am I Excited for International Day of the Girl?
Today is our opportunity to call special attention to major issues happening
right now that supports this 100% youth-led movement for gender justice and
youth rights. Gender inequality is a reality we can’t ignore and the issue
isn’t confined to developing countries. The World Economic Forum ranks the United States
51st in terms of gender equality out of 149 countries!
United Nations established the official “International Day of the Girl Child”
to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for efforts to improve girls’ lives,
providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full
potential. The U.S. Day of the Girl is a bold move on the part of girls and
their supporters to break the cycle of discrimination and violence and promote
and protect the full benefits of their human rights.
How are you celebrating? Is there something you can DO to make a difference? Yes, there is!
There is NO organization better aligned with these goals than Girl Scouts! We have the most experience in girl leadership development throughout the world. On this special day, we’re lifting up the Gold Award– a prestigious award earned by more than 1 million girls since 1916. Gold Award Girl Scouts are the visionaries and the doers who take on a major challenge project to “make the world a better place.” The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable girl—proof that not only can she make a difference, but that she already has. Seniors and Ambassadors (9th-12th graders) who earn the Gold Award take action on issues that are of great concern to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond. They take on challenges as diverse as Alzheimer’s Disease education and support, teenage suicide intervention, environmental cleanup, literacy reading programs and STEM discovery.
Research shows that Gold Award Girl Scouts have more positive life outcomes as adult women– measured by volunteerism, community and civic engagement, education level and socioeconomic status. We can proudly claim the work of Gold Award Girl Scouts address the critical issues in today’s world head on. Get inspired by watching Girl Scouts’ powerful 30 second PSA, The Mark of the Truly Remarkable and get to know some of our region’s Gold Award Girl Scouts.
On this Day of the Girl, I ask you to Stand Up for Girls. You can take action right now! Contribute to Girl Scouts, volunteer as a community partner or mentor and contact ME to learn about our movement and become a Champion for Girls by joining the 51% Solution!
As you kick off your Girl Scout year, you are likely
starting to brainstorm activities and events that require funds. As you start
planning for these expenses, we want to remind you of a few guidelines around money
earning as a troop. Before you dive in, be familiar with the
5 Steps to Money Earning as a Girl Scout Troop!
Participate in Council
Product Programs: Candy, Nuts & Magazine and Cookies – These are the
primary money earning sources for troops across our council and across the
Assess troop needs – You will be required to
indicate how you will use the funds generated by your additional money earning
activity. If you are earning money for a
trip, complete your travel application and receive approval prior to fundraising
Brainstorm with your troop what type of
additional activities you want to do to earn money – The process should be girl
led and age appropriate.
Determine if you need to purchase additional
insurance for non-members (common in babysitting fundraisers) and do so at
least 2 weeks prior to event.
Evaluate – How did it go? What did your girls learn? Is this an
activity you would recommend to another troop? Share your ideas and experiences.
Do’s and Don’ts:
Do: Be creative,
use your skills, talk to other troops, utilize your network, get parental
permission and girl buy-in, follow all local health and safety laws as well Safety
for other organizations, endorse or campaign for any public or elected
official, sell or endorse commercial products, use games of chance like raffles
or lotteries, or solicit money or in-kind donations directly. This includes
crowd funding like GoFundMe (the only exception is Girl Scouts with approval
working on a Gold Award).
For more information on Troop Money earning, refer to Troop
Leader Central or communicate with your Troop Experience Manager!
by Joy Wheeler, CEO, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri
Women in STEMM
I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch Girl Scout Supporter Panela Leung win
a STEMMy Award from the Central Exchange today. These
awards celebrate the accomplishments of all women in Kansas City who are
setting trends and breaking barriers in their STEMM (science, technology,
engineering, mathematics or medicine) fields.
We nominated Panela as an Enterprising Innovator in the
technology field, based on her work as a go-getter and innovator helping fuel
the pipeline of STEMM leaders. Her business, Generation
Maker Lab, supports
girls and boys, and she puts a laser focus on the engagement of girls. She
volunteers her time to lead local Girl Scouts astronomy programs, expertly
helping girls see the power of STEMM and how their ideas and big thoughts can
be put into action. She is truly building the pipeline and showing girls what
is possible by sharing about her career and community work and providing
hands-on activities that capture the imagination.
Did you know that women make up 50 percent of the college-educated workforce but hold only 24 percent of the STEMM jobs in Kansas City? In the manufacturing sector alone, the country is short 1 million workers right now, and that number is multiplying. How do we think we’re going to close that gap if we don’t harness the potential of ALL potential workers, including our future females who will enter the workforce.
Girl Scouts is how.
As we prepare girls for a lifetime of leadership, we have pledged to build the
STEM pipeline by 2.5 million girls by 2025. The STEM programming we provide
girls from Kindergarten to age 18 is critical to keeping young girls who are
interested in STEM pursuing that dream.
Just a few
examples: We have dozens of badges in STEM-related categories, such as
Naturalist, Digital Art, Science and Technology, Innovation and Financial Literacy.
And we hold numerous community partner events, where girls get hands-on with
the practical application of fields like computer programming, science,
engineering and finance.
So, we send kudos to Central
Exchange for recognizing local women for STEMMy leadership. And we join with
them in the commitment to support The 51% Solution to our workforce challenges.
This summer 12 Girl Scout
Cadettes, Seniors & Ambassadors traveled across the country to explore the
American Southwest with Girl Scout staff and volunteers. They visited five
states, six National Parks, hiked 30 miles, slept at five different campsites
and made countless memories and overcame obstacles. Read how Hayley overcame
her own personal challenge on the trip!
June 1st through June 8th I went on a Southwest excursion
where we went to national parks in each state of Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and
New Mexico. We went on multiple hikes that had few challenges along the way but
were very worth it. As we saw what I would say is some of the most beautiful
sites in my life.
One of my favorite sites I got to see was at Arches
National Park, were we got the opportunity to see Delicate Arch. I was told
that it was a hard hike but had the most beautiful site and so I took the
challenge because not only did I want to see the site but I wanted to be able
to say I made the hike. However it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be for
the hike was long and was basically made up of an uphill that was huge. When we
had started I was trying to motivate myself but I’m not going to lie it was
kind of hard for I felt I couldn’t breathe. It made sense because I have asthma
so that didn’t make things any easier, but I still really tried to make it but
I just couldn’t. I got up a little of the uphill until I told myself I couldn’t
do it. I had felt hopeless as I saw the other girls in the group walk up the
hill because I knew they were much better than me. As I sat there watching
everyone walk past a girl name Adele sat near me she also had challenges. I
almost felt a little comfort because I guess it wasn’t just me that was alone
facing a challenge.
My group leader M.C. was talking to me. It was pretty much
small talk at first but then she started motivating me and Adele she actually
believed we could do it. It was inspiring to see that she actually had belief
So we decided as a small group to keep going and face every
challenge not alone but together. So we set goals for ourselves as we would go
to whatever we thought was a good place to stop and take a break, but with that
we would go to shrubs or cracks in the canyon and name those things as we took
a break. We thought it was a fun way to waste time and to my shock once I knew
it we were already over the huge hill I thought was impossible to get up. I was
proud of myself I was just so happy I could do it, it’s a great accomplishment
We passed the other group that had gone up before us as they
were going down and that’s when I finally got it realize I can do it and it’s
not a matter of who’s better than who cause we all only go at our own pace.
When we finally got to delicate arch I was so excited and I finally gained a
little reassurance in myself. So if it wasn’t for M.C or Adele I don’t think I
would of made it so I’m so glad we were all there.
This hike overall means so much to me for it was teamwork
that made it work. It was so worth it because of the challenges that made it so
I guess exciting and then when you finally get to your destination you feel
great. I just want to thank everyone on that trip because I got to experience
things beyond this world and it was amazing. I would 10/10 do this all over
again cause that’s just how worth it, it was.
Our next Outdoor
Excursion is to Rocky Mountain National Park from July 26 – August 1, 2020 and
registration will open in October. Don’t miss the chance to overcome your own
personal obstacles and feel on top of the world!
Have you heard about our latest partnership with Slcket?!
We’re teaming up with this rising tech company in Kansas City to connect High
School Girl Scouts with exceptional professionals from our community. But why
is this important? What will girls gain out of this? We caught up with Slcket’s
Joy Broils, Director of Community Relations, to help you get a better idea of
what mentorship is, and why it’s so important as you anticipate and prepare for
your next steps in life!
What does it mean to have a mentor and what can our mentees expect from this
experience? Having a mentor gives each girl a point of contact within a field
of expertise in which they have interest; someone available for questions,
guidance, advice, or hands-on experience to help the girls make more informed
decisions regarding their future.
What advice do you have for girls and their parents / caregivers today to best
prepare for their future?
My number one piece of advice for every girl growing up in today’s
world is to find your voice and use your voice. When I was a teenager, I
was really shy outside of the classroom. I liked raising my hand in class
and answering questions, but that changed when kids started to bully me about
always having the answer. So I let those kids and their mean comments
affect my behavior in class and my shyness completely took over every part of
my life. I lost the little bit of confidence that I had and lost my
desire to share my thoughts and ideas – I
lost my voice. It took me a long time to find it again and realize
that my thoughts and ideas were just as important as everyone else’s.
Fast forward to today, I make sure that if I’m in a meeting or at a networking
event that I’m sharing my thoughts and ideas. Sometimes that takes
persistence, especially if I am in a big group, but I have found that
confidence and persistence are keys to being heard. I don’t have to be
the loudest person in the room, but through confidence and persistence, my
thoughts and ideas (my voice) will be heard.
What does networking with professionals mean and why is it important?
Networking is a large part of what I do in my role at
Slcket. Networking is meeting new people, building relationships, having
a one-on-one conversation to get to know each other better. It is very important
to make connections in whatever industry you are in. The friendships I
have developed through networking are vital and those friends are among the
first people I go to for advice, referrals, and opportunities. Those
friends are champions for me and I am in turn champions for them. So many
times, a person will walk into a networking group for the first time and be
discouraged that they didn’t come out of that event with multiple sales and/or
referrals. That person didn’t take time to build relationships with other
people at the event. They were just looking for the quick sale. In
the business world, most people feel more comfortable doing business with
someone that they have built a relationship with rather than someone who is a
complete stranger. People feel good about making a referral to a friend
if the person they are referring has done work for them before or is a
friend. Imagine if you referred a complete stranger to your friend who
needed help with painting their house. That referral could work out great
or be a complete disaster. If you had referred someone who had painted
your house or you had built a relationship with through networking, you know
that your friend will have a much better experience.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I have a bracelet with the inscription “Admire someone else’s
beauty without questioning your own.” I think this actually goes
beyond beauty. Admire someone else’s sports skills… Admire
someone else’s character traits…. The list could go on and on. We
spend so much time looking at what other people around us are doing and
comparing ourselves to other people. Instead I think we should admire
someone else’s ________ (you can fill in
the blank) and at the same time admire our own. Having that
confidence is hard, really at any age, but especially when you are a
teenager. Remember you have your individual, unique qualities and embrace
those qualities as uniquely YOU!
Are you ready to embrace your own qualities and start building
connections with those in fields you aspire to join one day? Register
for this mentorship program that kicks off with a casual pre-meeting on Sept.
11 where we’ll get you prepped and ready for the kick-off event at Slcket on
Sept. 18 where you’ll meet perspective mentors!
Last year, Girl Scout Brownie Troop 4070 participated in the
FIRST LEGO League Jr. (FLL) program thanks to support from KC STEM Alliance and
IBM! These go-getters split their bi-weekly meetings up, alternating between
traditional Girl Scout meetings and working on the FLL Jr. curriculum which is
designed to introduce kids to STEM concepts. From September through March Troop
4070 worked in three sub teams to build and program their WEDO 2.0 robots and
design an outer space city. The program culminated with the FLL Jr. EXPO where
they showcased all they learned and what their robot could do with a little friendly
Troop leader Alanna Beare was instrumental in facilitating the program in collaboration with KC STEM Alliance and additional material funds provided through IBM, where she works. Through FLL Jr., Girl Scouts earned badges in both Think Like a Programmer and Think Like an Engineer journeys.
“The FLL program is directly aligned to the new STEM programs
developed by Girl Scouts of the USA. Overall the skills they learn by working
in small teams lends itself to Girl Scout Mission,” Alanna said.
Troop 4070 enjoyed their experience so much, they are going to do a second year with the program with new challenges and more LEGO robot programming next year!
KC STEM Alliance is pleased to partner with GSKSMO by embarking on a new
strategy to engage girls in creative problem solving through the development of
STEM skills. The core values of FIRST LEGO League are directly aligned with
the mission of Girl Scouts. The KC STEM Alliance partnership with GSKSMO
provides an opportunity to reach more girls helping them create their own
future and building a talent pipeline for Kansas City,” Martha McCabe,
Executive Director of KC STEM Alliance said.
your troop interested in participating in the FLL program? The KC STEM Alliance
will be sponsoring additional teams this year and your troop could be one of
them! For more information, contact our STEM Community Program Manager, Kate
Pankey at email@example.com. There will be an informational meeting on Aug. 24 for
those interested in learning more!
Joy Wheeler, CEO, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri
time for the Girl Scouts to put a stake in the ground. That stake marks a
future where girls and women – who represent 51% of our population – become the
solution to the serious workforce challenges that are weighing down our
economy. A future where the gender gaps in pay, socioeconomic status, funding
and power no longer exist.
probably realize that we’re pretty far from that future right now. But I want
you to know today that the Girl Scouts are driving us there. We’re preparing
Kindergarten – 12th-grade girls for a lifetime of leadership and
workforce impact. And we need your help to succeed. We need you to join us in
Standing Up for G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders).
Imagine an equitable
Take a few minutes and imagine with
me what is possible. Picture a world where the United States is the definitive
leader in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – precisely because
we have learned to harness the power of all people to lead in those jobs,
regardless of gender. Consider how your business could excel if you had access
to a complete, well-trained and flexible pipeline of workers at all times. What
would it be like if Capitol Hill, our board rooms and our leadership teams
reflected the gender balance of our adult population?
just think about the possibilities for our country if every child had the
opportunity to succeed. What would happen if girls had the same socioeconomic,
mental and physical health status as boys? And how would it affect our economy
and our social programs if women received the same pay as men doing similar
would like that, wouldn’t you? I mean, who wouldn’t?
We have a long way to
go There’s no disputing we are
quite far from achieving that vision of the future. And it seems like we’re
actually going backward right now. The U.S. can’t fill the increasing demand
for STEM workers – not with men and not with women. And is it any wonder? We
know that more than 80 percent of young girls are interested in STEM jobs, but
only 13 percent push through the gender bias and pursue this career path. The
Smithsonian estimated that 2.4 million STEM jobs would go unfilled last year.
women are hugely under-represented in government: Around a quarter of state and
federal legislators are women. Women hold only 20 percent of corporate board seats.
And only 6 percent of CEOs are female.
that level of representation, is it any wonder that the health and
socioeconomic status of girls is lagging, too? Sadly, our Girl Scout research
tells us more girls are living in poverty today than they were 10 years ago. And at the current rate of change, the
gender pay gap – with women earning just 80 cents for every dollar made by men
– isn’t expected to close for another 90 years. Fully two-thirds of minimum wage
jobs in the U.S. are held by women.
can get us there Clearly, women can be the solution to these social and economic gaps.
And Girl Scouts are a key contributor to the 51% solution. The Girl Scouts
bring 100+ years of experience and a research-based approach to providing
topnotch, innovative programming in financial literacy, STEM, healthy living,
environmental stewardship and global citizenship, delivered in the way girls
learn best. We are preparing girls for a lifetime of leadership – ensuring
women have a voice in all settings that is commensurate with their 51% stake.
Our programs connect girls with
female role models in their communities. They immerse young women in a wide variety of opportunities and
experiences so they can pursue their full potential. And they challenge girls
to the highest standard of achievement through the Gold Award.
The path of a young girl to teenager largely
defines the path of the next generation. Will she become a pregnant teenager,
leading to a lack of education, hopelessness and economic instability? Or will
she become a woman who is supported and nurtured to have the courage and confidence
that comes from enriched experiences and education? A woman who knows her worth
and is prepared to reject domestic violence and pursue equity? By changing a
girl’s confidence to pursue opportunities and reach her full potential, we decrease
the demand for social and rehabilitative services. We drive more leadership for
female equality, representation and inclusion. In short, we expand the
potential for success among everyone in our society – all genders, all ages,
all socioeconomic strata.
learning is the right thing to do So let’s address the
elephant in the room – the Boy Scouts’ attempt to add girls to their
programming. On the surface it sounds kind and equitable, right? We should
allow girls to have the same experiences as boys. But let’s be real for a
moment. Most of us can agree that boys and girls are different. While they
deserve equitable opportunities, pursuing those together doesn’t always make
Our research bears this out. Girls who attend single-gender schools
have measurably higher academic success. Did you know a girl will generally
lose 30 percent of her confidence between age 8 and 14? The single-gender
learning environment provided by the Girl Scouts gives her a safe space to
explore, step out of her comfort zone, take risks and become a leader. Her courage,
confidence and character grow as she pursues outdoor adventure,
entrepreneurship, STEM and civic engagement activities.
are THE KEY to increasing STEM staffing and leadership Here again, research
underscores the role of the Girl Scouts in helping girls lead the way. Among
female tech leaders, an astonishing 80 percent are Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts are
twice as likely to be interested in STEM careers. That’s why Girl Scouting
provides STEM programming to girls from kindergarten to age 18. We are
committed to adding 2.5 million girls to the STEM pipeline by 2025.
are more successful overall It’s not just about
STEM, though. The Girl Scouting program produces concrete outcomes in almost
every measure of success. If you’re a Girl Scout:
sense of self, community involvement and confidence in the future is going up
during middle school, while your peers are declining in confidence.
are twice as likely to have a bachelor’s degree.
earn 23 percent more than other women.
more likely to engage in a variety of fun and challenging activities, have
supportive relationships and be an active learner.
Adding to that, if you’re a Gold Award Girl Scout –
representing five percent of the 50 million alums in the U.S. – you’re more
successful, engaged and happy as a worker. And you have more positive life
outcomes – measured by volunteerism, community and civic engagement, education
level and socioeconomic status.
fuels civic and business leadership If you’re wondering
whether Girl Scouts make a meaningful difference in achieving that future we
discussed earlier, consider this: In 2018, 58 percent of women elected to
Congress were Girl Scouts, and nearly three-quarters of women in the Senate are
alums. Five of the current nine female state governors are Girl Scouts. And
every female secretary of state has been a Girl Scout. It’s clear that Girl
Scouts builds leaders who make a lasting impact on their communities.
Girl Scouts are well represented in business, too, with 66
percent of professional women and more than half of female entrepreneurs and
business owners being alums. And you thought it was all about cookies!
The power of Girl Scouts goes beyond skill-building I’d like to share a story with you that helps illustrate the tremendous impact our program can have on a girl’s life. Paige Taylor has experienced mental illness in her family and has been struggling with depression and anxiety herself since age 10. The high school senior from Lansing, Kansas, has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten. She calls her girl squad her “safe place” to share and says her sister Girl Scouts are her real sisters. The confidence Paige has gained through Girl Scouts has allowed her to achieve a level of successshe otherwise wouldn’t have dreamed of. She recently completed her Gold Award, where she bravely shared her personal story, opened a door for other teens to share their stories, got school officials to acknowledge the statistics and add more resources, and stood with the Kansas governor who signed a state-wide proclamation. Paige plans to pursue sports psychology and counseling when she attends college next fall. When we asked what gave her the courage and confidence to break away from the stigma and challenges of mental illness, Paige gave Girl Scouts the credit: “Without Girl Scouts, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I know my voice matters and I’m empowered to continue to use it as I pursue my dreams.” Now, that’s the kind of difference we can make!
support is critical right now The value of Girl
Scouts and the essential role of our contributions to solving these issues is
clear. Now, more than ever, we need your help – your money, your influence and
Funding: Cookie sales make the Girl Scout experience memorable. The program
supports girls to grow their financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills as
it builds their confidence. But how many other organizations require their
beneficiaries to fund their own services by the sweat of their brows? We need
your private funding, too. Based on the latest reports available, Girl Scouts received
just half the private funding of Boy Scouts, while serving approximately the
same number of youth.
Influence: We’re asking you to talk about the Girl Scouts. Use your connections to
bring us to the table to represent girls and all the potential they bring to
EVERY discussion about workforce development, economic equality and diversity.
Daily Advocacy: We are asking you to use your power to advocate for girls
and women everywhere. If you’ve participated in Girl Scouts or have Girl Scouts
in your family, you ARE Girl Scouts! Yes, gentlemen, even you. Are you Man Enough
to be a Girl Scout? We want you to wear the Girl Scout identity and do things
like follow and share the powerful stories of our Girl Scouts locally and
The only way we’re going to bring this solution to life is by
proactively championing girls and women in our everyday lives – giving them a
seat at the table and Standing up for G.I.R.L.s. Advocating isn’t enough – we need you to be
their champions – when they’re in the room and when they’re not. Because there’s
something missing today – that’s the other 51%. None of us is as powerful as
all of us!
A family connected in Girl Scouting! Meet Barbara Hanson, a former Girl Scout troop leader, Kaw Valley Council staff member, Juliette Gordon Low Society Member and all around awesome G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM! For more than 30 years, Barbara helped raise Girl Scouts as a leader and inspired so many more when she worked at the former Kaw Valley Council for nearly 15 years and served in several volunteer roles. Following in her footsteps, her daughter Lori is a Gold Award Girl Scout as well as a Membership Manager at GSKSMO. Barbara also has four granddaughters, three of which are Girl Scouts – Claire, Kate & Aidin. As a volunteer, Barbara led her granddaughter Claire’s troop when she was in the program and is currently involved in Aidin’s Girl Scout journey! Being Girl Scout Green runs in the family!
Barbara started leading troops in the mid-1970s in Topeka,
KS when Lori was in elementary school and continued until about 2008. As her
daughter Lori recalls, “My mom became the leader when the former leader handed
her the Brownie stuff and said she ‘we’re moving, you’re the leader now”!” That
turned into decades of service to Girl Scouts and too many family experiences
One of the best parts for Barbara was watching her own
daughter, as well as her Girl Scout sisters, grow as people. “I loved watching
them in Girl Scouts because girls had experiences they wouldn’t have had
otherwise,” Barbara said. From trips to Kansas City that let some girls visit
Missouri for the very first time, to camping adventures, there were so many
opportunities that came from Girl Scouts. Many times, these experiences
impacted the adult volunteers just as it did the girls.
Lori remembers her mother gaining from the experiences just as the troop did. “My mother found a passion for the outdoors that she didn’t know she had. About 6 years after become a volunteer she led a council backpacking trip with other Girl Scouts while I was on my Destination trip,” Lori said. Exposure to things that push you outside your comfort zone is a hallmark of Girl Scouting and in this case helped Barbara discover a new passion.
Beyond troop life, Barbara found that Girl Scouts let her
get closer to her daughter. “I believe that Lori and I’s closeness came from
our Girl Scouting experiences,” Barbara said. She also found a close community
with Girl Scouts, making friends and growing her circle of amazing families.
“[Girl Scouts] has so many great experiences, especially when you get involved
as an adult. You gain just as much as the girls do and you make friends,” Barbara
said. Combining service, leadership and community – that’s what Girl Scouts has
always been about. The Hanson family is an amazing example of what it means to
be Girl Scouts through and through!
Today, Barbara continues to support the mission as a member
of the Juliette Gordon Low Society. She truly exemplifies what it means to a
Girl Scout for life – finding new ways to support the mission as life changes!
From serving as a leader, to becoming a staff member, to being an advocate and
now through generous financial giving, we thank Barbara, Lori and the entire
Hanson family for all they’ve given to girls!
Girl Scout leaders are inspirations for the girls in their
troops and create a lifetime of memories. For Karen Ebert, and all the girls in
her troop, that inspirational leader was Lela Mae Knipp. Not only was Lela Mae
a fantastic troop leader who pushed the girls to be the very best versions of
themselves, she stayed involved in Girl Scouting for more than 60 years! Karen
was a Girl Scout in the early 1960s, a time when women were not always
encouraged to dream big about their careers – but Lela Mae gave them that
confidence through Girl Scouting! This lasting legacy of service and supporting
generations of girls inspired Karen to do something incredible – invest in the
future of girls in Lela Mae’s name.
For Karen Ebert, creating a fund for Girl Scouts that will
leave a legacy was the best way to honor Lela Mae. “I believe leaving a legacy
is important. As a Girl Scout alum, I wanted to give back to the organization
that meant so much to me,” Karen says. To honor Lela Mae’s 60 years of
volunteer service, Karen set-up the Lela Mae Girl Scout Adventure Fund in 2018
at the West Region Volunteer Celebration. This fund will provide financial
support to girls in Westmoreland and throughout Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee
Counties so they experience incredible adventures in Girl Scouting.
As a girl, Karen remembers Lela Mae’s generosity and the
courage she instilled in her. “To Lela Mae, every girl was unique and special,”
Karen said. One memory Karen has of this generosity happened when she was
selling cookies to raise money for camp. “I took my money from my cookie sales
to Lela Mae, and she said to me ‘oh you are so close, but you are short $14.’
My heart sank and I know she saw that. Later that night, she called to say she
‘miscounted’ and I had just enough to
go to camp. I will always think she had something to do with me having ‘just
enough,’” Karen said.
With all these amazing memories and life skills that Karen
learned from Girl Scouting, she wanted to make sure today’s girls have access
to the same opportunities she did. “If people look back at the experience they
have in Girl Scouting, I think they would want every girl to have that
experience. As adults, I hope we all want to give to the future,” Karen said.
Thank you, Karen, for investing and honoring Lela Mae!
In March 2019, Lela
Mae celebrated her 95th birthday, and Karen Ebert and the Knipp
family created a shower of gifts to help local Girl Scouts by donating to the
fund, and you can still make a gift as well! A gift of any size to the Lela
Mae Girl Scout Adventure Fund in honor of her birthday can be made by via www.gsksmo.org/donate. Thank you to
Karen Ebert for establishing this fund to honor an amazing Girl Scout!
Spotlight on 2019 Gold Award Girl
Scout Twins Claire & Grace Genis
Reaching for Gold is
the ultimate goal for every young Girl Scout. However, achieving the Gold Award
is much more difficult than one might expect. Gold Award Girl Scouts must take
all they have learned from their time as a Girl Scout and develop a project
that will create sustainable lasting change in their community.
To earn a Gold Award, Girl Scouts epitomize
what it means to be a G.I.R.L., by being a go-getter, an innovator, a risk-taker
and a leader. These are the reasons the Gold Award is the most prestigious
award for Girls in the world! Grace and Claire Genis are two Girl Scouts in the
2019 Gold Award class who have a special sisterhood beyond the Girl Scout
community. They are twins!
When asked to describe
their sister in three words, Claire describes Grace as “intelligent,
hardworking and kind.” Grace describes Claire as “bubbly, creative and happy”. Since
joining Girl Scouts in kindergarten, Grace and Claire have gone on to earn all
three of the Highest Awards in Girl Scouting, the Bronze, Silver and Gold
The girls still look
back at the beginning of their Girl Scout journey fondly, recalling a visit to
the fire station as Daisies. “The firefighters talked to us and we got a tour […]
I just thought it was super cool,” Grace said. “I really liked the camp outs
when we learned about astronomy and the telescopes,” Claire said.
The idea of two girls
Going for Gold in one household seemed impossible but these Go-Getter Girl
Scouts and their family worked together to help their local community. Claire
and Grace have grown up inspired by their mother who followed her heart and works
with special needs students. Her suggestions helped the girls use their own
passions to form strong and innovative project plans.
Grace’s project, titled
Operation Explore the World, addressed the lack of materials in her community
for visually impaired students. Grace is visually impaired and built four light
boxes, which are used to develop awareness of light, color and objects for
students also challenged with a visual impairment. As a student who has faced
the same obstacles, Grace knows the power this project will have on young kids
who are just beginning their educational journey.
titled Music for Everyone, addressed the lack of clubs and activities offered
to special needs students in her high school. Claire developed a music club for
these students and received 12 donated instruments; a total value of over
$10,000 dollars. A majority of the instrument donations were supplied by Band
of Angels, an organization that collects donated instruments and distributes
them to children in need.
Claire and Grace
implemented their leadership skills by getting their community members involved
with their projects. Grace successfully recruited high school students and
family members to help build lightboxes that are sturdy and will last for years.
Claire recruited and organized students at her high school to teach music to
special needs students each week. “Once I told [other band students] about my
project, they immediately jumped in and said, ‘Hey I want to help!’” said
Claire. She also inspired students to become leaders themselves and continue
the music club next year after Claire graduates from high school.
By stepping out of their
comfort zone and being risk-takers, the girls were able to meet people from all
different walks of life. “I have made connections and relationships with people
I may not have known if not for Girl Scouts” Grace said. Girl Scouts has given
the Genis sisters friendships and a life-long sisterhood. “I am so humbled that
I could be part of this organization from such a young age.”
After Claire and Grace
graduate high school in May they plan to attend college together in the fall at
Johnson County Community College. Claire plans to pursue her passion of playing
music and Grace will pursue a career in nursing. The twins hope Girl Scouts who
plan to Go for Gold will find a project they are truly inspired and passionate
about. Claire says, “The amount of work you put into it WILL pay off! Keep [Girl]
Learn about all 47 of our 2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts and what they did to make our world a better place at gsksmo.org/inspire