Thursday, June 26, 2014

GSSI Receives Challenge and Change Grant from U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois received another grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in collaboration with Girl Scouts of the USA, to implement Challenge and Change projects in three Southern Illinois communities.  The three communities where girls will plan and implement a project are Pontoon Beach, Roxana and Anna.  

Challenge and Change: Challenge Yourself, Change the World strengthens rural communities. Girls become change-makers through such programs as they envision and start long-term community service projects in their very own communities. Girls begin with an initial day long training where they learn leadership, problem solving and entrepreneurial skills through a comprehensive curriculum. Led by trained facilitators, the girls discover what effective leadership looks like, connect with local experts and take action by digging into issues affecting their communities. After the training, girls recruit a community action team, including an adult who serves as their community champion, to turn their good idea into a sustainable, long-term project.

Pontoon Beach- Girls in SU 102 are excited to work with leaders to create a community park or garden in the Pontoon Beach area.  They have met with the mayor and have secured a plot of land and are meeting with community members to determine needs and resources.

Roxana- Girls in SU 101 are creating a Heritage Garden in Roxana which will highlight different plants and natural features of So IL.  They will be partnering with the Parks and Recreation to offer learning experiences for schools to bring students as well as encouraging participation from community members of all ages. 

Anna- Homework Pals is a continued project which offers a tutoring program to Elementary students in Anna IL.  This past school year, the tutoring program has moved locations from the local library to the Elementary school which now houses a new library funded by this grant.  Starting in July, a summer reading program is being implemented so that students can continue their learning throughout the summer as well.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Patti Bardle of Pinckneyville and Christina Rheaume of Highland Named June Pearls of the Month

Patti Bardle of Pinckneyville and Christina Rheaume of Highland are GSSI’s June Pearls 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.

Patti is an exceptional leader and event planner.  The most recent event she coordinated was “Girl Scout Princess Day,” which attracted over 60 girls.  Stations included making a homemade wand and crown, princess etiquette, spa treatment, hair styling and games.  With the help of her husband, she built a princess castle that the girls could walk through.  She made sure everyone had a wonderful experience. Knowing it would be popular, the SU team also used the event as a for recruitment!

Christina is a very involved leader and event planner.  Recently, she organized a new event called “Movie Morning.”  It was a family event and included one movie for younger girls and another option for older girls to make it enjoyable for all ages.  Donations of food were also collected and donated to a local pantry.  Christina plans to continue this event annually and look into new ideas to make the event even better.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kiwanis Club of Carbondale Donates to Support Financial Assistance for Area Girl Scouts

Thank you to the Kiwanis International of Carbondale for contributing to GSSI in support of financial assistance for area Girl Scouts. GSSI Board Member and Kiwanis Club member Candis Isberner (center left) accepted the donation on June 9.  We are so grateful for our generous supporters for helping us build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer of Service TAKE ACTION Community Service Project

Summer “Take Action” Community Service Project 
June 1 - July 30, 2014 

Service is a key component to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, and summer is the perfect time to lend a hand.  Unlike “Take Action” projects that are built on sustainability, these service opportunities can be one-time projects that happen at your local nursing home, school yard, community garden, library reading program, vacation bible school and at Girl Scout camp!  Service work can be as varied as a one-time cleanup of a camp path or walkway or by volunteering with the Humane Society on a regular basis for two months.

The impact on our camps and communities is so amazing each year through “Summer of Service” - we can’t wait to hear the stories from this summer!

Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors who complete 20 hours or more of service will be eligible for either the Community Service Bar or Service to Girl Scouting Bar, depending on what type of service they did.  To order the Service Bar, fill out the participation form (located at  Indicate the girls would like to receive the Service Bar, and mail it with a check for $2 per bar.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Whitetails Unlimited Donate Archery & Fishing Equipment to GSSI

GSSI is grateful to the Effingham Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited for their donation of archery and fishing equipment to our Girl Scout council.  The outdoor resources were donated on June 15 at Camp Wassatoga in Effingham.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Thin Mint Sprint Raises $10,000 for Girl Scouting

GSSI hosted its third annual “Thin Mint Sprint” event on June 7 at Camp Chan Ya Ta in Worden. New this year were a 5K Trail Run, 5K Obstacle Course and 5K Obstacle Fun Run.  Nearly 200 participants took part in the race, raising $10,000 to support quality programming, volunteer training, camp maintenance and financial assistance for Girl Scouting in southern Illinois. 

Kevin Reiseck of East Alton, IL and Shannon Cole of Greenfield, IL were the top male and female finishers of both the 5K Trail Run and the 5K Obstacle Course.  The Cyclery and Fitness Center provided Garmin GPS watches to each for winning the Trail Run, while RunWell provided a pair of Inov-8 shoes for winning the Obstacle Course.  Prizes to the top three male and female finishers in each age category were donated by The Cyclery and Fitness Center, First to the Finish, Culver’s, Edison’s Entertainment Complex, Road ID and Anytime Fitness. 

Marsha Shirley and Summerfield Troop #734 and Kimberly Smith Caseyville Troop #758 won the Spirit Contest at Thin Mint Sprint for their unique team style.  Both troops won free camping at any of GSSI Camp Properties. 

Sponsors of the event were TheBank of Edwardsville, The Cyclery and Fitness Center, Ameren Illinois and Extra Help Inc.  Water Stop Sponsors were Angie Zahn of Strano & Associates Realtors, First Clover Leaf Bank and Madison Mutual.   All participants received goodie bags with items from the following donors:  Candis Isberner, Allstate, BauerHite Orthodontic Specialists, Foley Dental Group, Integrity Spine and Joint Center, KinderCare Learning Centers, PH Financial Services, RoadID, Simmons Law Firm Employee Foundation and Studio Gaia. 

See Race Times:

GSSI Girl Scouts Experience Music City!

On June 6-8, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois took a trip to Nashville, Tennessee!  Girls checked out the Country Music Hall of Fame, visited the Grand Ole Opry, toured the historic Ryman Auditorium and much more!  Find more photos on our Facebook Page! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

GSSI Interns Help Put "Under the Sea" Program for Special Needs Troop

On June 2, GSSI's interns helped put on an "Under the Sea" program for special needs Troop #123 at Camp Torqua. Girls watched a presentation about tropical pets, enjoyed a story and song,  played games and had a themed snack. 

"Girl Scouts is devoted to giving all girls the opportunity to enjoy fun experiences together and explore new activities," said Jodi Dormire, GSSI Senior Manager of Membership and Volunteer Services. 

GSSI summer interns are Raven Bowers, Hilary Conrad, Kelly Gholson and LaKendra Moffet. They are part of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Community Health Education Program.

For more information about starting a special needs Girl Scout Troop in southern Illinois, please contact Jodi Dormire at 800.345.6858, ext. 1117 or e-mail

Granite City Troop #371 Sending Girl Scout Cookies to U.S. Military Overseas

A growing fondness for community service inspired Granite City Girl Scout Troop #371 to show some love to U.S. military members stationed overseas in the form of Girl Scout Cookies.   The troop is currently selling cookies and accepting donations to send the sweet treats overseas through the help of the local VFW Ladies Auxiliary and USO in St. Louis.   They call their campaign “A Little Love From Home.”

The troop of Girl Scout Cadettes has been working on earning their Girl Scout Silver Award – the highest honor that Girl Scouts in 6-8th grade can earn.   Earning the Girl Scout Silver Award requires a minimum of 60 hours of community service to a project that addresses a need in girls’ communities.   The troop chose to dedicate their efforts to Good Samaritan House, which provides temporary housing to homeless women and children.   They are currently working to help replace the flooring and furniture in the living area of the shelter, as well as volunteering to coordinate children’s activities.  Their positive experience led them to want to take on another service campaign.

“We were talking about Memorial Day and what it was about, that soldiers had given their lives,” said Troop Leader Lynette Melton Wolfe.  “The girls wanted to send something from home to soldiers to remind them that people here in the United States are thinking of them no matter where they are.   The girls decided to go with the theme ‘A Little Love From Home’ with Girl Scout Cookies representing the love from home.”

To help turn their idea into reality, the troop connected with the Granite City VFW Ladies Auxiliary, who are gathering personal goods for service men and women overseas, which the USO is shipping.   They are also campaigning around town to collect donations and spread awareness.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps girls learn valuable personal and professional skills such as goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics and people skills.   Money raised through cookie sales helps troops finance trips, programs and special activities.  Yet, many use their earnings to fund service projects in their communities, as well.

“Most of our girls are not from a mountain of wealth,” said Wolfe, “so to be working to earn money and giving it away is a big commitment for them.  But they’re seeing where it’s going.  They love to do things for other people.”

“I’ve always had a need to take care of other people and do things for other people.  I have a bit of that service personality,” she added.  “Girl Scouts, in my position, is leading by example - trying to see things and teach what service can do and what the potential of it can be.” 

Wolfe appreciates how she has seen the girls grow through their years in Girl Scouts.  “You see the girls expanding themselves- trying things they’ve never tried before, getting opportunities, learning.  Girl Scouting is getting girls a little bit out of their comfort zones because you don’t know what you like until you’re there.”

To help support Troop #371’s “A Little Love From Home” campaign or their Girl Scout Silver Award project to renovate the living area of the Good Samaritan Home, please contact Lynette Melton-Wolfe at 618.980.0273 or e-mail   

Checks can be made out to “Girl Scouts Troop #371” and mailed to 2nd Baptist Church, 2100 Illinois Avenue, Granite City, IL 62034 with ATTN: Cookies for Soldiers.

Troop #371 also welcomes any opportunities to speak to organizations or groups, as well as to set up a cookie booth at area businesses.

Monday, June 2, 2014

GSSI Council Shop: June 2014

Think Summer…Think Camp!

Get Ready For Summer Camp! Here’s a sneak peak of some of the fun merchandise that will be available at GSSI Day

Camp Trading Posts and the Canteen at Resident Camp at Camp Cedar Point. Girls attending will have the unique opportunity to shop during their camp session.
Check Out the Great Collection of Gifts for Dads!
GSSI Retail Shops now have the new Awesome Girl Scout Dad t-shirts available in-store! Remember, Father’s Day is June 15!  See Girl Scout Dad t-shirts

GSSI Council Retail Shops will be Closed:
August 6 - 7, 2014 – Annual Inventory
Upcoming Shop Specials:

In-Store Shop Specials:
Month of June – Hot Pink GSSI Camp T-shirt - $8 (was $10)

Online Shop Special:
Free Gift with the purchase of $50 or more through June 15 or while supplies last

Go to GSSI’s Online Shop

JUNE Journey of the Month

Girl Scout Brownie: A World of Girls
Receive $1 off the featured Journey book and $1 off the accompanying award when both are purchased.

GSSI Council Shop Contact Information:
Corporate Service Center: Beth Ross: 618.692.0692, ext. 1129   e-mail:
Regional Service Center: Linda Quinn: 618.242.5079, ext. 2115   e-mail: 

There's Still Time to Sign Up for a Girl Scouts STEM Day Camp

Put some STEM in your summer! GSSI’s STEM Explosions 2 and A Mini STEM Explosion Day Camps are open for registration until June 23.

STEM Explosions 2: Camp CSI
Grades: 4-12 (Fall 2014) • July 21-25, 2014 • Camp Torqua, Edwardsville, IL
Join us on a week long adventure into the world of science, technology, engineering and math with a focus on crime scene investigation. We will perform experiments, learn from experts and put the pieces together to solve a high profile crime. Every good detective needs a break now and then, so we will take a day and travel off-site to refresh and recharge ourselves. Of course, our STEM Explosions camp would not be complete without a few “exploding surprises” and traditional camp activities.

A Mini STEM Explosion!
Grades 2-3 (Fall 2014) • July 24-25, 2014 • Camp Torqua, Edwardsville, IL

 Brownies love STEM, too! Join us on a two day adventure into the world of science, technology, engineering and math. During this two day camp you will enjoy amazing hands on science experiments, robots and, of course, some things that “explode”. Since we are at camp, we will also include some traditional camp activities like outdoor cooking, games and songs.