Catching up with National Young Woman of Distinction Paige Young

The Next Steps in Her Leadership Journey

When I joined Girl Scouts 12 years ago as a pint-sized Daisy, I had no idea what my mom got me into nor did I imagine I would be standing here as a National Young Woman of Distinction. Paige Young used those words to open her presentation to a crowd of more than 6,000 in October at the Girl Scout National Convention.

It is an honor to know Paige Young from Olathe, Kansas. As a freshman in high school, she began her journey toward the Gold Award with an incredible project called Hope for Haiti. Paige’s hard work and dedication created an innovative project that earned her a place as one of ten National Young Women of Distinction. Paige was selected from a record number of more than 200 nominees across the country!

Being named a National Young Woman of Distinction is a prestigious honor including a $5,000 scholarship from the Kappa Delta Foundation, a beautiful pin and an experience that will last a lifetime. In October, Paige left her busy college life at the University of Missouri to join her fellow nine honorees at the National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Paige was interviewed, prepared for her presentation addressing a full convention center and most importantly engaged with amazing leaders. Paige recalls a conversation that has inspired her to take the next steps in her leadership journey. One evening, the young women had an opportunity to spend time with Bonnie St. John, Paralympic Ski Medalist and Fortune 500 Business Consultant just to name two of her many endeavors.

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Bonnie led the girls through a powerful discussion in leadership. An experience of a lifetime, Paige continues to hear Bonnie’s words as she moves forward. Paige has many goals, but the National Young Woman of Distinction opportunity has solidified her desire to be an advocate for others. She wants to pursue her dream to be in the Peace Corps but is also adding gender studies to her coursework.

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Paige continues her passion to give back and is looking at an alternative volunteer spring break with a group at Mizzou called 4Front. In addition, we are thrilled that this amazing young alumna will be our keynote speaker on March 28 at our Honors Ceremony. Paige will most certainly have some inspirational words for our newest class of Gold Award Girl Scouts and who knows, there may be another National Young Woman of Distinction in this year’s group.

We hope you will make plans to join us for this year’s Honors Ceremony. There are some exciting interactive opportunities for younger troops to meet our Gold Awardees, National Young Woman of Distinction and see their future path toward this prestigious award.

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We are so proud of Paige Young and all of our Gold Award Girl Scouts who continue to blaze new trails and change our world!

Watch Paige’s National Young Woman of Distinction speech (approx. at the 23 minute mark). We also encourage you to watch the full presentation. These young women will inspire and provide some great ideas for future Gold Award Girl Scouts!

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout – Barbara Weary & Barbara Lee

Connecting through their love of Girl Scouts and the Outdoors

When Barbara Weary and Barbara Lee first met they quickly learned that they shared much more than a name.

The women met when they joined the garden committee at the Kansas City retirement community where they both live. It was on a day trip to Powell Gardens they discovered a shared of love of the outdoors and a love of Girl Scouts!

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Both of their mothers served as their troop leaders when they were girls and together they have some pretty amazing stories of what it was like to be a Girl Scout during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

“I found out one day our leader was moving,” Barbara Weary said. “So I went home and told my mother that she had to take over! I had to be a Girl Scout. It was so thrilling.”

They both had wonderful experiences growing up in Girl Scouts. But most of their favorite memories center on camping and a love of exploring nature.

“We would go hiking and pick up leaves,” Barbara Weary said. “We would learn about the different kinds of trees and make notebooks.”

“She still does that!” Barbara Lee exclaimed. “She still picks up leaves.”

“You’re right. I sure do!” Barbara Weary said.

The Girl Scout alumnae shared favorite camp memories including Yule log hunts in December with hot cocoa by the bonfire, close encounters with skunks and snakes (oh my!) and how to tie knots, build fires and pitch tents. They may have even sung some campfire songs!

“Everything was new and exciting when you went off to camp,” Barbara Weary said. “Even packing for the trip was fun because we knew we were going to be out there soon!”

Both Barbara Weary and Barbara Lee came for a tour of Camp Prairie Schooner last September. Although there have been changes and upgrades to the camp Barbara Lee remembered how it had been when she worked there.

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They love that today’s Girl Scouts are still experiencing the outdoors just like they did when they were young. But were impressed by the additions such as rappelling and ziplining as well as the new buildings.

Isn’t it cool to know that once you become a Girl Scout you can stay a Girl Scout? Barbara Weary and Barbara Lee are amazing Girl Scout sisters who definitely prove that age is just a number. It is clear that their memories in Girl Scouts continue to make a lasting impression on their lives. Even though they didn’t experience Girl Scouts together as young girls, their shared experiences helped to create a Girl Scout friendship all these years later.

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With 1 in 2 women being Girl Scouts at some point in her life, it is a pretty sure bet that you can begin telling your Girl Scout story to another woman and she will easily join your conversation with her own stories. That’s the power of the Girl Scout organization!

Do you have a girl in your life? Whether she is an active Girl Scout or hasn’t registered yet, summer camp is available to her. We encourage you to make sure your girl doesn’t get left inside this summer and check out all the summer sessions available. Imagine years from now, she will meet another woman and they will be instantly connected because of their Girl Scout experience just like Barbra Weary and Barbara Lee!

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout – Bridget Petersen

Living her Girl Scout Dream!

Meet Bridget Petersen, an education ranger at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah and a proud Girl Scout Alumna from our council!

Thanks to her experiences in Girl Scouts, Bridget is pursuing her dream of working outdoors! Every day she gets to see, first-hand , how the natural world brings so much joy not only to kids, but to everyone who visits the mountains and red rocks around her home in Moab, Utah. Bridget believes that experiencing the outdoors is a fundamental ingredient for living a content, healthy, and happy life.

“Getting people outside, especially kids, lets them see more of their environment than just a computer screen or video-games, Bridget says. The outdoors literally opens up their entire world.”

As a kid, Bridget was always interested in nature and animals. She would catch bugs and frogs and make them her temporary pets.

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“Girl Scouts got me outdoors and into nature more than any other group or organization I was involved with,” Bridget says.

Bridget’s summer camp experience was love at first sight, and her first backpacking trip with Girl Scouts really opened her eyes to adventure and wilderness traveling.

Bridget’s first summer camp experience came in 2001 at Camp Prairie Schooner. This experience was a turning point for her. She immediately fell in love with summer camp. The atmosphere, the counselors, and the amazing opportunities to try new things, sing songs, make friends, and experience the outdoors turned camp into an awesome place that would be a huge part of her life for the next 11 years. Bridget went to summer camp again that next summer and each summer following. She progressively experienced more challenging programs through Girl Scouts, culminating with the “Pack Trek” adventure, a 10-day program backpacking on the Ozark Trail in southern Missouri learning wilderness travel skills.

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The summer of 2008 was the start of Bridget’s camp leadership experience. After four summers working at our council camps, she went out to Shadow Rim Ranch in Payson, Arizona. In 2013, Bridget participated in a National Outdoor Leadership School course in Prince William Sound and Wrangell-St. Elias, Alaska. Through the course, she learned sea kayaking, advanced wilderness travel skills, and glacier mountaineering.

In December 2013 Bridget graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management and started an internship with Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. This past summer, she was the trip leader for Trefoil Ranch in Provo, Utah. Today, Bridget is an education ranger at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Her job is planning and implementing outdoor field science programs with local elementary school students in the parks and surrounding natural areas.

“When I became a counselor and started leading outdoor trips and activities of my own, I knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, “Bridget says.

Camp allowed Bridget to be someone completely new from the person she was at home or at school. A truer, more pure person who loves herself and the world around her.

Bridget grew up in a family of eight, with a twin sister nonetheless. She constantly felt pressure to distinguish herself from my siblings. This affected how she behaved in school and at home; always competing, never happy with where she fit in.

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Camp, however, was always her place. Bridget could relax and try new things where failure didn’t actually mean failure. She could improve because she wanted to, not because she felt pressured or inadequate. Bridget discovered that there is nothing more empowering than doing something purely because you want to. Through camp, and through learning outdoor skills, challenging herself became a form of leisure and joy and a career that she enjoys thoroughly.

Girl Scouts is the perfect way to get girls outside. Whether through badge work, summer camp, day camp, troop camping, or even leadership training, Girl Scouts has the ability to influence how girls experience the outdoors for the rest of their lives. After all, the roots of Girl Scouts are in the outdoors. 103 years later, Girl Scouts continues to be an excellent source of outdoor experiences and education.

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Resident Camp registration is now open! Register your Girl Scout and give her an experience that has the power to impact her life forever!

We would like to spotlight more alumnae like Bridget in our Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout series. Do you know an inspiring alumna? Tell us her story! Send your idea to prdept@gsksmo.org.

We Can’t Wait To . . . Say Thank You!

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It’s time to save the date for the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon and Annual Meeting scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 25th at the KCI Airport Hilton.

Get excited because this year we’re going to have a blast celebrating our amazing volunteers! We may even have a few surprises up our sleeve!

But before we celebrate – we need YOU to nominate the shining stars in your service unit, troop and beyond!

Did you witness a volunteer go above and beyond? Did a volunteer go out of their way to help build girls of courage, confidence, and character? We don’t want their hard work to go unnoticed and we know you don’t either!

The deadline to nominate volunteers is quickly approaching on Sunday, February 1st. (because this year’s deadline is on a Sunday, nominations will be accepted on Monday, February 2nd as well.) You can find the nomination forms and instructions on our website.

Registration for the event will go live on March 1st and we will make another announcement so you can be sure to reserve your place. We’ll see you in April!

Event Details:

Annual Meeting: 10:00 am
Luncheon: 11:30 am

KCI Airport Hilton
8801 NW 112th Street
KCMO 64153

The Camping Experience of Yesteryear

At our council we are always working toward progress to help girls grow to be their best self. The Outdoor Learning & Adventure Program is a big part of that! But sometimes it is helpful and humbling to look back to the history of camping and remember what it was like for Girl Scouts of the past.

Bonnie Bayless, 93-year-old Girl Scout Alumna, remembers a lot of things about her childhood in Dover, Kansas.

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Most of her memories center on Camp Daisy Hindman since the house she grew up in sat just a mile from the camp.

Her father, Richard Nystrom, a first generation immigrant from Sweden, became the first groundskeeper at the camp, which was founded in 1929 and officially opened in 1930. He was an integral part of the building process and gave 22 years of service to the camp.

But the outdoor experience was certainly a lot different for Girl Scouts than it is now.

“Back then there was no running water,” Bonnie said. “It was my dad’s job to make sure the girls had water to drink.”

One of Bonnie’s favorite memories was hopping on her Shetland pony and riding to the camp alongside her dad, who carried large blocks of ice in his horse-drawn wagon. On hot summer days her dad would break the big blocks of ice into smaller pieces and put them in the 15 gallon wooden barrels, which would soon melt into water.

Although Bonnie did not officially join Girl Scouts until the age of eight she would always tag along because she loved being around the girls from bigger cities.

“Times were tough then,” Bonnie said. “My parents couldn’t afford the dues. But my dad was a carpenter who helped build and fix things and my mom did laundry for the campers. We all helped at the camp at times to make ends meet.”

With the wonderful upgrades that have happened at our camps over the years, Girl Scouts of today may have a little trouble envisioning what it was like to go camping in the 1930’s!

“There was no electricity so the girls all carried their own flashlight,” Bonnie shared. “Food was cooked on a wood stove and the girls slept on mattresses filled with hay.”

Yes, things have definitely changed with the addition of modern amenities. But there are some Girl Scout traditions that keep that original Camp Daisy Hindman spirit alive.

“On the last day of camp you could hear the bugle call in the evening,” Bonnie remembered. “All the girls would gather for the flag ceremony. We would sing, have supper, tea and lemonade, and play games around the campfire.”

Bonnie was happy to know that these special traditions are still very much a part of the outdoor experience for today’s Girl Scouts.

We want to thank Bonnie for sharing such wonderful memories of her family, her life and Camp Daisy Hindman with us. Sometimes looking back is just as important as looking forward.

We look forward to a new generation of girls experiencing Camp Daisy Hindman. Learn about all the opportunities coming this summer.

Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout – Dylan Edemann

When Dylan Edemann’s daughter, Audrey, started at Nashua Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri they decided to find out what Girl Scouts was all about at an info night.

“We went there not knowing if Audrey was going to join,” Dylan said, “And we walked out in charge of the troop!”

Such is often the case when parents learn that volunteers are needed to lead troops. Dylan’s wife Stephanie stepped up to become the troop leader and shortly after Dylan was “sweet-talked” (pun totally intended) into being the cookie dad. That is, he helps manage the product sales part of the troop.

Kindergartner Audrey was a first year Daisy Girl Scout and set a goal to sell 350 boxes of cookies. When she met that goal she decided to set her goal much higher for the next year.

“She decided to try and sell 1,500 boxes her second year,” the proud Girl Scout dad explained. “My wife and I talked about it and tried to decide if that was too big of a goal. But we wanted to encourage her as much as possible. We worked as a team and reminded her that if you put in the work you can succeed.”

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Speaking of success, after two years managing product sales for his troop, he is taking on more responsibility as the Cookie Cupboard Manager for Service Unit 604.

“I will be helping to set up the orders and provide support for all the troops in the service unit,” he said.

Dylan wants other dads to know that volunteering with the troop provides a great bonding experience.

“Girl Scouts is important to my daughter,” Dylan said, “so when they see you take an interest in something they’re doing that’s a good thing.”

He wants men to know that there will always be some kind of need and just the simple act of volunteering your time can be extremely rewarding.

Audrey wants to sell 2015 boxes for the 2015 cookie season. We have no doubt that with an awesome “cookie dad” on her team she and her troop will meet that goal!

We wish you lots of sweet sales, Troop 4120!

 

Do you know an awesome “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout”? Send us your idea on a future feature.

More Than “Just Cookies”

The wait is over, it is finally GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SEASON!

Time to satisfy your yearly Caramel deLite craving, stock the freezer full of Thin Mints and be the hero with a Girl Scout cookie spread at your next office gathering!

But did you know that Girl Scout cookies are more than “just cookies”?

When a Girl Scout sells you a box of cookies (or 10), she is putting her goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethic s to work. These are essential skills that benefit her both in and out of Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout Cadette, Tehya Frederick from Troop 1945 in Kansas City, Missouri was our council’s top Girl Scout cookie seller in 2014! She credits the Girl Scout Cookie Program for giving her skills to succeed in school (earning straight A’s) and be an accomplished musician (she’s the top 7th grade trumpet chair).

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Tehya joined Girl Scouts three years ago. In her first year selling cookies she set a reasonable goal – sell 500 boxes of cookies. Tehya blew that goal out of the water, selling 1,000 boxes of cookies! Her second year, she sold 1,500 and last year was her best yet with 2,200 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies sold!

“I try and sell more every year so I get into the mindset of goal setting,” Tehya said.

Her success in the program comes from good old fashioned sales techniques. Tehya canvasses her neighborhood and others selling cookies door to door, works with her mother, cousin and other adult friends to connect with more customers and participates in booth sales with her troop.

Tehya isn’t shy and she believes that any sale can be successful by just being nice! “She asks anyone that comes to the house!” Her Grandmother, Cassandra Warren said. Some of her repeat customers have included repairmen who have come to her house. “She has quite the customer base!” Cassandra said.

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Tehya loves selling Girl Scout Cookies because of the skills that it teaches her and the awards that she earns.

“The skills [learned in the Cookie Program] have helped me in school a lot. I was able to work on organizational skills. I’m more responsible, and I have increased my people skills by talking with so many different people” Tehya said.

Tehya has a team of supporters that helps her achieve her goals.

“She’s very driven. She has truly learned the art of goal setting. Once she sets her goal she pushes until it’s reached. Then she goes over it. Her grandfather, mother, brother and I say ‘enough’ we’re tired! She wants to push it up until the last minute!” Cassandra said.

This year Tehya has set two goals – she wants to sell a minimum 1,700 boxes and her high goal is to sell 2,500 boxes!

Her best advice to other Girl Scouts selling Cookies this season is to “be nice to people and always try to upsell them! People buy four boxes and all you have to say is it’s five for $20 and they’ll buy more! Just get people to buy more boxes and be friendly!”

Thank you for supporting the 23,000 Girl Scouts by doing more than “just buying some cookies”. You are helping girls build skills that last a lifetime!

 

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout

From Camper to Camp Staffer

My name is Molly Green, I am a Girl Scout alumna and I know firsthand the impact that resident camp experiences have on Girl Scouts!

I joined a Girl Scout troop when I was four years old, just as soon as I could; but, it wasn’t until I was 13 that I packed my bags and headed off to my first summer at Girl Scout resident camp. I remember my best Girl Scout friend, Ashley, suggesting we be camp buddies. I just stared at her with a skeptical look and it took a lot of convincing to get me to go…

Little did I know, that one week of resident camp would change my life.

The bus ride out to camp that summer was a little rough and I definitely remember crying, but Ashley was able to comfort me. Before I knew it, we were at camp. When the bus doors opened and my feet hit the camp ground, I was as happy as could be. I never got sad or missed home after that, I loved every second being at camp.

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I only went back to camp one more time as a camper. I remember the moment when I realized my feet knew the trails, my nose knew where I was based on the smells around me and I was in love with the place. When I was there, I felt like I could do anything.

My third summer I enrolled in the Counselor-In-Training (CIT) program, which would be my first of 11 years working at Girl Scout camps.

In the CIT program, we had a swimming pool session all to ourselves. In that session I asked the lifeguard if I could see what it was like to hold the lifeguard tube and jump in. To my surprise, she handed me an extra, and taught me how to jump in, just like a lifeguard. I had my friends take pictures of me with the tube, jumping in, etc. I was thrilled! I remembered thinking that I could never be a lifeguard myself- that I didn’t have the right body type for it, that I would never be fit enough to swim or be able to possibly save a life.

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A few years later I got my lifeguard certification at camp. Then, a few years after that, I was in charge of a team of lifeguards, the pool, and the canoeing program. Camp made it possible. I had all the support I needed to pursue that goal, and in the end I surpassed my goals and surprised myself. I kept the picture of myself as a CIT in my desk that year, and I pulled it out when I had conversations with discouraged campers. I told them they might not feel like it now, but they can really be anything and do anything, and I was there to help them in any way I could.

In 2008 I embarked on a new camp adventure and headed out to Washington, DC to help open Camp Winona, a new resident camp at the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. I was an administrative staff member there from 2008-2013 and my job titles included Business Manager, Staff Director, and Support Director.

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After summer camp in 2013, I decided I should retire and get a “big girl job,” as those outside of resident camping say! I landed a job with a school district and found myself free for the summer of 2014. So naturally, I returned to my summer camp roots to be an Aquatics Director at another camp of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital!

Working at Girl Scout camp has been the most formative activity in my life and I literally have hundreds of wonderful memories.

When Camp Winona became a resident camp in 2008, we were tasked with creating a camp culture from the ground up. At times, it felt like we would never get that “campy” feel. During a campfire in 2010, I remember looking around at the staff members whom I had helped to train and at the campers, many of whom were returning for their third summer with us. We were singing “Linger,” and I got extremely emotional. I thought of all the times I had sung that song over the years; with my troop, as a camper, as a camp staffer, and there I was over 1,000 miles from my home camp, raising my voice in song with even more Girl Scouts. It was comfortable, and familiar. I knew in that moment that we had succeeded in creating a camp culture, because it felt like home.

I was only a resident camper for two summers. That’s twenty days of my life. I have spent 10 years now as a staff member trying, but I could never repay the Girl Scout world for those twenty days. In fact, I find that as I try to give more girls the opportunities and support that I had, I just keep reaping personal benefits.

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Resident Camp registration is now open! Register your Girl Scout and give her an experience that has the power to impact her life forever!

We would like to spotlight more alumnae like Molly in our Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout series. Do you know an inspiring alumna? Tell us her story! Send your idea to prdept@gsksmo.org.