Happy Birthday, JGL: Juliette Gordon Low and her Chicago Connection

Happy Birthday, JGL: Juliette Gordon Low and her Chicago Connection

In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low sparked a worldwide movement inspiring girls to embrace their individuality, strength, and intellect. She was the first in a line of supportive adults who dedicated their lives to empowering girls and young women, and we continue to celebrate and honor her legacy on her birthday, October 31. Learn more about JGL and her Chicago roots and get excited for Founder’s Day!

Guest Written by the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Historians

Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon was born in Savannah Georgia on October 31, 1860, but did you know she descended from early Chicago pioneers?  Her great-grandparents were John Kinzie and Eleanor Lytle McKillip Kinzie, who in 1804 bought a home that had originally belonged to Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, which was situated on the north bank of the Chicago River approximately where the Tribune Tower now stands.

Their son, John Harris Kinzie and his wife, Juliette Augusta Magill were Juliette’s grandparents. In 1857, they lived at Cass and Michigan Streets (now Hubbard and Wabash). Near the end of the Civil War, Juliette lived with her grandparents for a short time. 

Juliette’s Pearls

Juliette owned a beautiful strand of natural pearls that had been a wedding gift from her husband. She liked to wear her pearls on special occasions. In 1915, when the young Girl Scout organization needed funds, Juliette sold her pearls for $8,000. In today’s dollars, that generous gift would amount to nearly $217,000.

In 2011 and 2012 during the centennial anniversary celebration and in commemoration of Juliette’s gift, the Girl Scouts sold a limited edition pearl necklace and earring set.

Happy birthday, JGL!

Read more about Juliette Gordon Low and Girl Scout history.

Honoring the history of Girl Scouting in our local communities is a wonderful way to explore the evolution of one of the country’s oldest organizations dedicated to girls and women. You can read all about the GCNWI Girl Scout Historians on our blog, or visit our website for more information on how to get involved.

Take $10 off $75 in our shop site from today until Oct. 31 (no other discounts apply)!

Girl Scout Alum and Volunteer Carol Macola Honored in Operation Herstory Honor Flight

Girl Scout Alum and Volunteer Carol Macola Honored in Operation Herstory Honor Flight

Illinois’ first all-women veteran honor flight to Washington, D.C. took off from Chicago Midway International Airport last week, and Council Delegate, volunteer trainer, and Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Historian and alum Carol Macola was among the 93 honored veterans who participated. Carol’s service to Girl Scouts GCNWI has spanned over 40 years, and we are incredibly proud to share her story about her military service and Operation Herstory with you, in her own words.


I was a Girl Scout for 10 years (Brownie through Senior Girl Scout), and after my military service, I became a leader for the different age levels over the years, as well as Service Unit Manager. I have been an adult volunteer and Liftetime Member now for over 40 years.

I learned many things as a Girl Scout: how to cope with changing conditions at camp, how to make new friends, how to work as a team, and how to turn a disaster into a learning experience. Most of all, I learned how to put on my “Brownie smile” when grumpiness would have been easier.

I was a Second Lieutenant Military Police Officer in the U.S. Army, and as a female at that time, with a platoon of 42 men, I was challenged. I led by example. I had to know each person in my platoon. I had to put my best foot forward — usually in a spit-shined boot rather than polished pumps (ladies small heeled shoe).

The same is true for every Girl Scout. As a Girl Scout, one moves through levels, always mindful of being a model for those younger, and always building leadership skills. As a Girl Scout, one knows what is right and what is wrong, what will help another girl, and what could damage a girl’s self-esteem. Every person counts and is valuable. This translates into a team spirit that can improve the world around us—be it at home, at school, in our community, or beyond. 

I laughed when I returned to Chicago after my military commitment and referred to Girl Scouts as the “mini-militia.” Like the military, Girl Scouts serve in so many ways and Girl Scouting sets values that are forever.

That courage, confidence, and character from my Girl Scouting years led me to my service in the U.S. Army, and still guide my life today.


Thank you, Carol, for your service to Girl Scouts, our council, and for being a shining example of courage and strength for all of us.

Our volunteers are clearly incredible — you can be a part of an organization that works to develop girls’ dreams, from the time they’re starting their first cookie business to the time they’re getting their first diploma. Whatever they want to do, you can support them. Learn more about volunteering with Girl Scouts today.

Apply to be a National Delegate for the National Council Session!

Apply to be a National Delegate for the National Council Session!

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) is seeking applications for National Council Delegates for the National Council Session/56th Convention, July 2023 (Dates TBD), in Orlando, Florida!

This is a very exciting opportunity for Girl Scouts and volunteers to share their voices and make change in our national community. National Delegates play a vital role in providing strategic direction to the Girl Scout Movement, and last year, two proposals authored and presented by GSGCNWI were passed, so your input is especially important. No experience is necessary!

To be a National Delegate for GCNWI, you must:

  • Be available to attend the National Council Session/56th National Convention in Orlando, Florida, July 2023* (at no expense to the Delegate)
  • Be a citizen of the United States (this is based on our Congressional Charter, not GSUSA policy)
  • Be a registered member of the Girl Scout Movement
  • Be 14 years of age or older at the time of election (GSGCNWI Annual Meeting April 7, 2022)
  • Be committed to participating in National Delegate training and preparation sessions offered by the council
  • Be committed to a three (3) year tenure as a National Council Delegate (April 7, 2022 – April 2025)
  • Be committed to participating in National Council Session follow-up activities sponsored by the council
  • Be committed to participating in GSGCNWI Delegate Meetings, including Delegate Quarterly Meetings and the GSGCNWI Annual Meeting while a National Delegate

*Exact dates of the National Council Session will be announced soon. Historically, it takes place over three days.

Applications are being accepted through November 3, 2021!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply to be a National Delegate?

Any registered member of GSGCNWI (youth or adult) who is 14 years of age or older by time of election (April 7, 2022).

What is the application process?

National Delegate Applications will be open online between September 1 and November 3 2021. National Delegate Applications will be reviewed and applicants will be asked to attend a virtual interview in November or December. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application in early 2022.

Do I need any previous experience to be a National Delegate?

No previous experience is required. Training will be provided to all National Delegates on Robert’s Rules of order, parliamentary procedures and items of business prior to the National Council Session.

What is the time commitment?

National Delegates and Alternates serve a 3-year term, from April 2022-April 2025 and must be able to attend the National Council Session (NCS) in Orlando, Florida, July 2023 (Exact dates TBD). Typically, the National Council Session takes place over 3 days. Prior to NCS, National Delegates and Alternates will be expected to attend training and webinars offered by GSGCNWI and GSUSA to prepare for NCS. They will also be asked to read and review materials on their own to be informed on important topics related to NCS.

In addition to NCS related meetings, National Delegates are asked to attend and vote at the GSGCNWI Annual Meeting and Delegate Quarterly Meetings. Many of these meetings happen virtually via Zoom or other webinar/conference call methods. National Delegates and Alternates should expect robust engagement in the 6 months leading up to the National Council Session, with occasional engagement outside of that time frame.

I am graduating high school between April 2022- April 2025. Can I still apply?

Yes! If you are graduating during the 3-year term, you are still welcome to apply! We just ask that all Delegates keep an active registration with our council.

Is there a cost to being a National Delegate?

GSGCNWI will cover many of the costs associated with travel and attendance of the 56th National Council Session. There may be additional minimal costs for Delegates. For example, Girl Scout Uniform is typically worn at certain National Council Session meetings, which is the responsibility of the National Delegate (Financial Aid is available to assist with certain uniform needs).

What is an Alternate National Delegate?

Each council is allotted a certain number of Delegates based on their membership numbers the year before NCS. GSGCNWI always selects multiple Alternate Delegates in case a National Delegate is no longer able to serve in their role. Alternates will be called up to replace National Delegates as needed and are an important part of our democratic process and making sure the voice of GSGCNWI is heard.

Due to changes in when the National Delegate Application process happens, councils will be electing their delegates before they know the exact number of delegates they are allotted. For this reason, GSGCNWI will be bringing on additional Alternates with the hope that they will be able to move up to National Delegate once the allotment is received. Alternates will participate in training and meetings to be informed on the process and prepared to step into the role should they be pulled up. Alternates are not allowed to vote on council or national issues until they are pulled up and they do not attend the National Council Session unless they are pulled up as National Delegates. In the case an Alternate is not pulled up, they may attend the National Council Session at their own expense.

Alternates are welcome to attend local governance meetings, such as the Annual Meeting and Delegate Quarterly Meeting.

Questions or further information needed? Please email Alaina Greene, Delegate Liaison, at nationaldelegate@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Meet the Girl Scout Delegates from last year, and read about the monumental 55th Session.

Volunteer Spotlight: Cyndee Timmerman!

Volunteer Spotlight: Cyndee Timmerman!

All of our volunteers deserve a spotlight because they make sure our Girl Scouts thrive! This week we are recognizing an extra-special volunteer from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI), Cyndee Timmerman!

Read on to learn more about Cyndee’s work for our council, in her own words.

Making Precious Memories

I was a Girl Scout when I was in elementary school and I absolutely loved it. I remember singing songs and being silly with my friends, going to a sleepover in our town’s Girl Scout Little House. I remember selling cookies door to door and trying to meet my 100-box goal that seemed almost impossible at the time. All the girls in our troop that sold 100 boxes got to go on a trip to an amusement park that year.  That was a big deal for me because I lived in a very small town in Kansas, hours away from any amusement park. I ended up meeting my goal and getting to go on the trip, and it was the first time I ever had the chance to ride on a big roller coaster. I was terrified, but my best friend was also on the trip and she told me not to be scared. I listened to her and ended up loving it.

I wanted my daughter to have the same experiences I had when she started school. Since there weren’t any Daisy troops at her school, I created one and became the leader. We started out with 12 girls in our troop during her kindergarten year and this past year, my third year as a leader, we became a multi-level troop with 26 girls.

At the very first service unit meeting that I attended, I met our Service Unit Manager and told her I would be happy to help her if she ever needed anything. She soon took me up on my offer and asked me to be the Fall Product coordinator for our entire service unit. Although I had never sold Fall Product before, I willingly took on the role. I have also helped our service unit with cookie sales the past two years, and will be a co-manager of our service unit this year in preparation to become the Service Unit Manager next year!

Although I have a busy life outside of Girl Scouts, I love everything about Girl Scouts and find it worth my time to volunteer. 

I want to give girls the opportunity to try new things and have experiences that they might not have otherwise. Since we live in Chicago, I really want my daughter to be able to experience nature like I did growing up in Kansas. I want her to experience camping, canoeing, and all the other million fun things that there is to do in nature.

I remember a moment from a Girl Scout training session that I attended, where a leader shared that her goal was to get girls out of the zip code that they live in. That is also my goal as a leader. As a child, I never had the chance to travel internationally, but I hope to be able to give the girls in my troop that chance as a young adult one day.

I have so many great memories as a Girl Scout leader that is hard to narrow it down to just one! From the very first troop meeting, where we taught the girls what it meant to give someone a compliment and we had them practice by going around the circle and giving each other a compliment, to the time we read a book about Juliette Gordon Low and learned how brave she was to start an organization like this for girls during a time that it was unacceptable for them to play outside and do fun things in nature. 

We have visited so many cool places and done so many fun things in just three years even though half of that time was during a pandemic, that I can’t imagine all of the fun experiences we still have to come! We have gone hiking several times, toured a vet’s office, a fire department, and a police department, made gingerbread houses with residents at a nursing home, went to a hockey game, went to a musical, created and maintained a sensory garden for our school, went indoor climbing together, made pet beds for a pet shelter, donated food to a food pantry, experienced a cat café, cuddled with bunnies, and rode horses.

For one of our service projects this year, the girls voted on making blessing bags for those without homes. I had the older girls in our troop plan this project and shop for the items needed for the bags.  They did an incredible job leading this project and helping the younger girls assemble the bags.

Although sometimes it feels like I’ve bit off more than I can chew, I always end up being able to juggle it all and happy that I did when it’s over.  A grandmother recently pointed out to me that my children will not always be this age and I won’t regret spending this valuable time with them creating memories.  Do you want your children to remember sitting at home watching tv with you or would you rather them remember going camping and canoeing with you?


Thank you to Cyndee for your years of service and contributions!

Whether you have kids, grandkids, or no kids of your own, you can have a front-row seat to the fun and community, too. Press play and volunteer with Girl Scouts. You’ve got what it takes to change girls’ lives!

Your time to shine? Now!

Her next adventure to take, new territory to explore, or barrier to break, is all waiting her in the new Girl Scout year! We have carefully curated experiences to help girls think creatively and discover their interests, passions and ambitions without limitations.

On-time renewal ends today, Sept. 30! Press play on the new membership year and allow Girl Scouts to continue being that guiding light down her path to self-discovery.

The History of Girl Scout Calendars

The History of Girl Scout Calendars

Time for a Girl Scout History Lesson from the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Historians! 📚💚

Girl Scouts aren’t just known for cookies; calendars were also a hit, and are a great example of the resilience and quick-thinking that Girl Scouts have shown for over a century!

Calendar sales began as an alternative to cookies during World War II when sugar and other ingredients were hard to come by due to wartime rationing. The Girl Scout National Equipment Service produced the first calendar for the year 1944 and it sold for 25¢.

Many councils also produced their own calendars. DuPage County Council Senior and Cadette Girl Scouts first produced a local calendar in 1972 and sold it for 35¢.

Ruth Caragher, formerly a Girl Scout with Ship 167 in Downers Grove, recalls working on the 1991 calendar, “The best thing I remember about the experience was that the girls really did all the work. We had a weekly schedule and weekly goals. We had gobs of photos of girls doing stuff that leaders and others had taken and given to us to go through and consider for possible inclusion.

“We learned what makes a good photo for inclusion in the ‘collage’ style pages. We tried to have themes for each page, things like Cadette Senior Jamboree and camping, winter activities, regular troop meetings and girls in uniform and American flags, parades, ceremonies, etc.”

“In the end we each got a full case of printed calendars. Our ‘WORK’ was now in our laps and we had to go and SELL THEM! It was good though because I was proud of my work on the project. I wish I could do it again with the friends I made in Girl Scouts.”

Preserving Girl Scout History

Honoring the history of Girl Scouting in our local communities is a wonderful way to explore the evolution of one of the country’s oldest organizations dedicated to girls and women. You can read all about the GCNWI Girl Scout Historians on our blog, or visit our website for more information on how to get involved.

Become a part of our story!

Her next adventure to take, new territory to explore, or barrier to break, is all waiting her in the new Girl Scout year! We have carefully curated experiences to help girls think creatively and discover their interests, passions and ambitions without limitations.

Get ready to “press play” on virtual and in-person opportunities we have coming this fall and renew your membership!

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. 

Camp CEO brings Girl Scouts and professional mentors together!

Camp CEO brings Girl Scouts and professional mentors together!

Girl Scouts and community leaders gathered at Camp Greene Wood for the fifteenth year of our premiere leadership program Camp CEO! Influential women making waves in their own careers met with high school Girl Scouts for a hybrid in-person and virtual week full of networking, leadership challenges, inspiring dialogue, and some fun in the sun.

At Camp CEO, Girl Scouts focus on self-awareness and self-discovery, learning public speaking, effective communication and collaboration skills, all while getting exposure to professional women in their community. Camp CEO mentor and SVP and Chief Customer Officer for NiSource Jennifer Montague shared: “During the week several senior executives shared our journeys with the girls and focused on exercises and topics ranging from leadership, teamwork, personal branding, listening with intention, networking and interviewing. Great fun!”

Girl Scout Courtney reflected on the experience: “The leadership challenge was amazing! It was so fun to be with girls I didn’t know that well, and by the end, we were the best trio ever.”

The Girl Scouts took away plenty from the experience; Courtney shared, “I learned that networking is a really great skill to have. Also hearing from a lot of the mentors that you should follow your heart [was] really inspiring.” Girl Scout Sydney added, “I always thought [networking] was something fancy when in reality it is just talking and meeting new people.”

Girl Scout Corrine continued, “I think Camp CEO provided me with many life skills. I learned that being a leader doesn’t mean being the loudest in the room; you need to be an understanding and adaptable leader that can help your whole team succeed.”

CEO/Founder of Driver’s Seat Tiana Clark shared, “I had a great time at Girl Scout’s Camp CEO. At Camp CEO, mentors like myself spent time with Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana teens engaging in discussion and activities around leadership, branding, networking, navigating challenging situations and everything in between! I had a blast!”

Managing Director and Head of Office for Marsh Julie Marcello added, “Loved being part of Camp CEO and joining all these great mentors and mentees. Full steam ahead for all these amazing high school Girl Scouts!”

Thank You!

We want to thank all of the incredible women involved in making Camp CEO a success, from our sponsors and community partners, to the mentors, to the staff, to the Girl Scouts themselves!

Open the door to amazing opportunities!

It’s not too late to join or renew your membership with Girl Scouts! Join today and get access to amazing leadership experiences like Camp CEO and so much more.

Meet the Global Action Volunteer Team (Again!)

Meet the Global Action Volunteer Team (Again!)

Our Girl Scout volunteers are just like our Girl Scouts: fearless and determined! If you haven’t heard of the Global Action Volunteer Team (GAVT), it’s time to get to know them! This month’s Volunteer Spotlight goes to a special group of volunteers from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) who are passionate about travel, cultural awareness, and sharing their knowledge with the Girl Scouts.

The Global Action Volunteer Team began in 2012 in conjunction with the GSUSA Global Girl Scouting initiative, and is lead by Maureen Ewing and council staff liaison Ashley Christensen. Current team members include Camille Gonzalez Jensen, Davia Wilkerson, Denise Urban, Fawna Black-Cicotte, JodiLyn Simmons-Machota, Karen Zeller, Kimberly DeWitt, Shari Schmidt, and Taylor Tengelsen, with new members Yaqoota Aziz and Geraldine Adams joining in 2021.

All the members LOVE to travel! The GAVT uses their experiences to engage and inspire girls to want to learn more about the world around them. They aspire to increase awareness of Global Girl Scouting amongst girls, parents, volunteers, and staff. The team wants to help other Girl Scout volunteers, especially leaders, understand the importance of and feel comfortable with travel and its progression throughout the Girl Scout program.

Maureen said, “Travel fosters confidence, compassion, curiosity, leadership, and independence. [Through travel,] girls learn to be citizens of the world and commit to making the world peaceful and equitable for all.”

Shari also believes that traveling with Girl Scouts helps girls in many ways: “Travel is an education that cannot be replicated with a video game or in a book or in a classroom. The best part of travelling is that the lessons are embedded. You don’t have to have a formal plan, even wandering from one place to another creates lifelong learnings that create the foundations for new adventures.”

One of the team’s greatest accomplishments is starting the brand-new GCNWI Travel Scholarship. More information on how girls can apply for this scholarship will be provided later this year!

The GSGCNWI GAVT believes that those who expand their worldview through global programming and travel opportunities will become more knowledgeable, compassionate citizens of the world. The team hopes that every Girl Scout has the opportunity to become a responsible and effective global leader. They want Girl Scouts to understand the world in a more open-minded, empathetic way. By seeing, and hopefully understanding other cultures, Girl Scouts can grow into conscientious citizens of the world.

If you want to learn more about traveling as a Girl Scout or about the Global Action Volunteer Team and how to join, check out our council’s travel webpage. If you are interested in giving a gift to the Travel Scholarship, you can do so on our website!

All of us at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana say a big thank you, to the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Global Action Volunteer Team (GAVT). We appreciate you, your dedication, work, and wonderful contributions to Girl Scouts!


The GAVT has their own blog series so you can get to know them a little better (and hear some awesome travel stories and tips, too!).

Who We Are Part 1 Who We Are Part 2  | Why You Should Try Backpacking | Dreaming of Future Travels? Plan with GCNWI | Adventure to the World Centres: Our Chalet Switzerland! | Adventure to the World Centres: Our Cabaña Mexico! | Adventure to the World Centres: Pax Lodge London!  Adventure to the World Centres: Sangam India!  |  Guide to Safety While Traveling | Research travel as a Gen Z | Debunking the Myth: You CAN Save for Travel | How to Pack for a Big Trip


The Global Action Volunteer Team produced a series of videos showing off their neighborhoods! Watch the series on our YouTube, then check out these neighborhoods with your troop or family.

We want to know about your favorite town or neighborhood with your very own video! You can even bring Flat Juliette with you on your tour. Once you’ve made a video, share them on our website

Download Flat Juliette »
Download Flat Juliette Junior »


Help make travel adventures like these possible for more Girl Scouts through the GCNWI Travel Scholarship! Scholarship funds provide girls facing financial hardship with the resources to plan and pursue travel, from council-sponsored day trips to international journeys through the Destinations program. Together, we can help Girl Scouts become more knowledgeable, compassionate citizens of the world through global programming and travel opportunities.

Member Spotlight: Melissa Young-Bridgeforth!

Member Spotlight: Melissa Young-Bridgeforth!

This week we are spotlighting the amazing work of Girl Scout volunteer Melissa Young-Bridgeforth, who has been a part of the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) community for more than 20 years as a member, a national and council delegate, Democratic Process Task Group chair, a troop leader, service unit manager, and MORE! Melissa’s service has gone above and beyond (and she is a recipient of the Thanks Badge for her volunteer work!), so this week, we are turning the tables and thanking her.

Read on to hear from Melissa about her Girl Scout legacy and relationship with GCNWI.

Volunteer Exemplifies What It Means to Be a Girl Scout

Melissa has been involved with Girl Scouts at almost every level of service. She first volunteered as a troop leader for her daughters, then as a service unit manager, and after voicing her concerns about Girl Scouts in the West Side of Chicago, she became a Council Delegate, “and somewhere in between there became a trainer.” After 10 years as a Council Delegate, Melissa has served as a National Delegate, and also serves as Delegate Chair. “Sprinkled throughout there, I still co-chair for the product programs (volunteer committees supporting both the Girl Scout Cookie and Fall Product Program) and still train if I’m needed.”

“When I started out as a service unit manager, I wasn’t liking how things were being communicated. Somebody [at the council] told me I needed to step up, so I kept stepping up. As my service started to grow, I became a mentor by default, because you have to recruit people if you have no one there to help tell them how to do things!”

Melissa leads by example, and people respect that. Her advice to younger or new volunteers: “Voice your opinion and make sure it’s heard and understood, period. That confidence and rapport with everyone around you will build. I think new leaders need to have that confidence; if you have it in your personal life or your workplace, bring it to Girl Scouts, also.”

As far as the future of Girl Scouts is concerned, Melissa has plenty of hope. “If enough of us are making this day better than the next, the world will become better… We are making baby steps, and baby steps are good because we still have glass ceilings everywhere. Each generation we’re building girls who are more robust, more willing to get up and start talking to people.”

“My personal perk from being a Girl Scout is that it helps me, we, find the skills we already have, period. The best part is being put in situations that constantly challenge me to refine my skills, especially the ones I think are my weakest link.”


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

Lead Girls Through Our Becoming Me Program Series

Inspired by themes from Michelle Obama’s Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers, this new program series will guide girls of all ages to become their best selves. 

Volunteer to guide girls as they explore the truth in their own stories and the power of their voices! You will work with girls during 6-8 fun-filled and inspirational virtual sessions.

Sign-up to get started »

Learn more about volunteering with GSGCNWI today!

Renew by June 30 and Enjoy Exclusive Membership Perks!

When you stick with Girl Scouts, you’re not just giving your girl something to do, you’re giving her someone to be. The bravest, boldest, best version of herself. The version of herself walks with her head a bit higher and acts with confidence.

Renew her membership for 2021-22 today and she’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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Shamin Ladhani!

Volunteer Spotlight: Shamin Ladhani!

Girl Scout volunteers are a huge part of Girl Scouts’ successes: that’s why we are taking time to spotlight a special volunteer from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI), Shamin Ladhani, and her co-leaders, for the multi-level Girl Scout troops of Jamatkhana Ismaili Center in Glenview, IL! Also known as the Midwest Ismaili Scouts or Service Unit 407, Shamin and the other leaders are amazing volunteers making an impact on our council.

Shamin began her involvement in Girl Scouts six years ago as a leader for her first daughter’s troop. One year later, she was asked to be the Girl Scout Organizer (GSO) for all five faith-based Girl Scout troops in the area. Currently, Shamin works with a Co-Girl Scout Organizer Kiran Ali-Suteria, and over fifteen other leaders, troop volunteers, and five troops that represent seventy-seven Girl Scouts and their families.

Shamin shares the spotlight with all her leaders, and especially Kiran Ali-Suteria, a Girl Scout volunteer for over five years, and Noreen Merchant, a volunteer for the last eleven years. “Kiran is the foundation of our team, who keeps things moving for our Girl Scouts. We truly have skills that complement each other to lead all our troops. Noreen’s leadership style and the work she does every year has shown how reliable and respected she is within the faith-based group. She makes Girl Scouts fun and manageable for everyone.” Besides being a leader, Noreen is a Girl Scout council delegate.

The secret to Shamin’s success is that she models the type of leadership our girls need. “It helps to model the type of leadership you want your Girl Scouts to have by getting involved in the community.” As a psychologist, Shamin also advocates for the mental wellness of her community. She is active in her community and at the national level in other non-profit work to include Girl Scouts in the conversation.

The Jamatkhana Ismaili Center in Glenview, IL, has always sponsored Girl Scouts as a part of their faith-based community. This lead to Girl Scouts in the area becoming a part of what Shamin calls a “mentoring ladder to success,” with many of the girls returning to become leaders themselves and supporting each other, their families, and their leaders through their sustainable models of community service.

Shamin says her leaders “always surprise and impress” her on how well they engage with their Girl Scouts, “especially having to work all virtually this last season.” Shamin says she is “humbled by the work they all do” and is so happy to participate in Girl Scouts.


All of us at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana say a big thank you, to Shamin, Kiran, Noreen, and all the Leaders, Girl Scouts, and families of multi-level Girl Scout Troops of Jamat Khana Ismaili Center in Glenview. IL! We appreciate you, your dedication, work, and wonderful contributions!

Lead Girls Through Our Becoming Me Program Series

Inspired by themes from Michelle Obama’s Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers, this new program series will guide girls of all ages to become their best selves. 

Volunteer to guide girls as they explore the truth in their own stories and the power of their voices! You will work with girls during 6-8 fun-filled and inspirational virtual sessions.

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Learn more about volunteering with GSGCNWI today!

Renew by June 30 and Enjoy Exclusive Membership Perks!

When you stick with Girl Scouts, you’re not just giving your girl something to do, you’re giving her someone to be. The bravest, boldest, best version of herself. The version of herself walks with her head a bit higher and acts with confidence.

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

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