Girl Scouts Knock it Out of the Park – again!

2017 Girl Scout Day at the K

The 2017 Girl Scout Day at the K was our largest yet! Over 12,700 Girl Scouts, friends and family enjoyed a gorgeous day at the ballpark! We turned the K into a sea of Girl Scout green. From those shirts, uniforms and homemade apparel to the friendly and courteous actions of all of you, there was no question who was in the house that day – Girl Scouts!

Girl Scouts who sold 300+ boxes of Girl Scout Cookies not only earned 2 free tickets, but the chance to walk around the field prior to the game!

Before the game, Girl Scout Cadettes Patricia Smith from Ft. Leavenworth, KS and Elise Thomas from Kansas City, MO made a special delivery to Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc. We’re pretty sure that gave them just the energy they needed to broadcast the game!

Our Account Executive, Brad Thomas presented our top cookie seller, Girl Scout Daisy Paige Thomas from Lee’s Summit, MO with an autographed baseball prior to the game.

( Photo by Jason Hanna )

Girl Scout Cadette Mackenzie Clevenger from Mission, KS threw out the first pitch to Rebecca McCreight from Olathe, KS.

( Photo by Jason Hanna )

The colors were presented by Girl Scout Seniors and Ambasadors, Kelly Combes (Topeka, KS), Alison Gatzemeyer (Liberty, MO), Grace Ordonio (Liberty, MO), Elizabeth Kratochvil (Louisburg, KS) and Arianna Hilger (Overland Park, KS) during the National Anthem.

( Photo by Jason Hanna )

Girl Scouts Emauri Snider (Eudora, KS), Jaycee Ziolkowski (St. Joseph, MO) and Miranda Metzinger (Raytown, MO) got the game started as the ceremonial “Play Ball” kids!

( Photo by Jason Hanna )

In the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat was Gold Award Recipient, Hayley Nitz from Olathe, KS. For her Gold Award project, Hayley wanted to do something to break the poverty cycle in Uganda through education so she organized a community-wide workshop for people to make stimulating, educational toys out of upcycled material. Hayley then hand-delivered these toys to children living at Amani Baby Cottage in Jinja, Uganda! You can learn more about her project here!

Girl Scout Volunteer, Major Arjean Smith was recognized in the Salute to Heroes seat! Major Smith began her military 24 year career in the Army Reserves. She began her active duty service in 1996 with three deployments. In 2000, she was commissioned for officer school. Her military career continues today as she serves as the Secretary of General Staff for the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth.

During the game, Abigail Self from Windsor, MO showed Kauffman Stadium her speed by winning the Steal a Base challenge – running from the visitor bullpen to our dugout where Sluggerrr was holding a base and back again in under 17 seconds! Congrats Abigail!

( Photo by Jason Hanna )

The only thing that could have made Girl Scout Day at the K any better, would have been a win from our Boys in Blue. Oh well, next year!

Thank you to everyone who came out and participated in 2017 Girl Scout Day at the K! We want to hear about the memories you made with your girl, family or troop, so be sure to leave those in the comments below!

Be sure to check out all our photos from 2017 Girl Scout Day at the K and feel free to download, print and share and watch our video below!

For the Love of Girl Scout Camp

Spotlight on Resident Camp Director Marley Parsons

Girl Scout Camp. Where your girl gets to be the person she’s been taught to be. Where she tries new things, is curious, confident, embraces the unfamiliar and makes new friends. Friends that are as much different, as they are alike. Camp is where she has the opportunity to fall in love with something larger than herself.  Girl Scout camp is an experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else.

For Resident Camp Director, Marley Parsons (aka Ferris), camp was all of those things and more; which is why she is so passionate about providing Girl Scouts with those experiences at Camp Daisy Hindman each summer.

Marely joined Girl Scouts when she was in third grade. Something she had always wanted to do after hearing her mother share stories of Girl Scout camps, badges and pins. For her first Resident Camp experience, Marley had to convince her mom to let her go to Oakledge where the programming was more advanced, because she wanted to be at the same camp her mother had attended and worked!

That first summer was just the beginning for Marley. She was at camp every summer after that, often for multiple sessions. At camp, Marley completed all three Treks – Canoe, Pack and Sail, which was a remarkable accomplishment for any Girl Scout.

“Camp was the place where I went to be included and be successful. Where I was encouraged to be strong and challenge myself,” Marley said.

In 2002, she completed the Counselor in Training (CIT) program and was on staff the following two years and then returned to camp staff for a summer after college in 2012. In 2016, Marley’s passion for Girl Scout Camp brought her to Girl Scouts full-time, as the Resident Camp Director.

“I wouldn’t have been brave enough to do so many amazing things if it weren’t for the skills of resilience, self-reliance, self-rescue, and bravery that I learned at camp. I wanted to be a Camp Director to teach girls these skills. Teach them how to be courageous, show them their strength, and help them grow into people who will run the world in the future.”

Just like her mother, Marley is telling her own stories to campers and the camp staff, instilling a love for this organization and its experiences that will continue for generations to come.

“In my opinion there is nothing better for youth development than Resident Camp. It’s a structured environment for girls to try new things in a safe and accepting place. For most youth, camp is the first experience away from a familiar environment. It’s the first experience young children have with adults who are not relatives or teachers who take a genuine interest in their lives. I’m a grown adult now, and those staff who helped me grow as a child are still heroines in my mind’s eye.”

What memories do you have from Girl Scout Camp? How has Girl Scout camp impacted your Girl Scout? We would love to hear your stories in the comments below!

Celebrating our North Region Volunteers!

Celebrating our North Region Volunteers!

Volunteers are the foundation of an excellent Girl Scouting experience. Without volunteers to lead troops, organize events, manage cookie programs and inspire girls, we wouldn’t have Girl Scouts. On Sunday, June 11, we honored amazing volunteers from across our North Region at the 2017 North Region Volunteer Celebration.

The North Region event was held in St. Joseph, MO and was all about “flamingling!” What is “flamingling?” It’s mixing and mingling with a flamingo theme. There was plenty of pink, pineapples and tropical fun to be had at this event. We even had an awesome Girl Scout dad and sensational volunteer show up with a giant inflatable flamingo to celebrate the day! There’s definitely a lot of Girl Scout enthusiasm in the North.

After Girl Scouts, volunteers, staff and families mixed and flamingled a bit, it was time for the awards ceremony. We honored 5 Appreciation Pin recipients, Meaningful Mentor, Rising Star and Risk-taker Awards, just to name a few. We thanked 3 philanthropists for their investment in girls – Joleen Graf (Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist Award), Rick Berger (Philanthropist Award) and the Atchison Area United Way (Corporate Philanthropist Award). We honored many more amazing volunteers and you can see a full list of honorees using the link below.

There was also a special call out to Velma Sommers from Atchison who has been Girl Scout strong as a volunteer for 50 years! Talk about incredible dedication to girls!

The biggest honor of the event was the Thanks Badge, presented to Misty Coyle from Service Unit 808 in St. Joseph. This amazing volunteer received a standing ovation from her fellow Girl Scouts and family members, and it was an honor to give her this award. Congratulations to Misty and all the other honorees.

After the awards ceremony, there was a door prize drawing for fun goodies like gift certificates and a gold pineapple rolling cooler! When the event wrapped, girls and families had more time for chatting, taking photos at the G.I.R.L. photobooth and our CEO, Joy Wheeler, even tried on the inflatable flamingo for some photos with girls! How cool!

We are so honored to have these amazing volunteers as part of the Girl Scouting family. Because of their hard work and dedication, girls are changing the world and growing up to be incredible women.

See a full list of awardees and photos from the event, click here to view our program and gallery.

Thank you to all the volunteers we’ve honored over the past few months! You are SIMPLY THE BEST!

Check out blogs about the Central, East and West Region events here!

The Love of Camping Becomes a Career

Meet Lifetime Girl Scout & GSKSMO Staff Member “Willow”

Girl Scout camps are magical places and the weeks Girl Scouts get to spend in the great outdoors each summer are often the highlights of their year. For some special Girl Scouts, the love of camp and inspiring the next generation of G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM, can become a life mission. Meet GSKSMO’s Outdoor Experiences Manager – Alli Bearly (aka “Willow”)! This Girl Scout Alumna, Lifetime Member and experienced camper has turned her love of camp into a career helping girls.

Alli joined Girl Scouts as a 1st grader and stayed with the program through her senior year. She loved getting to know her Girl Scout sisters, doing service and getting outside. It wasn’t until later in her Girl Scouting career, the last summer she could in fact, that she experienced the magic of resident camp.  “When I was younger, I was very shy. I loved camping, but the idea of doing it for a week with people I didn’t know stressed me out. The summer after my junior year, however, my friend convinced me to do this canoe track and told me ‘don’t worry, they’ll teach you how to canoe,’ so we went,” Alli said.

That experience was a turning point for Alli. They slept under the stars, canoed over 90 miles and she had independence like she’d never experienced. Not only did that inspire Alli to get involved with Girl Scout camp as a counselor, it was a foundational experience that gave her the courage to study abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, during college. All because of Girl Scout camp and pushing her limits.

The summer of 2012 was Alli’s first summer on staff and she joined the Adventure Staff, teaching rappelling.  Rewind several years to Alli being a 4th grader who watched rappel and made the choice to not complete the activity with her troop – a decision Alli feels was right for her at the time. “I love the ‘challenge by choice’ philosophy that we use at camp. I remember as a girl being able to make the choice not to rappel and no one telling me I had to go. It’s something I still use in my personal life and I think it’s a great model for girls to realize they’re the ones that make those decisions for themselves, even if the decision is no,” Alli said.

For Alli, the reason she’s decided to have a career with Girl Scouts is because she’s getting to change the lives of girls every day, just like her counselors gave her the courage to be a G.I.R.L. when she was a girl. “Camp is a place where there are no limits placed on you. Girls get to do whatever and try anything and I wanted to give back to a place and organization that gave so much to me by letting me try. It’s awesome to see girls face scary challenges every day and decide what they want to do,” Alli said.

As the Outdoor Experiences Manager, Alli directly works with adventure staff and helps develop new programs. In particular, she’s excited about the Low Ropes course at Camp Prairie Schooner because “it’s a great opportunity for troops to learn how to work together and improve their relationships,” Alli said. While many of the programs encourage personal challenges, like rappelling and zipline, she loves the group challenge that Low Ropes provides.

While summer is the highlight for Alli’s team, she loves every aspect of working with girls on adventure programming year round. “I love my job because I can see differences being made in girls. As someone who’s been on the other side, as a girl, I know how much these little things can impact a girl’s life,” Alli said.

With summer in full swing, Alli and her staff are out at camp and helping girls become G.I.R.L.s! Thanks to all our dedicated staff who makes a difference for girls! If you’d like to learn more about our Council Properties and adventure programs, visit our Outdoor Experiences page!

Celebrating the Incredible Volunteers of the West Region

G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM are changing the world every day and our incredible volunteers are leading them to those successes. From community partner events to Gold Award projects and community service, Girl Scouts are having the time of their lives and learning life skills from their leaders and volunteers. On Sunday, June 4, we were able to honor and thank the inspiring volunteers from across our West Region.

The West Region event was held in Topeka, KS and welcomed families and Girl Scouts from the region. Girl Scouts and volunteers alike enjoyed our G.I.R.L photo booth, learned about region successes, chatted with friends and saw the awesome things Girl Scouts are accomplishing. Our West Region volunteers rock!

At the awards ceremony, we honored 5 outstanding individuals with the Appreciation Pin, an award that recognizes outstanding service given to at least one service unit. These are the stand-out volunteers that make a real impact on the lives of girls.  We also honored Service Unit 715’s Recruitment Team with the Recruitment Award and the “Be More, Do More” Training Team from Service Unit 701 with the Innovator award! Thank you, volunteer teams! Many more awards were presented and you can see a full list at the link below.

Philanthropy is vital to the success of Girl Scouts, so we wanted to recognize three awesome philanthropists from the West. Rosalyn Carr was honored as the Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist, Barby Craft was honored with the Philanthropist Award and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation received the Corporate Philanthropist Award. Thank you for investing in girls!

It was an awesome event in the West and we thank everyone that was able to join us! Because of your hard work, dedication, and recognition of the power of G.I.R.L.s, you are making the world a better place by inspiring young women. Thank you to all the volunteers who make our council amazing.

To see a full list of awardees and photos from the event, view our program and gallery.

5 Things to do Outdoors this Summer

Summer is here and it came FAST! We rounded up some ideas for ways for Girl Scouts, their friends and family to enjoy the outdoors this summer! Whether you harvest your own food, go back in time, learn a new water skill or something else equally as awesome, we hope you enjoy your time outside with others this summer!

 

Pick Your Own Fruit & Berries

There are many places around our area that are You-Pick-Its! If you’re looking for fresh blueberries, The Berry Patch in Cleveland, MO is the place for you! Stock up on that summer fruit and freeze anything you won’t eat right away! If variety is what you’re looking for than head out to Bates City, MO to John & Linda’s U-Pick Berry Farm and get your hands on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables all summer long!

 

Outdoor Water Skills

Canoe, kayak, paddle board or just learn a new outdoor water skill this summer! Use the Missouri State Parks and Kansas State Parks websites to find a body of water close to you with equipment rental! Just remember to follow all safety rules and regulations!

 

Country Cabin Village

Take part in the famous Saturday night Chuck Wagon Dinner at the Country Cabin Village in Kidder, MO on June 17! This will be the last dinner until fall, but Country Cabin Village is open year-round and you can shop any of their seven shops that include a made-from-scratch Bake Shop, Fashion Boutique, Primitive Shop and more!

 

Shoal Creek Living History Museum

Step back in time and go on a self-guided tour of the Shoal Creek Living History museum located in Hodge Park just outside of Liberty, MO! If you want to make the most of your visit, plan to visit on the first Saturday of the month with the village will be alive with reenactors like Gunfighters, Outlaws, Civil War Soldiers, and Mountain Men!

 

Combat Air Museum

Located in Topeka, KS, the Combat Air Museum has 36 aircrafts in their collection at the Topeka Regional Airport/Forbes Field! Some aircrafts date back to World War I and World War II. Tour many aircrafts outside then continue your visit inside and learn more about the history of aviation!

We want to know how you’re getting outdoors this summer so drop us a note in the comments below or share on social media using #gsoutdoors!