West Monroe Partners is one of the visionary companies we have partnered with to spark an interest in STEM for girls in our council, culminating in two Spark Day programs earlier this month!
Continue reading to meet Carrie Camino, Director of Operations Excellence and co-chair of the West Monroe-GCNWI partnership, and learn all about the Spark Day initiative.
Girls of Tomorrow
For the first-ever virtual Spark Day with GCNWI, Girl Scouts had the opportunity to “visit” West Monroe Partners and get an inside look at what business and technology consulting is really all about. The girls had opportunities to speak with many people in a variety of fields, from green energy and water management, cybersecurity, software development, supply chain manufacturing, and more.
They engaged in hands-on activities developed by a team of 30 professionals at West Monroe, including deconstructing the manufacturing of a pencil, and simulating a Great Cookie Hack on the Digital Cookie platform, all to get insight on what day-to-day operations look like at West Monroe Partners.
The program was a huge success, and many girls left with a renewed interest in a future career in STEM. For Carrie Camino, Joel Brock, and Jodi Bednar, the co-chairs in our West Monroe collaboration, enriching the lives of girls with the STEM perspective is essential to building the next generation of leaders.
“My personal passion is to help girls of tomorrow think about what the future could look like.”
“My personal passion,” Carrie explained, “is to help girls of tomorrow think about what the future could look like.” West Monroe Partners is a firm focused on diversity of thought and experience, “and women and girls come at problems with a very different perspective,” one that is incredibly important to the consulting process and an economic imperative to the firm.
Carrie, a Girl Scout alum and parent herself, believes that the Girl Scout program can be a major stepping-stone to an interest in STEM. “Girl Scouts provides a structure of activities and opportunities to experience things you might not be afforded in any other environment.”
Her advice for Girl Scouts looking to make the most out of the experience? “Say yes to as many opportunities as you can.” And to young women interested in pursuing a career in STEM, Carrie says, “There is so much in the environment telling you what you can or shouldn’t do. Don’t listen. You can do or be whatever you want to be.”
Thank you to Carrie Camino for sharing with us, to partnership chairs Joel Brock and Jodi Bednar and to everyone that lent their expertise and creativity to bring the activities to life, and to West Monroe Partners for collaborating with us for this fantastic Spark Day initiative! Without them, Spark Day would not have been possible.
Curiosity Never Stops!
The new frontier of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is already here, and girls are taking the lead. The STEM Career Exploration badges for Girl Scouts in grades 2-8, funded by IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, are perfect for girls interested in breaking the mold in the world of STEM. Read our blog to learn about these badges!
Become Inspired by our National Gold Award Girl Scout
National Gold Award Girl Scout Therese combined her passion for STEM and social justice into a Gold Award project that won her national recognition. Watch the video above to learn more about her story!
Want to do more? Attend our Fall Fest on Sunday, Nov. 8 either before or after smashing your pumpkin! We’re making fall-themed crafts, adventuring through the forest, going on spooky hikes, and more, so don’t miss out.
Democracy Badge Webinars
Have you ever been curious about how our government functions, and how we elect officials? Now is a great time to learn! Together, we’ll learn the branches of government and find out what keeps our towns and states running! You’ll even learn the ins and outs of voting and governing, all while earning part of the Democracy badge for your level.
Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors looking to earn a Highest Award or complete a Journey are welcome to our Take Action workshops this Nov. 4! We’ll cover the differences between community service and taking-action, and how to best plan a take-action project. Come ready to brainstorm!
Juniors and Cadettes are invited to join our financial literacy badge starter workshops with Morgan Stanley on Nov. 18. Together, we’ll work on activities, learn financial literacy basics, and have time for participating adults to talk to a Morgan Stanley representative and ask questions, and get started on the Business Owner and Financing My Future badges!
In Latin America, the dead are remembered – and celebrated – in a unique way every year. Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is celebrated on November 2, All Souls’ Day, with colorful, joyous altars filled with mementos and photos of their beloved dead.
Our Girl Scout troop leaders are more than just leaders: they are exemplary role models to their girls and pillars of their communities. Our troop leaders take difficult situations and turn them into enriching, memorable experiences for girls across the council.
We had to chance to talk to two troop leaders from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI), leaders who took “pivoting” to the next level this year and stood strong for their Girl Scouts. Read on to meet Jeneya and Kerri, just two of GCNWI’s outstanding troop leaders!
Stepping Out of the Box
“I became a leader out of necessity,” leader of Cadette Troop 65708, Jeneya Hampton, explained. Jeneya stepped up to the role when her daughter bridged to Brownies and needed a troop leader. “I’m the leader that didn’t want to be a leader, but I soon found that it has truly become a ministry. I decided to just jump in with both feet.”
Now, after five years with the girls, Jeneya knows the true value of the leadership position. “I’ve learned more from the girls than I initially thought I would… I tell anybody, ‘Yes, it’s work, commitment, dedication,’” but to Jeneya, the work is absolutely worth it. Jeneya explained, “Girl Scouting is especially important for African-American girls… I made it a point to be more visible in the community because we do exist.”
This year, Jeneya is continuing to push, challenge, and keep the girls engaged as they all navigate unexpected turns. “As leaders, these challenges give us an opportunity to step up and step out of the box and be creative.” Jeneya listens to the girls and lets them take the lead in brainstorming the troop’s goals and plans for the year. “It’s important to listen to what they want to do, to support what their ideas are.”
And Jeneya is not afraid to change course and be a little unconventional; “Normally I have the whole year planned out, but it’s not that type of year… I may not run my troop like others, but it works for my girls.” Now, Jeneya leads a combination in-person and virtual troop, and the girls have plenty of plans to serve their community throughout this Girl Scout year.
“What types of things can we instill in our girls so they walk away with something? It doesn’t have to be a huge lightbulb moment, but even just a small flicker, or just some inspiration to step out there,” Jeneya advises, is essential.
Setting up for Success
Daisy Troop 75783, co-lead by Kerri Kinnett, is on the way to a fun and successful year of Girl Scouting, Kerri’s excitement and enthusiasm plays a huge part. “This year, as second year Daisies, the girls are most excited about just being together and keeping connected. It is so important for our girls to remain friends, as they are experiencing quite a shift in the universe at such a young age.”
For this troop, meeting in-person (masked and socially distanced) makes the most sense, and the girls have been enjoying the combination of virtual opportunities, in-person meetings, and outdoor get-togethers at state parks. “We are so proud of our girls for keeping up with the guidelines and having such positive attitudes… We have such a brave group of girls, and they look forward to making memories together.”
“It is an attitude of empowerment, that no matter what we face, we can shift our attitude to succeed! Our purpose as leaders is to teach our Scouts to bring a little more beauty to the world, and I love Girl Scouts, for it brings a light to my soul to see these young ladies working and growing as a team.”
Thank you to Jeneya and Kerri for sharing your leadership wisdom with us!
Zoom Licenses Are Now Available!
Zoom licenses are now available for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana troops and volunteers who want to meet and participate in council programs virtually! Your girls can stay connected, continue building their skills, and have a blast no matter where they are.
The new frontier of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is already here, and girls are taking the lead. With 24 new badges in areas like automotive engineering and entrepreneurship, Girl Scouts are more ready than ever to take on the world and shake up the status quo.
The STEM Career Exploration badges for Girl Scouts in grades 2-8, funded by IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, are perfect for girls interested in breaking the mold in the world of STEM. Read on to learn more about these badges!
Explore Careers in STEM!
With the STEM Career Exploration badges, Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors (grades 2-5) will dig into their own interests and consider how these can became a career in the future. They’ll take a look at different fields in STEM, exploring careers in each field, and learning how STEM can make the world a better place. They’ll also brainstorm ways to build their own career paths!
Cadette girls will take this knowledge to the next level and explore how they want to make a difference in the world or their community, learn more about the various career opportunities in STEM industries, and build their own path to success, deciding how they can develop a future career in STEM. The girls will then make a plan and share their goals with others who can motivate and sustain their ambitions!
Girl Scouts power the future—and eight Girl Scouts from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) are doing just that! Our Becker Eco-Advocacy Grant honorees are Girl Scouts currently working on a service or highest award project exclusively dedicated to serving and preserving the environment and are great examples of what it means to really go green for good.
The Philip J. Becker Eco-Advocacy Endowment Fund honors the memory of Philip J. Becker, a life-long educator who was devoted to inspiring young people to embrace careers in the sciences, especially physics, energy, and astronomy. He felt a deep calling to help his children, grandchildren, and all young people understand the urgency of transitioning to innovative, renewable, and sustainable energy sources. His family, with strong Girl Scout ties, honors his memory and his passion for the environment by funding these grants to inspire girls to take action to make the world a better place.
Meet these girls and read about their efforts toward making the world a better, healthier, and safer place to thrive for us and all creatures!
Sarah, Girl Scout Ambassador, has a long history of community service, completing both her Bronze and Silver Awards during her time as a Girl Scout. Now completing her Gold Award, Sarah was awarded a grant for her continued work in supporting local pollinator populations, and her plans include installing a pollinator garden at her high school.
Her garden bed will include native Illinois plants and flowers to help pollinators increase in number by providing them food and proper resources for continued survival. “There are so many ways that the environment is being degraded,” Sarah shared, “and I feel that by taking this step, I can inspire change in my community, nationally, and globally.”
“I hope to help the community understand why pollinators are so important and inspire others to create their own pollinator gardens. I want to make people aware of exactly how important it is to have an environment that is healthy and sustainable, both now and for future generations.”
Spreading Your Wings
“If we do not take care of the earth, we will all lose,” Girl Scout Cadette Katherine shared. “We need to do all we can to preserve and repair the earth so we can leave it better than when we came. That is the Girl Scout Way.”
To accomplish this, Katherine, together with her troop, is designing, building, and planting a butterfly garden for St. John’s Church and School. This will help increase the butterfly population, improve air quality in the area, and beautify a public space. “Our impact on the environment will be strong by providing a space in the urban landscape for nature to thrive and grow.”
“We all must do a better job of caring for the earth,” Katherine asserted. “If everyone just does a little to make the earth a better place, then perhaps we can slow or reverse global warming,”
Girl Scout Ambassador Priyanka has always loved the outdoors since camping as a young Girl Scout. She believes “knowing more about animals and nature, the things that surround us all, is the only way for the world to thrive.”
In partnership with the Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, Priyanka is earning her Gold Award by installing bee houses at the Center, and the construction has already begun. She’s responsible for designing and creating these bee houses, as well as creating an educational component for visitors.
“I think that allowing more and more people to learn about the environment, like the pollinators that help grow our food and the plans around us, will ultimately benefit both people and nature,” Priyanka stated. “People may start to make wiser, healthier decisions when it comes to taking care of the environment once they understand the importance of things normally overlooked.”
Our Nocturnal Allies
“I feel strongly that we should do everything we can to help the environment, including protecting animals and preserving their habitats in a way that allows people and animals to live in harmony.” Girl Scout Cadette Meredith is taking on her challenge, and to earn her Silver Award, is constructing bat houses for GCNWI campsites.
“I am making these bat houses so bats don’t try to make their homes in the cabins,” Meredith explained. “With the houses, the bats can make their homes safely away from predators and can play their important role in the ecosystem.”
“I hope to help people enjoy and appreciate being able to share an environment with bats, and I hope to help the bats to be safe and respected by the community.”
Trees for the People
Girl Scout Cadettes Summer, Lindsay, and Celia each have a passion for environmental advocacy, and this passion lead the three to earn their Bronze Award planting trees in parks in and around their area. “Through our research,” Summer explained, “we learned that our area lost two hundred thousand trees a few years ago due to an invasive bug.”
To combat this issue, the girls found a program in their community that will match every tree they plant, and they hope to create more oxygen in the environment, provide more habitats for insects and animals, and reduce home cooling and heating costs.
Lindsay is driven to help the environment “because I feel like I need to do something. I want to do whatever I can to help!” Celia says “it is our duty to help save our planet and reduce our carbon footprint. I believe that if enough people focus on this issue, we can obliterate global warming,”
Take it Outside
Congratulations to these trailblazing Girl Scouts for earning this fantastic grant! We wish you all luck in completing your goals and making the world a greener place.
When Girl Scouts of USA released their 24 new badges, including badges on Democracy and civic engagement, Service Unit 406 Managers Carrie Parsons and Selena Randecker saw the opportunity to respond to 2020’s unexpected turns. The new Democracy badges require girls to engage directly with their local political representatives to learn more about the democratic process, and this year, civic engagement is more important than ever.
Thus, Carrie and Selena’s “brain-child” was born, a series of programming for over 80 troops to meet over Zoom with four major mayors in their area, as well as Judge Patricia Fallon, and two lawyers. The meetings, led by the girls, consisted of question and answer sessions with the representatives, and they were a huge hit, drawing over 100 girls for some meetings. Girls took charge and asked their mayors questions on everything from election processes to favorite ice cream flavors.
“The girls are paying attention and want answers,” Service Unit Manager Selena said. “They really wanted to know the details” of the political process, and this level of engagement speaks volumes to her. “It’s amazing what ideas the girls have, and what they can do.” For girls who are too young to vote, but want to take political action and use their voice, Service Unit Manager Carrie says “You can still make a difference, and don’t ever think you can’t. Your ideas matter.”
“One person and one voice can make a difference.”
Judge Patricia Fallon, currently running for Circuit Court Judge, 12th Judicial Subcircuit, was excited to engage with a group of politically-minded Girl Scouts for one of the Q&A sessions. Being service-minded her entire career, she has always admired the Girl Scouts organization and thought their questions were thoughtful, intriguing, and pointed to a strong intuitive understanding of law.
Speaking to the importance of young women’s engagement “I think it’s crucial for all young people to know how their government works, and carry a mindset of service and citizenship” because “they do have the power to effect positive change.” You may not appreciate the difference you can make– Judge Fallon asserts “one person or one small group can make such a tremendous difference.”
Girl Scout Ameenah, a Girl Delegate for their service unit and moderator for the meeting with Hoffman Estates mayor William D. McLeod, agrees that civic engagement is essential: “We should care about what’s happening,” she explains, “because this is our world, the world we’re going to inherit one day.” Girl Scout Rachel, who moderated the Q&A with Judge Fallon, succinctly quoted Girl Scout alumna Tyra Banks: “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the outcome.”
After hearing from these inspiring women and girls, it’s clear what we all need to do: stand up and speak out! Thank you to everyone who shared their story with us!
Earn the Democracy Badges!
Civic engagement is just one way Girl Scouts advocate for positive change and make the world a better place. And though some girls may be too young to cast a ballot, they can still mobilize their communities to take action. Funded by the Citi Foundation, the new Democracy badges for all ages of Girl Scouts will help politically-minded girls be more prepared than ever to vote, act, and blaze trails.
Girls of all ages interested in continuing their political education should also check out the Girl Scout Suffrage Centennial patch, which gives girls and troops a chance to explore the important history of the fight for gender and racial justice and voting rights in the United States.
Share Your Story!
For a chance to have your story heard by people all over our council, submit on our website! We love to feature what our Girl Scouts, members and volunteers are doing!
Girl Scouts may interact with women and men in elected positions as they earn components of their non-partisan civics and democracy badges. Girl Scouting does not endorse any specific candidate or issue.
Even though travel might not be at the top of your list right now, dreaming and planning ahead should be! There are multiple fun ways that you can travel as a Girl Scout, including traveling with your troop, going on a Destination, or joining a council-sponsored trip.
Summer is a great time for exploring the great outdoors! Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado, offers many fun activities including canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, archery, ropes courses, zip lining, climbing wall, and much more. Group activities include a day at Rocky Mountain National Park, whitewater rafting and team-bonding experiences.
Apply for the chance to camp with 6,000 of your closest Scouting and Guiding friends on the lawn of Windsor Castle at the WINGS 2021 Jamboree. The group will spend 3 days in Liverpool before the Jamboree, and stay the night at Pax Lodge, the WAGGGS World Centre in London, afterwards. There are 8 girl spots to fill.
Calling all Cadettes! Girl Scouts of GCNWI will be inviting 12 girls and 2 adults to join us on a Canadian adventure! Next up in our Intro to Travel series for Cadettes, we’re headed to Montreal, Canada, the home of poutine, many churches, and steamed bagels. On this introduction to travel, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how to plan a travel adventure, including budgeting, itinerary planning, and how to find accommodation.
Take the Swiss Hiking Challenge with your fellow Girl Scouts! This once-in-a-lifetime experience will be full of adventure, challenge, nature, new friends, and LOTS of fun! The trip will include a visit to Our Chalet, a WAGGGS World Centre, where you’ll hike some of the most popular trails in the area, rock climb, learn about the Swiss culture, and make new friends from around the world. GSGCNWI is looking for six girls to serve on a Girl Planning Committee to help plan a Switzerland adventure before our time at Our Chalet.
All 2021 Destinations applications are due Jan. 15, 2021.
Travel Scholarships are available to girls who have been accepted to a GSUSA Destination.
Are the girls in your troop planning their own adventure? GSGCNWI has brand new training available on our Learning Portal for troop trip coordinators, including preparing for your first trip, overnights, and extended trips. Check out the training!
Gold Award Girl Scouts are game-changers, trailblazers, and risk-takers. Over the past weeks, we have met the Gold Award Class of 2020 from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, young women who are inspiring, dedicated, and full of potential to change the world. We celebrate each and every one of these special young people who, through their acts of service to their local or global communities, exemplify the strength of the Girl Scout.
Meet the last (but certainly not least) group of this year’s Gold Award Class of 2020!
“I know that making a child happy is unlike any other joy there is in the world,” Girl Scout Alexis explained. She had a simple goal: to brighten the lives of children with serious illnesses and the hospital staff that serve them. To accomplish this, Alexis made a treasure chest for the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation. The chest is filled with new toys every month for children undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or a surgery.
Cozy Chemo Room
“Receiving chemotherapy treatment can be a long, uncomfortable, and at times scary experience, so I wanted to help comfort patients in any way possible.” Girl Scout Emma partnered with the Lutheran General Outpatient Center to repaint and refurnish their chemotherapy center. She created a game center and library, redecorated their reception area, and made the center a more welcoming place overall, additionally creating “swag bags” for 50 patients.
Stop the Bleed
Girl Scout Antoinette wants everyone, even young kids, to be prepared in emergency situations. Working alongside the program Stop the Bleed, Antoinette earned her Gold Award for leading a series of workshops for children in her community, teaching them essential lifesaving techniques, emergency preparedness skills, and what to do to help someone who is bleeding.
My project focused on the difficult topic of mental health. It created two presentations, one of which covered Anxiety, Depression, and Eating Disorders in depth. The other focusing on healthy coping skills that can be used in times of great stress. The three hundred fifty plus students at Gurrie Middle School will be taught about mental health through my two presentations in their advisories during the school year.
Self Esteem Awareness
Girl Scout Nadia, to uplift the self esteem of younger people in her community and neighborhood, created a survey, website, Facebook page, and YouTube video on the subject of positive self-outlook. “I hope my project will help youth stand firm and believe in themselves. I now have more belief in myself, and worry less about what other people think of me, after working on the project.”
Changing Your Outcome
“Even though there is a lot of information and research regarding breast cancer,” Girl Scout Ashley shared, “there is a lack of information on how to protect yourself from it.” In partnership with the Amita Health Cancer Institute, and the Eola Community Library, Ashley hosted a community public forum on breast cancer awareness, discussing how to perform a self-exam, actions to prevent breast cancer and issues of differential diagnosis.
Girl Scout Josephine took on the difficult subject of mental health, creating two presentations one covering different mental illnesses in depth, and another focusing on healthy coping skills that can be used in times of stress. Josephine presented her work to over 300 students at Gurrie Middle School, and her curriculum will be taught throughout the school year during their advisory periods.
In effort to provide comfort and care for parents of children in emergency hospital settings, Girl Scout Emma took action, and to earn her Gold Award, crafted care packages for the parents to receive while they are in the waiting room. “I hope I was able to make parents comfortable during their difficult time,” Emma said, “and remind them to take care of themselves as they care for their child.”
The Balance Needed for All
Girl Scout Neha sought to address the social stigma held toward mental health issues like depression and anxiety. “While people may be afraid to confront their illnesses under a ‘medical’ definition, it is necessary to seek the right help.” Speaking at the Rohingya Cultural Center in Chicago, and the Glenview Ismaili Center, Neha held information sessions for children on the subject of mental health.
Manor Lake Path Restoration
To encourage her community members to use the path around Manor Lake, and exercise more by biking, walking, and jogging, Girl Scout Ruth took it upon herself to improve and repave the pathway. After surveying people in her neighborhood, Ruth was sure that she would improve both the quality of the natural area and the possibility for others to enjoy and use the path.
Raising Awareness of Autism
“Many people are unaware of what Autism is, and how to treat people who have it. If we all take the time to learn that people who have Autism are just like us, and special in their own way, we can all make the world a better place.” This is what fueled Girl Scout Dominique to earn her Gold Award and create a YouTube video defining and spreading awareness of Autism.
Chemo Care Friends
Girl Scout Shannon, in honor of her aunt who passed away from cancer two years ago, partnered with Rush University Hospital to create chemotherapy kits for families. “While my aunt was in the hospital, my family was constantly running to the store to buy things she needed. I hoped that by donating items and putting these kits together, people would be able to spend more time with their loves ones.”
Reach Out and Help
In honor of the life of her friend Rylee, Girl Scout Madelyn held workshops for her peers on the subject of depression, mental health, and suicide prevention. “I want teens all over to know how to use ACT: Acknowledge, Care, and Tell,” Madelyn explained, to prevent and help mental health crises. Madelyn teamed up with Elyssa’s Mission to bring their program to high schools across the nation.
To promote healthy lifestyles among her community members, Girl Scout Grace created a website as a tool to be used by everyone to change their habits. From providing workout routines to healthy nutrition packed recipes, to mental health tips and resources, Grace has given her community many tools to improve their overall wellness and nutrition.
The Stress Test
Girl Scout Sara took on the mission of reducing anxiety rates and stress levels of teens in her local area to earn her Gold Award. After meeting with and gaining the support of the principal of her high school in reducing homework levels, Sarah ran a booth at a Health and Wellness fair, distributed fliers to local business, and discussed plans with her local library to introduce therapy dogs to campus.
Girl Scout Savannah wanted to reinforce in the importance of receiving a yearly influenza shot, and to do this, created a YouTube video and a website to promote awareness of the issue. “They will learn how to keep their families safe from the flu” through preventative steps Savannah outlines in her video.
Club Zen Den
“I find that while mental health is being talked about more and more,” Girl Scout Natalie explained, organizations and schools often fail to help students find something they can do to relieve stress.” To solve this issue in her community, Natalie started Club Zen Den, a club dedicated to destressing through discussions, activities, and social support. She also created a manual for students to start the club at other schools.
Healing Hands Medical Mission
“I wanted to show the people in my community the power they have to make a difference in other’s lives.” To accomplish this, and in partnership with the Healing Hands Medical Mission project, Girl Scout Madelynn asked her community to come through and provide flip flops and toothbrushes for children in Guatemala. While in Guatemala, Madelynn provided fluoride treatments and tooth-brushing lessons for children who lacked access to hygiene education and clean water.
Brain Hacking: Looking through the Screen
“I have always been interested in the way our brains translate our thoughts into behaviors,” Girl Scout Karishma explained, “especially how those behaviors differ or change in group settings. My curiosity led me to explore the effects that technology and screen time have on our brains.” To earn her Gold Award, Karishma researched and presented on the subject of excessive use of technology and its psychological consequences.
Bronze. Silver. Gold. Three opportunities to make change, use your voice, and advocate for issues you care about. Three opportunities to impact the world through community service, civic engagement, and creative invention.
Imagine this: A girl identifies a need in her community, whether it’s local, state, national, or global. She creatively identifies a way to fulfill that need. She rounds up a team of experts, community members, and helpful volunteers to turn her vision into a reality. When she leaves, her efforts do not. Her work is sustainable and does more than good; it makes the world a better, safer, happier place to live in. She is a Gold Award Girl Scout.
Therese, a Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana alum, was recently named a National Gold Award Girl Scout. She is a young woman who understands how to serve her community with her passion, know-how, and innovative spirit. She understands the power of a team and knows the value of hard work and resilience. It is her dedication to community engagement, and the continued act of service she spearheaded to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, and led Therese to be nationally recognized by Girl Scouts of USA for her impressive work.
We had the special opportunity to sit down with Therese for an in-depth conversation about her Gold Award initiative, Project Dandelion, and the power of the Girl Scout in the mission toward equality and anti-violence. Please join us in congratulating and “getting to know” one of this year’s ten National Gold Award Girl Scouts!
Therese, 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout
Therese is a bright young woman, hopeful aerospace engineer, and current first-year student at Purdue University, but she has been a part of the Girl Scout sisterhood since she started as a Daisy. Her Gold Award journey began early. Her troop was invited to a local Gold Award celebration as they earned their Silver Award.
“Looking at all the girls’ projects, I thought it was an amazing opportunity for girls to make a difference in their communities,” Therese explained. “I realized the Gold Award isn’t just about getting an award, but an opportunity to make the world a better place, and yourself a person who can go into the world and continue to make positive change.“
Therese’s drive to change society is global, but the root of her Gold Award initiative, Project Dandelion, is personal to her. The trauma of knowing a survivor of sexual violence at a young age made a lasting impression on Therese, and set her up to become passionate about justice for other survivors. After watching the documentary, The Hunting Ground, which details the nationwide sexual violence crisis at colleges and universities, something didn’t sit right with Therese.
“At the time, my friends and I were getting ready to pick our future colleges. We were passionate to find a school that was safe, and after researching the subject, found most of the information to be buried in hundred-page documents.” She saw a need: for order, for ease, for access to information, for herself and her peers to feel secure choosing their prospective schools.
“If I was a high school student, I would absolutely want this resource. Because I knew I wanted it, and because other people wanted and needed it, I realized there were many people that could benefit. I didn’t want to keep the idea to myself. I felt like I had the capacity to make a lot of change.”
“I’m glad I got to earn my Gold Award doing something I care so much about,” Therese shared. “Hearing the stories of people with personal relationships to the issue of sexual violence, and hearing their enthusiasm for change, kept me going.”
For Therese, the importance of community engagement and social activism cannot be stressed enough. “Everyone has the capacity to make change,” she said, and to make the world a more accepting and positive place to live, all members of a society should strive to make their communities successful by expressing their beliefs. “Everyone should be an advocate for what they believe in, for the good of themselves and the rest of the world.”
Social equity and justice are especially important to Therese, and these beliefs are a core part of her drive to serve her community and set her on the path to earn her Gold Award. Now, as a National Gold Award Girl Scout, Therese sees a major opportunity to encourage young girls to follow the path of advocacy. “In the past, women and girls were told their voices don’t matter or aren’t as valuable, but every woman, and girl, has a unique perspective on the world.”
In order to create a safer, more accepting future for girls, Therese said, “it’s important for them to speak out and make a change,” and Girl Scouts can be an integral part of that. “Girl Scouts continuously provides programs for girls to experience leadership positions in their own communities and raises girls to believe they can make a difference. The skills you gain from Girl Scouts make you a better leader, a better doer, a better everything.”
Therese’s true secret to success lied in her ability to find empowerment in making mistakes. “In order for anything to succeed in a way that is meaningfully lasting, it has to fail first. Every time I heard the word no was a chance to grow.”
To Girl Scouts currently seeking a highest award, Therese’s advice is simple: do not be daunted by a task too big, or insecure about a task supposedly too small. “Any change is change, and that will make the whole world different.” Make a plan, stay focused on each step as it comes, and “follow yourself. You can do it because you can. There is literally nothing stopping you, and you will move mountains.“
Bronze. Silver. Gold. Three opportunities to make change, use your voice, and advocate for issues you care about. Three opportunities to impact the world through community service, civic engagement, and creative invention.
You heard that right! Now is your chance to win the ultimate prize! If you are obsessed with sloths, and want to win this amazing four foot sloth perfect for any slumber parties, movies nights, or just snuggling and cuddling, read on to learn how you can WIN!
WHO: YOU! This girl-led contest is designed to not only be educational but fun as well!
WHAT: Record a short video of yourself sharing your favorite sloth fact. These videos can be as creative as you’d like and should be no longer than 30 seconds to a minute and a half.
WHEN: The contest takes place Oct. 5 – Oct. 21. All videos must be submitted by Oct. 21 at 11:59 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Submit a link to your video using this form! In the form you will need to submit a link to download your video (we cannot accept files, only links to download or watch online). This could be DropBox, Google Drive, Box, or social media post.
Your videos will be voted on by the Product Program and Marketing staff after they are submitted, and the winners will be announced and shared on social media on Oct. 26.
Whether that goal is a trip to an exciting new place, a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) project that will change the way you look at the world or earning AWESOME rewards, can make it happen.
Check you all the fun rewards you can earn in our Rewards Highlight Video or you can find them on the Fall Product Order Form.