Sunday, September 29, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama supports Girl Scouts






First Lady Michelle Obama discusses the important role played by Girl Scout volunteers in a new video released on Sept. 29 by Girl Scouts of the USA, for which she serves as Honorary National President. Every First Lady of the United States has served in this post since  1917, when First Lady Edith B. Wilson became the first Honorary National President. Mrs.  Obama’s video coincides with the launch of the organization’s new national campaign to  increase recruitment of girl members and adult volunteers while highlighting the fun, excitement, and anticipation that are part of the Girl Scout experience.

The campaign captures the fun of Girl Scouting with the theme “I can’t wait to…” and girl-friendly grassroots promotions that will reach every community nationwide. With 3.2 million Girl Scouts and 112 Girl Scout councils across the country, parents, caregivers, and volunteers are vital to the organization’s success.

“Girl Scout volunteers can be moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or anyone else looking to help girls in their community fulfill their boundless promise,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “As a Girl Scout volunteer, you can show girls that anything is possible, and you can inspire them to dream bigger and go further than they ever even imagined.”

Girl Scouts is dedicating the week of September 30–October 7 to getting the word out to adults who care about girls in their communities and want to make a difference. As Girl Scout volunteers, they can help girls make friends, have new adventures, and do great things.

“This campaign brings Girl Scouting to life by highlighting everything our Movement can offer girls, and connecting our mission and values to their interests, energy, and excitement in a way that both girls and adults find engaging and fun,” said Anna Maria Ch├ívez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “We are thrilled that our Honorary National President and First Lady of the United  States Michelle Obama has leant her remarkable voice and unique vision to this campaign, helping us reach and recruit more girls and adult volunteers across the nation and around the world. Her enthusiasm for our Movement is helping us shape the next generation of female leaders.”

To see how Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is providing a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience for girls in southern Illinois visit www.gsofsi.org or to sign up to volunteer, visit girlscouts.org/volunteer.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jaime Watkins from Jonesborn Named September Pearl of the Month


Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Jaime Watkins from Jonesboro has been named the September Pearl of the Month. The Pearl of the Month Award recognizes a Girl Scout volunteer who has delivered service beyond expectations and helped to ensure that the approximately 14,000 Girl Scouts in southern Illinois benefit from a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience.  Nominees must meet several criteria, including completion of all required training for his or her volunteer position as well as providing outstanding service to his or her Service Unit or the Council.

Jaime is an event planner for Service Unit 72.  She planned and conducted a “Pink Out” for Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday and planned a service unit trip for 56 girls and their leaders to Savannah, Ga., the home of the Girl Scouts’ founder.  Currently she is planning two events for older girls so they can develop their leadership skills and work with and mentor younger Girl Scouts.  Jaime is committed to teaching girls the history of Girl Scouts while at the same time helping them to develop their leadership skills.   

The mission of Girl Scouting states:  Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.   Girl Scouts is the world's pre-eminent organization dedicated solely to girls - all girls - where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world.  In partnership with committed adults, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives - like strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

Today’s Girl Scouts not only enjoy camping and crafts, but they also explore math and science and learn about diversity, good citizenship, leadership and teamwork.  Girl Scouting is the place where girls experience the fun, friendship and power of girls together. Girl Scouting has inspired more than 50 million girls and women since its founding in 1912. 

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is a not-for-profit organization supported by various United Ways throughout the region.  Girl Scouts is a Proud Partner of United Way.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Allison Hermann from O'Fallon Receives the Girl Scout Gold Award



Allison Hermann from O’Fallon has received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Allison raised public awareness about the features and resources available at the O’Fallon Public Library. She started by becoming familiar with the library’s databases and new children’s computers. After months of planning, Allison first held a computer fair to teach young library patrons how to use the new computers, which feature pre-loaded games and a web-safe browser. Next, she hosted a program in the library’s computer lab for students to learn how to use online databases that are helpful for both research projects and leisure reading. She also created flyers and bookmarks that explained how to use these resources, which the library continues to use. 

“I have always loved libraries and kids,” said Allison. “I hoped to help the library show kids and adults the new technology available in the children’s department. I believe that these resources are helpful to people of all ages, so I’m glad that I was able to show people how to use them.” 

Allison added that the project helped her develop planning, problem solving and communication skills as well. “I have grown a lot through this project and it has made me a more confident person,” she said. She was also impressed by the impact that a positive teen role model can have on children. “A little girl who is also a Girl Scout said with wonder ‘Wait, big kids can be Girl Scouts too? I thought it was only for little kids. I want to be a Girl Scout when I’m big!’ ” 

Allison is the daughter Gary and Marcie Hermann and is a senior at O’Fallon Township High School. Allison has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and received the Girl Scout Bronze Award and Girl Scout Silver Award prior to earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. 

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, 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 6 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

GSSI Kicks Off Girl Scout Robotics Season



Girl Scouts from throughout southern Illinois gathered at Camp Torqua in Edwardsville on Sept. 14 to participate in Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ STEM Kickoff event. During the morning, girls learned about natural disasters that affect the metro-east area and in the afternoon they worked on programming robots and planning strategy for this year’s FIRST Lego League robotics competitions, which have the theme “Nature’s Fury.”  See photos...

In 2009, GSSI began its STEM and robotic journey with one robotic team.  This year, GSSI is sponsoring 25 Girl Scout robotics teams in three different leagues.  Robotics teams are a key component to GSSI’s initiative to get more girls in southern Illinois interested and involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  Other STEM programming ranges from doing basic chemistry experiments with younger girls to teaching financial literacy during the Girl Scout Cookie Program to introducing older girls to career mentors in engineering and medicine.

“Engaging girls in STEM in exciting, relevant ways is vital,” said GSSI STEM program manager Mary Buchanan. “Research shows that many students, especially girls, drift away from STEM around middle school.  Today’s kickoff is just one of the ways GSSI is providing diverse opportunities to build and reinforce girls’ interest in these important fields.  As shown by our growth in the number of robotics teams, many girls are searching for ways to stay involved in STEM and we strive to provide them with unique and constructive experiences.” 

“I like working with the Girl Scouts robots and technology and making solutions to problems,” said Caroline Stewart from Belleville.  “I get a leadership experience not only by programming the robots, but working with the younger girls and sharing with them my love of technology and robots,”  Caroline, who is 14, has been with GSSI’s robotic program for 4 years.

GSSI’s metro-east FIRST Lego League teams are funded by United Way of Greater St. Louis and through a $20,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund.  “Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is very grateful to be able to provide even more girls with a STEM opportunity and a chance to compete on a robotics team through the financial support from the Monsanto Fund and the United Way,” said Villie M. Appoo, GSSI Chief Executive Officer.  “Working together, we are ensuring girls in southern Illinois are learning about STEM and robotics, gaining confidence in building and programming robotics and starting to think about a possible STEM career,” Appoo added.  “Thanks to our United Way and the Monsanto Fund partners, Girl Scouts is keeping girls engaged in STEM in fun and creative ways which will help keep them interested in these important career fields, as well as develop their confidence, teamwork and problem solving abilities.”

Girl Scouts has a long history of encouraging girls to participate in STEM.  The first STEM badges – the electrician badge and the flyer badge – were introduced in 1913!

Robotics teams are a key component to GSSI’s initiative to get more girls in southern Illinois interested and involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  GSSI currently participates in three different robotics leagues: FIRST Lego League, which is run during the fall, and Jr. FIRST Lego League and Botball, which run during the spring semester of school. Other STEM programming ranges from doing basic chemistry experiments with younger girls to teaching financial literacy during the Girl Scout Cookie Program to introducing older girls to career mentors in engineering and medicine.  To get involved in GSSI's STEM program, please contact Mary Buchanan at 800.345.6858, ext. 1115 or e-mail mbuchanan@gsofsi.org.    
     

About the Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at www.monsantofund.org.

About United Way of Greater St. Louis
United Way funds more than 170 health and human service agencies located throughout a 16-county area in Missouri and Illinois. One in three people in our community receive services that strengthen families, help the elderly, keep children healthy and safe, and build stronger neighborhoods. For more information, contact 314-421-0700 or visit www.stl.unitedway.org


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fall 2013 Service Center & GSSI Council Shop Hours Update



Updated  Hours:
GSSI's Service Centers & Council Shops will be OPEN on Sept. 18.
GSSI Service Centers & Council Shops will be closed Oct. 3 and Oct. 16.

Don't forget, GSSI Council Shops will be open from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on the following Saturdays:
October 5, 2013
November 9, 2013
December 7, 2013
January 11, 2014
February 8, 2014
April 12, 2014
May 3, 2014

 

Visit GSSI’s Mobile Shops at these upcoming Council Events:
  • October 19 –Fall Fest – Makanda, IL
  • October 19 – Haunted Camp Torqua – Edwardsville, IL
 
Several areas are running Mobile Shops at their registration and recruitment events.  You can too!!! If interesting in a running a Mobile Shop at your local service unit or regional event, please contact the Shop Manager. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Girl Scout Series Offer Short Term Volunteer Opportunities


Make a Difference in a Girl's Life with Girl Scout Series!
Girl Scout Series offer short term programming opportunities for girls as well as short term volunteer opportunities for adults. These 4-6 week programs include the Girl Scout Journeys, Be A Friend First (BFF) program, and other great topics focused on girl issues and interests. Series are offered in various locations throughout the council.


Other Volunteer Opportunities:

Office / Administrative Volunteers
We are seeking volunteers available to work at GSSI Service Centers in Glen Carbon or Mt. Vernon during the office hours of 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.  Assist with the behind the scenes work that helps to bring the valuable Girl Scout program to girls in our community.   Hours are flexible based on your schedule. Duties may include data entry, preparing mailings, answering phones, etc.

Retail $hop Volunteers
GSSI's Council Shop is looking for volunteers to assist with operations during the regular hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, as well as the occasional Saturday morning. Duties would include stocking inventory, creating and maintaining displays, managing inventory, contacting customers and researching vendors.

Does your workplace offer an Employee Volunteer Program?
GSSI is looking to build partnerships with companies and organizations that offer an Employee Volunteer Program. If you work for or know of a workplace that offers a program like this, please contact Amanda at akaemmerer@gsofsi.org and we will take care of the rest!


Links:

GSSI Volunteer Opportunities

GSSI Event Calendar

VolunteerMatch.org

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

GSSI's Nut, Candy and Magazine (NCM) Product Program Starts Oct. 11

 
 

GSSI’s Nut, Candy and Magazine (NCM) Product Program is a great way for troops to help kick off their Girl Scout year! Girls not only help raise funds for their troop’s activities , but they also learn five skills that will serve their personal and professional futures: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.  It’s a great learning experience for Girl Scouts of all ages.
Curious about Ashdon Farms, the nut and candy provider?

• Ashdon Farms is focused on nuts, but over the years added trail mixes, dried fruit mixes, and chocolate items.Customers are now able to choose from 16 varieties of nut and candy products.
 
• Ashdon Farms continuously develops innovative, growth-driven products partly based on experience with national retailers
 
• A modern production facility with state-of-the-art equipment which enables Ashdon Farms to produce different packaging configurations.
 
• Ashdon Farms exceed the standards set by national branded companies through a focus and commitment to provide quality products.

In addition, QSP provides customers with more than 900 magazines that customers can choose to subscribe to or renew. There is something for everyone in the NCM Product Program!

Program Dates

• Oct. 11, 2013: Fall Product Program Begins
• Nov. 2, 2013: Fall Product Program Ends
• Nov. 3, 2013: Orders and Payments are due to the Troop
• Nov. 6, 2013: Orders and Payments are due to the SU
• Dec. 2-6, 2013: Nut and Candy Delivery
• January: Girl Rewards Distributed
The NCM Product Program is easy and fun! Girls can sell to friends, family, and neighbors. Money is collected up front when the orders are placed. Troops order exactly the amount needed, with no leftovers to sell.
 
Troops participating in the NCM Product Program are helping their troop, the council as a whole and all other girls in GSSI.  Troops will receive 15% of the total profit for their individual troop sales (including online orders) to help support their troop activities throughout the year.  Proceeds that go to the council are used to provide quality programming, adult volunteer training, camp maintenance and improvement and financial assistance.  
 
It's not too late to sign up!  Contact your local Service Unit Product Manager or Product Program Manager Kelly Jansen at 800.345.6858 or kjansen@gsofsi.org for details on how your troop can participate. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Casey Blankenship from Carterville Receives the Girl Scout Gold Award




Casey Blankenship from Carterville has received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Casey completed her Girl Scout Gold Award project during her senior year at Carterville High School in 2013. For her project, Casey raised awareness about Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a powerful strain of staph bacteria, which took the life of her grandmother. To educate the public, Casey first gave presentations around the community educating people on the facts of MRSA and methods to prevent it. She also handed out informational packets to summer lunch programs,  preschools, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, day cares, nursing homes, area schools, as well as area shops. To extend her message to a worldwide audience, she created a video demonstrating hand washing techniques that can prevent the spread of the infection and shared it on YouTube. 

“This project is very dear to my heart,” said Casey. “First, I love Girl Scouts and earning the Girl Scout Gold Award has been my ultimate goal. Secondly, I dedicated this project to my Grandma Suzann who died of MRSA. I feel that sharing my story and then discussing what MRSA is and how it is contracted is so very important.” 

Casey added that the project helped her develop valuable skills, such as time management, scriptwriting, editing, presenting  and teaching. She also felt that earning the Girl Scout Gold Award increased her confidence. “It was all such a learning experience,” she said. “I learned that no task is too big or too hard for me to accomplish.” 

Casey is the daughter Scott and Martha Blankenship. She currently attends Murray State University where is she majoring in Nursing. Casey has been a Girl Scout for 14 years and received the Girl Scout Bronze Award and Girl Scout Silver Award prior to earning the Girl Scout Gold Award.


Watch Casey's PSA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at6BKhFXJes&feature=youtu.be

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, 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 6 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award.

Today, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. is the largest voluntary organization for girls in the world. Its sole focus is to meet the needs of all girls (ages 5-17) from diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Today’s Girl Scouts not only enjoy camping and crafts, but they also explore math and science and learn about diversity, good citizenship, leadership and teamwork. Girl Scouting is the place where girls experience the fun, friendship and power of girls together. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

GSSI's Robotic Gems from Washington Park Featured in 2013 United Way Campaign



 
Five Girl Scouts from Avant Elementary School in Washington Park will be featured as part of United Way of Greater St. Louis’ annual fundraising campaign. Diavion, Jordan, Akayla, Mallorie and R’moni, all 11-year-olds, make up Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ robotics team called the Robotic Gems. In 2012, the team was awarded the "Core Values" award in the FIRST LEGO League's regional tournament held at McKendree University. 
 
Later this fall, the five Girl Scouts will not only be featured in the United Way video, but will be seen on billboards and posters throughout the Metro-East. The Robotic Gems is one of 25 robotic teams that GSSI has formed as the center of their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) initiatives. “We are so proud of these girls and they represent well what today’s Girl Scouts are doing to hone their skills and learn more about possible careers in STEM fields,” said Emily Stanley, GSSI STEM Manager. “Our goal is to build and reinforce girls’ interest in STEM, to support their continued involvement as they reach critical decision-making points and to achieve parity in these fields. Thanks to Girl Scouting’s STEM initiatives, we are providing today’s girls the courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place,” Stanley added. 
 
GSSI's robotics program has grown from one team in 2009 to 25 teams in three leagues in 2013-14.   To learn more about joining GSSI's robot revolution, please contact STEM Program Manager and robotics coordinator Mary Buchanan at 800.345.6858 or e-mail mbuchanan@gsofsi.org.  

GSSI is a proud partner of several United Ways that serve our 40 1/2 county jurisdiction.
 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Recent GSSI Alumna Saves Sea Turtles During Girl Scout Trip to Costa Rica




Mt.Vernon teen Katie Anderson was one of 29 girls selected from across the nation to participate in a Girl Scouts Destinations program where she volunteered in conservation efforts to protect endangered sea turtles and explored new depths while learning to scuba dive on the Caribbean coast of Panama.


“This was an incredible experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Katie explains about her Outward Bound experience.

Katie, an eighteen-year-old Southeast Missouri State University student from the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Council, recently returned from Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure Destination. This 14-day course included a multi-day service project at San San Pond Sak, wetlands located on the Caribbean coast of Panama where the girls dedicated their time to protecting the endangered leatherback sea turtle population.

Katie and her group spent the second half of their time in Panama based on the remote island of Solarte, located in the Bocas del Toro Province. There the girls learned about the local ecology and marine life while they learned how to scuba dive. After completing and passing the NAUI Open Water Certification training, Katie and her course mates are now scuba certified.

After returning to Outward Bound’s rainforest base in Costa Rica, the girls finished up their adventure by ziplining through the canopies and visiting the vibrant artisan market of San Jose.

Since 2006, Outward Bound Costa Rica has been partnered with Girls Scout of the USA to offer unique and exciting Girl Scouts Destinations trips in Costa Rica and Panama. These trips provide young girls the opportunity to see the world, meet fellow Girl Scouts from across the nation, and challenge themselves through adventure in unfamiliar settings.

Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Executive Director Jim Rowe notes that, “Outward Bound Costa Rica programs, like the one Katie participated in, create environments that allow for personal and leadership development through challenges, group effort and cross-cultural understanding.” Rowe continues that, “in these adventures, students are constantly exposed to new experiences, languages and physical environments, which are difficult to replicate in the classroom.''


Thank you to Outward Bound for providing story and photos. 


About Outward Bound Costa Rica

Founded in 1997, Outward Bound Costa Rica inspires leadership, compassion, and responsibility through adventure-based wilderness experiences. Activities include backpacking, rafting, kayaking, surfing, rappelling and scuba diving as well as cultural experiences such as home stays with local families. Programs host both local and foreign participants and range from professional development courses to adventure experiences.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Get Back to Troop with Volunteer Resource Packs & Starter Kits!




Come into GSSI Council Shops to make your own Volunteer Resource Pack! Pick any two volunteer essentials items and get a free Girl Scout tote!  (Volunteer Resource Kits can also be purchased online with slightly different requirements).






Shop for Girl Scout Essentials: 

Visit GSSI Council Shops in Glen Carbon or Mt. Vernon to get the best deal on Starter Kits that feature a free Girl Scout canvas bag!  (Starter Kits can also be purchased online with different requirements.) Please contact GSSI Council Shop Manager Beth Ross at 800.345.6858 or bross@gsofsi.org for more information. 

Check out these stylish accessories to go back to troop in style:
Girl Scout earbuds     Girl Scout watch    Girl Scout umbrella   Trefoil tablet sleeve


September In-Store Sales:
  • 25% off clearance items
  • $17 - ALL Girl's Guides
  • Journey Book Sets
    • Buy 1 @ $15
    • Buy 2 @ $26 ($4 savings)
    • Buy 3 @ $33 ($12 savings)


GSSI Council Shops:
Glen Carbon: #4 Ginger Creek Parkway
Shop Manager Beth Ross: bross@gsofsi.org

Mt. Vernon: 4102 S. Water Tower Place
Shop Manager Marilyn Border: mborder@gsofsi.org

800.345.6858