Build Courage, Confidence and Character Join Girl Scouts Today!

Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI), gives girls the chance to make memories that last a lifetime! Through programs that include leadership, science and technology, financial literacy, healthy living, and outdoor and environmental awareness, Girl Scouts discover themselves, connect with others and take action to make the world a better place while developing Courage, Confidence and Character. Recruitment season will kick off with rallies across the eastern Iowa and western Illinois area. During this time, girls in kindergarten through seniors in high school can register and/or learn the benefits of joining Girl Scouts.

“Girls are succeeding in many areas today – in the classroom and on the playing field,” says CEO Diane Nelson. “Yet, the majority of girls are uncertain about leadership. Girl Scouts helps girls develop their leadership skills and have the confidence to take on the leadership roles of the future in a fun and safe environment.”

Earlier this year, Girl Scouts of the USA conducted a survey of more than 3,000 parents of registered Girl Scouts about their experience. About 97 percent of those parents said Girl Scouts has been a positive activity for their daughter and 94 percent said that Girl Scouts makes their daughter feel special and important and 96 percent of girls reported trying at least one new thing as a Girl Scout.

“Girl Scouts is for every girl, everywhere and teaches girls that no challenge is too big,” says Nelson. “While membership dues are only $15 a year, the rewards girls, their families and their communities reap are invaluable.”

Girl Scouts is not only limited to girls, adults can join too. “Every adult who volunteers for Girl Scouts can help us bring fun, new experiences to at least five girls. Imagine what that can do to shape the next generation of leaders,” Nelson adds. “Volunteers are men, women, young professionals, retirees and more.”

According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of Girl Scout volunteers (62 percent) believe that their volunteer experience has helped them professionally and 92 percent of Girl Scout volunteers feel that the organization helps them learn or share something new.

For more information about becoming a Girl Scout or a Girl Scout volunteer, call 1-800-798-0883 or visit

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Wonder Women Honoree-Meet Kirstin

KirstinKristin Woodward – Founder and Executive Director of Two by Two

Kristin knew all along that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up.  Her mother, whom she considers her hero, was a teacher and Kristin says, “[my mom’s] passion overflowed to me.” As an educator, Kristin’s main goal was to instill positive character traits within each child. However, during her twenty year teaching career, Kristin saw a shift in family values and school values, coupled with an increase in problems, such as bullying. Events such as the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act and the tragic Columbine shooting disturbed Kristin, and in her last five years as a teacher, she knew she had to do something.  She believes, “the number one way to prevent bullying is to teach empathy.”

With her mom’s help, Kristin began to research character education with an emphasis on empathy. It is obvious almost every child loves puppies and kittens, and Kristin felt strongly that if a child could learn to empathize with an animal, they could do the same with people. She began researching Humane Societies across the nation, to study their methods of educating kindness to animals. And as simple as it seems, the remarkable connection between people and animals is what led Kristin to her ingenious idea of Two by Two Character Development.

Collaborating with national experts in character education was the turning point for the success of Two by Two. By 2005, when Two By Two was made an official 501c3 nonprofit organization, Kristin had a whole team of Dubuque teachers by her side. Two by Two’s staple program teaches children how to be kind, respectful, responsible, and empathetic by caring for a stuffed pet. The programs don’t just teach character education separate from academics—the two are eloquently woven together, so that math and reading are right beside character enrichment. Two by Two now also offers Character Camp as well as resources and classes for teachers, so they can implement these concepts daily into their classrooms.


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Swim, Bike, Run!

Over the course of four weeks, eleven girls prepared for the Quad Cities Hy-Vee Kids Fit Triathlon that took place on Saturday, August 16. Although some were experienced triathletes, most were training for what would be their first ever triathlon.

Those eleven girls were our IronGirls and each had a goal to reach. Some wanted simply to complete the triathlon, while others hoped to place or gain the experience to start a new tradition. Kristen M. said, “[she wanted] to have fun and do [her] best.”

Pool3Girls practicing their swimming at the Two Rivers YMCA
with thanks to their swim coach, Sasha.

And they all had lots of fun! Before they knew it, race day was upon them and everyone was excited. Eight of the eleven gathered bright and early at the Bettendorf YMCA, got their race packets and race bibs, strapped on their timing chips, dropped their bikes off in the transition area, and then waited until their age level was called to head to the pool to begin.

Pool4Eryn R. getting ready for to swim her freestyle.

For the 12-15 year old girls, they swam 200 meters, biked 6 miles, and ran 2 kilometers. The 9-11 year old girls swam 100 meters, biked 4 miles, and ran 1 kilometer.

Race1Gabby M. coming out of transition to go into the running portion of the triathlon.
Race2Courtney H. coming out of transition to go into the running portion of the triathlon.
Race5Paige M. coming out of the swimming pool to get ready for the biking portion of the triathlon.
Race6Asjiona S. coming out of the swimming pool to get ready for the biking portion of the triathlon.
Race7Ryleigh R. coming out of the swimming pool to get ready for the biking portion of the triathlon.
Race9Molly M. running for the last portion of the triathlon.
Race10Kristin M. running for the last portion of the triathlon.

With over 400 kids taking part in the triathlon, all of the girls did extremely well. Four of our IronGirls even qualified for the championships in Des Moines!

This year’s IronGirls Tri Club would not have been possible without the tremendous support we received from UnityPoint Health – Trinity. Thanks to their support, we were able to supply each girl with an IronGirls dri-fit race shirt, water bottle, drawstring bag, along with an array of fruit, bagels, water and Gatorade for triathlon day, and so much more!

TriathlonDay5Congratulations to all of this year’s IronGirls
for doing an amazing job at the 2014 Hy-Vee Kids Fit Triathlon!
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Resident Camp By the Numbers

candid of older girlsgirls holding paddles at pond

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year, Girl Scout Summer Camp is over and school is about to begin. Our amazing counselors have left camp, the horses are taking a well-deserved break, and all the craft supplies have been packed away and we are left with favorite camp songs repeating in our heads. It was a phenomenal summer, with more than double the number of girls Camp Little Cloud has seen in a good long while. Here are some fun facts about summer camp, according to the numbers!

 girls in camp shirt

875 Girls developed their leadership and independence, learned practical outdoor skills like fire building and made friendships to last a lifetime. That is more than double the number of girls who attended camp at Camp Little Cloud last summer.


131 girls received financial assistance, helping to ensure that every girl has the opportunity to experience the outdoors.


60 adults, parents and Girl Scout volunteers explored camp with their girls, having fun and spending time together during weekend sessions for troops and families.

 families at camp


40 camp staff acted as role models, comforted during home sickness and provided a safe and memorable experience.


7 weeks of fun in the sun, with only a little bit of rain!


All of these numbers led up to:

final night campfire 4

1 fantastic summer of resident camp at Camp Little Cloud; we can’t wait to see all of you again next year! Mark your Calendar for January 26, 2015 as we’ll be releasing our summer program guide on our website that Monday! This guide include all the fun camp sessions we have planned at Camp Little Cloud, as well as community day camps, summer Girl Scout events and more!


Don’t forget to share your thoughts with our national delegates – so they can take feedback to the national convention in October! Log on to one of three webinars:

National Convention Webinars

Discussions regarding the Girl Scout Outdoor Experience:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014  at 6:00pm  Register Here

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm  Register Here

Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm   Register Here


Or fill out the short four question survey found here:

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Wonder Women Honoree-Meet Lindsey

For the next five weeks we will post an article of the women who were honored at this year’s “Wonder Women” event in Dubuque.

LindseyLindsey Reiter - Girl Scout Volunteer and Leader

Lindsey was hooked after she discovered the Grand Opera house in first grade and while she genuinely just loved to sing and dance, there was far deeper meaning in her theatrical endeavors. Theatre offered a safe place to explore and express herself; gave her confidence at a time in her life that was often confusing, “I was the only biracial person in my family [and] the only child of color at my school, so it was hard to understand I was different and accept it… [acting] gave me the escape that I wanted. As a college student, Lindsey studied drama, and to this day continues to act in university and community plays.

As an adult, she spent five years working with at-risk youth at both Hillcrest and Community Circle of Care, and she further realized the importance in offering children positive outlets for creative and emotional expression.  Lindsey describes herself as having a “typical single working mom life.” she currently works part time at an in-home daycare and is a server at night and volunteers with her college sorority. She also feels her drama Professor, Amy, was a huge inspiration, “she gave me the confidence to keep moving forward, to push ahead and to look at all the women who had done it before me.  And any role she gave me was to challenge me and to help me think outside the box.”

One of her favorite activities is volunteering as a Leader for her daughter, Estella, Girl Scout troop. Lindsey is an empowering role model, offering the girls as many creative outlets as possible. She remembers being a Girl Scout herself, and the creative and explorative outlets it provided. She is constantly on the go with the large, excited group of girls, taking them to camp, doing community service and, of course, singing, dancing and practicing plenty of imagination, “I’m confident their [involvement] will form them into amazing young leaders…every one of our meetings are wholly girl-led.” When asked why she became a troop leader, Lindsey says she wanted to be “a constant” for her daughter and her friends; she wanted the girls to see her and say, “Oh, that’s Stella’s mom,” a strong, positive role model.

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Waterdroplettes Make a Splash at Events This Summer

Nearly fifty girls attended one of three Waterdroplette events held at Camp Conestoga, Camp L-Kee-Ta and Camp Tahigwa this summer. Girls explored camp and all its wonders, while learning to keep our water clean and healthy.


Girls in 1-5 grade learned the basics of about the water cycle, including ground water, evaporation, condensation and precipitation. Then they made a bracelet to remind them of each of the steps.



After our meal we learned more about ground water, and contamination by making edible aquifers. You can see the different layers including the “contaminated” bottom layer held up by this participant at Camp L-Kee-Ta. The best kind of science ends with a delicious ice cream treat. It might look a little interesting but believe me, even the grown-ups loved it!


  edible aquifer 


To learn how to make your own edible aquifers watch this you tube video made by the Groundwater foundation. 

Kevin Greedey, a professor at Augustana College brought microscopes and led pond exploration at Camp Conestoga. We found out there is a type of bug affectionately called the “Toe Biter” and it does just what its name implies!microscope

Girls also got to catch their own animals from the pond, and caught everything from fly larvae to a small blue gill! Thanks to Kevin’s daughter Aislinn for all her help as a volunteer throughout the day as well!

 catching animals

At Camp Tahigwa, girls also had the chance to learn about solar and wind power with help from Cory O’Brien, staff at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa.

 demonstrating wind powershowing solar car

Girls finished their visit by a well-deserved swim in the pool at Camp Conestoga and Camp L-Kee-Ta. Visitors to Camp Tahigwa were treated to some time on the slip and silde, followed by time to tube down Bear Creek.


Mark your Calendar for January 26, 2015 as we’ll be releasing our summer program guide on our website that Monday! This guide include all the fun camp sessions we have planned at Camp Little Cloud, as well as community day camps, summer Girl Scout events and more!


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A Peek Inside Family Camp Sampler! – A blog post by Outdoor Leadership Experience Intern Gabby B.

This summer Girl Scouts and their families have been getting outside and experiencing Girl Scout Camp Together! We’ve had several opportunities including two partner programs at our resident camp, Camp Little Cloud- He and Me and Girls Night Out, where a significant adult in a girl’s life can attend as a camper, to experience all we have to offer.

In addition, for the first time ever, we offered overnight events for the whole family. Family Camp Samplers took place at both Camp L-Kee-Ta and Camp Tahigwa this summer and we had a blast! Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles …everyone was welcome! Read on for just a taste of the fun we had at Family Camp Sampler.

One of the activities we did at Camp Tahigwa was floating down the creek. Sunny skies and cool breezes made for perfect floating weather!

tubing on creek

A fun group activity was learning all about solar cars from one of our awesome volunteers, Tracy W. a current University of Northern Iowa student who works for the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at UNI.  Families even got to put together their own solar car and test it out!

trying out solar cars

Family Camp Sampler is all about including families in on all the great things girls get to experience at resident camp, like hayrack rides, campfires, and of course, making new friends!

Camp L-Kee-Ta’s session was a scorcher! It wouldn’t be a Midwest summer without heat and humidity.

 A favorite group activity was getting to relax in the beautiful pool. We spent extra time there to excape the heat and I think all our families would have spent the whole day there, if we didn’t have so many other fun things to do!

Families enjoyed learning all about the basics of archery and getting to test their skills! Parents and kids even got a healthy dose of competition and squared off against each other…


 At both Family Camp Samplers, campers got to participate in a variety of hands-on craft stations, including learning how to make-your-own mobile and tie-dye a bandanna.

making a mobile

We also made sure to keep them well fed!

fruit bowl

Interested in attending a Girl Scout event as a family? We are in the midst of planning Family Fall Festival’s at each of our camp properties in October, and have other fun family activities planned all year. For a full listing check out our 2014-2015 Leadership Experience Guide- your guide to all our Girl Scout programs, events and activities.

Do you have a story about what your troop or group did outdoors this summer? Email Angela Ventris with what you did and include any photos you too! Send your e-mail to

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