Friday, April 28, 2017

Award Winning Service Unit Team Members Share Details of Their Success

by Nicolle Patton, GSSI Intern

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) not only shows recognition to their girl members that have worked hard for the achievements they’ve earned, but they also recognize their adult members and volunteers that dedicate countless hours to helping their troop, community and service units.

At the GSSI Annual Meeting that was held April 1 at the Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon, three service units were not only awarded the President’s Award, which recognizes the efforts of a service-delivery team or committee whose service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience surpassed team goals and resulted in significant, measurable impact toward reaching the council’s overall goals, but the Service Unit Trifecta award as well.

The Service Unit Trifecta Award is given to Service Units that have earned the President’s Award for three consecutive years in a row. The service units that received this prestigious award were Service Unit 54 - Perry County, Service Unit 201 - O’Fallon/Shiloh, SU 201, and Service Unit 202 - ClinClair.

A Service Unit consists of a group of individual troops in a geographic area that are organized and helped run by a service unit team made up of volunteers. Service Units often hold area registration nights, community service events, programs and even camps.  They also help provide support for troop leaders.   

The council has seen what the service units that earned the Service Unit Trifecta Award have done to not only help their girls and their communities and I wanted to see what lead these women to be a part of these service unit teams and how they made them stand out from the rest. I was able to discuss being part of a service unit team with volunteers from two of the three areas recognized – ClinClair and Perry County.

When asked how they even got involved with Girl Scouts in the first place, Marsha Shirley from ClinClair said, “I was a Girl Scout when I was a child. Then, as a young adult, I helped my friend lead her daughter’s troop. Now that my daughter is old enough, I am her leader and have been the past five years. Our SUM (Service Unit Manager) went back to school and needed to lighten her work load, so I offered to be a co-SUM.” Shirley said when asked how she became part of her service unit team."

“I first was a Girl Scout myself from second grade until fourth grade,” said April D. Stanley from Perry County. “I was reconnected as an adult when I became a step mother to three girls and was looking for a way to bond with them. I became an assistant leader for their troop and later a full leader.”

Just like everything that’s done in Girl Scouts, nothing is done solely by yourself, and I wanted to know exactly who was doing what in these successful service units to make sure everything was going along smoothly.

Sometimes, one person takes on multiple roles in a service unit, which is the case for Stanley who acts as not only the Service Unit Manager, but the Treasurer and the Orientation Manager too. Alongside her, there’s Jaci Kelly who does Communications, Patti Bardle who’s the Program Organizer, Amber Saylor the Product Manager, and Denise Robson who does Registration.

With so many people working together for the common goal of enhancing their service unit to create more opportunities for girls and volunteers, it’s clear to see that hard work gets results. What do these women think makes their units stand out from the rest?

“We hold a monthly leader meeting, and we host an event each month.” Shirley stated. “This way, the leaders stay connected, as do the girls from all of our different troops.”

When asked how ClinClair Service Unit has gone beyond its goals, Shirley explained, “There are so many people that play a part in our service unit. With such a great group of people, it is easy to go beyond any goal that is set in front of us. We hold registration events in each town to sign up more girls and adults. We push each leader and girl to succeed with all product sales. When they are excited about something, they will succeed!”

What if an adult volunteer wants to become part of their service unit team, are there any certain qualities or skills they should have before applying for these positions? Shirley said, “Leadership skills are a must! Being organized, creative, excited, encouraging, enthusiastic, and having the girls best interest at heart are all needed to be part of the service team.”

About Perry County Service Unit’s excellent performance, Stanley said, “We have to think outside the box on lot of situations in our county. We have so many low income families that we have to look at different ways to get our parents to come out in the public. We have businesses offer free meals for a registration to also having businesses let us set up at event to where they are offering certain things to the public -for example: back pack giveaways, dental exams, free haircuts.”

Stanley and Shirley were both Girl Scouts when they were younger, so being familiar with the organization and its dedication to helping build girls up, I wanted to know what they thought the benefits of Girl Scouts for girls were and what exactly keeps them involved.
Stanley explained that, “Girl Scouting teaches our girls to be strong, confident. It allows them to do problem solving and to have a variety of sisters they may have never had.”
She went on to say, “I stay involved to be a positive role model in the community. We just don’t have a lot of opportunity for our kids here and to see the smiles of these girls when they attend these events just makes it so joyful.”

Shirley said, “My troop grows a little each year. We gain one or two girls each year and many ask about it all year long. So, seeing the excitement and wanting to try new things really does make all of it worthwhile.  And, I also get to spend quality time with my daughter!”

We see that girls get so much out of being active in this organization, but is it the same with adult members and volunteers?

“I believe that I have learned just as much as the girls have….whether it is a new skill, trade, or even friendship qualities, I believe they teach me just as much as I teach them!” Shirley said.

Stanley further stated, “Yes I do. If you love working with kids and making a difference in a young child’s life. It is so rewarding to hear these girls say we couldn’t wait to get to a scout meeting. Or when is this event coming?  You got to love the smiles.”

“I love working with these ladies so much. I also love being out at our events and communicating with our parents of our girls,” Stanley explained. “But, most of all seeing the smile on these girls faces when you know they don’t have much to be offered to them at home and they attend an event held by our team and they have the most awesome time. That just makes me feel so great inside.”

Stanley and Shirley, along with their fellow service unit team members, have worked extremely hard to shape their service units into grounds that not only help the girls learn new things, build their skills, and encourage them to strive for bigger and better aspirations, but also give adult members and volunteers the same high flying inspiration. The Trifecta Award earned by their units are proof of that hard work and determination. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lauren Carter from Collinsville Has Earned the Girl Scout Gold Award

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

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called Nursery Reboot, Lauren worked with her church to improve and remodel the nursery. As part of her project, she removed broken furniture and toys and replaced them with age appropriate ones. Also concerned about children’s safety, she replaced the old carpet with new carpet and a thicker pad to protect the children if they fell while playing. In addition, Lauren scheduled a CPR class which would teach nursery staff and other church members life-saving skills. And finally, she updated the church nursery policy manual and set up a check “in and out” policy for the nursery.

“I learned that you can’t let the bumps in the road get in your way while trying to get something accomplished,” Lauren said. “You will always have bumps along the way in life, but they shouldn’t stop you from getting to your goals. You have to work around them and find a way to solve the problem yourself,” she said.

Lauren is the daughter of Warren and Laurie Carter. She will graduate from Collinsville High School in 2017 and 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, April 26, 2017

Girl Scouts Welcome Veterans Home From Honor Flight

On April 25, Girl Scouts from Williamson County welcomed dozens of veterans back to southern Illinois following an honor flight to Washington D.C., where they toured several memorials. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Join Us on May 11 for Give STL Day

On May 11, GSSI will be joining other nonprofits throughout the area for Give STL Day - a 24-hour, online giving event organized by the St. Louis Community Foundation. Prize money will be made available to amplify charitable donations. 

All funds raised will go towards providing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience in the 40 1/2 counties that make up our jurisdiction - including financial assistance so that every girl has the opportunity to become a Girl Scout. 

Go to GSSI's Give STL Fundraising Page

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week from 
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois!  

To celebrate, all GSSI volunteers will receive a discount coupon for 5-20% off all adult apparel and gift items from our council shops in Mt. Vernon and Glen Carbon (valid through May 31).  Coupons will be/have been distributed at service unit meetings or can be drawn at the Council Shop. One coupon per volunteer, please. There will also be treats available in both service centers all week long!

Celebrate your favorite Girl Scout volunteers by sending them a personalized eCard.  It's easy to participate - just pick an eCard design, fill in your fave volunteer's name and download and share on social media or by e-mail! 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Troop #2921 Earns the Girl Scout Bronze Award for Tree-Planting Project

When rennovations at the Washington County Courthouse required trees to be removed, Troop #2921 from Nashville put their helping hands to action. They researched the importance of trees, using what they learned to write a letter to city officials offering to help. The troop even donated funds they raised during the recent Girl Scout Cookie Program. Their dedication to the project helped them earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award - the highest award Girl Scout Juniors can earn. Great work, girls!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

GSSI Launching Updated Web Platform

GSSI’s new and improved website is launching on April 24!  

While the URL will remain the same - - GSSI's updated website, which is built on the Adobe platform, will make it easier to find the information you need, as well as offer improved data security.  Searching for events, programs and forms will be simpler than ever before! 

You will notice that our new website looks very similar to other Girl Scout websites across the nation.  GSSI's web update is part of the Customer Engagement Initiative (CEI), a Movement-wide business transformation which puts girl, parent and volunteer customers at the center of GSSI’s efforts. 

Imagine a world where girls and volunteers join Girl Scouts with ease. New volunteers are recruited and complete the process to become a leader in a matter of days instead of weeks or months. Volunteers receive the support they need when they need it. And, girl and volunteer retention is on the rise. 

Through implementation of CEI, including significant process improvements, staffing alignment and training, and technology tools, Girl Scouts is improving volunteers’, parents’ and girls’ experiences, making it easier and less time consuming for volunteers to effectively complete tasks. For the first time, Girl Scouts is investing in shared tools and technology that will empower us to dramatically improve the Volunteer and Girl Experience. From joining and getting oriented, to managing a troop and renewing membership – being a volunteer will be easier, more manageable and more enjoyable. This results in an enhanced Girl Experience.

The ultimate goal of CEI is to provide girls with exciting, meaningful and impactful experiences and to ensure every girl who wants to participate in Girl Scouting, can do so, with a caring adult to support her.

Three key technology tools support the initiative – Volunteer Systems fueled by Salesforce, the Volunteer Toolkit, and a new Web Platform.

Volunteer Systems: A best-in-class membership and customer care database that is fueled by Salesforce, which also includes the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, a digital marketing tool to help communicate with volunteers and parents. Volunteer Systems will roll out in August 2017.
In addition, a new and improved Web Platform built on the Adobe platform will deliver a uniform brand experience to customers, as well as improved data security.  It is also the gateway for the NEW Volunteer Toolkit

Girl Scouts' Volunteer Toolkit (or VTK): helps volunteers access the information and resources they need through their personal computers or mobile devices, and stay better connected to troop leaders and parents. It makes forming and maintaining a troop easier than ever before, which means more time spent on girls and less on administrative tasks. Volunteers can plan out a whole year of impactful activities to ensure their girls receive the best Girl Scout experience possible. 

The Volunteer Toolkit will offer sample K-5 badge-based year plans, K-5 journey-based year plans and help making meeting plans. It focuses on the pillars of our program where we know girls benefit most, especially in a girl-only environment: the outdoors; STEM; life skills and entrepreneurship.

The Volunteer Toolkit will be available through our website,, after the Volunteer Systems and new Web Platform are in place. 

While CEI attends to the needs of K-5 troop leaders, parents and girls to start, Girl Scouts plans to expand the reach to girls and adults participating in delivery models beyond the troop, and to middle and high school girls.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Earning Girl Scout Gold Award Helps Emily Hocking Receive Full Scholarship

by Nicolle Patton, GSSI Intern

Emily Hocking with GSSI CEO Sarah Durbin

Girl Scouts is a huge staple in helping girls grow not only in various skills to help them in their future endeavor, but to grow into a better them. Nobody knows that better than Emily Hocking, from Mount Vernon.

Emily has been a part of the organization since Kindergarten. Now, she’s about to graduate High School with major accomplishments under her belt including a full tuition scholarship - and it’s thanks to earning Girl Scouts highest award, the Gold Award.

“The college I chose offers special scholarships for those girls who have earned the Girl Scout Gold award,” Emily explained. “I have worked very hard in school to have good grades and I also earned my Gold Award, these both allowed me to have the privilege to get a full tuition scholarship.” Emily will be attending MacMurray College in the fall of 2017 where she’ll be studying Nursing.

Knowing that earning the Gold Award helps Girl Scouts get scholarships, I asked her if earning her Gold Award gives her other advantages over others.

She said, “I don’t necessarily believe it is so much an advantage, but as that through my thirteen years of Girl Scouting it has taught me a lot. Thanks to Girl Scouts and earning my Bronze, Silver and Gold Award, I have learned a lot about what being a true leader in my community is. Girl Scouting has made me into the woman I am today. There is no doubt that if I wasn’t in Girl Scouts, I probably would not be as outgoing and have the leaderships skills I do.”

Emily received the Girl Scout Gold Award in 2016. 

Emily has some words of advice about those who are on the fence about pursuing their Gold Award. “I say go for it. I know that it is very time consuming and seems like a lot of work, but you never realize all the lessons you learn and the accomplishments you can make by having your Gold Award. Be the girl that can say ‘yes, I did that.’ Be proud and work your butt off because in the end it’s worth it.”

When asked if girls should stick with Girl Scouts until they graduated, she replied, “I believe as you get older in scouts you learn the true meaning of being a scout. As a Daisy or Brownie Scout you have a lot of fun doing crafts, going to events, but once you get to the higher levels you learn a lot more and get to experience the power of what being a leader in your community actually is. You get to be that girl that all the little scouts look up to and hope to be like.”

Knowing Emily personally, I can say that younger girls truly indeed look up to her for guidance when they work on something Girl Scout related or something connected to the community. It’s wonderful to see older Girl Scouts like Emily that are stepping up and being a role model for these younger scouts to emulate.

I wanted to know what exactly Girl Scouts meant to her and how it’s impacted her life so far, she answered, “Girl Scouting to me has meant learning to become a leader and knowing you can accomplish any task you set your mind to. It has lead me to lifelong friendships. One of my best friends today I met in Girl Scouts our Kindergarten year. We have done so much together from getting our Gold Awards to going to the father daughter dances. Without Girl Scouts who knows if I would have even met her.”

Emily Hocking and Danielle Patton
It seems like Emily has had a fulfilling Girl Scouting career with the many personal growths and connections she’s made through the years. With her heading off to college soon, she’ll bound to make more, but would she be able to put any skills she’s learned when doing her Gold Award into her new college life?

“I believe the organizational skills I learned from planning out my project will help me a lot through college and studying to become a nurse. I also believe the outgoing personality I have acquired through scouting will help me a lot to make friends and bond with my future patients. Scouting has definitely got me out of me shell.”

It’s good to know that she’ll be using the skills she’s gained through the years in Girl Scouts as well as the work she dedicated to earning her Gold Award to aide her on this new journey. It goes without saying that that she’s grown thanks to her years and lessons she’s gained in Girl Scouts. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Renew Your Membership and Show the World the Power of G.I.R.L.

Girl Scouts is for the bold, driven, and devoted. Renew your membership today and show the world the Power of G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader).
BONUS: Get a free t-shirt by renewing your membership with Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois between now and June 15.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Girl Scout Camp Life Is Calling

Girl Scout Camp gives girls amazing opportunities to go on exciting new adventures while feeling the love for the great outdoors.  This summer, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is offering three Resident Camp opportunities and 19 Day Camps!   Camp Life helps a girl tackle challenges with a supportive sisterhood cheering her on - building her capacity to step out of her comfort zone with confidence. 

GSSI's Girls' Week at Camp Ondessonk in 2016

Resident Camp

Girls Week at Camp Ondessonk
July 16-22
Deadline Passed/Registration Closed
Touch of Nature Mini Camp

July 26-29 (deadline 5/24)
Sessions: Grades 2-3  4-5  6-12

Touch of Nature Week Long Camp
July 30-Aug.5 (deadline 5/24)
Sessions: Grades 
2-3  4-5  6-12

Day Camp 2017

Day Camp

The 2017 GSSI Day Camp lineup is listed below.  Click on the name of the camp to read more about it.  There you will find all the details, including fees and who to contact to get signed up. 

Day Camp Registration Form
Day Camp Campership Application
Day Camp Volunteer Application

Camp Wassatoga – A Decade of Fun!
June 4-10, 2017 (days and times vary depending on age)
Effingham, IL

Muggles, Magic & Mayhem (twilight camp)
June 5-9, 2017 from 6-9 pm
Highland, IL

Project Funway
June 5-8, 2017 from 9 am-3 pm
Greenville, IL

Reconnecting With Nature (twilight camp)
June 5-9, 2017 from 5-8 pm

Worden, IL

Party in the Park – Mini Camp 2
June 7-9, 2017 from 9 am-12 pm

Cahokia, IL
Let’s Travel with the Movies
June 12-16, 2017 from 9 am-12 pm

Cobden, IL

Ocean Adventures
June 12-16, 2017 from 9 am-3:30 pm

Freeburg, IL

Adventures in Science
June 15-17, 2017 from 9 am-3 pm

Mt. Vernon, IL

Are You Courageous Enough to be a Girl Scout?   
June 19-23, 2017 from 9 am-3 pm

Lebanon, IL

The Divergent Quest  
June 19-23, 2017 from 9 am-3 pm

Charleston, IL

Hungry Games – Cookie Edition (twilight camp)
June 19-23, 2017 from 6-9 pm

Edwardsville, IL

Journey to Neverland
June 23-25, 2017 from 10 am Friday-3 pm Sunday

Farmington, MO

The Great Outdoors (twilight camp!)
June 26-30, 2017 from 5:30-9 pm

Carlyle, IL

Nature Girl
June 26-30, 2017 from 9 am-3:30 pm

Edwardsville, IL

Mini STEM Camp
July 6-7, 2017 from 9 am-3 pm

Edwardsville, IL

Girl ScOUT of this World Fun
July 10-14, 2017 from 9 am-3:30 pm

Edwardsville, IL

July 10-14, 2017 from 9 am-4 pm

Waterloo, IL

STEM Camp 5: Destined for ∞+
July 17-21, 2017 from 9 am-4 pm

Edwardsville, IL

Nature Detectives
July 24-28, 2017 from 9 am-23 pm

Centralia, IL

Monday, April 10, 2017

GSSI's Girl Scout Gold Award Committee Guides Girls Towards Girl Scouts' Highest Award

by Nicolle Patton, GSSI Intern

(L-R) GSSI Program Manager Courtney Schaefer, Anne Haltenhof,
Elizabeth Burr, Mary Ann Hopper, Cheryl Heimerman

The iconic Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Its prestige is built upon the considerable commitment, foresight and hard work it takes to achieve. A girl must complete a service project of a suggested minimum of 80 hours, and her efforts must be sustainable and valuable to her community. 

Of course, doing the project and getting the hours isn’t all a Girl Scout has to do to earn her Gold Award. She has to give a presentation detailing her project in front of the Gold Award Committee - a group of equally hard working, time-giving women who review girls’ projects as they present them, making suggestions and helping them towards success.

I personally earned the Girl Scout Gold Award in 2012. Presenting my project in front of the committee was a bit unnerving since public speaking wasn't really a forte of mine, but it was empowering to talk about the hard work I put into my project. Even though I was one of those girls presenting years ago, sitting there as a spectator got me thinking about the Gold Award Committee's perspective on everything.

GSSI’s Girl Scout Gold Award Committee is made up of Cheryl Heimerman, Penny Pejka, Anne Haltenhof, Marry Anne Hopper, Betsy Murphy, Chelsey Banaskavich and Carla Nilson. These women volunteer their time and talents to ensure that each girl gets individual attention to help make her Gold Award project the best it can be. 

Seeing these women go over paperwork describing girls’ projects, asking question after question to each girl that filed into the room and making sure that the girl got the most out of her Gold Award project, got me thinking about how they saw this whole process and how exactly they got involved in such a huge task in the first place.

It was enlightening to see the different range of experiences and reasons why they joined the Gold Award Committee.

When asked how she got involved with Girl Scouts and then later joined the Gold Award committee, Mary Anne Hopper said, “I was a Girl Scout for 8 years as a girl. When my daughters were in first grade, I registered them in Girl Scouts. My older two daughters’ troops met right after school. Since I worked out of town, I couldn’t help at their meetings. When my youngest daughter registered, I was asked to be a leader. Since another woman had volunteered to assist with an evening troop, I accepted the leadership of her troop.”

“My oldest daughter, Michelle, earned her Gold Award in 1996,” Hopper continued. “As my youngest daughter, Amy, approached her Cadette years, I decided I wanted to know as much as I could about the Gold Award. So I became a Gold Award trainer as well as part of the Gold Award Committee around 2000 and have continued for 16 years or so.”

Anne Haltenhof said, “I was a Girl Scout in grade school and now that I am retired I wanted to give back to the organization that helped me be who I am today.”

“My background is in project management and one of the staff members suggested that I get involved with the Gold Award since what the girls do are projects.”

Now, I know these ladies do more than sit in a room and review Gold Award projects all day and I wanted to know exactly what all their responsibilities entailed, because I know it’s more than going over a few files.

Carla Nilson explained, “I do Gold Award training. I participated in designing the Gold Award requirement paper work in the Shagbark legacy council. I read and evaluate proposed Gold Award projects with phone interviews. I offer suggestions and ask questions. I participate in interviews of final Gold Award projects. I help facilitate the awards at All That Glitters.”

Mary Anne Hopper added, “As part of the Gold Award Committee, I review Project Proposals about projects girls wish to do to earn their Gold Awards. With the committee, I help to interview the girls via phone conference calls to determine if their projects are acceptable Gold Award projects, not just a good service project. We make suggestions, and often requirements, which we feel will make the projects better.”

Seeing all of these responsibilities that the committee does really says something about their character and how much time and effort they put in for these girls. I’m sure over the years, they’ve had some memorable projects.

“All projects are memorable,” said Nilson. “I have even made special trips to see the finished product of some Girl Scout Gold Awards.”

Hopper said, “Two projects come to mind immediately. One project was done by two girls, assisting Habitat for Humanity in building a home for a family. The girls spent one Saturday for each of six months providing the volunteers and equipment as well as feeding the volunteers. The second project provided a free spay and neuter clinic for dogs and cats to eliminate overpopulation by unwanted dogs and cats. The young lady was very passionate about this project!”

When the women on the Girl Scout Gold Award Committee discuss their roles, their passion and excitement is obvious. With passion comes wisdom, so I asked these ladies to share advice for any Girl Scout who is about to present a Gold Award project in the near future. 

Haltenhof said, “Details, details, details. Make sure you are providing as much information about your project as you can. Often times, we get very sketchy reports and it’s hard to determine if they qualify for the award.”

Nilson added, “Allow plenty of time and be flexible. Before you speak to a group about your project, go over the points, have notes, take notes on suggestions and be prepared. Don't forget to write thank you notes to those who helped you with your project.”

“I would tell girls to find an issue about which you are passionate,” recommended Hopper. “Give yourself plenty of time. Choose people you can count on to help you. Ask for help when you need it. Set a timeline to achieve small goals in order to achieve the ultimate goal. Admit when something isn’t working and try doing it a different way.”

With the wonderful women of GSSI’s Girl Scout Gold Award Committee helping guide girls, there's so much knowledge and ideas to go around if any girl feels as though she's stuck at any point in her Gold Award. They want to help in any way they can to make these young women succeed in any way they can.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Girl Scout Gold Award Recipient Kaitlyn Barnett Is Keynote Speaker at GSSI's Annual Meeting

Kaitlyn Barnett speaking at GSSI's Annual Meeting

Kaitlyn Barnett addressed volunteers and girl members as keynote speaker of GSSI's 8th Annual Meeting on April 1 at Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon.  Kaitlyn discussed her journey asd a Girl Scout and how Girl Scouting empowers young women to be leaders in their communities. 

Kaitlyn has been a Girl Scout for 11 years and has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.  For her Gold Award Project, named A Camp For Everyone, Kaitlyn helped make Camp Torqua more accessible for both campers and community members using wheelchairs.

At this year's Annual Meeting, Kaitlyn was also elected as an Ex-Officio Girl Member of GSSI's Board of Directors.  

Kaitlyn is the daughter of Thomas and Melissa Barnett and is currently a junior at Triad High School. 

Kaitlyn and her family


Eight GSSI Service Units Awarded President's Award for Exemplary Service

Eight Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Service Units were awarded the President's Award at the 2017 Annual Meeting on April 1 at Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon. 

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.

Congratulations to the following Service Units 
for their achievement: 

Clay County, SU 12

Perry County, SU 54 *

West Williamson County, SU 90

Alton/Godfrey/Wood River/Roxana, SU 101

South Macoupin, SU 107

O’Fallon/Shiloh, SU 201 *

ClinClair, SU 202 *

Crawford/Jasper Counties, SU 544

* An asterisk designates Services Units earning the Service Unit Trifecta award presented to any SU
earning the President’s Award 3 consecutive years.