South suburban spotlight
More than 97,000 Girl Scouts, in 245 communities, came together when the seven councils servicing six Illinois counties (Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake and Will) and four Indiana counties (Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter) merged, creating Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
Merging let the scouts remain a premiere leadership organization for girls, says Sandra Royer, transition vice president of brand and communications for the new council.
"We needed to change to meet the ever-changing challenges facing our girls and volunteers. Combining the councils will bring more opportunities to the girls and to the volunteers," she says.
GSA also gave itself a mini makeover in hopes of keeping up with today’s girls.
A new Girl Scout uniform policy will be implemented this fall. Girls at each grade level will wear one official uniform item, such as a tunic, vest or sash. Girl Scout Juniors and older age groups will wear their vests and sashes with white shirts and khaki pants. Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies may also wear khaki pants and white shirts or opt to wear the full uniform ensembles.
Levels are being redefined and updated. Shifts in grade requirements will better tune into girls’ maturity levels.
Daisies, formerly a one-year program for girls in kindergarten, is now a two-year program that will take them through first grade. Brownies move from grades 1-3 to grades 2-3, Juniors adjust from grades 4-6 to grades 4-5, Cadets change from grades 7-9 to grades 6-8, Seniors change from grades 10-12 to grades 9-10 and a new level for grades 11-12 called Ambassadors will work to meet the needs of the older Girl Scouts.
Girls Scouts also plan a new curriculum this fall. But Girl Scout badge books and handbooks will remain viable resources, Royer says. In addition to petals, try-its and badges, girls will embark on a new journey each year with "The New Girl Scout Experience" curriculum. This new structure focuses on girls better understanding themselves, connecting with others and working to make the world a better place.