A First Class Girl Scout and Volunteer

Spotlighting Claudia Boosman

G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™ are capable of anything. One of the best parts of being in Girl Scouts is being surrounded by people who never set limits on what you can dream to be. Meet Claudia Boosman, a Highest Award Girl Scout, former troop leader, proud alumna and member of Daisy’s Circle who learned in Girl Scouts that she could be anything she wanted to be. As a mom, she knows more than ever, that Girl Scouts helps girls be the best G.I.R.L.s they can possibly be!

Claudia began her Girl Scout journey in the 1960s when her mother and a friend started a troop. All her friends joined and Claudia found herself enjoying the experience of selling cookies door-to-door and trying new things. She loved primitive camping at Camp Oakledge and the challenges Girl Scouts let her conquer. “It was a whole world of trying and learning something,” Claudia said. Most importantly, Claudia found Girl Scouts to be a place where she could be anything.

“No matter what I did with Girl Scouts, I was never told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. This was pre-feminism, so I wasn’t thinking about it in those terms, but there was so much positive reinforcement and I was constantly told ‘you can do that,’” Claudia said.

As a naturally driven girl, Claudia became a Highest Award recipient, earning her First Class Award in the 1970s. “I was driven and liked to accomplish things, I could do all of that with the First Class Award,” Claudia said. That sense of accomplishment has made her a proud alumna who supports the program today, especially since it encourages team and individual skill building. “Girl Scouts matters because it’s one of the few activities where a girl can explore and learn as an individual […]there’s a balance of group and individual activities – especially with the Highest Awards,” Claudia said.

After getting a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Claudia entered the corporate world and became a mom of twin girls. Her girls, Jo and Kate, became Girl Scouts as Daisies with Claudia serving as leader for Troop 439 in Lee’s Summit. As a leader and a mother, Claudia got to experience time with her daughters that she wouldn’t otherwise have.

When the girls were Daisies, Claudia remembers a project on kindness that showed her the skills Girl Scouts was teaching. The troop drew pictures of their friends and said nice things. Claudia showed them her drawing then crumpled it to show the power of negative words. “The shock on all of their faces was incredible. The message was: ‘this is what happens when you say hurtful things.’ It was a great moment and message that Girl Scouts can provide to show girls a life skill,” Claudia said.

While in Girl Scouts, Claudia and her daughters travelled with the troop and had incredible experiences together. They even won an award in a Lee’s Summit parade! Girl Scout life is about experiences, and the Boosman family certainly lived those to the max! “Girl Scouts is all about the experiences you can’t get anywhere else. It gets girls in the door and into experiences they just won’t get anywhere else,” Claudia said.

Though Claudia is no longer a troop leader, she’ll never forget the power of seeing a girl’s eyes light up. “Any mom that’s thinking about being a leader – just jump in and do it. You’ll get all the support you need and the excitement of the kids makes it so worth it. It’s the hugs. The kids would hug me after we did something and it always blew me away. You just don’t get that in the corporate world,” Claudia said.

In addition to her service as a volunteer, Claudia joined Daisy’s Circle, GSKSMO’s monthly giving program, to make sure Girl Scouts is available to any girl who wants to join. “I want to be part of making sure Girl Scouts is as widely available as possible, for any girl who’s interested,” Claudia said. “You put your money where your heart is, and Girl Scouts is where my heart is.”

We can’t thank Claudia enough for her continued support of Girl Scouts as an advocate and member of Daisy’s Circle. I think it’s safe to say Claudia is a prime example of what it means to be a G.I.R.L.!

If you know of another amazing Girl Scout Alumna or member of Daisy’s Circle – share their story in the comments below. Were you part of Claudia’s troop? Share your favorite memory!

One Smart Cookie

Spotlighting: Service Unit 682’s Product Sales Manage Jim Savage

It’s cookie time! As girls are out building their business skills, earning proceeds and delivering cookies, volunteers are behind the scenes making it possible. Product Sales Managers (PSMs) are service unit level volunteers who manage the Cookie Program for their areas. One of our amazing PSMs is Jim Savage, a police officer, Eagle Scout and Girl Scout dad from Gardner, KS. Jim works tirelessly to provide an exceptionally organized program that helps girls learn vital business skills.

Jim Savage loves Scouting and knows the power of this program firsthand. As an Eagle Scout, he learned many life skills that propelled him toward success. “What I tell people is – this is a program that will stay with you for the rest of your life,” Jim said. With such a belief in the program, it’s no wonder that all four of the Savage children are involved in Scouting.

 Maggie (14), Darby (10) and Kinsey (8) are all Girl Scouts and Jimmy (6) is a new Tiger Scout. In addition to his Girl Scout volunteer roles, Jim is Den Leader for Jimmy’s troop and is wife, Becky, leads Kinsey’s Troop 3140 and is the asst. leader for Darby’s Troop 1634! Even with busy schedules – like Darby’s 16hr/wk competitive gymnastics commitments, they value Girl Scouts because it helps their kids in their own ways. While the Silver Award helped Maggie break out of her shell, a more competitive, outgoing Darby has learned to cooperate and share leadership roles with others in her troop.

Jim decided to become PSM 4 years ago after serving as Troop Cookie Dad with Maggie’s Troop 1200. He saw the power of the Cookie Program and an opportunity to use his skills to run it in a professional manner. “I’ve seen the effects of disorganization in other endeavors, so I approach the Cookie Program almost as a profession,” Jim said. This dedication makes Jim an exceptional PSM.

Making sure parents are connected and engaged is a particularly important to Jim because he knows it improves the experience for the girls. “It’s been my experience that when parents have a bad experience, they pull their kids from the program. I want to make sure that not only do the kids have a good time, but the parents are informed, engaged and happy for their girls,” Jim said.

Jim gets the most satisfaction from the Cookie Program when he sees girls learning the 5 Skills. “I want to make it a fun and fair program for all the girls […] and make sure the troops are talking about the 5 Skills. I love seeing the older girls help with accounting and using the skills they’ve learned,” Jim said.

“The Cookie Program is one program, but fits every girl differently. From Daisy to Ambassador Girl Scouts, you can alter it to get the results each girl needs […] so every girl gets a different experience and reaches goals she chooses,” Jim said.

In addition to being a resource for parents, Jim feels good knowing he’s a positive male role model for girls who may not have that influence in their lives. “I love having the opportunity to be a role model in our community, especially for girls that don’t have a male role model. I love talking to the girls and being able to provide them guidance,” Jim said.

At the end of the day, being involved with Girl Scouts means more time for Jim to spend with his daughters. As a dad, he hopes other dads see the opportunities Girl Scouts provides for dads to spend valuable time with their children. “…just because it says ‘Girl Scouts’ doesn’t mean dads can’t be part of it. Dads like to be involved with their daughters…and it doesn’t have to just be moms and girls […] It’s an invaluable opportunity because you can never have too much time with your kids,” Jim said.

We thank the entire Savage family for their incredible dedication to girls and making the Cookie Program an incredible learning opportunity for their service unit. He’s certainly earned the title “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!” If you know of another awesome Girl Scout volunteer or dad, comment below!

The Gift of Language

Spotlighting Girl Scout Volunteer Carla Redondo

Para ver este blog en español, haga clic aquí

Have you ever thought about what it’d be like to speak a second language? For many girls in our council being bilingual isn’t just a skill they have, it’s a pride point. Being bilingual is a verbal badge of honor that shows they’ve not only learned to speak to a wider audience, but learned about another culture. Carla Redondo, a proud Girl Scout mom and volunteer, believes that being bilingual is a powerful way to help her daughter excel in the world. That’s why she’s stepped up to provide a critical skill to Girl Scouts as a volunteer – English to Spanish translation.

Carla and her family moved to the US seven years ago from Venezuela. They moved to Lawrence, KS because her husband, Roberto, became a Fulbright scholar and was working on his Phd in architecture! He’s now a KU professor and Carla has been able to focus on the most important thing in their lives – their daughters, Helena (8) and Carlota (2 ½). Before leaving Venezuela, Carla got her degree in architecture and was working as a supervisor on projects for her firm. Once in America, she added graphic designer to her extensive list of skills, which has made her an especially valuable resource for Girl Scouts.

When daughter, Helena, became a Girl Scout, Carla was exploring the Spanish section of the Girl Scout website. While there, she saw a note asking for volunteers and contacted Lisa Peña, Manager of the Hispanic Initiative at GSKSMO. The two started talking and the rest is history!

The family loves that Helena is in Girl Scouts because they see her exploring new things. “I think it’s a great experience for her to learn outside of school,” Carla said. It’s the time that she gets to spend with Helena learning about things like nature – which is what she’s noticed her daughter taking a particular interest to. Because Helena attends a school with a no homework policy, Girl Scouts gives her activities to pursue that don’t include watching TV most of the time! “We spend quality time together and even though I’m not a Girl Scout, I’m learning alongside my daughter,” Carla said.

Not only is Carla the assistant troop leader for Helena’s Brown Troop 3861 in Lawrence, she also generously gives her time in other important volunteer roles. Carla is a Puente Volunteer (a communication liaison between a Spanish speaking mother and an English speaking troop) in Shawnee, she’s translated New Leader Express training materials and serves as a bilingual trainer for new leaders.

Her biggest project recently has been to translate the entire Cookie Training Manual! What makes Carla extra special for this project is her background in graphic design, which meant she could translate right in the software that it was designed in. She spent 23 hours translating that one manual – THANK YOU, CARLA! The best part? Seeing her daughter proud of the work she’s doing.

“When I was comparing the two versions of the Girl Scout Cookie Manual, one in English, one in Spanish, Helena asked me why I had both, I told her ‘I did this,’ and she felt so proud,” Carla said.

The time and effort Carla gives to support other Spanish-speaking Girl Scout families and girls is simply incredible. For her, it’s more than just giving back, it’s about instilling pride in her daughter. “By volunteering with Girl Scouts, I’m opening [my daughter’s] eyes to how beneficial it will be to her when she grows up, to be bilingual,” Carla said.

We can’t thank the Redondo family enough for the gift of their skills and time. They’re truly opening up a world of Girl Scouting to girls through language.  Thank you for making a difference in the lives of girls.

If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, like Carla, let us know! Also, if you’re a Spanish-speaking family and interested in Girl Scouting, please contact Lisa Peña (lpena@gsksmo.org)!

All the Reasons to Camp Like a Girl Scout this Summer!

Camping has long been an aspect of Girl Scouting. Girl Scout Camp is where your G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)™ will lead like a Girl Scout.

Because at Girl Scout camp, she will be:

A GO-GETTER: Determined to succeed. Bold. Honest. Fair. Ambitious.

An INNOVATOR: Creative. Will think outside the box. Use resources wisely. Experiment.

A RISK-TAKER: Try new things. Be courageous. Step up. Discover. Embrace the unfamiliar.

A LEADER: Confident. Responsible. Empathetic. Advocate. Empowers others.

Because when she camps like a Girl Scout, she empowers herself for life.

We’re excited to announce that registration for 2017 Summer Camp is now open! We have some new and exciting programs and sessions that we want to make you aware of!

Badges – In most programs, girls will complete steps and earn a badge at resident camp. In all programs, girls will complete steps in additional badges that coincide with girl-led activities!

Teens Only Session – Session 4 (July 6 – 14 & July 9 -14) features programs just for girls going into 6th grade or higher! Teens will rule Camp Daisy and will enjoy connecting with other teens!

Extended Programming – throughout the summer are some extended programs, mostly for teen Girl Scouts, to build skills and friendships that will last a lifetime!

Journeys! – Complete your Sow What Journey (9 – 12 grade) or Breathe Journey (6 – 8 grade) at camp this summer!

Excursions – Learn skills at Camp Daisy, then take them offsite with our resident camp staff and do adventure activities, kayak on a lake (Kayak Kansas), problem solve on a high ropes course (Challenge Accepted) and more!

Mini Camp – for Brownies & Juniors who are new to outdoor experiences and overnights away from home. These two-night experiences will give her a taste of summer camp and leave her wanting more!

We know that choosing to send your Girl Scout to resident camp is a big decision for both you and your girl, so take sure that you both take the Camp Readiness Quiz on page 4 & 5 in our 2017 Summer Camp Digital Guide! If the results indicate that either one of you aren’t quite ready, think about going to camp WITH your Girl Scout!

You & Me: Ladies is for Girl Scouts in K-3 grade and a female caregiver in her life!

You & Me: Gentlemen is for Girl Scouts of all ages and male role model in her life

S’mores & More is for the whole family! Mom, Dad, Brother, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends!

We asked our Resident Camp Director Marley Parsons (aka Ferris) why she is so passionate about camp and why it’s so beneficial for girls to go to Girl Scout Resident Camp. As a lifelong Girl Scout and lover of the outdoors, she passed along some great resources to reference when considering summer camp!

 

More than S’mores – In 2014, Girl Scouts of the USA published a study by the Girl Scout Research Institute called More than S’mores. For this study they talked to nearly 3,000 Girl Scouts in fourth-through-eighth-grade about their outdoor experiences

American Camp Association (ACA)-  Camp Daisy Hindman is accredited by the American Camp Association. The ACA is a community of camp professionals who, for over 100 years, have joined together to share their knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs. On their website is a great article called The Case for Camp- Why Kids Need it Now More Than Ever.

So what are you waiting for?! Get your Girl Scout registered for Summer Camp! The first 400 girls who register for any camp program (You & Me, S’mores & More, Mini or Resident Camp) will receive this limited edition Camp Daisy bandana!

Cookie Dough Gives Girl Scouts an Opportunity to Choose their Next Big Adventure

Cookie season is officially here and what a special season it is – the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies! We’re sure you’re out and about working your business, collecting those pre-orders; But have you thought about what you’re going to do when Cookie Season comes to a close and you’re faced with the decision of choosing an item from the Girl Recognitions or Cookie Dough?!

What is Cookie Dough you ask?! Cookie Dough is credit that may be earned by Girl Scouts during the annual Cookie Program. Girls can choose to earn “Dough” in lieu of another recognition item! Cookie Dough can be redeemed in a variety of ways at Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri and may be redeemed through Sept. 30, 2017!

Girl Scout Shop – get your year-end recognition items, Girl Scout swag, or buy materials for your next Girl Scout year!

Travel – with a variety of council-sponsored trips coming up in the next few years, you can apply your Cookie Dough to your travel balance!

Outdoor Experiences – get outdoors and try something new! Cookie Dough can be redeemed for any outdoor program we offer – archery, tomahawks, zipline, low ropes and resident camp. And, it also can be redeemed for service unit day camp.

While cookies have long been an aspect of Girl Scouting, so has camping! What better way to celebrate being a Girl Scout than by using your cookie proceeds to go to resident camp?!

Girl Scout Junior Alexis Wolfgang chose Cookie Dough last year, and doesn’t regret that decision!

When she began setting her goals for last year’s program, she had her eyes on item at the 1,250 level – a Chromebook! Alexis put on her entrepreneur hat and turned her business into a family affair! It only seemed appropriate since she helps her dad, Brett with his home remodeling business and her brother, Drake in his Boy Scout fundraising efforts!

From the day the Wolfgang family received their cookies, they were setting up their little shop out of the back of Brett’s truck. Alexis would make the signs and handle the customers and Drake would fashion a costume out of the cardboard cases!

“I like to watch her succeed, set the goal and see it through.” Brett explained. “Every year that comes she works more and more on her own.”

When GS Cookie Season concluded, it was no surprise that Alexis had reached that coved 1,250 goal and earned herself that Chromebook, however she also earned every level leading up to that. Recognition levels are cumulative, so Alexis went through and chose where she wanted to receive Cookie Dough over the item. When it was all said and done, she had earned $150 in Dough!

With that $150 in Cookie Dough, Alexis decided to go to resident camp at Camp Daisy Hindman! While there she rode horses, did STEM activities and went canoeing for the first time ever! In her short three days there she made friends and memories to last a lifetime!

“Selling cookies and hanging out with my friends is my favorite part of Girl Scouts,” Alexis said. “When I look over the recognitions, I like being able to choose cookie dough!”

“She likes it because she can choose to buy things she needs or pay for things she wants to do like camp,” Brett said.

Alexis totally agreed!

So while you’re out and about taking those pre-orders think about increasing your goal to earn some more Dough to Camp Like a Girl Scout! Programs can be found at www.gsksmo.org/camp  and registration officially opens at 9:00 am, today! The first 400 girls who register for any camp program (You & Me, S’mores & More, Mini or Resident Camp) will receive a limited edition Camp Daisy Bandana! Camp balances aren’t due until 3 weeks prior to the program, so you have plenty of time to earn and then redeem that Cookie Dough!

5 Tips & Tricks for a Successful Cookie Program

From Girl Scout Senior, Kimma Edwards

It’s official – we are celebrating a BIG milestone!  Well before Girl Scout Cookies were produced by licensed bakers to sell nationally, Girl Scouts baked and sold cookies on their own. Our girls were entrepreneurs going as far back as 1917! In 2017, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first known instance of Girl Scouts selling cookies and learning the basic skills and acumen they need to be leaders in business and sales, manage their personal and family finances, and gain self-sufficiency and confidence handling money.

Girl Scout Senior, Kimma Edwards from Olathe, Kansas has nearly mastered those skills. In the 10 years of her cookie business, she has sold over 7,500 boxes! Last year alone she sold 2,000, earning a coveted spot in a suite at Girl Scout Day at the K and being one of our council’s top cookie sellers!

“Selling Girl Scout cookies in general is just so much fun for me. I love seeing my accomplishments at the end of the season,” Kimma said!

We caught up with Kimma to see what tips and tricks she has for Girl Scouts of all ages to be as successful as her with their own businesses in this historic year!

  1. Set a Goal
    “The most important thing to sell is having a goal,” Kimma said.
    Kimma looks at the recognition sheet and sets her goal passed on the items and amount of Cookie Dough she wants to earn. Last year it was suite tickets for Girl Scout Day at the K (2,000 boxes), this year she has her eyes on the luggage set (1,250 boxes).
  1. Use the phrase “Would you like to support my Girl Scout Troop?”
    “You don’t necessarily have to buy cookies to support our troop,” Kimma explains. She says that using the phrase ‘Would you like to support my Girl Scout Troop’ is more polite and that it gets the attention of those who have it in their minds that they don’t want to buy her product for various reasons. It opens the door for her to have a conversation about her goals, how the Cookie Program powers great adventures and Cookie Share.
  2. Work as many Cookie Booths as possible.
    When she was a Daisy, Troop Leader and Mom, Misty Edwards would create a schedule for girls to work in 30 minute shifts at Cookie Booths. Throughout the 10 years, the shifts have expanded and they have been more strategic with their booth setup. Her advice is to cover all the entry and exit points of the location and use the magic phrase above!
  3. Talk to EVERYONE.
    When cookies arrive in February, you will find Kimma carrying a Girl Scout Cookie duffle bag stocked with cookies everywhere she goes and asking everyone she encounters if they would like to support her troop!
  1. Work with your Girl Scout sisters.
    This coincides with #1 – Set a Goal. The girls in Troop 431 know each other’s Cookie Program goals and they work together to achieve them. This past year Kimma was working toward her biggest goal yet, as was her Girl Scout sister Desi, however their goals were different. On the last weekend of Cookie Booths, Kimma and Desi set up their shop at a local Wal-Mart and utilized all the tips above. At the end of the day, instead of splitting the work 50/50, Desi only wanted credit for enough boxes to get her to her goal, giving Kimma the remaining number which just barely pushed her over the 2,000 mark. That’s Girl Scout teamwork right there!

It’s evident that Kimma has learned The 5 Skills (Business Ethics, People Skills, Decision-Making, and Goal Setting) that the Cookie Program has been teaching for 100 years and those are skills that will stay with her for a lifetime.

“I don’t know what it is about it, but selling Girl Scout Cookies is just so much fun. It’s my favorite part of Girl Scouts!” She explained. “It’s even helped me think about what I want to do. I think I want to be a business owner, maybe own a toy store or candy shop because I really love children.”

What tips and tricks do you have? Share them below in the comments section.

Making the World a Better Place

Girl Scouts Give Back with 690,000 Hours of Service This Year!

It’s a season of giving, and Girl Scouts are the BEST at giving back to their community! In fact, Girl Scouts of the USA estimates that every Girl Scout does 30 hours of service per year. With 23,000+ Girl Scouts in our 47 county region, that adds up to an amazing amount of volunteer work for your favorite charities – 690,000 hours of service to be exact!

Take a look at how some of the troops and service units in our council have given back this holiday season!

Girl Scout Junior Troop 78 from Liberty, Missouri had their favorite troop meeting of the year where they turned into Christmas elves by adopting a family with two little girls in their community. As a troop they give some of their troop proceeds and also ask their families to support this feel good project too. And, that’s not all – these Girl Scouts add some skill-building in there as well. They determine needs versus wants, came up with a good mix of each, made a budge and decided as a team what to get to stay in their budget. They then bought their presents at TJ Maxx in Liberty (their 3rd year assisting Troop 78) and wrapped presents for delivery!

 

Girl Scout Senior Troop 1169 from Lee’s Summit, Missouri collected baby books and donated them to the moms and babies at Mother’s Refuge. After an inspiring tour of this awesome organization, the girls are now brainstorming other ways they can make a difference.

 

Girl Scout Brownie Troop 5681 from Junction City, Kansas knows that giving back feels oh so good and they were all smiles!! These awesome Girl Scouts saved some of their 2016 Cookie Program proceeds just to buy special toys to be donated to the Salvation Army to ensure other kids have gifts under the tree this Christmas!

 

Girl Scout Daisy Troop 5116 from Mission, Kansas had a great meeting where they heard how Della Lamb supports others & presented gifts to their guest speaker for the organization’s Operation Santa Program. Each Girl Scout in the troop made two Blessings Bags; one to give to the VA Hospital and the other bag to keep and give to someone they want to bring blessings and good will to.

 

Girl Scouts at Heartland Elementary in Overland Park, Kansas joined their Boy Scout brothers to package 4,000 meals for the Something to Eat program. These Girl Scouts are always serving others, but we love that they did this special project on Giving Tuesday.

 

We were thrilled to be a part of KMBC Channel 9 and the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family Day again this year! We had 10 troops from our council adopt 10 families, spreading holiday cheer for over 40 individuals this holiday season! Those troops delivered their gifts and enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of KMBC’s studio in November.

 

Ten Girl Scout troops at Mission Trail Elementary School in Leawood, Kansas hosted a Give-A-Palooza and invited their family members to participate too. Together, they collected and sorted clothing and pull-ups for SAFEHOME, made cards for patients at Menorah Medical Center, and collected travel-sized toiletries for the Ronald McDonald House!

 

Girl Scout Junior Troop 7112 from Lawrence, Kansas gave back and used their creativity by making some fleece blankets for Douglas County CASA. These blankets will be put to great use!

 

Turkey and all the trimmings! These Girl Scouts are showing their appreciation for all they have by supporting others in their community. More than 250 Girl Scouts of all ages in Service Unit 648 from Lee’s Summit, Missouri participated in the “Thanks for Giving Fun Drive”. Girl Scouts brought food donations to fill 36 bags with a complete Thanksgiving dinner including the turkey! The girls made scarecrows and cards for each Thanksgiving bag that will be distributed this Saturday to Coldwater Lee’s Summit families. Thanks for giving, Girl Scouts! You are making such a difference and ensuring a fantastic Thanksgiving for others!!

 

A STEM lesson + teamwork = Caring & Kindness! What a fantastically, creative kindness project Girl Scout Troop 177 from Overland Park, Kansas just completed. These Girl Scouts learned all about soldering & computer coding to illuminate LED lights and make them display different colors. Then, they went to Topeka to donate a really cool, hand crafted, animated LED-lit rainbow Christmas tree to Planting Peace’s Equality “Rainbow” house. The girls learned a lot and had tons of fun together. Wow, what big hearts these Girl Scouts have! They chose the project and are committed to spreading kindness all year long! You can learn more about how Troop 177 created the tree here!

Troop 879 is Standing with Sister Girl Scouts! Introducing our first Daisy’s Circle troop… Being a sister to every Girl Scout is so important, it’s in our law. Not only does it stress the importance of kindness, but also supporting sister Girl Scouts. Troop 879 from Grain Valley, Missouri is taking the law to heart and became the first Daisy’s Circle troop! In a girl-led decision on budgeting, the girls decided to use half of their cookie money to help other Girl Scouts succeed. You might think a troop with this much heart must be in high school – but they’re actually 2nd grade Brownies. Troop 879 is setting the bar for giving as a troop. 

How have your Girl Scouts made a difference this holiday season?  Let us know in the comments below!

Four Generations of Girl Scouts

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Spotlight on Girl Scout Alumnae and Volunteers Doris Frost, Janet Pelton, Becky Blankenship and Girl Scout Cadette Katie Blankenship

There’s a special bond that Girl Scout mothers and daughters have. From sharing stories of badge earning decades ago, teaching the newest Girl Scout about how to cook on an open fire, to traveling together to the birthplace of the organization that you all hold so dear to your heart, Girl Scouts brings women even closer together who are already connected through their family tree.

Girl Scout Cadette Katie Blankenship is a fourth generation Girl Scout in her family. You might say that she was destined to be a Girl Scout that it’s in her DNA. After all her mother, Becky Blankenship was a Girl Scout. Her Grandmother, Janet Pelton was a Girl Scout. Even her Great Grandmother, Doris Frost was a Girl Scout!

As Doris recalls her own Girl Scouting experience, it doesn’t sound much different from the ones her great granddaughter Katie is having today. She remembers having awesome leaders, going camping, earning badges and just generally being a G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™.

Today, Becky and Janet are both troop leaders, and Doris is a retired troop leader. Between the four of them they have over 100 years of Girl Scouting experiences and stories!

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Doris (front), Janet (left), Becky (center), Katie (right)

Katie’s grandmother, Janet, went through all the Girl Scout levels herself then when her daughter Becky was old enough, she volunteered to lead her troop of Girl Scout Brownies (the first level of Girl Scouting in the 1980s) and saw them all the way through earning their Gold Award! When Becky left for college, Janet started all over again, with a brand new troop of Girl Scout Daisies, but this time she recruited Doris to join her on the troop leader adventure, and oh what an adventure Doris had with her daughter and the group of girls they led!

After 12 years of Girl Scouting, in Janet & Doris’s troop embarked on an 8-day cruise to culminate their Girl Scout experience before life took them in all different directions. That Girl Scout trip is what got Doris on an airplane for the first time in her life, at 84 years young.

“That trip was wonderful, the best time I ever had,” Doris said!

Doris (left) & Janet (right) on the cruise!

Doris (left) & Janet (right) on the cruise!

After that trip, Doris hung up her Girl Scout volunteer hat, but Janet decided to dive right back in and start all over again with her third troop; all while still continuing to serve as Service Unit Manager for Service Unit 661.

While Doris and Janet were leading their troop in Leavenworth, Kansas, Becky was stepping up for troops who were without leaders in Emporia, Kansas, while also going to school full time at Emporia State University!

After graduating college, Becky moved back to the Kansas City area, got married and had Katie! In January, before Katie was set to go to Kindergarten, Becky called her area service unit manager and let her know that she could count on her to lead the Daisy troop where Katie would go to school that fall!

Becky always dreamed of giving Katie the opportunities through Girl Scouting that her mother, Janet, had given her.

“Girls have opportunities they wouldn’t have without Girl Scouts,” Becky said.

This past summer, Janet and Becky took Katie’s troop on the council-sponsored trip to Savannah, Georgia, the birthplace of Girl Scouts. A trip that was important for Becky to experience with her mom. “She gave me my start in Girl Scouts and I wanted to have the experience of going to the birthplace with my family,” Becky explained.

“It was really neat that we got to do that last trip together,” Janet said of the cruise with Doris. “I’ve gotten to do so much with Becky now.”

Janet (left), Katie (center) & Becky (right) on the council-sponsored trip to Savannah, GA.

Janet (left), Katie (center) & Becky (right) on the council-sponsored trip to Savannah, GA.

For this family, Girl Scouting truly is in their DNA. Through all the things that life has thrown at them, they credit Girl Scouts for keeping them going. “Being a Girl Scout leader was a lifesaver during the times that my parents were sick. Most people quit being a volunteer when those things happen but it kept me sane,” Janet explained. “Girl Scouts is what keeps me happy.”

Girl Scouting has come full circle for these four women. Doris loves hearing what Katie is accomplishing through Girl Scouts and what exciting activities and trips Janet and Becky are doing as leaders for their girls. The memories that the four of them have all overlap and constantly remind them of what they’ve experienced not only as Girl Scouts, but as a family.

“All of the things Girl Scouts get to do are good. Everything is a learning experience for them,” Doris said.

Thank you Doris, Janet and Becky for all you’ve done to empower girls and instill the Girl Scout leadership experience in their DNA!

 

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A Girl Scout Gem

Celebrating 60 Years of Hidden Valley Camp

Tucked away in the heart of Lawrence, Kansas sits 40 acres of wildlife terrain where thousands of Girl Scouts have grown as G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers, Leaders)™ for 60 years! Hidden Valley Camp sits in what used to be a secluded part of Lawrence in 1956. Throughout the years, significant city developments have taken place all around the property, but Hidden Valley has remained a wilderness area and semi-primitive campsite, living up to the “hidden” part of its name!

Girl Scouts at Hidden Valley Camp in 1982 on the left, and in 2016 on the right!

Girl Scouts at Hidden Valley Camp in 1982 on the left, and in 2016 on the right!

Hidden Valley is one of the few privately owned and operated camps in the region. The land was purchased and Hidden Valley Camp was established with funds from the estate of the late Alfred Bromelsick who passed away in 1950. Mr. Bromelsick was a longtime advocate of outdoors programs for youth, specifically those of the Girl Scouts, Boys Scouts and 4-H organizations. Today, Hidden Valley Camp is owned and managed by the locally-based Lawrence Hidden Valley Committee (LHVC) Inc., a nonprofit organization comprised of adult Girl Scout members living in the greater Lawrence community.

Many additions and improvements have been made to Hidden Valley in the past 60 years to keep up with the growing needs of Girl Scouts! In 1996, Friends of Hidden Valley was created to keep up with those improvements. This separate committee supports LHVC in programming, maintenance and establishing and meeting the goals of the property today, and for the next 60+ years.

Hidden Valley has seen so much love from many dedicated Girl Scout volunteers over the past six decades. One of those volunteers was the late Mariana Remple. Mariana was a co-founder of Hidden Valley Camp along with Carolyn Blaas, and was active with Girl Scouts of the USA for 50 years! In addition to Mariana’s work with Hidden Valley, she served as troop leader for Troop 660 for over 40 years and as assistant troop leader until her passing.

Carolyn Blaas and Mariana Remple, two of the Co-founders of Hidden Valley Camp.

Carolyn Blaas and Mariana Remple, two of the Co-founders of Hidden Valley Camp.

As a treasured Girl Scouting experience for girls, those who once experience this camp as a young Girl Scout are now coming full circle serving on the LHVC and the Friends of Hidden Valley Board or serving in other capacities as adult Girl Scout members.

Durand Reiber remembers going to a very rainy Day Camp at Hidden Valley with her troop when she was just a Girl Scout Brownie. In 2002 she was hired as Camp Manager – the camp’s first paid employee, a role she still serves in today.

“I was a Girl Scout through my senior year, canoeing and camping away with Mariana Remple’s Mariner Troop 660, which had a profound impact on my life. I continued to travel, camp and canoe, often leading my women friends on trips. My love of all things natural, and my college and career choices are an extension of all those experiences, beginning with that rainy Day Camp at Hidden Valley,” Durand said.

Kyra Flummerfelt was a Girl Scout growing up in Lawrence, living right down the street from Hidden Valley, but didn’t experience it herself until she found herself leading her daughter’s Girl Scout Brownie troop! In 2008 she was asked to join LHVC board and oversee the reservations and equipment checkout process and now she also serves as the zip line and archery facilitator.

“I love getting to meet leaders and help make camping easier by providing them with pretty much everything they need to camp out.  When we decided to add the zip line to camp I signed up to be a facilitator.  I am afraid of heights but chose to overcome it so that I could not only help others experience the wonders of zip line but so I could do it too.  I now love to zip line,” Kyra said!

Today, the wondrous 40 acres of Hidden Valley boasts hiking trails, diverse habitats of the prairie, woods, rocky hillsides, wetlands and streams, a challenge course with two zip lines and archery range. It also has a tree house, Yurt (really big tent) and a cabin with a kitchen making it the perfect place for seasoned campers as well as young troops to experience the great outdoors!

One thing that hasn’t changed about Hidden Valley is that it has a profound impact on those who still visit it today, no matter their age.

“This easy year round access means many troops routinely go there and the girls and adults alike get to know it well, developing a deep love for it over the years…and over time, it just becomes one of those special places in life you always remember,” Durand said.

Girl Scouts celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Hidden Valley Camp at the Fall Frolic.

Girl Scouts celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Hidden Valley Camp at the Fall Frolic.

While Girl Scouts in the greater Lawrence, Kansas area have first priority in reservations, Hidden Valley is open to all Girl Scouts and other groups who wish to take advantage its amenities.

“I can assure you that the experiences Girl Scouts and Hidden Valley offers girls make a difference and gives them a place to practice courage, confidence, and character,” Kyra explained. “Hidden Valley has been a place to make memories for so many people for the last 60 years and hopefully with help from the girls, leaders and community volunteers we can keep it that way for many more to come.”

If you would like to make a reservation at Hidden Valley for your troop, visit their website at www.lhvcamp.org and click on the reservations and equipment tab!

Standing with the Next Generation of Girl Scouts

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The Taliaferro family is a shining example of a Girl Scout family who does more than participate as volunteers – they’ve become members of Daisy’s Circle to support the next generation of Girl Scouts. Girl Scout dad Henry, Girl Scout alumna, Kathryn and Girl Scout daughter, Caroline, believe in the power of Girl Scouting because of the opportunities it provides for girls to thrive. Kathryn is the troop leader for Caroline’s Girl Scout Junior Troop 3084 from Blue Valley and sees firsthand the work that Girl Scouts does to help girls become G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters. Innovators. Risk-takers. Leaders.)TM.

Troop 3084 love to take advantage of all the opportunities our council offers. “The opportunities that are available now are amazing, especially with community partners. You have everything there for you. [Girl Scouts] has already reached out and made connections with organizations that have resources that we need,” Kathryn said. The troop has attended the Girl Scout night at the Lyric Opera, rock climbing and many other activities.

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Troop 3084 had their first camping experience at Camp Prairie Schooner this fall and Kathryn saw Caroline face her fears in a way she didn’t expect. When the troop went ziplining, Caroline was a little nervous about the experience. Despite her fears, she was able be take a risk thanks to the support of her Girl Scout sisters and the camp staff member who reminded her that it was a “challenges of choice.”

“My daughter is a little more shy and reserved, so she did not want to do zipline at all. The staffer handled it really well. He told her ‘this is a challenge of choice,’ which communicated to her that there wasn’t pressure. Because of that, the girls didn’t make fun of each other for not doing it, and eventually, after watching all the other girls go, she was able to do it,” Kathryn said.

At the core, Kathryn wants the troop to have a traditional Girl Scout experience that includes things like camping – just like she had. As an alumna, Kathryn remembers enjoying the Girl Scout experience as a girl and the unique opportunities she was able to experience. She also sees the power of the sisterhood Girl Scouts creates. While the Taliaferro family has two adult children who live in other states, Caroline doesn’t have any siblings living at home, so Girl Scouts gives her a sisterhood that Kathryn and Henry feel are important to her overall development.

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Having been a Girl Scout in the past, Kathryn sees a resurgence of the program and she wants to be part of it. “We enjoy giving and we’ve had such a good experience with Girl Scouts. Plus, I feel like Girl Scouts is really making a comeback, so the chance to be involved in something that gives opportunities to girls of all economic and social backgrounds is great,” Kathryn said.

As members of Daisy’s Circle, the Taliaferro family went on a site visit to Emerson Elementary, home to Outreach Girl Scout troops supported in part by Daisy’s Circle.  “I’ve never had anyone reach out to me to show me the direct impact of our gifts. You sign up for something…but this is the first time I’ve been invited to see how it works. I try to get ideas from other troops, so while I was there I was learning about some things to bring back to my troop and seeing the impact was great,” Kathryn said.

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Giving to help the next generation of Girl Scouts is important to the whole family. “[We give because] Girl Scouts has a great synergy within the community with all the connections it makes and the opportunities our daughter has. Plus, the organization is well managed, there are good people involved and the money goes to good use,” Kathryn said.

What an incredible example of a troop leader and Girl Scout family who stands by girls! Not only do they give selflessly of their time as volunteers, but of financial gifts that propel programming forward and provide opportunities for girls all over our council. If you’d like to learn more about Daisy’s Circle, check out www.daisyscircle.org. Thanks to the Taliaferro family for all they do and a big “WAY TO GO” to Caroline for conquering her fear of the zipline!

Do you know an awesome Daisy’s Circle Girl Scout family or have a great story to share about Girl Scout opportunities? Share in the comments below!