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  • One Tough Cookie is Back June 4

    One Tough Cookie is only a few weeks away! The Saturday, June 4, mud run will host 14 obstacles including a mud crawl, hay bale climb, balance beam, and the always popular, slip and slide. Not to mention, there will be TONS of mud! All proceeds from One Tough Cookie benefit Girl Scouts, and participants will even receive a box of Girl Scout Cookies for their support! 

    Mud isn’t just for adults! Kids can get in on the action when they sign up for One Tough Cookie Jr. for runners 8-14 and Muddy Buddy for children 7 and under. Kids will have the chance to take on obstacles and dive through the mud just like the adults! 

    Register for the 3-mile, adult race for $60.00 and the kids’ races for only $25 at Race Coordinator, Jayme, at 563-583-9169 or with any questions.

  • Camp Liberty is Ready for Summer

    You have to see it to believe it.

    The rustic old Girl Scout camp in the northwest corner of Scott County has quietly evolved into what can only be described as a showplace.

    Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: The lodge, accommodations and grounds at the former Camp Conestoga, now Camp Liberty, are an ideal setting for a wedding, reception and overnight stay.

    No, seriously.

    The only snag is that the revamped camp will be available exclusively to Girl Scouts (as it should be) from June to August. And those little campers, hikers and horseback riders will have it made.

    If the killer sound system, stacked stone fireplace and panoramic views from the new lodge don't sufficiently strike envy in the hearts of every non-girl, plenty of the other offerings will.

    How about a zip-line ride from a 40-foot-high stand in the woods to the dining hall, 400 feet away? Or a horseback ride along the prairie grasses that are as pristine as they were when primitive living was more than a Girl Scout adventure. And don't worry about the weather. The new indoor riding arena will do away with the formerly inevitable disappointment of riding day being doomed by rain.

    "Do you know how many times I've cried?" Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois CEO Diane Nelson asked during a tour Tuesday of the grounds. "This is what the girls wanted. This is their dream. They told us what they wanted; we listened, and we delivered...

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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.

  • Cha-Ching Queens!

    When companies with female leadership have a 34% higher return on investment than those with few or no women (Motto), it’s more important than ever to move women into leadership roles within the business field. And it’s never too young to start! RIA Federal Credit Union in Bettendorf, Iowa hosted Cha-Ching Queens on Saturday, April 9 for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors (girls in grades K-5). Girls learned about needs versus wants, saving for the future, and how to budget!

    “I think it’s helpful for her to know the reality of life,” says Girl Scout Dad, Victor. “In life, there are wants and needs and it’s important for her to learn that as she grows.”

    Girl Scout, Helena, demonstrated the differences between wants and needs when she determined that it’s more important to use your money to give back to others by donating to an animal shelter than purchasing video games and new CDs. Many of the girls made similar decisions to give back to others with the extra money from their “budget” during lessons. When groups were asked to decide what they would do with $100 all gave a portion to charitable organizations like Make a Wish and homeless shelters.

    “Animals deserve as much love as we do,” explained Girl Scout, Hailey, on her group’s decision to donate to an animal shelter.

    Girls also made smart decisions with that extra $100 dollars and allocated money to college savings and even a trip to Europe when their troop is in high school.

    “If kids star...

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  • Journey to the World Event

    Ashley Arnold, Program Specialist with the Girls Scouts of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois shares the latest on their upcoming Journey to the world event geared toward pre-teen and teenage girls.

  • Journey the World event returns to Davenport

    If you're looking for something to do this weekend, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois have something you might like.

    It's called Journey the World, and joining us to talk more about it is Maura Warner, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois' Communications Coordinator.

  • Girl Scout becomes State Honoree

    On top of tackling fifth grade, playing cello, and reading her favorite books, Girl Scout, Clare Szalkowski also takes care of the Dubuque Community. From installing Buddy Benches in every school to feeding the homeless, Clare’s organization, Clare Cares, has assisted more than 25 non-profits through her numerous community service projects. Did we mention she’s only 10? And that’s exactly why Clare has been announced as the Prudential Spirit of Community Award State Honoree.

    “Clare is such an amazing example of a Girl Scout,” says Angela Ventris, director of program support. “When the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois Council nominated Clare for this honor, we knew she was such a deserving candidate and we’re really excited for her to be recognized for everything she does to make the world a better place.”

    Clare began her organization in January of 2014 after her sister, Madie, suffered from an epileptic seizure at school. Unfortunately, some of Madie’s classmates began to make fun of her and Clare knew that something had to be done so this doesn’t happen to another student. After hearing about the Buddy Benches from a student in Pennsylvania who wanted to combat bullying, Clare decided to bring the initiative to her school. Students are encouraged to sit on the Buddy Bench when they feel lonely or needs to talk to someone. Other students will see that they have a classmate in need and know to check on their friend. The benches have been so suc...

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  • 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.

  • One Tough Cookie mud race for Girl Scouts – June 4

    BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) – One Tough Cookie is back and better than ever with extreme mud, a new course, and crazier obstacles. The 3-mile adult race takes runners across the newly renovated Camp Liberty in New Liberty, Iowa. The 2016 course will feature 14 obstacles, including a mud crawl, hay bale climb, balance beam, and the always popular, slip and slide. All proceeds from One Tough Cookie benefit Girl Scouts, and participants will even receive a box of Girl Scout Cookies for their support..

    Mud isn’t just for adults. Kids can get in on the action when they sign up for One Tough Cookie Jr. race, for runners 8-14 and Muddy Buddy, for children 7 and under. Kids will have the chance to take on obstacles and dive through the mud just like the adults.

    Register for the 3-mile, adult race for $50.00 and the kids’ races for only $20 before May 1, 2016 (prices will increase after May 1). Check out the One Tough Cookie Facebook page for promotional discounts and sign up at

    Contact Race Coordinator, Jayme, at 563-583-9169 or JaymeI@GirlScoutsToday.orgwith any questions.

  • Minnow Tank is back April 7

    Success to the Power of SHE (SuccessSHE) and Girl Scouts have partnered to present the second-annual Minnow Tank. The pitch competition encourages middle school girls to create philanthropic projects to improve the Cedar Rapids community. Teams of girls are challenged to come up with service-related projects in one of the five Girl Scout focus areas:  Financial Literacy, STEM, Outdoor Education, Healthy Living, and Leadership. Minnow Tank will take place on Thursday, April 7, at the Mount Mercy Graduate Center from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    Each of the teams is working to make a difference in the world, but need the help of investors! This 2016 Minnow Tank investors are local entrepreneurs who are committed to investing in the team projects. After the Minnows pitch their philanthropic plans, the judges will score them and decide which teams will receive investments.

    This year’s investors include five business leaders in the Cedar Rapids community.

    David Tominsky is currently serving as the Director of Programs for the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo), Program Manager for the Iowa Startup Accelerator, and the Community Manager for Vault Coworking and Collaboration Space.

    Steve Shriver founded and sold skin care manufacturer, Raining Rose, and founded Eco Lips Organic Lip Balm, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  He also co-owns Brewhemia, the busiest locally owned coffee shop in Cedar Rapids.

    Mary Quass is the President/CEO of NR...

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  • 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 Read the whole story in the Galena Gazette or see the coverage in the Telegraph Herald.

  • Cookie sales build business skills in Girl Scouts

    Sure they're delicious, but those Thin Mints and Caramel deLites cookies also are teaching valuable life and business lessons to the Girl Scouts selling them.

    As 2016 Girl Scout Cookie Sale kicks off today, nearly 4,000 Girl Scouts across the Quad-City area will begin selling cookies, many with a set goal to help them attend more scouting events and opportunities.

    "Girls have more ways to learn business skills by selling across multiple platforms,'' said Nikki Habben, COO with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. "From selling cookies door-to-door, to making mobile sales at Cookie Booths, to online sales, girls are exposed to the cross-market nature of business today.''

    Maura Warner, the local council's communications coordinator, said the growth in the girls and their skills and abilities is evident. "They begin that basic process (thinking) 'I'm going to set a goal and I know I have to work really hard to make that goal,' " she said.

    Prior to the sale, she said scouts of all ages are taught the five essential skills of cookie sales: goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

    A new mobile app, known as COCOdirect, allows the scouts to track their sales online, keep track of their inventory. They also now can sell online. "This even puts it more in the girls' hands — running a business," Warner said. 

    Scouts like Clarah Buhman, a 14-year-ol...

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  • Girl Scouts' cookie cupboard not bare

    Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2016 12:00 am | Updated: 6:28 am, Thu Feb 11, 2016.


    An outside chill entered through a window with each case of cookies.

    On Wednesday, more than 850 cases of Girl Scout cookies were delivered to the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois' Dubuque office.

    "It could be a little warmer," said Mike Johnson, with Key City Moving & Storage. "It's hard on the hands, the cold weather."

    He was one of three men who worked in tandem to unload 851 cases of cookies from a semi-tractor trailer and stack them into aisles inside the "cookie cupboard."

    Jayme Ironside, development manager with Girl Scouts, said there is a method to stacking the long, narrow cases.

    "They'll do kind of like bricks," she said. "They'll do two long way, two short way, two long way, two short way to make sure they're easy to pull off the stack."

    Girl Scouts will kick off cookie sales Friday, Feb. 12. The price per box is $4, the same as last year. Sales will end March 20.

    "As staff, it's always crazy and busy and nutty and there's tons of people who come through, but it's also kind of like Christmas at Kohl's," Ironside said. "We might as well be playing cookie music around the clock. I always kind of think of that.&qu...

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  • Iowa Girl Scouts Learn From Local Female Leaders

    CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Girls Scouts from across Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois gather on Saturday to listen to local female leaders share their stories on their success. The leadership conference for young girls known as "Share Your Voice" was held in Cedar Rapids last year but event organizers moved it to Coralville because they wanted to expand the topics to all types of leadership speakers and interactive activities.

    U.S. Senator Joni Ernst stopped by to tell the girls about politics. The girls asked her questions about how she got into politics, what she like best about Washington, and even who she wants to be the next president. Ernst encouraged the girls to keep up to date with politics and told them about the power of women in politics. 
    This hit home for one little girl. Emma Jean Roling, an 11-year-old Girl Scout, said she wants to be president some day. She also said she loves to debate and thinks she's pretty good at arguing.

    After Ernst spoke the girls broke into small session rooms where they listen to other leaders like former 2013 Miss Iowa Nicole Kelly. Kelly spoke to girls about building their self-esteem and encouraged girls to feel comfortable about sharing their opinions.

  • Local girl scouts are gearing up for cookie sales

    All your favorites are back on February 12 and it’s a chance for local scouts to brush up on their business skills. This year, they’re selling cookies across multiple platforms, too.

    “From selling cookies door-to-door, to making mobile sales at Cookie Booths, to online sales, girls are exposed to the cross-market nature of business today” said Nikki Habben, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois COO.

    This year, girl scouts will most likely ask you to buy an extra box (or two and donate to Cookie Share. It’s a program that supports local children impacted by hunger. Cookies donated will be given to local churches, food banks, and volunteer groups working to help hungry children in Iowa and Illinois.

    There’s also a feature on the Girl Scouts website that allows you to search for the nearest spot to pick up cookies.

  • 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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  • Girl Scouts learn business skills ahead of cookie sales

    It’s almost cookie time.

    From Feb. 12 to March 20, Daisies, Brownies and Girl Scouts from across eastern Iowa and western Illinois will knock on doors, set up booths and even go online to sell the famous sweet treats.

    To help get some of the girls ready to bring their sales A-game, a cookie rally was held Saturday at Faith Walk World Outreach Center, 1450 Avenue of the Cities, East Moline.

    “Some of them have never sold cookies before, so the big thing is they are going to try the cookies, they are going to learn how to sell cookies safely and we tell them do's and don’ts of selling cookies,” said Corie Boris, a local Girl Scout trooper leader.

    The rally is an annual event that teaches scouts business skills, such as money management and goal setting, they can use beyond selling cookies. 

    “For some of these girls, their families have never been in Girl Scouts before, so it’s kind of a learning experience for both the girls and their families so that they know everything that goes into Girl Scout cookies before we actually start (selling them),” Boris said.

    The cookie sale program is the largest girl-led business in the world. All proceeds from sales stay in the community, according to the Girl Scout website.

    Around 100 girls who attended Saturday's two-hour cookie rally participated in short lessons on safety rules and money management and practiced selling cookies to one another. 


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  • Girl Scouts Nominated for Community Service Award

    Mallory Roudabush. and Clare Szalkowski. honored for outstanding volunteer work

    Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois has nominated Mallory R. and Clare S. for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

    The Prudential Spirit of Community Award is the largest youth recognition program based exclusively on community service in the United States. The program’s goal is to applaud young people who are making a difference in their communities.

    “Both of these girls are exceptional examples of Girl Scouts giving back to their communities,” says Claudia Reich, manager of age level support. “They truly embody the Girl Scout motto of ‘making the world a better place.’”

    Clare was nominated for creating the organization, ‘Clare Cares,’ in 2014. Clare Cares has completed numerous service projects like creating buddy benches at elementary schools and providing support to local homeless shelters.

    “I’m a kid who wants to change the world by building friendship and making our community a better place,” she says.

    Mallory was nominated for her Gold Award project. She planted a community perennial garden that enhances the entrance of Mount Vernon High School. The garden has created a space for others to relax and socialize.

    “This project allowed me to tell other students about my experience, showing them that one person of any age can make a difference,” she says.

    The Prudential Spirit of Community Award winners will be a...

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  • Girl Scouts get a special Christmas celebration


    Christmas spirit was in the air at the Girl Scout Program Center.

    It was the 5th annual Girl Scouts and Ganson's Christmas Party for underserved girls. 

    144 girls came together to celebrate the holidays, from kindergarten to sixth grade. 

    They spent the day playing, laughing, and meeting some familiar Christmas faces like The Grinch, Santa, and Mrs. Claus.

    A mountain of presents were waiting for the girls under the tree. 

    Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois Director of Community Outreach, Missy Sweeney said,

    "Some of these kids won't have a Christmas, so this might be the only gift that they do receive, so it's very heartwarming." 

    All 150 gifts under the tree were donated, making sure each girl got to go home with a present.

    The gifts and donations came from the customers at Ganson's Neighborhood Bakery and Cafe.

    They were hand delivered by St. Nick and Mrs. Claus themselves. 

    Owner of Ganson's, Chris Thompson said, "When they leave they hug you and it's genuine , and you just feel like you've done something for their life, made them happy. "

    Girl Scouts and Ganson's hope to continue this Christmas tradition for years to come. 

    Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • Christmas party touches Q-C girls

    Fun was the operative word Saturday for the 5th annual Outreach Christmas Party sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois and Ganson’s Neighborhood Bakery & Cafe in Rock Island.

    That is good because fun was the objective for the event that reaches out to underserved girls in the Quad-Cities.

    “I am making thank you cards. This is good,” said Girl Scout Zaryah Tate, 12, of Rock Island. “I like selling cookies. When I sell them to my dad, he gives them to me.”

    In all, 145 girls attended the event Saturday afternoon at the Girl Scout Program Center in Rock Island, said Missy Sweeney, director of community outreach for the organization.

    “These are 145 girls from our after-school programs we have at various sites in the Quad-Cities,” she said. “These are girls who possibly would not get a Christmas. The event is dear to our hearts. That is what the Girls Scouts are all about.”

    The party gave the girls a fun day to celebrate Christmas with new friends. It featured them making thank you cards and ornaments, and they decorated cupcakes. They had pizza for dinner and met Santa and Mrs. Claus when the girls received their presents.

    Sweeney said Ganson's donated to the party, and all the gifts were purchased through donations from Ganson's customers.

    Groups of the girls stayed in different rooms to make the cards and ornaments before taking turns decorating cupcakes and participating in other activities....

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  • Food for the Hungry

    Girl Scouts feed 12,000 starving kids around the world!

    Girl Scouts partnered with Kids Against Hunger to package healthy meals for hungry people around the world. Hunger is an important issue that affects children greatly with every six seconds, somewhere in the world, a child under the age of five dies of hunger or hunger-related illness.

    “Hunger is such an important thing and needs to be helped,” says Girl Scout, Kadence.

    The cooperation and team effort of girls allowed them to create 12,000 packages of food within just two hours. The food will later be distributed locally, nationally, and internationally; adding to the 250 million packages Kids Against Hunger have already distributed.

    “It’s important to help the community, because Girl Scouts are leaders to other people!” says Girl Scout, Maisy.

  • Girl Scout Volunteer Elected Mayor

    Girl Scout Volunteer Elected Mayor

    Volunteer, Erin Cross, has been elected Mayor of Whitten, Iowa

    It isn’t a secret that Girl Scouts builds a strong foundation for leadership skills in girls. However, a little known fact is that the volunteers who help girls become future leaders are also gaining valuable skills.

    Long-time volunteer, Erin Cross, of Whitten, Iowa demonstrated for all Girl Scouts just what strong leadership skills can do for their communities. Cross became politically involved for the first time when she decided to run for mayor of her community. She began this “new adventure” when family and friends began encouraging her to run.

    “Erin’s election of mayor sends girls a positive message that they too can become civically involved,” says Kathy Schutman, Director of Community Volunteer Support.

    Through great volunteers, like Cross, girls can learn the skills it takes to make their world a better place.

    “Girl Scouts teaches girls leadership skills and show them that they can be anything they put their mind to,” says Cross.

    Cross is very active in Whitten community. In addition to being a Girl Scout leader for her daughter’s troop, she is also a volunteer firefighter and Cub Scout Master.

  • Fall Festivals Get Families Outdoors

    Families gathered to celebrate fall outdoors!

    The crunch of leaves and laughter was heard during the month of October at our Girl Scout Fall Festivals.

    “The Fall Festivals are a great way for Girl Scouts and their families to come out to see what our camps have to offer and share the outdoor experience,” says Ashley Arnold, Program Specialist.

    At the festivals, s’mores were roasted, gaga ball was played, and girls hurried around the camps collecting their scavenger hunt items. Some of the festivals also featured hayrack tours, low ropes, archery, and pony rides; as well as numerous crafts like pumpkin painting and UV fabric designing.

    “My favorite part of the festivals was playing in the gaga pit and making pumpkins.” says, Girl Scout, Rachel. “I can’t wait for next year!”

    To begin the Year of the Outdoors, the Fall Festivals were a great kick-off to a membership year full of ah-mazing adventures!

  • Pinnacle of Girl Scout Achievement

    Lydia Mullins, 11, at Harding Middle School in Cedar Rapids. Lydia, of Cedar Rapids, has earned every badge, journey and award eligible for her age level in Girl Scouts.

  • Iowa Girl Scout Pushes Comfort Zone in Costa Rican Jungle

    Girl Scout, Delanie, travels to Costa Rica to experience a new culture and learn survival skills

    “Now go- swim across!” yells the white water rafting instructor. Anticipation builds as you stare down the rushing level-five rapids of the Costa Rica jungle. There’s no one on the other end to catch you before you’re swept by the freezing-cold water- but you have to jump. The countdown begins. Three, two, one, and you’re in the water! The battle of swimming across the river is the most exhilarating adrenaline rush of your life.

    This isn’t just a recap from last night’s survivalist television show; this was a real experience for 14 year old Girl Scout, Delanie of Cedar Rapids. Delanie traveled to Costa Rica with the Outward Bound program designed for Girl Scouts this past summer and had an experience of a lifetime.

    “I really wanted to go outside of my comfort zone and try something I have never done before,” she says. “I hoped to get more confidence out of the trip by having new experiences so I can carry the ‘I can do anything’ mentality back with me.”

    The trip included adventurous activities such as waterfall rappelling, zip-lining through the rainforest canopy, boogie boarding in the Pacific Ocean, and hiking 36-miles through the jungle. Delanie was only 13 when she began searching for travel opportunities and was excited to find a program to expand her outdoor and survival skills.

    Delanie formed bonds with the other Girl Scou...

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  • GSEIWI Board Member Recognized

    URBANA – Anne E. F. Ryerson, an Illinois alumna and Quad City area engineer, is the recipient of the 2015 Sunkist Young Designer Award. Ryerson was recognized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) at its annual international meeting in New Orleans on July 29.

  • 23 Area Girls Tour Europe

    Girl Scouts from across eastern Iowa and western Illinois, including Katrina Cecchini and Kristin Daugherty of Fairfield, have embarked on an 18-day trip to Europe to visit cultural icons such as the Tower of London, Louvre, and Leaning Tower of Pisa.

    The group left the Quad Cities July 11 and will arrive back in the states today.

    Through fund-raising efforts, the 23 teens and six adults have made the journey possible. The girls raised funds in many ways including babysitting and hosting spa events for younger Girl Scouts. For most girls, the Europe trip has been in their plans for years.

    “We’ve been talking about it ... since we were little,” said Rachel Lefler of Stronghurst, Illinois. “My aunt and cousin went on it 12 years ago and they loved it,” she said. “They used to show me scrapbooks, and I’m just really excited that I get to go too.”

    Rachel Gevock and Kendra Tillis, both of Fairfield, were among the 40 scouts and adult leaders who made the 15-day trip in late July and early August in 2003. Girl Scouts who experienced “European Xtreme” in 2003 visited London, Paris, Switzerland, Italy and Vatican City. The trip also included visits to two Girl Scout/Girl Guide Centers: Pax Lodge in London, England; and Our Chalet in Switzerland.

    “My favorite part was seeing all the different pieces of history, especially the Roman coliseum,” said Tillis. “It was always interesting to learn about Europe in school, but I never...

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  • 'Wonder Women' recognizes female leaders in Dubuque

    Carol Dornbush has been able to watch her daughter, Elizabeth, grow from first to sixth grade from a unique vantage point -- as a longtime volunteer with Elizabeth's Girl Scout troop.

    Dornbush, 41, has filled various leadership roles with Girl Scouts: Troop leader for five years; service unit event coordinator; service unit director for two years; fall-sale and cookie-sale programs coordinator last year.

    "(Elizabeth and all the girls) became more mature, more responsible (and) very respectful of each other and others," she said.

    Dornbush will be recognized at Wonder Women: Celebrating Heroines of Dubuque, a Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois celebration that aims to highlight influential community women. Nancy Van Milligen, executive director of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, and Teri Goodmann, assistant city manager, also will be honored at the event held Thursday.

    Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois created the event last year and raised $7,000. Wonder Women provides young girls with role models to look up to, said Jayme Ironside, the development manager.

    "It provides them an opportunity to see themselves and to visualize leadership and action," Ironside said. "Every single one of (the honorees) has done things in our community -- sometimes quietly and sometimes not so quietly -- that have made Dubuque what it is."

    Dornbush, who works at Medical Associates Cli...

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  • 9-year-old receives 'Hometown Hero' award

    Rylee Iverson, of Sherrard, is no ordinary 9-year-old.

    On Saturday, Iverson was honored with the Modern Woodman of America's Hometown Hero award during the Red, White and Boom festivities.

    Iverson received this award because of her courageous efforts after her best friend passed away. She developed a donation project to support her friend's memorial fund.

    As of today, Iverson has raised and donated more than $13,000.

  • Leaving a legacy: Muscatine student gives back to her elementary school

    MUSCATINE, Iowa — Emma Johanns, 16, has been working on her Girl Scout Gold Award project since the beginning of the year and, while the project's taken months to complete, its impact will last even longer than that.

    The to-be high school junior is creating an outdoor classroom for her former elementary school, Ss. Mary and Mathias Catholic School. She and her helpers, including the school's principal Ben Nietzel and members of Emma's family, set up six benches in a 74-by-24-foot space near the playground right behind the school on Tuesday. The benches, which convert to desks and can form tables when placed back-to-back, will be used for the outdoor classroom, as per Emma's design for the space.

    "When I was going to do my community project, I thought what better way to give back than to the school that I had a lot of memories from," Emma explained, recalling an outdoor structure the school had when she was a student there.

    The classroom will enable teachers to take their students outside to do projects they can't do indoors, Emma said, as well as provide a space for students and teachers to enjoy the weather and maybe some prayer time in addition to learning.

    She's also done some gardening in the space, placing roses and other plants around the perimeter.

    "The plants all symbolize different things we learn about in school religiously," she described, listing Jesus and the burning bush from the Old Testament as some of...

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  • Finkenauer gives 'Voice' to Girl Scouts

    Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Dubuque, wowed an audience of more than 100 Girl Scouts on Friday night at Clarke University.

    Finkenauer was a featured speaker at "Raise Your Voice," which is hosted by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. The event began Friday and will continue through Sunday.

    Participants are learning about leadership and discovering how their passions and skills can change the world, according to Angela Ventris, director of leadership experiences.

    Finkenauer, 26, is the third-youngest female state lawmaker in the U.S. and second-youngest legislator in Iowa. In November, Finkenauer defeated Republican Dan Dlouhy, a Dubuque attorney, garnering 61 percent of votes cast.

    Prior to her roughly 20-minute address, Finkenauer said her message is that young women don't have to be perfect.

    "The second they look at me and think, 'She's perfect, she's got it all together, she's 26, she's a state representative,' is the second that they take themselves out of the equation of ever being able to do what I'm doing, because they're not perfect. I know this because no one is," Finkenauer said. "My journey here is one that was not very easy. They can do anything. They can do whatever they want to do."

    Finkenauer didn't lack political experience prior to being elected. At age 16, she served as a page in the U.S. House for then-Rep. Jim Nussle, a northeast Iowa Republican.


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  • ‘Girl Bosses' take on projects

    Allison Poss saw few opportunities for girls in fourth through eighth grade to develop leadership skills.

    So Poss, a school psychologist with the Grant Wood Area Education Agency based in Cedar Rapids, piloted a new curriculum called “Girls with Ideas.” It has four units: what it means to be a leader, discovering your personal leadership style, ways to lead a team, and leading with confidence.

    Poss began using the curriculum in February with six sixth-graders from Grant Wood Elementary School in Iowa City. The group dubbed itself Girl Bosses, and was asked to come up with two ideas to improve the school.

    Their first idea was to help out in a kindergarten classroom, so they went into a classroom twice a week and helped the teacher with activities. Poss said the students model appropriate and positive behavior.

    The students’ other idea was to upgrade an area of the school.

    “They wanted to take this space that was really run down at their school that used to be a garden,” Poss said. “People have just really neglected it; there’s a lot of trash and leaves there. So they wanted to make that into a pretty garden and then also have a place to read.”

    The students decided to call the project the hidden reading garden. They came up with a budget and a list of necessary supplies and decided it would include a little free library, benches, flowers, and plants.

    In April, the students discussed the project during the Minnow Tank event, wh...

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  • Energy company awards non-profits $48K in grants

    CEDAR RAPIDS — The Alliant Energy Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Alliant Energy, announced it has distributed $48,000 in grants to 15 local non-profits.

    Among the recipients is the Cedar Rapids Community School District Foundation, which received $7,500 for the Engineering is Elementary curriculum. In addition, YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area received $5,000 for the YMCA Child Care Food & Hunger Prevention Program, and Friends of Hiawatha Parks and Recreation received $5,000 for the Back to School Backpack Project.

    The Salvation Army received $5,000 for Supplemental Food Boxes, Horizons, A Family Service Alliance, received $5,000 for Horizon Meals on Wheels, Linn-Mar School Foundation received $3,500 for Gateway to Technology: Middle School Robotics & Automation, and Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois received $2,500 for Girl Scout STEM.

    Others recipients included Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair Inc., Coe College, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Matthew 25, Young Parents Network, Olivet Neighborhood Mission, Cougar Electric Car Company, and Waypoint Services for Women, Children and Families.

    The Gazette

  • GSEIWI Receives Scott County Grant

    Diane Nelson’s Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois will use $150,000 over two grant cycles to improve Camp Conestoga in New Liberty, turning it into a year-round facility. Improvements will include shower renovations, handicapped access, a new horse riding rink and a storm shelter.

  • We want to hear from YOU!

    Tell us about your experience with Girl Scouts this year!

    This spring, Girl Scouts of the USA is introducing a new survey called “Girl Scout Voices Count” and our council will be participating.

    There will be versions for girls, parents, and volunteers—so we can get an idea of what the year was like for everyone.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    Girls: Your chance to tell us about your experience starts May 11. To participate, you need to sign up for the Girl Scout Voices survey panel. If you are 13 or older, you can sign yourself up! If you are 12 or younger, ask your parents to sign you up.

    Parents: Look for an email that tells you how to sign your daughter up for the Girl Scout Voices survey panel. We also want to hear from you and will be inviting you to participate in a parent/guardian survey starting June 1.

    Volunteers: Your opportunity to give feedback will begin June 1. In a few weeks, we’ll be sending you an invitation to participate via email, but you can also keep an eye on our social media feeds for information on when to participate.

    We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

    Got questions? Can’t find the email with the survey invitation? Feel free to get in touch with us at

  • Seniors Receive Early Mother's Day Surprise

    CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Some moms received a sweet surprise a little early from some Girl Scouts in the Corridor. They went to West Ridge Care Center in Cedar Rapids to surprise residents with homemade cards and bouquets of flowers. The girls say they just want to make sure every mom in the area knows that she is remembered and loved on her very special day, regardless of age.

    Read More at: CBS2 Iowa

  • Schaefer Receives Gold Award

    WATERLOO | A Waterloo Girl Scout has earned the highest award in scouting.

    Emily Schaefer earned her Gold Award through Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois after creating Dons of Service: a student club dedicated to organizing service projects.

    Schaefer aimed to help students at Don Bosco High School learn the value of community service. Schaefer and her club have collected 109 pairs of eye glasses for those in need, assisted a nursing home with yard work and volunteered to bell ring and carol for the Salvation Army.

    She plans to pass on contact information to an undergraduate student so Dons of Service will continue for years to come.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award recognizes girls who demonstrate leadership by establishing a long-lasting positive impact on their community. Gold Award projects typically take 80 hours to complete.

    Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

  • Middle Schooler's Minnow Tank

    Middle school girls from across Eastern Iowa shared their ideas on how to make their communities better Thursday, and gathered funds and volunteers to make it happen.

    Success to the Power of She, the Iowa BIG school, and Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois all sponsored a community-inspired entrepreneurial event called “Minnow Tank.”

    The concept is based on the ABC television show “Shark Tank,” where inventors present their ideas to a group of investors.

    Six groups of girls today were the inventors.

    They presented their ideas for community improvement to an audience of “investors” at Mount Mercy University’s Graduate Center.

    Those investors logged on to an app and donated either time, money or both as they heard presentations.

    Those donations will help the girls get started with their projects.

    Project ideas ran the gamut from improving air quality to creating fitness opportunities.

    “We have another team that, because of low reading scores at their school, decided to create reading gardens throughout their community so that people can come get free books,” Girls Scouts of Eastner Iowa and Western Illinois Development Director Maxine Webb said.

    Anyone interested in viewing the projects or getting involved can do so by going to Success to the Power of She website.

    l Comments: (319) 365-9999;


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  • Wears Sash with Pride

    NORTH LIBERTY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--14-year-old Maisy Murray is like any other Girl Scout, she loves making new friends, going horseback riding and most importantly, selling cookies. But the journey has not been easy. Maisy is autistic. And being a Girl Scout has pushed her to do things she usually wouldn't do.  "Any activity she gets nervous about it ahead of time so this is a great way to get her out and not only have fellowship with other girls but also really empowered by what she learns," Noelle Murray, Maisy's mom said. From learning to be a good leader to greeting others, she has learned to focus on her strengths and achieve her goals.  "When you are leading a group you have to be a leader and learn how to tell them what to do and stuff," Maisy said. "I think all of that has been very eye-opening for her and it's very exciting for me to see," Noelle said. "She works on her social skills, she has to meet and greet someone appropriately. We have to do it safely. She knows he can't just wander outside and knock on doors without some parental supervision. I think she just loves reaching out to people." All things Maisy has struggled with in the past. But thanks to Girl Scouts, challenges that she has overcome.  "I know it's harder for her than others. But when she gets going she is committed," Noelle said. A commitment that her mom says,...

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  • Girl Scouting Through Generations

    It was 1943 when Janice Crowe signed up to join Brownie Troop #9.

    More than 70 years later, Crowe credits her Brownie Troop for offering comfort in the midst of a country in chaos.

    “It was war time. Things were scaled back. There was sugar rationing, gas rationing. We were too young to recognize what was going on in the world, but the Girl Scouts was one way to carry on with regular life,” she said.

    Crowe said the most pivotal moment in her life was when she was selected to attend a Girl Scout camp in Cody, Wyoming.  She hadn’t seen much of the world outside of northeast Iowa.

     “This experience opened up the world for me,” she said. “Some of these girls -- who were my age -- had never seen snow before!”

    Crowe’s Girl Scouting experiences didn’t stop when she got married and had children. As soon as her daughters were old enough to get involved with Girl Scouts, they did.

    “I remembered the fun times I experienced in scouting, and I wanted that for my daughters,” she added.

    Crowe’s children have families of their own, and some of her granddaughters are actively involved in Girl Scouts.

    Even now, she spends much of her time involved with Girl Scouts as a co-leader of a troop in Cedar Falls.

     “I’ll keep doing it until somebody says they’ve had enough!” she said.