Celebrate National Girl Scout Day with #100DaysOfGold

Celebrate National Girl Scout Day with #100DaysOfGold

Community service is at the cornerstone of what it means to be a Girl Scout, which is why more than 100 girls are gathering in Vernon Hills this weekend to celebrate National Girl Scout Day with the Birthday in a Bag Bash.

This Saturday, March 12, marks the 104th birthday of Girl Scouts and girls from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) are paying it forward by assembling Birthday in a Bag supplies at Gathering Places across the council. The service project invites girls to gather items, such as boxed cake, canned frosting, candles, balloons, streamers and a small toy for children at local food pantries.

“We wanted to be a part of this project to be able to help make a person’s birthday special,” said adult volunteers Karen Huber and Sue Siegel of Girl Scout Cadette Troop 40651 in Park Ridge.

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Through a combined effort, GCNWI Service Unit 405 and five troops at St. Paul of the Cross School in Park Ridge brought in donations to in cake mixes, pans, cans of frosting, plates, napkins, tablecloths, birthday candles, and balloons to fill 50 birthday bags. The bags were then delivered to the parish food pantry and will be shared with the Maine Township Food Pantry and Our Lady of Angels Food Pantry.

“The girls enjoyed being part of this effort,” Huber and Siegel said. “They also had fun deciding which items to put together in the bags, such as yellow cake and pink frosting or chocolate cake with white or chocolate frosting.”

The Birthday in a Bag Bash also kicks off #100DaysOfGold to commemorate the centennial of the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting. The council-wide initiative encourages girls to participate in 100 days of doing good in their communities starting on March 12 and going through June 20.

“We’ve already been given so much in our lives, yet there are some who struggle to find basic necessities,” said Marie T., a Girl Scout Cadette with Troop 40651. “It’s our time to pay it forward and give these people what every human deserves.”

Girl Scout Recognized by The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis

Girl Scout Recognized by The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis

After noticing a need for clothing at a local food pantry, Madison Fanta, of Saint John, IN, decided to do something about it. At age 9, she started donating her own clothing to the pantry to help other children. Shortly thereafter, her collection expanded to a dedicated room at the pantry and Maddie’s Helping Hands was born.

On Friday, November 13, Madison, a 15-year-old Girl Scout Senior, was honored for her work during the 11th annual Power of Children Awards by The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, IN. The award recognizes young philanthropists (grades 6-11) across the country for their significant contributions to society.

“My project was inspired by my Nana, who works at a local food pantry,” Madison explained. “When I went there and saw all the kids and people in need of clothing, I asked my family and friends to donate clothes for people in need. I think it’s important to give back because not everyone enjoys the same privileges.”

As one of five recipients, Madison received a $2,000 grant, which she plans to use for purchasing undergarments to distribute at the food pantry.

“Madison’s project reveals her compassionate and philanthropic nature,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum. “Her vision to clothe the underserved in her community, and her commitment to grow her project through recruitment of significant numbers of volunteers from the elderly to fellow Girl Scouts, demonstrate that Madison is precisely the kind of inspirational young person the Power of Children Awards program was created to honor and recognize.”

Madison, who is a lifelong Girl Scout, plans to use Maddie’s Helping Hands as the basis for her Gold Award project. The Girl Scout Gold Award, which celebrates its centennial in 2016, is the highest award that Girl Scouts ages 14-18 may earn. The leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment required to complete the process set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship. Girls complete seven steps to earn the Gold Award, including the completion of a significant service project.

“The Gold Award is important to me because it means that I am growing as a Girl Scout and I’m able to accomplish more than I ever thought,” she said. “The most important lesson I’ve learned as a Girl Scout is to give back to the community.”

To learn more about Maddie’s Helping Hands, watch the video below: