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Annual Raise Your Voice Event Empowers Girls to Speak Up & Change the World

Raise Your Voice

In June, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) wrapped up another amazing weekend of Raise Your Voice, the eighth annual leadership and self-discovery conference at Loras College. This year, the theme was “It’s Your Planet, Love It.” Middle and high school girls from across the council region joined GSEIWI to learn from guest speakers and hands on activities about environmental issues and how they can make a positive impact. 

The event drew 80 girls, and several adult volunteers. For Aislinn Geedey, the event was an opportunity to learn and act. “It was about learning about an issue and figuring out a potential solution or a way to raise awareness,” said Aislinn, 17, a Girl Scout from Rock Island, Illinois. “It is a lot of fun. We’ve had a lot of different guest speakers talking to us about topics that pertain to the project.” 

On Sunday, girls ended the weekend by presenting Artivism (activism through art) projects about an issue they felt needed to be addressed. Aislinn and her teammates produced a podcast about food sustainability and presented their findings before an audience of their peers, Girl Scouts officials, and family members. The girls were divided into teams based upon age groups. 

“This is one of my favorite things in Girl Scouts,” said Diane Nelson, CEO of GSEIWI. “It’s amazing that these girls are spending their weekend with all of us pursuing their ultimate goal of changing the world.” 

Younger girls created posters to accompany oral presentations. Older girls created videos or podcasts. Topics included sea turtle conservation, plastic pollution in the ocean, deforestation, penguin habitat loss and nighttime light pollution. 

Ally-Anna Wheeler, 14, of Anamosa, Iowa, collaborated on an art project raising awareness about light pollution. “We learned about how to make sure we’re conserving energy and how to be creative to find different ways to conserve energy,” Wheeler said. “We had to do a project on a problem and what we could do to fix it. It was very interesting. We learned a lot.” 

Aislinn has attended several of the annual Raise Your Voice conferences. “I feel like I’ve learned about a lot of different issues and definitely gone more in-depth than I would have had I just researched it on my own time,” she said. (Credit: Telegraph Herald)