Thursday, December 29, 2016

Lauren Lundy From O'Fallon Has Earned the Girl Scout Gold Award



Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Lauren Lundy from O’Fallon has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. 

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called Lullabies Live!, Lauren addressed the lives of the women living in a maternity shelter. She wanted to show them the importance of music in an infant’s life. She gathered together a community of musicians to produce 100 lullaby CDs. In addition, Lauren provided 30 baby books to give to the children at the shelter. 

Through her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Lauren learned how to use her talents to help others. “I learned that my talents can be used for a lot more than entertainment. The first question I get when I tell people I want to be an opera singer is, ‘What is your backup plan?’ This project reaffirmed that I can be a musician with the power to change other’s lives through music!” said Lauren.

Lauren is the daughter of James and Beth Lundy. She is currently senior at Notre Dame High School. Upon graduation, she plans to attend Drake University and pursue a degree in Vocal Performance. Lauren has been a Girl Scout for 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 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

100 S'Mores Campout - a Fun 2017 Girl Scout Cookie Program Reward


During the upcoming 2017 Girl Scout Cookie Program, every GSSI Girl Scout who sells 100 or more boxes of the new S'mores Girl Scout Cookie will be invited to attend an elite S'mores Campout at Camp Butterfly on May 6-7, 2017.


Girls will also receive this fun s'mores patch:


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hannah Redinger from Columbia Has Earned the Girl Scout Gold Award



Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Hannah Redinger from Columbia has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. 

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, named Country to Country, School to School: Students Helping Students, Hannah wanted to help high school girls in third world countries continue their education. She worked with the Illinois South Conference United Church of Christ (ISC UCC) Ecuador Partnership Committee who partners with the Chuquiraguan Women’s Kiwanis Club to bring awareness to this important issue. Hannah collected school supplies and toiletries as well as helped ISC UCC campaign for scholarship funds.

She collected approximately 2,000 items and her efforts helped ISC UCC raise $3,000 in scholarship funds. The funds that were raised were enough to send 15 girls through a year of high school in Quito, Ecuador. In July, Hannah was part of a mission trip to Ecuador in which she was able to meet the girls that were supported by her project.

Through her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Hannah learned how to gain the support of a community. “I learned that if you are passionate about a cause and are willing to share your passion with others, people will support you and your cause,” said Hannah.

Hannah is the daughter of Sharon and Jeff Redinger. In May, she graduated from Columbia High School. She is currently attending Kansas State University where she is majoring in Animal Science and Industry. Hannah has been involved in Girl Scouting for 13 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 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Three GSSI Robotics Teams Qualify for FIRST LEGO League State Tournament


Three Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) robotics teams have qualified for the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Illinois State Tournament being held Jan. 28 at University of Illinois in Champaign: GIR! from Staunton, Purple Robot Penguins from O’Fallon and SWAT from Troy. FLL is a robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds which is designed to get children excited about science and technology, as well as teach them valuable life skills. Along with programming robots, teams are also evaluated on an elaborate research project, as well as how well they demonstrate FLL Core Values, which include teamwork, collective learning, active participation and gracious professionalism. After practicing and preparing for months, teams meet at regional qualifying tournaments to be graded on the three elements, with top teams advancing to state competition.

GIR! and SWAT qualified for the state tournament during the regional tournament held Dec. 3 at Henning Elementary School in Troy. In addition, SWAT won Top Table Performance Award and GIR! won the Champion’s Award for their overall top performance. Purple Robot Penguins qualified for the state tournament during the regional tournament held Dec. 10 at Carriel Jr. High in O’Fallon. The team also won the Champions Award. 

“We’re very excited to have three Girl Scout robotics teams qualify for the state tournament,” said GSSI STEM Program Manager Mary Buchanan. “We’re proud of all of our GSSI teams and their volunteer coaches. Competing on a robotics team takes a lot of dedication and hard work, along with the technical and teamwork skills that girls develop throughout the season.” 

This year, 12 GSSI teams from Albers, Alton, Anna, Belleville, Chester, Mt. Olive, O’Fallon (4), Staunton and Troy participated in FLL robotics. GSSI’s metro-east robotics teams are sponsored by The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, which awarded GSSI a $25,000 grant to support GSSI’s STEM initiatives in Jersey, Macoupin, Madison and St. Clair Counties. 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.


Robotics are a vital part of GSSI’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming, which continues to be a progressive and forward-thinking initiative that has grown exponentially in recent years. 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 even more 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 approximately 13,000 girls and almost 4,500 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. 

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 www.monsantofund.org.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Great News! Volunteer Invite-a-Friend Promotion Extended to 1/31!



Great news!  Girl Scouts' Invite-a-Friend promotion has been extended until Jan. 31!  

You still have time to invite a friend to do something incredible - to start a new Girl Scout troop and change girls' lives!   Everybody wins!  You get a $50 gift card to spend in Girl Scouts' online shop and your friends' new troop gets and awesome resource kit.  Best of all, girls get a fantastic new role model! 
 
 
Has your friend joined Girl Scouts as a troop leader and started a new Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, or Junior troop? Great!  You're ready to redeem your award!

When you double the friends, you double your prize: $100 for you and a Volunteer Resource Pack (a $50 value) for each friend. 

Questions? We're here for you. Email us
Please review official Terms and Conditions 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Amelia Schmitz from Belleville Has Earned the Girl Scout Gold Award



Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Amelia Schmitz from Belleville has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. 

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called Signal Hill School: Strong Minds. Strong Bodies. Strong Character, Amelia wanted to give back to the school that had an incredible impact on her Girl Scout experience. She shared that she earned her Girl Scout Bronze Award and Girl Scout Silver Award through projects completed at Signal Hill School. “I was familiar with the school’s character education curriculum and felt there were ways to improve upon it through students’ participation in monthly character building activities,” Amelia said.

Through her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Amelia expanded the SHS character education curriculum. She did this through character trait assemblies, morning announcements, monthly character reflection cards, and character trait bulletin boards. “I believe all of these activities made a positive difference for the students and the SHS character education curriculum,” Amelia added.

This Girl Scout Gold Award helped Amelia improve many of her organizational and leadership skills. “I learned that a project can have many different detours along the way and that success is dependent upon how these detours are addressed. I also learned to not sweat the small stuff and to keep focused on the goal,” she said.

Amelia is the daughter of Mark and Kit Schmitz. She is currently a Senior at Belleville West High School. Amelia has been a Girl Scout for 13 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 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Girl Board Members Needed!




Calling GSSI Girl Scouts ages 14+! Add some awesome to your college applications and make your voice heard! Apply now to serve as an ex-officio board member! We currently have two open positions for girls to share their input on GSSI policies and network with the professional men and women with expertise in a variety of fields who serve on our Board of Directors. The deadline is Jan. 19 - don't miss this opportunity! Learn more or apply today: http://bit.ly/17Girl_Board


Applicant Requirements:
  • Must be a registered member of Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois
  • Must be 14 years of age or older by Jan. 19, 2017Must be willing to meet, in‐person or via conference call for at least 90% of meetings scheduled, attend regional delegate meetings, and attend GSSI's Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at the Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon, IL
  • Must attend interview that will be scheduled for mid February. Candidates can attend the interview by calling in at designated time. Each candidates must call in at her designated time to be considered for the position.


Adults! If you have an amazing Girl Scout in your life, let her know that you think she'd be a terrific fit for our Board of Directors.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sarah Durbin Joins Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois as Chief Executive Officer



Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Sarah Durbin has been hired as its Chief Executive Officer. Durbin from Edwardsville has extensive background in strategic planning, financial management, business and organizational development and fundraising. Prior to serving as GSSI CEO, Sarah was the Executive Director for Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois.

“I am honored to have been chosen as the new CEO for Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois,” said Sarah. “Coming from a family of Girl Scouts, I have always been drawn to the Girl Scouts’ unwavering commitment to empowering all girls. Girl Scouts has played an integral role in shaping the woman I am today and has given me the passion and values to use my skills and experience to lead GSSI in a way that provides all girls throughout our council opportunities to lead and achieve success whatever the topic or the way they choose to learn and explore. GSSI belongs to all of us regardless of where we live within the council or how we choose to participate and I am so excited to play a role in positively influencing our girls who will be tomorrow’s leaders,” Sarah added. 

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL. Sarah is a Girl Scout Lifetime Member and earned the highest Girl Scout award – First Class – now called the Girl Scout Gold Award. Her past leadership roles included being Transitional Vice President for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana; Chief Human Resources Officer for Girl Scouts - Prairie Winds in Lisle, IL and Chief Executive Officer for Girl Scouts of Whispering Oaks in Brookfield, IL.

Sarah replaces Villie M. Appoo who is retiring from Girl Scouts after serving as GSSI’s CEO for 7 years.

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is a high-capacity Girl Scout council serving approximately 12,500 girls and 4,700 adult volunteers in 40 ½ counties in southern Illinois. 

The mission of Girl Scouting states: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts is the world's pre-eminent organization dedicated solely to girls - all girls - where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adults, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives - like strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

Girl Scouting has inspired more than 50 million girls and women since its founding in 1912.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, December 8, 2016

Membership Blitz Ends Dec. 15!



From finding the courage to raise her hand to rappeling down a cliff, Girl Scouts provides a safe place for girls to take chances and try new things, which will help her succeed in school, her career, and life. In fact, in a recent survey, 78% of girls said they were more willing to face their fears and take on new experiences. Supportive adult mentors help provide Girl Scouts with the tools they need to do more! 

The new Girl Scout year started October 1 - if you still haven't signed up, there is still time to be included in our Membership Blitz drawing for a $20 gift card to GSSI's Council Shop.  (If you registered previously, there were other incentives for those time periods). 

All you have to do is register yourself or your daughter to be an official member of Girl Scouts by Dec. 15!  The final gift card recipient will be drawn on Dec. 20.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Escape to Iceland: A Destinations Essay By Katie Albert

Katie Albert

After three years of savings, payments, exploring and essays, I finished my time in the Girl Scouts Destinations program with by far my favorite trip of all: Escape to Iceland. Iceland, to me, was a trip of many firsts, and many lasts, that would all add up to one amazing experience!


(Editor's note:  Katie has traveled extensively through the Girl Scout Destinations travel program, include to Switzerland, the San Juan Islands, Australia, New Zealand & Fiji, Chile, and China.)

I boarded the plane to New York with another local Girl Scout. This was the first time I had gone on a Destination already knowing one of the other girls attending. Although we knew each other from council events, the two of us had never actually had a conversation, and I was looking forward to getting to know her. The flight was short, and soon we were trying to remember the names of all the other girls ready to explore the wonders of southern Iceland.

We immediately set out on an hour drive to a horseback riding excursion, with Icelandic ponies! Our ponies went trotting through the lava fields in the morning sun. I was surrounded by the beauty of the fields, and amazed by the gracefulness of a galloping herd. We crossed over creeks and streams, passed by tall mountains, and watched the birds dance above us. What an amazing way to kick off the trip: straight from the plane directly on a horse!

The ride was long and tiring, but we all survived long enough for some warm coconut curry soup and sandwiches! After a short nap on the bus, we arrived at our next adventure: white water rafting! This was my first time white water rafting, and I was excited to “dive in”! Our “groovy” instructors loaded us up on their flame-covered school bus and dropped us off at the bank of a glacier river. I learned that every river, stream, and lake within Iceland is completely safe to drink due to the amount of glacier-fed water. Of course, I immediately dunked my face in for a taste! I am not sure I will ever taste cleaner, fresher, colder water in my life. The first rapid we went through was fairly decent, and every one of us in the raft was hit by a splash of freezing cold water. Thank goodness for our wetsuits! We went down about eight to ten rapids, listening to local tales of the trolls and elves that caused mischief in the area. It was eerie and serene all at the same time. Towards the end of the float, there was a large area of still water where we played trust games along the edges of the raft. One girl and I attempted to hold each other up with our connected paddles as we leaned further and further towards the water. We both slipped and fell in to the ice-cold water! If I was tired, I was completely awake after that!

Katie exploring Iceland's countryside.
Our home for the next two nights was a large log cabin, fit with kitchen, living room, loft, and a hot tub! After such an exhilarating day with barely any rest time, it was the perfect way to end the first official day. It was a bit difficult getting to sleep, since we were in Iceland during the “midnight sun”.  Sunset is about midnight; sunrise is about 3 am. The sun never goes below the horizon, so it is never completely dark!

Day two was just as fun-filled. Our first activity: snorkeling in the continental divide. Iceland is a hotspot for geothermal and tectonic activity, and there is a deep crevasse in one of the lakes, known as the Silfra fissure, caused by the shift in tectonic plates. These plates are in fact the continental plates on which Europe and America sit. With a dry suit that made me feel like a wet sausage, and snorkeling gear that made me feel like a fish, I flopped into the clearest water in the world and looked out in front of me at the vast emptiness between continents. In some places, the crevasse was as deep as 200 meters, and the only reason you could not see the bottom was because the sunlight just wouldn’t reach. The water was so blue, and there were lime green creatures floating about. I felt as if I was in some sort of other world. At one point, I stretched my arms out and touched Europe and North America at the same time.

Next, we ventured out into a lava field only a short distance away, and crawled underneath the surface into a lava tube. Lava tubes are caves carved out by moving lava over a long period of time. What is left is a long cave underground that is filled with lava rock and patterns along the cave walls showing how the lava drained and dried. Our guide was very wise about the caves, and told us legends of the land around it. By this time, I realized that the Icelandic culture was filled with a type of ancient magic that could still be felt by the land, the people, and the legends.


Katie's photo of the Silfra fissure

The next day we set off for a small road trip around the southern half of Iceland, visiting many glorious waterfalls and geysers. The first stop was at a geyser park; a very active geothermic area. The air was filled with sulfur, and I was immediately reminded of New Zealand. It is absolutely crazy how nature has its own connections worldwide. The bubbling pools were captivating, and the trail of them lead to a large area with big colorful pools and boiling ponds. And then, suddenly, one of the biggest boiling ponds burped, and a twenty-foot-tall tower of water came shooting out of the ground. I was so close to it I actually had to run away so I wouldn’t be covered in hot water!

Our next stop was the second largest waterfall in Iceland, larger than Niagara Falls! The three story waterfall finished its journey in a deep and sharply carved ravine. It was deafening, glorious, and humbling. The next visit of the day was to a set of three waterfalls that fell just perfectly enough that you could walk behind them. I got pretty wet by the mist, but it was cool nonetheless.

The final destination was an hour long hike to an abandoned plane crash and a black sand beach. The plane had crash-landed late in the 1960s after a foggy flight. No one was injured in the crash; however, no one went to clean up after it either. So the plane sat at the edge of a beach, decomposing over the years and now posing for various pictures. The beach was the most astounding aspect of the hike. The sky was overcast, the sea was a deep grey, and the sand was as black as charcoal. I was so sure I was in a black and white movie, I had to look at myself to remember that there was color in the world.

That night we camped out next to a bird-filled cliff, and I drifted to sleep listening to them chirp to one another. I woke up in a puddle of cold water – it had rained the entire night! In fact, most of us woke up in puddles of water, and many of our sleeping bags were wet for the next few nights. Although we were all a bit cranky in the morning, we quickly cheered up when we arrived at our next adventure. Entering the shack, we were handed harnesses, helmets, ice picks, and crampons: it was time to climb a glacier. Our Swedish guide, Denny, lead the way up the incredibly steep ice mountain, explaining the science behind glaciers. Every now and then, we would take a break to catch our breath and I would look out over the valley. At the highest point we could go, I looked out a realized, “Here I am. Standing on top of a glacier I just climbed, looking out over this green lava valley in Iceland. I am on top of the world.” As we climbed, we could listen to the glacier above us, and underneath of us, shift, melt, and fall. I thought of the Chilean glacier I visited, and again realized how connected the world is. The trek down was even more terrifying than the hike up, and I was skeptical at how well my crampons would hold on to my hiking boots. But the equipment worked flawlessly, and I made it back down the glacier without even falling, which is a huge accomplishment for me!

On our three-hour drive to our next home, we had car trouble. Luckily, we were next to a beautiful waterfall so the girls could take pictures and chat while the adults figured out what to do. Fortunately, it was nothing serious, the van was fixed and we made it to the bus station where we were going to be picked up and taken to the volcano huts we would be staying at. The ride to the huts was slightly less than terrifying. Imagine a big charter bus, filled with people. Now imagine that bus on unnaturally tall wheels. Now imagine this bus-on-stilts driving through a valley with no roads and crossing over shallow rivers with up to class two rapids. Miraculously, we made it to the huts, and were greeted by a teenaged artic fox. One of the owners said that the fox had been with its mother constantly and this was the first time they’d seen her on her own. They thought she might have been on one of her first hunts alone.

The next day we hiked up the tallest mountain in the valley that had a 360 view of the area. The hike was long and hard, especially after the huge glacier hike the day before. But the hike was worth it. At the top, you could see evidence of a great river that once used to rule the valley, and you could see where the water had carved out the mountains. On a neighboring mountain there was another glacier, and I sat and listened to the echoes of it shifting and falling. The afternoon was filled with relaxation and bus rides to our next campout site. We stopped at a few roadside attractions, including a beautiful church on a hill and a field of purple flowers that stretched all the way to the horizon. For dinner, we ate a traditional Icelandic meal. I had breaded lamb with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The dish is very common for Sunday and Christmas meals, especially among older generations. I also tried pony sausage and poached shark, neither of which I particularly enjoyed.

Our final day was one of the most exhilarating. We woke up early in the morning and set out on our final adventure: descending into a dormant volcano. After about a forty-five-minute hike, to which my legs were yelling, “enough already!”, we ate a hearty bowl of lamb stew and then climbed aboard the rickety elevator. The descent was choppy, but amazing. From the opening of the volcano to the bottom is a bit over 200 meters, the entire way lined with different color variations of the rock, all formed from different minerals brought to the surface by heat within the volcano. The different layers and pockets show the movement of lava. I felt as if I was within some sort of hellish rainbow, with deep reds, oranges, and amber covering the volcano walls, dotted with maroons, purples, greens, and blues. Looking up, you could watch droplets of water fall for hundreds of feet before disappearing on the ground. And at the very top was the tiny dot of light that showed the surface. I could not believe where I was, deep underground in a place that once would have been a lake of molten lava.

Katie inside the volcano. 
The rest of the day was spent exploring Reykjavik, the biggest city in Iceland, even though it was only the size of a large town. Graffiti is legal in the city, and the building walls were covered in an array of artwork made by local artists and business owners. The coastline city was colorful and filled with cute shops and small homes. A few girls and I took the time do some souvenir shopping and visited some non-tourist shops as well. We met a Norwegian who told us about his worldly travels, and relayed some of the northern legends of Iceland with us. My favorite was the tale of the Guardians of Iceland, who are depicted on their coin money.

While we were in Reykjavik, Iceland’s soccer team was in England. Iceland’s soccer team was definitely the underdog and was not expected to win. We went to a mass public viewing of the game in a square in the city, where nearly the entire population of the town arrived! It was wild, and the crowd was super excited about the game. In the end, Iceland had won 2 to 1, and the whole city was lit up in red and blue fireworks. The city did not sleep that night, but thankfully our hotel was closer to the airport so that we could get a good night’s rest before a day of traveling home. 

Iceland was by far my favorite trip I have taken with Destinations. Not only was I able to see and do some incredible things, but the country itself was magnificent. The girls who accompanied me on this last trip were amazing and made the trip hilariously fun, as did the ATS instructors that made the trip possible.
Katie in a wildflower field.


Although my time within the Destinations program is now at a close, I will never forget what this program has done for me. First of all, Destinations has given me the opportunity to travel far beyond anywhere I ever dreamed, and partake in some of the most memorable experiences I will ever have in my life. Climbing my first mountain and seeing edelweiss in Switzerland, kayaking amongst wild seals and otters in Washington, eating a traditional geothermic Maori meal in New Zealand, visiting the ancient Three Sisters rock formation in Australia, partake in a kava ceremony with a Fijian chief on an uninhabited island in Fiji, kayaking in the southern Antarctic ice field and seeing penguins in Chile, working at a panda research center in China, and finally descending into a volcano in Iceland. I have been able to immerse myself into these cultures, hearing the local tales, tasting the traditional foods, learning about the history of the land, and listening to the beauty of other languages. Throughout these past few years, I have grown into a more well-rounded person with a greater understanding and appreciation for the world in which we live. This program has ignited a fire inside me to continue exploring the world, and to encourage others to do the same. In a previous essay, I said “I used to think that the world was so much bigger than my backyard, but now I realize that the world is my backyard”.  That is still true, and there are so many rocks left to overturn, so many paths still to take. I am extremely grateful and appreciative for this opportunity that Girl Scouts, and the Destinations program, has given me. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Help Us Make New Online Enrichment Courses!



Your troop has a chance to be featured in new online enrichment courses.  We are in the process of building new, more dynamic, online enrichment courses.  To enhance the courses, we would like to add photos and videos of girls to further explain some points outlined in the courses.  Either a photo or video will work unless noted.  

Please send us what you have, noting the grade level and activity, or capture these moments with your girls if you’ll be doing any of these activities in the next couple of months.  We hope to have everything by mid-January.  Contact us at volunteer@gsofsi.org to make a submission.  If e-mailing, please put "Online Courses" as the subject line.  You can also request us to send you a link to upload a larger file for us to receive through Dropbox.


THANK YOU!

Daisies:
Nature walk
Cutting with scissors
Dancing
Visiting an animal shelter or farm
Kaper chart with photos of girls and/or images of tasks

Brownies:
Outdoor troop meeting
Girls working in groups
Role play
Agenda or poster of meeting schedule
Using tools or sewing with adult assistance

K-3:
Girls passing out snacks or activities
Daisy Circle
Brownie Ring – talking stick (video)

Juniors:
Decision making process (video)
Working in groups
Performing – dance, skit, routine (video)

4-8:
Girl leading a meeting
Girls and adults working together on a take action project
Working with younger adults
Discussion or debate on a topic (video)

9-12:
Show girls leading a planning session 
Girls “just talking”

Girl meeting with a community partner or organization

Monday, December 5, 2016

Elizabeth Boehning from O'Fallon Has Earned the Girl Scout Gold Award



Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Boehning from O’Fallon has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. 

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called Operation Find a Friend, Elizabeth helped youth who were new to O’Fallon to make friends. According to Elizabeth, this is a big military area and lots of new kids come into the community and she wanted to help them easily transition and make friends. As part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she implemented a Buddy Bench at the new playground at Laverna Evans School. She also organized a painting day and with the help of volunteers, repainted the games on the school’s blacktop. Finally, she held an assembly at the school and explained to students the purpose of the Buddy Bench and her Girl Scout Gold Award project. 

This Girl Scout Gold Award project was a rewarding experience for Elizabeth. “Through my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I really learned how to coordinate a large project with many parts. I was able to stay organized and also improved my communications skills, Elizabeth added.”

Elizabeth is the daughter of Stephanie and Jonathan Boehning. She is currently a Junior at O’Fallon Township High School. Elizabeth has been a Girl Scout for 11 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 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Double your impact and get $50. Invite a friend to volunteer!




The girls agree (93% percent of them, fact!) that Girl Scouts helped them learn leadership skills. That's what we call impact!
 
Remember, amazing volunteers like you are what make the Girl Scout experience possible, awesome, and so rewarding for millions of girls. And, more hands on deck mean more girls get to learn big, experience fun, new things, and grow into happy, confident, and courageous leaders-just like you!
 
Has your friend joined Girl Scouts as a troop leader and started a new Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, or Junior troop? Great!  You're ready to redeem your award!

When you double the friends, you double your prize: $100 for you and a Volunteer Resource Pack (a $50 value) for each friend. 

Questions? We're here for you. Email us
Please review official Terms and Conditions 


Friday, December 2, 2016

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Seeking Scholarship Applicants


Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will award a scholarship to two GSSI Graduating Girl Scouts who stand out in Girl Scouts, leadership, school and service to the community. In addition to these two scholarships, as part of a staff campaign, GSSI Staff will award one additional scholarship! To be eligible, you must be a registered Girl Scout Ambassador who is graduating high school in 2017. 

You must also fill out an application and have one person fill out a reference form and submit them by February 12, 2017. Applications and reference form can be mailed or dropped off to either GSSI office or e-mailed to girlawards@gsofsi.org.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

GSSI Robotics Teams Competing in FIRST LEGO League Tournaments


Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois FIRST Robotics League (FLL) teams are scheduled to compete on Dec. 13, Dec. 4 and Dec. 10. 

FLL is a robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds which is designed to get children excited about science and technology, as well as teach them valuable life skills. Along with programming robots, teams are also evaluated on an elaborate research project, as well as how well they demonstrate FLL Core Values, which include teamwork, collective learning, active participation and gracious professionalism. After practicing and preparing for months, teams meet at regional qualifying tournaments to be graded on the three elements, with the top teams advancing to state competition.

Good luck to GSSI's teams this season! 


GSSI FLL Regional Qualifying Tournament Schedule:


December 3 - Henning Elementary School, Troy,IL
GIR! and coaches Jason & Sarah Dothager from Staunton
Brainiacs and coaches Jill Thomas & Stacy Schroeder from Albers
Knights of the Round LEGO and coaches Winnie Kenney & Kevin Poncirolli from O'Fallon
SWAT and coaches Krysti Connelly & Jeremy Pokomy from Troy
MOST and coaches Leslie Lesko & Mark Harmon from Mt. Olive
Froggy Bots and coach Vicki Hoskin from Chester

December 4 - Lincolnland Community College, Springfield, IL
Firebreathing Hexicorns and coach Julie Herr from Belleville

December 10 - Carriel Jr. High, O'Fallon, IL 
Purple Robot Penguins and coach Larry Buchanan from O'Fallon
Flower STEMs and coaches Megan Terrell & George Mitchom from O'Fallon
LEGO Chick Explosion and coach Stacey Young from O'Fallon


Kudos to the following teams that competed in November: 

November 19 - Carriel Jr. High, O'Fallon,IL 
EV3 3ntourage and coaches Ricky & Celeste Borders from Anna
St. Mary's and coaches Jessica Farris & Sue Brown from Alton


See FLL Photo Album

GSSI Council Shop Update: December 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.

Saturday Hours:
The shops will be open on Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to Noon.

Shop/Office Closed
GSSI service centers and shops will be closed Thursday, Dec. 15 for an all staff meeting.

Holiday Break
GSSI service centers and shop will be closed from Dec. 22 - Jan. 3.  Happy Holidays!

In Shop Specials 
Month of December: With a purchase of $50 or more in one transaction, you will receive a free reusable bag.  Limit one per person while supplies last.

Online Shop
You can always shop for your Girl Scout merchandise 24/7 online!  Even though these sales are processed through the national Girl Scouts’ warehouse, GSSI still receives revenue from all sales.

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 at: 800.345.6858, ext. 1129 or e-mail: bross@gsofsi.org.

GSSI Council Shop Contact Information:
Corporate Service Center: Beth Ross: 618.692.0692, ext. 1129 or  e-mail: bross@gsofsi.org
Regional Service Center: Linda Quinn: 618.242.5079, ext. 2115 or e-mail: lquinn@gsofsi.org

Go to GSSI’s Online Shop: http://bit.ly/GSSISHOP