Thursday, April 28, 2016

What's Happening Around the Council: April 2016

Ever wonder what other Girl Scout Troops have been up to?  Looking for ideas?  Check out what's been happening around the 40 1/2 counties that make up Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' council!

Here's some of what's been happening:

Junior Troop #129 planted a tree at the Mascoutah Dog Park to celebrate Earth Day.

Perry County Senior Girl Scout Troop #8138 went ziplining.

Nearly 150 Girl Scouts attended an Earth Day event hosted by Anna-Jonesboro Troop #8597 held at Camp Cedar Point.

Girls camped, made Earth Day posters and learned about animals and the environment. Special thanks to adult volunteers.

Melissa W., David W., Chelena D. and Cupquake, Rockcat, Peanut and Kaleidoscope.

Girl Scout Troop #68 held a bake sale to purchase a Buddy Bench for St. John Neumann School in Maryville.

Daisy Troop #4321 from Marshall picked up trash in honor of Earth Day.

Daisy Troop #8713 donated supplies and visited with cats and dogs at Jefferson County Animal Shelter.

Troop #8130 from Du Quoin planted a dogwood tree in Keyes City Park for Earth Day.

Freeburg Junior Troop #8349 recently enjoyed letterboxing.

Troop #8487 learned about taking care of horses by helping clean the barn and clear trails, fill water troughs and cleaningtackle gear and saddles.

Glen Carbon Troop #611 donated supplies and treats to Cindy’s Critters Lab Rescue for the GSSI’s Paw-Some Pets Council-Wide Service Project.

Du Quoin Junior Troop #8123 earned their Digital Photographer badge with the help of Faith Photography. Belleville Troop #525 had fun at the “Drive-In/Camp-Out” program at Camp Chan Ya Ta. They made campfire spaghetti and Elvis s’mores and then watched a movie while sipping hot chocolate.

SU 105 - Jersey/Calhoun had a painting party for Leader/Co-Leader Appreciation Day.
Troop #130 worked with 5A’s Animal Shelter in Godfrey for their Paw-some Pets Service Project. The troop made and donated 80 scratch pads out of Girl Scout Cookie cases...and then got to see the cats there enjoy their gifts.

Girl Scouts from Perry County celebrated Earth Day by attending a recycled craft event in Du Quoin. Each girl brought an item to donate to Twin Oaks Children’s Home, which serves people with developmental disabilities.

Service Unit 521 - Western Coles County held a GirlCon program on April 16 at Eastern Illinois University that was attended by 153 girls, 53 adults and 30 volunteers. Girls got to design their own superhero costume, create a Creeper from Mindcraft, make a Harry Potter wand and work with polymer clay. Attendees could also sit on panels to learn about topics such as Cosplay, writing books and fan fi ction and being a comic artist. The End Zone, a local gaming business, set up board games and taught girls to play. Comic artist Todd Black helped girls learn to draw comics, as well.

Troop #8062 from Carterville recently had a blast attending a “He & Me” dance.
Troop #2 finished the Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden Journey by completing their Take Action Project at St. John United Methodist Church’s Mission Garden in Edwardsville.

Troops #8240, #8084, #8086, #8064, and #8896 from Johnston City planted flowers around the local Scout Cabin.

Hamilton County volunteer Rebecca Irvin decorated the window of Irvin Jewelry in McLeansboro for Girl Scout Week.

Brownie Troop #8133 donated 125 items for the Perry County Humane Society - including food, treats, litter, pet bowls, collars and leashes. They also enjoyed spending some time with the animals there.

Members from Troops #8853 and #89178 volunteered over their spring break to serve meals at Herrin House of Hope.

Make Sure Your Area is Represented!
E-mail Erin Johnson at to share what your troop is up to! While not every submission can be published, we will make an effort to reflect the diverse interests, activities and areas that make GSSI so great.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dara Weaver-Holmes: Girl Scout National Young Woman of Distinction

Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world through their Girl Scout Gold Award projects. The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. As the Girl Scout Gold Award celebrates 100 years of girls changing the world, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) will highlight some of our shining stars who exemplify the greatness of this award.

Dara Weaver-Holmes

Dara Weaver-Holmes of Carbondale, IL was always active in Girl Scouts. As a teen, she didn’t just stick with Girl Scouting – she excelled – earning the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award her senior year. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Dara organized a highly successful career fair and virtual career website. “I kept hearing how young Americans were not trained to enter the work world,” she said. “I have never liked to be at the bottom. It’s just not me. I got tired of hearing how we were not preparing American youth and decided to startt preparing us,” added Dara.
Dara’s initiative and successful Gold Award project paid off. Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois chose to nominate her for the highly honored award of National Young Woman of Distinction. Each year, ten exceptionally inspiring Girl Scout Gold Award recipients from throughout the country are chosen by Girl Scouts of the USA as National Young Women of Distinction. Dara was selected by GSUSA as a 2012 Young Woman of Distinction which also came with a $3,000 scholarship, an all-expense paid trip to GSUSA’s national convention and exclusive leadership opportunities with the organization.

Dara contributes a lot of who she is today to Girl Scouting and earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. “Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award gave me the opportunity to give speeches around the country, allowed for networking opportunities and provided a strong sense of family. Several of us Gold Award recipients remain in touch today,” she said. And, she encourages other Girl Scouts to set goals and achieve the Gold Award. “Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. I heard that a lot throughout my life, but Girl Scouts pushed me forward and allowed me to fulfill my dreams,” Dara added.

Dara’s success continues today. She currently attends Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. In 2012, Dara co-founded their local chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists with Jasmine Jackson. Dara was President of the chapter until the fall of 2015. This spring, she will graduate from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in American Sign Language. Upon graduation, Dara will be applying to attend law school.

The Girl Scout Gold Award recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable. The project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work. Only about 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Save the Date! #GiveSTLDay is May 3

Save the Date! On May 3, GSSI is one of 910 nonprofits from around the bi-state area to join together for 24 hours of giving! When you give to GSSI on Give STL Day, your gift goes to help us continue to provide the world's premier leadership experience for girls right here in southern Illinois.

#GiveSTLDay is an area campaign of Give Local America - a national movement to raise funds and awareness for nonprofits in their respective communities. All funds raised by GSSI will be used to provide the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to our 40 1/2 county jurisdiction.

Donors who give $10 or more can win Cardinals tickets!   See prize schedule...