Top 10 Activities & Places to Go in Kansas and Missouri

We brought you the Top 10 Outdoor Adventures on Tuesday – now we’re bringing you the top 10 activities and places to go this summer in Kansas and Missouri!

While we’re pretty partial to some exciting events we have coming up with our Community Partners, there are plenty of exciting things to do and see around the area!

  1. Starlight Theatre

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There’s something so special and magical about seeing a Broadway production in the open air! Take part in the magic and see a show for Girl Scout Days at Starlight! Annie, Cinderella, Mary Poppins and Cirque Eloize’s iD are all coming to Starlight this summer – purchase early to get the best seats!

  1. T-Bones

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The 13th Annual Girl Scout Night at the T-Bones is July 24! All Girl Scouts and their families have reduced admission to the game. The T-Bones are also sponsoring an exclusive overnight experience for your Girl Scouts! There is an optional “Outfield Campout” package that includes admission to the game, the chance to see a movie on the NEW big screen, late night concession stand, breakfast and event patch!

  1.  St. Joe Mustangs Night

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Experience the action of the 3 time MINK League champion St. Joe Mustangs and take part in the 3rd Annual Girl Scout Night at Phil Welch Stadium on June 26! Girl Scouts and family members will receive special discounted tickets and an experience you won’t soon forget!  Meet Sluggerrr, mascot of the Kansas City Royals, and experience all of the fun and action of a St. Joseph Mustangs baseball game!

  1. FC Kansas City

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August 8 is Girl Scout Night at FCKC, Kansas City’s professional women’s soccer team! Girl Scouts will receive a poster for post-game autographs with the players and see members of the USA National Team play fresh off the World Cup! Tickets start at just $11!

  1. Maker Faire Kansas City

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Celebrate the art of craftsmanship and innovation at the annual Maker Faire Kansas City at Union Station on June 27 & 28. Experience new technology, electronic gizmos, urban farming, “slow-made” food as well as various art mediums! This event brings together makers, crafters, inventors, hackers, scientists and artist for a weekend full of fun and inspiration!

  1. Jesse James Home

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We all learned about our region’s most notorious outlaw in school, but have you visited his former home in St. Joseph Missouri?! The home is now a museum and features artifacts from Jesse’s life and death as well as those form his brother Frank and the Ford Brothers!

  1. Patee House Museum

The only National Historic Landmark in St. Joseph Missouri served the Pony Express Headquarters from 1860-1861. It was originally built as a luxury hotel in 1858 but the Union Army occupied it during the Civil War. The Museum is open daily and has been listed by True West magazine as one of America’s Top 10 Western Museums!

  1. The Spencer Museum of Art

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While the actual museum is closed for major renovations for the next year, the Spencer Museum of Art is hosting “At Large” events all summer long! There are all sorts of art activities scheduled throughout the Lawrence, Kansas area that are suitable for kids of all ages. Check out their schedule!

  1. Kansas Museum of History

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Named one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History, the Kansas Museum of History is where you can see the Santa Fe’s oldest surviving locomotive and see a version of the Kansas-built plane that had the first successful flight! The museum creatively tells the state’s story including the people, trails and settlements. The Museum is also hosting the Sundown Film Festival this summer where you can watch classic movies under the stars! Movies being shows are: Little Women – June 5, Lincoln – July 10 and Gone with the Wind – August 14

  1. K-State Insect Zoo

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Located in an old dairy barn on the campus of Kansas State University, the K-State Insect Zoo is open Tuesday-Saturday from 12-6 p.m. There are several educational exhibits such as a tropical tree/flooded Amazonia Rainforest, an observation beehive, and server species of tropical insects, tarantulas, spiders, scorpions and other arthropods! Walk in visitors are welcome or you can call ahead and scheduled a guided, in-depth group tour!

There are great fairs and festivals taking place in Kansas City nearly every weekend this summer, see the complete list from KCParent.com.

We have over 100 Community Partners – many of the them are great for Girl Scout families as well as troops! Make your Top 10 activity list from these awesome Girl Scout Partners!

Top 10 Outdoor Adventures in Kansas and Missouri

Ever talked to someone who has never visited Kansas or Missouri? If you have, chances are good they thought you were from “boring” states. The following list is a surefire way to prove them wrong! It may be hard to believe we have so many beautiful outdoor treasures right here in our states. But after researching favorite tourist sites, some of which are a *bit* out of the way, we know we can entice anyone to explore these amazing places! Girl Scouts, are you ready to be adventurous this summer?!

Top Ten Outdoor Adventures in Kansas and Missouri

The Fugitive Beach – Rolla, Missouri

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Pack your swimsuits and sunscreen and get ready to make a splash at The Fugitive Beach in Rolla, Missouri! Located eight miles south of Rolla, this “beach” is actually an abandoned rock quarry. And at only $6 per person it is a real steal! You can relax on the beach, swim or go down a water slide. But if you’re feeling ready for adventure, check out the obstacle course training. All of their rules and regulations are located on their website so make sure to come prepared with what you need to enjoy a day of water fun!

Mark Twain State Park – Florida, Missouri

There is so much to see and do here we don’t have room to write it all! But rest assured there is something for every level of adventurer! Whether it be camping, hiking, boating or educational presentations, you’ll find it all at this versatile State Park. Native trees and soaring views are only some of the greatest attractions nestled in the middle of the Salt River Hills of North-Central Missouri.

Kansas Children’s Discovery Center – Topeka, Kansas

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The Discovery Center offers an exciting and safe place for families and children to explore and discover nature within 4.5 wooded acres in Topeka’s Gage Park. You’ll find obstacle courses, hiking trails and bike paths. It’s okay to get dirty here, girls! Go on and build a fort, make a mud pie or scale rocks! Adventure is the name of the game here! And even better, they are one of our community partners!

Onondaga Cave State Park – Leasburg, Missouri

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Come see why Missouri is often called “The Cave State!” You’ll be mesmerized by stalagmites, stalactites, and active flowstones. Visitors can descend into the depths of the caves with a guided tour. If you’d rather stay at the surface, the park’s Vilander Bluff Natural Area provides a panoramic view of the Meramec River.

Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure – Salina, Kansas

Rolling Hills Zoo is home to 100+ species of animals located in a beautifully landscaped 60 acre park. Ride the tram, feed the giraffes or listen to one of the many zookeeper talks! The onsite museum provides plenty of hands-on, interactive ways to explore and learn about animals!

Flint Hills Discovery Center – Manhattan, Kansas

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This outdoor treat turns out to be an unexpected beauty for those who have never made the trip. The Flint Hills of Kansas, which are some of the last tallgrass prairies in North America, are currently endangered. The mission of the Discovery Center is to inspire people to celebrate, explore and care for the Flint Hills. We are so honored that Flint Hills Discovery Center is one of our community partners!

Monument Rock National Landmark – Oakley, Kansas

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If you really want to go off the beaten path, you’ll find an amazing sight at Monument Rock – but it will take you some time and patience to get there. This adventure is more suited for older Girl Scouts as you will have to drive on a dirt road, 25 miles south of Oakley, Kansas. When you arrive you will definitely know it! You can spot the chalk formations that rise 100 feet into the air as if from out of nowhere. These rocks, or “pyramids” as locals call them, attract many visitors every year. These are located on private property but visitors are welcome to drive up to the structures and photos are welcome.

Powell Gardens – Kingsville, Missouri

It’s time to come smell the roses (and many other flowers) at Kansas City’s botanical garden. Book a group tour to experience the sights, sounds and smells of this beautifully landscaped attraction. You can’t go wrong when nature and STEM come together! Now through September 7th, explore 27 all new LEGO sculptures, which represent how all living things connect on Earth.

Bennett Spring State Park – Lebanon, Missouri

Get your fishing poles ready! Located in southwest Missouri, Bennett Spring is best known for its fish hatchery with excellent trout fishing opportunities! This state park also provides camping, cabins, trails, a nature center, restaurant, store, picnic tables, and a playground. Take a tour of the hatchery or spend the day canoeing down the scenic Niangua River.

Wildwood Outdoor Adventure Park – Manhattan, Kansas

Want a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Flint Hills? Wildwood Outdoor Adventure Park is where it’s at! Scheduled to open on June 25th, this brand new zip line park has seven zip lines with trails. Children and adults can zip over treetops and ravines. You won’t see this in Kansas west of Manhattan!

Girl Scout Cookies Bring a Smile

Our Cookie Share Program Supports the USO

While our Cookie Season has wrapped up, it’s just beginning for deployed, returning and active military personnel at Fort Riley, Whiteman Air Force Base, and Fort Leavenworth!

The USO was selected as the beneficiary of the Cookie Share Program this year! On May 14, Girl Scouts, volunteers and staff members made a very special delivery of more than 40,800 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to the USO at Ft. Riley.

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40,800 boxes is no small feat! That’s approximately $163,200 in product that our generous cookie customers gave back to support the USO!

Girl Scouts and their troops brainstormed various methods that they would use to build donations for Cookie Share. Girl Scouts invited customers to buy a box or more and used extra change received to purchase even more boxes. Clearly their hard work and determination paid off!

The cookies will be housed at Fort Riley, but service men, women and their families’ at all three bases will benefit from the generosity of Girl Scouts and their customers.

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Since 2003 the USO has distributed more than 1.5 million care packages to troops deploying to Afghanistan, Iraq and other overseas locations, as well as R&R flights. The USO Fort Riley includes a box of Girl Scout Cookies in each of these deployment packages as well as prepaid int’l phone cards, snacks, games, reading materials, sunscreen, and toiletries. The USO also issues care packages to individual soldiers returning from deployment in which they also receive a box of Girl Scouts Cookies!

The USO’s most important mission is to support military families. From programs that help kids cope with issues unique to military life, to No Dough Dinners (which include Girl Scout Cookies for dessert!) that offer meals to families just before payday, the USO offers programs that meet the needs of all ages and families.

“It is fantastic to see that there are so many people who care about supporting our service men and women,” USO Director, Jill Iwen said. They are honored to be selected as the cookie share partner and are excited that some many people donated to support the USO!

So, THANK YOU Girl Scouts, volunteers and cookie customers! Together we are providing a little bit of familiarity and comfort to those who need it!

Check out the blog post from the USO at Fort Riley about being the Cookie Share partner!

A Blessing to Girls in Her Community

Spotlight on Troop Leader Trimona Ray – Kansas City, Missouri

Trimona Ray didn’t know very much about Girl Scouts when her oldest daughter, Kendall, began asking to join a troop in third grade. She wasn’t a Girl Scout growing up in the 1980’s and it just wasn’t a big thing when she was in school.

When she asked about becoming a troop leader she was told she could start her own troop at her church.

“That was a game changer for me,” Trimona said. “It was a blessing to be able to provide a faith-based Girl Scout troop for girls at my church.”

Her church is Shalom Missionary Baptist Church located in Kansas City, Missouri. Troop 659 began with a small number of girls who attended church there. But by its second year it had grown to 30 girls, Daisies through Juniors, from all walks of life. The troop now includes both of Trimona’s daughters. Kendall is a Cadette and Taelor is a Junior.

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“After the first year I got a great response from the parents,” Trimona said. “They asked me to open the troop up to the community as a whole and it grew from there.”

Trimona just finished her fourth year as a leader and says hers is a troop that has a lot of ideas and is always on the go! As it is girl-led, she helps them decide what activities they want to put on their yearly calendar. They just finished up their product sales reward adventures for the year. The younger girls chose Great Wolf Lodge and the older girls chose a trip to Branson!

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“I encourage them to dream big,” Trimona said. “We keep a running list of things they are interested in doing. One year we went zip-lining at camp. I want them to know anything is possible.”

Trimona says they are already planning to travel to Minnesota to visit Mall of America as part of their goal setting for the 2015-2016 Cookie Program.

Inspiring them to reach for the stars and work hard to get there, Trimona says she has seen the girls become much more accountable. They do plenty of community service where she hopes to teach them if you have it to give then you should give it.

“I feel there is a certain way we need to live,” Trimona said. “These girls are looking to you to know what is acceptable. I’m watching them transform as they become more conscious of the things they say and do. They are striving to be good people.”

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Managing a multi-level troop can be challenging at times but Trimona has help from three great assistants who help her manage a troop of daisies to ambassadors. Trimona also has a great group of parents to lean on for support.

“It takes a village to raise these children,” Trimona said. “So if I do my part and you do yours, we’ll end up with some pretty amazing people!”

If there is someone out there who is thinking about volunteering as a troop leader, Trimona encourages them to write down what you would want your troop to become. Write down your questions, such as what level you are interested in leading, and then you can seek answers from experienced people.

“These are little mentees who are going to need you,” Trimona said. “You will play a very big role in their lives so you will need to get organized with your mission.”

Organization and planning aside, Trimona LOVES being a Girl Scout leader and enjoys knowing she is truly impacting the lives of girls in her community.

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Trimona, thank you for the amazing impact you have on your troop and beyond! You are a treasure to so many and we are lucky to have you as a volunteer.

Do you know a Girl Scout volunteer who deserves a highlight on the blog? We want to hear from you – share your story today!

Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout – Matthew Filing

Working as a Producer at Lockton Companies, Matt Filing has always had plenty of opportunities to get involved. But in 2011, he received a phone call that would change the course of his volunteerism.

That call came from the current GSKSMO Board Chair who asked if he would be interested in joining the board. Matt is no stranger to volunteering with local organizations that support youth. But he felt certain that this call came exactly at the right time in his life.

He and his wife, Courtney, always knew he wanted his daughter Lucy to be a Girl Scout. She was four-years-old at the time and would soon become a Kindergartener.

“I knew she would be joining as a Daisy when she went to Kindergarten,” Matt said. “The programming with Girl Scouts impressed me. What they had to offer my daughter was what we wanted her to experience.”

Matt and Lucy at their first father/daughter dance.

Matt and Lucy at their first father/daughter dance.

Matt’s passion for empowering children to believe in themselves and the fact that his daughter would be in Girl Scouts was the sign Matt needed.

The stars aligned and Matt felt a pull to say YES in order to help girls build courage, confidence and character!

In the five years Matt has been involved with Girl Scouts he has seen his family grow from one child to three, including another daughter and son. But he has also seen the organization grow as a whole.

Photo by Peep Toe Photography

Photo by Peep Toe Photography

“We’re changing the way we communicate with girls,” Matt said. “We are becoming a more forward-thinking organization and that mentality is good when you’re trying to draw new girls and volunteers in. They need to know what we’re about and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Matt has held different roles on the board but says working with the fund development committee has been one of his favorite jobs.

“We’ve met with great corporations who became our partners like Burns & McDonnell, Westar and Garmin,” Matt said. “Forming new relationships with people and sharing what we’re doing for girls in our community is what I’ve enjoyed most about being on the board.”

Matt recently accepted the position of Board Chair for the council at the Annual Meeting held in April. One of his favorite memories so far is standing up on that stage and saying I am man enough to be a Girl Scout! If you were there then you know that Matt’s declaration was very well received!

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Afterward, Matt’s mother, an alumna, shared her Girl Scout sash from many years ago.

He recognizes Girl Scouts is not an organization that has typically gotten the attention of dads and male volunteers. The words “Man” and “Girl Scouts” haven’t really been uttered in the same sentence. But that is changing, folks! We need more amazing male role models like Matt to stand up and say, “Yes! I am man enough to be a Girl Scout!” After all, it’s all about positively influencing girls.

“My daughters and the girls in Lucy’s troop look up to me as a role model,” Matt said. “I know the more I get involved in their activities the better it is for our relationship.”

Since starting Girl Scouts as a daisy Matt has seen Lucy grow more confident. She is becoming much more outgoing and her friendships in the troop and at school have blossomed.

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Matt, it’s clear you have a passion for empowering girls and sharing the important work Girl Scouts is doing. Thank you for being Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout!

We know there are so many more men out there who could do the same. So now’s your chance – could it be the stars are aligning for you? If you or someone you know is interesting in volunteering you can get more information by visiting our website.

What’s in a Camp Name?

Camp season has arrived and we can hardly believe it! It feels like only yesterday we were stuck inside, hiding from the cold (or selling cookies in freezing temperatures!).

But it’s finally time, Girl Scouts! Emerge from indoors and let’s head outside together! What better way to do that than attending a resident camp session at Camp Daisy Hindman!

Did you know there are 40 camp staff members at Camp Daisy who have already been trained to help you have the time of your life? They are ready for you, campers!

Whether its archery, horseback riding or hiking, they will be lined up and waiting with a friendly smile when you arrive.

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For some of you, this will be your first time venturing away from home and to this camp. Maybe you’ll miss your parents, your friends, your own bed! Chances are you may feel a little homesick when you arrive.

But we want to let you in on a little secret – sometimes our staff gets homesick too! One of the ways the staff members build camaraderie within the camp community is by coming up with fun nicknames!

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Laura Jernigan has been Camp Director for seven years and has been at Camp Daisy for two years. She says it is a longstanding tradition at resident camp.

“Each staff member gets a letter before the start of the season explaining they need to think of ideas for their camp name,” Laura said. “The names really become a part of who they are as they are introduced by that name and keep it all summer long.”

A camper writes a letter to staff member "Vitamin D"

A camper writes a letter to staff member “Vitamin D”

Laura certainly knows a thing or two about a nickname sticking! A Girl Scout starting in the second grade, Laura volunteered as a camp program aide when she was 16 and earned the camp name “popcorn” since it’s one of her favorite things to eat! She has been lovingly referred to as “popcorn” ever since.

“It can come from something interesting about the person, or something funny that happened,” Laura said. “Our assistant director, Katie Rogers, tripped and fell on the first day of training. We call her ‘Crash’ now!”

These camp names not only help the staff feel like a part of a close-knit team but it also helps Girl Scouts connect with the staff too. Some girls use this idea to create camp names for their new friends! If you’re quiet you will probably be able to hear some very silly camp names being yelled throughout the property!

On the last morning of camp the staff members stand in front of all the Girl Scouts, sing a song and reveal their real names! It’s one of the traditions that makes the memories from Camp Daisy Hindman last a lifetime.

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Laura, Katie and all the camp staff can’t wait for you to arrive at camp and learn what’s in a camp name in person!

Turning The K Girl Scout Green!

There was no question that Girl Scouts were in the house on Sunday May 3rd when the Royals took on division rival, the Detroit Tigers! Luckily we weren’t playing the Oakland A’s with all that green we brought into the stadium!

Congratulations to the 1,380 Girl Scouts who sold 300+ boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and earned themselves two tickets the game and a spot in the pre-game parade!

Sluggerrr helped organize the Girl Scouts and keep them entertained while they waited for their moment on field…

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It was so great seeing older Girl Scouts be buddies for our younger Girl Scouts! There were so many girls who achieved this recognition level that we filled up every spot the Royals gave us for the parade with Girl Scouts!

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In total, we had nearly 9,000 Girl Scouts and their families fill up the entire Hy-Vee View Level! Mackenzie B., our 2015 top Cookie seller, accepted a commemorative ball from the Royals recognizing our large group in attendance!

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Airianna S. from Junior Troop 504 threw out a first pitch (a strike, no less) to catcher Gaby C. from Ambassador Troop 37 to help kick off the game!

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Troop 1945 presented the colors during the singing of the National Anthem.

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We were proud to have Molly J. from Troop 1076 sitting in the Buck O’Neill Legacy seat on Sunday. As a young Brownie, Molly has spent countless hours working in her community always saying “yes” when asked to volunteer!

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At the top of the third inning, Girl Scouts Rebecca M. and Zoey C. were invited to make a special appearance in the Fox Sports Broadcast booth and they brought a little goodie bag to Rex Hudler and Ryan Lefebvre – Girl Scout Cookies! Rex and Ryan chatted with girls on TV!

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Girl Scout Parents Dana and Darius Ervin from Fort Leavenworth sat in the “Salute to Heroes” seats during Girl Scout Day at “The K” and received a standing ovation of appreciation from the crowd at the top of the fifth inning for their military service.

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Even though the Royals lost on Sunday, the day was a huge win for Girl Scouts and their families!

There were lots of awesome photos that our staff captured that day, check them out here and feel free to download them for your own personal use!

If you were at Girl Scout Day at “The K” and did not receive your patch, please email prdept@gsksmo.org so we can get one in the mail to you!

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Goes to Camp!

The Hispanic girl population is growing. Today, 1 in 5 girls in the 5-17 age category is Hispanic/Latina. But by 2020, it will be 1 in 3 in that age group. (Nielson)

Because of this we are working hard to engage and support more Latina girls across the communities we serve. One of the ways we do this is through memberships with organizations who align with our mission.

Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri is proud to be a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City. Last week we were thrilled to host their monthly Chamber Business After Hours.

It wasn’t your typical networking event, especially since it took place at Camp Prairie Schooner! Most of the attendees knew nothing of the beautiful 176-acre camp nestled between Lee’s Summit and Independence. But they got a chance to get a firsthand look at some fun camp activities including rock climbing! (Don’t worry, we asked them to change into more comfortable shoes, of course!)

It wasn’t long before the thrill-seekers found their confidence!

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The weather was absolutely gorgeous for mingling on the deck as festive music played and conversations were shared. Guests enjoyed a Girl Scout camp favorite, walking tacos served by one of our troops, guided camp tours, STEM demonstrations, and S’mores by the campfire.

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Chamber CEO, Carlos Gomez was there to welcome all who came out and CEO, Joy Wheeler, was happy to present Carlos with a “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” t-shirt in appreciation for the organization’s support.

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In 2014, we served more than 1,600 Hispanic girls in 47 counties – but our goal is to reach many more and introduce them to all Girl Scouts has to offer! We know that awareness of the amazing programs we have available to ALL girls is key to reaching more!

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If you are interested to know more about how Girl Scouts is helping Latina girls and to get involved with us, please contact Lisa Peña at lpena@gsksmo.org or 816-759-3113.