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Chicago, NW Indiana Girl Scouts merge

December 26, 2008 2:43:18 PM PST
The Girl Scouts organization in Chicago is uniting with suburban and northwest Indiana councils, making it the largest Girl Scout council in the world. With an emphasis on leadership, this is not your mother's girl scout troop, as ABC7's Roz Varon reports:

The new face of Girls Scouts -- courage, confidence and character. The newly merged Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is 94,000 girls strong, with 25,000 adult members.

The council's new CEO, Maria Wynne, is committed to increasing leadership opportunities for today's Girl Scouts.

"I think the biggest challenge is really ensuring that girls understand that Girl Scouts today is a relevant organization that provides meaningful experiences to them," said Wynne.

One of those experiences is Camp CEO, a four-day program where teenage Girl Scouts are matched with individual mentors, successful Chicago businesswomen, who share valuable life lessons.

"Last year I went to Camp CEO and I knew I wanted to do journalism and writing. After Camp CEO there was another opportunity to make a magazine that captured the essence of Camp CEO, and in making that magazine I realized this is really what I want to do," said Zahra Lalani, senior Girl Scout.

Another Girl Scout program focuses on science, technology engineering and math. These workshops allow girls at any grade level to learn about health issues, forensics, programming robots and DNA testing. Health and fitness programs include sports, with lessons on healthy eating.

Elizabeth Hansen, a Girl Scout for 13 years, is proud to share her scouting experiences with her high school peers.

"You would think that they would look down on you, and the stereotype is like, Oh, if you're a Girl Scout, you're a geek, you're a nerd, you're kind of weird and no one really likes you, but it's interesting, they find out I'm a Girl Scout, and they say that's awesome," Hansen said.

Any girls ages 5 through 17 can join Girl Scouts. The experiences and opportunities could change a girl's live forever.

For more information on Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, log on to www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org.


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