Monday, March 30, 2015

GSSI Alumna & Former NASA Astronaut Dr. Sandra Magnus Keynote Speaker at GSSI's Annual Meeting


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.

Four Girls Receive Girl Scouts' Medal of Honor at All That Glitters Awards Ceremony



Girl Scouts were shining stars during Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ (GSSI) All That Glitters Award ceremony on March 28, 2015 at Rend Lake Resort in Whittington, Illinois. Each year, the banquet recognizes Girl Scouts from across southern Illinois who achieve significant accomplishments in community service and leadership.

At All That Glitters, Girl Scouts of the USA's Medal of Honor, a national Lifesaving Award, was presented to four GSSI Girl Scouts for their heroic actions. Lifesaving Awards have been a part of the Girl Scout program since the movement started in 1912 and are a form of recognition given to a registered Girl Scout who has saved or attempted to save a human life under circumstances that indicate heroism or risk of her own life. These awards are reserved for Girl Scouts who have performed heroic acts beyond the degree of maturity and training expected at their age. Awardees are:

Cheynne Chalkus of Salem


Cheyenne was 18 years old last August when she saved the life of her 22 month old nephew Skyler after he had an accidental fall into the hot tub. She immediately laid him on the deck and started chest compressions while her mother called 911. After several compressions, Skyler started to faintly cry and breathe on his own. Cheyenne then sat him up and waited for paramedics to arrive. Once there, the paramedics found Skyler fully alert.

“They said it was a good thing I knew CPR,” said Cheyenne. “Today he is a completely healthy and happy boy, and I am so glad I could help him,” she added. Cheyenne is the daughter of Scott and Carole Chalkus.


Kayli Kohn of Fairfield


Kayli was 10 years old when she rescued her two year old brother Hudson in 2013. Kayli was putting Hudson into the van as the family was leaving a local business. Before her father and stepmother got into the car, Hudson accidentally hit the gear shift and the van began to roll backwards into the street, although the keys were not in the van’s ignition. Kayli began to yell to get the attention of the oncoming traffic. Her attempts were successful as the cars came to a stop before colliding with the family vehicle. After crossing two lanes of traffic, the van struck a building and came to a stop. Hudson was unharmed when he was taken out of the vehicle, and it was later determined that the van’s gear shift was defective. 

“My brother was so scared, and he was crying in my arms. Nobody got hurt; we are so lucky. I love my brother so much,” said Kayli. Kayli is the daughter of Jessica and Jeremy Kohn.


Brianna and Brittany McGehee of Mt. Vernon 


Brianna and Brittany, twins from Mt. Vernon, were 11 years old in June 2014 when they came to the aid of their sister Shelia. Brianna and Brittany were going to babysit for Shelia’s three young children when they found their sister face down on the bathroom floor. From their Girl Scout First Aid/CPR training, the girls believed Shelia showed signs of having had a stroke. Brittany and Brianna called the hospital and turned Shelia to her side. With their First Aid training and assistance from the hospital operator, the girls gave their sister aspirin and cool rags and kept her talking. Once stable, Brianna and Brittany helped their sister into their mother’s truck to go to the hospital. 

“We had CPR/First Aid training, but it was really scary when it’s your own sister that you love,” said Brianna. “I’m glad that I was going to babysit that day and that I have my First Aid/CPR certificate,” added Brittany. Brianna and Brittany are the daughters of Gary and Donna McGehee.

Three Receiving Outstanding Graduating Girl Scout Scholarships


Three GSSI Girl Scouts were presented with college scholarships at All That Glitters Awards Ceremony on March 28 at Rend Lake Resort in Whittington.  Each year, GSSI presents two scholarships to graduating Girl Scout Ambassadors who stand out in Girl Scouts, leadership, school and service to the community.  The Outstanding Graduating Girl Scout Scholarships are funded from proceeds from the annual Brownie Haunted Camp program, which is planned, organized and conducted by older Girl Scouts. This year, GSSI staff was able to present an additional scholarship due to funds raised during the 2014 Staff Campaign.  To receive an Outstanding Graduating Girl Scout Scholarships, girls must complete a detailed application with references.  From these, a panel of staff and volunteers selects the top applicants.  Recipients were:



Lainey Brown from O’Fallon




Lainey a member of Troop #915 and has been a Girl Scout for over 9 years. She earned the Girl Scout Gold Award this year by working with a local nursing home where she planned events and created sensory boards for patients with Alzheimer’s. Lainey attends O’Fallon Township High School and plans to attend Southern Illinois University Edwardsville upon graduation.

“The greatest things I’ve gained through Girl Scouts are confidence, leadership and family,” said Lainey. “I learned that taking charge of yourself and what you care about can turn out to be amazing.”

Megan Kraus from Waterloo 




Megan is from Troop #32 and has been a Girl Scout for 13 years. She earned the Girl Scout Gold Award this year by incorporating art into various service projects at her school and church. As part of her Girl Scout community service, she also volunteers at day camp and plans to come back to camp as a unit leader upon graduation. Megan attends Waterloo High School and plans to pursue a degree in Spanish at Truman State University.

“At the end of the day, I am glad I’ve been involved with Girl Scouts for the past 13 years rather than soccer or skating,” said Megan. “When training, athletes only focus on their sport; in Girl Scouts, I have been able to learn a variety of things and build up so many dreams that I otherwise never would have known I had.”

Deanna Hohgrefe from Chester


Deanna is from Troop #8239 and has been a Girl Scout for 12 years. She has also earned her Girl Scout Silver Award and Girl Scout Bronze Award. Deanna also went on a Girl Scout destination travel experience to Germany and serves as a council delegate for her Service Unit. She currently attends Chester High School and plans to attend Concordia University in Wisconsin.

“I would tell someone thinking about putting their daughter into Girl Scouts that the skills I have learned from being a Girl Scout have made me the person I am today,” said Deanna. “I am so grateful that I have been able to do all of the many things I have gotten to do – from ice skating and skiing to traveling around the world.”

Fourteen GSSI Girl Scouts Receive the Trifecta Award



Girl Scouts were shining stars during Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ (GSSI) All That Glitters Award ceremony on March 28, 2015 at Rend Lake Resort in Whittington, Illinois. Each year, the banquet recognizes Girl Scouts from across southern Illinois who achieve significant accomplishments in community service and leadership. This year, GSSI recognized girls with the Girl Scout Trifecta Award, which honors GSSI Girl Scouts who have earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award, Girl Scout Silver Award and the Girl Scout Gold Award.


2015 GSSI Trifecta Award recipients:

Katie Albert - Troop #387, Waterloo
Elizabeth Arend, Troop #17, Highland
Lainey Brown, Troop #915, O'Fallon
Kaylynn Clement, Troop #915, O'Fallon
Kaitlyn Frick, Troop #46, Edwardsville
Megan Kraus, Troop #332, Waterloo
Alexandra Lloyd – Troop #1123, O’Fallon
Jordan Larusso – Troop #551, Edwardsville
Tessa Miller - Troop #8303, Red Bud 
Samantha Mitchell – Troop #8174, Carbondale
Caitlynn Rosenberg – Troop #915, O’Fallon
Tera Sparks – Troop #915, O’Fallon
Kathryn Stacy – Troop #915, Shiloh
Krista VanDriel - Troop #915, O'Fallon

GSSI Recognizes 18 Girls with the Girl Scout Gold Award at All That Glitters




Girl Scouts were shining stars during Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ (GSSI) All That Glitters Award ceremony on March 28, 2015 at Rend Lake Resort in Whittington, Illinois.   Each year, the banquet recognizes Girl Scouts from across southern Illinois who achieve significant accomplishments in community service and leadership.  This year, GSSI recognized 18 girls who earned the Girl Scout Gold Award ... the highest award in Girl Scouting.  Each Girl Scout Gold Award project requires a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work and only about 6 percent of eligible girls earn this prestigious award. 

2015 Girl Scout Gold Award Recipients: 


Kaitlyn Frick, Troops #46, Edwardsville - “Advertising for Children’s Museum Website & Library”

GSSI Recognizes 73 Girls with the Girl Scout Silver Award at All that Glitters




Girl Scouts were shining stars during Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ (GSSI) All That Glitters Award ceremony on March 28, 2015 at Rend Lake Resort in Whittington, Illinois. Each year, the banquet recognizes Girl Scouts from across southern Illinois who achieve significant accomplishments in community service and leadership. This year, GSSI recognized 73 girls who earned the Girl Scout Silver Award ... the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. The Girl Scout Silver Award is symbolic of accomplishments in Girl Scouting and community activities as a girl becomes her best self and builds the world around her. The Girl Scout Silver Award project benefits a girl's community and can be earned as an individual or as part of a group.




2015 Girl Scout Silver Award Recipients

Troop #52: Leatrice Hein, Edwardsville - “Serendipity German Shepherd Dog Rescue”

Troop #52: Sydney Joslyn, Edwardsville - “Voice of Reason”

Troop #71: Abby Fahnestock, Brighton - “Stepping Through the Seasons” 

Troop #71: Sarah Gratton, Alton - “Berry Wine Path & Leadership Path” 

Troop #71: Taylor Houchens, Godfrey - “SHHH The Plants Are Sleeping”

Troop #89: Anastazia Jany, Hecker - “Tots at the Roundtable”

Troop #89: Payton Smith, Waterloo - “Project Linus”

Troop #109: Sarah Dietzen, Glen Carbon - “The (Hidden) Hillside Garden”

Troop #109: Anndi Partridge, Edwardsville - “Memories of Granny”

Troop #248: Allison LaSalvia, Swansea - “American Flag Retirement Ceremony”

Troop #248: Gabrielle Gebhardt, Swansea - “Canvas Quotes”

Troop #248: Caroline Smith, Swansea - “Gift of Sight”

Troop #299: Gabby Holmes, Millstadt; Heather Gundlach, Belleville - “Community Baby Shower” 

Troop #299: Megan Scheibel, Millstadt; Emma Hampsten, Millstadt; Courtney White, Belleville - “Accept Your Friend Request Here”

Troop #345: Chelse King, Fairview Heights - “Preserving the History of GS”

Troop #370: Colleen McCracken, Edwardsville - “The Pillowcase Project”

Troop #371: Mackenzie Butchee, Granite City - “Meme Champion”

Troop #371: Kimberly Melton, Granite City; Grace Sedabres, Granite City - “Mission: Sisterhood” 

Troop #444: Kelsey Campbell, Marissa; Adrianna Wyninegar, Marissa - “Nursing Home Entertainment”

Troop #444: Reesha Beivenue, Marissa; Kyla Krause, Marissa - “Book Drive, Building Equipment”

Troop #517: Lydia Fulton, Worden - “Goal Getting

Troop #517: Isabelle Zurek, Staunton - “Library of Rocks”

Troop #539: Kaitlyn Barnett, Troy; Fayth Benson, Collinsville; Katie France, Marine; Hannah Franklin, Troy - “Science Day” 

Troop #559: Hannah Almos, Edwardsville; Adriana Powell, Olathe,KS; Lauren Whaley, Glen Carbon - “Library League” 

Troop #663: Maria Caito, Dupo; Selena Douglas, Dupo; Micayla Koonce, Dupo; Elizabeth Nelson, Dupo; Victoria Weaver, East Carondelet - “A Helping Hand”

Troop #795: Sydney Grellner, Swansea - “Helping the Day Star”

Troop #917: Lydia Blaies, Troy; Noelle Grabowski, Troy; Mary Hamilton, Troy - “Career Day” 

Troop #958: Melissa Atkins, Troy; Jenna Fisher, Saint Jacob; Katharine Housewright, Saint Jacob; Shelby Lavely, Troy; Danielle Overbey, Troy; Megan Quam, Saint Jacob - “Relay for Life: Lighting the Path”

Troop #961: Jessica Scarbough, Granite City - “Camp Refresh” 

Troop #1123: Caitlin Lloyd, O’fallon - “Crafts for Kids”

Troop #1496: Darla Balint, Highland - “Sports Day” 

Troop #1496: Mallory LaFrance, Highland - “Boo-Boo-Bears”

Troop #1496: Chiara Frydruch, Highland - “Sports Clinic” 

Troop #2073: Madison Blacker, Effingham; Tristen Jones, Effingham - “One Stop Teacher Shop”

Troop #2073: Sarah Lemar, Effingham - “Operation Quiet Comfort”

Troop #2644: Jessica Atwell, Neoga; Sheila Cline, Neoga; Emily Coen, Neoga; Cheyenne Vondrak, Neoga - “Jennings Park Renovations” 

Troop #8047: Gillian Emrich, Benton - “A Journey Through a Year”

Troop #8249: Amber Haantz - “Organization of Marion Jr. High Choir Department”

Troop #8249: Katherine Hickey, Marion; Emily Kucharski, Marion; Sierra Smith, Marion - “Choir Prop and Costume Clean Up”

Troop #8308: Laura Juelfs, Red Bud - “Caring for Kids”

Troop #8308: Tory Huggins, Red Bud - “Teddy Up” 

Troop #8441: Tessa Beckman, Germantown; Samantha Eversgerd, Germantown; Morgan Huelsmann, Bartelso - “Science Fun Day for Girls” 

Troop #8643: Lexi Scrivner, Bluford - “Ballerina for a Day”

Gretel Pierpoint from Marion Receives Girl Scouts' Thanks Badge II



Top volunteers were recognized at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' 6th Annual Meeting on March 28 at Rend Lake Resort. 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. 

“Girl Scouting in southern Illinois would not be what it is today without the dedication, passion and leadership of all of our volunteers,” said Appoo. “We are honored to present these awards to our exceptional volunteers as they are the driving force behind carrying out GSSI’s mission of building leaders for America. I Can’t Wait To continue working with these amazing volunteers to ensure all girls in southern Illinois can benefit from a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience,” Appoo added. 

Gretel Pierpoint from Marion received the Thanks Badge II, which is the top award that an adult member can earn. This award recognizes an adult member who has already received the Thanks Badge and who has continued to contribute in extraordinary ways that benefit the total council or the entire Girl Scout movement.


Gretel Pierpoint, Service Unit #42, East Williamson

“I help build future leaders by encouraging girls to find their voice and have the courage and confidence to use it,” said Gretel. 


Mary Alice Sims from Benton Earns Girl Scouts' Thanks Badge

Top volunteers were recognized at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' 6th Annual Meeting on March 28 at Rend Lake Resort. 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. 

“Girl Scouting in southern Illinois would not be what it is today without the dedication, passion and leadership of all of our volunteers,” said Appoo. “We are honored to present these awards to our exceptional volunteers as they are the driving force behind carrying out GSSI’s mission of building leaders for America. I Can’t Wait To continue working with these amazing volunteers to ensure all girls in southern Illinois can benefit from a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience,” Appoo added. 

Mary Alice Sims from Benton received the Thanks Badge, which  recognizes an adult member whose performance is truly outstanding and benefits the total council or the entire Girl Scout movement. 



Mary Alice Sims, Service Unit #51, North Franklin




“I love Girl Scouting because it has been my life, ” said Mary Alice

Lois Green from Edwardsville Receives Girl Scouts' Thanks Badge

Top volunteers were recognized at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' 6th Annual Meeting on March 28 at Rend Lake Resort. 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. 

“Girl Scouting in southern Illinois would not be what it is today without the dedication, passion and leadership of all of our volunteers,” said Appoo. “We are honored to present these awards to our exceptional volunteers as they are the driving force behind carrying out GSSI’s mission of building leaders for America. I Can’t Wait To continue working with these amazing volunteers to ensure all girls in southern Illinois can benefit from a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience,” Appoo added. 

Lois Green from Edwardville received the Thanks Badge, which  recognizes an adult member whose performance is truly outstanding and benefits the total council or the entire Girl Scout movement. 


Lois Green, Service Unit #108, Edwardsville/Glen Carbon



“Girl Scouting is a place where girls can try new adventures and make lasting memories,” said Lois.


Connie Fair from Troy Earns Girl Scouts' Honor Pin

Top volunteers were recognized at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' 6th Annual Meeting on March 28 at Rend Lake Resort. 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. 

“Girl Scouting in southern Illinois would not be what it is today without the dedication, passion and leadership of all of our volunteers,” said Appoo. “We are honored to present these awards to our exceptional volunteers as they are the driving force behind carrying out GSSI’s mission of building leaders for America. I Can’t Wait To continue working with these amazing volunteers to ensure all girls in southern Illinois can benefit from a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience,” Appoo added. 

Connie Fair from Troy earned the Honor Pin, which  recognizes an individual’s exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), which has had measurable impact on two or more geographic areas of service, allowing the council to reach and surpass its mission-delivery goals.



Connie Fair, Service Unit #109, Troy, St. Jacob, Marine



“I love Girl Scouting because it provides opportunities for girls to learn about themselves through new experiences.”

Exemplary Service Unit Teams Honored with Girl Scouts' President's Award

Top volunteers were recognized at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' 6th Annual Meeting on March 28 at Rend Lake Resort. 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. 

“Girl Scouting in southern Illinois would not be what it is today without the dedication, passion and leadership of all of our volunteers,” said Appoo. “We are honored to present these awards to our exceptional volunteers as they are the driving force behind carrying out GSSI’s mission of building leaders for America. I Can’t Wait To continue working with these amazing volunteers to ensure all girls in southern Illinois can benefit from a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience,” Appoo added. 

The President’s Award recognizes the efforts of a service-delivery team or committee whose exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience surpassed team goals and resulted in significant, measureable impact toward reaching the council’s overall goals. The following Service Unit Teams received the President's Award: 

Service Unit Team of SU 7 – Bond County



Service Unit Team of SU 12 – Clay County



Service Unit Team of SU 15 – Clinton County



Service Unit Team of SU 21 – East Marion



Service Unit Team of SU 30 – Jefferson County



Service Unit Team of SU 54 – Perry County



Service Unit Team of SU 57 – North Randolph County



Service Unit Team of SU 108 – Edwardsville/Glen Carbon



Service Unit Team of SU 110 – Highland



Service Unit Team of SU 201 – O’Fallon/Shiloh



Service Unit Team of SU 202 – Trenton/Lebanon/Mascoutah/New Baden


Girl Scouts' Appreciation Pin Awarded to 21 GSSI Volunteers




Top volunteers were recognized at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' 6th Annual Meeting on March 28 at Rend Lake Resort. 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. 

“Girl Scouting in southern Illinois would not be what it is today without the dedication, passion and leadership of all of our volunteers,” said Appoo. “We are honored to present these awards to our exceptional volunteers as they are the driving force behind carrying out GSSI’s mission of building leaders for America. I Can’t Wait To continue working with these amazing volunteers to ensure all girls in southern Illinois can benefit from a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience,” Appoo added.

The Appreciation Pin recognizes an individual’s exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). This service, which has had measurable impact on at least one geographic area of service, helps the council reach and surpass its mission-delivery goals for that area. The following volunteers were recognized with the the Appreciation Pin:

Cyndi Addison, SU 21 – East Marion County
Patti Bardle, SU 54 – Perry County
Christina Boyce, SU 108 – Edwardsville/Glen Carbon
Steve Bushong, SU 211 – Waterloo
Jennifer Choma, SU 111 – Collinsville
Crystal Clement, SU 201 – O’Fallon/Shiloh
Miranda Groh, SU 42 – East Williamson County
Virginia Hall, SU 30 – Jefferson County
Deb Hibdon, SU 30 – Jefferson County
Loretta Hilmes, SU 202 – Trenton/Lebanon/Mascoutah/New Baden
Nikki Labbee, SU 202 – Trenton/Lebanon/Mascoutah/New Baden
Debbie McAuliffe, SU 201 – O’Fallon/Shiloh
Amy Parr, SU 85 – Wayne/Hamilton/White Counties
Linda Pennington, SU 24 – Fayette County
Karen Reed, SU 201 – O’Fallon/Shiloh
Jean Schad, SU 201 – O’Fallon/Shiloh
Karen Schmitz, SU 201 – O’Fallon/Shiloh
Marsha Shirley, SU 202 – Trenton/Lebanon/Mascoutah/New Baden
Jennie Smith, SU 66 – Shawnee
Ann Taylor, SU 108 – Edwardsville/Glen Carbon
Nichole Williams, SU 30 – Jefferson County

GSSI Recognizes 31 Volunteers with Volunteer of Excellence Award



Top volunteers were recognized at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' 6th Annual Meeting on March 28 at Rend Lake Resort. 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. 

“Girl Scouting in southern Illinois would not be what it is today without the dedication, passion and leadership of all of our volunteers,” said Appoo. “We are honored to present these awards to our exceptional volunteers as they are the driving force behind carrying out GSSI’s mission of building leaders for America. I Can’t Wait To continue working with these amazing volunteers to ensure all girls in southern Illinois can benefit from a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience,” Appoo added.

The Volunteer of Excellence Award recognizes those volunteers who have contributed outstanding service while partnering directly with girls in any pathway to implement the Girl Scout Leadership Experience through use of the National Program Portfolio or who have contributed outstanding service in support of the council’s mission delivery to girl and adult members.  The following volunteers received the Volunteer of Excellence Award: 


Heather Barclay, SU 51 – North Franklin County

Shelly Blaies, SU 111 – Collinsville

Kristine Bohn, SU 7 – Bond County

Nicki Brown, SU 207 – Belleville/Swansea

Shannon Buchanan, SU 201 – O’Fallon/Shiloh

Janice Clevenger, SU 85 – Wayne/Hamilton/White Counties

Carla Crooker, SU 511 – Effingham County

Brandy Dodel, SU 211 – Waterloo

Amanda Doll, SU 7 – Bond County

Tara Godier, SU 7 – Bond County

Barbara James, SU 72 – Union/Pulaski/Alexander Counties (UPAC)

Debbie Kamp, SU 105 – Jersey/Calhoun Counties

Cindy Kinder, SU 106 – Bethalto

Susan Knapp, SU 15 – Clinton County

Lori Libby, SU 207 – Belleville/Swansea

Lynn Miener, SU 109 – Troy/St. Jacob/Marine

Leanne Montgomery, SU 111 – Collinsville

Melissa Oberlender, SU 110 – Highland

Christina Parr, SU 85 – Wayne/Hamilton/White Counties

Lisa Reed, SU 201 – O’Fallon/Shiloh

Nancy Robeen, SU 105 – Jersey/Calhoun Counties

Connie Schott, SU 105 – Jersey/Calhoun Counties

Stacy Schroeder, SU 15 – Clinton County

Allison Smith, SU 7 – Bond County

Kristi Smith, SU 201 – O’Fallon/Shiloh

Kathy Stachowski, SU 9 – Centralia

Jill Thomas, SU 15 – Clinton County

Andrea Weatherford, SU 209 – Columbia/Millstadt/Dupo/Smithton

Gail Webb, SU 72 – Union/Pulaski/Alexander Counties (UPAC)

Diana Williams, SU 106 – Bethalto



Amy Zajac, SU 108 – Edwardsville/Glen Carbon

GSSI Installs & Rededicates Board of Directors at Sixth Annual Meeting




New Board Members in attendance being installed.















On March 28, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois held its 6th Annual Meeting at Rend Lake Resort in Whittington, IL.  During the meeting, Board of Directors members were installed and rededicated.

Board of Directors members were elected:  

Officers:
Linda Manley, Highland - Chair
Sarah Anderson, Mt. Vernon - Second Vice Chair
Susan Bowman, Highland - Treasurer

Directors-at-Large:
Rex Duncan, DuQuoin
Sandra Evans, Alto Pass
Richard Huntington, Mt. Vernon
Linda Manley, Highland
Sandra Maxwell, Carbondale
Carla Nilson, Herrin
Diane Siemer, Teutopolis
Gail Short, Anna
Annicka Webster, St. Louis

Board Development Committee Members:
Jane Childers, Carbondale
Sandra Evans, Alto Pass

Girl Board Members: 
Lydia Fulton, Girl Member Mentor
Caroline Stewart, Belleville
Kayli Worthey, Neoga


GSSI Board of Directors Members currently serving their terms: 
Bishop Albert Ingram, Jr., Harrisburg; Ellar Duff, Alton; Rex Duncan, DuQuoin; Sandra Evans, Alto Pass; Julie Furst-Bowe, Edwardsville; Candis Isberner, Carbondale; Sharon Mayo, Robinson; John McCracken, Edwardsville; Julie Reed, Edwardsville; Angie Zahn, Trenton.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Breaking News! GSSI to Offer Resident Camp at Touch of Nature in Makanda


Have you been looking for a resident camp for 2015? Well, look no farther, it’s here! This year the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will be hosting a six-day camp at Touch of Nature, located in Makanda, IL. Girls will be staying in cabins with air conditioning and electricity on Little Grassy Lake.

Camps will be held July 19-25, 2015 (registration deadline 6/1).  Click on the camp name to register online!

Fairies, Gnomes, and Wizards (Brownies) 
The magic of the forest comes alive with Fairies, Gnomes, and Wizards.  Come to camp and build fairy houses, make magical potions, and learn how to help wounded animals.  We will also get the chance to meet live owls and go on an owl prowl.  This is the chance to leave the Muggle world behind and embark on a magical journey! 

Beach Bums (Juniors) 
Come to camp and waste your day away on the beaches of Little Grassy Lake.  Girls will be treated to a nature spa, fruity drinks, and a whale hunt.  We will also go beach         hopping and go out to the “jumping rocks.”  In your down time, you can play beach       volley, have a pirate ship battle, and send smoke signals to the neighboring camps!

You Can Do That at Camp! (Cadettes) 
Come do some of the things you’ve always been told you can’t do at camp! Sleep in until after    breakfast, raid the kitchen, hunt for Bigfoot, have a late night dance party with live music, and     maybe even order a    pizza! When not stretching the rules, try some hiking, swimming, archery, boating, or other camp favorites.

Cost is $350 per girl for each camp.  Financial Assistance is available to those who qualify. If you prefer to print and mail in a registration form, you can download the form here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

GSSI Is Celebrating Volunteers in April!




National Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 12-18 and Girl Scout Leader Day is April 22.   GSSI appreciates the hard work, commitment, time and talent that our amazing volunteers give to Girl Scouting. 

“Our dedicated volunteers are an invaluable resource in providing a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience.  Their dedication to the mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place helps guide and encourage future leaders for our communities,” said Villie M. Appoo, GSSI CEO. 

We are going to be having some fun activities on our social media platforms during this time!  Be sure to connect to us if you haven’t already!  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GirlScoutsofSouthernIllinois
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GSofSI
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/GSofSI
Instagram: www.instagram.com/GirlScoutsofSouthernIllinois 

Also, GSSI Council Shops will offer refreshments and take 15% off adult apparel on Girl Scout Leader Day (April 22)

Amanda Bridewell of Harrisburg is March Pearl of the Month



GSSI is pleased to announce that Amanda Bridewell of Harrisburg is the March Pearl 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 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.

Amanda has earned the Pearl award for her excellent event coordination.  She stepped up to coordinate the fall event for the Service Unit.  The well-planned and organized event was a dance including a book exchange, meal, photo opportunity, and costumed parade of favorite book characters. Approximately 75 girls and 30 adults attended, had a great time and look forward to the next event Amanda plans.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

GSSI Donates 620 Cases of Girl Scout Cookies to U.S. Military Through Mission of Moms

(L-R) Product Program Director Kelly Jansen, GSSI Intern McKenna Cooper, GSSI Intern Meagan Bowers, Mission of Moms Director Marcia Fish, GSSI Intern Kelsey Whitaker & GSSI Intern Alecia Williams

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois delivered 620 cases of Girl Scout Cookies to Marcia Fish, Director of Mission to Moms, a nonprofit in Collinsville with the mission of "supporting our deployed military."

These tasty treats for our U.S. troops were donated through GSSI's "Gift of Caring" program.   Another 500 cases, for 1120 total cases of Girl Scout Cookies, are also being donated to Soldier's Angels, a large-scale nonprofit that "provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, their families, and a growing veteran population."

GSSI is so grateful for the generosity of those who supported the Gift of Caring program this year and enabled us to show our support for U.S. military members and veterans.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Edison's Entertainment Complex Hosting Bowling Patch Day All April



Edison's Entertainment Complex in Edwardsville hosting Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' Bowling Patch Day all April.  Book your troop by contacting Brittany at 618.307.9020 or e-mailing party@edisonsfun.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GSSI Hosts Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo



Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois hosted the Southwestern Illinois Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo on March 21 at Soutwestern Illinois College.

JrFLL is for children ages 6-9 and captures young children's curiosity and directs it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology. This program features a real-world scientific concept to be explored through research, teamwork, construction, and imagination. Guided by adult Coaches, teams use LEGO® bricks to build a model that moves and develop a Show Me Poster to illustrate their journey.

Through JrFL children get to: design and build a challenge-related model using LEGO® components, create a Show Me Poster and practice presentation skills, explore challenges facing today's scientists, discover real-world math and science, begin developing teamwork skills, choose to participate in expos and showcases, engage in team activities guided by Jr.FLL Core Values

At the Expo, teams displayed their model and research, as well as gave several presentations to volunteers judges.  There were also a number of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) exhibitions, demonstrations and hands-on activities provided by GSSI.

The teams below competed and were recognized with a unique award: 
Bionic Bots – Journey
Brain Freeze – Outstanding Teamwork
Brain Train – Amazing Movement
8548 Cowgirls – Complexity and Decoration*
Clever Little Foxes – Picasso
Junior LEGO Masters – Construction Innovation
Kennard CJA – Show and Tell
Knights of the Round LEGO – Master Programmer*
LEGO Brownie Bots – Simply Awesome Machine*
LEGO League Thin Mints – Synergy*
Pink Peacocks – Spirit*
Smart Imaginative Engineering Kittens – Solid As a Rock 
Royal LEGOS #1 – Gracious Professionalism
Royal LEGOS #2 – Efficient Builder
Laughing LEGO Cyber Bots – Little Einstein
*GSSI Team








                                                                                                   



                           
                           



Monday, March 23, 2015

GSSI Council Shops Open Late on Tuesdays in April


 
GSSI's Council Shop will be open until 7 p.m. on the following Tuesdays: April 7, April 14, April 21 and April 28.  Stop by to browse new merchandise, get end of year gifts and more!

GSSI Programs With Upcoming Deadlines: Late March





Daisies Discover Camp (Daisies)
Date: April 21, 2015 (deadline 4/2) 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Cost: $5/girl; $1/adult
Place: Fox Ridge State Park, Charleston, IL

Explore camp, nature, sights and sounds, go for a hike and EAT S’MORES! Discover what camp is all about!


Women of the Woods (Daisies-Brownies)
Date: April 23, 2015 (deadline 4/9) 5-8 p.m.
Cost: $5/girl; $1/adult
Place: Camp Cedar Point, Makanda, IL

Do you love the outdoors, but only wish there were more patches you could earn that show off your outdoor skills? Well then, be one of the first to earn GSSI’s new Outdoor Progression Patches! You will have the chance to learn a new knot, make a sit upon, learn the rules of hiking (then apply them) and even walk away with a new S.W.A.P.! Did I mention that we will have the chance to eat a snack?


Camp Clean Up Day (Daisies-Ambassadors)
Date: April 26, 2015 (deadline 4/20) 12 – 6 p.m.
Cost: NO COST
Place: Camp Butterfly, Farmington, MO OR Camp Torqua, Edwardsville, IL
OR Camp Wassatoga, Effingham, IL

Roll up your sleeves and help us get camp into tip top shape for the summer camping season! Tasks may include cleaning out units, power-washing units, staining, trail clearing, and more.


Junior Green Thumbs (Juniors)
Date: April 26, 2015 (deadline 4/8) 1–2:30 p.m. OR 3-4:30 p.m.
Cost: $10/girl; $3/adult
Place: The Children’s Museum, Edwardsville, IL
How does your garden grow? Come learn all about plants and gardening while earning your Gardener Badge.


Shake, Rattle, and Roll (Juniors)
Date: April 29, 2015 (deadline 4/6) 4-6:30 p.m.
Cost: $9/girl; $6/adult
Place: Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Marion, IL

Take a journey through the ages of music and explore music in new environments. Build your own nature instrument and make music together! Girls will earn their Musician Badge (included in fee).


Clover’s Petal (Daisies)
Date: May 2, 2015 (deadline 4/15) 9-11 a.m. or 1-3 p.m.
Cost: $8/girl; $6/adult
Place: Butterfly House-Missouri Botanical Gardens, Chesterfield, MO

Girls will learn about honeybees and how we should use resources wisely on their way to completing requirements for Clover’s Petal.


Girl Scout Hike (Daisies-Brownies)
Date: May 2, 2015 (deadline 4/4) 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Cost: $5/girl; $1/adult
Place: Douglas-Hart Nature Center, Mattoon, IL

Bring a lunch, go on a hike, play in nature…and EXPLORE Douglas-Hart Nature Center today and earn your Brownie Hiker Badge and Daisies will earn a fun patch!


Home Sweet Habitat (Juniors)
Date: May 2, 2015 (deadline 4/6) 2-4:30 p.m.
Cost: $16/girl; $6/adult
Place: Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Makanda, IL

Come explore the different habitats of animals in Southern Illinois and earn your Animal Habitats Badge!


Pinewood Derby (Daisies-Ambassadors)
Date: May 2, 2015 (deadline 4/13) 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (qualifiers) and 12-4 pm (finals)
Cost: $8/girl
Place: Rend Lake College, Ina, IL

Were you not able to attend a Pinewood Derby qualifier? Race to the finish line at the Pinewood Derby Qualifiers! Girls will race within their program levels. The top 3 finishers in each program level (during qualifiers) will race in the Pinewood Derby Finals in the afternoon. Did you place in the top 3 at your Service Unit Pinewood Derby? If so, you are invited to go straight to the Finals! Race your car against girls from across the council with the hopes of being named GSSI Pinewood Derby Champion. Activities include races, photo ops, crafts and much more. Rules and additional information will be provided upon registration. Girls must purchase and build their own cars prior to the race.


The Lake Zipline (Juniors)
Date: May 3, 2015 (deadline 4/6) 4-5:45 p.m.
Cost: $38/girl/participating adult
Place: American Obstacle, Kinmundy, IL

Be the first to go on American Obstacle’s new ziplining course! This tour includes canoeing across to zip platform, access via stairs, 3 different ziplines and canoe back. Some of the ziplines go over water. Girls must weigh at least 75 pounds.


The Ultimate Zipline (Cadettes-Ambassadors)
Date: May 3, 2015 (deadline 4/6) 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $64/girl/participating adult
Place: American Obstacle, Kinmundy, IL

Spend the morning climbing a 40ft. wall or staircase to fly through the trees on 3 different ziplines and traipse across 2 sky bridges. Take a picnic under the trees and then paddle across the lake to start zipping again! Girls must weigh at least 75 pounds.


Zipline on the Creek Bottom Run (Juniors)
Date: May 3, 2015 (deadline 4/6) 2-3:45 p.m.
Cost: $38/girl/participating adult
Place: American Obstacle, Kinmundy, IL

Head on out to American Obstacle and experience the most awesome canopy tour! The tour can be reached by a 40 foot climbing wall! You will soar over the tops of trees on 3 different ziplines and traipse across 2 sky bridges! It will be 1,000 feet of flying fun! Girls must weigh at least 75 pounds.


Become a Junior Ranger (Brownies-Juniors)
Date: May 5, 2015 (deadline 4/13) 4-5:30 p.m.
Cost: $6/girl; $1/adult
Place: Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds, Jonesboro, IL

Girls will get the chance to discover what it means to be a Junior Forest Ranger!


Home Sweet Habitat (Juniors)
Date: May 6, 2015 (deadline 4/13) 4-6:30 p.m.
Cost: $16/girl; $6/adult
Place: Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Makanda, IL

Come explore the different habitats of animals in Southern Illinois and earn your Animal Habitats Badge!


Knot Your Average Sit-Upon (Brownies-Juniors)
Date: May 7, 2015 (deadline 4/7) 4-6 p.m.
Cost: $8/girl; $1/adult
Place: Camp Whispering Oaks, Salem, IL

Learn all about basic knot tying at this fun event at Camp Whispering Oaks! We’ll make sit-upons that you can take home!


Flower Power (Juniors)
Date: May 9, 2015 (deadline 4/22) 10-11:30 a.m.
Cost: $10/girl
Place: The Gardens at SIUE, Edwardsville, IL

Girls will visit The Gardens at SIUE, a signature garden for the Missouri Botanical Gardens, where they will work on activities to complete their Flowers Badge.


Become a Junior Ranger (Brownies-Juniors)
Date: May 12, 2015 (deadline 4/13) 4-5:30 p.m.
Cost: $6/girl; $1/adult
Place: Vienna City Park, Vienna, IL

Girls will get the chance to discover what it means to be a Junior Forest Ranger!


S’more Archery (Cadettes-Ambassadors)
Date: May 14, 2015 (deadline 4/20) 5-7 p.m.
Cost: $6/girl; $1/adult
Place: Camp Wassatoga, Effingham, IL
Head on out to beautiful Camp Wassatoga to test your aim and then have a delicious, melty s’more!


Brownie Road Trip (Brownies)
Date: May 16, 2015 (deadline 4/15) 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
(ending times vary depending on the city of departure)
Cost: $25/girl/adult
Place: Giant City State Park, Makanda, IL

For our third Brownie Road Trip, we are heading south to the John Logan Museum, Giant City State Park and Alto Pass on our path to the Southern Illinois Explorer Badge. Girls must ride the bus as this event is part of the Travel pathway. Buses leave from Effingham, Fairview Heights, Mt. Vernon, and Marion.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kayli Kohn from Fairfield Earns Girl Scouts' Medal of Honor




Kayli Kohn of Fairfield was 10 years old when she rescued her two year old brother Hudson in 2013. Kayli was putting Hudson into the van as the family was leaving a local business. Before her father and stepmother got into the car, Hudson accidentally hit the gear shift and the van began to roll backwards into the street, although the keys were not in the van’s ignition. Kayli began to yell to get the attention of the oncoming traffic. Her attempts were successful as the cars came to a stop before colliding with the family vehicle. After crossing two lanes of traffic, the van struck a building and came to a stop. Hudson was unharmed when he was taken out of the vehicle, and it was later determined that the van’s gear shift was defective. 

“My brother was so scared, and he was crying in my arms. Nobody got hurt; we are so lucky. I love my brother so much,” said Kayli. Kayli is the daughter of Jessica and Jeremy Kohn.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Girl Scout Gold Awardee Lainey Brown Represents GSSI at United Methodists Bishops Gathering


On March 15, Girl Scout Ambassador Lainey Brown from O'Fallon represented GSSI United Methodist Bishops Gathering for Scouting Ministries at Christ Church in Fairview Heights. The annual event addresses how to strengthen the relationship with youth groups, as well as how young people can use the skills they learn through Scouting to explore and express their faith.
Lainey discussed earning her Girl Scout Gold Award, which she achieved by helping develop resources and programming for Alzheimer's patients at area nursing homes.
GSSI also provided information about Girl Scout Sunday, religious recognitions and the My Promise, My Faith pins. Learn more about Girl Scouts' faith-based awards: http://www.girlscouts.org/program/basics/faith/

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jordan Larusso from Edwardsville Earns the Girl Scout Gold Award




Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Jordan Larusso from Edwardsville has received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. 

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Jordan held a week-long Vacation Bible School for middle school students with First Baptist Church of Edwardsville. To make the week a success, Jordan coordinated faith-based learning sessions and discussions, planned fun activities and arranged community service projects with the Edwardsville Humane Society and Watershed Nature Center. She publicized the event by putting up flyers, promoting through Facebook and Joy FM radio station. Her efforts not only drew new middle school students to her church, but also increased membership its youth group.

“Through my Girl Scout Gold Award project, my leadership skills will continue to improve because I have grown a lot from taking on this project,” said Jordan.

Jordan is the daughter of Neal and Cheryl Lorusso of Edwardsville. She is currently a senior at Triad High School and has been a Girl Scout for 7 years. After graduation, she plans to attend Southwestern Illinois College for culinary and dietician studies.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable. The project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work. Only about 6 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Elizabeth Arend from Highland Earns the Girl Scout Gold Award





Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Arend from Highland has received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. 

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called CAMP – Collect, Acquisition, Make and Provide, Elizabeth improved Camp Torqua cabins that girls use for outdoor experiences. She painted and re-stained cabins, made 70 curtains and curtain rods for cabin windows and had old electrical light sockets replaced with flat electrical covers. In addition, she planned and supervised the framing, stoning and pouring of a concrete slab under the Pumpkin Patch pavilion.

 “During my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I learned how to be patient with others, how to better manage time, people and resources to successfully complete my project,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth is the daughter of Ronald and Kathy Arend from Highland. She is currently a junior at Highland High School. She has been a Girl Scout of 12 years.

 The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable. The project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work. Only about 6 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.