Girl Scout leaders are inspirations for the girls in their
troops and create a lifetime of memories. For Karen Ebert, and all the girls in
her troop, that inspirational leader was Lela Mae Knipp. Not only was Lela Mae
a fantastic troop leader who pushed the girls to be the very best versions of
themselves, she stayed involved in Girl Scouting for more than 60 years! Karen
was a Girl Scout in the early 1960s, a time when women were not always
encouraged to dream big about their careers – but Lela Mae gave them that
confidence through Girl Scouting! This lasting legacy of service and supporting
generations of girls inspired Karen to do something incredible – invest in the
future of girls in Lela Mae’s name.
For Karen Ebert, creating a fund for Girl Scouts that will
leave a legacy was the best way to honor Lela Mae. “I believe leaving a legacy
is important. As a Girl Scout alum, I wanted to give back to the organization
that meant so much to me,” Karen says. To honor Lela Mae’s 60 years of
volunteer service, Karen set-up the Lela Mae Girl Scout Adventure Fund in 2018
at the West Region Volunteer Celebration. This fund will provide financial
support to girls in Westmoreland and throughout Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee
Counties so they experience incredible adventures in Girl Scouting.
As a girl, Karen remembers Lela Mae’s generosity and the
courage she instilled in her. “To Lela Mae, every girl was unique and special,”
Karen said. One memory Karen has of this generosity happened when she was
selling cookies to raise money for camp. “I took my money from my cookie sales
to Lela Mae, and she said to me ‘oh you are so close, but you are short $14.’
My heart sank and I know she saw that. Later that night, she called to say she
‘miscounted’ and I had just enough to
go to camp. I will always think she had something to do with me having ‘just
enough,’” Karen said.
With all these amazing memories and life skills that Karen
learned from Girl Scouting, she wanted to make sure today’s girls have access
to the same opportunities she did. “If people look back at the experience they
have in Girl Scouting, I think they would want every girl to have that
experience. As adults, I hope we all want to give to the future,” Karen said.
Thank you, Karen, for investing and honoring Lela Mae!
In March 2019, Lela
Mae celebrated her 95th birthday, and Karen Ebert and the Knipp
family created a shower of gifts to help local Girl Scouts by donating to the
fund, and you can still make a gift as well! A gift of any size to the Lela
Mae Girl Scout Adventure Fund in honor of her birthday can be made by via www.gsksmo.org/donate. Thank you to
Karen Ebert for establishing this fund to honor an amazing Girl Scout!
Spotlight on 2019 Gold Award Girl
Scout Twins Claire & Grace Genis
Reaching for Gold is
the ultimate goal for every young Girl Scout. However, achieving the Gold Award
is much more difficult than one might expect. Gold Award Girl Scouts must take
all they have learned from their time as a Girl Scout and develop a project
that will create sustainable lasting change in their community.
To earn a Gold Award, Girl Scouts epitomize
what it means to be a G.I.R.L., by being a go-getter, an innovator, a risk-taker
and a leader. These are the reasons the Gold Award is the most prestigious
award for Girls in the world! Grace and Claire Genis are two Girl Scouts in the
2019 Gold Award class who have a special sisterhood beyond the Girl Scout
community. They are twins!
When asked to describe
their sister in three words, Claire describes Grace as “intelligent,
hardworking and kind.” Grace describes Claire as “bubbly, creative and happy”. Since
joining Girl Scouts in kindergarten, Grace and Claire have gone on to earn all
three of the Highest Awards in Girl Scouting, the Bronze, Silver and Gold
The girls still look
back at the beginning of their Girl Scout journey fondly, recalling a visit to
the fire station as Daisies. “The firefighters talked to us and we got a tour […]
I just thought it was super cool,” Grace said. “I really liked the camp outs
when we learned about astronomy and the telescopes,” Claire said.
The idea of two girls
Going for Gold in one household seemed impossible but these Go-Getter Girl
Scouts and their family worked together to help their local community. Claire
and Grace have grown up inspired by their mother who followed her heart and works
with special needs students. Her suggestions helped the girls use their own
passions to form strong and innovative project plans.
Grace’s project, titled
Operation Explore the World, addressed the lack of materials in her community
for visually impaired students. Grace is visually impaired and built four light
boxes, which are used to develop awareness of light, color and objects for
students also challenged with a visual impairment. As a student who has faced
the same obstacles, Grace knows the power this project will have on young kids
who are just beginning their educational journey.
titled Music for Everyone, addressed the lack of clubs and activities offered
to special needs students in her high school. Claire developed a music club for
these students and received 12 donated instruments; a total value of over
$10,000 dollars. A majority of the instrument donations were supplied by Band
of Angels, an organization that collects donated instruments and distributes
them to children in need.
Claire and Grace
implemented their leadership skills by getting their community members involved
with their projects. Grace successfully recruited high school students and
family members to help build lightboxes that are sturdy and will last for years.
Claire recruited and organized students at her high school to teach music to
special needs students each week. “Once I told [other band students] about my
project, they immediately jumped in and said, ‘Hey I want to help!’” said
Claire. She also inspired students to become leaders themselves and continue
the music club next year after Claire graduates from high school.
By stepping out of their
comfort zone and being risk-takers, the girls were able to meet people from all
different walks of life. “I have made connections and relationships with people
I may not have known if not for Girl Scouts” Grace said. Girl Scouts has given
the Genis sisters friendships and a life-long sisterhood. “I am so humbled that
I could be part of this organization from such a young age.”
After Claire and Grace
graduate high school in May they plan to attend college together in the fall at
Johnson County Community College. Claire plans to pursue her passion of playing
music and Grace will pursue a career in nursing. The twins hope Girl Scouts who
plan to Go for Gold will find a project they are truly inspired and passionate
about. Claire says, “The amount of work you put into it WILL pay off! Keep [Girl]
Learn about all 47 of our 2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts and what they did to make our world a better place at gsksmo.org/inspire
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!
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
2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
extraordinary day culminated with our Gold Award Ceremony where Girl Scouts
officially received their Gold Award Pin.
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.
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.
Seuss so greatly said, “Congratulations, today is your day. You’re off to great
places! You’re off and away!”
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!
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
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.
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!
Life Lost By: Absolutely Remarkable Things Mentor Firms: Scott Rice Office Works, DLR Group, Treanor HL, Working Spaces
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!
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
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.
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)
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
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
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
“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
“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,”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,”
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.
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!
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.