Thursday, July 31, 2014

GSSI Council Shop Update: August 2014

Gear Up for Back to Troop!


Take a Look at What's New!

Basics…Style…Fun…Value…all can be found in the Fall 2014 Catalog. Whether you looking for uniforms and insignia for back to troop, “I Can’t Wait to Be a Girl Scout” themed merchandise or cute accessories to add to your Girl Scout collection, you will find it here. Browse through, and check out the new merchandise!  Go to Girl Scouts’ Fall Catalog


The new Girl Scout Barbie dolls are available in GSSI Council Shops! There are three dolls, Barbie, Nikki and Teresa, and each retails for $12.99.  Buy Online


GSSI Council Retail Shops are open Monday – Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-5 pm. Please note Council Shops will be closed on the following dates:

August 6 -7, 2014 – Annual Inventory
September 1, 1014 – Labor Day Holiday

GSSI Council Shops Extended Hours To Return

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

AUGUST Journey of the Month

GS Ambassador: Live It! Give It!
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:

Stock Up and Save! Online Shop Promotion!
Free Standard Shipping on online orders of $50 or more from Aug. 6-11.

Watch for New Required Training: GSSI 201 Online Test

GSSI 201 is a new online test that covers details of the two main resources GSSI volunteers use, Volunteer Essentials and Safety Activity Checkpoints. All new troops must have a minimum of one adult per troop take the test. Current volunteers are encouraged to take it as well. GSSI 201 will be live on the volunteer section of our website,  soon. Hard copies of the test are available upon request. For more information, please contact Volunteer Services  Manager Amanda Kaemmerer at 800.345.6858, ext. 1142 or e-mail

NEW Camp Training Courses: Fall 2014

Exciting news! The former Troop Camp Training will now be offered in a two-part format for more fl exibility. 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 certifi es 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. Dates will be posted on our website, in early August.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GSSI Receives $25,000 Grant From the Monsanto Fund for Robotics Teams

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) has received a $25,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund to support Girl Scout robotics teams in Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties.   Robotics are a key component of GSSI’s commitment to giving girls opportunities and guidance in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM).  By participating in three different robotics leagues at three different age levels, GSSI aims to engage more girls across southern Illinois in STEM, so that they can explore valuable career options, build critical thinking and technical skills and sustain a lifelong interest in topics that many girls drift away from by middle school.

“Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is very grateful to be able to provide even more girls an opportunity to participate in STEM programs and compete on a robotics team through support from the Monsanto Fund,” said Mary Buchanan, GSSI Robotics Manager.  “Engaging girls in STEM in fun, creative ways helps keep their interest in these valuable career fields, as well as develop their confidence, teamwork and problem solving abilities.”

This grant is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund focused on strengthening the Greater St. Louis community, where Monsanto Fund and Monsanto Company are headquartered

The grant will help fund GSSI’s robotics season which starts this fall with FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®). In this global robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds, participants build and program a robot using LEGO components. Teams also conduct a research project and explore FLL Core Values such as active participation, teamwork and gracious professionalism.  After months of practice and preparation, teams begin competing at regional tournaments, with the highest scoring teams proceeding to a global tournament.

“Women make up 50.8% of the U.S. population but only 25% of our STEM workforce,” said Monsanto Fund president Deborah Patterson. “Programs like this, which really encourage young ladies to explore and expand their interest in science, technology, engineering and math, could be key to narrowing that gender gap.”
Grant money will also be used to support several Junior FIRST Lego League (JrFLL®) teams and two Botball® teams, which belong to a league that challenges middle and high school students to build two autonomous robots then program them using C, C++ or Java. The robots perform a series of preprogrammed tasks in direct competition with another team at the same table.   Botball teams will compete at regional tournaments in the spring, with top scoring teams advancing to global competition. In 2013, GSSI had the only all Girl Scout Botball teams in the world.

The grant will also allow GSSI to purchase additional equipment to facilitate the robotics program, including robot kits and tablets.  Financial assistance for girls who cannot afford the $15 registration fee to join Girl Scouts will also be provided.

GSSI’s STEM program continues to be a progressive and forward-thinking initiative that has grown exponentially in recent years.  In 2009, GSSI had just one robotics team.  In 2014, they fielded 24 teams.  GSSI has dedicated staff and volunteers who develop the STEM program through research, collaborator cultivation, training and hands-on experience. GSSI strives to offer diverse and high-quality STEM programming, such as simple circuit wiring, programming robots, exploring forensics and more.  To ensure that all girls have the chance to take advantage of these future-building opportunities, GSSI has integrated STEM activities into its outreach programs – which bring Girl Scouting to girls in underserved populations, such as low income neighborhoods, housing projects, rural communities and even detention centers. 

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is a high-capacity Girl Scout council serving nearly 14,000 girls and almost 5,000 adult volunteers in 40 ½ counties in southern Illinois.  Girl Scouting has inspired more than 50 million girls and women since its founding in 1912. 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. 

FIRST® and FLL® are registered trademarks of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Jr.FLL® and LEGO® are registered trademarks of the LEGO Group.  BotBall® is a registered trademark of Kiss Institute for Practical Robotics.  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.   For more information, contact Jay Strobel, GSSI Chief Communications Officer at 618.692.0692. 
About 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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GSSI Seeking Dancers for Dancing With Our Stars Event in Mt. Vernon

GSSI is seeking a few more dance routines for our upcoming Dancing With Our Stars gala being held in Mt. Vernon on Saturday, August 23rd. Soloist, partners and group routines are welcome. Those who participate compete for the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy. Past routines have included lyrical jazz, Bollywood, clogging, ballroom and Zumba. If you are interested in more information on how to participate please contact Emily Kimmey at 618.692.0692, ext. 1144.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Paula Burrows and Kindra Smith Named July Pearls of the Month

Paula Burrows of Flora and Kindra Smith of Percy are the July 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.

Paula serves as both the Service Unit Manager and Registrar for Clay County and has also served as Product Sales Manager previously. Her commitment to girls has helped to retain girl members and maintain troops in the area so that girls can continue to take advantage of what Girl Scouts has to offer. She makes sure that girls know the importance of community service and she organizes events throughout the year to for girls and their families.

Kindra is a Girl Scout Gold recipient who now serves as a Girl Scout leader and also was a lifeguard through the OAR program. On one occasion, she attended a troop campout and served as the lifeguard. She went above and beyond to make sure the girls were comfortable in the water and planned activities for them. She also stayed for the rest of the day on her own. She shared fire building and camping tips and then offered to take everyone on a night hike and showed the leaders other paths they could use in the future.

Friday, July 18, 2014

GSSI's Staff Giving Campaign Funds Scholarships & Camp Equipment

GSSI Staff in Mount Vernon
GSSI Staff & Interns in Glen Carbon
GSSI's recent Staff Giving Campaign raised $1150 in scholarship funds and $1150 for the purchase of stand up paddleboards to use during outdoor programming.
"I'm proud to report that we had 100% participation in our Staff Giving Campaign," said Director of Development Emily Kimmey.  "GSSI's staff is deeply committed to the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character and very grateful for the chance to work for such a worthwhile cause." 

Monday, July 14, 2014

GSSI Family Partnership Campaign Wraps Up

Way to go Troop #920 from Columbia for raising the most funds through our Family Partnership Campaign. The Troop will receive a check for 20% of their total donation.

Also, Michael & Dana Massie with Troop #112 won Holiday World tickets and Teresa Cavaness with Troop #8502 won Southern Illinois Miner tickets in the Family Partnership Drawing. 

Thank you so much to everyone who supported our Family Partnership Campaign! You are vital in helping us deliver the world's preeminent leadership experience for girls right here in southern Illinois!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

GSSI Council Shop Update - July 201

Don’t miss this huge savings event. Take an ADDITIONAL 25% - 50% off current clearance items. Also, select full price sportswear, accessories and gifts are 20% - 25% off. The semi-annual sale runs through July 21. Shop in-store, or shop online!

Visit the GSSI Council Retail Shops and get your chocolate fix with Nestle Crunch Candy Bars in your favorite Girl Scout cookie flavors, Thin Mint, Caramel & Coconut and Peanut Butter Crème. These are available now for $1 per candy bar or a case of 12 mini candy bars for $4!

GSSI Council Retail Shops are open during regular hours for the summer, Monday – Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Please note Council Shops will be closed:
July 3, 2014 – Independence Day Holiday
July 10, 2014 – Closing at 12 p.m. – All-Staff Event
August 6 -7, 2014 – Annual Inventory

JULY Journey of the Month
Girl Scout Cadettes: MEdia
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:

Can’t make it to a GSSI retail shop location? Shop 24 hours a day at GSSI’s Online Shop!
Revenue share from GSSI’s online shop helps to provide girls in southern Illinois a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience!!!

SHOP NOW!!! Go to GSSI’s Online Shop