Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Victoria Shore Incorporates Girl Scouts into Pageant Platform to Take Home Honors

Victoria, Girl Scout & Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen 2018 1st Runner Up

Victoria Shore believes in following her passion to create a positive impact on society.  The fifteen year old from Marion, Illinois is incredibly engaged in community outreach and giving back to others.  She devotes countless hours to two organizations in particular, Girl Scouts and the Miss America Organization, all for one powerful purpose: to make a difference. 

Due to her dedication of ambition and activity, Victoria is a standout in both non-profits.  She has earned two of Girl Scouts’ highest individual awards – the Girl Scout Bronze Award and Girl Scout Silver Award - and is currently serving as an ex-officio Girl Board Member for Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois.  Recently, she was also named Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen 1st runner up.  Her pageant platform includes sharing the courage, confidence and character it takes to be a Girl Scout and explaining how everyone can benefit from building these traits that are integral to the Girl Scout mission into their lives. 

She’s poised, powerful and has a promising future.  Hear Victoria’s own words about her experiences and aspirations, what Girl Scouts means to her and how girls can change the world:

Congratulations on being named Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen 2018 1st Runner Up. Can you share what this honor means to you?

I’ve been involved in the Miss America organization for about 10 years now, so being able to compete in the state pageant which would eventually lead to nationals and to place so high and to earn scholarship money is just very important to me. I think that it shows how much the organization means to me that I continue to stick with it because I really, really love it.

You incorporate your Girl Scout experience into your pageant platform.  What makes Girl Scouts so important to you?

I love incorporating Girl Scouts and the three c’s of courage, confidence and character into my involvement in the Miss America Organization because I’ve been a Girl Scout for 8 years now and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time.  I’ve learned so much and the badges that I’ve earned have given me awesome stories to tell.  Being able to speak about girl empowerment and being your best you is something that I’m very thankful for.

Victoria incorporates Girl Scouts into her pageant platform.

What is one of your greatest memories from Girl Scouts?

My Girl Scout troop went to the Science Center in St. Louis.  We got to spend the night in the planetarium there, we got to speak to women about being involved in STEM careers and we could create our own games in an app, and robots.  It was really, really cool.  And sleeping beneath the stars with my fellow Girl Scouts – that is something that I’ll never forget.

It’s been 106 years since Girl Scouts was founded. How would you say the organization stays relevant to girls today?

I think that Girl Scouts has done a great job of changing with the times. Girl Scouts has adapted to talk about STEM and getting girls involved in STEM because we need more women in those fields. We can earn different badges that encourage us to be involved in those fields.  We use technology as well -   I can code online with Girl Scouts through their website and I think it’s fantastic. It’s just another way that they have stayed relevant in involving girls in society the way it is now.

Another recent initiative that Girl Scouts has launched is the GIRL Agenda – getting girls more civically engaged from gathering information on critical issues to voting to running for office, etc. What are your thoughts on this initiative?

I love the GIRL Agenda, especially because I love keeping up with current events.  A lot of my family is politically involved – my aunt is running for judge right now.  I am also thinking of minoring in political science when I go to college. So having Girl Scouts encourage me and my peers to be involved and be an active member in our community and in society, I think that it is a fantastic initiative and more girls should participate in it as well.

Do you think girls your age are interested in being more involved in their communities and civic events?

I think a lot of people know that community service and volunteerism is important but I don’t think that they know how to get started, which is why organizations like Girl Scouts are so important.

I actually just recruited one of my friends, Bella, to be a Girl Scout in my troop because she was seeing all of the things that I did – all of the badges and events and community opportunities that I was given because of my involvement in Girl Scouts.  So I think that having an outlet to get started in community volunteerism is very important.

Community service is a huge part of Girl Scouting.  How is this important to you? 

I think that the community you grow up in and the people that you are around as a young individual who is being molded into who you will be in the future has such an impact.  Recognizing that the people around you have had that influence on you, I think that it’s only appropriate to give back.  Just having the opportunity to serve my community and those who have helped shape me into the person I am is something that I will never, never stop doing.

You’ve been involved with many community service projects – including those that helped you earn Girl Scout Awards.  What was your experience? 

I have loved working on my Girl Scout Awards.  For my Bronze Award, my troop and I partnered with our local Lighthouse Shelter, which is our homeless shelter, and we made enough blankets for every child in the shelter to have one when they went to bed at night.  We also cooked a meal and sat down and talked to the residents.  Often we don’t think about how there are people who are struggling and don’t have as much as us, but we can still help and we can still be there for them.  Being able to incorporate community activism and volunteerism into earning my Girl Scout Bronze Award was awesome.

Through my Silver Award, my Girl Scout troop member Savannah and I created The Empowerment Project and the Empower You Career Fair, which involved women in different careers coming to the Jr. High to talk to young girls.  I loved that one too!  We’ve made it an annual thing – we did it for the second time this year.   It lets girls know that their possibilities are endless.  If they have strong role models that they can look up to and mold their life after, I think that is something that is important. 

Victoria with her Girl Scout Silver Award

Do you think it’s valuable for young girls to have female role models?

I think that in terms of powerful women and women who take charge, sometimes they are not looked up to as much as strong male role models.  I think there are a lot of males who do great things in their communities, but women also do fantastic things for the people around them.   I think that building up women, as a fellow girl myself, is just as important as recognizing the men in our lives.

Do you have future plans to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award? 

I absolutely do plan to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award.  My involvement with the Miss America Organization helps foster a love for education and also helps me realize the importance of scholarships, which I can earn with the Gold Award.  I think that I plan on taking that on as a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador. I don’t quite know what I’m going to do with my project yet, but it’s something that my Girl Scout Troop Leader and I have already put some thought into.   

One of your other many Girl Scout roles is being an Ex-Officio Girl Board Member. What has that been like for you so far?

I had the opportunity to go to our Annual Meeting and I loved it.  I loved seeing the business side of Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois and meeting all of the women who put in the work to allow the Girl Scouts and our troops to have smooth experiences and to benefit from what we’re doing to the best of our abilities.  Plus, I got to meet our new CEO, who is a wonderful woman.  I loved meeting her and talking to her.  I also loved the idea of a public forum where Girl Scout troop leaders and members of the Board can share their own input.  I actually got to speak as well, with my fellow ex-officio Board Member, and touch on subjects that affected us as Girl Scouts.  I absolutely loved it and I cannot wait to continue to work as ex-officio Board Member.  

What are your future goals and dreams?
My biggest dream right now is to be a news anchor on GMA or the Today Show because I love talking to other people about their stories and what is a passion for them.  Northwestern is my dream school and I would like to major in broadcast journalism and as I mentioned, maybe political science as a minor.  That’s why organizations like Miss America and Girl Scouts are important to me because they give me scholarship opportunities.  I just know that I want to do something that helps others and benefits others who deserve to be recognized. 

You speak with such confidence and poise. What would you say to girls who are developing their voice?

I think that girls my age, as we grow up in a society that is very active in feminism, especially with the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp and different movements like that coming to the forefront - we have to understand that if we are not part of the solution, then we are contributing to being part of the problem.  If you have a voice – if you feel like there’s something that is deep inside of you and you want to spread the message of something you care about, now is the time to start speaking about it. Every second that you don’t talk about the thing that you’re passionate about – you’re losing that time. Do something amazing with it.  I think that every single girl has something she can contribute to the world around her and encourage them to use their voice in that way.

Do you have tips for girls to get started and develop confidence sharing their voices?

I think that talking with your friends about the issues that you feel are burning inside of your heart that you would like to help correct or help aid in society is very important.  I love talking to my friends about what I feel I could be doing and how we as girls growing up can help be the solutions to these problems in society.  I think it’s very important to bounce ideas off each other – especially other girls in your inner circle or your family.  I think everyone has a sister or an aunt, a mother or a grandma who would love to talk to them about using your voice and utilizing what’s in your heart and your mind to change the world.  

Do you feel that an all-girl environment is still a valuable part of the Girl Scouting experience?

Absolutely. I think that you get this amazing feeling when you’re in an atmosphere that is created by women, for women with women in it - especially as you become an older Girl Scout and you have the opportunity to mentor younger Girl Scouts. It is something that is surreal when you’re in that moment because we always talk about growing up and helping influence other people, but now I am getting the chance to do that.  I think that for 106 years Girl Scouts has done beautifully – they’ve given this wonderful atmosphere and space for girls to be their very best and I don’t think that anyone can do it better than Girl Scouts.

I just encourage people to get involved in Girl Scouts because it is amazing.  That is the one anthem that I try to spread through everything I do because Girl Scouts has changed my life, and my friends lives.

Victoria is often out in the community volunteering through Girl Scouts

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Girl Scout Troop From Troy Helps Clean Air in Classrooms

Cadette Girl Scout Troop #717 from Troy completed their Breathe Journey Take Action project by working with Sunnyside Nurseries to put plants in the classrooms at their middle school. Each plant removes volatile compounds from the air. They even recruited 16 teachers to take care of the plants over the summer! Great work, Girl Scouts!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois: Around the Council May 2018

Check out the exciting things that Girl Scouts have been up to all around Southern Illinois!  See our photo album to catch Girl Scout troops in action!

Alton area Girl Scout Brownie Troop #55 had their first-ever camp out!  The girls went hiking, practiced first aid and put up tents!

Troop #792 from Madison County collected 192 lbs of tabs for the Ronald McDonald House of St. Louis - and received a trophy prize for their efforts! 

Cadette Troop #2141 from Charleston earned their Field Day patch where, among other games, they played a match of Quiddich! 

Girl Scouts from SU 202 ClinClair worked on their Outdoor Journeys, as well as Junior Aide and Leader-in-Action awards. 

Freeburg Troop #8349 learned a lot of OWL Flight School. 

Troop #8163 from Carbondale learning water safety

Troop #8163 from Carbondale has been busy - they learned water safety, earned their Pottery badges, went camping and explored the 3 Cheers for Animals Journey at Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge.

Marion Troop #8869 honored WSIL TV anchor Evie Allen with the Inspiring Woman award at their 2nd Annual The Empowerment Project and Empower You Career Fair.

Girl Scouts from SU 107 South Macoupin County marched in the Staunton Memorial Day Parade.

Girl Scouts from SU 101 Alton/Godfrey/Wood River/Roxana marched in the Alton Memorial Day Parade.

Girl Scouts placed flags on veterans' graves at the St. Peter and Paul Cemeteries in Waterloo to honor Memorial Day. 

Girl Scouts from Troop #238 held a Court of Awards and potluck. 

West Williamson County Girl Scouts marched in the Herrin Festa Parade. 

Girl Scouts at Scott Air Force Base learned more about firefighting. 

Troops #238 and #513 from Scott Air Force Base took a fire station tour and learned about the engines on the flight line. 

Girl Scouts from Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Troop #370 bridged to Ambassadors by serving as Pages in the Illinois House of Representatives. 

SU 202 ClinClair held an awards and bridging ceremony at St. John's United Church of Christ. 

Troop #130 from Wood River placed flags on veterans grave sites as part of their Memorial Day commemorations. 

Brownie Troop #744 and Daisy Troop #1044 volunteered to serve the monthly community meal in Gillespie. 

Troy Cadette Troop #717 completed their Breathe Journey Take Action project by placing plants in the classrooms at their middle school, thanks to a donation from Sunnyside Nurseries.  Each plant removes volatile compounds from the air.  

Girl Scout Troop #717 added plants to their middle school classrooms.