A First Class Role Model for Girls
Leading by example – that’s what Troop Leader Christine Perlinger is doing for the 10 girls (2 Seniors, 8 Ambassadors) in troop 1446 from Overland Park, KS. Christine does more than just support this troop, she’s an event coordinator for Service Unit 634, managing an awesome bridging ceremony for the whole unit! Her seniors did a beautiful bridging over a mountain they built, showing how high Girl Scouts can climb. As a First Class Award Recipient, mother of Eagle Scouts and Day Camp Director, Christine has devoted a great deal of her life to Scouting and the great outdoors.
Christine started her Girl Scout adventure as a Brownie in 1st grade (Daisies didn’t arrive on the scene until the 1980s) and continued through her high school career, achieving the First Class Award along the way around 1979. Just a year or so later, the award was given the name it currently has today – the Gold Award. During her 9th-10th grade years she served as an assistant to her leader in Raytown, Missouri, which may have inspired her to take on the leadership role as an adult. “I remember doing a lot of camporees and we lead a lot of the younger girls. We kept everything organized, kept them going and came up with a lot of the ideas,” Christine said. She loved camping at Prairie Schooner and being part of leadership.
After high school Christine attended Northwest Missouri State University (one of our awesome community partners) and soon after became a mother. She now runs her own business as an in-home daycare provider, taking care of children for a living. This also affords her the flexibility to plan and implement amazing experiences for her troop and Service Unit as a volunteer.
Now as a leader, Christine (or S’more as the girls call her at camp) gets to watch the next generation excel. Her niece, Zoey, just bridged to Brownie and her daughter, Gretchen (known at camp as “Big Bird”), is working toward her Gold Award by doing a project that combines Youth Ministry and music. Her son, Brendan, has Cerebral Palsy and completed his Eagle Scout project by running a housewares drive to outfit four apartments for young adults with Cerebral Palsy. Son, Noah, and husband, Dan, are also Eagle Scouts with son, Evan, working on his.
“Earning the Highest Award in Girl Scouts has given me the confidence to know that I can do anything I set my mind to. It’s given my daughter confidence and it’s given me confidence to be a leader. I was so shy in high school, I never thought I’d be able to do something like this, but Girl Scouts helped me break out of that shell,” Christine said. That’s why she’s such a strong advocate of the Gold Award and Eagle Scout Award and why she’s encouraged all of her kids to achieve these honors. In fact, most of her Girl Scout troop is on track for Gold as well!
Troop 1446 is where Christine focuses most of her charitable attention these days. The troop cooked a Thanksgiving turkey dinner on a brick oven they built in a fire pit at Camp Prairie Schooner. They even included Camp Ranger, Zac, his wife and son to the meal! As a senior project, the girls are working to build a full brick oven at Camp Prairie Schooner and have already received over 300 bricks so far! “We’re building the oven and putting together a recipe book so that younger girls can learn to cook in a brick oven out at camp,” Christine said.
The mission of Girl Scouts, the girls she works with and the impact it has had in her own life is what keeps Christine going as a troop leader after all these years. “I believe in the program. It’s a strong program that’s been around for 100+ years […] but what keeps me going as a leader is the girls. I love all my girls. Sometimes when I want to give up, my girls keep me going,” Christine said. The dedication is obvious – troop 1446 goes camping about once a month, tackles large service projects and volunteers as teen leaders at the Service Unit’s Day Camp. Her daughter, Gretchen, is also on the GSKSMO’s Teen Leadership Circle. It’s inspiring to see girls hard at work with a great role model leading them forward.
We thank Christine and the entire Perlinger family for their time, dedication and support of Girl Scouts. We love seeing where Highest Award Recipients go in life. If you’d like to share a story about an awesome troop leader or volunteer, like Christine, comment below!