Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) held its 5th Annual Meeting on April 5 at the Hilton Garden Inn in O’Fallon. During the meeting, approximately 300 Girl Scout members (adults and girls) from throughout southern Illinois elected Board of Director members and received a “State of the Council” report from Dixie Travelstead, GSSI Board of Director Chair, and Villie M. Appoo, GSSI Chief Executive Officer. In addition, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois recognized top Girl Scout volunteers which are the heart of Girl Scouting. GSSI’s 4,500 Girl Scout volunteers play an instrumental role in providing leadership programming and opportunities for more than 14,000 girls in southern Illinois.
Keynote speaker for GSSI’s annual meeting was Dr. Sandra Magnus who was an astronaut from Belleville. During her speech, Dr. Magnus encouraged girls to study hard, be dedicated to reaching their goals and to follow their passions. Dr. Magnus also stressed the importance of Girl Scouting and earning badges as a way for girls to try new things and discover what their interests are. Currently, Dr. Magnus is the Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, with more than 35,000 members in 79 countries.
As a girl, Dr. Magnus was a Girl Scout in GSSI’s legacy council River Bluffs. In 2009, she talked with 100 local Girl Scouts from the International Space Station via a satellite downlink provided by the Boeing Company. Not only did the girls get to ask Dr. Magnus questions, but they got to see her working on the ISS and see a Girl Scout flag floating behind her…a truly amazing and inspiring moment for local Girl Scouts.