Day Trips and Community Partners: The Perfect Combo

Part 1 – Exploring the KC Metro Area

Memorial Day Weekend is here and that means the unofficial start of SUMMER! There are so many great things to do in the Kansas City area. Here are a few of our faves.  Whether you enjoy some fun in the sun, or stay cool exploring a historic site, we hope you have a memorable summer!

Find Adventure

Get your adrenaline pumping this summer with Zip KC through their 143 acre park. Passing over and through their beautiful forest canopy, this is a must-see breathtaking site this summer. Whether you’re attending with just your family or looking for a fun troop summer trip, remember to follow safety activity checkpoints!

Visit Historic Places

Stay cool or take a day inside for a rainy day by stepping back in time to appreciate the history of Kansas City by visiting the famous 18th and Vine sites! The American Jazz Museum is a highlighted museum featuring The Blue Room, a Kansas City Jazz Club. The Negro League Baseball Museum is another special museum to tour, which is directly next to the Jazz Museum.

Feast Outdoors

There’s nothing that reminds us of summer more than perfect picnic weather! Whether you’d like to go see Shakespeare in the Park or enjoy the scenery on the lawn of The Nelson-Atkins Museum, both are great places for a picnic! They both allow you to bring your own food and blankets to enjoy the night. Girl Scout Night at the Shakespeare Festival is June 21st at 6 p.m.; all Girl Scouts will receive a free button, a tour and a workshop.

Family Day at the Beach

Shawnee Mission Park Beach is a community park area for all ages! Enjoy your hot days here cooling off and enjoying the lake!  Perfect for Memorial Day, the brand new beach opens May 26th for the summer!

We want to know how you’re getting outdoors this summer so drop us a note in the comments below or share on social media using #gsoutdoors!

And, we will be bringing you favorite places to visit in the West & North Regions of our council next Friday and the Friday after that. It’s our three-part Friday Summer Fun Series. Visited a cool place you think we should feature? Comment below to help us get ready for our next two blogs.

Get Outdoors with Badges

June is Great Outdoors Month! With summer here, it’s the perfect time for a Girl Scout to take on an adventure in the outdoors! And, we encourage our Girl Scouts to take on earning a badge or two with the support of her parent / caregiver. Getting a head start on planning for the new GS Year? Here’s some great information on how to support your Girl Scout(s) in focusing on an outdoor badge.

Girl Scouts are the true vision of “work hard play hard.”  Through their badge and journey requirements, getting girls outdoors teaches them about the environment that surrounds them, leadership skills and social bonds and problem solving skills.

Here are the badges that G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk Takers, Leaders)™ can earn through outdoor activities!

  1. Go camping. We’re all about learning, having fun, and making friends—the perfect combination for camp. Camping is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills, and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether for a day, a week, or longer, camp gives girls opportunities to grow, explore, and have fun under the guidance of caring, trained adults. There are a variety of ways for girls to get involved like: day camps, troop camping or a resident camp experience at one of our sister councils. See all the ways you can camp like a Girl Scouts this summer!  Did you know: girls at ANY age can earn badges for camping?  Learn more about Daisy-Ambassador camping badges.  Learn more about Daisy-Ambassador camping badges.

 

  1. Take on an outdoor adventure. Consider climbing a hill or mountain so high you’ll be yearning to snap a selfie on top of it to capture the memory. Grab a friend or team up with your Girl Scout troop to explore your neighborhood at night or buddy up to set up a tent in a nearby park or your backyard. If you’re a Brownie these are just some activities you’ll try out when you challenge yourself to earn the Outdoor Adventurer badgeDid you know: our older girls can complete something BIG through our Ultimate Recreation Challenge Badge?  For the girls who have already mastered camping, hiking, and canoeing, earning your Ultimate Recreation Challenge Badge might be perfect for you!

 

  1. Try your hand at geocaching. Here’s your chance to play part global explorer, part detective when you search for treasure chests known as “geocaches” using GPS. By the end of your search, you’ll not only have had an exciting geocaching adventure but also have learned how to prepare for future quests- a perfect way to connect STEM to the outdoors. If you’re a Junior, you’ll be taking the steps to earn the Geocacher badge, too. Did you know:  you can set up a Geocaching session with our trained staff at Camp Tongawood and Camp Prairie Schooner?!  You can also checkout necessary equipment and download the resources to lead the session yourself! Learn More!

 

  1. Ride Horses. Are you up for a challenge? Why not try horseback riding? This exciting sport engages all ages! You will improve your strength, focus, and form. This is also a unique way to earn badges.  Be sure to prepare. Learn about our community partners like Pine Dell Horse Farm or S&S Stables to book your own equestrian trip. Simply follow the safety activity checkpoint guide for horseback riding and fill out the activity and troop approval application prior to the activity!

 

  1. Outdoor Art? Why not! Whether it be through photography, painting, jewelry making or music, experiment with new ways of expressing your love of nature. Let it move you to create art inspired by the outdoors. Seniors can earn the Art Expert badge once their masterpiece is complete.

 

  1. Plan a trip to the beach, river, or lake. Have an adventure on the water! We have many bodies of water in our landlocked region that girls can explore! Just be sure that you’re following the safety activity checkpoints or using one of our community partners like Living Water Canoe/KayakHey Girl Scout adults did you know: that you can become certified to lead water excursions with your troop?  The next Small Craft Safety training is June 2 and Moving Water training is June 9!

Prepare for great adventures, Girl Scout style! Get your outdoor gear at the Girl Scout shop. The badges don’t stop here. Check out more Girl Scout badges you can earn when you show the outdoors some love.

Daisies for Daisy’s Circle

Spotlighting Some of Our Youngest Philanthropists – GS Troop 4350

Spend. Save. Give. Three simple words that start financial literacy education in young Girl Scouts. When these lessons turn into action, it creates real change and a sense of accomplishment for girls. Meet Girl Scout Daisy Troop 4350, our newest Daisy’s Circle troop! These powerful little philanthropists decided to give back to fellow Girl Scouts after talking to Kara Lineweber, Donor Relations Manager for GSKSMO. As leader Amanda said, “once they talked to Kara, the vote was unanimous to give to Daisy’s Circle with part of their cookie proceeds.”

Troop 4350’s awesome first year of Girl Scouting!

Troop 4350 is just in their second year and hit the fast forward button to catch up to other troops. They started meeting in March of 2017 and decided to hold meetings throughout the summer and twice per week to earn all 10 petals. They also fit in camping twice per year and more activities to keep the troop active and learning all they can handle!

Troop 4350’s badge station and some fun troop time together!

It was during the lesson for the “Talk It Up Leaf” that troop leader Amanda Boyers had Kara come in and talk to the girls about philanthropy. Amanda talked to them about how they helped hurricane victims, the homeless and animals, and asked how they felt about helping sister Girl Scouts through Daisy’s Circle. That’s when it all came together, the girls voiced their decision to support fellow Girl Scouts and they received their own Daisy’s Circle pins.

As Girl Scout Daisy Joye said, “I like to help other Girl Scouts like me.” She proudly held up her pin, smiling as she talked about it. Troop member Phoebe said her favorite thing about Girl Scouts is camp, so she liked helping other girls get to camp too. “[Being a Girl Scout means] I help people, so this is how I can help other Girl Scouts,” Phoebe said.

 

Troop 4350 Girl Scouts Ruby (left), Joye (center) & Phoebe (right)!

Through the experience of giving back through financial gifts as well as time and service, these young Daisies are learning the fundamentals of the Girl Scout program. As Girl Scout Daisy, Ruby said “to be a Girl Scout, you have to be nice, kind and polite.” Learning to give back is certainly a great way to learn to be those things!

So many life experiences, so much fun – that’s what makes Girl Scouting so very special. On top of all the amazing skills girls learn and opportunities they have, troop leader Amanda sees the power in Girl Scouting as a family affair as much as it is beneficial for the girls. “It’s a great way for mothers and daughters alike to form relationships with peers as the troop continues to mature. It’s an opportunity for girls to have ownership both financially and in the decision making. I can’t think of another extracurricular activity that can provide this unique combination,” Amanda said.

 We can’t thank Troop 4350 and their leader enough for their support of Daisy’s Circle. By giving back, they’re helping empower sister Girl Scouts right here in their community. If you’d like to learn more about this giving program, visit www.daisyscircle.org or contact Kara Lineweber at klineweber@gsksmo.org to get started!

Gold Standard for Change

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout Lauren Ingraham

Winters in the Midwest can wreak havoc on communities. It doesn’t take much rain, ice or snow for individuals to be impacted by the unfavorable conditions. Unfortunately, life must go on and we find ourselves cautiously navigating our surroundings.

For Girl Scout Ambassador Lauren Ingraham, all it took was one Midwest winter in her very own neighborhood for her Gold Award project to be born.

Lauren lives in what was anticipated to be small subdivision in Kansas City, MO. When the road was built, the city didn’t anticipate it serving more than one neighborhood. As the community grew, so did the use of the road, which rapidly became unsafe, especially in winter conditions.  It was that one mild winter storm that Lauren realized that something needed to be done. There were too many cars that had gone off the road and slid into the ditches on either side of the road.

The winter storm and hazardous road conditions that inspired Lauren’s project.

“Seeing these accidents made me want to take action and help my neighborhood. I decided the best solution to this problem was to see if the road itself could be improved because it has no curbs or sidewalks,” Lauren said in her guest blog post with KC Healthy Kids. “The only way I would be able to fix the road was to convince the city of Kansas City, Missouri, to improve them. In order to do this, I would have to petition the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC).”

PIAC is a group of 13 individuals representing six Kansas City council districts appointed by the mayor and City Council.

While many might find this task daunting, Lauren did not! She got to work gathering data, writing letters and gathering support with the help of KC Healthy Kids. She presented her proposal at the PIAC meeting and received a positive response, including one from of Sara Loar, daughter of council-woman Teresa Loar. Sara was inspired by Lauren’s proposal and coached Lauren through her speech and the process of working with her local government.

Left: Lauren & Sara Loar. Right: Lauren presenting at the PIAC meeting.

Lauren’s proposal was ultimately supported by the PIAC committee and was sent to the City Council where they just recently approved the project and granted funding for the road to be repaired. Construction on the road will start sometime this summer or fall and is slated to be completed by next year!

“Even though I am a teenager and not yet old enough to vote, everyone has been genuinely supportive that I was speaking out for something that makes my neighborhood unsafe. I encourage all kids to do the same. If you see a problem in your neighborhood, speak out and get help to get it fixed!”

Lauren’s Gold Award project has inspired her to become more involved and use her voice in the political arena. She’s now volunteering on a Missouri State senate campaign and plans to be involved in a U.S. Senate campaign this fall!

Civic engagement is one of Girl Scouts’ four focus areas. Through the G.I.R.L. Agenda, Girl Scouts of the USA is providing tools and support to encourage Girl Scouts, like Lauren, to be a catalyst for change within their own communities. The Civic Action Toolkit is available for Girl Scouts of all ages as well as volunteers!

“Because of Girl Scouts I have learned that you don’t have to be an adult or someone in a position of power to make a difference in your community,” Lauren said.

On April 14, 2018 we celebrated and recognized 60 Gold Award Girl Scouts! You can read about all of their projects here!

 

An Alum who Inspires Girls to Blaze New Trails

Meet Daisy’s Circle Trailblazer & GS Alum Michele Pritchard

When Michele Pritchard was in 2nd grade, she joined an organization that would change her life – Girl Scouts. Looking for a place to have more outdoor experiences, Michele discovered more than a group of girls to explore nature with – she found a sisterhood that inspired her passion. This awesome Gold Award alum is also a proud member of Daisy’s Circle Trailblazers, continuing to support the organization that helped shape who she is today.

Growing up in Buffalo, NY, Michele had some pretty amazing experiences thanks to Girl Scouts. She learned about Native American culture, medicinal uses of things like tree bark, camping skills and more that filled her desire to explore. But it didn’t stop there. Michele also learned to code, earning a badge in it, with her dad leading the programming the troop participated in!

“It was so fun to accomplish one of those badges because you came out with such a great understanding of whatever topic the badge covered. That exposure, that exploration girls get…I think that’s why it’s so important for people to continue support Girl Scouts,” Michele said.

These early badge projects turned into a wonderful survey of all the career options available – something girls don’t always get in school. “Girl Scouts was career exploration for me,” Michele said.

In 1990, Michele turned her sights on the Gold Award and a problem right in her neighborhood. During a sidewalk renovation project, many trees in the area get severe damage to their root systems, which eventually caused them to die. Michele grew saplings and replanted them, filling the area with trees once again. “Hundreds of little trees in little pots all over my mom’s house!” Michele said.

Michele with the tree she planted in 1979, then got seeds from for her Gold Award project.

 In fact, the tree she got the seeds from to grow the others is still growing in her mom’s backyard! Not only did Michele make an impact on her neighborhood, she learned invaluable life skills and leadership qualities she uses in everyday life. “It was because of Girl Scouting that I discovered what my passions are and that helped drive my career choices as an adult,” Michele said.

As an Alum, Michele has turned her sights on supporting the next generation of Girl Scouts by becoming a proud member of Daisy’s Circle as a Trailblazer. “I want to support the program that helped me find out what my passions are,” Michele said. There are many ways to support organizations you care about and Michele has been able to find many ways to give.

“I give of my time, but it was also important to me to give financially too. You can’t rely on free volunteers for everything, so you have to have a funding source to help girls do everything they need to do in Girl Scouting to give them the upper hand,” Michele said. Thank you, Michele, for giving back to Girl Scouts and supporting the next generation of G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders) just like you!

To learn more about becoming a Daisy’s Circle Trailblazer, email KaraLineweber@gsksmo.org.

STAND UP FOR GIRLS

A Message from CEO Joy Wheeler

Today, the intent of Boy Scouts of America was made crystal clear in the launch of their national marketing campaign ”Scout Me In”  designed to entice parents to enroll their girls and boys into “Scouting” through Cub Scouts of Boy Scouts of America.

Most of you are probably aware Boy Scouts have begun recruiting girls in our markets; an example yesterday evening when girls leaving their Girl Scout meeting were greeted with Boy Scout recruitment flyers.  We are aware of many more examples and they will continue to increase and become more aggressive.

I want to assure you, Girl Scouts remains firmly committed to the girl only space as we are the BEST Leadership organization for Girls.  Girl Scouts offers a safe place where girls lead, feel free to explore new things outside their comfort zone, and develop new skills that builds courage and confidence without the distractions of the gender and stereotype bias that still exists in co-ed environments. With 106 years of experience in serving only girls gives us the right to claim we have the expertise and knowledge on how to BEST develop girls to achieve their aspirations and take leadership roles.

Our girl specific leadership development program in addition to our intentional program focus areas of STEM, Entrepreneurship, and Civic Engagement are in addition to the broad experiences she gets in Outdoor activities, high adventure, and exploration.  Indeed we are developing girls; the largest untapped resource to meet the workplace needs of the 21st century. And never before has the need for female leadership been more obvious.

I get to STAND UP FOR GIRLS every day as we develop girls to meet their full potential.  You will hear more from me and I want to hear from you!  Contact me and join us as we Stand Up For Girls…. because she deserves it.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Joy Wheeler

G.I.R.L. and Chief Executive Officer

 

Want more information? Check out:

No Contest: Girl Scouts is the Best Leadership Organization for Girls

The Girl Scout Difference

The Case for Girl Scouts: Research & Data

 

Girl Scouts Shine Bright

Spotlight on our 2018 Beth Winters Scholarship Recipients

Beth Winters was a passionate Girl Scout; she loved camping, traveling and was part of Girl Scouts of the USA’s “Leadership Today and Tomorrow” program as a girl member. Beth was the kind of person who wanted to know everything about everything and she attended the University of Missouri where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Journalism.

Just four years after graduating college, Beth was tragically killed in a car accident.

Upon her passing, Beth’s Mother Joyce Termini and brother Chip began thinking of ways to honor and remember her. With Beth’s passion for continuing education and her love of Girl Scouts, a scholarship for graduating Girl Scouts in seemed like the perfect fit. “This was exactly the right answer,” is how Joyce describes starting the scholarship in 1995.

Over the past 22 years, the Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship has provided 32 scholarships totaling more than $50,000 to Gold Award Girl Scouts from our council. This year, we were honored to recognize three Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship recipients at Inspire at Girl on April 14, 2018.

Emily Musembi, Joyce Termini, Isabella Barnes, Chloe Rothery and Chip Winters

Isabella Barnes

Isabella’s Gold Award project addressed lack of literacy and emphasis on fostering the love of learning in at-risk communities in Kansas City. Prior to the sessions, children would spend time on their phones during Harvesters-sponsored Kid’s Café, only to return to their computers after their meals. After observing a few sessions of Kid’s Café in the summer of 2016, Isabella realized that their time could be put to better use, and could be a catalyst for change.

Isabella worked with the Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Public Library and the Kid’s Café to plan and execute the interdisciplinary literacy outreach program using arts-based curriculum. These bi-monthly sessions will continue to happen and Isabella is currently training another youth facilitator!

 

Emily Musembi

Emily’s Gold Award project addressed the memory preservation and overall wellbeing for survivors of domestic abuse. In many situations, survivors have to leave quickly and cannot take personal items like scrapbooks, art and journals. This program provided them with art supplies to help them express themselves while recording memories and helping them start a new life. For children, the art supplies allowed them to create works of art that could help define their new spaces as “home.”

Emily worked with Synergy Services, local Girl Scouts and a teacher to gather supplies, share the program and plan the events. Her program will be made available to future coordinators who may want to recreate the project through instructions, a video and the supplies Emily donated. She learned to project manage, gather donations and lead a program through this process. She hopes that the project will be shared with other shelters and the video will inspire others to recreate the program. Through art, survivors can find healing and a way to begin a new life and record positive experiences that make wonderful memories and scrapbooks.

 

Chloe Rothery

Chloe’s Gold Award project addressed the lack of awareness about opportunities in science classes and career pathways at Liberty High School. Working with local 8th graders, Chloe set-up a fair for them to learn about the opportunities available in high school and spark excitement about science. She asked fellow high school students to set up booths and talk about their classes and future careers. Many included interactive displays and experiments.

Chloe worked with her high school and Liberty Middle School to coordinate the 8th grade attendees and the fair. Her fellow high school students loved sharing their love of science with the middle schoolers and she found that the excitement translated to the younger students as planned. While most answered “no” when asked if they’d considered a career in science when they arrived, a large number said “yes” by the time they left! She hopes that this excitement will encourage more students to go into sciences for their careers, leading to a more robust STEM pipeline in the future!

Thank you to Joyce, Chip and Beth’s friends and family for making this scholarship possible!

We are excited to announce that an additional scholarship will be available in 2019 for graduating Girl Scouts form our council! This new scholarship is being sponsored by Highest Award Alum and Lifetime Member, Connie Davis and more information will be available soon!

Read how the other 57 Gold Award Girl Scouts are making an impact on our community here!

Interested in learning more about how you can start a scholarship for Girl Scouts? Contact Vanessa Van Goethem-Piela at Vanessa@gsksmo.org or 816-759-3072.

Take Action – Change the World – Inspire Others

Wrapping Up 2018 Inspire a Girl

What a truly inspiring day we had on April 14 at the Overland Park Convention Center! Girl Scouts, volunteers, alums and supporters joined us to celebrate our 60 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 80 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 STEM kits for Children’s Mercy, education workshops on local political issues and reading programs for the underserved, just to name a few. Read about all of their projects here!

We kicked off the day with a special breakfast for Gold Award Girl Scouts and program investors, hosted by GSKSMO CEO Joy Wheeler. Girls were joined by our very special guest, creator of Willow Tree and artist/maker, Susan Lordi! Each Gold Award Girl Scout received her new Willow Tree piece, “Butterfly,” to remind them that they are the ultimate Butterfly – resilient, determined, courageous and beautiful, courtesy of DEMDACO!

To encourage Girl Scouts to “Shine Bright like a G.I.R.L.”, they visited a combination of Community Partner and GSKSMO Program booths, to collect a Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker and Leader sticker for their card! Activities included digitally connected instruments made from everyday objects with Google Fiber, Play60 games with the Kansas City Chiefs, building towers with Kansas Children’s Discovery Center and painting kindness rocks with Treehouse Art Studio, just to name a few!

Upstairs Girl Scouts visited Bronze and Silver Award Girl Scouts, collecting their respective starburst 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, Miss Teen USA and keynote for the Gold Award Ceremony, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff joined in on the G.I.R.L expo fun and did a special photo op with Girl Scouts before heading into the ballroom to celebrate the stars of the day, our Gold Award Girl Scouts.

This extraordinary day culminated with our Gold Award Ceremony where the Gold Award Girl Scouts officially received their Gold Award Pin and the Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship was presented to Isabella Barnes, Emily Musembi and Chloe Rothery.

The ceremony was keynoted by Sophia, who shared her story of “Shining Bright like a G.I.R.L.” Her message was powerful and she encouraged girls to hold onto their Girl Scout roots and use them as a platform and springboard to continue creating change within their communities, wherever they may go.

Left: Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship Recipients, Emily Musembi, Isabella Barnes and Chloe Rothery. Center: Gold Award Girl Scout MaKynzee Gaddy with her Pinners. Right: Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff delivering the keynote.

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 and Sophia’s Keynote on our webpage.

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

A SmART Gold Award Girl Scout

Inspiring today youth is one of the best ways to make a lasting impact on the world. When Girl Scout Grace Brunner decided to answer the call to Take Action, she wanted it to be with a project that connects underserved children with arts education. Working with Avenue of Life in Kansas City, KS, Grace established Camp SmART for underserved children to help them develop art and critical thinking skills through arts education.

This project grew out of a love for arts education and a passion for helping other kids get the same experiences she got as a kid. “Even though I’m not pursuing a career in arts education, I learned a lot as a kid from it and I’ve been involved with arts organizations,” Grace said. By providing arts programs to kids in areas with limited funding means Grace is putting the power of education in the hands of kids who may otherwise not have access to it. That’s the power of the Gold Award – a Girl Scout learning to lead while improving her community!

 

Grace with students at Camp SmART!

“I had some of the best art teachers in the world and I can’t imagine getting to where I am now without those teachers and opportunities,” Grace said. After doing research on the improvements students have in academic testing when exposed to art, Grace felt exposing young students to the arts would help them across the board in their educational pursuits. By improving their connection with the arts, it could have a positive impact on their information processing and critical thinking skills.

For her arts camp, Grace had students come daily over winter break and take art classes at Avenue of Life. The students did painting and other artistic activities while surrounded by encouraging instructors. Thanks to her project, students had a fun, art-filled winter break!

Not only did the camp fill a need for students in KCK, it gave Grace a better understanding of the needs of students in underserved communities. “It was a new experience for me because, growing up in Blue Valley, I had so many educational opportunities available to me. When we did this camp, I saw the students were from districts that are underfunded, some were homeless and were coming to camp while their parents went to food kitchens. It was a very different experience than what I grew up with,” Grace said.

 

Grace Brunner as a young Girl Scout through Ambassador!

Earning the Gold Award has been the pinnacle of Grace’s amazing Girl Scout journey. Starting as a Kindergartener, she got to experience field trips, working with a group and building a support system that all came together through working on her Gold Award project. “I love Girl Scouts because we have so many opportunities [… such as] leadership experiences, outdoor opportunities, the chance to be entrepreneurs.  It’s just so much programming that people don’t even realize,” Grace said.

“Through the Gold Award, I found an inner leadership and strength I didn’t know was there,” Grace said. With all her incredible work on her Gold Award under her belt and years of Girl Scouting to prepare her, Grace is now excelling at the University of Kansas, volunteering as Director of Hospital and Family Relations for KU Dance Marathon, a charity by students at KU. She’s also serving as an intern for Kansas House Representative Koesten! Talk about a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™

We couldn’t be more proud of Grace or her incredible work through Girl Scouts to serve her community! You can meet Grace and our awesome 2018 Gold Award Girl Scout class at Inspire a Girl on Saturday, April 14th!

Stepping into Leadership

A Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout Abby Bidwell

This year we are truly honored to celebrate 60 Gold Award Girl Scouts during the biggest party of the year, Inspire a Girl! These girls have completed outstanding projects addressing needs in their communities. As these girls worked to go Gold, they put in countless hours to execute a plan and conduct research to leave their mark as a Girl Scout.

Girl Scout Ambassador Abby Bidwell understood what it would take to achieve the Gold Award, after earning both the Bronze and Silver Awards she was not afraid to take on the challenge.

When Abby discovered a student council program was not offered to the students at Tiffany Ridge Elementary, she instantly wanted to come up with something that would encourage 5th graders to begin stepping into leadership roles preparing them for middle school. She decided the best way to tackle the issue was to create the Emerging Leaders club.

Not only would the club help students learn the importance of being leaders in their community but as the club’s creator and ambassador, Abby would help students develop skills in public speaking and team work while they improved work ethic. Emerging Leaders students were able to work closely together to plan spirit assemblies for Tiffany Ridge Elementary. Abby led as a risk-taking Girl Scout by helping her students create a huge change in the school community, implementing student-led assemblies at the elementary level.

The impact of the first assembly was reported to Abby following a conversation she had with one of the teachers, “the next day, a second grader told their teacher he wanted to try really hard to have perfect attendance so his name can be called at the next assembly,” Abby said.

Abby did not anticipate the impact Emerging Leaders would have on the younger student or herself. She stated, “I’m inspiring 5th graders, while they are inspiring everyone else.” Later in her project she decided to create an Emerging Leaders manual providing the parent letter, an application and t-shirt permission slips along with every meeting agenda. With the hopes of encouraging other people to sponsor Emerging Leaders in different schools, Abby provided all 10 elementary schools in Park Hill High School District with a manual.

Assembly at Tiffany Ridge Elementary School

“I hope to see more students interested in leadership and more teachers and parents supporting student leadership in the future,” she said.

To share their story, Emerging Leaders had the opportunity to sit down with Channel 18 news for an interview. In the interview, members of Emerging Leaders expressed what they learned throughout the year and how they felt their skills would impact them in the future.

“Emerging Leaders has helped me become who I want to be and who I strive to be every day, and to be the leader I want to be when I grow up.” Lydia Keller shared. By educating students and parents about the importance of student leadership, the students of Emerging Leaders plan to apply to be a part of their middle and high school Student Council.

With the help of Tiffany Ridge’s principal, Mr. Fitzmorris, Abby has put 110 hours into her Gold Award project and will continue to work with the kids of Emerging Leaders to influence more guidance among the younger generation.

“I told my 5th graders that this is a place where they are the leaders and here, they don’t have to wait for a teacher or parent to tell them what to do. They get to decide.”

As Abby worked through her Gold Award project she had the chance to experience what it would be like to be a teacher. Getting the experience to email parents, work with the students and be their teacher for a few hours out of the week, Abby discovered her passion for teaching and established her desired career path. She plans to be a secondary education teacher and is considering the Peace Corps to impact students internationally through her teaching.

“Being a leader is fun, but having our voice heard and being part of making something happen is amazing!”

Congratulations on earning your Gold Award, Abby! We’re excited to celebrate you and the 59 other Gold Award Girl Scouts at Inspire a Girl on April 14!