Welcome to Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois. We invite you to explore our GSSI website and discover a whole new world – a world filled with exciting opportunities for girls and adults. Join GSSI and make new friends, learn new skills and go on more adventures. Our girls do amazing things every day – they build and program robots, they fight bullying in schools, they advocate for their environment and take steps to protect it – our girls are making their communities a better place.
In 2016 we are celebrating the Girl Scout Gold Award’s centennial and I invite you to join the celebration. For 100 years, Girl Scouts have been developing and implementing creative, impactful and sustainable Take Action Projects – our girls are changing the World.
This past year was an eventful year for GSSI. We enhanced our Cookie Program by launching Digital Cookie. Through the Digital Cookie platform, our girls now have more ways to participate – through cookie booths, online marketing and through their mobile devices. They are learning to use new business tools, and are having more fun.
Also in 2015, the GSSI Board made some critical decisions regarding our six camp properties. We are committed to providing every Girl Scout with affordable and accessible outdoor opportunities, so that all girls may experience the wonders of nature, explore their natural environment, develop outdoor skills and learn leadership skills. This is our unwavering commitment to our members. As a result, the Board decided to retire three of our six camps. Camp Whispering Oaks was closed October 2015 and Camp Cedar Point’s five year lease will not be renewed in October 2016. Camp Chan Ya Ta is also slated to be closed in the next 12 to 18 months. For real change to be possible, we needed to focus our resources and had to make hard decisions that were in the best interest of ALL our girls.
The loss of a camp can be emotional and we respect the rich legacy of each of our camp properties. In order to continue this legacy, we are committed to offering outdoor program opportunities in areas of our council without GSSI property in close proximity - including the southern and east/northeast part of our council. We have already established collaborations in areas where camps will be closing and have plans to expand these partnerships.
Please join us as we embark on this next phase of our journey. We want you to partner with our Board, our staff and our volunteers as we plan for the future of outdoor programming at our council. We need your passion and energy, your experience and insights - we need YOU to help us move forward.
Our STEM program continues to have phenomenal success. GSSI had 35 Robotics teams throughout the council compete in various regional and state competitions. We are pleased to report that our girls are competing and winning, most recently one of our robotics teams from O’Fallon won the Champion’s Award at the First LEGO League (FLL) regional qualifying tournament beating teams from throughout southern Illinois. They will now represent GSSI at the state robotics competition.
Our In-School Scouting served over 1,800 girls from underserved areas in our community, and, thanks to numerous grants we continue to expand STEM programming in East St. Louis schools. Over $100,000 in Financial Assistance was also provided so that all girls, regardless of their financial circumstances, could benefit from Girl Scouting.
Our commitment to building girls who will shape the future of our nation is stronger than ever and your participation and support continues to be critical to our success. Working together, we are helping our girls in southern Illinois recognize and achieve their full potential.
We laud the efforts of our 4,500 dedicated volunteers who give so willingly of their time and talent and our generous donors who provide much needed resources. On behalf of our girls, GSSI staff and our Board of Directors we thank you and look forward to our continued partnership.
Villie M. Appoo
Chief Executive Officer
The Girl Scout Mission:
Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
The Girl Scout Promise:
On my honor, I will try:
to serve God and my country,
to help people at all times,
and to live by the Girl Scout Law.
The Girl Scout Law:
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
respect myself and others,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.