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  • OOPS! Robotics Selected as Connect Award Finalist at FIRST Tech Challenge Illinois State Tournament


    Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' OOPS! Robotics was selected as the Connect Award 3rd place finalist at the FIRST Tech Challenge Illinois State Tournament on Feb. 24-25 at Elgin Community College. 

    FTC is designed for students in grades 7-12 to compete head to head, in an alliance format against other teams. Teams design, build and program their robot using a variety of programming languages and sound engineering principles, then plan strategies for competition. Awards are given for competitive performance as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

    The Connect Award is presented to the team that most connects with their local STEM community. To win, a team must submit an engineering notebook with a strategic plan which highlights the team's goals and the steps they will take to reach those goals.  The team must also provide clear examples of the connections they have been developing within engineering, science and technology communities. 

    Oops! Robotics is coached by Kristi Smith and Mary Buchanan of O'Fallon and consists of middle and high school girls from Belleville, Granite City and O'Fallon.  Team members are Katherine Buchanan, Mary Buchanan, Mackenzie Butchee, Allie Huller, Kimberly Melton, Chloe Schlosser, Kailee Schlosser, Amber Smith, Leah Walton, Allison Zaiz and Megan Zaiz.

  • 2017 Girl Scout Cookie Weekend: Find Girl Scout Cookies Near You


    Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will join other Girl Scout councils across the country February 24-26 to participate in National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend 2017, celebrating all the fun, learning, and excitement Girl Scouts have experienced while selling cookies for 100 years. 

    To celebrate, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will kick off its spring Girl Scout Cookie Booth Weekends.  During Cookie Booth Weekends, troops across southern Illinois set up shop at local venues including shopping centers, gas stations, places of worship and at community events.  Girls work together as a team to sell cookies directly to customers, while developing their abilities in goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.     

    Additional council-wide cookie Booth Weekends will be held March 4-6 and March 10-12.  Area troops may continue to hold cookie booths through the end of spring. Find a local Girl Scout cookie booth by visiting www.girlscoutcookies.org or using the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder app, free for iOS or Android phones or mobile devices.  In addition to cookie booths, customers can order Girl Scout Cookies online through March 19 using Girl Scouts’ safe, interactive Digital Cookie platform.  Digital Cookie combines traditional sales activities with today’s technology to help girls learn more about online marketing and ecommerce.  Girls are able customize their personal sa...



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  • GSSI Robotics Teams Excel at State Tournament


    Three Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois robotics teams excelled while competing among 64 teams participating in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Central Illinois State Tournament at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana on Saturday, January 28. 

    FLL is a robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds which is designed to get children excited about science and technology, as well as teach them valuable life skills. Along with programming robots, teams are also evaluated on an elaborate research project, as well as how well they demonstrate FLL Core Values, which include teamwork, collective learning, active participation and gracious professionalism. After practicing and preparing for months, teams meet at regional qualifying tournaments to be graded on the three elements, with top teams advancing to state competition.

  • 2017 Girl Scout Cookie Program Starts January 7


    The 2017 Girl Scout Cookie Program is here and this year marks the celebration of 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies!  Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will kick off the iconic cookie program January 7-8 during the first Cookie Booth Weekend of the season. At these Cookie Booths, customers can purchase cookies directly from troops set up at local establishments throughout southern Illinois.  From Jan. 7 to Jan. 28, Girl Scouts will take orders for the delicious treats--which will be delivered in late February. To get connected to a Girl Scout in your area, please call 800.345.6858.  Customer demand for Girl Scout Cookies following delivery has been high historically, so additional Cookie Booth Weekends will be held from late February through March.

    In addition to cookie booths and traditional orders, girls will also be able to sell Girl Scout cookies online through a safe, interactive platform called Digital Cookie.  Digital Cookie combines traditional sales activities with today’s technology to help girls learn more about online marketing and ecommerce.  Girls are able customize their personal sales website and then use email to invite friends and family to order cookies from the comfort of their home.

    The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country and generates immeasurable benefits for girls and their communities. Girls develop five valuable skills: goal setting, decision making, money managemen...



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  • Listen to “Watch Me Shine,” Girl Scouts’ New Anthem


    This summer Liz Rose, songwriter and two-time Grammy award winner, and Emily Shackelton, singer/songwriter on the popular TV show Nashville, combined their awesome skills to write “Watch Me Shine,” our new, inspiring Girl Scout anthem.  

    With the help of three remarkable girls from Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, and their mom, Juliet Shavit (cofounder of Breakthrough Music and business producer on the song), Liz and Emily (the vocalist on the song) were able to make “Watch Me Shine” come to life to inspire millions of girls around the country—amazing!

    We hope that “Watch Me Shine” will inspire you to lead like a Girl Scout, and awaken the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader) in you, regardless of your age, gender, or background. There’s an opportunity for anyone and everyone to get involved!

    Download “Watch Me Shine” Now: iTunes | Amazon | Google Play |...



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  • Sarah Durbin hired as GSSI CEO


    Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is pleased to announce that Sarah Durbin has been hired as its Chief Executive Officer.  Durbin from Edwardsville has extensive background in strategic planning, financial management, business and organizational development and fundraising.  Prior to serving as GSSI CEO, Sarah was the Executive Director for Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois.

    “I am honored to have been chosen as the new CEO for Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois,” said Sarah.  “Coming from a family of Girl Scouts, I have always been drawn to the Girl Scouts’ unwavering commitment to empowering all girls.  Girl Scouts has played an integral role in shaping the woman I am today and has given me the passion and values to use my skills and experience to lead GSSI in a way that provides all girls throughout our council opportunities to lead and achieve success whatever the topic or the way they choose to learn and explore.  GSSI belongs to all of us regardless of where we live within the council or how we choose to participate and I am so excited to play a role in positively influencing our girls who will be tomorrow’s leaders,” Sarah added.

    She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL.  Sarah is a Girl Scout Lifetime Member and earned the highest Girl Scout award – First Class – now called the Girl Scout Gold Award.  Her past leadership roles included being Transitional Vice Pre...



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  • Girl Scout Gold Award Centennial Feature – Sophia (Thomasson) Cykert


    Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world through their Girl Scout Gold Award projects.  The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering herself, but also to make the world a better place for others.  As the Girl Scout Gold Award celebrates 100 years of girls changing the world, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is highlighting some of our shining stars who exemplify the greatness of this award.

    Sophia (Thomasson) Cykert always knew the importance of education.  Growing up in Belknap, IL, she was able to see the positive impact her mom was able to make in the lives of children through her job as a teacher.  In addition, Sophia’s parents always encouraged her and her sister to actively pursue learning, whether it be to simply satisfy a curiosity or obtain a degree.  She wanted to help instill that trait in the youth in her community, so she created programs to incorporate literacy and character education lessons for children and drastically expanded the library at the Massac County Housing Authority for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.  Because of her project, children could access these programs and books when they came in for the existing lunch program.  The children could even opt to keep their favorite books – with some of them taking home the first books th...



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