Building more girls of courage, confidence, and character in 2016!

STEM

Resolution #1 – Inspire more girls to follow a STEM path

Girls love STEM! A 2012 study found that, 74% of high school girls are interested in STEM fields. However, there is still a major disconnect between that high level of passion in high school and the number of women who earn degrees in STEM fields in college. In areas like engineering, computer science and physics, women only make up 20% of the degrees granted. In 2016 we want to be part of the solution to increase these numbers and inspire more women to enter STEM fields. By continually improving our engaging STEM programming with Community Partners, supporting dedicated volunteers and sharing inspiring stories about Alumnae in STEM fields, we are doing our part to help more women become STEM leaders of tomorrow.

FinancialLiteracy

Resolution #2 – Help girls become financially savvy women

We’ve seen amazing strides in female confidence when it comes to money. In a 2013 study, 80% of girls said they would prefer to make their own money than rely on someone else to support them. To help girls achieve these goals of financial independence, our second resolution is to make sure even more girls participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program to learn the 5 Skills!

These skills include Business Ethics, People Skills, Decision-Making, Goal Setting & Money Management. What an amazing world it would be if every girl mastered these skills before heading into adulthood! Girls like Mackenzie Barrera, a Daisy Girl Scout who sold 4,737 packages of cookies in 2015 (our top cookie seller), prove that learning through a program like this can ignite a passion.

Cookie season starts tomorrow, January 1, 2016, so we encourage all the adults reading to join us in this resolution and encourage a girl learning these skills by purchasing a package or more of our taste bud- tempting Girl Scout Cookies!

Opportunity

Resolution #3 – Make sure Girl Scouts is accessible to EVERY GIRL!

The mission of Girl Scouts is to develop women of courage, confidence and character, and that holds true for every girl. Our Founder, Juliette Gordon Low, firmly believed that any girl, no matter her race, socioeconomic status, religion or abilities, could be a Girl Scout. That’s why in 2016 we will work even harder to ensure every girl has the opportunity to be a Girl Scout.

By offering financial assistance to girls in need, improving our programs and properties and working with Community Partners to make new experiences within reach for girls, we can fulfill this goal. Visit our website to learn more about our Outreach troops and read this story about the power of a Girl Scout outdoor adventure for Outreach troops. You can join us by volunteering or giving a financial gift to help a girl thrive in Girl Scouts.

You still have a few hours left to make a 2015 tax deductible gift to Girl Scouts. If you have questions about a 2015 gift, please contact Vanessa Van Goethem-Piela (vanessa@gsksmo.org or 816-759-3072).

What resolutions do you have for 2016? Share with us in the comments below! Have a safe and happy NYE celebration tonight!

Building a Lifetime of Skills and Confidence

blogHeader-cookies

As Girl Scouts gear up for the start of Cookie Season, troop leaders are talking about the 5 skills in troop meetings and girls are starting  to sales goals for themselves! For many Girl Scouts, their goals are often based on the different recognition levels and prizes that they can earn! And why wouldn’t they be?! There are some pretty neat things girls can earn – like two tickets to Girl Scout Day at the K suite tickets for four to this special day, passes to Worlds of Fun and tons of Cookie Dough!

Those material recognitions are all great for Girl Scout Cadette Abby L. from Lawrence, Kansas; but, they’re not why she sells Cookies each year. She’s driven to sell Girl Scout Cookies so her troop can invest and make an impact in their community.

As Juniors, Troop 1550 collectively sold 2,215 packages in 2015 and decided to use their earnings to build a garden at Prairie Park Elementary school as their Take Action Project for the Bronze Award.

“Selling cookies might be hard sometimes, but what you can do at the end to help your community with the money you earn is worth it,” Abby said.

Now that Troop 1550 is in middle school, the Lawrence School board has taken over the project to ensure sustainability. There are plans to plant and maintain organic produce in the garden this summer and the new Daisy troop at Prairie Park is even growing earthworms for the project!

3764

Abby on the far left, with her troop and their garden boxes!

As Cadettes this year, Troop1550 will be reinvesting their GS Cookie earnings at their service unit Brownie Play Date in the Spring where they will introduce their Girl Scout Brownie sisters to camping and all that outdoor adventure and learning has to offer! The girls are still brainstorming activities, but you can count on a station about the art of s’more making (because no campout is complete without a good ol’ s’more) and dump cakes!

The Cookie Program is teaching Abby and the other girls in Troop 1550 the 5 Skills – Business Ethics, People Skills, Decision-Making , Money Management,  Goal Setting.

“You learn communicating and how profit works – you have to do a lot of math!” Abby explained. “If you want to sell more cookies you should get out there. Always ask an adult to help you spread the word like using a social media site or going to others’ homes in your neighborhood!”

What is your troop planning to do with their GS Cookie earnings this year?! Tell us in the comments below! Wishing all of our troops an awesome cookie season!

12 Days of Girl Scout Christmas

On the First day of Christmas Girl Scouts gave to me, a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Second Day of Christmas Girl Scouts gave to me, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Third Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, four thousand fun patches, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, five skills learned in the Cookie Program! Four thousand fun patches, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, six adventure opportunities, five skills learned in the Cookie Program! Four thousand fun patches, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, seven Cookie Construction Teams, six adventure opportunities, five skills learned in the Cookie Program! Four thousand fun patches, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, eight dozen Community Partners, seven Cookie Construction Teams, six adventure opportunities, five skills learned in the Cookie Program! Four thousand fun patches, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Ninth Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, nine Spark Events, eight dozen Community Partners, seven Cookie Construction Teams, six adventure opportunities, five skills learned in the Cookie Program! Four thousand fun patches, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, ten Man Enough to be a Girl Scout stories, nine Spark Events, eight dozen Community Partners, seven Cookie Construction Teams, six adventure opportunities, five skills learned in the Cookie Program! Four thousand fun patches, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, eleven new geocaching locations, ten Man Enough to be a Girl Scout stories, nine Spark Events, eight dozen Community Partners, seven Cookie Construction Teams, six adventure opportunities, five skills learned in the Cookie Program! Four thousand fun patches, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Girl Scouts gave to me, twelve months of connecting with us, eleven new geocaching locations, ten Man Enough to be a Girl Scout stories, nine Spark Events, eight dozen Community Partners, seven Cookie Construction Teams, six adventure opportunities, five skills learned in the Cookie Program! Four thousand fun patches, three scholarship opportunities, two council-sponsored trips and a celebration of the Highest Award!

On behalf of all of us at GSKSMO, we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A New Type of Troop to Lead

blogHeader-VolSpotlight

Sherry Quinn is a Girl Scout troop leader and grandmother who epitomizes leadership. For 27 years she served our country as a Marine and has now dedicated her life to inspiring the next generation of great women. What started as an informational session on Girl Scouts with her oldest granddaughter after seeing a sign at the YMCA, has now become a passion. A proud leader for Daisy and Brownie Troop 4042 in Kansas City, Kansas, Sherry Quinn is showing her girls what it means to be a driven leader.

As a child Sherry was involved with Girl Scouts overseas on Okinawa as an Army dependent. During her time in the troop she was able to go on her first camping trip away from her family – something she remembers as a little scary, but a great growth opportunity. The family moved around a lot for the Army, but Sherry learned to make new friends and jump into leadership roles.

When she graduated high school, Sherry looked into potential career opportunities and a military life was the best fit. “It was in the mid-sixties, a time when most women could be a secretary, nurse, school teacher or housewife, that’s about it, and none of that seemed exciting to me,” Sherry said. She decided to make her own path and joined the Marines. Though her first couple weeks were challenging, as soon as her superiors told her that she was behind, she kicked it in gear and graduated at the top of her class!

Collage-1

After 27 years in the Marines working with computers and mainframes, Sherry retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4, Platoon Commander. During her time in the Marines she took troops through cold weather training, commanded a platoon and worked in the computer field. This training prepared her for the day that Grace’s troop was suddenly faced with finding a new troop leader or folding. Always the leader, Sherry stepped up and became the troop leader. “Being retired from the Marine Corp, I thought, if I can order a bunch of marines around in the desert, I can handle 7 or 8 little girls,” Sherry said.

Now Sherry’s troop has grown to include 11 girls, with 6 more that may join this month. A dedicated photographer, Sherry loves to take her girls on activities all over the city and makes a troop scrapbook for each year of Girl Scouting adventures. Sherry also keeps up her outdoor skills by teaching Camping 102 for our council, helping leaders prepare for troop camping. She’s always looking for educational opportunities and finds unique ways to teach girls about life while keeping it fun. For Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday celebration, Sherry used her own experience battling cancer to help the girls understand the disease and relate to the Founder as part of an upbeat history lesson and birthday party.

Troop 4042

Even though being a troop leader can be taxing at times, it’s worth it for amazing moments with her granddaughters. One of Sherry’s fondest memories was attending the Gold Award Honors Ceremony with her granddaughter, Grace, in 2015.  Instead of pushing to leave after the expo portion Grace insisted that they stay for the ceremony, having been inspired by the older Girl Scouts and talking with Sherry about what her own Girl Scout experience could be. The Daisy clapped wildly as each girl received her award and as Sherry said, “she turned to me and went ‘Mammy, one of these days, I’m going to walk across that stage.’ At that point I knew I had done something right. It may not be 27 years in the Marines, but I knew I had put her in a place where she can grow. I want to see her keep growing through Girl Scouts.”

Because of her unique position as senior who is a troop leader, Sherry knows the benefits of connecting the generations. “A retired individual has a lot of time on their hands and they could invest that in the community, in Girl Scouts. I want them to know we are here and we want them,” Sherry said.

While some of her peers seem lost a few years into retirement, Sherry has something she’s passionate about to devote her time to and a way to bond with her granddaughters. How inspiring that Sherry is using her retirement, a time for relaxation, to inspire young women and give back to the community.

Collage-2

Sherry is an amazing example of a troop leader and an American hero. We thank her for her service and her passion for Girl Scouts. The future is bright for this young troop and what Sherry wants for all girls is exposure to good things at a young age so they have confidence. “All of these girls can become leaders and all they need is self-confidence and someone to believe in them. I want them to have exposure to things like Girl Scouts, things that help them grow…and have a lot of fun along the way,” Sherry said.

What an inspiring story! We are so thankful for our amazing volunteers like Sherry Quinn. If you know of an amazing volunteer, please share your story in the comments below!

 

 

A Look Inside Cookie Construction: Team Cookie Constructors

blogHeader-CC

T-minus 80 days and counting until Cookie Construction Build Day on March 5, 2016!

Our seven Cookie Construction teams are working hard fine tuning their designs and getting all the details right to place their cookie box order which is due next month. Each team can order up to 1,000 cookie boxes but they have to tell us the number of each color box they need for their unique designs!

We caught up with Team Cookie Constructors who have been working with four mentors – Ashley Simpson, Megan Pfau, Snehal Kadam and Sarah Masalskis, all from HNTB Corporation!

The mentors and girls have both learned something together…building with boxes isn’t easy but building friendships is!

2015-10-06 18.29.25

“It’s really difficult to build with cookie boxes,” Girl Scout Cadette Lola M. explained. “It’s fun though because we get to spend time with people we don’t know.”

The Girl Scouts on the Cookie Constructors team come from all different troops, never having worked with each other before…or their mentor professionals. Cookie Construction is the only opportunity for many of these Girl Scouts to get hands on experiences with creating, designing and building.

“As a kid, I like how we have actual professionals to work with and learn from,” Patty said.

The girls aren’t the only ones benefitting from this program either! In a field that has been historically dominated by men, these female mentors are getting to share their passion for architecture and design. “It’s been fun sharing what architecture is all about with the girls,” mentor Ashley Simpson said.

2015-12-08 18.29.52

Collaboration and problem solving is an important skill to learn, no matter what you want to be when you grow up. “Our hope is that the girls will continue to develop these important skills during their time in this program.” Ashley explained. “It’s great seeing them work through trial and error, figuring out what will or won’t work, and then working as a team to come up with a solution.”

Girl Scouts and mentors are equally excited to finally see all their hard work come to fruition. “We’re putting so much effort in and see it on paper, I can’t wait to see it all come together,” Kennady said!

Join Cookie Constructors and the other six teams at Crown Center for Cookie Construction Build Day and see the structures on display through March 24!

 

The Power of the Three Girl Scout Cs’ Last a Lifetime

blogHeader-AlumSpotlight

To be a college athlete you have to have three things that are also trademarks of a great Girl Scout – courage, confidence and character. It takes courage to face a tough opponent, confidence in team and character to play by the rules so everyone stays safe. It’s no wonder many Girl Scouts become student athletes when they enter college. Girl Scout Alumna Molly Ross is on such alumna who is finding her own path in the male dominated fields of sports and STEM.

MollyRossCollage1Molly became a Girl Scout in elementary school, loving the field trips and getting to do service with friends. In high school, it became a way to make a real difference and try new things. Beyond loving the experience herself, Scouting was a family affair. Molly’s brothers were Boy Scouts, her father was their leader and her mother is a Girl Scout Alumna and First Class recipient (former name of the Gold Award). It was her mother’s experience that inspired Molly to achieve her biggest Girl Scout goal – complete all three major awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold). “I knew it was a big thing for her, so I figured it would probably be a big thing for me and something I’d be really proud of doing,” Molly said.

In 2014 Molly was awarded the Gold Award for her project establishing a Junior Ranger Program at a nearby historical landmark – the Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway, Kansas. “Growing up I earned about 60 Junior Ranger badges; I love history and I feel like it’s forgotten about sometimes. The Indian Mission was just down the street from me and most people in the area don’t realize how big of an impact it had on our community,” Molly said. The program Molly developed engages children with the site through activities like a scavenger hunt and bingo. Completing this project was a highlight of Molly’s Girl Scout experience and a fantastic accomplishment on her resume as she headed to college visits.  After earning her Gold, Molly’s troop decided to take one last big adventure together – to get out of the country.

The summer between high school and college Troop 1476 took a trip to Costa Rica. The trip gave her a unique opportunity to go whitewater rafting and see a completely new part of the world. “I’d been to Canada and Mexico, but I hadn’t been REALLY out of the country, so this was a way to see a new culture and try new things,” Molly said. What a perfect way to transition into life as an alumna – exploring a new country, completing the highest award and expanding a program she loved.

MollyRossCollageWater

Today, Molly is a sophomore at Kansas State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering and a member of the rowing team. Coming from a family of engineers and having a passion for cars, engineering was a natural fit. “I like working with machines, designing things and I’m really good at math and science, so it was the best fit. It’s amazing to me that so many people drive cars and have no idea how they work,” Molly said. Despite being one of only two or three girls in most of her engineering classes, Molly is a proud woman in STEM and knows this is where her passion lies.

As a member of the rowing team Molly is under the leadership of fellow Girl Scout Alumna, Hanna Wiltfong (“Coach H”) and held to high standards of excellence. Being a student athlete can be a challenge, constantly trying to balance school, practices, workouts and a social life. However, because of the skills she learned as a Girl Scout, Molly feels she is able to manage college life easier than many of her peers. “I see a lot of people not fully grasping time management in college, but because of what I learned in Girl Scouts, even as an athlete with daily workouts, a job and school, it’s a lot easier for me,” Molly said.

Molly Ross is an amazing example of how skills learned in Girl Scout help create the leaders of tomorrow. As a student athlete and a woman in STEM, Molly proving that even in two areas traditionally dominated by men, girls can do anything they’re passionate about. Her love of machines lead her to engineering and no one is going to stop her – that’s real courage, confidence, and character!

“The more women that realize they want to be an athlete or an engineer, the more women are going to be involved in those two things. They’re not necessarily male dominated because men are better suited for the field…it’s because women who could go into those fields just don’t,” Molly said.

Athlete, woman in STEM and high achiever – what an inspiring Girl Scout Alumna! We are so inspired by women who take the skills they learned in Girl Scouts and translate into successful lives as Alumna. If you have an inspiring Alumna story to share, comment below!

Community Partner Spotlight: KC Healthy Kids

blogHeader-CPSpotlight

Where can Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors set personal health goals, investigate how neighborhoods can promote or hinder health, write to city leaders about barriers to health they have seen in their own community and, as a troop, develop a troop an action plan to improve the health of their neighborhood?! At KC Healthy Kids, that’s where!

kchealthykids1

KC Healthy Kids rally the people in our communities to improve access to affordable fresh food and safe places to walk and play. One way they’re doing that is through programming designed specifically for Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors! In these programs, Girl Scouts will think critically about their own health habits, work collaboratively to create a take action project helping them advance the work they are doing in Brownie Quest and Agent of Change Journeys as well as the Power of a Team and Power of a Community awards.

By examining their own health habits and setting a goal for improvement, girls will also work to earn a few steps in their “My Best Self” Badge!

The best part? KC Healthy Kids will provide technical support and information on community partnerships to assist in the troop’s action plan!

Girl Scout Troop 1236 from Roeland Park, Kansas attended a workshop with KC Healthy Kids this past fall and decided to write letters to their city’s mayor identifying ways the community can help or hinder healthy habits and were recognized at the Roeland Park City Council Meeting in November for their advocacy!

12339356_1018463788204833_635429838204046156_o

These Girl Scouts shared some of their ideas and concerns with Mayor Joel Marquardt and the Council members. The girls received a certificate from the city for their work, and they look forward to the next steps of creating a healthier community!

“It was so much fun to work with these amazing girls and troop leaders,” Michelle Dake, KC Healthy Kids youth advocacy educator said.

What ideas will your Girl Scout troop come up with?! Register your troop for either of the Spring workshops on February 27 or April 16 and let their advocacy begin!

 

If She Can See It, She Can Be It!

blogHeader-GirlScoutSpotlight

Girl Scouts get a behind the scenes look at being an orthopedic trauma surgeon

Have you ever had the chance to try on a real surgical gown? How about participate in a hands-on lesson with artificial bones used to repair injuries? Troop 3109 in Topeka, Kansas got a crash course in life in the operating room during a troop meeting with a local surgeon this fall.  Dr. Shaun Steeby, a female orthopedic trauma surgeon (a doctor who repairs bones, especially bad breaks and replacements), led a discussion on bones, what life is like as a doctor and how exciting it is to be a woman in a STEM field.

“Dr. Steeby is the first female, non-gynecological surgeon to join Stormont-Vail Hospital and the first orthopedic trauma surgeon to work in Topeka.  She was very excited to talk to the girls to empower them and show them that in a man’s world, girls can do anything,” Jaime Ralston, a Girl Scout mom who is also a surgical technician and educator said.

Hosted in a Washburn Institute of Technology Surgical Tech Classroom, the troop was surrounded by educational surgical beds, lights and equipment. The meeting began with a quick discussion on the skeletal system, how a surgeon fixes broken bones and Q&A time for the Girl Scouts. Dr. Steeby brought along artificial bones that are used in surgeries and gave Troop 3109 the chance to hold the bones and learn about their function. Talk about a fun way to learn about anatomy!

IMG_6519The adult volunteers and Dr. Steeby showed the girls where each artificial bone would go in their body. During this exercise, the troop was able to ask questions and explore the human body in a hands-on activity. Cadette Ashlyn, who may want to be a cardiac surgeon said, “my favorite part was getting to hold the bones and see where they go. That was really cool.” Because of Girl Scouts, young girls like Ashlyn get unique opportunities to engage with women in a STEM career that inspires her!

During the discussion, Dr. Steeby talked about overcoming one of the most difficult parts of becoming a surgeon – having faith in yourself.  “There were days when people told me I couldn’t do it, or that I wasn’t good enough. By struggling through those moments I get to go to work every day, help people and have an awesome time,” Dr. Steeby said.

After learning the ins and outs of life as a doctor and the human body, it was time for these mini-surgeons learn how to “scrubbing in” for surgery. This is the rigorous processes a surgical team goes through to ensure the operating room is as clean as possible before operating on a patient. For almost an hour the girls went step-by-step through the process with Dr. Steeby and Jaime, who held them to the highest standards. At the end of the exercise, the troop was dressed in surgical gowns, caps, goggles, gloves, shoe covers and face masks like a real surgical team. Dr. Steeby also made sure the girls remembered to keep their hands above their waists as they walked, just like real surgeons!

BlogCollage

We love seeing inspiring leaders dedicate their time to empowering girls. Dr. Steeby is an impressive surgeon who’s making a real difference in medical care in Topeka. “Prior to [Dr. Steeby] coming to Stormont-Vail hospital, we had to send all Level 1 traumas, like multiple fractures and pelvic fractures, to KU Medical Center because no one here could do the surgeries. We brought her in and now we are getting to help people right here in Topeka,” Jaime said.

Engaging with girls is important to Dr. Steeby because she believes girls need to see that it’s possible to do anything you have a passion for. “It’s easy for girls to be intimidated by things like drills, saws, bones and blood, and there are so many men in this field that [girls] don’t always feel like they can penetrate the industry. As a woman, I’ve run into barriers, but realistically, most of the barriers were more in my head than actually there,” Dr. Steeby said.

What amazing experiences girls are able to have through Girl Scouts! We thank volunteers like Dr. Shaun Steeby, Jamie Ralston and troop leader Cheryl Fewell for making a difference in the lives of girls. You are helping us empower the leaders of tomorrow. If you have a story about an amazing volunteer, or would like to share your thoughts about Troop 3109’s awesome experience, comment below!

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout

blogHeader-VolSpotlight

Don’t you love this time of year? It’s a time filled with family, friends and most definitely sharing of fond memories and great stories. It’s also a time to reflect on the past year and get ready for another 365 days ahead.

What a fantastic pre-holiday chat we had with Girl Scout Alumna and Board of Directors Member Mary Jorgenson. It was a reflection of her Girl Scout memories, the deepening of a mother / daughter bond and a look into the future for the next generation of Girl Scouts.

Like many Girl Scout alumnae, Mary remembers her experience fondly. Of course, there are always a few memories an alumna never forgets. For Mary, these never forget memories include camping as a 9 year old Brownie in Michigan. She remembers this as her first Girl Scout camp-out. It was two nights and included a nature scavenger hunt.

Mary’s second favorite memory took place when she was a Junior. By this time, her family had moved to Lawrence and she was participating in a troop supported by two University of Kansas students. The troop got to experience an overnight at their dorm.

“I remember that we laughed and played Hey Jude by the Beatles over and over on the record player,” Mary said. “It was something that we got to stay in the dorm and connect with these young women.”

Outdoor experiences and growing friendships – we are sure that the majority of alumnae would share similar stories tied to these themes. After all, these are two critical tenets which set Girl Scouts a part from other organizations.

From troop camping to attending her first day camp at Hidden Valley in Lawrence, Mary embraced everything possible in the outdoors. In fact her Girl Scout camping experience led her to take on an even bigger challenge in high school. She signed up and then qualified to join fellow students on a two-week backpacking trip to climb Longs Peak in Colorado. It was also during this trip that Mary rappelled for the first time.

“With my teacher’s encouragement, we made it to the top of the peak,” Mary said. “I never forgot what he said, and I still carry it with me – I climbed Longs Peak, now I can do anything.”

Taking that mantra, Mary went onto to have meaningful life adventures. Of course this included becoming a mom to three daughters (and you guessed it, they are Girl Scout alumnae too!) Mary was the troop leader for her three daughters’ troops. Being a troop leader and watching her daughters, Katie, Ellen and Molly develop into strong women was priceless.

Mary-J-Collage

One of the areas Mary wanted to make sure her daughters had a chance to cultivate was their outdoor skills. Day camp was a great first step and certainly grew to an anticipated annual tradition. Mary volunteered in several leadership roles including Day Camp Director.

Giving girls opportunities to take on adventure became extremely important to Mary. She loved that girls could try out rappelling, climbing and ziplining. Beyond just her daughters, Mary wanted more girls to experience taking on a challenge. She stepped up and became an adventure program instructor lasting just about 10 years.

“I became an instructor so more girls could have this experience,” Mary said. “I loved the challenge of choice concept and that each girl had their own unique challenge they strived to accomplish.”

Like what Mary had accomplished making it to the top of Longs Peak, she wanted all girls to know that if they accomplish something they didn’t think they could that everything after would seem possible.

“There’s no other place like Girl Scouts where you get that loving push and encouragement to take on these types of challenges,” Mary said.

Today, Mary’s daughters are off leading their lives as confident young women. And, this opens the door for her to take on a brand new volunteer role. We are thrilled that Mary has joined our Board of Directors.  Her outdoor knowledge and volunteer experience will be invaluable as our council sets forth a comprehensive program and property plan to lead us into the future.

“I want to see our programs have great progression,” Mary said. “I want younger girls to look to older girls and get excited for what they will get to do.”

Mary believes that partnerships are critical to bringing the best experiences to girls. Partnerships with parents/caregivers and more community program leaders will guide our future.

With Mary Jorgenson back with our council, we are destined for a fantastic future ahead. We know that more girls need to experience their challenge of choice and feel the sense of accomplishment just like Mary after reaching the top of Longs Peak.

Mary Jorgenson is a Girl Scout through and through. She treasured her experience as a girl member and is now working to lift up the next generation of Girl Scouts.

Do you know a Girl Scout volunteer and/or alumna like Mary? Share his or her story with us by leaving a comment below! We love to feature all the amazing individuals across our 47 counties.

Give to Empower Girls!

gtLogo15

Today is a special day for Girl Scouts – and for giving across the globe. It’s GIVING TUESDAY!  If you haven’t heard of Giving Tuesday, we are excited to introduce you to this new holiday that’s encouraging everyone to take time to give together for one powerful day.

Givingtuesday.org describes the holiday as: “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Giving Tuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy.” We are thrilled to join this movement once again as an official #GivingTuesday partner!

This celebration offers us the opportunity to celebrate our amazing donors and volunteers and use the power of social media to share why it’s great to “Give to Empower Girls” TODAY!  By giving to Girl Scouts today, you are helping our Opportunity Fund, which ensures girls can get their most out of their Girl Scout experience, no matter their family’s financial situation.

What’s extra special about giving to Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri is that you are giving to girls in OUR community. Your support of the Opportunity Fund enables LOCAL girls to broaden their Girl Scout experience. Your gift on #GivingTuesday helps girls in need by providing financial assistance for membership fees and uniforms, Girl Scout books, fees for activities such as zip lining, field trips and camping experiences.

Our Girl Scouts give every day throughout the year, so we ask you to join them by giving today. “[Girl Scouts] gave me opportunities to give back to people and to the community. It also allowed me to give back to myself, become a better leader, a more critical thinker and to give back to others,” said Ambassador Girl Scout, Teresa Shockley, one of our inspiring 2016 Gold Award recipients.

Teresa Shockley is an excellent example of how Girl Scouts are creating positive change in our council and the work that your gift today goes to support. For her Gold Award project, Teresa used her personal battle with mental illness (specifically depression, anxiety and self-harm behaviors) to help other teens. For someone who has battled mental illness, the power of achieving the highest award offered in Girl Scouts is a success story all on its own. However, this project is extra special because in addition to helping Teresa with her personal goals, it created an ongoing recovery resource for teens battling with mental illness.

2 TShockley

Teresa’s innovative program is called “Reading for Recovery,” and utilizes books as a coping mechanism for teens suffering from mental illness. Since reading was a major part of her recovery, Teresa handpicked books for the program based on first-hand experiences with each story. Once she gathered the books, she put personal notes about what impact each book had on her recovery and began stocking her “little free libraries.” These “free little libraries” are small, brightly painted wooden structures that can be placed in lawns or in building and invite the community to take and leave books completely free. By also including bracelets for teens to take with each book, the program also provides a wearable reminder that they are on the path to recovery. Now with six locations in the Kansas City area, the libraries are putting recovery resources where they’re needed most.

“I picked this project because I struggled with these challenges myself and my friends have struggled as well. I really improved in my life, so I wanted to help others find their own road to recovery,” said Teresa. Her story is just one of the thousands of projects Girl Scouts and their troops take on every year to make our entire Council a better place for everyone.

By giving to empower girls today, you are giving to many causes all at once. Your support of these programs help girls use their passion to give back to our community. As Teresa says, “Everything [Girl Scouts] does is good. We work with mental health projects, physical health projects, animal shelters, food pantries, everything. No matter what you care about, Girl Scouts is doing something good for it.”

It’s easy to get involved with #GivingTuesday and the GSKSMO “Give to Empower Girls” campaign today. You can start by donating to our special Giving Tuesday donation page. GIFTS OF ANY AMOUNT help provide new experiences through our Opportunity Fund. Once you’ve donated, we invite you to change your profile image as a digital badge showing you gave today and share the link to the donation page on your social media sites. If you decided to join our monthly giving program (Daisy’s Circle) as your donation today, or are already a member who decided to give an additional gift, we have a profile photo just for you.

Facebook users can also give by joining our Facebook Event and inviting friends and family to join as well. Finally, join the conversation by engaging with our Facebook Page and share why you “Give to Empower Girls.”

To learn more about Teresa’s story, check out these links for her program page and news coverage of her story. If you want to share your story of why you GIVE TO EMPOWER GIRLS, comment below!

Teresa’s Story and Information on the Gold Award:

 

#GivingTuesday #GSKSMO #GiveToEmpowerGirls #UnSelfie