The Gold Standard of Girl Scouting

Spotlighting Highest Award Alumna & Gold Award Advisor Mary Ellen Hughes

For Girl Scout girls and volunteers, Girl Scouting is more than an activity, it’s a family. This is definitely true for First Class Girl Scout, volunteer and Gold Award advisor, Mary Ellen Hughes. Throughout her life, Mary Ellen has found ways to incorporate Girl Scouts into her world, always finding ways to give back. As a navy wife, Mary Ellen found a community in Girl Scouts. As a mom, she found a way to spend time with her daughter. As a Gold Award advisor, she’s found a way to mentor tomorrow’s leaders.

Mary Ellen started Girl Scouts as a Brownie in the 1960s and quickly fell in love with the program. As a Girl Scout Junior, she found herself without a troop, so her mother would drive her to another school for troop meetings. In high school, she earned her First Class award, preparing her to be the Gold Award advisor she is today. In a small world moment, her mom moved and who was her new neighbor? Mary Ellen’s old troop leader! The two are close and keep that Girl Scout connection alive today.

When it comes to volunteering, Mary Ellen just can’t get enough. After her daughter, Meredith, graduated, she thought she was done with troop life. However, in true Girl Scout fashion, when Mary Ellen heard that a troop needed a leader, she stepped up and became a leader for Troop 9. Originally, she had just 4 older girls, all of whom are graduating this year, but over time she added more girls. Now, she has four Ambassadors, three Cadettes and a Junior – talk about leading like a Girl Scout!

“As a troop leader, I get to watch these girls have adventures and journey with them. I feel it’s an honor and a privilege to be part of that,” Mary Ellen said.

For Mary Ellen, one of the most rewarding parts of Girl Scouting is being a Gold Award advisor. For both Meredith and Mary Ellen, getting their Highest Award was an accomplishment of a lifetime. “Earning Gold was one of the biggest accomplishments of Meredith’s life. Her project was for Catholic Charities since that’s where she was adopted from. She knew she wanted to give back to that organization,” Mary Ellen said. As a Gold Award advisor, Mary Ellen gets to mentor tomorrow’s leaders.

“The Girl Scout Gold Award is the power of one girl,” Mary Ellen said.

For more than 15 years, Mary Ellen has been a Gold Award advisor and loves every minute. Girl Scouts Highest Award projects show how much a single girl can do, and Mary Ellen loves helping girls reach their potential. “To see a girl take an idea, carry it through to success and then be able to celebrate it with her…it’s an honor. Only a few girls accomplish the Gold Award and they are the gold girls of Girl Scouting,” Mary Ellen said. After years of projects, staying in contact with her advisees and too many hours to count, she has a few tips for achieving GOLD!

Mary’s tips for aspiring Gold Award recipients:

  • Start early. If you earn your Gold Award BEFORE applying for scholarships and colleges, you’ll be able to talk about it on an application and in interview. After years of doing this, Mary Ellen has found that colleges ask about it more than people realize.
  • Be open to change. Many projects have recommended changes after presenting. Girl Scouts want each other to succeed, so suggestions only make projects stronger.
  • Find a project that’s sustainable. Over time, Mary Ellen has found this is the most challenging piece of a project – sustainability. Think about that from day 1 as you brainstorm.

Thank you to Mary Ellen for your years of dedication to Girl Scouts. You truly are a G.I.R.L. who is inspiring the next generation of great Girl Scout leaders! You can catch Mary Ellen and some of her Gold Award Girl Scouts at the 2017 Inspire a Girl Expo and Honors Ceremony this Saturday! Don’t miss your chance to see these girls shine on April 1, 2017.

A Risk-Taker for Life

G.I.R.L. Spotlight on Alumna, Melinda Hrdy

What’s it take to graduate high school, move across the country, enroll in a culinary arts program and fast-track to graduation with aspirations of being an international chef?

A G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™, of course.

And Girl Scout Alumna and Lifetime Member Melinda Hrdy is just that!

For the past year and half, Melinda has been studying culinary arts at the New Culinary Institute in Vermont. Born and raised in Olathe, KS Melinda was a member of Troop 334 for 13 years. During her time as a Girl Member, Melinda served on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & Northwest Missouri. She was the voice of 20,000+ girls, contributed to organizational decisions and saw first-hand what it’s like to run a business.

“It was an amazing experience to be part of the meetings, talk about the future of our council and make decisions to further the organization.”

Melinda did a little bit of everything through Girl Scouts. From primitive camping (or ‘roughing it’ as she calls it!) to volunteering, traveling and celebrating the Girl Scout Centennial in Washington D.C., Melinda has loved every moment of her experience.

“I feel that Girl Scouts has made me such a well-rounded and wholesome individual.”

And she credits Girl Scouting with giving her the opportunities to discover her full potential.

“Girl Scouts gave me the empowerment and leadership qualities to find myself and find what my passion was and to go get it.”

In fact, it was a Girl Scout trip to Costa Rica that inspired her career in the culinary arts. Emerging herself in that new culture sparked an interest. She returned to the states and began expanding her knowledge and emerging herself in other cultures…through food.

“Culture plays a huge role in cooking. I learn the history and origin of food in different regions and why different cultures use the spices they do,” Melinda said.

Melinda is on the fast-track to graduate in the Spring of 2018! Upon graduation, she wants to move to Spain and work in a restaurant.

“I want to do something big, I want to go overseas,” she said. “In Girl Scouts they say you can be anything you want to be, and you really can. You just have to reach for it.”

The risks Melinda took as an adolescent in Girl Scouting have prepared her to reach for whatever she dreams of.

We can’t wait to see where Melinda’s risks take her!

Do you have a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker or Leader story?! Drop us a note in the comments below! We love to feature our awesome G.I.R.L.s!

 

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – Terry Seymour

Spotlighting SU 687 PSM Terry Seymour

Quality Controller at the rock quarry by day; Girl Scout Leader for #1727 and Service Unit Product Sales Manager (SUPSM) for 687 by night.

Eight years ago Terry Seymour declared himself “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” when his daughter’s Daisy troop leader relocated. He didn’t know much about Girl Scouts at that point, but knew enough to make the decision to step up and co-lead this troop of young girls to ensure that his daughter Marissa and her Girl Scout sisters would continue growing through the program.

Over the course of eight years, Terry and his co-leader Angie Sutton have guided the 12 girls in Troop 1727 to practice leadership the Girl Scout way and to be G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™.

“I love it. I love the girls. I love being a Girl Scout Dad,” Terry said.

While outsiders may view Troop 1727 as having a usual Girl Scout experience with an unusual leader, there’s nothing unusual about it to the girls or their parents. They see a very dedicated, resourceful and brave mentor in Terry.

In fact, you might say that Terry is Man Enough to be a G.I.R.L.

“Our girls have been with us so long, they don’t think it’s unusual to have a male leader,” Terry explained.

Terry and Angie have taken Troop 1727 to Airport Day at the Ottawa Airport, slept with the polar bears at the Kansas City Zoo, managed countless GS Cookie Booths, hosted car washes and bake sales, and so much more.

Left: Terry working Cookie Delivery and Pickup for SU 687. Right: Terry working with girls at Day Camp.

Through Girl Scouting, Terry has also discovered that he has a very special skill. He has knack for using Girl Scout Cookies wisely in the kitchen! A few years back, he decided to change up the crust of his famous homemade cheesecakes…using Lemonades!

“Not to brag, but I make a killer cheesecake!”

This little bake sale experiment helped his troop raise the necessary funds to take a trip to Eureka Springs, AR!

Now they’re working towards taking a trip to Europe in four years. For Terry and Angie they want the girls to know that as go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders, anything is possible and they are there to support them.

Terry wants dads to know that there are various ways to be involved with their daughter’s Girl Scout troop – you don’t have to be the leader to contribute; think about what you are passionate about, and there’s a pretty good chance that it fits into Girl Scouts somewhere!

“I believe Girl Scouting has made Marissa and I closer,” Terry said.

And if leading a troop isn’t enough for him, he added the title of SUPSM to his Girl Scout resume your years ago and manages Cookie Program orders and delivery for all the troops in SU 687.

Had Terry’s wife Rosa not been working nights eight years ago, he likely wouldn’t be in the Girl Scout roles he is today and would have been what he refers to as “the typical Dad.”

“[Girl Scouts] is the best thing I’ve ever done with my life.”

Troop 1727 is so lucky to have you, Terry!

Do you know someone who is “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout?” Share this story with them and drop us a note in the comments below!

A Girl Scout Life of Adventure  

 

Adventure is something Girl Scouts are definitely familiar with. Whether it’s camping away from home for the first time or speaking in front of a group, Girl Scouts have the courage to face it all. Girl Scout alumna, donor and Curved Bar recipient, Barbara Weary, has lived a Girl Scout life of adventure and held the Girl Scout Promise close to her heart. This amazing alumna has spent a lifetime supporting Girl Scouting both locally and abroad.

“Girl Scouts changed my life. It gave me the courage to be a real person and follow my dreams,” Barbara said.

Barbara became a Girl Scout in grade school, asking her mother to be the leader. She remembers one year where troops in her community hosted their own Day Camp at a farm at what was the end of Mission Road at the time (105th & Mission). For that Day Camp, they invited local African American Girl Scout troops to attend, knowing the communities they reached out to didn’t have the resources to host their own.

Her mother, Trudy, even started working at the Girl Scout council after becoming a troop leader and had an inspiring 17 year career serving girls!

In 1949, at the age of 19, Girl Scouts took Barbara to Europe where she traveled to five countries in three months. She arrived in London, England and met with Girl Guides. She then travelled to the Netherlands, France, Germany and Austria. The summer after the trip, Barbara gave speeches about the experience, inspiring other girls to travel.

“That summer was a mammoth dose of scouting. I got to go camping in the Netherlands, go to occupied Germany and Austria, meet up with another Girl Scout in Paris, where I spent all my money…it was incredible,” Barbara said.

Barbara’s Girl Scout pins from across the world; Barbara (leader) watches her daughter, Alison, pin her mother, Trudy in a three generation Girl Scout ceremony; Trudy’s appreciation certificate for her service.

After the trip, Barbara attended Vassar College where she remained active in Girl Scouts. She organized an all-city Girl Scout choir and helped troops with badge work. Upon returning to Kansas City, she began teaching and co-led a troop with 60 girls.

When Barbara became a mother, Girl Scouts was a top priority for her girls. She was a leader and watched her own daughters become courageous women.

Through all these years, Barbara has stayed committed because of the mission and what she sees girls gain from being Girl Scouts. “Girl Scouts empowers you. It teaches you the things you really need to know to be effective. Things like how to work in a committee, how to set goals for yourself and evaluating events to see how you can improve,” said Barbara.

Barbara Weary truly embodies the idea that you’re a Girl Scout “at any age, at any stage.” No matter where she was in life, she found a way to be engaged in Girl Scouting – even meeting up with international troops when she did personal travel, such as a trip to Japan in 1966.

Barbara looks over Girl Scout memorabilia; Barbara with staff at the Girl Scout shop; Barbara with fellow alumna, Barbara Lee, at Camp Daisy Hindman.

Today, Barbara still continues to be involved as a donor, member of the Trefoil Society and as a volunteer. She’s a strong believer in investing in girls when they’re young because it has greater impact than when they’re adults.

“You’ll never have the opportunity to impact them the rest of their lives any other way. If you miss the opportunity when they’re young, you’ll see impact, but not at the same level,” Barbara said.

We thank her for decades of service to girls and the incredible impact she’s had on the Girl Scouting community.

Girl Scout Cookie Superheroes

Celebrating Our Longest-Serving Product Sales Managers – Part 2

 Earlier this week, we learned about our first five amazing, longest-serving Service Unit Product Sales Managers (SU PSMs) who have served our council for many years. Today, you’ll meet 5 more who have served as SU PSM for 11 to 35+ years. Wow. That’s some serious commitment to G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM.

These volunteers have seen it all. From taking cookie orders on paper to moving to SNAP to increased recognitions for girls, they’ve been critical to improving the program year after year. Not only have they been vital in providing feedback for our council, they’re an invaluable resource for new cookie moms/dads trying to help their troops succeed. Without them, girls wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn these important business skills. We cannot begin to thank them enough for their incredible work and dedication!

Check out Part 1 of this blog here!

Mary Lang with volunteers at cookie deliver; Diana Nolan; Carmellya Anderson at the 2016 Volunteer Celebration and Lesma Whalon with her daughters’ troop.

 

Mary Lang – SU 635 – Prairie Village

“I am so proud to be part of this amazing organization that focuses on “Building girls [and adults] of courage, confidence, and character.”  I hope that my role as PSM helps other girls achieve these characteristics and, hopefully, enjoy their own treasured memories as a Girl Scout as I cherish mine.”

Years as a PSM: 11 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Alumna:

  • Daughter, Emily (Alumna)
  • Sister, Bev (Girl Scout & troop leader, leading her daughter’s troop through Bronze, Silver & Gold awards); Sister, Cindy (Alumna); Niece, Becca (Bev’s daughter, active Highest Award Alumna)
  • Mother, Gloria (Camp name was “M&M,” and a Girl Scout in the 1940s. Active volunteer even after graduating, including becoming Day Camp Director)

Her Girl Scout Story:

“Cookie Monster” – that’s the affectionate name passed from SU PSM to SU PSM in SU635! Mary became “Cookie Monster” after being asked by the Service Unit Manager.  Mary was eager to jump on board. With such an extensive GS family background – it’s no wonder! The thing she loves about the Cookie Program specifically is the skills that girls learn and her hope that she’s inspiring future “Cookie Monsters.” With all the changes she’s seen, the willingness of people to help and the inspiring stories of the girls are what keep her motivated. It’s really all about empowering G.I.R.L.s!

 

Diana Nolan – SU 611 – Liberty

“Girl Scouts is a great organization that helps to develop girls into tomorrow’s leaders.  I truly believe that Girl Scouts builds girls courage, confidence and character.  It’s an organization where girls have to opportunity to try new things that they may not have otherwise been able to do.”

Years as a PSM: 11 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Alumna:

  • Amanda, Shannon & Peyton (All 3 Girl Scouts K-12, now a Lifetime Girl Scouts)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Diana has never been the type of volunteer to pass up an opportunity to serve! After serving as Service Unit Registrar, Teen Manager, Day Camp Business Manager and various roles on Northland Owl Prowl committee, she wanted something that was consistent. “With Service Unit PSM position, everything is black and white, and as long as you follow the guidelines, it’s a piece of cake (at least for me).” When she began, everything was on paper, so she’s seen the growth of the program into a digital platform that eliminates manual math and double checking. Diana keeps up with this role because she believes in the power of the program and what it teaches girls about business and confidence. Her favorite thing about being a PSM, aside from watching the girls, is the friendships she’s developed in her community. Diana Nolan is awesome! She is stepping away from serving as a PSM to take on other GS volunteer positions.  We know Diana won’t be too far away and available for a cookie question or two from time to time. Thanks, Diana!

 

Carmellya Anderson; Mary Lang with mom, Gloria (Alumna) and GS daughter, Emily; Lesma Whalon

Carmellya Anderson – SU 641 (current) & SU 620 (part of her 18 years) – Kansas City

“I love the learning and program opportunities that cookies  provides to the Girl Scouts in our community. I especially love to see shy girls blossom into confident business women.”

Years as a PSM: 18 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Silver Award Alumna:

  • Daughter, Alana (Current Girl Scout Cadette)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Carmellya became a SU PSM after moving to Kansas City from Kentucky when she was looking for ways to meet new people. She tried serving as assistant leader, the scheduling for SU PSM worked much better for her. Fast forward 18 years and she’s still a dedicated volunteer. When she first started she “used to receive four pallets full of material to eye level. A whole lot of paper, paper, paper.” Luckily, technology has caught up to the growing needs of girls and now it’s mostly digital. What kept her motivated through mountains of paper work and years of serving was seeing girls reach their goals and establish skills that will last a lifetime. Between her volunteers and Girl Scouts, she’s found a community through serving and helping to empower G.I.R.L.s.

 

Lesma Whalon – SU 645 – Lee’s Summit/Raytown

“I love helping troop leaders order cookies and when I’m out at the stores, seeing girls selling cookies and the girls see me and go ‘yeah, I’m the cookie lady.’”

Years as a PSM: 20 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & First Class Alumna:

  • Dacia (Girl Scout K-5th), Shyra (Girl Scout K-12, earned Silver Award), Alyssa (Girl Scout K-12, was featured on cookie boxes from 3rd grade to 12th grade)

Her Girl Scout Story:

When it comes to working hard for girls, Lesma certainly has the years of experience to show she’s dedicated! She became SU PSM after a council staff member asked her to step in. Unlike many PSMs, Lesma had never served as a Troop Cookie Manager, but she was the Leader for her daughters’ troops. Still, she accepted the role like a true Go-getter.  As someone that works in technology, Lesma has watched the change from excel spreadsheets to SNAP and tries to integrate new technology often. When it comes to moving Girl Scouts forward, Lesma is right there to help new troop leaders and support girls. She even attends service unit meetings just to be there for advice! Even though she’s retiring this year, Lesma knows she won’t go far. This First Class Girl Scout is a prime example of leading like a Girl Scout! Thank you, Lesma for your incredible commitment to girls!!

 

Suzan – SU 701 – Topeka

“Over the years of being a SU PSM, I have watched girls go from Daisies to Ambassadors and troops go through the program saving for trips and then listening to their experiences after.”

Years as a PSM: 35+ years

Proud Girl Scout Mom

Her Girl Scout Story:

What started as her daughter raising her hand and volunteering her mother for a job has become over three decades of service to girls. Suzan began serving in Topeka and has made incredible contributions to the program over the years. She gained the nickname “Cookie Lady” after a Brownie stopped her in the store and said “You’re the Cookie Lady, right?” and since then, the name has stuck. With her knowledge, empathy and understanding, she’s able to connect with the long time cookie volunteers just as well as the brand new cookie parent who feels overwhelmed. As she says “I truly understand the first year cookie mom or dad who is overwhelmed by the program. I was there also.” Topeka’s “Cookie Lady,” has been making a positive impact on the lives of Girl Scouts for decades and inspiring generations of girls.

 

Thank you to the 10 awesome volunteers we’ve highlighted in this two-part blog and to everyone who makes the Cookie Program a reality. Thousands of hours of work, countless sleepless nights and lots of heavy lifting go into every cookie season and it’s all because of volunteers who believe in girls. Thank you for supporting our Girl Scouts with their cookie business!

If you want to share a special memory or shout out to any of these volunteers, please leave a comment below.

Girl Scout Cookie Superheroes

             

Celebrating Our Longest-Serving Product Sales Managers – Part 1

Who can carry 1000 boxes of cookies in a single delivery? Who can inspire and support thousands of troop cookie managers and leaders through every obstacle the season presents?  Who has the heart of a champion ensuring the groundwork is set for girls to have a fantastic cookie business. Service Unit Product Sales Managers (SU PSMs) of course! These volunteers are the superheroes behind every box of Girl Scout Cookies we buy to support young business leaders. This week, we’re celebrating amazing SU PSMs who have served GSKSMO for anywhere from 7 years to 35+ years! Talk about dedication. These ladies essentially work a second job during cookie season organizing orders, checking troop sales, helping new cookie moms/dads and inspiring their service unit along the way with their belief in the power of G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM.

Today we introduce our 7 – 10 year SU PSMs and celebrate their dedication to the Cookie Program. You’ll meet Gail Alvarez (SU 640), Beth McCreight (SU 678), Linda Christensen (SU 805), Lisa Simmons (SU 716) and Regina McCullum (SU 661).

These are the volunteers who spend their weekends stopping by booth sales to cheer on troops. These are the volunteers who advocate for enhancements to the program. These are the volunteers who care about every girl they watch grow from Daisy to Ambassador and transform from girl to businesswoman. These are the volunteers who make a life changing difference by supporting a program that empowers the women of tomorrow. Doesn’t that make each bite of Girl Scout Cookie just a little bit sweeter?

 

Gail Alvarez, Beth McCreight, Lisa Simmons and Regina McCullum

 

Gail Alvarez – SU 640 – Lee’s Summit/Raytown

“I love the Cookie Program because I love seeing the troops grow their business and finding out what they’re doing with their money.”

Years as a PSM: 7 years (3yrs in Lee’s Summit, 4yrs in Raytown)

Proud Girl Scout Mom:

  • Two Girl Scout daughters (Girl Scouts K-12, now Alumnae)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Gail served as Troop PSM and was recruited by the retiring SU PSM to step into the role. She has loved being a volunteer so much she even offered to move over to Raytown’s service unit to help fill a need there. Her favorite part of the experience is getting to know the troops. “I enjoy working with my troops – both the newbies and the oldies!” She has also served on committees that evaluate the program each year and work on ways to improve. One piece of advice she gives to younger troops is to take advantage of Candy, Nuts and Magazine Program, because it gives them a financial bump right away to start doing great things. Gail loves being involved with Girl Scouts and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

 

Beth McCreight – SU 678 – Spring Hill / Olathe

“I love seeing girls accomplish things that they’ve never done before.”

Years as a PSM: 7 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom:

  • Daughter, Rebecca (Girl Scout Cadette)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Serving as troop leader AND SU PSM? That takes a special kind of volunteer. Meet Beth McCreight, Troop 0027 leader and SU PSM! This awesome Girl Scout mom loves leading her daughter, Rebecca, and the rest of the troop through the adventures of being teens while learning how to be G.I.R.L.s. When she was asked to be SU PSM, she stepped up to the plate and has enjoyed watching changes like the increase in recognition for sales. She says the best thing about being involved with Girl Scouts is “seeing my troop doing things that they probably would not do otherwise and watching friendships develop.”

 

Linda Christensen – SU 805 – Maryville

“I have enjoyed seeing my girls go from Daisies now to Senior and Cadettes and they know how to budget. I am very proud of these girls and this process of teaching.”

Years as a PSM: 7 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom:

  • Daughter, Errin (Alumna) & Zoey (GS Cadette)
  • Granddaughters, Alli (College Girl Scout), Bridget (GS Senior) & Taylor (Girl Scout)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Watching girls go from children to young women – that’s one of the best things about being a Girl Scout volunteer. Linda Christensen knows firsthand, having 2 daughters and 3 granddaughters who are all proud Girl Scouts! She accepted the role of SU PSM when there was a need for someone to fill the position and has stayed with it ever since. For her, change is constant in the Cookie Program, but as she says “As a Girl Scout, change is good.” Her absolute favorite thing about being SU PSM? Watching the girls grow into young businesswomen. Most importantly, she believes in the power of the program and the way it inspires leaders.

 

SU 716 cookie delivery; Regina McCullum with daughter and Girl Scout Daisy granddaughter, Dalaina; Lisa Simmons at camp.

Lisa Simmons – SU 716 – Lawrence / Eudora

“[Girl Scout volunteers] have a common belief or goal in helping girls and these other volunteers are such good people!  I’m blessed to know them!  Every year there are new leaders…New friends!”

Years as a PSM: 8 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Alumna:

  • Daughters, Sydney (Alumna & Lifetime Girl Scout) and Skyler (Girl Scout K-8th)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Girl Scout volunteer life doesn’t end after a Girl Scout daughter graduates. That’s definitely the case for Lisa Simmons, who didn’t want to stop giving back after her daughter graduated high school. Lisa noticed that the previous SU PSM was getting promoted at work and under increasing stress, so she offered to take over because she really enjoyed the job – especially the other volunteers. In 8 years, she’s gone from taking bundles of checks and cash to the bank over her lunch hour (imagine depositing money from 80 troops over your lunch hour!) to not handling any money, allowing her more time to focus on organization. Aside from loving the people, she loves the business skills that girls are learning and that moment when Girl Scouts make a sale and see a smile on the face of a customer. She knows that’s when girls see how businesses can positively impact customers.

Regina McCullum – SU 661 – Leavenworth / Fort Leavenworth / Lansing

“This program helps build confidence, character, and courage and in the end will develop confident, kind, and courageous women. The world could use more of that.”

Years as a PSM: 10 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Alumna:

  • Daughters, Daneen & Deondra (Girl Scouts K-12, now Alumnae)
  • Granddaughter, Dalaina (1st grade Daisy in SU 661)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Regina is an incredible advocate for Girl Scouts. After 10 years as SU PSM, it’s no wonder! After being a Junior troop leader, she answered the call when the service unit was looking for an SU PSM and as she says, “I never looked back.” Her passion? BOOTH SALES! She absolutely loves watching the excitement on the faces of girls as they make sales to customers at booth sales. On weekends, she makes the rounds to check on the troops and see how sales are going. Talk about dedication! We thank Regina for her years of dedication, experiences and friendships with volunteers and council staff.

What incredible stories of dedication to G.I.R.L.s! Thank you to all these incredible volunteers for their years of service. Check out Part 2 of this blog (11 – 35+years) on Thursday! If you want to share a special memory or shout out to any of these volunteers, please leave a comment below.

Rounding Up World Thinking Day Events!

Where in the world are Girl Scouts? All over our council Girl Scouts have been jumping on virtual planes, hiking invisible mountains and sailing across imaginary seas to learn about different countries and people around the world. It’s because of World Thinking Day events that girls are able to have this awesome exploration in just a few hours! Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and Girl Scout troops, World Thinking Day events are helping girls connect with cultures around the globe.

So what are World Thinking Day events? Generally, World Thinking Day events are hosted by an older Girl Scout troop with the support of adult volunteers within the service unit. Then the fun begins as each troop draws or is assigned a country to research. It’s up to the troop on how they want to learn about and celebrate the country, but at the end, all the troops come together, set up their booths and take turns traveling around the room and shopping. If a troop makes a SWAP or small item, girls can purchase these items (usually for 1-2 quarters) and fill bags with items from around the world. In many service units, the funds raised from the sales are donated to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, which helps girls travel the world or another charity.

World Thinking Day events ar e also awesome opportunities for girl leadership. Troop 108 from SU 694 in Overland Park, KS hosted their event as their Bronze Award project! We loved the little passports participating Girl Scouts received.

It’s a great way to not only bring together troops, but different cultures! We loved how SU 639 in Overland Park hosted a parade of flags where each country was represented. SU 805 in Maryville also had tables for each country and girls gave presentations! If you want to talk about YUMMY, SU 684 in Paola/Louisburg, had so many treats available, it was hard to try them all. SU 820 in Chillicothe, Princeton & surrounding areas had their event at North Central Missouri College and welcomed two international students (from Zimbabwe and Curacao) to speak!

Taking a different approach, SU 816 in Albany, Bethany & Grant City took troops to the Emerald Isle in an Ireland themed World Thinking Day. Girls kissed a Blarney stone (ps: you have to hang upside down from a castle for the real one, so they recreated it with a chair and fake stone!) and learned a step dance. So cool! SU 701 in Topeka, KS also got girls involved by having hands on activities in their multi-country World Thinking Day. SU 635 in Shawnee Mission got a little theatrical with their World Thinking Day by having troops prepare short presentations that they shared in front of an audience.

And some more shout-outs… We love SU 640 in Raytown Missouri’s use of photo props. Those France photo frames and mustaches are awesome! Way to go, GS Cadette Troop who planned and hosted this event. Girl Scouts from SU 607 in Kansas City put so much research into their displays. They went all out wearing attire and sharing food from their country. They also had awesome photo frames and props to celebrate and remember the day. Thanks, Hollie Miller for taking and sharing your great photos with us!

SU 704 in Manhattan, KS kicked off the Thinking Day season with their awesome and packed event on January 28th. SU 634 in Overland Park had a great event with rave reviews on the treats. Come on… that chocolate fountain in Switzerland is just delicious! And, SU 638 in Overland Park took us from China to Barbados to Bangladesh. What a tour! We’re exhausted!!

Wow – what amazing events and learning opportunities for girls!

Super shout out to all the awesome volunteers, parents, friends and Girl Scouts who make these events possible every year. Together, we’re making the world seem a little bit smaller and celebrating what makes us different and seeing what makes us so alike.

Check out this slideshow of World Thinking Day photos!

We are Girl Scouts, We are Innovators – Cookie Construction Build Day 2017

For the past six months, nearly 100 Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors have been working alongside 30 female design mentors to plan and build a structure made out of 1,000 Girl Scout Cookie boxes! On Saturday, March 4, our seven Cookie Construction teams came together to execute their plans and finally assemble their structure at Build Day at Crown Center!

With a theme of “We are Girl Scouts, We are Innovators,” the teams had an 8×8 space and four and a half hours to bring their plans to life! At the conclusion of the build each structure was evaluated by a panel of jurors who assessed the builds based on Creativity in Design, Structural Design, Use of Colors/Labels, Craftsmanship and Adherence to Rules & Regulations.

Alpha Builders – Project: Construct the World

Our creation mimics an iconic symbol of the Girl Scouts—a trefoil—and documents innovation and its connection to the organization. This design explores women in STEAM (Science, Technology,

Engineering, Arts, and Math) fields who are trailblazing, like a Girl Scout, through the industry. We are understanding history and what’s innovative for its time and why. We are propelling girls forward and deconstructing the walls that limit them!

 

Butterfly Dream Squad – The Dream Factory

Welcome to the dream factory, where ideas are born, nurtured, signed, sealed, and delivered!

The seedlings of innovation begin from sources of imagination within each of us. Whether it be a

philosophy, a technology, an invention, an organization, or just a great idea, they all traveled out

of a noggin or two and into the world. Wishing we could see this place, the dream squad presents “The Dream Factory,” an incubator for innovations to foster and grow before global distribution.

Gear Girls – One Tree at a Time

Innovation means many different things, but usually it refers to new technologies. Our team chose to focus on finding ways to improve our environment. We have designed robots with the ability to plant and care for trees. The trees around us are essential to all creatures and are the environmental frontline for improving every person’s lives. Using only the 5 different colors of cookie boxes we have created a 3D representation of what the future could be. These robots are not limited to a specific area and they can have a lasting impact on the entire world. We have designed one robot specifically to plant trees. The next robot takes care of the nutritional needs of the trees, including all species. Finally we have a robot doctor that visits regularly to check up on insect or storm damage and ensure the trees overall health. These robots are helping the world one tree at a time.

 

 

STEAM Team – A Girl Scout’s Dream of a Career in STEAM

We designed a Girl Scout that is dreaming about her future in a STEAM related career. She doesn’t know if she wants to be a Scientist, work in IT, be an Engineer, become an Artist or a Mathematician. No matter what career she decides to pursue, she knows that Girl Scouts has given her a foundation to be an innovator in any field she chooses. We chose this subject because our team is inspired by what STEAM stands for and all the women innovators of the past and present.

  

Time Keepers – A Bridge Through Time

A Bridge Through Time represents the way life has changed because of innovators. As you journey through the past, you realize the difference one small change can make. Past innovators created huge changes in the way we live today. The bridge takes us from one point in time to another. Walking up the steps, you realize all the accomplishments that have come this far. Reaching the top, you realize there is more to come. Sliding down, you see tall skyscrapers and flying cars; the sky is the limit! We can change the world. We are Girl Scouts! We are Innovators!

 

Time Travelers – Takin’ it to the (Downtown) Streets

 Our group wanted to focus on the transformation, but iconic transportation in downtown Kansas City through the years. We chose the trolley (from the past) and the new KC Streetcar. Union Station is our centerpiece because it is a hub for all sorts of transportation in and out of Kansas City from both the past and the present. Union Station, the trolley and the streetcar are all innovative pieces to their era thus what we chose as our overlying design to match the theme, “We are Girl Scouts, We are Innovators.” The two eras of transportation, the trolley on one side, and the streetcar on the other are joined by Union Station because of its importance to transportation as well as the transformation of Kansas City through the years.

 

TL² – Innovation Manor

Our project represents a house where Girl Scouts can design and invent freely. We decided to build a house because a lot of space and millions of innovations are found in homes. We decided to include some notable inventions, such as the lightbulb, the spectacles and the microscope. We poured all of our creativity into our thinking caps and developed some inventions that could be made in the future – for instance, a cookie spitter and badge designer. Our building structure consists of three floors with a loft on the third floor. We wanted to section off part of the house and commit it to just making innovations, so that is where we came up with the idea for an innovation lab as the loft. We are using ladders to get from level to level in our house, which are supported by the exterior walls and structural columns. The roof will be a rooftop garden which will have solar panels to provide power for Innovation Manor. This build means a lot to us as Girl Scouts so we have created a mural in the back of the house representing Girl Scout History and Juliette Gordon Low, the founder.

Ultimately, STEAM Team was given the Jurors’ Choice Award! The jurors loved their bold use of color, found their craftsmanship impeccable and were impressed by their innovative use of materials creating the head of a young girl who dreams of a career in STEAM!

Thank you to our Jurors, Ellen Foster, Angie Gaebler, Mike Gekas, Al Harris, Molly Simmons and our event Emcee Amy Slattery!

The awards aren’t done yet; you can still cast your ballot for People’s Choice Award! Visit Crown Center and see these impressive builds yourself and vote for your favorite structure through March 24!

The 2017 Cookie Construction Program is a partnership with AIA Kansas City and made possible with the support of McCownGordon Construction, HOK, Centric Projects, Mark One Electric Co. and SFS Architecture.

Want to see more? We have photos from Build Day on our Facebook Page. Want to participate?! Registration for 2017-2018 will open this summer!

That Amazing Feeling of Giving Back

Spotlighting Girl Scout Ambassador & Daisy’s Circle Member Katlyn Morris

For anyone who’s had “that moment” giving back, it’s something you want to keep doing because of the amazing feeling you get being part of a global community of good. For some Girl Scouts, giving back in a BIG way starts early. Meet Katlyn Morris, a Girl Scout Ambassador from North Kansas City, MO who gives back to girls! This awesome Girl Scout did something only one other group has done – she joined Daisy’s Circle as a girl in Girl Scouts!

If you read our blogs regularly, you know the story of Brownie Troop 879 from Grain Valley, MO – the small Girl Scouts who give back to their Girl Scouts sisters in a BIG way! Katlyn took the lead first and joined last April at Inspire a Girl while helping a friend set-up her Gold Award presentation.

After learning how Daisy’s Circle provides consistent, dependable income for Girl Scouts to provide programming, awareness and financial support for local girls in need, Katlyn decided it was something she wanted to be part of. “What they were saying about needing support to get the word out about Girl Scouts, that definitely hit home. Even though I joined young, I wish I had known about Girl Scouts earlier. I wanted to help with that and give back,” Katlyn said.

Katlyn joined Girl Scouts as a 2nd grade Brownie, but still wishes she had been able to join earlier. She loves the opportunities Girl Scouts provides, the friendships, Day Camp and service. “I love getting out in the community and doing things I wouldn’t be able to do if I wasn’t in Girl Scouts,” said Katlyn. She even met her best friend in Girl Scouts! Now as a high school junior, Katlyn can look back and see all the positive things that have happened to her because of Girl Scouts. “It’s nice to have people who understand where you’re coming from, but that you don’t see every day,” Katlyn said.

Giving back is one of her favorite things about being in Girl Scouts. For her Silver Award, she and a couple of her troop sisters sent boxes of supplies and gifts to children in need overseas. She remembers the amazing feeling she had when the child she sent a gift box to wrote back!  “The kid said ‘thank you so much, it’s so nice that my friends and I can share these!’ I thought it was amazing that something as simple as crayons could impact someone’s life in the way that it did. It felt so amazing,” Katlyn said. Those are the experiences that turn philanthropy and service into a lifestyle.

By joining Daisy’s Circle, Katlyn knows that she’s making a monthly contribution to girls just like. With wisdom beyond her years, Katlyn said: “If we can impact girls when they’re young, who knows what kind of global impact it has and the types of girls we’re putting into the future.” What an incredible investment Katlyn is making, not only in herself, but in the future.

“If you’re thinking about joining, just go for it. [As a Girl Scout] it’s investing in you. It’ll help you be a better person in society and other girls in your community,” said Katlyn. We can’t wait to see where Katlyn goes! She’s currently preparing to submit her Gold Award proposal, so hopefully we see her walk across the Inspire a Girl stage in 2018 as a Gold Award Recipient!

Thank you to Katlyn and all the incredible Daisy’s Circle donors in our council! If you’re interested in making a difference for local girls, join Daisy’s Circle today! It takes less than two minutes to make a difference. If you know of an awesome Girl Scout donor, please share their story in the comments below!