Friday, June 26, 2015

Shelly Lemons of Lebanon is GSSI's June Pearl of the Month

GSSI is pleased to announce Shelly Lemons of Lebanon is the June 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.

Shelly became a co-leader this year after previously serving as an active parent volunteer. In her first year she has stepped up to take trainings, became the Troop Cookie Manager, attends monthly meetings, and helped with the Thinking Day event. She makes sure activities are girl-led which keeps the girls excited and interested in the troop and helps to draw in new girls. She gets her entire family involved in events and is always willing to help plan, set-up, run, and clean-up! Shelly is a positive person and a great influence on the young ladies in her troop and the whole Service Unit.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sarah's Girl Scout Gold Award Blog: Week Four

Hello all! Sorry about this late update.  I was at a family reunion in South Dakota last week.  It was nice to have a short break and spend some time with the family, but I’m back and ready to get to work. 
Unfortunately, I didn’t meet my goal of documenting all of the books by last Tuesday, but that’s okay.  More donations came rolling in, and I’m going to pick them up from Mrs. Karlene’s house tomorrow.  We definitely won’t run out of books, that’s for sure.  I’m so thankful for all the support I received thus far. 
I talked to my best friend to see if his dad would be available to help us build the bookshelves, and he said we might have to wait a week.  His dad was recently diagnosed with leukemia and just received his first round of chemo.  When I found out, I told him he shouldn’t worry about the bookshelves, but he insisted on still helping me with the project.  He still wants to donate the wood and give oral instructions, but building the shelves will be up to my friend and me.  I am completely okay with that. 
In the meantime, I need to finish counting and inventorying my books.  After they are all tallied up, I need to go online and purchase library check-out cards and pockets.  I looked up the prices this week to find a bargain.  I try my best to be a savvy shopper and save money.  With college just around the corner, saving money is a must.  However, I can spare some expense to make a comfortable, stylish library.  Like any typical teenage girls, I love to go shopping.  I might need to put in a few extra hours working at Dairy Queen, but it will be worth it!  I also have a nanny job two days a week that will help cover some costs as well. 
When pursuing the Girl Scou Gold Award, it’s very important to create a budget and try to stick to it.  Part-time jobs or self-organized fundraisers will make the project easier on your wallet.  Of course, donations always help!  This coming week, I hope to wrap up all book documentations and start making toys and eventually the bookshelves.  It’s time to get cracking!     

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Girl Scout Gold Award Intent Meeting Added on Aug. 5

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' Girl Scout Gold Award committee has added an Intent meeting for girls to present their project ideas.   Phone interviews will take place on August 5, with paperwork due July 22.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest individual honor a Girl Scout can earn.  The prestigious award will turn 100 in 2016.  For more information about earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, please contact Program Manager Julie Fox at 800.345.6858, ext. 1119 or e-mail

Monday, June 22, 2015

GSSI Programs With Upcoming Deadlines: July 2015

Extreme Adventures (Seniors-Cadettes)
Date: July 16-18, 2015 (deadline 6/27) 10 a.m. Thursday - 4 p.m. Saturday
Cost:  $90/girl/adult
Place: Camp Cedar Point, Makanda, IL

Feel like the summer is just flying by and you still haven’t found that extreme outlet you’re looking for? Well then come to Camp Cedar Point and take part in our 3 day adventure crawl visiting the local attractions near Camp Cedar Point. We will go canoeing on the lake, set forth on a 3-hour zipline canopy tour, dabble in advanced outdoor cooking and go rock climbing on natural sandstone rocks! Adults will need to transport girls.

Date: July 18, 2015 (deadline 7/8) 1-4 p.m.
Cost:  $6/swimming person
Place: Camp Cedar Point, Makanda, IL

Wondering how to beat the heat on these summer days? Then come down to Camp Cedar Point Beach!  When you are done swimming replenish your energy with a delicious s’more.

Date: July 24-25, 2015 (deadline 7/1) 4 p.m. Friday – 9 a.m. Saturday
Cost:  $32/girl/adult
Place: National Great Rivers Museum, Alton, IL

Join the staff and volunteers at the National Great Rivers Museum as you explore the history and habitat of the Mississippi River.  After the lights go down, the museum comes to life - join the fun as girls go on a scavenger hunt to put the museum back to rights before bedtime!

Date: July 25, 2015 (deadline 6/29) 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Cost:  $10/girl; $1 adult
Place: Camp Butterfly, Farmington, MO

Rappelling and swimming?! You bet!  Come on out to Camp Butterfly for a leisurely day of just splashin’ around and scaling some rocks!  Girls will need to bring a sack lunch.

Date: July 28, 2015 (deadline 7/1) 8 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Cost:  $6/girl; $1 adult
Place: Camp Cedar Point, Makanda, IL

Have you ever paddled a canoe? Okay, but have you ever paddled during a meteor shower?  Join us at Camp Cedar Point where we will camp out with the stars and paddle under them as we watch the Delta meteor shower. We will also learn about constellations and go on a night hike.  If your troop wants, they can even spend the night at camp!

Date: July 28, 2015 (deadline 7/8) 1-4 p.m.
Cost:  $6/swimming person
Place: Camp Cedar Point, Makanda, IL

Wondering how to beat the heat on these summer days? Then come down to Camp Cedar Point Beach!  When you are done swimming replenish your energy with a delicious s’more.

Date: July 29, 2015 (deadline 7/6) 4:30-6 p.m.
Cost:  $6/girl; $1/adult
Place: Camp Cedar Point, Makanda, IL

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a ranger? Well here is your chance!  Join the Shawnee National Forest as we discover how to use a compass, observe nature and discover the role of fire in the forest…all skills a ranger needs to have to do their job well. Program includes an activity booklet, Jr Ranger pin, patch and membership card.

Date: August 2-5, 2015 (deadline 6/15) 9 a.m. Sunday – 3 p.m. Wednesday
Cost:  $275/girl; $220/adult ($50 deposit due with registration)
Place: Little Grassy Campground and Marina, Makanda, IL

Paddle canoes down the Eleven Point River in the Missouri Ozarks and camp on gravel bar camp sites along the river each night. This setting provides the sense of wilderness which reminds us that all members are part of the team, and we’re dependent on each other to ensure a fun, safe and rewarding experience. We will swim, learn canoeing and camping skills, explore springs, sleep in tents or under the blanket of stars, learn about the geology of the area, sing and reflect around campfires and be part of life on the river. Naturalist guides will provide 24-hour supervision and fun; adults are not required to attend the program. Deposit of $50 is due with online registration or with mailed in registration. $225 (girl) or $170 (adult) due July 1, 2015 to either service center or online.

Please note that some programs may be updated after the date of this post.  Please check our online program calendar for the most up-to-date information.

Girl Scout Guys Honored for Father's Day

For Father's Day, GSSI was excited to celebrate some of our Girl Scout Guys.  We appreciate all the Dads, Grandpas and other great guys who help build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.  Thank you to everyone who submitted a photo or story about one of the special men in the Girl Scout movement.

A great moment captured during Wood River Troop #130's "He & Me" Dance earlier this year.

Mike & Emily P drumming up some cookie business together.
"Mike is a super Girl Scout Dad," says wife and Service Unit Cookie Manager Robin. "He enjoys spending time with Emily at Girl Scout events and is happy to help when needed."

Warren C is "Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout" with this daughter, Emily.

"My favorite part of Girl Scouts is being able to be with the girls and see how excited they are when they accomplish something that they never thought they could do or would have the opportunity to do" - Girl Scout Volunteer David W., Jonesboro

From trail guide to robotics coach to awesome Girl Scout Dad, Jason D from Staunton (shown here with daughter Rowan) is a guy who gets his green on!
"It doesn't matter if the job is scout photographer, robotics coach, pizza maker, zombie or air guitarist,  Scott Smallie is always up for a Girl Scout adventure." - Nancy Smallie

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sarah's Girl Scout Gold Award Blog: A Productive Week

Greetings!  How is everybody?  This week has been very productive, if I do say so myself.  Lots of progress has been made on my project so far.  Someof the work took whole days to complete, but it was definitely worth it.
My first goal of this week was to dig through the rest of my donations in order to decipher which books could and could not be used.  On Tuesday, I recruited my best friend to come over and help me sort the books.  He was more than happy to help.  We tackled each box together, looking for damage or graffiti.  It was obvious that some of the books had been in the hands of a mischievous toddler because there were Barbie stickers plastered on every page! 
 Not only did we have to worry about the stickers inside the book, but we also needed to tear off the price stickers that were stuck to the back.  Many of those pesky stickers refused to come off!  Even if they did, they left a sticky residue.  Several de-stickered books became stuck together!  Besides ripping stickers, we had to wipe away the crusty scum that covered the fronts and backs of most of the books.  After several dirty Wet Wipes, our books were smooth and sparkling.  It took nearly five hours to clean and remove stickers from every book.  I think it’s safe to say that I never want to peel another sticker off of anything ever again.  We were tired, but we finally finished the job!  My friend and I celebrated our victory with a grilled cheese break.  After lunch, we packed the books back up in their boxes and set them aside for further use.
Later in the week, on Friday, I decided to take another crack at those books.  I grabbed a laptop and parked myself in a comfy chair.  I pulled up an Excel spreadsheet and began documenting each book.  Book by book, box by box, I recorded the title, author, and ISBN number of each usable book.  It took me two days to catalog 193 books.  With the push of a button, the list was alphabetized from A to Z by author names.  The good news is, over half of my books are organized and documented on the computer.  There are still one or two boxes left to inventory, but I plan to finish them all by Tuesday of next week.  After that, I plan to use my spreadsheet as a system of how to organize the books on the shelves and as a check-out roster for the students. 
Remember to use your project resources whenever to can in order to be efficient.  Some things you create such as lists can come in handy later on.  Also, not every task you complete will be easy.  It will take a lot of determination and motivation.  I learned that some aspects of this project will definitely test my patience, but if I focus on the outcome, the effort will pay off.      

Volunteers Needed for GSSI STEM Day Camps!

Do you love science, technology, engineering, art & math?  Come out and volunteer at a GSSI STEM Day Camp in July!
STEM Explosions 3: Made By Me (Juniors-Ambassadors)
July 6-10  9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Camp Torqua - Edwardsville
Girls will participate in several exciting science, technology, engineering, art and math activities that they helped plan.  There will also be an overnight camping experience during the week to enjoy after dark activities.
Full time volunteers who work all five days will receive a camp shirt and be reimbursed $35 for one camper at the close of camp.  If interested in volunteering, a volunteer application and health history form should be completed and sent to Council.  These forms can be found on the GSSI website.  Please write on the volunteer application "STEM Explosion".  Ed
A Mini STEM Explosion 2 (Daisies & Brownies)
Daisies and Brownies will enjoy two full days of hands on science, technology, engineering, art and math activities at Camp Torqua. They will play some games, make some explosions and create a science mess. Experiments will range from chemistry to physics and will be appropriate to try at camp and demonstrate to parents at home.
Full time volunteers who work all five days will receive a camp shirt and be reimbursed $15 for one camper at the close of camp.  If interested in volunteering, a volunteer application and health history form should be completed and sent to GSSI.  These forms can be found on the GSSI website.  Please write on the volunteer application "Mini STEM".  Edwardsville  Edwardsville

Monday, June 15, 2015

Father's Day is Sunday! Do You Know a Special Girl Scout Guy? Share His Story!

GSSI's Chief Communications Officer Jay Strobel has been out taking photos at Day Camp and wanted to share a note from the field:

"It’s great to see so many dads and grandfathers helping out at Girl Scout camp and other girl programs.  Thanks for all you do for our girls!!  Happy Father’s Day."
Jay has noticed a lot of great Girl Scout guys helping out - we'd love to hear more about them!  Let us know by e-mailing photos and quotes or stories to!

Also available at GSSI Council Shops in Glen Carbon and Mt. Vernon!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sarah's Girl Scout Gold Award Blog: Getting Support

Hi guys, it’s Sarah again!  This week has been very productive, and I’m so appreciative of all the support from the community.  I have received over 113 old and new books and two boxes full of toys and games as donations.  All week, I was busy going through donations and finding outside resources to help make my project a success.
Early this week, I sifted through my first round of donations.  I was looking for any damaged or vandalized books.  These books were older and definitely used.  It’s really important to examine any donations you might receive for your project to make sure they are even usable. 
On Wednesday, my troop leader, Karlene, dropped off another round of donations.  I was very excited because these were shiny and brand new.  Now that I have the books, I need to consider options for bookshelves.  I’ve decided that I want to build my own bookshelves in order to get some handywoman experience.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone in my immediate family that could teach me.  Then, I remembered that my best friend’s dad was in the process of building a deck for their house.  I had found my handyman!

 I asked my friend if his dad would be willing to show me how to build a bookshelf or if he was willing to give me any building tips.  He told me his dad would be more than happy to help.  The next time I was at his house, all three of us sat down to discuss dimensions for the shelves and floor plans for the library.  His dad even said he would donate the wood I would need to build the shelves!  He also agreed to show me how to build them.  Once the blueprints are all drawn up, we’ll be able to start construction!  After those are done, I can focus on other fun furniture like beanbag chairs and a fish tank. There is still a lot to do, but the project definitely has a promising start.          

Monday, June 8, 2015

Girl Scout Gold Awardees Emily Fuhler, Alexandra Lloyd and Tera Sparks Nominated As National Young Women of Distinction


GSSI has nominated three Girl Scouts from Southern Illinois as National Young Women of Distinction: Emily Fuhler from Trenton, Alexandra Lloyd from O’Fallon and Tera Sparks from O’Fallon. Girl Scouts’ National Young Women of Distinction award recognizes exceptional Girl Scout Gold Award recipients who have demonstrated remarkable leadership skills and a dedicated effort to activate change and make the world a better place. Up to three nominees for the honor are accepted from councils across the nation, with 10 finalists selected by Girl Scouts of the USA. Girls selected as National Young Women of Distinction receive college scholarships and opportunities to be involved in various national Girl Scouts and leadership events.

Emily Fuhler earned her Girl Scout Gold Award for working with The Covering House, a St. Louis based nonprofit that serves young female victims of sexual trafficking. Alexandra Lloyd earned her Girl Scout Gold Award working with MindsEye to produce radio shows for blind teens. Tera Sparks earned her Girl Scout Gold Award by creating an electronic database and map of O’Fallon Cemetary.  The girls were selected by a panel for their outstanding project, leadership skills, committment to community service and dedication to the ideals of Girl Scouting.

Watch for more news about GSSI’s National Young Women of Distinction nominees!

Friday, June 5, 2015

AVOW Weekend Coming July 10-12 at Camp Butterfly! Outdoor Fun Just For Adults!

AVOW weekends are a great place for adult volunteers and alumni to relax, connect, have fun and enjoy the outdoors with other adults.  Activities will include (weather permitting): hiking, archery, swimming, outdoor cooking, singing songs, sharing stories and fun and fellowship.  It will be a great time ... so sign up now!
The next AVOW weekend is:
July 10-12 at Camp Butterfly
For more information or to register, please contact:
Tina Boyce

Monday, June 1, 2015

GSSI Council Shop Update: June 2015

New Items!
Check out our new merchandise! GSSI has a multitude of new merchandise for girls and adult volunteers. Stop by a retail shop soon or browse our virtual catalog.

 Don’t forget Father’s Day is June 21!
Our "Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout" t-shirts are the perfect gift for Girl Scout Dads!

GSSI Council Shop Hours
GSSI Council Shops are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the summer.  Check back later for extended and Saturday hours for the fall.

Both Shops will be Closed August 5th & 6th for Inventory

Day Camp Trading Posts
Stop by the trading post on your assigned day at day camp to see our fun summer items.

Mobile Shops

Several areas are running Mobile Shops at their events. You can too! If interested in a hosting a Mobile Shop at your local service unit or regional event, please contact Beth Ross, Business Services Manager at 618.692.0692, ext. 1129 or e-mail:

GSSI Council Shop Contact Information:
Corporate Service Center: Stacey Port: 618.692.0692, ext. 1101 or e-mail:
Regional Service Center: Brittany Galloway: 618.242.5079, ext. 2103 or e-mail:

Go to GSSI’s Online Shop

Sarah's Girl Scout Gold Award Blog: Step 1 - Picking a Project

Hi! My name is Sarah, and I wanted to document the process of completing my Girl Scout Gold Award project. 

The goal of this blog is to help and inform any girls who are possibly interested in pursuing her Girl Scout Gold Award.  Trust me, I know that creating, organizing, and leading a large scale community service project sounds intimidating, but it is possible to accomplish.  The key is finding a project that motivates you and you are passionate about. 

My goal for my project is to create a functional library and stress-free therapy zone for students with special needs at a local middle school.  The school currently has an operating library, but all of the books are too advanced for these students to read and comprehend.  The kids I’ll be working with are only able to read from a preschool to a third grade level.  I want them to be able to relate and feel included with their peers.  I also plan to add a shelf to one of the school’s rolling carts and make it into a “rolling library”.  This will allow more special needs classrooms access to the books.  
Since these children have disabilities such as behavior disorders and autism, the classroom can be a very stressful environment for them.  Not only do I want to create a space where they can read, but I also want to make a safe area where they can relax and enjoy themselves.  To do this, I am going to make sensory and therapy toys for them to play with.  I will also provide games, puzzles, lounging furniture, and even a fish tank for their enjoyment.  Even though I have only an 8x8 ft area to build my library, this is going to be a big project.

The first and most difficult step to starting my Girl Scout Gold Award project was coming up with an idea.  For months, my troop leader would ask me if I had an idea so we could get started a project.  Every time, I drew a blank.  I could NOT come up with a single idea!!!  My older sister had completed her project a year before and she had set the bar pretty high.  Her project’s goal was to host fun events where patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital could paint pictures, decorate cupcakes, and meet their heroes like policemen and firefighters.  She even managed to bring Olympic athletes in to meet with the kids! 
Long story short, I was stumped.  When my leader informed me that a friend of hers was looking for help to create a library for her students, I jumped on the opportunity.  For me, it was like a match made in heaven.  I love reading more than almost anything.  To give other kids the opportunity to share in the joy of reading sounded like a worthy cause to me.  Finding the perfect project idea can be a trial all on its own, but if you look into your hobbies, you might be surprised to find a need in the community.  Also, be sure to ask several different sources about possible projects like school advisors, charitable organizations (remember to stick to Gold Award rules), and even your troop leader.  Research lots of ideas before you ask to get approved.

Once I had my idea on lock-down, I met with my project advisor, Cindy, the teacher who asked for my help.  She told me the conditions of her students and she pitched to me her own ideas for the space.  I wrote her ideas and my own down in a handy dandy little notebook for future reference.  My leader, Karlene, and I measured the area Cindy gave me to work with and also jotted down possible dimensions for book shelves and other furniture.  We also discussed therapeutic amenities for the space.  Cindy’s only restriction was that anything we brought in had to be large enough to not be able to fit into a sneaky student’s pocket.  That seemed easy enough J. 
After our meeting with Cindy, we headed back to Mrs. Karlene’s house to fill out the paperwork for the Girl Scout Council of Southern Illinois.  4 hours and a whole pizza later, the paperwork was done and ready to be reviewed.  Since I had cut it pretty close to the submission deadline, Mrs. Karlene had to personally drop the paperwork off to Council the next morning while I was at school.  All that time writing up my project ideas and goals had paid off! I was approved!  With school drawing to a close and summer just around the corner, I’m ready to kick off my project.