Earlier this month, Rose Pest Solutions welcomed Brownie and Junior level Girl Scouts to indulge in their fascination with bugs and nature with a fun filled career exploration event at their headquarters.
Rose Pest Solutions provided girls with lots of great history about their company and its mission- to preserve and protect the environment with chemical free solutions- and gave them a tour of their home office. Of course, our inquisitive Girl Scouts had questions for the staff who made themselves available, including an operator who showed them the call system, talked about some of the craziest calls she’s received, and a technician who demonstrated his equipment and talked about the kind of calls he goes out on.
Then it was time to meet the bugs!
Girls got a chance to touch and hold live Madagascar cockroaches and examine specimens under microscopes! While working towards their STEM badges, the Brownies and Juniors also had the opportunity to look inside a real wasp’s nest and learn about the important role honeybees and other pollinators play in keeping our fruits and vegetables growing plentiful.
Other engaging, interactive activities included providing stations where girls could dress up like beekeepers, do bug/butterfly/ladybug/bumblebee themed crafts, and even included a pollinator station where girls could make gifts to bring home to the special person in their life.
Check out some highlights below!
Girl Scout Spark days were designed to provide girls the opportunity to visit several different companies to learn about STEM careers. From engineering to distribution to animal care, there are many exciting careers to explore! Our girls have connected with industry professionals at such Spark Day events as Scout Out Engineering at Groupon, NIPSCO Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, Animal Aptitude at the Shedd Aquarium, and Spark Day at IKEA.
February commemorates the month of African American culture, accomplishments, and historical contributions to society. It is a time to celebrate and uplift Black voices and champion their stories of triumph throughout American history.
Girl Scouts honors Black History Month by sharing with you four trailblazers who helped shape the Girl Scout Movement. The contributions of these women allowed young African American girls to increase their visibility and leadership skills on both a local and national level.
Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott: President of the Negro Girl Scout Senior Planning Board (1950’s) who—despite segregation—was able to gain the leadership skills needed to be the first national president of Girl Scouts of USA. The Girl Scout Trefoil was redesigned during the last year of her presidency to highlight and add visibility to the diversity of the organization.
Josephine Groves Holloway: Josephine Groves Holloway was a champion of diversity and was instrumental in founding the first all-Black Girl Scout troop in Nashville, helping to desegregate troops in Tennessee. Josephine was also the first African American Girl Scout staff member, serving as a field advisor, district director, and camp director.
Bazoline Usher: A distinguished educator whose ambition and tenacity led to the opening of seven new elementary schools to spearhead Black education in Atlanta. Bazoline then recruited 30 black teachers, mothers, and female volunteers to create the first African American Girl Scout troops in Atlanta in 1943.
Taryn-Marie Jenkins: A National Gold Award Girl Scout who, to earn the highest award in Girl Scouting, made it possible for foster kids to have what they need to attend college with her Jumping the Hurdles – Foster Care to College project. She connected students to college professionals and provided resources and helpful tips to help students manage the transition from high school and the foster home to college. Taryn-Marie’s project was able to sponsor 12 students with supplies and dorm room necessities.
Girl Scouts can do incredible things, especially when they have the drive to do good and make the world a better place with ingenious and creative solutions. Girl Scout Senior Madison is one of these awesome Girl Scouts! Madison shared her story of developing the ThinMints4ThickSocks initiative, aimed at providing support and comfort to community members struggling with homelessness.
Read on to learn more about Madison’s story and her community service efforts, in her own words, and learn how Girl Scout Cookies do good for communities and more!
My Girl Scout origin story started when I was in pre-K. I frequently saw my sister, who is 8 years older than me, leave to go to Girl Scouts. I wanted to be a Girl Scout so desperately, I would often sit in the same room to watch their meeting.
Eventually, I was able to [be] a Daisy and it was the best day ever. I got to do cookie sales, meet new friends, do community service, and spend time with my peers at Girl Scouts. I’m continuing my Girl Scout journey in my freshman year of high school. Girl Scouts has been an enriching experience, providing me with an opportunity to fulfill my full potential in life.
According to several news articles and reports, socks aren’t frequently donated to homeless shelters and are often in high demand. ThinMints4Thicksocks is an initiative that I created to provide socks to the homeless by allowing the public to donate a new pack of tube socks in exchange for a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Rather than buying a box for five dollars, people bought a box by donating a pack of new socks. We then donated all the socks we collected and gave them to homeless shelters.
I created this project because the pandemic presented a challenge for the 2021 cookie season. Because I couldn’t conduct business as usual, I decided to think outside of the box and create a way to combine this cookie season with a charitable drive, assisting people impacted by the pandemic and driven to homelessness.
ThinMints4Thicksocks directly provided socks to the homeless, which aren’t in adequate supply in some homeless shelters locally and across the nation. I was motivated to pursue this project because I realized the positive benefit it would have in the community in helping disadvantaged people, like the residents of Chicago’s UCAN facility, which is social service agency serving over 10,000 individuals annually through compassionate healing, education, and empowerment.
By raising awareness of the shortage of socks, I believe ThinMints4ThickSocks will continue even after I’ve finished working on the project, by inspiring others to continue donating socks, and other much needed items, (like thermal underclothes, toiletry items, etc.). My plan was to plant a seed and my hope is that it will provide an abundant crop of caring.
I wish others knew about how Girl Scouts is preparing me, and other girls, to assume leadership roles in our future endeavors. Girl Scouting gives me a sense of responsibility and community. Girl Scouts is not just about selling cookies, or community service projects. Many of my closest friends are Girl Scouts. We’ve maintained our friendships through mutual respect, trust, and honesty, which are all promoted in Girl Scouting.
Thank you to Madison!
Learn About Cookies
Welcome to the Girl Scout Cookie Program, the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world. The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps your girl succeed today and prepare for future success. With every box she sells, she builds on 5 essential leadership skills she can use for a lifetime.
Participating in the cookie program powers Girl Scouts’ adventures throughout the year as they learn key business skills to excel in future careers and in life. By participating in different sales methods, girls gain more skills, including: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.
Stay up-to-date with 2022’s Cookie Program when you register to be a Girl Scout! Join today!
To commemorate the impactful work of all who have earned Girl Scouting’s highest awards, we’re celebrating with a council-wide service initiative known as #100DaysOfGold.
Service units, troops, volunteers, girls, families and supporters are invited to do good in their communities throughout our 100 days of service, starting on March 12 and going through June 20. Let’s show everyone what it means to go gold and make the world a better place!
Are you participating in #100DaysOfGold? We’d love to learn more! Please complete our quick online form and tag us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram when you share stories and photos.
Starting on March 1, anyone who participates can visit their local Gathering Place and grab a bright, fun and complimentary #100DaysOfGold slap bracelet!
Need some ideas to get started? Take a look at the list below and check back as new ones are added.
Chicago Youth Service Day: Join youth across Chicago for an interactive day of service and non-violent action. Projects are youth-driven and include beautifying community spaces, serving senior citizens and learning about world hunger. Click here to learn more.
April 30 and May 1:
Kits for Kids: Help Project C.U.R.E. through their Kits for Kids program by bringing “medicine cabinet supplies” and a nominal donation to give the gift of health to other kids around the world. Join the Packing Party on April 30 at the Friendship Center in Country Club Hills and May 1 at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place. Registration is $6 per girl.
Almost Home Kids: This Illinois-based organization provides transitional care in a home-like setting to medically fragile children with complicated health needs and respite care in Chicago and Naperville. Help them celebrate National Nurses Week (starting May 9) by honoring pediatric nurses who provide important care for the children at Almost Home Kids. Troops can bring a meal to nurses during the day or night shift. Or create goodie bags containing chocolate, hand lotion, pens and small snacks for the nurses. For more information, please email Lisa Snow, community outreach coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Things That Glitter: Do you have new or gently used accessories, such as handbags, jewelry and scarves sitting around the house collecting dust? Donate your items to under-served girls at Chicago Public Schools through All Things That Glitter’s accessory drive. You can drop off your accessories at our Vernon Hills Gathering Place (650 N. Lakeview Parkway). For more information, click here.
June 3-4 and June 10-11:
Forget-Me-Not Days: Help the Alzheimer’s Association raise awareness about the disease by collecting donations outside storefronts, business offices, tourist attractions and more. Chicago collections take place June 3-4 and collections in the suburbs will take place June 10-11. In exchange for a donation, volunteers will distribute Forget-Me-Not flower seeds to plant in honor of the more than five million people living with Alzheimer’s. To learn more or find a volunteer opportunity near you, please click here or contact Rebekah Marquez at email@example.com.
Beautify Your Gathering Place: Get your hands dirty planting flowers and spreading mulch at your Girl Scout Gathering Place, then make a recycled craft to take home. You’ll also receive a fun patch and a pair of gardening gloves. For more information and to register, click here.
Special Events for Girl Scout Alumnae:
Chicago Park District Service Day: At Nichols Park in Hyde Park (1355 E. 53rd Street, Chicago) from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., join your Sister Girl Scouts in cleaning up the park, mulching, weeding, gardening and other projects that may come up. It’s a great opportunity to work along with other Girl Scout alums to help make the world a better place. Suggested attire: closed-toed shoes, comfortable clothes and gardening gloves. Street parking is available.
Alexian Brothers: With locations throughout the Chicagoland area, there are plenty of opportunities to care and help others while learning about the healthcare field. For more information, click here or email Laura Ingrim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Heart Association Patch Program: A healthy heart is critical to a healthy lifestyle, which is why we’ve teamed up with the American Heart Association to promote heart awareness. To learn more about the program and to register, visit our blog.
Amnesty International: There are plenty of ways to get involved with Amnesty International and lobby for human rights. Sign a petition, attend an event or start a campaign at your school. Learn more here or email Emily Walsh at email@example.com for details.
Bernie’s Book Bank: Want to share your love of reading with at-risk children throughout Chicagoland? Volunteer for Bernie’s Book Bank in Lake Bluff, IL. You can drop in at the warehouse or collect books on the bank’s behalf. Learn more here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bridge Communities: Connect homeless families to a better future by volunteering with Bridge Communities in Glen Ellyn, IL. You can also earn “A Heart for the Homeless” patch. For more information, click here.
Chemo Survivor Kits: If you’ve ever had a family member or friend diagnosed with cancer, you know how difficult the process can be. By collecting a few simple items in a small tote bag, chemo patients will know the small difference you made. Register here.
Chicago Cares: Volunteer at locations around the city, such as Mercy Homes, local schools, and Garfield Park Conservatory, with Chicago Cares. Details here.
Clean up your playground or park: Make the world a more beautiful place by picking up trash in your neighborhood.
Clean your closet: Get a head start on spring cleaning by donating your gently used clothes to a local family or refugee shelter. Click here to find out how Girl Scout Madison Fanta started a clothing drive in Saint John, Indiana.
Connection of Friends: Enrich the lives of teenagers and adults with special needs by volunteering with Connection of Friends in Wheaton, IL. Learn more and apply today here.
Connections for the Homeless: Team up with your troop to host a donation drive for this nonprofit organization that helps people dealing with homelessness in Evanston. The most commonly needed items include household size toiletries, cleaning supplies, linens and blankets. You can also gather a group to cook and serve dinner at Hilda’s Place Shelter or sign up for a Second Saturday for Service where you can help clean the shelter, sort donations, organize the food pantry and more. For more information, click here.
Cradles to Crayons: Looking for a fun and easy way to give back? Create customized “KidPacks” for children in need. Click here for more details or email Kelsey Miklos at email@example.com.
Cuddle Comfort: Create cuddly small pillows or lap blankets as welcome gifts for pediatric patients, senior citizens, homeless shelters and emergency rooms. Register here.
Deborah’s Place: Help women heal, grow and lead at Deborah’s Place, a safe community for women experiencing homelessness in Chicago. With ongoing, individual and group opportunities available, there’s a chance to give back for everyone.
Donate gently used books, toys and games: Make another kid’s day by donating items you don’t use anymore to a children’s hospital or family shelter.
Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry: Volunteer during client shopping hours and food deliveries at the Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry. For details, click here.
Gilda’s Club Chicago: There are different ways to help people who’ve been affected by cancer by helping at Gilda’s Club Chicago. Whether it’s greeting members at the reception desk or playing with children and teens, find out how you can get involved here.
Girl Scout Help: If you want to give back and you’re not sure where to start, begin with Girl Scout Help, which connects Girl Scouts with various volunteer opportunities.
Greenheart Travel: Want to rescue animals in Costa Rica or save elephants in Sri Lanka? You can make a difference by volunteering abroad with Greenheart Travel.
Honor Flight: Pay homage to the brave women and men who served our country by becoming an Honor Flight volunteer. Help these heroes get their day of honor in Washington, D.C. by clicking here or emailing Kathi Krankoski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Humanitarian Service Project: Support families in need by volunteering with Humanitarian Service Project in Carol Stream, IL. Opportunities include food and toy sorting.
Host a bake sale or lemonade stand: Whip up a batch of your favorite sweet treat and donate the proceeds to your visit charity.
La Casa Norte: Serve youth and families facing homelessness by getting involved with this Chicago-based organization. Learn more about open volunteer positions here.
Little Hands – Big Hearts: This volunteer opportunity is perfect for little ones who want to make a big difference. For more information, click here.
Meals on Wheels Chicago: Visit with seniors residing in independent living communities with Meals on Wheels’ Friends Beyond the Years program. Details here.
Midwest Soarring Foundation: This nonprofit is dedicated to “educating the public about various American Indian cultural issues, environmental issues, and building community among all people.” To learn more or to volunteer, click here.
Northern Illinois Food Bank: Help the hungry by volunteering at one of three locations in Northern Illinois. Children ages 8 and older can volunteer with families or in groups with adult chaperones. For more information, click here.
Jamaica Volunteer Expeditions: Learn about agriculture and farming, environment and conservation and more when you volunteer abroad in Jamaica. Find out more here.
Organize a blood drive in your community: Recruit donors and help schedule appointments. Create thank-you cards to hand out at the drive. Visit the American Red Cross to learn more.
Ronald McDonald House Charities: Support the families staying at your local Ronald McDonald Houses and Ronald McDonald Family Room by collecting wish list items, volunteering in the Houses to bake sweets and creating a craft for patients and siblings to enjoy. Each location has specific needs that groups can directly help with and support. Register here.
Send cards to soldiers: Thank women and men in the armed forces for their service to our country. While you’re at it, send cards to veterans, too!
Share Your Soles: Help provide shoes for children and adults in need by volunteering with Share Your Soles. Learn how you can get involved here.
The Puppy Mill Project: If you’re a passionate animal lover, check out volunteer opportunities with this Chicago nonprofit. To sign up, click here.
Visit a local nursing home: Take some time to visit senior citizens at a nursing home in your community. You can read with them or have fun making crafts. Don’t live near a nursing home? Offer to help an elderly neighbor with household chores.
Volunteer at an animal shelter: Help cute critters ready for adoption by volunteering to play with them and groom them. Or you can collect items for the shelter, such as food and supplies, or make toys for the animals.
Kitchens are made for people to gather and we can’t until our campers can gather in the new dining hall at Camp Juniper Knoll.
It’s been a few years since heavy snow caused the roof to collapse on the original dining hall and construction crews have been hard at work preparing the building for the upcoming camp season.
To help us serve Girl Scout campers for years to come, we’re stocking the dining hall’s kitchen … but we need your help. Shop the online kitchen registry to help fill the kitchen with all the gadgets and appliances necessary to ensure an exceptional experience for everyone who visits Juniper Knoll, which is located on Pleasant Lake in East Troy, Wisconsin.
Items, such as pots and pans, folding tables and chairs, range from $25 to $15,000. Gifts can be made as an individual, family, troop and/or service unit. You can also make a monetary donation to give a girl a camp experience with memories that will last a lifetime. Every gift makes an impact!
For more information or to purchase a gift, please visit bit.ly/gsregistry. To view additional pictures of the progress at Juniper Knoll, click here.
We look forward to inviting you to the grand opening of the dining hall this summer. Thank you for supporting our council in this exciting endeavor.
I can still remember 2008 when I was asked what my greatest accomplishment was for my college essay, and I wrote, getting my Gold Award.
Very few people at the time stayed in Girl Scouts to get their Gold Award. The cute faces no longer sold all of those Girl Scout Cookies and the stigma of being a good girl “Girl Scout” wasn’t very popular in high school.
I was part of the cool Girl Scout group. We liked volunteering. We spent our Girl Scout money on a cruise to Mexico and we stayed at Embassy Suites rather than a campsite for our annual Girl Scout meeting. Girl Scouting really is what you make it and it can be cool at any age.
I love volunteering and building community and that desire began with Girl Scouts – it began as my sister did her Silver Award project cleaning a home for pregnant teenagers and sewing baby bags for them with her troop. It began as we planned a trip to Savannah, Georgia to visit Juliette Gordon Low’s House or the Kennedy Space Center where we slept under a rocket. It began as I worked on badges to learn how to cook.
When I was 17, I started working on my Gold Award project. I was one of two girls in my troop to get her Gold Award. This service project for a Gold Award had to be over 60 hours and had to be something that lasted. So, if it was an event, it had to be an annual event. To start, I had to analyze my community and various issues within my South Florida community. I was more involved with my church community as a Sunday School teacher. I decided to make a mural of all of the kids in my Sunday School class for my Gold Award. I’m not the best artist, so I worked with other artists to help draw and paint my students. I think when we are young, we see our limits and don’t realize how powerful and impactful we are. It was rewarding to have my students represent a piece of the church and be a visual reminder to the diversity different voices within the congregation.
As an adult, I wanted to volunteer in my community, and I did a Google search for empowering women organizations to volunteer. The first result was Girl Scouts. I was afraid to be a Girl Scout leader because I didn’t have children, and I didn’t know if I could still relate to children. But I pursued that option.
The Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana paired me with another single twenty something, and we started a new Girl Scout troop in Edgewater, Illinois. We started in the middle of Girl Scout Cookie Season and thankfully sold all of our cookies and made more in donations than in profits, so we could buy books and Girl Scout uniforms for every girl in our combination Brownie and Junior troop.
My girls constantly surprised me with their insight, their energy, and their creativity. We participated in World Thinking Day by choreographing a dance, learning about Ivory Coast, and making too many plantains to share with the other Girls Scouts. We took a day trip to the Art Institute and completed our first Girl Scout badge. I got to teach and prepare the financial statements and most importantly, I got to know kids and families in my community.
It was a great experience and the four troop leaders who replaced us also were twenty-somethings without kids. I like to think we started a trend.
Amanda Elliott is a Chicago-based marketing professional and blogs about city life and the Chicago start-up community for Windy CityCosmo.
In 2017, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana will host a Girl Scouts of the United States of America Destination to Mexico.
From the traditional crafts to the tasty cuisine and ancient architecture to the upbeat music and dancing, Mexico’s vibrant culture is rich and exciting. This Destination will begin in Mexico City, the home to Frida Kahlo, Ballet Folklorico, and 2,000-year-old pyramids.
Next, our travels will lead us to Our Cabaña in Cuernavaca, which is located in the heart of Mexico. At this World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Centre, our group will meet Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from the around the world in an adventure of a lifetime. Here, we’ll take part in a community service project, learn about Mexican culture, go white water rafting or waterfall jumping, and travel to nearby historic sites.
And the best part is Girl Scouts from our council will have the chance to plan parts of the trip! If you’re going to be a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador in 2017, you can submit your application and reference form before the April 18, 2016 deadline.
The trip, which will take place between July 20 – 31, 2017, costs approximately $2,500 and includes meals, accommodations, round-trip airfare from Chicago to Mexico City, transportation within Mexico and much more.
For a sneak peek at what you can see and do at Our Cabaña, check out our travel vlog below and be sure to apply HERE before April 18, 2016.
If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Christensen, our manager of arts, cultural awareness and travel programs, at email@example.com or 312-912-6322.
Girl Scout Cadette Troop 30457 from Cedar Lake Service Unit 308 collected and delivered items to the Indiana Veterans Home in West Lafayette as their Silver Award project. The Silver Award is the highest achievable award for the Cadette Girl Scout. Their project was to help stock a cart that is supplied by the American Legion Auxiliary with items not normally available at the home for the residents. Ramen noodles, pudding, microwave popcorn, Vienna sausages, chips, snack cakes, batteries, socks and toiletries were among the items. Collection sites included Hanover Middle School, Lincoln and Wanatah elementary schools, LaCrosse High School and Strack and Van Til stores in both Schererville and Cedar Lake. The girls’ families also contributed to their collection.
Customers at the grocers were given lists with items needed and combined with collection boxes at the schools. More than 4500 individual items filled a 12’x8′ trailer. Terri Rene, the American Legion Auxiliary member, was happy to have her pantry at the Indiana Veterans Home restocked. The girls also provided a check for $200 from cash donations received along with gift cards to Sam’s Club and Target donated to the Troop by the stores.
Earlier this month, the 8-year-old Girl Scout Brownie from Evanston, Illinois wrote a letter to Hasbro asking why Rey, the heroine in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was not included in the Monopoly version of the popular sci-fi series.
“I didn’t like that the main character was left out,” she explained. “It’s important because a lot of kids buy the game and kids need to see women are as strong as men.”
Two days after Annie Rose’s mother tweeted a picture of the letter to Hasbro with the hashtag #WheresRey, the toy and game company said it would include Rey in the Monopoly: Star Wars game available later this year.
“I feel very accomplished,” said Annie Rose. “I feel like I did what I had to do to get my point out there. Now everyone, boy or girl, young or old, can see that they can do almost anything.”
And it’s not the first time Annie Rose has spoken out on issues important to her. Last year, she wrote a letter to President Barack Obama about helping Syrian refugees. She takes her inspiration from another president, Abraham Lincoln.
“After I went to the Lincoln Museum and learned about the Emancipation Proclamation, I thought it was awesome that one person could do something so big and so inspiring,” she said. “I was amazed.”
Next on Annie Rose’s agenda is petitioning brands to make age-appropriate Halloween costumes for little girls. And, of course, she’ll be first in line when the new Monopoly version comes out with Rey.
“I like Rey because she’s really strong,” said Annie Rose, who wants to be a paleontologist or archaeologist when she grows up. “When there’s a problem, instead of saying ‘you do this for me, I’m a girl’ she goes and tries to fix it the best way she can. I really admire her for that.”
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!