Wrapping Up 2019 Inspire a Girl


What a truly inspiring day we had on April 7 at the Overland Park Convention Center! Girl Scouts, volunteers, alums and supporters joined us to celebrate our 47 Gold Award Girl Scouts!

These young women have made an extraordinary impact on their communities through the Gold Award. Each Girl Scout completed a Take Action project with a minimum of 85 hours in planning and implementation. They have created lasting change through sustainable projects and their impact will be felt for years to come.  Their Take Action projects included educating youth to vote, building a vegetable garden for families with food insecurity, education programs on mental health and music programs for students with special needs,  just to name a few. Read about all of their projects here!

2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts

We kicked off the day with a special breakfast for Gold Award Girl Scouts and program investors, hosted by GSKSMO CEO Joy Wheeler.  Each Gold Award Girl Scout received her very own Kendra Scott necklace, courtesy of GSKSMO board members and Kendra Scott.

To encourage Girl Scouts to take action, inspire others and change the world, they visited a combination of Community Partner and GSKSMO Program booths, to collect focus area stickers, building the foundation of their path to Gold! Activities included “Throw like a G.I.R.L.” where Girl Scouts mastered the bullseye with Blade & Timber Axe Throwing, decorating enrichment items for the animals at the Kansas City Zoo, seeing how liquid nitrogen acts as a cooling agent with Honeywell and learning the power of code with Microsoft! Upstairs Girl Scouts visited Bronze and Silver Award Girl Scouts, collecting their respective sticker!  They completed their activity card by visiting with at least four Gold Award Girl Scouts and earned their Inspire a Girl patch!

Our very special guest, Gold Award Alum and Miss Kansas USA, Alyssa Klinzing joined in on the expo fun and helped Girl Scouts declare themselves a G.I.R.L. by hosting a special photo op with future Gold Award Girl Scouts!

Alyssa also moderated the newest addition to Inspire a Girl, the Gold Award Alum panel with Skylar Clark, Taylor Edwards and Jolly Patro. Girl Scout Juniors and older were invited to hear from these outstanding women on all things Gold Award. From how they got their project started to how it’s played a role in their future life plans!

Also new this year, we celebrated our 2019 Volunteer Honorees in a special VIP Lounge where they received their award and networked with other outstanding volunteers! Every day our volunteers make fun, friendship, and awesome new experiences possible for girls. They support our G.I.R.L.s (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader) every step of the way!

This extraordinary day culminated with our Gold Award Ceremony where Girl Scouts officially received their Gold Award Pin.

The Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship was presented to Skylar Clark and Morgan Neal.

Gold Award Girl Scouts Taylor Edwards and Logan Rader were presented with the newest Girl Scout scholarship, The Spirit Scholarship. This scholarship was established by Gold Award & Lifetime Girl Scout Connie Ehrlich Davis, in memory of her parents. It is in the “spirit” of the Ehrlichs’ wisdom that this scholarship is awarded to girls who demonstrate academic excellence and uphold the highest ideals of Girl Scouting.

Left: Logan Rader, Connie Davis, Taylor Edwards. Right: Skylar Clark, Charles Winters, Joyce Termini, Morgan Neal.

The ceremony was keynoted by Missouri Senator and GSKSMO Board Member Lauren Arthur, who shared her story on how to reach “From Green to Gold: How Leaders are Born.” Senator Arthur shared her inspirational message to Girl Scouts encouraged them to implement what they learn through Girl Scouts and continue to be leaders and go-getters in their community.

As Dr. Seuss so greatly said, “Congratulations, today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!”

See all the photos from the day, the Gold Award Take Action Project video, Senator Arthur’s keynote and our Inspire a Girl wrap-up video!

We want to hear how you were inspired at Inspire a Girl, so leave us a comment below!

SAVE THE DATE! Next year’s Inspire a Girl will be March 29, 2020!

Under Water Adventure – Cookie Construction Build Day 2019

The 5th Annual Cookie Construction Build Day is a wrap! After six months of planning, practicing and preparing, seven Cookie Construction teams comprised of 30 female design professionals and 100 Girl Scouts descended upon Crown Center to finally bring their “Underwater Adventure” builds to life on March 2. Each team was given an 8×8 space to build their structures and after 4 ½ hours of build time, girls dropped the glue guns and tape, stepped away and marveled in their completed builds!

Frost Bite
By: Antarchitects

Mentor Firms: Klover Architects

Brr… Welcome to the icy waters at the ends of the Earth! You might think that due to the frigid temperatures and harsh conditions here that there isn’t a lot to do or much to explore, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! While there is a lot of fun happening above water, just like icebergs, there is even more to explore under the surface! Penguins, seals, whales, fish and even plants have found ways to make these icy waters their homes.

A Surprising Discovery
By: Jaws Squad
Mentor Firm: Hollis + Miller Architects

Our team wanted to make a major statement with our build and focus on a few bold elements that would catch the viewer’s attention. We were most inspired by underwater discovery in movies, the goggles left by a scuba diver from the movie “Finding Nemo” and the shocking and powerful shark from the movie “Jaws”. Through the process of sketching and brainstorming as a team, we found that we could put a creative spin on these two major elements. By playing with scale and creating a lens for the viewer, the design is meant to make the viewer feel like they are an underwater explorer making a surprising major discovery. In Girl Scouts and in life, you never know what you might discover!TEAM PHOTO + BULD

Treasure Untold
By: Let’s Get Kracken
Mentor Firm: International Architects Atelier

Our team, Let’s Get Kraken, decided to make “Treasure Untold:” a beautiful piece made of different colors and types of cookie boxes. The piece shows a purple octopus opening a treasure chest that has many items to represent treasure. Around the octopus and treasure is colorful vibrant coral. On the bottom of our display are shredded boxes to represent sand. The whole piece represents an underwater exploration. The creators are showing how Girl Scouts all work together and how we can come to an agreement. When you have teamwork, you can accomplish BIG THINGS!T

Shipwreck of the North
By: Oops, I Inked!

Mentor Firms: Midland Steel Company, Tompkins Architects, Ellison-Auxier Architects, River Bluff Architects

The Girl Scout Pirates of the North had to deliver Girl Scout cookies to SpongeBob. They set out on a stormy night. Then, lighting struck the side of the ship. The ship fell down to the bottom of the sea, hit the rocks and broke in half. SpongeBob wanted his cookies, so he decided to go on an adventure to find them. He hopped on a turtle for a ride, but the turtle got stuck in seaweed. The turtle had to eat the seaweed to make his way out. He then followed a school of fish to a colorful coral reef. There, SpongeBob found part of the ship, but also saw a shark guarding it! The turtle helped him out by distracting the shark. SpongeBob ran into the ship and found a treasure chest. Inside he found the cookies he had been searching for!T

A Window to the Sea
By: Queens of Argentine
Mentor Firm: BRR Architecture

Our build showcases a picture window to the ocean with all the unique creatures of the sea living in harmony. Our main structure implies the frame of a picture box with many different tiers featuring a wide variety of sea creatures swimming together through colorful underwater plant life. The structure is formed using a stair step method in order to achieve the highest visibility for all the creatures and to give them the illusion of floating through the water. The largest element of our build is the Girl Scout octopus who pushes the boundaries of her container, climbing out and fearlessly setting off to explore other worlds outside her own. Wearing her Girl Scout sash and her crown as a Queen of Argentine, she sets off to find new adventures and new friendships.

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Mer-Catopolis
By: Team MerCats
Mentor Firms: Populous, All Tile CCS, Roth Living, Built Interiors

Our team invites you to explore the depths of the ocean and the fantastic ruins of Mer-Catopolis. This underwater world is home to mythical hybrid creatures named Mer-Cats. Mer-Catopolis inspiration comes from ancient Greek and Roman architectural elements such as ionic columns, arches, and monumental buildings. The city is full of colors and textures that are derived from many types of coral and algae. This lively environment and flora attract fish and sea life of different varieties and sizes. The main square has a fountain displaying Poseidon’s trident, where Mer-Cats gather to meet their friends. Everyone in Mer-Catopolis feels happy and safe, as magical narwhals guard the doors to the city. These guards protect the residents and the coveted treasure of the ocean, which hides in a cave located at the edge of town. Welcome to Mer-Catopolis!

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Life Lost
By: Absolutely  Remarkable Things
Mentor Firms: Scott Rice Office Works, DLR Group, Treanor HL, Working Spaces

Our sculpture represents life lost by depicting an underwater plane crash as well as various stages of sick coral reef. The plane is thought to have traveled around the world exploring until it crashed in to the ocean, ending up on the ocean floor. Shown are various forms of sea life and plants interacting with the crashed plane and other depictions of past life are represented through other elements such as the helmet. The dying coral is also thought to show past life because a coral reef is a living organism that is an important part of the ocean ecosystem. Throughout our research we discovered that we know more about parts of space than we do about the ocean floor.T

While the panel of Jurors evaluated each build, 41 Action News Meteorologist Lindsey Anderson emceed program and Master Lego Builder Joe Nunnink entertained the audience by speed building a seahorse out of Legos!

A panel of Jurors evaluated each structure on creativity in design, structural design, use of colors/labels, craftsmanship and adherence to rules & regulations. While all the builds had incredible details, personality, and were creative in their own right, the MerCats were presented with the Juror’s Choice Award! They loved their unique interpretation of the theme, use of narrative and their demonstration of knowledge of the history of architecture. The MerCats created depth and vignettes utilizing ionic arches to frame the scene, and incorporated the 2019 Cookie Program Mascot into those arches!

Juror’s Choice Award: MerCats

Thank you to our Jurors, Nick Lawler, Meredith Stoll, Whitley S. Fields, Andrew Pitts and Samantha McCloud and Amy Slattery!

This program wouldn’t be possible without the support and dedication of our female design professionals in the Kansas City and St. Joseph areas. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, expertise and time with our Girl Scouts!

The awards aren’t done yet; you can still cast your ballot for People’s Choice Award! Visit Crown Center and see these impressive builds yourself and vote for your favorite structure through March 22!

The 2019 Cookie Construction Program is a partnership with AIA Kansas City and made possible with the support of Crown Center, BRR Architecture & McCownGordon Construction.

Want to see more? Check out photos from Build Day on our Facebook Page. Want to participate?! Cookie Construction is open to Cadettes, Seniors & Ambassadors and registration will open this summer!

Celebrate Girl Scout Week

March 10 – 16, 2019

Whether you’re a Girl Scout alum, a current member, a dedicated volunteer, or you simply have an extraordinary Girl Scout in your life, you’re an important part of the Girl Scout family. And you know what families do together? Celebrate!

Girl Scout Week is definitely something to celebrate—seven straight days to show off your Girl Scout pride and lift up all that this worldwide sisterhood has given you, your community, and the world. Join us in treating each day from Sunday, March 10, through Saturday, March 16, as a day of action focused on a powerful yet simple way to get involved.

Sunday, March 10
Girl Scout Sunday is a special day dedicated to thinking about your beliefs and how they’re reflected in the Girl Scout Law.

Monday, March 11
STEM Day is the day we celebrate everything cool about science, technology, engineering & math. Try out one of our STEM activities or show us how you celebrate STEM.


Tuesday, March 12
It’s Girl Scouts’ 107th birthday! Learn about G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders) who are Girl Scouts who changed or are changing the world.  

Wednesday, March 13
Get out your green gear—it’s Girl Scout Spirit Day! Girls, wear that sash / vest or fave t-shirt. And adults, whether you sport a Girl Scout tee under a blazer at the office or rock a trefoil sweatshirt at the gym, let everyone know you’re a G.I.R.L. at heart. 

Thursday, March 14
Daisy’s Circle Day! Philanthropy supports Girl Scouting across our 47 counties. If you are a member, wear your Daisy’s Circle pin and ask someone to join you as a member. If you’re new to Daisy’s Circle, consider joining this powerful circle on this special day of Standing Up for G.I.R.L.s! 

Friday, March 15

Take Action Day! Kick off the weekend by giving back to your community. Could the local park use a cleanup? Does the food bank need volunteers? As always, the best person for the job is a Girl Scout! 

Saturday, March 16
Girl Scout Sabbath – Besides reflecting on your beliefs and how they’re echoed in the Girl Scout Law, we urge you to take some time this Girl Scout Sabbath to learn something new about someone else’s faith.  So, are you with us? Ready to go green and shout your Girl Scout love from the rooftops? Follow along on Instagram,Twitter, and Facebook for more fun all week long. (Link to our social media)

Looking for a special Girl Scout Week keepsake? Check out the 2019 Girl Scout Memorabilia in the Girl Scout Shop. 

The Perfect Girl Scout Destination

Spotlight on Girl Scout Senior, Natalie G.

Imagine having a passion for the arts, a love of the outdoors a desire to travel and then being presented with the opportunity to go on a Girl Scout destination called “Ohio: The Arts Connection.” Seems pretty fitting, right? It surely was for Girl Scout Senior, Natalie G.!

Natalie is a violinist, a ballerina, a musical theatre actress, enjoys going to art museums (especially the Nelson-Atkins) and absolutely loves getting outdoors with Girl Scouts. When she was just 10 years old, she went to her first sleep away camp at Camp Tall Chief in Oklahoma and learned that she wasn’t afraid to travel by herself and make new friends. So when she learned about this destination trip, she knew she wanted to go!

For eight days and seven nights, Natalie was immersed in the arts and culture realm in and around Cleveland, Ohio. The destination was in partnership with Girl Scouts of Northeastern Ohio and Natalie, along with 17 other Girl Scouts, stayed in cabins at a local Girl Scout camp.

Every day was a little different. All in all, they visited the Cleveland Art Museum and took an art class, saw Oklahoma (which just so happens to be Natalie’s favorite musical) and took a dance class where they mixed able dancers with those in wheelchairs and got to experience what it was like to dance in a wheelchair. They also took a trolley tour of Cleveland, learning about the murals that dominate the city.

“I really liked going to see Oklahoma in person and I thought that was a really cool experience to see that right there, up close!”

The camp they stayed at was in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Natalie was able to earn the Girl Scout Ranger patch from the National Park service by doing service project within the park! She also got to zipline, canoe and hike throughout the park where she learned that she prefers to be the first if she’s doing something new so she can face her fears and conquer them first!

While the entire trip was memorable for Natalie, July 23 was her favorite day of the trip because that’s the day she turned 13 and was celebrated by her fellow Girl Scout sisters and they explored the Cleveland sign!

“This destination made me want to travel more and go on different trips,” Natalie said!

Natalie’s mother, Lauren,  also saw a transformation in Natalie when she returned.

“It really took a lot of bravery and courage to do it but she went and she had a lot of fun. She came home, seemed older, more mature, more independent I just think in general it was good experience for her,” Lauren said.

Natalie is now planning her 2019 summer adventures and has her sights set on our excursion to the American Southwest where Girl Scout Cadettes and older will road trip, camp and visit at least 5 National Parks!

Are you interested in a Girl Scout destination? The next application deadline is February 15!

Blending Art and Science in a STEAM career

A Check-In with Girl Scout Alum Allison Jones

If you’ve been to a show at the Kansas City Zoo, odds are you’ve seen Girl Scout Alum and Lifetime member, Allison Jones!  This show stopping Girl Scout has found a way to blend performance art with science. Working both as a professional actress and as an Education Instructor at the Kansas City Zoo, Allison has found a way to incorporate two worlds in her career.

Allison started Girl Scouts as a Girl Scout Daisy in St. Louis, MO and moved to Lee’s Summit, MO in 2nd grade where she joined Troop 1609. “When we moved to Kansas City, my Girl Scout experience shifted to being very service oriented,” Allison said. As part of this focus on service, she earned her Silver Award by leading a Toys for Tots collection drive.

Growing up in Girl Scouts, Allison learned a diverse set of skills, including how to use her voice and the magic of science. It started with a normal Girl Scout activity – being at camp. “I played outside as a kid, but there was something different about Girl Scout camp. Being around the woods and animals and water and mysterious things in the dirt was so inspiring for me,” Allison said. She went on to become a counselor, helping other girls learn about nature and science.

Alison at camp; Allison with former GSUSA CEO, Anna Maria Chavez; Allison with animals at the zoo.

The other Girl Scout activity that inspired a love of science was a program called “INVENTure University” where Girl Scouts were challenged to invent something. “The program lasted a week and we stayed at Rockhurst University in the dorms. We had a week to invent, build and present something. My invention was a peanut butter jar you could open from both ends,” Allison said.

While Girl Scouts helped develop her love of science, it was a family trip to Sea World where Allison saw trainers working with animals and knew that’s what she wanted to do. From there, she went to the Alabama A&M University to study Biology. While there, she got back to her Girl Scout roots by helping lead a local troop during her junior year of college.

Since graduating, Allison has been working at the Kansas City Zoo and proudly representing what it means to be a Girl Scout! In the past few years, she also started her acting career and has been cast in professional shows around KC, including lead roles in Once On This Island with Spinning Tree Theatre and My Fair Lady with Girl Scout Community Partner, Musical Theatre Heritage. She’s currently performing in the Quartet in A Christmas Carol with the Kansas City Reparatory Theatre.

Allison Jones in…A Christmas Carol at the KC Rep; …Sister Act at the Barn Players; …Once On This Island as Ti Moune at Spinning Tree & My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle at Musical Theatre Heritage.

When presenting for the Kansas City Zoo, Allison sees the biggest crossover of arts skills in science. “Every animal has a story, so it’s fun when you can make their story animated and fun for kids,” Allison said. On stage, Allison uses her experience training animals to sometimes get co-stars to cooperate “as far as science in the arts goes…positive reinforcement works for people too!” Allison said.

This woman in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) believes that it’s important to have girls represented in the diverse fields of science. “Girls need to understand that science is more than medical school, labs and engineering. There are so many facets of science and we need diverse thinkers to create science. We wouldn’t have the science we have now without diversity,” Allison said.

One of the things she loves most about presenting for the zoo and doing “talk backs” (after performance Q&A opportunities with actors and the audience) is being able to represent women of color in both arenas. Whether she’s the lead in a musical or presenting an animal, it’s important to her that girls see themselves represented in various careers.

Thank you, Allison for showing what it means to be a versatile and talented G.I.R.L.! Learn more about Girl Scout STEAM opportunities by visiting www.gsksmo.org!

GS Alum Leadership in Action

Spotlight on Girl Scout Alum Angela Bennett

Leadership in action – that’s what living a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM life is all about. Meet Girl Scout Alum, former GSKSMO board member and member of Daisy’s Circle and the Juliette Gordon Low Society, Angela Bennett! This Girl Scout has been a leader in the KC community for years, serving on boards around the city, becoming the first black attorney at her law firm and as a Regional Director of the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. Now retired, Angela is dedicated to improving her community through volunteerism!

Angela Bennett with Gold Award Girl Scout Alum Catherine Pestinger and former GSKSMO Board President Libby Allman at the Juliette Gordon Low Society Luncheon in 2014.

Angela Bennett was raised in Kansas City, MO and started Girl Scouts in second grade. She remembers her first overnight campout was at Camp Timberlake and from her 2nd year of Girl Scouts on, she attended Camp Oakledge, well into her high school years. At camp, Angela learned critical networking and relationship building skills that would help her in future careers.

“When I was at camp, I had the opportunity to meet new people. I met girls from other communities that I wasn’t always exposed to and that was a good experience,” Angela said. Attending camp in the mid-1960s meant Angela was sometimes faced with racial prejudice, but at camp, she found those stereotypes and prejudices changed by the end of resident camp more often than not. That’s the power of getting girls together in a common activity away from the city and societal pressures – they can learn about one another in a safe space.

Beyond camping, Angela learned business skills through the Cookie Program. Her leader, Connie, made a large impact on her life and helped motivate her to succeed in the Cookie Program. “Our living room would be filled with cookie boxes before we could deliver them,” Angela said. These skills translated into adulthood as Angela attended UMKC for undergrad and Law School!

After graduating law school, Angela Bennett worked in a variety of occupations, blazing trails along the way. She served in the County Council office, worked for the Missouri Attorney General in the Consumer Protection division, in Army Corp of Engineers and Lathrop Gage. “I went to law school because I wanted to help people. My parents and Girl Scouts instilled in me a strong sense of giving back, so that’s always been important in my career,” Angela said.

With that motivation to give back, Angela accepted a position as the Regional Director of the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and served in that role for 17 years before retiring in 2014. In this role she was able to make a major impact on the lives of children in the education system. She also served on the Board of Curators for University of Missouri system. When you talk about a Girl Scout giving back through life, Angela Bennett is a prime example of leadership in volunteerism!

Her devotion to Girl Scouts remained strong well into adulthood. She served on the GSKSMO Board of Directors in the early 1990s learned a lot about the organization. “Being on the Board was a good experience because I got to learn about the needs of the organization,” Angela said. She was also actively involved in the 75th Girl Scout anniversary celebration, working to find local Girl Scout alums to attend and bringing out memorabilia like her “lemy stick” and Girl Scout Brownie Book!

She has continued to invest in Girl Scouts because of the positive experiences she had as a girl and because she knows that it helps build girls for a better future. “Giving to Girl Scouts is one of the best ways to support girls as they grow to become contributing members of society,” Angela said.

Thank you to Angela Bennett for not only investing in girls, but for being a strong example of the type of woman Girl Scouts helps empower! Learn more about the Juliette Gordon Low Society and Daisy’s Circle to give back like Angela.

Oh What a Match for G.I.R.L.s

The Van Blaricum Family’s #GivingTuesday Gift

Investing in a bright future for their daughters and Girl Scouts all over the GSKSMO region! Meet the Van Blaricum family – Mark, Jackie, Julia (5th grade Girl Scout Junior) and Sylvie (3rd grade Girl Scout Brownie). This generous Girl Scout family not only made a $5,000 gift for #GivingTuesday, they support the Girl Scout program through volunteerism and as a Community Partner! Thanks to their support, along with Sylvia Wagner & E.R. Pullman’s $5,000 matching gift and gifts from donors all over the country, a total of $21,341 was raised for girls on #GivingTuesday! That made it our biggest #GivingTuesday yet and will provide hundreds of girls with the support they need!

The Van Blaricum family is a great example of a Girl Scout family giving of time, talent and treasure! Not only do the girls share their skills with their community, but Mark & Jackie support the mission as well as active parents in their daughters’ Girl Scouting experiences. Mark is on his 3rd year as a Cookie Dad for the Troop 414 (Julia’s troop) and their food truck, Pita For Good, is a community partner.  “Being a Cookie Dad is a great way to me to be involved,” Mark said.

For the Van Blaricums’, it’s important to have their daughters involved in Girl Scouting today because they feel the world is opening for girls, and the program prepares them for anything. “The world is being set-up for girls, our future women, to thrive. I would love nothing more. The parents we know see it as something more meaningful than just an activity and we all want to support that,” Mark said.

One of the things the Van Blaricum family values most in Girl Scouting is the consistency and sense of community between the families. Both daughters have had the same girls and leaders stay with the troop for multiple years, letting them build meaningful friendships. It’s also a place where Mark sees amazing parent involvement. “There are always parents willing to help with things like cookie booths and there’s always someone willing to step in and help,” said Mark. He notices that not all organizations have that connection and that’s one thing that makes Girl Scouting extra special for them.

The best part about Girl Scouting for the Van Blaricums’ is the variety in experiences their daughters get to have. From selling cookies (and getting to go to Girl Scout Day at the K) to adventures with their troops and badge earning, it’s an activity where the girls never get bored. “You never know when your kids will just be done with an activity, but I’ve never gotten that sense about Girl Scouts. I don’t think they’ll ever be ‘done.’ Every time they come home from camp or a function with their troop, they’re just pumped and talk about the great experiences they had. As a parent, that does it for me,” Mark said.

This amazing Girl Scout family gives more than time and talents to Girl Scouts, they also made a financial investment in the future for their daughters. For #GivingTuesday (a global giving movement), the Van Blaricum’s provided one of two generous matching gifts that had a major impact on giving. Joining Sylvia Wagner & E.R. Pullman, the Van Blaricum’s offered a $5,000 matching gift, which helped Girl Scouts blow past a $20,000 goal – absolutely incredible!

“In Girl Scouts, parents invest with more than just financial gifts, they give of their time too. It all is an investment in the program and we’re thrilled to see the response of parents willing to help with our troops. So many parents find ways to invest and we’re thrilled to invest for Giving Tuesday,” Mark said.

We send a huge thank you to the Van Blaricum family for their volunteerism, for sharing their skills through the Community Partner program, for their financial gifts and for their dedication as an active family. With Girl Scouts like this, it’s no wonder the Girl Scout Family is a strong one!

If you’re interested in making a matching gift to help us make #GivingTuesday 2019 even bigger, please contact Vanessa Van Goethem-Piela at vvangoethempiela@gsksmo.org.

Finding Her Voice and Blazing Her Path

Spotlight on Camp Fury Participant and Future Firefighter, Autumn H.

Most of us can’t imagine running into a burning building, but for Girl Scout Senior Autumn H., that is exactly what she dreams of doing for her future career.

Autumn is a sophomore and a part of the Olathe West Public Safety Academy, a program where students gain the knowledge and skills necessary for post-secondary experiences in the professions of fire rescue or law enforcement through a partnership between Olathe West High School, Olathe Public Safety Department and Johnson County Community College. Autumn enrolled in the program during her freshman year of high school. After a semester learning about the various public safety fields, she chose to continue to the program on the fire rescue tract.

When Autumn learned about the opportunity to further her knowledge and gain experience from female professionals in the field through a Girl Scout Destination, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I thought it would be a great step in the direction of what I want to do, gain experience outside of Olathe, KS and learn how other city’s public safety departments function,” Autumn said!

In May, Autumn packed her bags and headed to Camp Fury in Tucson, AZ, a high adventure immersion experience for Girl Scouts, led by elite women of the fire and police services. Over the course of a week, Autumn and 40 other Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from all over the world participated in real-life drills and practice scenarios with female professionals in fire rescue, EMT, EMS, police, border patrol, FBI and SWAT fields.

Girls stayed at a local Girl Scout camp outside of Tucson and would bus to the Tucson Public Safety Academy by 7am each morning. Their days started out with physical training (PT) then they would break off and do field specific training each day. Fire rescue happened in the middle of the week, and it was (no surprise), her favorite.

“I’m kind of biased to the fire side! Day three or four we started off the morning with a controlled car fire instead of PT. We got to gear up and put out a car fire, which was kind of cool! We also did hose relays, climbed to the top of the aerial ladder on top of engine and did a blind search and rescue to find a person in the house that is filled with smoke,” Autumn explained.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only about 4 percent of firefighters are women nationwide. That figure has risen to about 14 percent in police work and the military.

“I was worried about sexism in the field in the general; seeing that these women can do it made me realize that I can do it too. They were so encouraging. They wanted us to do our best and I feel like that really helped me,” she said.

When she returned from her Camp Fury Girl Scout Destination Autumn joined Fire Explorers, another program in her community that will enhance and compliment the experiences she’s having in her Public Safety curriculum at school. Each week in the Fire Explorers program – a male dominated program, she draws on her experiences at Camp Fury this past summer.

“Sometimes it can be a little stressful; the guys will try to step in while you’re doing something even though you have it. Other times they trust you,” she explained. “You have to declare your presence and try and fit in as much as possible but let them know you’re still a woman. You can’t have fear and you can’t second guess yourself. If they see you second guessing yourself, they’ll second guess you.”

Autumn also returned from Camp Fury feeling confident about her future career plans.

“After school ended, I was still hesitant about going down this [fire rescue] career path. I knew I would finish the program, but I didn’t know if I wanted to run into burning building and save people on the worst day of their lives,” Autumn explained. “Camp Fury convinced me.”

When Autumn graduates from Olathe West 2021, she’ll do so with Fire 1 & Fire 2 credentials. “I’ll be eligible to be hired onto a department right out of high school.”

Thanks to Camp Fury, Autumn has a network of Girl Scout sisters all around the world who are also passionate about a career in the public safety sector and working to close the gender gap in their desired field.

“I have a friend in Poland! Another friend from Milwaukee started the process of joining the Air Force the day after she flew back home and a friend from Tennessee is now a volunteer firefighter!”

As for her advice if you’re thinking about a Camp Fury experience?

“Do it! Absolutely do it. I definitely found my voice there [at Camp Fury]. It was a great experience and over that week you bond so much with other girls it’s unbelievable.”

Camp Fury – Tucson, AZ, 2018

We are excited to announce that Camp Fury is coming to Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri through a partnership with the Kansas City MO Fire Department, Kansas City Kansas Fire Department, Kansas City MO Police Department and the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s office! Catching Fury will take place in the summer of 2019 and will be for Girl Scouts entering 8th and 9th grades. Then in 2020, Camp Fury will take place and be open to Girl Scouts entering 10th – 12th grade!

If you can’t wait or want to fill your time while you do, you can apply for the Girl Scout Destinations program that Autumn did in Tucson, AZ. The first round of applications is due Dec. 1 but applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the program is full.

 

Easy ways to STRETCH your Girl Scout Giving!

#GivingTuesday is just one week away and everyone in the Girl Scout family is gearing up for an exciting holiday season with family and friends. With Thanksgiving just two days away, there’s no better time to prepare for another very important holiday established in 2012 – #GivingTuesday! This celebration of giving back is the IDEAL time to show girls that you’re STANDING UP for them and willing to invest in their future.

Did you know that a girl’s very first resume is her Girl Scout vest? Think about it! A resume shows your skills and shares a story of victories and failures overcome. The same can be said about a Girl Scout vest brimming with badges – all showing skills Girl Scouts have learned. On #GivingTuesday you can say “I Stand Up for Girls” by investing in their future.

…Plus – for 2018 #GivingTuesday there’s an even bigger reason to give – DOUBLE YOUR DOLLAR (up to $10,000)!

In addition to the celebration of #GivingTuesday, you can give all throughout the holiday season AND year with these easy ways to give back to Girl Scouts!

 

1. Employer Match – INCREASE YOUR GIVING POWER

Did you know many employers in our region offer giving matches or volunteer incentives? When you give back, your company may support your efforts in a variety of ways! Contact your HR department to see if they offer giving matches, incentives for volunteer hours or paid volunteer time. Your financial gift or volunteer time + your company’s incentives could help us grow the giving power of our community!

Check out this list of known employers in our council who offer incentives and email rberg@gsksmo.org if your company is missing from this list!

 

2. AmazonSmiles – FREE MONEY FOR GIRLS!

What’s better than getting free money for girls? When you shop on Amazon, be sure to use AmazonSmiles girls get a special .5% back on qualifying purchases. That means every time you shop, you can feel good knowing that Amazon will make a donation to Girl Scouts! What’s better than that? Just be sure to make ALL your purchases on a web browser and use “https://smile.amazon.com” to have the purchases count.

Link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/43-0892926

OR: visit https://smile.amazon.com and type “Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri” into the Charity Search.

 

3. #GivingTuesday – DOUBLE THE POWER OF YOUR DOLLAR!

If you’re planning to make a gift to Girl Scouts this holiday season, there’s truly no better time to give than #GivingTuesday (November 27, 2018). Thanks to TWO very special matches from Sylvia Wagner & E.R. Pullman and the VanBlaricum Family, all donations up to $10,000 will be MATCHED on #GivingTuesday! Learn more: www.gsksmo.org/givingtuesday

PS: You can give TODAY and have it qualify if you visit our #GivingTuesday page! All gifts received on THIS PAGE qualify as a #GivingTuesday Early Bird and will be matched, up to $10,000!

 

4. Join Daisy’s Circle – JOIN A NETWORK AND GROW GIVING!

Our last tip on how to make your giving dollars go even further this holiday season is to join Daisy’s Circle – GSKSMO’s monthly giving program. By joining this network of Girl Scout supporters, your monthly gift, of any size, works together with other donors to provide consistent, reliable income for girls. Plus, with opportunities to advocate and promote as a member of Daisy’s Circle, you can help us GROW THE CIRCLE! Learn more: www.daisyscircle.org

Thank you for standing up for girls this holiday season and making your giving dollars go even further! Join us on social media all day on  November 27, 2018 (#GivingTuesday) and help us advocate for girls by sharing, liking and posting (with the #GivingTuesday and #GSKSMO)!

From Girl Scouts to Nonprofit Leadership

Girl Scout Alum Dani Wiles is in her third year at William Jewell College, studying nonprofit leadership and organization. Dani was matched with us for Nonprofit Connect’s annual Shadow Day this year and after spending a day with the GSKSMO Brand & Marketing Department, she reflected on the opportunities she had as a young Girl Scout, realizing that those experiences put her on her career path she’s pursuing today.

“Leading up to kindergarten I remember telling my mom how badly I wanted to be a Girl Scout. I was a shy, outdoors-loving, and creative child. I remember wanting to be a Girl Scout because of my friend’s older sister’s involvement with the organization. The vest, the badges, the friendships, and the activities were all I could ever ask for when joining an organization at such a young age. Once I was old enough to become a Girl Scout I joined the troop at my elementary school. Joining that troop not only gave me something to talk about with my peers, but allowed me to make life-long friends with the girls! I was very lucky that my parents became heavily involved with the organization to support my dream of being a successful Girl Scout. My mom went to every troop meeting, and my Dad made phone calls to all of his friends during the cookie season! My parents’ efforts to see their child succeed didn’t go unnoticed by me. When I sold nearly the largest number of cookies in my troop, I thanked my parents first thing! To this day my mom and I still talk about how fun it was to participate in Girl Scouts.

Dani as a young Girl Scout.

Troop meetings were my favorite part of being a Girl Scout. I loved getting the opportunity to see all my friends outside of school, do arts and crafts, and play games. The games and activities that my troop participated in during meetings actually helped me to develop into the confident young-woman I am today. Before Girl Scouts, I was horribly shy around my peers. At my first troop meeting I didn’t plan on speaking to anyone because I was so nervous. Thankfully, they all spoke to me and welcomed me with open arms. Those girls helped me to grow and come into my own. At meetings and in school I no longer kept to myself, I wanted to be social and explore the opportunities I was given through Girl Scouts and my new-found confidence!

It’s been 15 years since I first joined Girl Scouts, which sounds so wild to me! I am a Junior at William Jewell College (Go Cards!) studying Nonprofit Leadership and Organization! When I first went to college I wasn’t sure what I should major in or what career to pursue. This caused me to do a lot of self-reflection about the times in my life I was really passionate about an activity or organization I was involved in and how I could turn those passions into a career. This self-reflection led me to realize the three things that I was truly passionate about are photography, the outdoors, and Girl Scouts. After a few discussions with my mom and my close friends, I realized that I could pursue all of those passions with a career in Nonprofit Leadership! It wasn’t until college that I realized the Girl Scouts was a nonprofit organization (silly, right?) or how much the community engagement, leadership encouragement, or entrepreneurial spirit the Girl Scouts instilled in me had an impact on the woman I am today.

Without a doubt in my mind, I can say that Girl Scouts gave me the confidence to know that I can be a leader on my campus, in the Kansas City area, and in the nonprofit sector. Girl Scouts was the first time I had been exposed to women and girls in leadership roles. Seeing these women and girls being strong, kind, and courageous leaders helped me to develop my own leadership skills and follow my dreams.

I now realize that the skills I utilize every day in the classroom are the skills I learned in Girl Scouting. My experience playing leadership games, getting to explore my creativity, selling cookies, and building relationship skills in the Girl Scouts prepared me to present ideas during nonprofit board meetings, create marketing plans and think of ways to engage volunteers! I am thankful for my experience in Girl Scouts which has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams fearlessly!”

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Dani! We have no doubt that you’re going to great things in the nonprofit sector!