind a legacy has been really important to me.

Girl Scouts allowed me to grow as an individual and develop new skills. From fire building to problem-solving, the experiences I’ve learned help me every day. It has also let me make friends and share new experiences with them. My love for Girl Scouting fostered my leadership skills and provided new opportunities.


Thank you so much to Mac for sharing her story with us!

We’ve Got This, Together!

Strength, resilience, togetherness, and the support of 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.

Renew your membership for 2021-22 today and you’ll receive a FREE “We’ve Got This” patch, plus access to the newest programs for the summer and beyond! 

Learn more on our website.

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

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!

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!

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!