Ensuring Girls Reach for the Stars and Beyond

Spotlight on STEM Volunteers, Joe & Rita Wright

What do you get when you combine a retired postal service worker and a mechanical designer? Two EXTRAORDINARY Girl Scout Outdoor STEM Program volunteers, of course! Joe and Rita Wright are and they have been sharing their love and vast knowledge of astronomy with Girl Scouts in our council for over 10 years!

You might call Joe and Rita Professional Amateur Astronomers. Joe oversees the UMKC Observatory and both he and Rita have impressive resumes, accolades and honors for this only being a hobby of theirs!

Joe attributes his initial fascination with astronomy to his father who was a plane mechanic for TWA. He remembers earning his Astronomy Badge at Boy Scout camp and that year his parents bought him a telescope. He would take that telescope to Boy Scout camp outs and would teach others about astronomy. This was just the beginning for Joe! As for Rita, she was fascinated by everything she learned from Joe and it became a passion of hers as well!

Just as fascinating as their path to interest in astronomy is their involvement in Girl Scouts! When Joe relocated the Boy Scout troop he was leading (and the troop he earned is Eagle Scout in) to a new church, the church asked what they were going to do for girls. So, they formed a multi-level Girl Scout troop! While they have a son and a daughter, neither was involved in Scouting. Joe and Rita chose to lead these groups because they felt like it was important to their community.

Combining their love of astronomy and Scouting programs, Joe and Rita were invited to a training at the University of Arizona to learn how to bring more astronomy programs to Girl Scouts in 20114. They worked with other Girl Scout trainers and under Dr. Don McCarthy developing programs to bring back to Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri.

Every spring and fall Joe and Rita put on multiple STEM in the Outdoors Programs at Camp Tongawood for Girl Scouts of all levels. Joe and Rita ensure each program is progressive so that girls can continue building on their knowledge, if they choose. Girl Scouts who attend one of their programs will use Joe and Rita’s incredible equipment like telescopes, infrared cameras, specialized lights and measurement tools that Joe and Rita haul out to Girl Scout camp in an old converted scout trailer! Girls will get to see and touch unique artifacts such as meteoroids and dessert glass. But most importantly, they will be challenged to answer their own questions by two very passionate and caring volunteers who hope to inspire just a little interest into the field of astronomy.  “We want girls to learn from their peers if they don’t understand. We don’t just give them the answers, we try to weasel it out of them!” Joe said.

Since 2004 they have participated in eight different astronomical education trainings in their spare time, often writing applications and proposals and securing the funding themselves to cover the costs of their attendance so they can further their knowledge to share with community.

This summer they will travel to Greenbelt, MD to the Goddard Space Flight Center with two Girl Scout Ambassadors from our council for “Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts.” We are just one of 10 councils selected to participate in the new 5-year space science education program that will bring together Girl Scouts with scientists, engineers and educators at NASA and beyond! They will help create a new series of Space Science badges for Girl Scouts nationwide and the groundwork to create a council-wide astronomy club!

Also this summer, Joe and Rita have been invited to be part of the staff for the first-ever Girl Scout destination at the University of Arizona-Steward Observatory! As if their summer wasn’t busy enough, they’re also coordinating community events around the Kansas City area for the solar eclipse that will happen on August 21, 2017!

“Most of our joy is in the programs we do for Girl Scouts. It’s seeing the lightbulb for the girls come on. It clicks and that’s what inspires us and rejuvenates us,” Joe said.

Joe and Rita are truly life-long learners who are inspired by Girl Scouts to continue pursuing and sharing their passion for astronomy, and we are so lucky to have them as volunteers!

Be sure you follow our social media channels as we share what Joe, Rita and the two Girl Scout Ambassadors are up to in Goddard, MD this summer at their NASA training!

Team J. Gordon Low Resistance

Spotlight on FIRST LEGO League Participants, Troop 1987

What started out as an ordinary troop trip to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS had an extraordinary impact on the Girl Scout Juniors in Troop 1987 from Gardener, KS! After learning how to program an FLL (FIRST LEGO League) robot, Troop 1987 left curious and wanting more!

At their next troop meeting, they voted to officially form an FLL team to compete and named themselves J. Gordon Low Resistance – after the founder of Girl Scouts and in a nod to the basic principles of electricity! They used their cookie proceeds to purchase their first kit – a $700 value and immediately got to work!

 

Dianne and Andy Stevens, troop leaders, were thrilled to see this newfound passion in their girls and pledged to double as troop leaders and coaches in this new adventure! Troop 1987/ J. Gordon Low Resistance committed to meeting twice a week to prepare for the spring competition season while also participating in traditional Girl Scout activities.

FIRST LEGO League Overlaps really well with Girl Scout values,” Dianne said! FLL is completely girl/child-led; the adults act as coaches, guiding their team to the best or correct answers and FLL has a set of Core Values that teams pledge to follow (similar to the Girl Scout Promise and Law) that are as important as the robotic challenges themselves.

The FLL program is three-fold:

  1. Core Values – 8 basic principles that teams pledge to practice and adhere to.

Troop 1987/ J. Gordon Low Resistance practices their Core Values in every single meeting. Sometimes it’s in the work and practices itself, other times they do various team building exercises like figuring out how to fold and unfold a towel while all six members are standing upon it! They can recite the values and it is evident in talking to them that they truly believe in them.

  1. The Project – focused on a different theme each year, each team spends the year identifying a problem, designing a solution and then shares it with others through a judged competition and interview process.

The 2016 FLL theme was Animal Allies. After much discussion of animal and human interactions, the girls put together a project called the Hazenator to help Kansas farmers prevent coyote attacks on their livestock. One of the team members told a story about how her family’s livestock was attacked by coyotes. They wanted to invent a way to scare coyotes and protect sheep without killing the coyotes. The invented a drone that works with a bark collar on a sheep dog! In developing their solution, Troop 1987/ J. Gordon Low Resistance interviewed Dr. Julie K. Young, a specialist in coyotes, and she was seriously impressed with their solution!

  1. The Robot Game – designed around various missions, teams program their robot to complete missions quickly and effectively. The game is where teams spend a majority of their time working and scrimmaging to practice before competing locally and nationally!

The robot used by Troop 1987 was a basic robot EV3 with one color sensor. They used LEGO Mindstorms to code the missions and wrote pseudo code before they input the actual code! When their robot arrived, they had a building party to assemble the robot, as well as all the elements for the Animal Allies game. The pieces all play a role in what the robot has to do, navigating itself around the board!

Many of the girls in the troop have been together since first grade. As they get older there are other new and exciting opportunities to be a part of that draw girls away from Girl Scouting. Having formed themselves as a competing robotics troop, girls were eager to stay involved in Girl Scouts and they even recruited two new members!

As a rookie team that got a late start, J. Gordon Low Resistance accomplished some bold feats this year! They competed at a local competition the three categories above and took home the Innovative Solution Award for their Hazenator Project!

Whether Girl Scouts are being lifelong learners at camp, pioneers through travel, or dreamers and inventors through robotics, they are preparing themselves for a lifetime of leadership!

Know a super cool troop like 1987? Tell us about them using the comments section below. We love featuring our Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers  and Leaders!

 

 

 

 

 

More Than Just S’mores

 

School is winding down and the temperatures are warming up! As you plan your summer, is camping like a Girl Scout on your summer to do list?! You know that Girl Scouts and the outdoors go together just like that perfectly toasted marshmallow goes between graham crackers and chocolate! And everyone knows that s’mores taste the best at Girl Scout Camp!

But, Girl Scout Camp is about SO much more than just s’mores. 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 determined to succeed. Honest. Fair. Ambitious. = She’ll try new things, learning more about herself as well as her strengths and weaknesses.

Think outside the box. Experiment. = She will use her resources wisely and be a creative problem-solver.

Try new things. Be courageous. Embrace the unfamiliar. = She’ll discover how one decision she makes impacts her and the world around her.

Empower others. Be empathetic. Advocate. = She will lead with integrity and practice grit.

When she camps like a Girl Scout, she will empower herself for life.

There are still several open spots at Girl Scout Camp this summer for you to be a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader!

Did you know that monthly outdoor exposure contributes to girls’ challenge seeking and problem solving? Or that an overwhelming majority of girls really enjoy outdoor activities in Girl Scouts? How about that Girl Scouts who get outdoors are twice as likely to connect with and care for the environment that non-Girl Scouts?

Below are some new and exciting programs and sessions that we want to make you aware of!

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!

So, will you make that perfect s’more at and enjoy it at Girl Scout Camp this summer?! Learn more and register today!

Shutterbug of Service

“A picture is worth 1,000 words,” as the saying goes, and sometimes a picture can create a forever family. Thanks to Gold Award Girl Scout, Natalie Dameron, pictures helped bring shelter dogs into homes and created furrrever families all over Kansas City. This Girl Scout Ambassador from Kansas City, MO combined her love of photography, writing and animals to create a service project that changed the lives of pets and people.

Natalie has been in Girl Scouts for 10 years, following in the footsteps of her sister. Her mother served as troop leader and Natalie wanted to join because, as she says, “I saw the positive impact [Girl Scouts] could make on people.” While that deep love of service led to her Gold Award, Natalie also loved getting to meet girls from all over Kansas City though Girl Scouts. She remembers a troop sleepover at Great Wolf Lodge and other events that bonded her to her Girl Scout sisters.

Being a Girl Scout for most of her school career has given Natalie incredible opportunities to meet new people and grow as a person. “Not only is it a great experience to have in your childhood, it’s a great opportunity to get involved with the community and continue to meet other girls from all different backgrounds,” Natalie said.

That love of service that first brought Natalie to Girl Scouts made her determined to get her Gold Award, the ultimate service experience a Girl Scout can have. She wanted to do something that incorporated three things she loved, and her project, “Homes for Hounds,” was the result. “My Gold Award project was inspired by my love for photography, animals, and writing. I wanted to incorporate all of my interests into a project that would significantly help my community,” Natalie said.

 

Natalie’s Gold Award Project: “Homes for Hounds”

Natalie partnered with Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption in Mission, KS to find dogs that she could feature on her website to help get them adopted. She took photos of the dogs, wrote about their personalities and posted it on her website, http://homesforhoundskc.weebly.com/, for families to learn about the dogs looking for a home.

This powerful project not only helped Unleashed increase adoptions, it created families and helped Natalie become a stronger leader. By being in Girl Scouts, and especially earning her Gold Award, Natalie feels better prepare for the future. As a high school senior, this G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM is now ready to conquer the world. “Girl Scouting has given me confidence to pursue my passions, as well as provided me with so many opportunities for leadership,” Natalie said.

Natalie receiving her Gold Award pin by her family at the 2017 Inspire a Girl ceremony.

Now that she’s earned her Gold Award, her best piece of advice to Girl Scouts working on their Gold Award is to stay on top of it. “I would advise that you stay on top of planning, and do not get discouraged by setbacks. All aspects of the project should be parts of a learning process that help you to grow,” Natalie said. In all, earning her Gold Award was not only a personal accomplishment, it helped her as she prepared for college as well. “[The Gold Award] is recognized by many colleges as a great accomplishment, as I was asked about my Gold project in many of my college interviews”

We are so incredibly proud of this amazing G.I.R.L.! As she heads off to college, she knows that by being a Girl Scouts, she’s able to conquer any new adventure life has to offer. “Girl Scouts has helped me to be a G.I.R.L. in more ways than one, but in particular it gave me the confidence to take risks and step outside of my comfort zone,” Natalie said.

Check out Natalie’s Young Achiever spotlight on Fox 4!

Celebrating the Awe-Inspiring Volunteers of the East Region

It takes a village to raise G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM, and thanks to Girl Scout volunteers, girls haven an amazing circle of support! On Thursday, May 4, we were able to honor and thank the incredible volunteers across our East Region.

2017 East Region Volunteer Award Recipients

The East Region Volunteer Celebration was a Mad Hatter event! Everyone arrived in their wackiest hats or made them there at the hat creation station. Girl Scouts enjoyed our G.I.R.L photo booth, and there were plenty of goodies for everyone to eat in the reception following the awards ceremony. It was a night of fun, celebration and appreciation! We love our East Region volunteers!

At the awards ceremony, we presented the President’s Award to 10 incredible service units who are providing girls with amazing experiences in the East region (SU 604, SU 605, SU 607, SU 618, SU 620, SU 646, SU 648, SU 649, SU 654 and SU 655 – way to go!).  These service unit awards show the power of working together for girls.

We honored 29 outstanding individuals with the Appreciation Pin, an award that recognizes outstanding service given to at least one service unit. Every one of these volunteers has shown incredible dedication, passion and service to the girls in our community and they’re changing lives every day. Thank you to these amazing volunteers!

In addition to these awesome Appreciation Pin and President’s Award recipients, we were able to honor volunteers who have contributed to the success of Girl Scouts in the areas of STEM, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Service. To name just a few, we presented the Recruitment Award to the Recruitment Team of Service Unit 604 (Heather Cooper, Chessie Hernandez, Lindsay Peterson, Paige Rahman and Katherine Stitt). The Rising Star Award was given to Barbara Schlesinger for her work with her troop!  Erica Johnson was honored not only as an Appreciation Pin recipient, but also with the G.I.R.L Brand Ambassador Award for her mission-focused storytelling and volunteer work. You all ROCK – THANK YOU!

Philanthropy is a huge part of Girl Scouts, and we wanted to thank a couple of incredible philanthropists that contribute to Girl Scouts! Tara Scherer was honored as the Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist, Ron Grode was honored with the Philanthropist Award and Hallmark received the Corporate Philanthropist Award. Way to go, philanthropists! Thank you for investing in girls!

What an incredible night honoring our East Region team. We can’t thank our incredible volunteers enough; you all are making an incredible impact on girls. Because of you, we are growing G.I.R.L.s who will lead tomorrow! THANK YOU!!

To see a full list of awardees and photos from the night, click here to view our program and gallery.

Service from the Heart

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout and Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Out of tragedy comes hope. For G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM, turning tragic events into hope for the future is a way to heal and move forward. Meet Samantha Jansen, a Gold Award Girl Scout and 2017 Beth Winters Scholarship recipient from Service Unit 637 in Lenexa, KS. This amazing G.I.R.L. was able to provide healing to countless families who have suffered tragedy, like her family did, through the Girl Scout Gold Award and her own drive to give back.

In 2016, Samantha Jansen received her Girl Scout Gold Award for her project, “Building Hope, One Brick at a Time.” For her project, she created the Building Hope Brick Garden at the Ronald McDonald House Charities Kansas City to memorialize children who have passed away and celebrate children who have had successful recoveries. Aside from the beautiful flowers that brighten the garden, memorial bricks are available for families to have engraved with the names of lost children and those who are in recover. Today, families can purchase bricks according to their financial situation through a fund Samantha established, so the garden will keep growing with memorials and success stories.

This project was more than just a service project to Samantha and her family because they suffered the loss of a child, Samantha’s twin brother, Eric, who passed away when he was only five days old.  Samantha chose to create the garden in memory of Eric. Through giving back, she was able to find a way to make Eric’s memory a place of healing and hope rather than sadness.

 

Left: Samantha being pinned by her mother & troop leader, Elaine; Center: Jansen family planting a bulb in the Brick Garden; Right: Joyce Termini, Samantha, Chip Winters and Joy Wheeler, GSKSMO CEO

Another Girl Scout family did exactly the same thing more than 20 year ago when they suffered the loss of their beloved daughter, Beth Winters. The Winters’ family turned this tragedy into a movement for change by establishing the Beth Winters Scholarship, which Samantha Jansen was the 2017 recipient of. “This scholarship meant so much because my project dealt with the loss of a child and Joyce lost a child, so it was something we immediately bonded over in the interview. Even though I’d never met her, the interview with her felt so personal,” Samantha said.

Earning her Gold Award and being selected as a Beth Winters Scholarship recipient are the culmination of 12 years of Girl Scouting service. Samantha joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy in Kindergarten and stayed with the program because of the opportunities to give back and life skills she’s been able to learn.

“If I had gone out and tried to find all the opportunities Girl Scouts has provided me on my own, they would have been so much harder to find. The connections I’ve made through Girl Scouts have opened up a lot of doors for me and helped me with life skills,” Samantha said. By staying involved through her senior year of high school, Samantha has been able to go from a quiet middle schooler to a vibrant, young public speaker who’s able to serve as an event emcee! Talk about becoming a G.I.R.L.!

Girl Scouts has helped Samantha become a G.I.R.L. in a variety of ways, but especially as a “Risk-taker” and “Leader.” “Because of all the skills I’ve learned and by becoming a risk-taker [in Girl Scouts,] I’ve become a leader. By pushing myself, not being afraid to take charge of a group and by speaking up for myself, I’ve learned to lead. Being a risk-taker and a leader are so connected,” Samantha said.

We couldn’t be more proud of this amazing G.I.R.L. and her incredible family that’s stood by her side. Thank you to Samantha, her mother and leader, Elaine, and the rest of the Jansen family. Thank you for supporting your G.I.R.L. and for creating a better world

Girl Scouts Stands with Faith Communities

Post courtesy of Girl Scouts of USA.

Girl Scouts is focused on developing the potential for leadership in all girls. GSUSA established a positive relationship with the highest leadership of the Catholic Church to benefit and support Catholic Girl Scouts throughout the country.

Unfortunately, some have chosen to perpetuate misinformation that the Catholic Church leadership has acknowledged to be false. Girl Scouts is always willing to work with any and every person or organization in order to fulfill our mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

Girl Scouts of the USA is proud of its 100-year relationship with the Catholic Church and is pleased that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has on its website the following resources: Questions and Answers About Girl Scouts of the USA and About Catholic Scouting; Background on Girl Scouts of the USA and USCCB Conversations.

For more more Q&A on social issues, visit gsksmo.org/socialissues.

Inspiring the STEM G.I.R.L.s of Tomorrow!

Spotlighting Girl Scout Alumna Emily Meyer

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math…STEM. It’s a term that we hear a lot today. Getting kids interested in STEM, especially girls, has become a focus for Girl Scouts so we can fill the STEM pipeline and change the statistics that report less than 20% of STEM jobs being filled by women. One Girl Scout alumna who’s making a difference is Emily Meyer! Emily is the STEM Education Program Manager at Science City (one of our awesome Community Partners) and has a passion for engaging girls in STEM! By showing girls how cool science, technology, engineering and math can be when they’re young, we can change the future and take advantage of the greatest untapped resource of the future – G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM!

Emily Meyer loved her Girl Scouting experience as a girl. She fondly remembers exploring the outdoors with her troop, spending time at camp and trading SWAPs. The memories of camp still fill her mom’s house with little blasts from the past still in daily use. “My mom still uses a popsicle stick napkin holder I made at camp. I’m not sure if she’s repaired it or it was made with really good glue, but she still has it. She also still has my SWAPs hat…that I’ve been able to share with my daughter’s troop,” Emily said.

 

Left: Cadence’s Daisy Troop 5006; Right: Emily and Cadence having fun

Fast forward a few decades from those camp days and Emily is now the proud Girl Scout mom to Girl Scout Daisy, Cadence. She decided to put Cadence in Girl Scouts because of the positive experience she had as a girl. “Girl Scouts was such a big part of my childhood. [With Cadence’s troop] I get to be really involved with planning activities and things like that,” Emily said. Recently she helped the troop plan, plant and maintain a butterfly garden full of daisies at their elementary school! The troop did everything, from planting the seeds to transferring them to the garden to agreeing to maintain the garden over the summer. What a cool way to introduce girls to STEM!

In addition to awesome projects like this, Emily is shaping the STEM experience for girls at Science City. After graduating with a degree in biology and chemistry she became a researcher and was asked to go to a school to talk about life cycles with children. That one trip was all it took for Emily to realize how much she loved STEM education and she went back to school to get a graduate degree in education!

 

Emily  (and Emily and Emily and Emily!) at Science City’s Genetics Exhibit: Unlock the Code, playing with the Duplication Station

Now, Emily gets to teach and inspire a love of STEM every day at Science City and create programming for groups like Girl Scouts! She was proud to see that the three of the top winners of the 2017 Greater Kansas City Science & Engineering Fair were high school girls with truly inspiring projects. How inspiring to see girls making a statement in science so young!

Teaching STEM is more than just a career, it’s combating a global issue on a local scale. The more girls we can expose to STEM, the more we can fill the STEM pipeline of the future. More than that, it’s a way to develop skills that every G.I.R.L. needs – not just those going into STEM as a career. “Teaching STEM isn’t just about creating more scientists, because science isn’t for everyone. STEM education is about encouraging curiosity, developing critical thinking skills and learning that failure is okay,” Emily said. We couldn’t agree more!

Thank you, Emily, for all you do at Science City and for creating opportunities for girls all over Kansas City and beyond. We love the partnership with Science City and can’t wait to see the new, innovative ways we can come up with to inspire girls in STEM!

Click here to learn more about Science City events with Girl Scouts!

A Go-getter from Gold to Polar Bears

Spotlight on Go-Getter and Gold Award Girl Scout, Jenny Stern

A Go-getter. Someone who is bold, honest and determined to succeed. In her mind, failure is no reason not to get back up and try again, and again. That’s Jenny Stern, G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™, 2012 Gold Award Recipient and graduate student at the University of Washington studying polar bears and how what they eat changes with climate change.

How cool is that?!

Her goal is to become a professor that focuses on research, education and outreach and she credits her Girl Scout experiences with her life aspirations.

During her senior year, Jenny volunteered as a childcare assistant for a local English Language Learners (ELL) class. Each week, she would play games with the children and read the few books that were in the space they were using. While volunteering, she saw an opportunity for a deeper experience and her Gold Award project took shape. Jenny organized a book drive and designed a free reading program for the children of the ELL attendees to learn English at the same time as their parents. To sustain the program, she coordinated and trained volunteers!

Jenny as a Girl Member with her troop!

“My Gold Award was my first experience designing and implementing a large project,” Jenny explained. “This experience prepared me for my coursework and research completed as an undergraduate as well as implementing my project as a graduate student.”

Not only is Jenny a Gold Award Recipient, but she’s a Beth Winters Scholarship recipient as well! As a Girl Scout Alumna, she now serves on the Beth Winters Scholarship Panel helping to select other Girl Scouts who have demonstrated an excellence in leadership and service to receive the same scholarship she did.

“Girl Scouts taught me the importance of service from a very young age. My troop focused on improving our community and demonstrated to me that one person can make large positive impacts,” Jenny said. “I attribute the development of my confidence and compassion to both Girl Scouts and how my parents raised me!”

Even with all the exciting STEM experiences that Jenny has had (remember, she studies polar bears!), she still considers her Gold Award one of her proudest experiences.

Jenny’s advice to Girl Scouts considering earning their Gold Award? “Choose a project you are passionate about and don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

We can’t wait to see what this Go-getter accomplishes, learns and shares with the world through her research and career aspirations!

Do you have a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker or Leader story? Share with us in the comments below, and we might feature your G.I.R.L. in an upcoming blog.

Celebrating the Sensational Volunteers of the Central Region

Girl Scout volunteers grow G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM every day by dedicating countless hours, dozens of hugs and sacrificing sleep to help Girl Scouts thrive. On Sunday, April 23, we were able to honor several of the incredible Central Region volunteers who make a difference in the lives of girls. Without volunteers, Girl Scouts could not happen.

We presented the President’s Award to 5 incredible service units who are providing girls with a top rate Girl Scout experience (SU 632, SU 634, SU 642, SU 671 and SU 672 – way to go!). 22 volunteers received the Appreciation Pin, given for outstanding service to at least one service unit. Because of volunteers like the 22 we honored, the Central Region is on fire! We also presented several awards for excellence in STEM, Philanthropy, Entrepreneurship and other key areas where volunteers excel.

2017 Central Region Award Recipients

To name just a few, we presented the Innovator Award to Denisse Osorio de Large and Steven Large from Service Unit 672 for their work with Cerner to create a STEM Spark event that integrated Spanish into the program, so Spanish-speaking Girl Scouts and families could be included. Regina McCullum from Service Unit 661 was honored with the Growing Entrepreneurs Award for her years of service as a Product Sales Manager and her work creating future CEOs through the Cookie Program. Tori Hirner from Service Unit 638 was honored with the Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist Award for her inspiring work to grow the Circle. NIC was honored as our Corporate Philanthropist for their incredible financial and volunteer support to build the next generation of STEM innovators.

These are just a few of the incredible honorees that made the Central Region Girl Scouting experience absolutely spectacular. With over 10,000 girls in the Central Region, it takes some pretty special volunteers to make it happen!

At the end of the ceremony, we presented two incredible volunteers with the Thanks Badge – the highest honor a Girl Scout volunteer can earn. Linda Bradley was honored for her many years of service, her work as a trainer and dedication to G.I.R.L.s. Carla Redondo de Castillo was honored for her amazing work not only with her service unit, but with Spanish speaking Girl Scouts all over the council. She spends countless hours reviewing and translating manuals into Spanish for all our awesome Spanish speaking Girl Scout families. You can read more about Carla in her recent blog post here! Thank you, Linda & Carla, and congratulations on receiving the Thanks Badge for your work!

We can’t thank our incredible volunteers enough. Thank you for all you do! You make the Central Region what it is. Thank you for helping us grow G.I.R.L.s! View photos of the event, honoree digital photo frames and our event program by visiting http://www.gsksmo.org/celebrate.

Our 2017 Central Region Volunteer Honorees

President’s Award
Service Unit 632, Shawnee Mission
Service Unit 634, Overland Park
Service Unit 642, Olathe
Service Unit 671, Shawnee
Service Unit 672, Overland Park

Appreciation Pin
Marie Burger, Service Unit 671; Shawnee
Tonya Burke, Service Unit 671; Shawnee
Dayna Carney, Service Unit 679; Olathe
Jennifer Cheffey, Service Unit 632; Shawnee Mission
Marianne D’Amato, Service Unit 632; Shawnee Mission
Joslyn Dawson, Service Unit 672; Overland Park
Tracey Fuller, Service Unit 678; Olathe
Susie Gilson, Service Unit 678; Olathe
Jennifer Gleason, Service Unit 716; Lawrence
Sydney Harrington, Service Unit 672; Overland Park
Nikki Hokanson, Service Unit 675; Overland Park
Laura Logan, Service Unit 638; Overland Park
Craig Lybarger; Service Unit 642; Olathe
Melissa Lyons; Service Unit 642; Olathe
Tacey Mullen; Service Unit 680; Olathe
Melanie Nolker, Service Unit 672; Overland Park
Gretchen Schmanke, Service Unit 679; Overland Park
Stacey Smith, Service Unit 635; Prairie Village
Nicole Wallerstedt, Service Unit 672; Overland Park
Angela Wang, Service Unit 638; Overland Park
Nikohl Williams, Service Unit 680; Olathe
Jessica Wright, Service Unit 638; Overland Park

Recruitment Award
Kristen Brooks, Service Units 672, 674, 675 & 694; Overland Park

G.I.R.L. Empowerment Award
Mindie Paget, Service Unit 716; Lawrence

Meaningful Mentor Award
Betty Buchholz, Service Unit 661; Lansing

Rising Star Award
Katie Mclean Campbell, Service Unit 631; Shawnee

Risk-taker Award
Kyra Flummerfelt, Service Unit 716; Lawrence

 Go-getter Award
Nadine Nanko, Service Unit 674; Shawnee

Innovator Award
Denisse Osorio de Large & Steven Large, Service Unit 672; Overland Park

Community Partnership Award
Deer Creek Hen House Market; Overland Park
Journey Church; Paola
Master Suzan Crochet; Overland Park
Paola Inn & Suites; Paola
Paola Public Schools USD 368; Paola

Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist Award
Tori Hirner, Service Unit 638; Overland Park

 Philanthropist Award
Connie Davis; Lake Quivira

Corporate Philanthropist Award
NIC

Growing Entrepreneurs Award
Regina McCullum, Service Unit 661; Lansing / Leavenworth / Fort Leavenworth

Growing STEM Innovators Award
Jennie Cronin, Service Unit 635; Leawood

G.I.R.L. Brand Ambassador Award
Sheri James, Service Unit 694; Overland Park

G.I.R.L. In Action Award
Girl Scout Cadette Troop 890, Service Unit 631; Shawnee

Thanks Badge
Linda Bradley, Service Unit 635; Shawnee Mission
Carla Redondo de Castillo, Service Unit 716; Lawrence