Get outdoors and give back!

Did you know that this year Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois is celebrating a “Year of Service”? All year we are encouraging, girls, families, troops and volunteers to give time to their community, with an end goal of 100,000 hours served in our community! As the weather cools, and the days grow shorter, consider getting outside and giving back to your community. Service can be big or it can be small, but with all of us making a difference together we can make a big impact!

Here are 5 ideas to get you started!

  1. Rake leaves or do other yard work for a neighbor who could use your help.
  2. Clean up litter outside your school or local park. – Remember, wear gloves when handling trash.
  3. Make an install Little Free Library in your community and stock it with books about the environment.
  4. Research the types of birds that winter in Iowa and Illinois and install a bird feeder near a window to watch as they eat this winter.
  5. Organize a game day for your neighborhood, ask neighbors to each bring a yard game and a snack to share- host in your backyard, or in a nearby park!

Once you’ve done your service make sure to tell us about it! Log on here to read all about our goal to reach 100,000 hours of service, and submit yours:

Attending a Girl Scout Family Fall Festival is a great way to have fun outdoors AND help our Girl Scout Camps, we’ll be providing service opportunities at each of our family fall festivals. Log on to our calendar to learn more about these fun family friendly events.




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DREAM Big- girl driven program with big aspirations!

Did you know that girls are twice as likely as boys to worry that leadership roles will make them seem “bossy”? Encourage the girls in your life to make age appropriate decisions, to give them opportunities to lead in their life!You may have heard the term, “Girl Led” in Girl Scouting- the concept that girls should take an active role in determining what, where, when, why and how they’ll participate in activities. We find these to be an important idea that troops and volunteer’s assisting individual girls use to foster girl empowerment and decision-making. By allowing girls the chance to make these decisions, you’re giving her the skills she needs to become a strong, confident young woman.

The DREAM event scheduled for October 25, 2014 from 9 a.m. -4 p.m., designed by and for middle school girls, strives to reach that “Girl Led” goal every year. DREAM stands for Determined to Reach, Excel, Aspire and Master, and is the goal of this daylong event , now in its eighth year held in downtown Dubuque. Girls provide input into the sessions they would like to participate in, and then we work with local downtown community partners to provide interesting hands on activities on those suggested topics. This year’s sessions include career exploration in the following fields led by local community partners, cosmetology, animal training, forensic science, robotics and engineering, film making, banking, health and fitness and fine arts.   Girls select their top session choices on their own, rather than with a troop or group of friends, to foster independence and to encourage girls to choose based on their own interest, not those of others. They still have plenty of time to be with friends, during our community booth hour, and over our lunch all group session focused on building healthy relationships. The cost is $25 for current Girl Scouts and $35 for non-registered girls, to become registered members. The registration deadline is October 9, and some sessions often fill before the deadline, so be sure to sign up today! Read more and print off a copy of the registration form here:

To learn more about the importance of allowing girls to become confident leaders check out some leadership tips at

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Wonder Women Honoree-Meet Catherine

Sister CatherineSister Catherine Dunn- Former President of Clarke University

As a child, Catherine was involved in many extracurricular activities, including 4H Club and Girl Scouts.  She also had a love for Catholicism. However, her parents left the religion when she was very young and moved to a neighborhood without a nearby Catholic Church. Local families attended services, though none were Catholic. Still, Catherine would always tag along, which exposed her to an array of worship experiences including Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist, “I wouldn’t change that for the world. I was enriched by it… I learned we all worship the same God; we just do it in different ways.”

However, in high school Catherine was taught by The Sisters of Charity, BVM, who made a very strong impression on her. She was attracted to their work, and she made the decision to become a Sister. Her mother disowned her because of the decision (her father had died tragically at 45) and the communication with her sister was cut off due to her mother’s estrangement, but was later renewed when she reached adulthood.

She attended Arizona State University for her undergraduate and graduate degrees, and after teaching a summer course at Clarke University in 1973, was offered a permanent faculty position. She quickly advanced to Education Department Chair and in 1979, accepted a position as head of the Development Office. In 1983, the President of Clarke resigned and Catherine was asked to assume the presidency by the board.  She initially turned the position down, saying she felt it was necessary for the school to perform a national candidate search. Catherine was later elected president against the competition.

Shortly after Catherine began her position as President in 1984, a massive fire destroyed one third of the school.  Forty percent of the library was lost, along with all of the diplomas for students who were expected to graduate in two days. Although it was a challenging time, Catherine displayed true leadership, as she guided the school through the ordeal with incredible grace, focus and resourcefulness. When the insurance company told Catherin to simply “clean up and restore” the destroyed school rather than rebuild it, she boldly advised the board to hire a company to officially inspect the damage. They agreed and the company ran their tests; the insurance company gave the college the money to rebuild. Catherine was unspeakably moved by both the internal and external community’s generosity in the aftermath. Everyone came together to help, one business even reprinted all of the diplomas for the graduating students.

Catherine has served on several boards, commissions, and national education and civic organizations. Her humanitarianism, governmental and volunteer activities have led to multiple awards and honors. Currently, Catherine continues to donate her time as a gift officer every day for Clarke.

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Family Fun at Girl Scout Camp This Fall

The weather is cooling off, apples are in prime season, and pumpkin spice flavors everything- all signs that fall is here! As the leaves begin to turn, now is a fantastic time to get your family outdoors. Did you know? Spending time in nature, even just for an afternoon, has shown to improve concentration and creative reasoning among children and adults.

Girl Scouts provides a safe and fun environment to get girls outdoors which is important for their development as future leaders. In fact, a recent study found that girls who participated in outdoor activities in Girl Scouting on a monthly basis were stronger challenge seekers and problem solvers. These girls also reported to have a higher satisfaction in their Girl Scout experience overall! Even casual activities such as playing outdoors, talking a walk, and going on outdoor field trips (the most common outdoor experiences for Girl Scouts) can be a positive force in a girl’s life. Participating more often in these activities give girls an edge in problem solving and specifically showed a positive effect on challenge seeking, especially for girls in grades 4 and 5*.

We have a variety of events scheduled this fall and into the spring to keep your girl active in the outdoors every month to ensure they get the most out of their Girl Scout experience. Next month we have a special event planned at each of our camps for the entire family.

Family Fall Festivals are scheduled at each of our camp properties and your family is invited! These fun open house style events run from 1:00pm – 4:00pm and will offer a variety of activities including hay rack rides and tours of camp, crafts, games and of course – S’mores! Kids can even wear their Halloween costume for one more opportunity to show it off! Cost is $5 per person, child or adult. Register for one of these great events on-line today at

October 11
Camp Conestoga (New Liberty, IA)
Camp Little Cloud (Epworth, IA)
Registration deadline: September 25

October 18
Camp L-Kee-Ta (Danville, IA)
Registration deadline: October 2

October 25
Camp Tahigwa (Dorchester, IA)
Registration deadline: October 9


*Interested in reading more about the importance of getting Girl Scouts outside and to Girl Scout Camp? Read the Girl Scout Research Institute report More than S’mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts’ Outdoor Experiences


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Wonder Women Honoree-Meet Joey

JoeyJoey Taylor – Executive Director of United Way Dubuque Area Tri-States

Idealistic living has not always been part of Joey Taylor’s way of life. She was raised in a single parent home with no involvement from her father and grew up the oldest of five children where much of her sibling’s daily care was left up to her. Making ends meet was a daily struggle for her mother where, oftentimes, paying the heating or electric bill proved challenging. “We were very fortunate to have the assistance of some amazing angels who made sure we, as children, had a Christmas and food for Thanksgiving. I never knew of any other way of living than hand-me-down clothing.”

Joey had her oldest son, Colten, when she was fifteen years old and entering her sophomore year of high school. Adults around her kept their expectations of her low, as statistics showed she was barely a candidate for high school graduation. Joey only saw their doubt in her as the challenge needed to propel her toward success. She graduated from high school and went on to obtain her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Clarke University. Joey feels lucky to have been blessed with some very supportive women in her life, who helped shape her as a future leader. She gives the example of a grade school teacher who saw her leadership potential and sent Joey to an all-expense-paid camp for at-risk girls, helping her develop her leadership skills, while giving her a chance to be a child, “never underestimate the power you have in a child’s life. This teacher saw potential in me ever before I saw it in myself.”

After college, Joey accepted a position with Hospice of Dubuque, as Director of Fund Development and Public Relations. From there, she became the Director of Public Relations and Charitable Giving with the Dubuque Racing Association (DRA). While in that role, Joey found immense interest in government and the advocacy side of non-profit work, witnessing the impact one person’s voice carries. While with the DRA, Joey also became passionate about the work of the United Way and served in various volunteer capacities, including workplace campaign coordinator for Mystique, business division chair and, eventually, campaign co-chair of the overall United Way campaign.

After seven years with the DRA, Joey transitioned to her current position as Executive Director of the United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States. She has, excitedly, taken on the challenge of moving United Way in a new direction and has already done extensive research on some of the highest functioning and most innovative United Ways in the country. She feels it is significant to see women in leadership positions within the community and her own experiences brings a unique perspective on advancing issues within our community, particularly where individuals face vulnerability surrounding poverty, health and education, and who may not have a voice of their own.


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Songs, S’mores and More- a weekend just for adults at Camp Conestoga

The volunteer led Camping Subcommittee invites you to attend Songs, S’mores and More- a weekend at Camp Conestoga just for adult camp alumnae and Girl Scout volunteers! Relive  camp memories, and make new ones during this weekend dedicated to all things outdoors. All Adult Girl Scout Volunteers are invited, whether you have been to camp as a girl, or if you have never visited any of our facilities!

We have two options filled with fun: an overnight for Girl Scout Camp Alumnae and a Saturday afternoon for any adult who loves camp, or wants to experience it for the first time! Here is our schedule of events:

Alumnae Overnight
For anyone who has ever attended Girl Scout Camp, wherever you attended!
6 p.m. Friday, September 19 – 12 p.m. Saturday, September 20
$15 per person, includes, supplies, activities, lodging and breakfast on Saturday

 Friday Evening- Spend the evening sharing stories, singing songs around a campfire and help us create a camp banner for 2014, then spend the night in a tent or cabin.

Saturday - Start the day off with breakfast, then explore camp through a variety of activities including canoeing, zip line, archery, and tours of camp by hayrack. You’ll also have time to meet with Girl Scout staff to discuss the designs for our new facility and share your ideas for making camp the best it can be for girls.

 Exploration Day for Volunteers and Alumnae
For any adult Girl Scout volunteers and Girl Scout Camp Alumnae.
12 p.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 20
$5 per person, includes all activities and supplies, please bring a sack lunch.

 Saturday Afternoon- Invite the adult volunteers you know to come and experience all that camp has to offer, because why should girls have all the fun? Bring a sack lunch and visit with other volunteers from 12pm – 1pm, then learn about what camp has to offer by experiencing it yourself! We are encouraging adult volunteers who have never been out to camp before to spend an afternoon sampling some of the favorite activities we offer including archery, canoeing or even challenge yourself on our zip line. You’ll also have time to meet with Girl Scout staff to learn more about the plans for our new facility and share your ideas for making camp the best it can be for girls!

Camp Skills Training
For any adult Girl Scout volunteers interested in taking girls camping.
5:30 p.m. Saturday, September 20 – 12 p.m. Sunday, September 21
$20 per person

 Saturday evening – Sunday – Camp Skills Training provides skills and resources to help girls plan an outdoor program, including fire building, cooking, safety planning and progression.

To Register
To find out more and to register on-line, log on to ebiz (our registration system) and search for Songs, S’mores and More:

Or use our paper registration form found here:

The camping subcommittee is also looking for volunteers throughout the weekend, to help lead songs and tours of camp and help with activities. If you are interested in volunteering please let me know!

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Wonder Women Honoree-Meet Jeanne

JeanneJeanne Lauritsen- Founder of the Women’s Giving Circle

Jeanne is a people person, who loves to connect, collaborate and communicate. She takes this step further than most however, because she just can’t help but genuinely care about people’s lives. She believes her greatest talent, her gift, is caring about people. Jeanne has a very strong work ethic, and she remembers how difficult it was being a single mother, putting her son through college and maintaining self-sufficiency—in careers that were often challenging and rewarding. While studying Psychology and English at Clarke University, Jeanne began work at the Roshek Fashion Department. This led to her to 25 year career in the fashion world, followed by fifteen years in what she calls the “search business,” where she did account development and worked to place people into careers.

After meeting her late husband Bruce, she eventually made the decision to retire and support him in his business. However, this did not stop her learning curve in all of their business adventures; she felt she was able to apply the skills she had gained from her previous careers. She supported him with his business up until he became sick with cancer. Jeanne witnessed incredible kindness from others that she had never before experienced firsthand. Individuals poured their energy into making sure Bruce, and patients like him, were comfortable and well cared for, with dignity. Places like the Mayo Clinic’s Hope Lodge exhibited incredible community that inspired Jeanne. She saw a need to help ensure Hope Lodge’s survival—and helped to create a similar space for cancer patients in Iowa City.

When Bruce began Hospice, Jeanne witnessed a unique compassion from the organization staff and was influenced by their help. She quickly found herself “emotionally, financially and physically involved in supporting the less fortunate,” sparking her deep interest in nonprofit work. In 2007, Jeanne became the Founding Circle Leader for the Women’s Giving Circle, at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. This group brings women together to work toward improving “the lives of disadvantaged women and their children.” Soon after, she accepted a board position with the Foundation. She feels it is “an honor and a privilege” to be doing this work and has loved learning about local nonprofits.”

Alongside her nonprofit endeavors, Jeanne considers herself a music lover and is closely involved with the School of Music in Dubuque. She has annually hosted a group of talented music professionals in her home to raise funds for the Northeast Iowa School of Music (NISOM), and loves to see young people involved in culture-building opportunities.

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