Girl Scouts Donate Nearly 200K Boxes of Cookies to Military Personnel

Girl Scouts Donate Nearly 200K Boxes of Cookies to Military Personnel

Giving back to the community is in every Girl Scout’s DNA, which is why Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s Gift of Caring program is such a success. This year, more than 14,600 girls donated one or more boxes of the iconic Girl Scout Cookies for a total of 199,780 packages of Gift of Caring boxes sold, exceeding the goal of 160,000 boxes.

“Gift of Caring donations provide twice the benefits with one simple purchase,” said Carl Canale, director of product program for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

“Girls learn life skills, local Girl Scout troops find their activities, community organizations benefit from the program, and the women and men serving in the armed forces get a great tasting reminder of home,” said Susan Rakis, who is also a director of product program for GSGCNWI.

Last year, nearly 153,700 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies were donated to military personnel through the council’s Gift of Caring program, which sends cookies to organizations that bring comfort to women and men serving in the armed forces. Some of those organizations include the Illinois National Guard, Manteno Veterans’ Home and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

“We get thank-you cards and letters and everything from these guys who receive Girl Scout Cookies,” said Linda Krone, a member of Johnson-Phelps VFW Post #5220 in Oak Lawn, Illinois. “The program works out really well and we get a lot of help from the girls.”

The program is especially important to Giada Gambatese, an 8-year-old Girl Scout Brownie who is GSGCNWI’s top cookie seller with more than 13,000 boxes sold, 12,000 of which benefited Gift of Caring.

“It’s important because we care about soldiers,” Giada, whose grandfather was in the Marines, explained.

Nina Grotto, a 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, is also passionate Gift of Caring.

“My father and both of my grandfathers are veterans, so it was really important to me to participate in Gift of Caring on a personal level,” Nina said.

Nearly 40,000 Girl Scouts sold 4.6 million packages of cookies in greater Chicago and northwest Indiana during the 2016 Girl Scout Cookie Program. Next year marks the centennial celebration of the Girl Scout Cookie.

Join Us at the Grand Opening of Juniper Knoll’s Dining Hall

Join Us at the Grand Opening of Juniper Knoll’s Dining Hall

For generations of Girl Scout campers, the dining hall is the center of the action. It’s where you gather with friends, both new and old, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

On Saturday, July 23, we invite you to leave your mark at the grand opening for the new dining hall at Camp Juniper Knoll in East Troy, Wisconsin.

Festivities will take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and include camp activities, such as archery, canoeing, hiking and more. Guests can also enjoy lunch, which will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. and a special Girl Scout Cookie-inspired dessert by local chefs at 12 p.m.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to support Camp Juniper Knoll by purchasing a commemorative camp chair and coaster sets or making a gift to the kitchen registry.

To RSVP for the grand opening, click here.

Kellogg Executive Mentors Girl Scouts

Kellogg Executive Mentors Girl Scouts

It’s not every day you get to pick the brain of a top executive. But if you’re a Cookie CEO, it’s part of the job description.

Last week, Wendy Davidson, president of U.S. Specialty Channels for The Kellogg Company and Tribute to Achievement honoree, met with a few Cookie CEOs, the top five cookie sellers for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

During the meeting at the Chicago Gathering Place, Davidson, who’s a former Girl Scout, shared business tips, words of wisdom and lessons learned with the young entrepreneurs.

“The leadership skills that you’re learning in Girl Scouts are so important. Everything I’ve learned along the way has prepared me for what’s next,” she said. “Community involvement is also important. Communities don’t happen by accident. They happen when people lean in and invest. You’re doing that already in your communities and I hope you carry that with you.”

As part of her role with Kellogg, Davidson oversees the bakeries responsible for producing the iconic Girl Scout Cookies.

“For me, it was like coming full circle,” she said. “I was at the Louisville [Kentucky] bakery and I was like a little kid. I got to see them make the Thin Mints and got to try one hot off the production line. I was giddy. I think I have one of the best jobs ever.”

Once the Cookie CEOs are in pursuit of their dream jobs, Davidson advised them to “always lend a hand before you need a hand.”

“As you move forward, reach back and help the people behind you,” she said. “Your giving back never stops and your need to receive never stops.”

After their meeting with Davidson, the Cookie CEOs took her advice to heart and payed it forward by sharing cookie-selling strategies with younger Girl Scouts from the GirlSpace program, which brings the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to girls in at-risk communities.

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Cookie CEO Nina Grotto (center) shares advice with younger Girl Scouts.

“Girl Scouts has opened a lot of doors for me, so I’m really glad I stayed with it,” said Nina Grotto, a 17-year-old Cookie CEO who raised nearly $18,000 to send about 4,500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to members of the armed forces through the Gift of Caring program.

Davidson also met with the GirlSpace Girl Scouts, participated in their healthy living program and answered questions about her role with Kellogg.

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“One of my favorite parts about my job is partnering with Girl Scouts to help grow and develop future leaders, so that one day you can all take my job,” she said.

Davidson will receive the Luminary Award at this year’s Tribute to Achievement dinner on Monday, April 25. For tickets and more information, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

What I Love About Being a Girl Scout Volunteer

What I Love About Being a Girl Scout Volunteer

As the infamous saying goes, “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout!” Growing up, I was a Girl Scout and I have wonderful memories of my mom being a volunteer for my troop. We’d go on our Brownie camping trip, sing songs and make S’mores.

My mom was so funny and had everyone laughing because instead of wood she picked up a mouse and she screamed. She was always sewing on different patches and making sure my uniform was always washed and ready to go. She also went rollerskating with us. My mom is a people person and everyone just loved her.

So when my 6-year-old daughter, Jenna, asked to be a Girl Scout Daisy, of course I said yes! I knew the troop leader well as both our daughters attended preschool together. I want the best for my daughter, as every parent does.

Being a volunteer has given me the opportunity to witness my daughter practice the skills that Girl Scouts has taught her firsthand.

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As a volunteer for her troop, I was able to go caroling with the girls and help them make Christmas cards for a local nursing home. I used to work with the elderly and I swelled with pride as my young daughter showed kindness and compassion and got it back tenfold!

Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, I was able to teach my daughter money management and people skills during booth sales. We shared many laughs as I stood on the side of the road waving the cookie sign!

Girl Scouts goes beyond the badges and the pins. Girl Scouts is about girl power … that anything is possible, to be kind and to help others. Just like a Daisy, my daughter and the wonderful girls in her troop are blossoming into wonderful girls. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

A former dancer and dance instructor, Jessica Barnes is a first-year Girl Scout volunteer in Elk Grove Village. When she’s not busy helping the Daisies, she is enjoys having fun with her two daughters, Jenna and Emilee, spending time with her family and friends and baking.

Don’t miss out on the fun, renew your Girl Scout membership today! Troop leaders who renew their troop members through the online Member Community now until June 30 will be automatically enrolled in our brand new GS Plus Loyalty Program, which includes exclusive discounts, a free Girl Scout planner and much more.

Girl Scouts Take Over Downtown Chicago During Loop Site Day

Girl Scouts Take Over Downtown Chicago During Loop Site Day

If your commute was a little sweeter this week, you can thank a Girl Scout.

On Wednesday, March 23, Girl Scouts took over downtown Chicago for the first of four Loop Site Days this spring. During Loop Site Days, girls sell Girl Scout Cookies in the lobbies of downtown businesses.

Ryeleigh M., 6, and Fabiola V., 5, both Girl Scout Daisies from Troop 55190 in Algonquin, Illinois were excited for their first Loop Site Day.

“We’re saving our cookie money to go to Build-a-Bear,” Ryeleigh said.

“And buying crafts for children at the Ronald McDonald’s House,” added Fabiola.

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Ryeleigh (left) and Fabiola (right) created signs to promote their cookie business.

Meanwhile, Caity S., 10, Zoe V. , 9, and Stephanie B., 10, Girl Scout Juniors from Troop 40306 from Mundelein, Illinois plan to use their cookie money to go camping at Camp Juniper Knoll in East Troy, Wisconsin.

“It feels so grownup to sell cookies and it’s just so amazing that adults are trusting us to do this,” shared Zoe.

Stephanie agreed.

“It’s great because we’re cookie bosses and we can decide what to do with the money and where we want to go on trips,” she said.

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(From left to right): Zoe, Caity and Stephanie from Troop 40306

 

In addition to meeting new people and learning new business skills, Cara C. an 11-year-old Girl Scout Junior in Troop 41101 from Lake Villa, Illinois enjoys helping people while selling Girl Scout Cookies.

“During our site sales at grocery stores, we offer to help people take their groceries to their car,” she said. “It feels good to give back.”

Missed the first round of Loop Site sales? Be sure to get your fix at downtown Chicago businesses on March 31, April 7 and April 19!

Girl Scout Donates Cookies to Homeless Kids

Girl Scout Donates Cookies to Homeless Kids

After learning about homeless children living at Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Zara, a 6-year-old Girl Scout Daisy in Troop 20438, decided to donate nearly 60 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to help cheer them up.

“It’s important to give back because they don’t have many treats and I thought they’d be happy to have treats,” Zara said.

She even enlisted the help of her classmates to create handmade cards to accompany the cookie boxes.

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Zara, who sold 2,500 boxes last year, is hoping to sell 5,000 boxes this year so she can go to Disney World. So far, she’s sold 3,500 boxes and has donated nearly 400 of those to Gift of Caring, which sends Girl Scout Cookies to women and men in the military.

“This was all her idea,” her mom, Melissa Smejkal, said. “I’m really proud of her for being so caring and sharing with others.”

Do you have a Girl Scout Cookie story you’d like to share? Tell us on social media or email gsmarketing@girlscoutsgcnwi.org!

 

Girl Scout Cookie Fun with Grandbaby Cakes

Girl Scout Cookie Fun with Grandbaby Cakes

Girl Scout Cookies are great. Girl Scout Cookies combined with your favorite dessert are even better!

We recently teamed up with Chicago-based food blogger and cookbook author Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby Cakes for a tasty twist on traditional Thin Mints and Trefoils. Joining her in the kitchen are Girl Scouts Kaylyn and Kristen for a fun and easy recipe for cookie fans of all ages.

Check out the video below to catch all the fun and learn how Girl Scout Cookies benefit girls and the community.

For the full recipe, visit grandbaby-cakes.com. To find the cookie booth nearest you, click here or download the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder app. Submit your own cookie creation as part of the National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, sponsored by Taste of Home. But hurry, the deadline is March 25!

Special thank you to Little Sarah Productions and The Social Table!

Girl Scouts Help Chef Cesar Create Thin Mint-Inspired Gelato

Girl Scouts Help Chef Cesar Create Thin Mint-Inspired Gelato

Looking for a fun twist on traditional Thin Mints?

Check out this gelato recipe from Chef Cesar Gutierrez of Pinstripes featuring the classic Girl Scout Cookies.

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Picture courtesy of Pinstripes

Ingredients:
1 quart whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup malted milk powder
1 pinch Kosher salt
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup egg yolks
2 1/2 cups Thin Mint cookies, crushed in medium sized pieces

Directions:
In a sauce pan, combine milk, heavy cream, malted milk power and kosher salt. Bring to a boil. In a separate container, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Pour small amounts of the cream into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Repeat this process until all the cream is in the yolk mixture. Cool the mixture to 40 degrees before adding to the gelato machine or ice cream maker/machine. Pour in the mixture in the gelato machine and churn to desired consistency. Transfer gelato to a large bowl and mix in the Thin Mint cookie pieces with a spatula. Once the gelato is made, scoop contents into an air tight container and put in the freezer to continue to set.

Click HERE to watch Nina Grotto, a Girl Scout Ambassador and Cookie CEO, and Kyra Bennett, a Girl Scout, help Chef Cesar recreate the Thin Mint-inspired gelato on WGN. The gelato is also available at select Pinstripes locations for a limited time only.

 

Girl Scouts Perform Cookie-Inspired Parody

Girl Scouts Perform Cookie-Inspired Parody

From blinging booths to crafting costumes, there’s no shortage of fun ideas when it comes to selling Girl Scouts Cookies.

Recently, Troop 21397 kicked the creativity up a notch when they performed a cookie-inspired parody set to the tune of Elle King’s hit song, “Ex’s & Oh’s,” on air with WGN Morning News producer Jeff Hoover in Chicago.

“We wanted the first part to be about what we do as a troop,” said Noelia DiMario, the 10-year-old Junior Girl Scout who wrote the parody. “And the refrain was listing all the cookies.”

Noelia’s no stranger to penning her parodies, often creating “silly songs” with her father. When she grows up, she wants to be a songwriter, fashion designer, interior designer, sleepaway camp owner, restaurant owner, ice cream parlor owner and, of course, a Girl Scout troop leader.

“Girl Scouts has taught me that girls can do anything,” she said.

To see Noelia and her Sister Girl Scouts in action, click HERE. Warning, you won’t be able to get their song out of your head!

Girl Scouts Kick Off Cookie Sales at Allstate Arena

Girl Scouts Kick Off Cookie Sales at Allstate Arena

Allstate Arena was a sea of green and brown uniforms 2,800 strong Saturday afternoon as the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana held their seventh annual cookie kickoff.

The event, meant to inspire girls and show them sales and business practices that make for solid fundraising, is followed by a Chicago Wolves hockey game the girls and their families can attend.

Nina Grotto, 16, of Troop 51324, was the No. 1 seller of cookies last year at 6,300 boxes — 4,500 of which were donated to troops overseas. It took three months of hard work and determination to sell that many boxes, she said. She spent the day Saturday autographing pictures for other Girl Scouts.

To read the full story, visit DailyHerald.com.

(Photo via Mark Welsh, Daily Herald staff photographer)