Thursday, August 28, 2014

GSSI's Nut, Candy & Magazine Program Starts Sept. 20

The Nut, Candy, Magazine (NCM) Product Program is an integral component of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience where girls gain hands-on practice with five skills linked to leadership and financial literacy (for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors).
  • Goal Setting: Girls set product sale goals and, with their troop, create a plan to reach them.  This matters because girls need to know how to set and reach goals to success in school, on the job and in life.
  • Decision Making: Girls decide where and when to sell products, how to market their sale and what to do with their earnings.  This matters because girls must make many decisions, big and small, in their lives.  Learning this skill helps them make good ones.
  • Money Management: Girls develop a budget, take product orders and handle customers’ money.  This matters because girls need to know how to handle money – from their lunch money to their allowance to (someday) their paycheck.
  • People Skills: Girls learn how to talk (and listen) to their customers, as well as learning how to work as a team with other girls.  This matters because it helps them do better in school (on group projects, on sports teams and on the playground) and, later, at work.
  • Business Ethics: Girls act honestly and responsibly during every step of the fall product sale.  This matters because employers want to hire ethical employees- and the world needs ethical leaders in every field.

Our partner for the 2014 GSSI NCM Product Program is Ashdon Farms, a licensed Girl Scout vendor since 1986. They offer a wide selection of delectable nuts and candies, including distinctive molded chocolates that are not sold in stores. Ashdon Farms is known for their Girl Scout keepsake tins, which are customer favorites.

Magazine subscriptions will also be sold as part of the GSSI Product Program in partnership with QSP. They offer online sales of new and renewed subscriptions to over 900 popular magazines at lower than newsstand prices.

The GSSI Product Program begins on Saturday, September 20, 2014 (“GO Day”) and is the best way for your troop to:
  • Earn funds early in the year for troop activities.
  • Grow the confidence, skills and financial competence of your Girl Scouts
  • Prepare for the Girl Scout Cookie Program
The Nut, Candy, Girl Scout tins and Magazine subscriptions make wonderful gifts that arrive in time for the holidays and support Girl Scouts. All of the proceeds stay within our community to benefit area girls.

2014 Key Dates
Initial order taking:  Sept 20 – Oct 11
Product delivered:  Nov 10-14

It’s not too late to sign up! Contact your local Service Unit Product Manager or Kelly Jansen, Director of Product Program at 800.345.6858, ext. 2104 or for details on how your troop can participate!

GSSI Council Shop Update: September 2014


Check out our new merchandise and your ESSENTIALS for Back to Troop! GSSI has a multitude of new merchandise along with starter kits both for girls and adult volunteers. Stop by a retail shop soon or browse our virtual catalog.
GSSI Council Shop Hours:
GSSI Council Shops will be open from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. on the following first Saturdays of the month:
September 6, 2014
October 4, 2014
November 1, 2014
December 6, 2014

Please note the Council Shops will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 17 for an All-Staff Meeting.

Visit GSSI’s Mobile Shops at these upcoming Council Events:
Oct. 19, 2014 – Haunted Camp Torqua – Edwardsville, IL
Oct. 20, 2014 – Zombie Run – Edwardsville, IL 

Several areas are running Mobile Shops at their registration and recruitment events. You can too!!! If interested in a running a Mobile Shop at your local service unit or regional event, please contact the Beth Ross, Shop Manager. 

Online Shop Sale!
Check out the Clearance Section for End of Summer and Back to Troop Savings

September Journey of the Month
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:


Go to GSSI’s Online Shop - free standard shipping on orders of $50 or more from Sept. 17-22

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Best Friends Tea Party Deadline Extended

The deadline for Best Friends Tea Party at Camp Cedar Point has been extended to Sept. 4! This Tea Party is set in the Land of OZ. Girls and their bears will visit Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion at this exciting event ran by older troops. See details:

Lisa Ordorizzi and Deborah McAuliffe Named August Pearls of the Month

Lisa Odorizzi of Mt. Olive and Deborah McAuliffe of O’Fallon are GSSI’s August 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.
In additional to serving as a Troop Leader, Lisa is the SU Registrar, town organizer and event coordinator. She has guided her Junior troop through their Girl Scout Bronze Award and they earned the Journey Summit Award. Her enthusiasm paired with the quality program she provides has been successful in recruiting new girl and adult members. In her role as SU Registrar, she keeps excellent records and is very timely with paperwork. Annually, she coordinates the Powder Puff Derby and Bridging Ceremony. Both were well attended and flawlessly executed.
Deborah serves as a Troop Leader, Troop Organizer/Consultant (TOC) and Day Camp Unit Leader. While relatively new to the area, Deborah jumped right in and volunteered at Day Camp and recruited a new troop. Her Junior troop just completed their Bronze Award with her guidance. She has also volunteered as a Series Facilitator providing Girl Scout programs to girls in schools. She served over 90 girls in her first series, both helping plan the programs and serving as an excellent role model.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Dancing With Our Stars Raises $17,000 for Girl Scouting

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ Dancing With Our Stars event was held Aug. 23 at Krieger’s Convention Center in Mt. Vernon. The event raised more than $17,000 while local dancers competed for the coveted mirror ball trophy. This year’s winner was The New Evolution (sponsored by National Railway Equipment Co.), while Lesa Woods (sponsored by the Woods family) took home the Judges Choice award.

Other dance teams and sponsors included:  
Dan & Neth Huelbel sponsored by St. Mary’s Good Samaritan
Mt. Vernon High School Sailors from South Pacific sponsored by Mike Beard, Candis Isberner, Newell Furniture, David Overstreet and Stewart Producers
Centre Stage Studios sponsored by Centre Stage Studios
Salem Community Theatre Spamalot sponsored by Ashdon Farms, Bella Chez and Jefferson County Fraternal Order of Police
“What a wonderful night during our 6th Annual Dancing With Our Stars,” said Villie M. Appoo, GSSI Chief Executive Officer.  “We are so grateful to everyone who participated in and supported this year’s DWOS fundraiser,” said Appoo. “Everyone from our DWOS committee, to our dancers and the generous Mt. Vernon community helped make this fundraiser very successful.”  According to Appoo, funds raised during DWOS will help the Girl Scouts continue to develop leadership programs for girls, maintain and improve its camps and help in its out-reach to at-risk girls. 
Co-hosts for the event were Brandon Bullard from Rare Chop House and Lynn Hutchison from United Way of South Central Illinois.  Celebrity judges were Mike Beard from The Insurance Store – a Division of Diamond Bros., Joe Gliosci with Peoples National Bank, Finny Mathew of Crossroads Community Hospital and Mary Beth Mezo with Smokin’ T’s Competition BBQ.   
Teams competed to win DWOS’ the Mirror Ball Trophy by earning the top spot in a two part scoring system. The judges’ scores provided the first element to the dancers’ scores.  The second element added a dash of audience participation and even more excitement, as dancers accrued points with donations from their supporters and attendees at the event.  Following the dance competition, guests then took to the dance floor for an evening of music and dancing. 
Additional DWOS sponsors included:
Trophy Sponsor:  Crossroads Community Hospital
Vote Tabulation Sponsor:  Community First Bank
Judge Sponsor: National Railway Equipment Co.
Dance Floor Sponsor: Crossroads Physician Corporation
Premier Radio Sponsor: WDML
Special Giving Sponsors: Bennett Metal Products, Inc., Continental Tire, MidCountry Bank, St. Mary's Good Samaritan
Other DWOS supporters: Associated Lumber, Brenda Breeze, Sandy Evans, Dan and Linda Hoffman, Hughey Funeral Home, ISB Insurance Agency - A Division of Diamond Bros. Fred and Tammy Klapetzsky, Krieger's Convention Center at Holiday Inn, Morning Sentinel, Mt. Vernon Register News, David Nichols, WVYN - 90.9 The Vine.

Carolyn Brooks Named Extension Program Manager

Carolyn has 18 years of professional Girl Scout experience including membership recruitment and retention, program development, volunteer management and training. She successfully administered outreach programs for legacy River Bluffs Council where she established excellent relationships with numerous public schools in the service area.
"I am grateful to be a part of an organization that has such a stake in the development of young girls and women. It is an honor to work alongside the dedicated volunteers and staff of GSSI who strongly believe in helping girls reach their full potential. What a rewarding experience it is to be with Girl Scouts. I am blessed knowing that the work that I do is helping to equip the community with responsible and engaged leaders."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

From India to Illinois: Girls Around the World Have the Same Hopes, Dreams and Goals

Villie M. Appoo, CEO
All around the world, girls have many of the same hopes, dreams and goals.  They desire to make lifelong friends, learn new things, become strong and confident and make a difference in their communities.   They dream of days filled with laughter and fun, of adventures they will  go on, of having successful futures and taking a stand on issues that matter most to them.

From India to Illinois, these are things girls and their families tell us they want in Girl Scouting.  This was what I wanted as a young girl growing up in Mumbai, India as a member of the Girl Guides.  And, this is what I perceive that our Girl Scouts and their families in southern Illinois want today. 
As Chief Executive Officer for Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois  for the past five years, it has been my goal, and that of the Board of Directors and our dedicated staff to give our Girl Scouts what they say they want and need.  How does a girl accomplish her goal of learning about robotics?  Or defy gender stereotypes and become a firefighter, leading a team of heroes?  Or set in motion her dream of becoming a leader when opportunity seems like only a buzzword to her?

How?  It’s simple...Girl Scouts.
Growing up in India, my experience with the Girl Guides was instrumental in my decision to pursue a career in social work.  It was the Girl Guides that started me on my journey and led me to where I am today...leading 4,500 adult volunteers to provide a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience for our 14,000 girls in southern Illinois.   One of my most memorable experiences as a Girl Guide was working with the Society for the Education of the Crippled which ran a school for physically challenged children.

We took these children camping one year -- which was a fantastic experience for both them and us.  Many of these children had never been away from home, and had never gone out of town on a train.  Taking care of them 24/7 was a great responsibility as well as a very enriching experience.  Today, I see this same compassion and love for helping others in our girls and volunteers right here in southern Illinois.   Our girls love to help others and make the world a better place by sewing blankets for sick children in local hospitals, sending care packages to our service members overseas or visiting with senior citizens at local nursing homes.

Girl Scouts is making the world a better place while making lasting impressions in the lives of both its volunteers and girl members.  Demonstrating this, a recent Girl Scouts Research Institute study shows that 94 percent of Girl Scout volunteers and 97 percent of girl members believe Girl Scouts provides them with new, fun, and exciting experiences.  And, Girl Scout research also shows that when parents were asked to describe the benefits of Girl Scouting using one word, the top responses were:  friendships, confidence, fun, community and leadership.

At Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois, we are committed to serving more girls and providing them the tools, resources and experiences that will help them achieve their hopes, dreams and goals.  But, we can’t do it without YOU!  We need more volunteers to help us mentor a Girl Scout robotics team, to teach a girl how to paddle a canoe at camp or give her words of encouragement so she can gain the courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place for her family, for her community and for her country.

From India to Illinois, dedicated volunteers, parents, donors and supporters are working together to ensure girls have experiences and opportunities to make the world a better place for all of us.  For more information on how you can be involved with the Girl Scout movement and help more girls on their journey, visit the Girl Scout website at or check out all of the great things our girls and volunteers are doing on our Facebook page.

Together we can ensure that Girl Scouting is a place where all girls from India to Illinois can achieve their hopes, dreams and goals.

Villie M. Appoo
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois
Chief Executive Officer


Monday, August 18, 2014

Girl Scouts is Great For Both Girls and Volunteers!

Girl Scouts really is great for everyone! While there are possibly too many positive outcomes associated with being a member of Girl Scouts to list, there is some compelling research which illustrates just how good Girl Scouts is.
Results of a summer 2014 pulse poll conducted with more than 3,500 volunteers and parents of Girl Scouts in the K−5 age range show positive effects on members of all ages. Ninety-seven percent of parents agree that Girl Scouts has been a positive activity for their daughter, that she has had fun and exciting new experiences (95 percent), and that she has learned or tried something new (96 percent). In addition, 94 percent of parents say that because of Girl Scouts, their daughter feels special, has more friends (95 percent), is more confident (90 percent), and is happier (89 percent).

While GSUSA boasts more than two million members nationwide, there are more than 30,000 girls on waiting lists who want to join Girl Scouts but can’t because there are not enough volunteers in local communities to help deliver the Girl Scout experience. Data shows it is not just girls who benefit from participating in the organization: 94 percent of volunteers have made new friends, 88 percent believe their life is better because they volunteer with Girl Scouts, and two-thirds believe their volunteer experience has helped them professionally. Ninety-five percent of Girl Scout volunteers are happy knowing they are making girls’ lives better.
"Girl Scouts has provided a safe, fun, and engaging place for girls and adult volunteers to lead and thrive for over 100 years," said Anna Maria Ch├ívez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. "We know the majority of volunteers feel their Girl Scout experience has helped them both personally and professionally, but in many places throughout the country, the lack of volunteers is what keeps girls on waiting lists. Every adult who volunteers for Girl Scouts can help us bring fun, new experiences to at least five girls. Imagine what that can do to shape the next generation of female leaders."
Girl Scouts gives girls a place to explore topics of interest in a judgment-free space outside of classroom confinements, and it cultivates cooperative and self-directed learning, as well as the growth mindset (the understanding that intelligence and talent can be developed)—all of which help foster a lifetime passion for learning. The variety of experiences and the value for the money the Girl Scout program provides are also popular selling points. Eighty-nine percent of parents say their daughter gets a greater variety of experiences from Girl Scouts than she does from other extracurricular activities, and the majority of parents feel Girl Scouts is a great value for the money compared to other extracurricular activities. Overall, parents consider Girl Scouts one of the most beneficial extracurricular activities for their daughter.
“The value of the all-girl, girl-led environment offered by Girl Scouts cannot be overstated, and is so important to the social-emotional and personal development of girls,” said Dr. Andrea Bastiani-Archibald, Chief Girl Expert at Girl Scouts of the USA. “Girl Scouts is a place where girls are free to be girls; to try new things, experiment, and have fun learning from and leading one another. There is no other leadership development program in the world that offers girls this inclusive, safe space, without the distractions and pressures of school and other social settings.”
Girl Scouts is open to all girls from kindergarten through grade 12. The more adults step forward to volunteer, the more girls will get the chance to be a Girl Scout. Adults over age 18 may become volunteers, and both girls and adult volunteers can join at any time of the year. Girl Scout volunteers come from all walks of life; they are men, women, young professionals, retirees, college students, and more. To join or volunteer, please visit:

Did You Know? Camp Chan Ya Ta Has Four Miles of Trails

Did you know that GSSI’s Camp Chan Ya Ta in Worden has approximately 4 miles of trails. What a great place to explore nature, trees, plants and wildlife!
Camp Chan Ya Ta has approximately 165 acres and offers a variety of outdoor activities including canoeing, paddle boating, fishing, volleyball, archery, hiking, wildlife viewing, stargazing and campfire cooking!
Accommodations range from a lodge with a commercial kitchen and over-sized fireplace to primitive tent pitching sites and from a winterized bunkhouse to cabins and platform tents. Facilities include hot showers, flush toilets, pit latrines, and cold water washstands. The lodge, cabin, and platform tent units are all either fully or semi – accessible for campers with special needs.
Camp Chan Ya Ta is open year round to both Girl Scouts and non Girl Scout groups.

How You Can Join In Girl Scouts' National I Can't Wait To Campaign!

In Girl Scouts, girls are always counting down to the next adventure we’ll go on. Maybe it’s artistic. Maybe it’s an experiment. Maybe it’s getting outside or helping the community. With US, she’ll make a bunch of new friends and have a ton of new experiences.

During the 2014-2015 Membership Year we’re kicking off our Back to School campaign. YOU can help by sharing information about the I Can’t Wait To Back to School Campaign with your friends, families, neighbors and volunteers.

Here’s what we will be pitching and needing you to help share with your friends, families, neighbors, volunteers and on social media:

  • Girl Scouts provides the most bang for the buck! For just $15, a girl will have access to tons of new, fun and amazing experiences. Girl Scouts offers a wide array of exciting activities that give girls the chance to explore their world and discover their passions.
  • Anyone can volunteer! Calling all moms, dads, grandparents, recent grads, lawyers, teachers, and rocket scientists.  Everyone can be a Girl Scout volunteer, no matter how much time you have or your level of Girl Scout expertise.
  • Too many girls are on waiting lists -- volunteer now! By volunteering today, you make a real impact on a girl's life!
Get Social!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Has Six Camps to Enjoy!

Did you know that GSSI has six camp properties for girls and volunteers to use and enjoy. Camp Cedar Point (Makanda, IL), Camp Chan Ya Ta (Worden, IL), Camp Torqua (Edwardsville, IL), Camp Wassatoga (Effingham, IL) & Camp Whispering Oaks (Salem, IL) are open year round. Camp Butterfly (Farmington, MO) is open from April to October. For more information and photos see each camp on our website,

Friday, August 8, 2014

Special Girl Scouts VIP Attends Rams Event

When Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois was offered free tickets to a VIP practice session from the St. Louis Rams, we called on a very special VIP to attend!  2014 Girl Scout Cookie Program Top Seller Hannah McQuay and her family represented GSSI at the event on July 26 at the Rams practice facility in St. Charles.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

GSSI Seeking Equipment to Help Maintain our Camp Properties

GSSI is looking for the following equipment to help us maintain and improve our camp properties:
  • A 2010 or newer 4wd V8 engine Chevrolet 1500 or 2500/Ford F150 or F250 truck
  • A gently used commercial zero turn mower
Please contact Director of Property Jonathan Stanley at 800.345.6858, ext. 1107 or by e-mail at if you are able to help.
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is a 501(c)3 organization.  Gifts made to GSSI are tax deductible.

Samantha Mitchell from Carbondale Earns the Girl Scout Gold Award

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Samantha Mitchell from Carbondale has received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive

 For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Samantha organized a community project to make and send children’s clothing and school bags to Haiti. After learning more about the poverty in Haiti following the massive 2010 earthquake, she was wanted to connect her hometown to global service and fellowship.

“The problem is still there and there are so many people living without basic necessities,” she explained. “We see these disasters that happen far away on the news and say ‘that’s too bad’ and then go on with our lives because it didn’t affect us. In a few weeks it disappears from the news and we think the problem is gone.”

Samantha first got connected to Midwest Mission Distribution Center, a Christian disaster relief organization, which was collecting clothing items for Haiti. She then mobilized the community by giving presentations and distributing pamphlets about the Haitian earthquake and the lasting devastation. She then taught her Girl Scout troop how to sew, so they could make bags and clothing together. She hoped to inspire others to perform hands-on service to increase the connection they felt to those in need.

“I wanted the people who helped to feel good about what they did and that it was meaningful, and that they would want to work on projects like this again.”

Samantha’s troop, along with First United Methodist Church’s “Sewing for Missions” group and the Carbondale Middle School Sewing Club, made 102 outfits and school bags that will be filled with supplies to send to Haiti. Her church group decided to continue with the project in the future.

Along with fulfilling her goal to unite her community to global needs, Samantha also developed self-assurance and improved vital skills such as public speaking, people skills and project management.

“I learned how to be a better leader,” she said. “I can say I did this project and be proud of myself and I am confident that I can do it again.”

Samantha is the daughter of Nancy Mitchell and Keven Mitchell. She is graduating from Carbondale Community High School and plans to enter the Air Force, where her Girl Scout Gold Award has given her the opportunity to enter with a higher rank.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Joan Burke Named Director of Membership

GSSI is pleased to announce that Joan Burke is the new Director of Membership. Joan has an extensive Girl Scout background -she joined as a Brownie (the first level available at the time) and was a member all the way through. After college, she became a Girl Scout staff member and worked at three different councils over 12 years. After taking a break to have a family, she returned to GSSI two years ago as a Membership Development Manager.
“I am excited to become Director of Membership. I have been in Girl Scouting practically all my life,” Burke said. “Girl Scouting is a great place for girls to try new things, learn life skills and just have fun! I am looking forward to sharing my positive energy in a new role with GSSI!”