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  • Hanna Schmitt becomes a Gold Award Girl Scout


    Hanna Schmitt has achieved the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts, by creating a confidence development program for elementary and middle school kids in the South Winneshiek Community School District. The program, called Junior Warriors CHEER, is designed for students to step out of their comfort zone and make new friends while developing school spirit and building character. In her program, the acronym CHEER represents the five values students will learn: Confidence, Healthy living, Empowering Yourself, Encouraging Others, and Respecting Everyone.

    Her accomplishments reflect outstanding leadership and civic engagement. Schmitt wanted to help younger students develop their self-esteem and become more involved in the community. As a cheerleader, she recognized how performing helped her to become more confident. 

    Read what Hanna has to say about her project and the value of Girl Scouts!

    What inspired your Gold Award project?

    To me, a successful Gold Award project should be inspired by a combination of a girl's passions and skills. I love cheerleading and working with youth. I also have useful skills when it comes to planning events and programs like communication, networking, leadership, public speaking, and team-building. I took my abilities and applied them to my favorite activities with the goal of providing a new opportunity for local youth. By utilizing my connections to people in various positions at the local college,...



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  • Girl Scouts are going to Disney


    When Girl Scouts are asked what they will be doing after cookie season, super-sellers can now respond with, "I'm going to Disney World!"

    Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois has just announced a brand new incentive for girls selling cookies in the 2018 season. Girl Scouts who sell 2,500 or more packages of cookies will now earn a trip to Disney World! 

    Their trip to the most magical place on earth will include two airline tickets to Orlando, four nights in a Disney World resort hotel, and their choice of three-day park hopper passes or four-single-day park passes.

    All trip details with be coordinated with a travel agent:

    • Travel must be booked by September 30, 2018 and the trip must be completed by November 15, 2018. Possible travel blackout dates may apply.
    • Trip includes 5 days/4 nights at a select Disney On-Site Property Hotel with a choice of three-day park hopper passes or four-single-day passes.
    • Transportation included to and from Orlando Airport on the Disney Magical Express and while onsite.

    The Girl Scout Cookie season begins January 19, 2018. Girl Scouts and their families can begin preparing for the Cookie Sale Program by working with their troop to develop the business skills needed to sell cookies. Girl Scouts will learn financial literacy skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. All girls are encouraged to a...



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  • Muscatine Girl Earns Highest Award in Girl Scouts


    Nicole Frisbie has achieved the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts, through Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois by creating a program to prevent bullying at McKinley Elementary in Muscatine, Iowa. Nicole wanted to help students develop skills to cope with the effects of bullying and create a system to prevent future bullying at school.

    Nicole assembled a team to help with the project and worked with the principal of McKinley Elementary, Joelle McConnaha, to ensure that the bench could be installed and utilized by students at recess. After the bench was installed at McKinely, discipline referral rates declined.

    "I learned that anyone can be a leader if they listen to their team," says Nicole. "Perseverance and hard work also made it possible to complete the project."

    "The Gold Award represents a girls' dedication to making the world a better place by beginning to make improvements in her own community," says Claudia Reich, manager of age level support at Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

    The steps to earning the Gold Award are rooted in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. To earn a Gold Award, a girl must:

      Choose an issue she cares about. Investigate everything she can about the issue. Get help by inviting others to support and take action with her. Create a plan that achieves sustainable and measurable impact. Present her plan...


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  • The Girl Scout Difference


    Girl Scouts unleashes the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ in every girl, preparing her for a lifetime of leadership—from taking a night-time hike under the stars to accepting a mission on the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with her troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running her own cookie business today to tackling cybersecurity tomorrow.

    Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that help girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. 

    Research shows that girls learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment. Girl Scouts is a place where she'll practice different skills, explore her potential, take on leadership positions—and even feel allowed to fail, dust herself off, get up, and try again.

    Girl Scouts is proven to help girls thrive in five key ways as they: 
    • Develop a strong sense of self. 
    • Seek challenges and learn from setbacks. 
    • Display positive values. 
    • Form and maintain healthy relationships.
    • Identify and solve problems in the community.

    The inclusive, all-female environment of a Girl Scout troop creates a safe space where girls can try new things, develop a range of skills, take on leadership roles, and...



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  • New STEM and Outdoor Badges


    Girl Scouts, the BEST leadership development organization for girls—is offering Girl Scouts even more opportunities to learn skills and prepare them to empower themselves with the experiences they need to succeed in life.

    Girl Scouts of the USA introduced 23 new badges in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and the outdoors—our largest programming rollout in almost a decade! Girl Scouts will be able to design robots and racecars, go on environmentally conscious camping trips, create algorithms, collect data in the great outdoors, try their hand at engineering, and so much more. And the best part? These new badges are girl-tested and girl-approved!

    The new Girl Scout programming builds girls’ skills and encourages their interest in STEM and environmental conservation from an early age—areas girls are not typically encouraged to explore outside Girl Scouting—increasing their confidence in an all-girl, girl-led environment where they feel comfortable to try new things, take appropriate risks, and learn from failure.

    Girl Scouts of the USA created select badges with contributions from notable organizations in the STEM and outdoor industries, such as GoldieBlox, WGBH/Design Squad, the Society of Women Engineers, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Code.org, and SciStarter.

    These awesome badges have debuted on Girl Scouts’ first digital platform for volunteers, the Volunteer Toolkit, making it more accessible than ever to unlea...



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  • 5 Ways to Get Your Girl Ready for Kindergarten


    Pencils, backpacks, and school buses. New friends, new teachers and a brand new schedule every morning. Starting school brings a lot of change for both you and your daughter. But there are a few simple things you can do to help her walk through doors on her first day not only ready to learn, but with a big smile and a sense of confidence.

    Here are 5 ways to prepare her for a happy, safe (and fun) start to her first ever school year: 

      A little independence goes a long way. This is especially important if your daughter has never been away from home all day. Start small. Work on your child’s ability to do basic physical things for themselves before school starts. Can she put on and take off shoes? Check. Zip up her coat? Check. Does she know how to navigate the bathroom independently at potty time? Check. And remember, tights are tough. So is anything with lots of complicated zips, buttons and snaps. Kindergarten is a place to play, run, climb and learn, so the fancy dress you bought last week might be best saved for your next special occasion rather than her first day of school. Get to know the school. Lots of schools set aside a day to let incoming kindergartners and parents get familiar with the classroom, so take advantage of the opportunity or ask to schedule a special visit. Get beyond the classroom—show your child the hallways, the bathroom and other important places like the library too. And don’t forget the fun—make sure yo...


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  • Gold Award: Bringing Generations Together


    Gold Award recipient, Courtney Wiedenmann and her grandmother, Curved Bar recipient, Violet Wiedenmann, share their thoughts on the values and traditions of Girl Scouts.

    When Violet Wiedenmann was a Girl Scout in the 1930s and 40s she sold cookies for 25 cents and earned badges for the upcoming trend of photography. Today, cookies go for $4 a box and girls are now earning badges for coding, but the values have always held true.

    “I think it’s a wonderful idea to keep up with the times and keep up with new technologies that we didn’t have at the time,” says Violet.

    Violet earned the Curved Bar in 1945 and her granddaughter, Courtney, almost 70 years later earned her Gold Award. Both High Awards are representative of girl’s commitment to scouting with the name changing a few times over the past 100 years. Throughout the changes, however, the Gold Award has always focused on leadership and a service to others.

    “All of my experiences have given me so many leadership skills and helped me to learn about myself and figure out who I am as a person,” says Courtney. “I’ve been in Girl Scouts since Kindergarten and it has definitely helped me discover what I want to do and how to help others.”

    Violet and Courtney are connected not only through their achievements in Girl Scouts, but also an appreciation for the environment and nature.

    “I was born an outdoor person!” says Violet. “I think that’s why I liked Girl Scouting so much because we were...



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  • Iowa Girl Scout Named National Honoree


    Clare Szalkowski of Dubuque, Iowa, has been recognized for her outstanding achievements in community service. The 10-year-old was selected as one of ten National Honorees from across the United States. Clare, a member of Girl Scouts, began her own organization, Clare Cares, more than two years ago to make her community a better place. The fifth grader’s first project was to provide a buddy bench at her school after her sister was made fun of for having an epileptic seizure. Clare wanted to create a space for kids to go to when they felt that they needed a friend. Her buddy bench program has become so successful that they are in every school in Dubuque, Iowa, and the surrounding community. Beyond the buddy bench program, Clare’s organization has assisted 25 non-profits through numerous community service projects.

    Clare’s honor was announced at a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C., after being named a State Honoree. Each Prudential Spirit of Community Award National Honoree will receive $6,000 in scholarships and $5,000 to support a non-profit of their choice. Clare has decided to distribute her earnings to several non-profits in the Dubuque, Iowa, community, including Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

  • Rachel Russell- Gold Award Recipient


    Rachel Russell earned her Gold Award, the highest award in scouting, after making the Discovery Center Library more handicap-accessible, safer, and inviting to students. She noticed that the library could be more functional with a few improvements and created a plan to rearrange and move the shelving so students in wheelchairs could maneuver with ease. The original shelving was too tall and not attached to the wall, so when children were reaching for a book, they could lose their balance and possibly have the shelving tip on them.

    “When I talked to the librarians about the sustainability of the project, they were very excited that I was making it easier for everyone to get around and enjoy the Discovery Center,” says Rachel.

    To achieve all of the updates needed for the library, Rachel acquired lower shelving from another school in the district and removed the outdated shelves. She recovered chairs and couches, made throw pillows, and added pictures to make the space more comfortable and inviting. Now, students have a fun place to read and librarians have an easier time seeing students so they can worry less about safety hazards. With the rearrangement, an open space was created so students and teachers can gather to one area and a Smartboard was added. Because of the new technology, students have been able to skype with an author from the United Kingdom, a marine biologist from the Bahamas, and a fire fighter from Arkansas.

  • Girl Scouts Bring Easter to Everyone


    Easter is a time that brings many families and friends together to not only celebrate a religious holiday, but to watch children’s eyes light up as they discover presents and treats from a very generous bunny. When troop leaders in Geneseo found out that their local pantry did not have enough food donations to help families provide Easter dinner, they decided to bring their troops together to give Easter to everyone in the community. More than 70 Girl Scouts from grades K-8 came together and created 54 food baskets for an Easter dinner and 108 Easter baskets for children.

     “This really raised awareness and empathy for our girls. Before, they didn’t understand that that not every child will have an Easter basket waiting when they wake up,” says Troop Leader, Taunya McGee. “They also learned that it takes many people to make a project like this happen, but when we work together we can accomplish something really big.”

    The girls were responsible for bringing an ingredient for the Easter meals and included recipes for each dish to help with preparation. Once all the food was collected, the grocery items were placed in laundry baskets so they can be used beyond this one meal. Because the most important surprise on Easter is a basket full of candy and toys, girls also went to work filling Easter eggs and collecting chocolate bunnies for each child to have.

    When a community is in need, Girl Scouts are always right there to step up and make a difference....



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  • Girl Scout Cookies Get Allergy Friendly!


    Girl Scout Cookies Get Allergy Friendly!

    Everyone knows that Girl Scouts now offer gluten free cookie options, but those with other food allergies still have trouble finding cookies. Ramey’s cookies use substitutions so people affected by corn, milk, and barley allergies can still enjoy them. She came up with the idea after her father was diagnosed with unusual food allergies.

    “After a couple years and a couple cookie sales, it was very noticeable that he (her father) couldn't have Girl Scout Cookies,” says Ramey. “This sparked the desire to make Girl Scout Cookies that he, as well as others like him, could eat.”

    Ramey baked and tested numerous batches of cookies until she discovered the perfect combination for cookies that looked and tasted like authentic Girl Scout Cookies. Ramey’s cookie recipes, as well as tips and tricks for baking with allergies, can be found at http://batchfromscratch.weebly.com. Read the whole story in the Galena Gazette or see the coverage in the Telegraph Herald.

  • Girl Scouts capital campaign successful


    Girl Scouts Outdoor Odyssey Campaign Phase One is a Success

    More than $3million raised to renovate the New Liberty, Iowa camp.

    BETTENDORF, Iowa – After launching Phase One of the Outdoor Odyssey campaign just last February, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois announces they have successfully raised more than the $3 million goal to the first phase of the three-part renovation project for Camp Liberty in New Liberty, Iowa.

    Phase one of the campaign includes the building of a new climate-controlled lodge and attached troop houses, a new covered equestrian arena, and renovating the entry road, parking lot, and pool showers and restrooms.

    Girl Scouts has been developing girls into leaders and confident young women since 1912. The capital campaign, “Outdoor Odyssey,” is funding the infrastructure improvements Girl Scouts needs to expand its outdoor programming and further its mission of “building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.”

    “We are so grateful for the amazing support we have seen across our council,” says CEO Diane Nelson. “The generosity from individuals, businesses, and foundations has made this project possible. They have invested in the development of our future leaders.”

    On the heels of the success of phase one, planning has already begun to keep the momentum moving forward. “We hope to continue this momentum as we move right in to phase two of the campaign,” says Marie...



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