From Gold Award to Army Captain – a life serving our country

Girl Scout Alumna and Gold Award Recipeint, Jacque Ralston

As a Girl Scout you learn discipline, commitment and how to achieve long term goals. These are traits that are valuable in any job, but particularly when protecting our country is the main objective. Captain Jacqueline (Jacque) Ralston is a Gold Award Alumnae who has dedicated her life to the ultimate form of service – a life in the army. As Jacque says, “you don’t know your own strength until you do it.” Through Girl Scouts and the military, Jacque has become a better, stronger woman by pushing to her limits.

Jacque was born into a military family and a life of serving has always been the norm. Though she was the youngest and her father had retired by the time she was two, growing up in Leavenworth instilled a sense of honor and duty that the military community exudes. She joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie, following the example of her six older siblings who were Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were a family affair. Her mother was the Service Unit manager and her father was the Treasurer. Out of a total of five girls, four of them earned their Gold Awards! It’s clear the family knew the type of skills the girls were learning that they couldn’t get anywhere else.

JacqueRalstonCollage_Girl

As with most Girl Scout Alumnae connected with the military, Jacque sees a real power in Girl Scouts for military children in particular. Though she didn’t move around much, her older siblings did as well as some of her nieces and nephews. The power of having a group where you belong in each place is a particularly special part of being a Girl Scout as a military dependent. “[Girl Scouts] gives you that common bond…when you show up in a new place it can be really overwhelming. If you already know Girl Scouting, you already have that network and you can be part of a team,” Jacque said.

 

Continuing the family tradition of “going gold,” Jacque earned her Gold Award by running a child care program during the holidays for military families at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, so parents could do holiday shopping. Unlike civilian families, military families usually don’t have extended family close by to help with childcare, so the need for help was there. Working with other Girl Scouts and friends, she was able run the program for several weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Jacque was involved with many clubs and activities in high school, but realized the value in the opportunities and skills she was learning by staying in Girl Scouts and made it a priority. As Jacque says, “it’s about your priorities, you have to know that it’s important, value the leadership and the skills you’re learning. The Gold Award itself is valuable because if you set your mind to a goal and you have to achieve it and feel that sense of accomplishment when you’re done, it shows you what you can do.”

After graduating high school, Jacque attended Creighton University, majoring in marketing and military management as well as joining the ROTC program as her entry point into the military. After college she was commissioned into the military and has since served in Hawaii, Iraq, South Carolina and Kansas. During her time in Hawaii she married her husband, Anthony, who is currently in medical school. They now have a son, Joseph, who is 18 months old.

JacqueRalstonCollage_Adult

From November 2010 – October 2011, Jacque served at Camp Liberty in Iraq, working with the logistics unit. Their team was responsible for closing down outlying units. Her deployment was intimidating at first, being in a new country and new situation, but she knew that pushing her limits only made her stronger. There she developed a love of running and challenged herself. The ability to travel, serve her country and build a career in a community is why Jacque loves her life in the army.

As a woman in the military, Jacque feels it is a great community for women because your skills set you apart, not your gender. She’s currently a Captain, but is promotable to Major. “I’ve had some amazing female role models. Some of my first battalion commanders were women. Now that they’ve opened the military up more…it’s not about being a female, it’s about who I am. If I perform at my best, that’s what my leadership expects of me. They don’t look at me as a girl, they look at me as an officer,” Jacque said.

Jacque sees so much value in the wide range of opportunities the military offers. “[In the military] you can be an engineer, a police officer, in the medical field, communications…whatever you’re interested in, there’s probably a link in the military. It’s a great opportunity to see other places, get pushed out of your comfort zone and you meet amazing people. The comradery is my favorite part,” Jacque said.

Having spent a life in the military and in Girl Scouts, Jacque sees the missions as very similar – serve your country and help people at all times. “[The common mission of Girl Scouts and the military]…it’s in the promise ‘on my honor I will try to serve God and my country’ – that’s what we do, we serve our country. We are helping people at all times. The words may be different between the Girl Scout Promise and what we say when we’re commissioned, but the message is the same,” Jacque said.

We thank Jacque for her service both as a Girl Scout and as a member of the armed forces. What an inspiring story of leadership, dedication and strength! If you would like to share the story of an awesome Gold Award Alumnae like Jacque Ralston, comment below!

Growing through Girl Scouts

blogHeader-GirlScoutSpotlight

As girls grow through Girl Scouts, their activities are becoming more and more girl-led; giving the leaders a chance to step back and the girls a chance to step up. This is especially true for Girl Scouts in service unit 631.

After the new year, Girl Scout Cadettes through Ambassadors gather with adult volunteers for a weekend retreat to plan the service unit event of the year, Day Camp! This is a highly anticipated weekend, especially for those girls in 6th grade. It’s their first opportunity to be a Day Camp Aide and to be involved in the planning and implementation of their favorite event of the year!

2015-07-17 16.12.02

“We put so much emphasis on the teens being leaders at camp that the younger girls aspire to do that one day. They get to see the teens as leaders and see how much fun they’re having and they want to be ‘that girl.’” Day Camp Director Tamara Cody said!

There are 24 Day Camp Aides for service unit 631 this year representing six different troops as well as a few girls who are independently registered members. As you might imagine, there is a wide range of ages, experiences and personalities. Everything you might encounter when working as a team.

This weekend is designed to give girls not only the opportunity to plan, but bond as a leadership team. It’s not all work, you know! The teens got to try some unconventional cookie techniques such as cooking eclairs over an open fire and singing silly Girl Scout songs!

DSC_0013

The Day Camp Aides have been working together since September to craft a plan for the Day Camp so when they come together for the weekend, they are past the brainstorming stage and into the planning and implementing steps. These girls aren’t just putting on a fun event, they’re learning about budgets and how to plan age appropriate activities. They are learning to work as a team.

“We work really hard to make sure that they know everything that goes into planning an activity. Everything from who the activity is for, how much it’ll cost, what are the steps that it takes to accomplish it and so on,” Tamara said.

2015-07-17 16.04.09

What’s unique about 631’s aide training is that all first year aides are assigned to an Ambassador as a mentor and coach.  That way the Ambassadors have more responsibility to look forward to as they get older and the younger girls have someone to learn from and confide in during the planning process!

At the conclusion of their weekend, girls will have earned the Program Aide Badge and the Girl Scout Ambassadors earn the Coaching Badge!

“Leading at day camp keeps you engaged in Girl Scouts and shows you more about who you can be helping,” Girl Scout Senior Roxanne Cody said.

The theme for their day camp this year is Once Upon a Girl Scout. Think a mix of medieval and storybook. When you have a girl-led activity, you naturally have a girl-led t-shirt design competition! However, instead of having just one winning t-shirt design this year, the planning committee chose an element from each of the four submissions to create their official 2016 day camp t-shirt!

2016CampLogo

We just love how the adult volunteers in service unit 631 are building girls of courage, confidence and character with their awesome day camp planning process! We can’t wait to see your day camp in action this summer!

Tell us the fun and unique ways you empower your girls to be girl-led in the comments below!

Engineering a Life of Service to Women in STEM

A Gold Award Alumna Spotlight: Katie Lin

What does saber throwing and industrial engineering have in common? Besides an understanding of physics and being able to react to changing conditions, not much else comes to mind, right? For Girl Scout Gold Award Alumna and Lifetime Member, Katie Lin, the two are linked in her life through Girl Scouts and the STEM experiences that she’s been exposed to since childhood. Now the president of the KC chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and an engineer, Katie Lin is living a life of leadership, STEM and service to women in her community.

KatieLinGSYears

Growing up in Texas, Katie joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy and stayed through high school. Her mother served as troop leader or co-leader for the majority of her years and she remembers getting to do exciting outdoor adventures, service activities and growing as a leader. “Girl Scouts impacted me a lot in terms of leadership. I’m a shy person, especially when I was younger, and Girl Scouts helped me with public speaking and I learned to get involved. That has carried through my whole life,” Katie said.

Her troop, 5029, took advantage of their location by visiting sites like the USS Lexington, a naval ship permanently docked in Corpus Christi, Texas. “We spent the night and got to see what it was like to work on a ship like that. We got to sleep in bunkers…wash the planes in the morning…and sit in the cockpit chairs. As a troop, we really enjoyed that,” Katie said. It was experiences like this that exposed Katie to new things and helped shape her as a leader.

KatieLinCollage_Young

In high school Katie had her sights on earning her Gold Award, having earned her Silver Award with her troop. As a member of color guard (a sport that combines dance, flag handling and rifle throwing), she saw an opportunity to educate younger girls about the sport many don’t know about. “Color guard is one of the few activities you can join in high school without having experience. With sports, dance teams, orchestra, band, they want skilled performers or players who have done it in the past. With color guard, you didn’t need any prior experience,” Katie said. Her project was to create a camp for younger girls to learn about color guard and the opportunities it provided.

After finding a passion for STEM in high school, Katie packed her bags and moved to Columbia, MO to join the engineering program at the University of Missouri (MU). Engineering wasn’t always on the top of Katie’s list of careers, partly because her parents were geological engineers and studied rocks for a living. “Most of our family vacations were to national parks where they would try to explain to me how things were formed…and I thought ‘it’s pretty, but I don’t care.’ So I didn’t want to be an engineer because I thought they studied rocks. It wasn’t until high school that I realized there were all these different kinds of engineering and that I liked math and science and that I was good at it,” Katie said.

While at MU, she met the man who is now her husband, Hao Lin, a fellow engineer who moved with his family from China to St. Louis, Missouri when he was 13. It was at MU that she first found SWE and served as the president of the MU chapter for two years. SWE’s goal is to help female engineers network, learn about the industry and support one another. After moving to Kansas City to work at Honeywell, she got involved with the local SWE chapter and now is serving as its president as her way of giving back to women in her STEM community.

KatieLinCollage_Adult

As a female engineer, Katie believes in encouraging young women to explore STEM fields as career options. “Engineering is one of the few fields that hasn’t progressed [in terms of gender equality]. I think women are currently around 18% [of the engineering workforce]. It’s important for girls to understand that there are opportunities for STEM. A lot of girls like math and science, but may not understand what engineering is or that it can be a good career,” Katie said. That’s why she not only encourages young girls to participate in STEM activities, but is also a Girl Scout supporter as a member of Daisy’s Circle (the monthly giving program for GSKSMO). She also encourages young women to network through groups like SWE NEXT, which is a free membership level in SWE for girls under 18 curious about engineering.

Through Girl Scouts, Katie found the confidence to thrive, to speak up and to have the courage to be an engineer. “In engineering, you have to be courageous and wanting to take the initiative to try something new. Especially being a woman in a male dominated field, you have to be those things. That is something Girl Scouts helped me with,” Katie said. Today, she gets to travel for work and as a hobby, leads a community of STEM women and leads a happy life as an engineer.  Thank you, Katie, for your inspiring work and for continuing to connect women in STEM.

If you know of a great Gold Award Alumna story, share with us in the comments below!

 

Spring Break Girl Scout STEM Style

blogHeader-CPSpotlight

For most kids, spring break means a time to relax, take a break from school and do some mindless activities. However we know that Girl Scouts aren’t like “most kids.” For 15 Girl Scouts, spring break gave them the opportunity to do some hands on learning and career exploration with the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company, MilliporeSigma!

MilliporeSigma has an impressive portfolio. They help to create, improve and pro-long life, continuously working to make a lasting difference to patients’ lives. Some of the pharmaceutical medicines they create treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, growth disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and thyroid disorders.

When MilliporeSigma started their #sparkcuriosity initiative to educate youth in the community about science and the career opportunities associated with it, MilliporeSigma employee and troop leader Carolyn Bailey knew just who just to pilot the program with – Girl Scouts.

On Friday March 18, Girl Scouts got to be a scientist for a day at MilliporeSigma’s Lenexa location. They rotated between three stations: Production Tour, Biology Lab and the Chemistry/Quality Control Lab.

Girl Scout Cadette Maggie Ferney wants to be scientist and she’s particularly interested in cancer cure research. “I didn’t know any of this actually existed,” she said.

That’s exactly why MilliporeSigma started this program.

For MilliporeSigma employee, Kate Hellman, she sees this as a way to actually show kids what a career in a science field might look like. “We talk a lot in school about science, but you don’t actually get to see all the ways that it’s used,” she explained. “This shows what normal people in their community do with science.”

Each of the stations had hands on learning experiences. On the production tour, they saw what goes into making the pharmaceuticals on both the large and small scale. The girls got to handle a pin discs that churn the powder in the mills. The girls were shocked when they learned that the cost of the set of medical grade, stainless steel discs costs about $10,000! They also got to see the freezer where animal component chemicals are kept between -10 and -40 degrees!

ChemistryCollage

One part of what MilliporeSigma does for their customers is test cells to maintain the integrity of the product. Girls followed an “SOP” or Standard Operating Procedure for counting cells on a Vi-Cell XR. This machine has improved efficiency in the chemistry field and eliminates the need for scientists to manually count the living and dead cells on slides!

Those cells that they counted have to be kept alive with proper nutrients which are created in the biology lab. Before “feeding” them to the cells, they must be tested to make sure they have the proper makeup so the girls also pulled samples from a 3L Bioreactor to make sure that everything was good!

BiologyCollage

In the chemistry lab, the girls learned all about how pH levels are vital to everything we are. Your body has to maintain certain pH levels to survive, everyday cleaning agents must have a specific pH level to be effective and chemical reactions are regulated by pH levels! They got to experiment with different chemical agents such as vinegar, baking soda and water to see what types of Sodium Bicarbonates they could create. And boy did they create. “That’s the oddest color I’ve ever seen,” was MilliporeSigma employee, Kevin’s reaction to one of the groups experimenting!

At the end of the morning, the questions came flooding in from Girl Scouts. They asked questions like “how much schooling do you need?” and “where do machine parts come from?” When asked how many of them want to be a scientist or dream of working in a STEM field one day, ¾ of them said “yes!”

20160318_115245

It is experiences like what MilliporeSigman and Girl Scouts collectively provide that show girls that they can pursue any career they dream of. “I want to be a scientist, rocket engineer or Astronaut; maybe I’ll even build the rocket that will take me into space,” Clara Gust said.

Thanks for an awesome event and for sparking curiosity in our awesome Girl Scouts, MilliporeSigma!

A ROCK-ing Girl Scout Experience

Celebrating Girl Scout Highest Award Alumna Nancy Banta

How closely do you look at the landscape around you? If you’re a geologist like Girl Scout and First Class alumna, Nancy Banta – the answer is probably a lot. Through Girl Scouts, Nancy was able to share her love of geology to educate other girls and gain life skills that gave her the confidence to thrive. From wrangling cattle in muddy boots to getting her first job offer while working at camp, Nancy is a proud Girl Scout and woman in STEM who defied the odds to live a life of adventure and travel.

Born into a military family, Nancy moved frequently, but found a home in Girl Scouts. “[I liked] having something that was the same structure wherever I went. I may have been the new kid in school, but I was still a Girl Scout – that gives you a lot of confidence,” Nancy said. Starting as a Brownie, she continued through high school and earned the First Class, an award that is now the Gold Award. While in Girl Scouts she remembers camping, service projects and developing leadership skills. “We used to say they could drop us out of a plane with a jack knife and twine and we could build a city,” Nancy said.

Her first job was as a counselor at Girl Scout Camp Brandy in New York and required special permission from GSUSA since she was below the age threshold. At camp, she became “Battleship Nancy” and said that “as a counselor, it was important to me to give [girls] an experience that their parents couldn’t offer them.” Camping was a passion and inspired her decision to become a geology major at Beloit College in Wisconsin.

As a woman in STEM in the 1970s, she faced shocking gender obstacles. Missouri legally would not allow women to descend into mines, making her field work dependent on what the men in the group could bring back. This lack of gender equality in the field was daunting, but didn’t stop Nancy from graduating as a geologist and even pursuing her PhD in geology from the University of Texas at Austin in the 1980s.

Nancy Banta Photo

After college, Nancy became a counselor and geologist at National Center West, a highly competitive and prestigious Girl Scout camp.  That summer gave her lifelong friends and skills that helped her get a job. Known as “Rock” at camp, Nancy spent hours riding horses each day to teach Girl Scouts about geology.

Toward the end of her time at National Center West, Nancy got a call from Getty Oil Company asking her to come out to California for an interview. Getty Oil was a large, successful company that has since become part of Texaco. At the time, it was owned by J. Paul Getty (named richest living American by Fortune in 1957). In 1974 less than 1% of petroleum geologists were female, so the odds of Nancy getting a job with this prestigious company was so unthinkable, she didn’t take it seriously. “The big deal at dinner was ‘well Rock, when you get this job, we’ll all go with you to Los Angeles!’” Nancy said. Little did she know – those girls actually would travel to California with her and become her first roommates.

The interview process wasn’t stressful because Nancy didn’t think she had a chance. “I was totally relaxed. At that time women in petroleum geology were .06%, so I had extremely low expectations,” Nancy said. To her surprise, Getty sent a limo to pick her up from the airport and hired her as a Junior Geologist.

NancyBantaCollage

Working with Getty allowed Nancy to have a life of adventure. She traveled all over the world, spending time on oil rigs and examining ground samples. She mapped swamps in Guatemala, worked on wells in Columbia and Canada and visited places like Madrid, Glasglow, Houston, London & Vienna for a geology meetings, among many other adventures. Nancy was responsible for giving presentations from her team because she was an excellent communicator. They even took presentations to schools to teach kids about geology – skills she had from being a camp counselor. With Getty she was part of the team responsible for exploration in Spain, Northern Europe and North Africa. The experiences she had with Getty were the ultimate outdoor adventure – a life of science all over the world.

Nancy continues to inspire girls and be an advocate for women in STEM. She’s a member of Daisy’s Circle, GSKSMO’s monthly giving program and a member of the Trefoil Society. Nancy believes that Girl Scouts has a lasting power for women – no matter the generation. “Girl Scouts teaches values, gives you friendships and the confidence from having the skills you need. [As a Girl Scout] you really aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night,” Nancy said.

There is one camp song in particular that Nancy feels sums up the camping experience and her time as a Girl Scout. The lyrics are from “On My Honor” and go: “But we find more meaning in a campfire’s glow / Than we’d ever learn in a year or so / We’ve made a promise to always keep / And the day is done before we sleep / We’ll be Girl Scouts together and when we’re gone / We’ll still be trying and singing this song.”

Thank you to Nancy for all your amazing advocacy and work with Girl Scouts and as a woman in STEM. If you have any memories with “Battleship Nancy,” “Rock” or of another awesome Highest Award recipient, share in the comments below!

Week of Service

Giving Back for Girl Scout Week!

Giving back to the community is at the very heart of Girl Scouts. Not only does service improve our larger community, but girls learn valuable lessons about hard work, relationships and social groups outside their own communities. For Girl Scout Week (March 6-12, celebrating Girl Scout’s 104th birthday this year!), an estimated 3,000 Girl Scouts in our council logged over 10,000 service hours to show just how much they love Girl Scouts! This Week of Service is part of our Inspire a Girl event, which combines the Week of Service with the Highest Awards Expo and Honors Ceremony (Apr. 2 – Overland Park Convention Center) to celebrate 100 years of service through the Girl Scout Highest Awards. Girl Scouts who participated in this service week even earned an awesome Inspire a Girl patch! We’re highlighting a few fantastic projects to inspire you to give back in your own way.

Girl Scout camp properties are beloved by girls and were a hub of activity for service this week. At Camp Daisy Hindman troops 3145 and 1725 worked on their Bronze Award by building a raised garden bed that will be used during summer camp! At Camp Tongawood  troops cleaned the lodges and helped with general camp ground maintenance. Camp Prairie Schooner had an awesome group of Daisies and Girl Scout moms who helped clean the facility, a troop that helped mulch an outdoor area and a team of older Girl Scouts who stained bunk beds. What an awesome way to give back to other Girl Scout sisters!

We were extra excited to see Daisy Girl Scouts working on their first service project in Overland Park, Kansas. At Goodwill, one of our Community Partners, Daisy Girl Scouts handed out information about an upcoming Girl Scout clothing drive (Good Turn for Goodwill) and welcomed shoppers to the store! How exciting to see the beginning of a life of service. In Nearby Lenexa, Girl Scouts of all ages helped repackage bandages for First Aid kits at Heart to Heart.

Kansas City, Missouri saw Girl Scout help as well! At Sheffield Place Girl Scout troops 1567, 473 & 566 got down in the dirt – despite the rain – and cleaned rubber bedding in the children’s play area. Operation Breakthrough got amazing help from troops 5077 & 3335 to do a deep clean of the classrooms to make sure students stay healthy. And we can’t forget Community Partner Harvesters! At this location, Girl Scouts from Brownie and above took shifts working in the warehouse to sort and bag food to be delivered across the service area. After working, they got a healthy snack, learned about vegetables and watched a brief presentation on food insecurity and how some Girl Scouts have worked with Harvesters to earn their Highest Awards.

Check out this slideshow of photos from this Week of Service!

What an amazing week of giving back! These are just a few of the awesome projects we had going on in our community this week. If your troop has an awesome project they’d like to share, tell us about it in the comments below!

Gold Award Alumna is Making a Slam Dunk in Sports Journalism – Lindsay McNary

Have you listened to a K-State HDTV recently? You might have noticed one of the sportscasters covering some of the hottest sporting events for the Wildcats is a woman…and of course, she’s a Girl Scout. Lindsay McNary is breaking the mold in the world of broadcasting by pursuing a career as a female in sports journalism. Driven by the courage, confidence and character, Lindsay is a Gold Award recipient from Sabetha, Kansas who doesn’t let gender stereotypes influence her ability to succeed.

Lindsay began her Girl Scout journey as a Daisy and was proud to close out her girl experience as a Gold Award recipient. At the age of 16 she was not only working on badges herself, but became a troop leader for 25 Daisies. “The biggest lesson I learned [with the Daisies] is that too much love can hurt you. When you have 25 little girls want to hug you all at once, you’re not physically able to stop them. I thought ‘this is it, I’m going out because of too much love!’” Lindsay said.

For her Gold Award project, entitled “12 Seconds to Live,” Lindsay organized a reenactment of what a drunk driving accident with fatalities looks like close up. It was designed to be a wake-up call to high school students and the community about what really happens in a fatal car accident. It also doubled as a mass causality drill for local first responders and has continued to serve that purpose as a training exercise. The project idea came from Lindsay’s own experience losing a cousin in a drunk driving accident and knowing that in a small town, teens are more likely to drinking as a form of entertainment.

Lindsay McNary Obama

Her Gold Award project was so inspiring that Lindsay was one of eight Girl Scouts selected from across the country to travel to Washington DC and meet President Obama in 2012 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts. Talk about an incredible leader from our council!

After high school, Lindsay went to K-State to study Journalism, the first in her family to go to college. She landed great internships with local news stations and even worked as a marketing intern with our council. At K-State, she worked her way up and served for two years as a producer and sports at the school radio station, The Wildcat 91.9, with 45 students under her management.

Her first couple of weeks at The Wildcat 91.9 were a little challenging for a unique reason – about half of the male students that were supposed to be on her team walked out of the station, refusing to work in the sports division under a female manager. “They decided, ‘we don’t like this, if we all leave, she won’t be able to keep her job.’ Well, they ended up keeping me and it was a good lesson because it taught me how to be a good leader and how to instill confidence in my abilities to my team. In the end, all but two of the students, plus 10 more, came back,” Lindsay said.

It was a good thing they trusted her at The Wildcat because she organized internships, travel and unique opportunities that had never been offered there before. Talk about confidence in the face of incredible obstacles! She has since left The Wildcat 91.9 and is now working with K-State HDTV as a host, sportscaster and crewmember.

Lindsay-McNary-Collage

Looking back, Lindsay remembers that there were times when she thought about leaving Girl Scouts, but now, looking at the experience she gained in the program, she’s happy she stuck with it. “I was bullied in high school, I was the quintessential nerd…but I stayed in Girl Scouts because I made the best connections there. All of these students in college now have no other experience except maybe playing sports in high school. They’re going to struggle to find a job, where as I have experience. I’m a small town girl who didn’t even think I was going to go to college. Through Girl Scouts I figured out what I wanted from life,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay believes that a great deal of her ability to conquer the academic and work world comes from earning her Gold Award. “Because of the Gold Award, I can walk into any boardroom, any job, any interview and hold my head high, not only having the self confidence that Girl Scouts has instilled, but knowing that I rank so much higher than any other student or potential employee. That alone is so empowering. I know that I will be desired in the workforce and that I have the ability to follow my wildest dreams,” Lindsay said.

Now in her final year at K-State, Lindsay is excited about the future. She and her fiancé are expecting their first child late this summer 2016 and planning to move to Omaha, Nebraska. She has a variety of great job offers already and knows she’ll be able to tackle any of them. As a soon-to-be mom, she wants to remind other parents and girls that Girl Scouts is a long term goal that’s worth staying in as long as you can. “You have to think about [the benefits of Girl Scouts] long term. It may not seem like an immediate payoff, but the benefits are so much greater if you just have to hang in there, persevere and soak up every opportunity that you can,” Lindsay said.

We are so proud of Lindsay and all that she’s been able to accomplish! What an amazing example of where the skills learned in Girl Scouts and earning the Gold Award can take you. If you have a great Gold Award Alumna story or if you’ve seen Lindsay in action, share in the comments below!

 

2016 Cookie Construction Build Day

blogHeader-CC

After seven months of designing, planning and testing, 100 Girl Scouts, 30 female design professionals and 7,000 Girl Scout Cookie boxes descended upon Crown Center for the official 2016 Cookie Construction Build Day!

The seven teams have been working together since September to design and plan a structure that would be built solely out of Girl Scout Cookie boxes on site at Crown Center with the theme of Dream. Design. Do. Outdoor Adventure.

The girls were given four hours to bring their designs to life, and the results, well we think they’re pretty amazing.

While Cookie Construction is meant to give girls an idea of what a career in the architecture and design field might be like, it also teaches them things like how to work on a team, how to lead and how to follow, what brain storming and trial and error look like. The skills you need to know no matter what career you choose.

The 2016 Cookie Construction program was in partnership with AIA Kansas City and Women in Design Kansas City. The program was made possible thanks to our presenting sponsor HOK-Kansas City. Support also came from Time Warner Cable – Connect a Million Minds, McCownGordon Construction, Centric Projects and SFS Architecture. Our venue host was Crown Center and D’Bronx generously donated pizza to fuel our hardworking Girl Scouts!

While we envied the girls’ creativity, we did not envy the job of our jurors to select a winner in this year’s competition! The following people had the difficult job of naming a team to receive the Jurors’ Choice Award: Amy J. Slattery, AIA, Owner, Odimo; Perry Watson, Area Vice President, Time Warner Cable; Marsha Hoffman, President, AIA; Rosana Privitera Biondo, President, Mark One Electric; Rick D. Schroeder, AIA, Project Manager, Crown center Redevelopment Corporation; and Danny O’Neill, Owner/Founder, The Roasterie.

After a long deliberation the jurors selected Team Silver Moons’ structure as the award winner! They were particularly impressed with the complexity of their build and unique interpretation of the theme. They scored highly in the “use of colors/labels” category by creating texture in the various cookie boxes. Team Silver Moons’ design was titled “Keep On Climbing” and they recreated famous monuments of history such as Mt. Everest, Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China.

WinningTeam

Team Silver Moons winning build.

Team Silver Moons winning build.

Since Team Silver Moons won the Juror’s Choice Award, the other six teams are eligible to take home the People’s Choice Award! Structures will be on display at Crown Center until March 25, so stop on by and cast your vote for your favorite structure!

Cookie Constructors: Explore the Seasons

DSC_0347

Elemental Dragonettes: I Can’t Wait to Discover the World

2016-03-05-BuildDay2 038

 

Galaxy Girls: Project Space Camp

2016-03-05-BuildDay2 060

 

High Flyers: High Flying Adventure

2016-03-05-BuildDay2 074

 

Top City: Cookie Land

2016-03-05-BuildDay2 084

 

Treehouse Masters: Zipping Through Life

2016-03-05-BuildDay2 051

 

Check out the photos on our Facebook Page or see all the behind the scenes work at #GSCookieBuild! You can also read the story in the Kansas City Star and

 

Girl Scout Week 2016

gsweek-calendar2

It’s time to CELEBRATE! What’s better than a birthday party? A GIRL SCOUT BIRTHDAY PARTY! 104 years young and we are celebrating ALL week! Starting Sunday, March 6, you’ll be able to participate in a whole week of Girl Scout celebrations during National Girl Scout Week. Not only are we celebrating with themed days, but we are doing an entire week of service throughout the council as part of our Inspire a Girl event.  Visit the Week of Service homepage to sign-up for awesome service projects going on throughout our council. You might also see photos of the GSKSMO office in Kansas City doing a service project on Wednesday, March 8!

Search the #beGSgreen and #inspireagirl to see everything going on around the council for this celebration.

Here are a few ways to show your Girl Scout pride March 6-12:

(PS: Don’t forget to share your photos with us! Tag it with #beGSgreen and visit our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages!)

Activities below that are underlined & italicized indicate a CHANCE TO WIN a great prize!

Sunday, March 6 – Girl Scout Sunday – Celebrate your faith!

Monday, March 7 – Celebrate your Girl Scout Family!

  • Moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandmas, grandpas and other caregivers – being a Girl Scout is a family experience!
  • Share that favorite story and photo – camping fun, FROG dances, field trips, cookies and more! Family members make Girl Scouting possible!
  • Every story and photo shared will be entered for a chance to win a family gift basket from the GS Shop.

Tuesday, March 8 – Celebrate Outdoor Fun & Adventure!

  • Take the outdoors pledge and share it with others
  • Share your troop photos of the Adventure Program and one troop will win 5 spots to a spring program (Brownie – Ambassador Girl Scouts)
  • Share your summer camp stories (one Girl Scout will win a mini or resident camp session for this summer)

Wednesday, March 9 – Celebrate STEM Innovation and Arts & Culture Day!

  • Share your photos from the inventions or art projects you have created, field trips to the theater, museums and STEM partner locations. By sharing and entering, one troop will receive $50 toward a STEM or Arts & Culture Field Trip.

 Thursday, March 10 – Daisy’s Circle Day – Bring Her Promise to Life!

  • If you are a member of Daisy’s Circle, wear your pin today!
  • Invite someone to learn more and join
  • Share why you are proud to be a part of Daisy’s Circle on social media
  • Learn more and join– great member incentives!

Friday, March 11 & Saturday, March 12 – Inspire a Girl – Week of Service

We can’t wait to see all the awesome photos and activities that Girl Scouts participate in this upcoming week. Take a moment to thank that special Girl Scout in your life for her service. Look at all the good we’ve done together. Have a great Girl Scout Week story to share? Comment below!

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – Dad of All Trades, Robert Barnett

What does a dad do when his daughter’s troop takes a vote to elect him the new troop leader when their current leader had to step down? For Girl Scout dad, Rob Barnett, there was no choice when he was called to duty…and now he’s the leader of Troop 8709 in St. Joseph, Missouri. This former Eagle Scout, Navy veteran, musician, Harley builder is a jack of all trades who believes the most important job in the world is that of being a dad.

Troop 8709 has an incredible network of parent volunteers and that has always included the Barnetts. When the former leader had to step down, the troop felt the decision of picking their next leader should be girl-led. At the time, Rob was their basketball coach, so the girls were used to being on a team with him. “I wasn’t at the meeting at the time, but the girls took a vote and asked me. I said yes because even though I’m a guy, I always try to be part of my girls’ lives. And Scouting has been part of my life,” Rob said. Luckily, the troop has a wide range of interests, meaning “Coach Rob’s” background that ranges from musical theatre to building motorcycles to primitive camping was put to good use.

ScoutingCollage

When Rob was young, he was very active in Boy Scouts and believes the skills he learned and values from his experiences are the same things Girl Scouts teaches his daughters. “Girl Scouts gives them a good moral compass. It gives them a foundation of what’s right and it’s coming from something other than me just telling them to do it,” Rob said. Both of Rob’s daughters, Morgan and Alexandria (Allie), were in Girl Scouts starting as Daisies. Morgan is now a freshman at Missouri Western State University where she is a cheerleader and studying to be a doctor. Alexandria is a freshman in high school and just bridged to Senior Girl Scout with Troop 8709.

For the Barnetts, having the girls involved in Girl Scouts was simply part of the learning experience they wanted for their daughters. “[Girl Scouts] teaches them to be individuals, give thanks and that you don’t have to conform. It shows them that you can just do what you need to do and not worry about what other people are doing,” Rob said. Through Girl Scouts, he has been part of his daughter earning her Silver Award, the troop creating new events for younger girls and even working on business skills like fundraising to take a Girl Scout destinations trip overseas in 2017.

Now that Rob is a leader, he is not only appreciating his Boy Scout leaders, but he now has an appreciation for the challenges that come with being a parent and leader. “The hardest thing about being a parent and a leader is that you have to step back. It’s still my little girl and I want to jump in and help. But sometimes you have to let them sink a little bit so they can figure out how to start paddling back up,” Rob said. The troop is fortunate to have a team of supportive parents, including Rob’s wife, Chasity, Rob’s co-leader Sarah Graham is incredibly supportive and helps Rob with some of the “girl” stuff that the troop wants to do at times.

One of the proudest moments he had recently was watching his daughter, Allie, work with younger girls on a diversity exercise for World Thinking Day. “They were teaching these little girls that diversity is more than just hair color, skin color, nationality…it’s personality, it’s likes and dislikes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get along. And the look in the eyes of the little girls…that was a great moment for me to see, not just with my daughter, but the other girls too,” Rob said. The troop has a “Cupcake Fun” event in March 2016 where the troop will show younger Girl Scouts different cake decorating methods in a “Cupcake Wars” style event.

Troop8709Collage

Left: Bridging ceremony from Cadette to Senior. Center: Troop 8709 and Rob working on Silver Award. Right: Troop 8709 diversity activity with younger Girl Scouts.

For Rob, the troop is more than a group of girls – they’re an extended family. “They’re like my daughters, all of them, so I want them to know they always have a safe haven,” Rob said. His dedication to these girls reaches beyond troop meetings. He attends band concerts, sporting events and other activities outside of Girl Scouts that the girls participate in. “My Boy Scout leader was there for more than just Boy Scouts. It was my sports, choir concerts, everything. And I remember what that meant to me,” Rob said.

As a male troop leader, Rob knows he plays a special role in the lives of these girls. “In a world of glass ceilings, I think that it’s important for me, as a dad, to show girls that it’s okay to be a leader. They’re just as capable as a guy. I want them to know that gender does not control where they end up in life – they control where they end up in life,” Rob said. What a powerful message he is teaching the troop. Having such a dedicated leader is part of why Troop 8709 has such a rich Girl Scouting experience!

We love hearing stories of men who are willing to stand up and say they’re “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!” Thank you to Rob Barnett and all the parent volunteers for Troop 8709! If you’d like to share a story about a great Girl Scout male caregiver, comment below!