ROCK FALLS – In recognition of the passion and dedication local Girl Scouts and their volunteers have displayed, the regional powers-that-be are opening a service center to provide assistance, support and encouragement.
“We’re opening a service center in Rock Falls because we have just a really dedicated corps of volunteers, troop leaders, Scouts and families in the area, and they’ve been very vocal about having a Girl Scout presence in their community,” Ann-Marie Soderstrom, public relations manager for Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, said Monday.
The nearest service centers now are in Freeport and Rockford.
New CEO Fiona Cummings, who took office in the fall, said at the time that her goals for the organization were to boost volunteer and girl recruitment, increase community partnerships, and improve resources for current volunteers. It is hoped the center can help accomplish those goals.
Cummings “heard the groundwell of support [for a local service center] and listened,” Soderstrom said.
“This is just proof that people in the Rock Falls area feel strongly about Girls Scouts, and that Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois is just as committed to them, and that’s why we want to be there,” Soderstrom said.
In addition to providing information on Scouting in general and local programs in particular, the center will feature a council store where Scouts and the general public can buy uniforms, books, badges, “and a lot of really girly stuff” such as jewelry, T-shirts, sweatshirts, American Girl-style dolls, stuffed animals ... items that “champion the friendship and sisterhood of being a Girl Scout,” Soderstrom said.
Those interested can go to www.girlscoutshop.com to see what type of items will be sold.
There also will be a small meeting area for volunteers. Membership and community development specialist Amy Suarez and her staff will be available to answer questions and help with online sign-up, Soderstrom said.
Open house Saturday
The public is invited to the grand opening of the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois' newest service center, which will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at 229 First Ave. in Rock Falls.
There will be free family activities, children will be able to make jewelry, and information will be provided on Girl Scout Camp and upcoming local programs. Girls will be able to register for Scouts, and a Girl Scout cookie booth will be open.
The center, designed to serve Girl Scouts and volunteers in Whiteside, Lee, Ogle and Carroll counties, also will have a boutique with uniforms, jewelry, dolls, plush animals and other Scout-themed items that is open to the public.
The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and although walk-ins are welcome, visitors also are advised to call ahead to make sure staff is on hand. The number is 815-997-5100.
There also will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Sauk Valley Chamber of Commerce from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the center.
Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois serves more than 17,000 girls and 4,000 adult volunteers in parts or all of Boone, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago counties.
Girl Scout programs are available for K-12th graders.
Call the number above, or go to www.girlscoutsni.org to learn more.