Friday, June 24, 2016

Calling All Cowgirls! You'll Love These Upcoming Horseback Riding Programs!

Yeehaw!  We've got several fun horseback riding programs on the horizon!  Come on out and saddle up!  Follow the link to see all the details for each program or to sign up!

Junior Horseback Riding
Date: August 20, 2016
Level: Juniors
Location: DuBois Center in DuBois, IL

Saddle Busters
Date: September 5, 2016 (Labor Day)
Level: Juniors
Location: Giant City Stables in Makanda, IL

Junior Horseback Riding
Date: September 10, 2016
Level: Juniors
Location: DuBois Center in DuBois, IL

Riding The Trails
September 10, 2016
Level: Brownies
Location: Camp Ondessonk in Ozark, IL

Junior Horsemanship
September 10, 2016
Level: Juniors-Cadettes
Location: Camp Ondessonk in Ozark, IL

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Camp Cedar Point Retirement Ceremony Update

The Planning Committee for the Camp Cedar Point Retirement Ceremony held its first meeting on June 20. The group decided to move the date of the ceremony up one day to Sept. 24, 2016.  The ceremony will follow the Fall Fest program being held at camp that day.  

The CCP Retirement Ceremony Planning Committee is still open for new members.  The next meeting is scheduled for July 11, 2016 and can take place by phone conference. Please contact Angie Suhre at if you would like to join the committee.

Fall Fest Program Manager Anne Townsend is also looking for volunteers for Fall Fest 2016.  Please let her know if you're interested by e-mailing 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Don't Miss the Upcoming Snacks and Snakes Programs!

July 26, 2016
Camp Chan Ya Ta - Worden
2-5:30 p.m.

Educational presentations involving using live animals can create a huge impact on someone's life. Being able to interact with animals in a controlled environment with an educator can very quickly turn fear into fascination. All animals used for these presentations have been conditioned to a presentation environment and are very well socialized (some have up to 16 years of experience working with children!) Any animal that has not been conditioned will remain in a display tank only. These presentations always start with a long discussion about how individuals feel/think about snakes and reptiles. Followed by a very in depth safety talk, highlighting that no one will be touching the snakes during the presentation and focusing on group calmness, and quiet behavior.

Similar Program:

August 17, 2016
11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
Rend Lake Visitor's Center

Sounds like more fun than you can shake a snake hook at! Come out to the Rend Lake Visitor Center and learn about our cold-blooded friends! A Park Ranger will introduce you to a wide range of snakes and then we will take a lunch break. Girl Scouts will have a picnic in the park so bring a sack lunch with whatever snacks you want! Once your're done eating, come back inside and take a walk on the crafty side! Girls will earn their Snake Handler patch.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Discusses Girls & STEM With Area Universities

On June 15, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois hosted an engaging "STEM Show & Tell" session with representatives from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and McKendree University, as well as several GSSI Board members.

The panel discussed the value of encouraging girls to explore their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and ways to share support as they pursue educational and professional paths in these fields.

We are proud to offer numerous STEM programs throughout southern Illinois and are always looking to collaborate with community partners to expand these opportunities.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Girl Scout Gold Award Centennial: Alumna Jennifer Thole from Trenton

Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world through their Girl Scout Gold Award projects. The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. As the Girl Scout Gold Award celebrates 100 years of girls changing the world, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) will highlight some of our shining stars who exemplify the greatness of this award. 

Jennifer Thole from Trenton, IL grew up knowing the importance of health care. Her mom is a nurse and Jennifer herself was working as a nurse assistant in high school. When contemplating her Girl Scout Gold Award project, it was a natural fit for her to choose a project related to health care. Jennifer brainstormed some ideas and decided to develop a health fair for kids that focused on making smart food choices, staying active and proactively combating diabetes. 

Jennifer’s Girl Scout Gold Award project was titled "Sugar and Spice is Not Always so Nice." Jennifer got the ball rolling by setting up meetings with the Diabetes Educator and Dietitian at her local hospital. She took the knowledge she had gained and developed a health fair in which parents and their children could learn more about healthy and easy after school snacks, fun exercises and games, calculating body mass index and visual representations of sugar amounts in various candies and sodas. Jennifer’s project was a great success. 

After graduating from Mater Dei High School in 2009, Jennifer continued to pursue the health care field. She graduated from Quincy University Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing in 2013. Today, she is a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Anderson Hospital in Maryville, IL. 

One of the requirements of the Girl Scout Gold Award is that the project must fill a need in the girl’s community. “Giving back” has always been one thing Girl Scouts, especially Girl Scout Gold Award recipients, excel in. Jennifer didn’t stop “giving back” once she completed her Gold Award. In fact, her project not only paved the way for her career but also for how she is now able to be of service to others. This spring, Jennifer was part of a team that went on a surgical mission trip to Bohol, Philippines. This team spent 12 days in Bohol where they performed 115 surgeries ranging from goiter removals to hernia repairs to hysterectomies. “The people there have so little yet are so grateful for everything,” said Jennifer. “It was the most eye opening experience I have ever had,” Jennifer added. 

The Girl Scout Gold Award 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 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award. 

“You will not regret doing it, but you will regret NOT doing it,” are words of advice Jennifer offers to Girl Scouts who want earn the highest award in Girl Scouting. “It will be a lot of work but you never know the networks you may build and the things you will learn that will shape your future,” adds Jennifer. 

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. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

CCP Campers Week Sponsored by SU 85 is Now July 10-15

CCP Camper's Week hosted by Service Unit 85 will now be held July 10-15, with mini sessions for Brownies & Juniors on July 10-12 or July 13-15. There will be archery, hiking, star gazing, campfire cooking and lots of other fun activities.

Volunteers are also needed! Take $25 off your Girl Scout's registration fee for volunteering a full week!

Thanks to a generous donation, scholarships for campers are available.  For more information, please contact Lyndal Kosmatka at 618.302.7368 or

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Around the Council May 2016

Many troops participated in GSSI’s Pawsome Pets council-wide community service project - watch an upcoming issue of  Link to Leaders for photos and news! 

Troop #8661 from Goreville had two girls bridge to Cadettes and 10 girls bridge to Juniors.

Troops #248 and #168 from Belleville/Swansea sent Girl Scout Cookies to Army Unit 985th MCT in Kuwait, where adult volunteer Sgt. Ortiz is stationed.  

Du Quoin Troop #8123 wrapped up the last session of the aMuse journey. During the meeting, girls created artwork for Girls Love Mail, which sends letters and drawings to breast cancer centers for women to receive while getting treatment. 

Troop #2921 from Nashville earned their Flower Badge at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Troop #8809 had two girls bridge to Cadettes, one girl bridge to Brownies and 1 girl bridge to Juniors.

Daisy Troop #381 made special “I Love My Brownie Troop” t-shirts to wear for their bridging ceremony. 

Danielle Patton and Emily Hocking from Jefferson County Troop #8603 were among the Girl Scout Gold Award recipients who served as Grand Marshals for the Girl Scout Day at the Capitol parade in Springfield. 

Perry County held a fantastic Leader Appreciation banquet complete with decorations, seven course meal, great gifts and inspirational speeches.

Troop #8032 from Carterville enjoyed the Dinner By the Fire program at Touch of Nature in Makanda.

Wabash Troop #8505 bridged to Juniors.

Girl Scout Cadettes from Dupo attended the 71st Annual Lincoln Pilgrimage in Springfield, which included sightseeing in Springfield, camping at New Salem, touring a historic village there and walking in a parade from Oak Ridge Cemetery  to the Old State Capitol building. 

Troop #2355 from Mascoutah bridged to Juniors.

Brownie Troop #48 treated their mentors from Junior Troop #611 to a spa day. 

Anna-Jonesboro Troops #8597 and #8524 spent one of their Saturdays picking up two dumpsters worth of litter along the road in Anna.

Troop #54 from Granite City bridges to Brownies - complete with a “bridging” themed cake.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Council Shop Update: June 2016

New Items

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


GSSI Council Shop Hours
GSSI Council Shops are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Check Back for Saturday hours for the fall.

Shop Closed
The shops will be closed August 10-11, 2016 for inventory

Trading Posts
The shop will have lots of fun items at the Day Camp Trading Posts. If you are attending any of the Council Day Camps, watch for the flyer to find out which day the trading post will be there.

Mobile Shops
Several areas are running Mobile Shops at their 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 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: Linda Quinn: 618.242.5079, ext. 2115 or e-mail:

Go to GSSI’s Online Shop