Friday, October 31, 2014

New Girl Scout Program at Missouri Botanical Gardens!


Learn to make your own gifts on a shopping trip to the city! Combine window shopping in the city with a trip to the Missouri Botanical Gardens to learn and make recycled gifts for someone special on your list.

Holiday Eco-Gifts (Brownies/Juniors/Cadettes)
Date: Dec. 6 (deadline 11/19) Time: 9-11 a.m. or 1-3 p.m.
Cost: $13/girls; $8/adults
Place: Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis, MO

Give the gift of green! Girls will learn the environmental benefits of making gifts from recycled materials. Learn how to make plant dyes and revamp old jewelry. Examples of gifts may include earth friendly cleaning products, ornaments, beauty products and more! Fee includes entry into the Gardens. Optional – Visit the Gardenland Express after/before your session at a reduced fee of $3 per person (normally $5) – pay at the Gardens for this optional activity on the day of the session.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jason Dothager from Staunton is GSSI's October Pearl of the Month

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Jason Dothager from Staunton have been named GSSI’s October Pearl of the Month. GSSI’s 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.     
Jason is the father of four Girl Scouts.  He takes an active Girl Scout role, serving as co-leader of a troop and has also stepped up to help with other activities for the Service Unit.  He initiated the “He & Me” campout last year which attracted over 20 girls and their “He’s” for a day of fun outdoor activities.  Following the success of this event, he recruited other dads to help plan for this year.  Jason has also become the leader of a STEM group which resulted in the recruitment of three new Girl Scouts!  The Staunton area day camp also benefitted from Jason’s certifications in archery and canoeing, which allows girls the opportunity to enjoy these activities while at camp.  He is known as an example to other who always says “What can I do to help?”

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Religious Award Offered to Girl Scouts from P.R.A.Y. (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth)!

Bible Basics RP3 is a new program offered by P.R.A.Y. that is for all ages of Girl Scouting.  The program is designed to help the girls GET INTO THE BIBLE by using RP3- Read (the Bible)  to Picture, Ponder, and Put into action (what they have read).  P.R.A.Y. is launching this series with three patches: The Good Book, Out of the Water, and Birds of the Air. The Good Book patch is considered the anchor patch and the first patch that should be earned. After that, the patches may be earned in any order. Patches are independent study units. Requirements are posted on the P.R.A.Y. website and may be downloaded at no cost. Ordering the patches is easy: patches are available through the P.R.A.Y. Online Store and may be ordered at any time. Each patch is designed to be a visual reminder of the Bible stories and can be used as a prompt for reviewing past lessons.

Bible Basics RP3 
is a series for all ages (school age and up). Each patch includes questions for younger children, older youth, and adults.  It is designed to be done in a family or group setting with all participants (including parents and leaders) earning the patch.

Girl Scouting encourages girls to grow in their faith.  Faith-based awards include both the My Promise, My Faith pin and Religious Recognitions. Requirements for the My Promise, My Faith pins can be found in each level of the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting.  A girl can earn the pin each year!  The requirements for the Religious Recognitions can be found at P.R.A.Y’s website.  Each faith has their own pin and their own requirements based on their faith. 
The Religious Recognitions were created by the national faith groups for their members to grow stronger in faith.  Each religious organization/committee develops and administers its own program.
Step 1: Girls must obtain the specific booklet for their religion.
Step 2: Parents must review the program guidelines.
Step 3: Families should talk to their religious leaders and show them the booklet before beginning any program
Step 4: Girls need to complete the requirements, obtain the proper signatures and follow the instructions to order the recognition or pin.

Lauren Carter from Collinsville Meets with AT&T Representatives at 2014 Girl Scout Convention

(L-R) Cathy Coughlin, AT&T Executive Vice President and Chief Global Marketing Officer, Lauren Carter, Emily Fontes, Maria Zepeda, Samantha Belcher and Marachel Knight, AT&T Vice President of Technology Reliability Centers.

Lauren Carter, a Girl Scout from Collinsville, travelled to the Girl Scouts of the USA’s National Convention in Salt Lake City recently to participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Institute.   While at the convention, Lauren and three other Girl Scouts from Nevada, California and West Virginia met with senior AT&T representatives to talk about girls today and Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM)
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) was one of four councils nationwide that received a $72,000 grant from Girl Scouts of the USA and AT&T to advance Science, Technology, Engineering & Math for 200 girls in 10th-12th grades in the Collinsville and East St. Louis School District.  The grant is part of a partnership between GSUSA and AT&T through a program called Imagine Your STEM Future.

Lauren and other Girl Scouts had breakfast with Cathy Coughlin, GSUSA Board Member, AT&T Executive Vice President and Chief Global Marketing Officer and Marachel Knight, AT&T Vice President of Technology Reliability Centers.   Lauren shared about her Girl Scouting journey and STEM experiences and how both have positively impacted her.  “I love the Girl Scouts and I love Science, Technology, Engineering & Math,” Lauren said.  “Thank you AT&T for supporting the Girl Scouts and providing more girls STEM opportunities.”

As the result of a $625,000 national contribution from A&T Aspire—a long-time supporter of Girl Scouting—Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is implementing “Imagine Your STEM Future.” Through this program, GSSI will inspire even more girls to pursue STEM fields.   “Imagine Your STEM Future” will be implemented as a natural addition to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), where girls will gain leadership skills by engaging with program materials in the context of the three Girl Scout processes: girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning.

“We are thrilled to receive this Imagine Your STEM Future grant from GSUSA and AT&T,” said Micah Bolandis, Director of Mission Delivery.  “Today’s girls need programming that will introduce them to a variety of career options in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.  GSSI has an extensive STEM program that allows girls to participate in a variety of STEM initiatives like programming robots, building bridges, candy chemistry and STEM Explosion Day Camp.  In fact, more than 1,728 girls participated in a STEM program in the past year,” Bolandis added.

The contribution from AT&T is part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature education initiative, focusing on school success and workforce readiness.  Beyond funding, AT&T employees are giving their time by providing mentoring, which is a part of the company's commitment for one million hours of mentoring by 2016.

More specifically, “Imagine Your STEM Future” will provide after school STEM and mentoring activities to 800 girls in four councils across the country, 75% of which are at-risk of dropping out of high school. This program will also increase local involvement of community and professional volunteers, and the program’s outcome will be measured by girls’ academic performance.

Girl Scouts leads the nation in empowering girls to pursue their natural interests in STEM. Girls exposed to STEM activities and careers while being encouraged by professional mentors will not only be more likely to graduate high school on time, but also be more likely to excel in STEM-related subjects in school, explore post-secondary education in STEM, and consider STEM-related careers in which women are historically underrepresented.
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois serves 14,000 girls and 4,800 adult volunteers in more than 40 counties in southern Illinois.  Girl Scouting has inspired more than 50 million girls and women since its founding in 1912. 
About AT&T Philanthropy
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2013, more than $130 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Roxana Girl Scouts Work on Community Garden for Challenge & Change Project

Girl Scouts in Roxana have been working on a community garden for their Challenge and Change project.  Challenge and Change is a program funded United States Department of Agriculture to strengthen 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.
In Roxana, Girl Scouts from Service Unit 101 have created a Heritage Garden to highlight different plans and natural features of Southern Illinois.  They are partnering with the Roxana Parks and Recreation Department, The Nature Institute and Tom the Plant Guy to offer engaging learning and service experiences for students and local community members.

GSSI Conducting Flag Ceremony at Veterans Day Event at Saint Louis Science Center

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is honored to be invited to conduct opening & closing flag ceremonies at a special Veterans Day event at the Saint Louis Science Center.
The event on Nov. 11 will include special exhibitions and guests, as well as the OMNIMAX Theater film: D-Day: Normandy 1944.
GSSI's opening flag ceremony will take place around 11 a.m.  in the OMNIMAX Theater.  Due to limited seating, reservations should be made by calling 314.289.4424. 
All Girl Scouts & Adult Volunteers in uniform can receive a special reduced OMNIMAX ticket price of $6 per person!  Military veterans can attend the show for free.
Help us show appreciation to our veterans by sending a photo of your troop or daughter holding a thank you sign.  These photos will be used to make a short video to display at GSSI's display table the Saint Louis Science Center during the event.  Some sample messages include:
"Thank You, Veterans!"
"Thank You, Veterans from Girl Scouts Troop (Your Troop Number)"
"We Love Our Veterans!"
"Thanks Veterans! From (Your Hometown Here)"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Check Out Our Crew at the 2014 Girl Scouts Convention

More photos:


GSSI Gets a Shout Out from Harlem Globetrotters at Girl Scouts National Convention!

GSSI got a special shout out from Harlem Globerotters Joyce "Sweet J" Ekworomadu & Tammy "T-Time" Brawner at the 2014 Girl Scouts National Convention!

Learn more about the 2014 Girl Scout Convention by downloading the app or visiting

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GSSI COO Jay Strobel Meets Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chavez

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Chief Communications Officer Jay Strobel met Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chavez at Girl Scouts 2014 Convention.  Girl Scouts is holding its National Convention in Salt Lake City from Oct. 16-19.  Every three years, Girl Scouts, volunteers and alumnae from across the globe come together for this momentous event!  Jay is covering the event as part of the national Girl Scouts media team.   Watch for more photos & videos!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois At 2014 National Convention

On Oct. 16-19, Girl Scouts will host its 53rd national convention in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah! This exciting event will reunite alumnae and invigorate a global movement of girls, women, and men around the theme, “Discover, Connect, Take Action: Girls Change the World.”
A cadre of speakers and entertainers—news makers, leaders, policy makers, and celebrities from across the country and around the world—will converge on Salt Lake City this October to celebrate and advocate on behalf of girls.

Watch for photos and stories coming soon!   Learn more about Girl Scouts National Convention:

About Girl Scouts National Delegates:
The National Council is charged with giving broad direction to the future of the Girl Scout Movement. As required by the Girl Scouts of the USA Constitution in the Blue Book of Basic Documents, the National Council convenes every three years and is the major link between Girl Scout councils and the national organization.
Each council’s board development committee (BDC) is responsible for selecting candidates and preparing and presenting a slate of qualified nominees for National Council delegates and alternates, to be elected according to the council’s bylaws.
Individuals are elected as National Council Delegates for a term of three years.  Accepting nomination and election from councils for these positions is one of the major rights and one of the most serious responsibilities in Girl Scouting.  While at the National Council Session, delegates will:
  • Elect the National Board and National Board Development Committee
  • Act on proposals submitted by the National Board and Girl Scout councils, as well as any amendments to the Constitution of GSUSA
  • Hear the National Board of Directors report on its stewardship of Girl Scouting during the past triennium, including sources of revenue and expenses, the stats of GSUSA's financial position and updates on innovation and progress in major areas of work.

GSSI National Delegates 
Ruthie Alexander from Mt. Vernon
Deena Ballard from Effingham
Christine Stewart from Belleville
Dixie Travelstead from DuQuoin
David Waun from Jonesboro.
Girl Member National Delegates
Many councils, including GSSI, have girls among their elected delegates.  Girl delegates will attend Girl Scout Leadership Institute (GSLI) general sessions along with being on the delegate floor during all business meetings.
GSSI Girl Member National Delegates:
Sophia Ballard from Effingham,
Caroline Stewart from Belleville
Jessica Quicksall from Effingham

What is the Girl Scout Leadership Institute?

The Girl Scout Leadership Institute (GSLI) is where a lot of the magic of the national convention happens!  Through the GSLI, girls aged 14 and older from across the globe are engaged in leadership skill-building that will help them return home ready to make an impact in their communities and councils.  Girls are able to choose issues that are important to them and then get the latest information from experts, learn techniques for innovation, advocacy and planning and work together to develop solutions.

Along with its Girl Delegates, GSSI has seven girls attending GSLI: Lauren Carter from Collinsville, Madison Blacker, Mackenzie Chasteen, Tristen Jones, Sarah Lemar and Maggie Seiler from Effingham and Kayli Worthey from Neoga.  Chaperoning girls attending GSLI are volunteers Dawn Quicksall and Vicki Blacker.

GSSI Staff at 2014 National Convention

Also representing GSSI are CEO Villie M. Appoo, Chief Communications Officer Jay Strobel and Director of Mission Delivery Micah Bolandis.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Robotic Program Kicks Off

Since autumn has officially arrived, it must mean that GSSI Robotics is in full swing. This year we are honored to sponsor 10 First Lego League (FLL) teams and our very first First Tech Challenge (FTC) team.

FLL teams consist of up to 10 Junior and Cadette members. We have teams in East St. Louis, Belleville, Roxana, Washington Park, Albers, O’Fallon, Staunton, Charleston and Glen Carbon. Teams will compete in qualifying tournaments in November and December.

FTC in an intense robotics program for 7– 12 grades. Our first FTC team consists of girls from Granite City, O’Fallon and Belleville. They will be working through the engineering process while designing their robot in PTC Creo CAD software, building a large robot to complete missions and programming in Robot C. Qualifying tournaments will be held this winter.

Junior First Lego League (JrFLL) teams are for Daisies and Brownies. Teams will start up in January and show their work at an Expo in March.

For more information on GSSI robotics contact Mary Buchanan 800.345.6858, ext. 1115 or

New Camp Training Opportunities - Course Schedule Online Now

Exciting news! The former Troop Camp Training will now be offered in a two-part format for more flexibility. We hope this encourages more leaders to try camping with their girls without having to attend a full day training.

Camping IN: This can be held at any location by a trained member of the Service Unit Team and certifies the volunteer to take girls camping and stay in a lodge (no fire). This is a one-time certification. The course will not have scheduled dates council-wide, it will be organized by each Service Unit.

Camping OUT: This follow-up course is focused on skills and will be held at a camp property. The course will generally run from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and will cost $10. The certification is valid for three years and can be renewed via test. These courses will have scheduled dates and can also be requested. The fall 2014 course schedule is available on our website, on the Adult Training Page under the Volunteer tab.

Go to Volunteer Training schedule

GSSI Meets With Congressman Rodney Davis

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois representatives met with Congressman Rodney Davis on Oct. 1 at his Glen Carbon Office to provide an update on Girl Scouting and seek his support of the Child Protect Act. During the meeting, Girl Scouts also shared with the Congressman various girl programs that are helping to build leaders for America. These girl programs included, Be A Friend First (anti-bullying), healthy living, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math). Pictured: (from left) Villie M. Appoo, GSSI Chief Executive Officer; Congressman Rodney Davis, 13th District of Illinois; and Emily Stanley, GSSI STEM Manager.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Nominate a Girl Scout for The Prudential Spirit of Communities Awards

The Prudential Spirit of Communities Awards provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of youth volunteer service and recognize Girl Scouts who have distinguished themselves by making a meaningful difference in their communities by volunteering.

Qualifying Girl Scouts must:
  • Be in grades 5-12 as of Nov. 4, 2014, and a legal resident.
  • Have participated in a volunteer activity at least in part after Sept. 1, 2013
  • Complete and submit an online application by Nov. 4, 2014 and submit it to the Awards Program Manager
How to submit an online application:
  • Go to or
  • Complete the application and the student/parent agreement by Nov. 4
  • Go to the certification page to e-mail or print out instructions for GSSI. You must deliver this to the Awards Program Manager by Nov. 4.
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will then select a local honoree. This Girl Scout will receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award if she has contributed the minimum number of hours to qualify and will become eligible to win an award of $1,000 or more, a beautifully engraved medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip with a parent to Washington, D.C., next spring for four days of special recognition events.
For more information about The Prudential Spirit Awards, contact Awards Program Manager Julie Schloss at 800.345.6858, ext. 1119 or e-mail

GSSI Council Shop Update: October 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 or browse our virtual catalog.

 GSSI Council Shop Hours:

Council Shops will be open from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on the following first Saturdays of the month:

October 4, 2014
November 1, 2014
December 6, 2014

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 Beth Ross, Business Service Manager at 800.345.6858, ext. 1129 or e-mail

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

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Turns Five!

I would like to invite all our members to join me in celebrating our five year anniversary! Just five short years ago our two legacy councils merged to form the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois.  Five years in the lifetime of a dynamic, 112 year old movement like the Girl Scouts does not sound like much - but what an extraordinary five years it has been!

Thanks to our amazing members, we are now one seamless, united council serving 14,000 girls and 4,500 adult volunteers. Thanks to our volunteers, we can provide challenging programs that meet the needs of all our girls - from Robotics and other STEM programs to leadership opportunities that challenge our girls to push boundaries and excel - while still having fun.

It is always gratifying to look back and reflect on what we have achieved, and so exciting to look forward to what is yet to come. Over the next year, together with our dedicated volunteers, we will expand our Outdoor Experiences programs with a goal of putting "outing" back into Girl Scouting!

Our council's commitment to you - we will continue to listen to what our girls and volunteers want and strive to be responsive and relevant, strive to be a resource and a support, strive to be the best we can be, so TOGETHER, we can build girls of courage, confidence and character!

On behalf of our staff and Board, I would like to thank you for a wonderful five years and we look forward to celebrating more milestones with you!

Yours in Girl Scouting,