Giving Back for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Spotlighting Daisy’s Circle Founding Member Beth Kealey

Sharing some serious Girl Scout love through giving back! Meet Beth Kealey, a Girl Scout mom, alum, Daisy’s Circle member, Philanthropy award winner, troop leader and Gold Award advisor! Not only has Beth supported Girl Scouts as a donor, she’s been there for her daughters as a troop leader and is an advocate for ensuring these incredible programs her daughters experienced are available for the Girl Scouts of tomorrow. After following Girl Scouts through different states, 3 daughters, 3 troops and the Gold Award in 2016 with her youngest daughter, Stephanie, it’s no wonder this awesome Girl Scout mom is also a Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist award winner!

Beth, Stephanie and her Gold Award Advisor, Linda Weerts at the 2016 Inspire a Girl Ceremony

All three of Beth’s daughters have loved Girl Scouting! Christina, the oldest, was lucky enough to have Beth as her leader when she started as a Daisy, and Jennifer, the middle child, had Beth as her troop’s co-leader. Stephanie started in Girl Scouts and even though she became inactive after earning her Silver Award, she and a friend decided they wanted to go for Gold and she re-registered to get that ultimate Girl Scouting honor.

Beth watched Stephanie SHINE through her experience with the Gold Award where she created a slam poetry program to give teens a place to feel loved and accepted. The company that hosted the slam poetry nights told her she had to get 15 to show up for the event….in true Girl Scout fashion, Stephanie got 95 to attend. They all knew they had something really important happening in this space and because of it, Stephanie earned her Gold Award and walked across the stage in 2016 with pride.

Images from Stephanie’s Gold Award project – Slam Poetry; Stephanie hugging her mom, Beth, after receiving her Gold Award pin in 2016.

“Stephanie was so proud of earning her Gold Award. It was all about her being able to say ‘I did this!’ and be really proud of that accomplishment,” said Beth. More than just pride, there was a maturity and growth that Stephanie now had. That’s especially evident when you watch her “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” vide with Bob Regnier! Of course, Beth couldn’t be more proud of what her daughter became. “After earning the Gold, you could see a difference in the way she presented herself. There was a maturity there,” Beth said.

As the parent of a Gold Award Girl Scout, Beth saw growth in her daughter and a sense of pride she hadn’t seen before. “What you see as the parent of a Gold Award recipient is that they have much more poise, grace and just the way they present themselves after going through the experience of earning the Gold,” Beth said. That’s one of the reasons she’s continued to give as a member of Daisy’s Circle, even though all three of her daughters are no proud alumna.


Stephanie and Beth at the 2016 Gold Award ceremony; Right: Beth with GSKSMO CEO, Joy Wheeler upon receiving the 2016 Daisy’s Circle Philanthropy Award for the Central Region.


“Giving is just a cultural thing for me. If we want the experiences my daughters received for future Girl Scouts, we have to keep giving. You need that grassroots foundation of support to keep these programs,” Beth said. It’s important to her that she supports the same opportunities for the Girl Scouts of tomorrow that her daughters received. Because of her giving, advocacy and volunteerism, it’s no wonder Beth received the “Daisy’s Circle Appreciation” award for the Central Region in 2016 too!

Beth Kealey is a beautiful example of a strong Girl Scout supporter who continues to create a future for the Girl Scouts of tomorrow! This amazing volunteer is definitely what we would call Girl Scout Strong!! Thank you, Beth, for your leadership and continued support of Girl Scouting!

Soaring Together – Sisters in Business, Susan & Karen Lordi

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

The Lordi sisters behind the inspirational brand of figurative sculptures, Willow Tree, are Girl Scout Alums who found the best co-workers are family. Susan (“Sue”) and Karen Lordi have been working on projects as a team since childhood, and that sisterly teamwork has transformed into a powerful duo that’s flying high in the world of consumer art. Together, they’ve created a brand that defied artistic styles of the time, combining Sue’s art with Karen’s words.

For the Lordi family, it’s no surprise that Karen and Sue work together today because their childhood was filled with partnerships that complemented the skills of each girl. A joyful Karen found herself the willing assistant for big sister Sue’s big ideas. “Sue was always coming up with creative projects, and she wanted someone to do them with. As her younger sister, I’d do anything she said!” said Karen. From the mini summer camp they organized in their neighborhood, charging $.10/child for the day, to building Sue’s high school float (where Karen did more work than the high schoolers), the two made a great team.

During their childhood adventures, they hatched a plan to create a puppet show that mirrored their working lives today. Sue painted beautiful backdrops, sewed costumes and sculpted the papier-mâché puppets while Karen wrote the script. They both performed the show in a little puppet theater their father built and soon got requests to come perform for birthday parties in the neighborhood. This  artist/writer partnership still exists today, with their creation of the international brand, Willow Tree.

“We’ve always had this artist and writer relationship,” Karen said. “A few years ago, we realized, ‘gosh, we’re doing the same things now!’ I’m sculpting the figures, and she’s doing the writing!” Sue said.

During their childhood, both girls experienced the power of Girl Scouting. Their mother was a troop co-leader and the girls fondly reflect on memories of the play she put on with each of their troops. The play was a great way to incorporate visual art and performance art. Engaging in the costume design and scenery painting fulfilled some of Sue and Karen’s artistic desires.

As adults, Sue and Karen found themselves in the roles of co-leader and troop leader for many years. Sue encouraged her Girl Scouts, which included her daughter Sara, with innovative outdoor art projects. Karen led two troops for her daughters, Diana and Julia, for 10 years, focusing on a lot of challenging outdoor experiences. With such a love of the outdoors, it’s no wonder that the Willow Tree team does hiking retreats each year as a team builder!

Today, Sue and Karen continue their strong sisterly bond, sculpting Willow Tree figures and writing the titles and sentiments that accompany each piece. Creating Willow Tree pieces that inspire the consumer has become a passionate life’s work for both women. By standing together, believing in the original creative rationale they presented when forming the brand, they’ve been able to maintain an incredible standard of quality in Willow Tree for nearly two decades. Talk about some serious G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM working together!

“[Our job] is just fun. It’s not just about making money, there are a lot of places you can make money, but there aren’t many places you can have this much fun at work,” Sue said.

As Sue and Karen worked on the piece “Butterfly” that is flying into our Inspire a Girl celebration, they reflected on their own “butterfly stories” and the times they’ve overcome personal challenges. For Sue, she feels transformation happens “any time you have inner healing.” For Karen, one of her butterfly stories was learning to manage business and family. “Over the years, we’ve had to learn when to be sisters and when to work together on business. Sometimes it’s nice to just be sisters and go shopping together,” Karen said.

Every day, these sisters work together, and what they produce is a testament to their connection and creativity. You can see and feel their passion for what they do every time you give the gift of Willow Tree, and it starts from the dynamic duo of Susan and Karen Lordi—plus an amazing and dedicated team at DEMDACO!

We invite YOU to share your Butterfly Story TODAY and enter to win some AMAZING prizes – including your very own piece of Willow Tree! Girl Scouts are invited to submit their “Butterfly” story by March 12th and our friends at Willow Tree and DEMDACO will select the winning entries – including Sue and Karen! Each Girl Scout in the troop and her leader(s) will receive her/his own “Butterfly” sculpture AND complimentary entry to April 14th’s Inspire a Girl! We will also feature the winning stories at Inspire a Girl and get a special photo opportunity.

A special thanks to DEMDACO for their incredibly generous donation of the “Butterfly” sculptures, and to Susan and Karen Lordi for their involvement in this contest.

Travel Like a Girl Scout – Cookie Construction Build Day 2018

7 teams, 30 female design professionals, 105 Girl Scouts, 7,000 Girl Scout Cookie boxes and 5 hours to build 7 seven structures out of said Cookie boxes was Cookie Construction Build Day, 2018!

After six months of planning, practicing and prepping, the Cookie Construction Teams descended upon Crown Center on March 3 for Build Day. The theme this year was “Travel Like a Girl Scout” and each team was given an 8×8 space to build their structures. After five hours of build time, a panel of jurors evaluated each structure on creativity in design, structural design, use of colors/labels, craftsmanship and adherence to rules & regulations. After deliberation, one structure was presented the with the Juror’s Choice Award. Our Juror’s said that this was the closest completion in the four years of Cookie Construction!

Pop-Up Adventures – Cookie Monsters

This build is a story of a Girl Scout’s journey through the vast world. Through the pages of this pop-up book she travels the globe. She scales the Great Wall of China, climbs the Eiffel Tower, and explores the Pyramids of Giza. Traveling all over the world, she discovers her own adventurous spirit and a love for learning and exploration. All starting with a book and her moral compass. What will she discover next by traveling the world?


Around the World with the Cookie Queens – Cookie Queens

Traveling around the world! What might a Girl Scout see? We have builds from lonely islands to big cities. Our display shows many old and modern technologies from, you guessed it, around the world! The Coliseum, which was built between 70-80 ACE, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which was built between 1173-1372 ACE, the Pyramids of Giza, which were built between 2580-2560 BCE, and the Easter Isle Statues, which were constructed between 700-1100 ACE. Our modes of transportation include two types of boats, taxis, and an airplane. We chose these because they are from three different eras and mediums. We practiced teamwork, perseverance, and gained experience as young architects through this design/build process. Overall, this design was challenging, but the Cookie Queens powered through and came up with something truly amazing!


Girls Connect the World – North Packers

Our design includes four destinations, Savannah, Georgia, Mexico, England, and South Africa. We picked these locations because we wanted to show amazing girls from around the world. We travel throughout these destinations enjoying the different landscapes and buildings as we go. We start in the United States, traveling by ferry to the home of Juliette Low, founder of Girl Scouts. Our next stop is Mexico. Traveling by car now, we meet the Girl Scouts of Mexico at the Cabaña. We move on to South Africa. Traveling by train, we find The Slab, which is a frequently used meeting spot for Girl Scouts. Last on our trip, we stop in England at the Pax Lodge, a world center for Girl Scouts. We made it here by double-decker bus. The flags of the Pax Lodge inspired the use of flags in the project to represent the countries and the Girl Scouts. The globe represents the connection of the girls across these countries.


Time Travel: Girl Scouts Past, Present and Future – The Rainbow Time Keepers

The build will center around a large rainbow. The girls imagine the rainbow as a bridge that spans across time. There will be three to five nodes along the rainbow that represent Girl Scouts growing from Daisies to Cadets. Each node will have an emblem that symbolizes their path. The ground plane will be a field of grass with a meandering river.


Traveling to Landmarks Through Time – The Scouts

Our group, The Scouts, came up with natural and manmade landmarks spanning over several centuries in time based on our theme “Traveling to Landmarks Through Time.” We are building methods of transportation to show how you would have traveled to each monument in the era the monuments were built. The landmarks we are planning on building are The Eiffel Tower, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben, The Great Pyramids, Kansas City’s own Shuttlecocks, The Boundary Waters, Mount Fuji, Mount Everest, The Redwood Forest, and The Niagara Falls.


Around the Universe in 80 Days – Space Nerds

Celebrating the advancements in history and those to come, “Around the Universe in 80 Days” takes you on an inspiring journey. Travel through ancient times at the pyramids, gaze and the gateway that inspired travel to the west, explore a new colony on Mars, and discover the fantastic world of Oz with our new Girl Scouts revelation rocket. You’ll see the faces of inspired girls traveling the universe in the window of the rocket, following the path paved for them by pioneers throughout history.


Seven Wonders of the World – Team Tired

We may be called ‘Team Tired’, but our excitement for learning is anything but! For the theme “Girl Scouts Travel”, we quickly developed the idea of showcasing Seven Wonders of the World—with a twist! We were drawn to places that inspire us: The Great Wall of China, The Eiffel Tower, The Colosseum, Big Ben, Machu Picchu, The Great Pyramids and Stonehenge. Throughout this process we learned the importance of teamwork, relying on the history of each of these places to demonstrate the need to work together to achieve a goal. Using the same kind of collaboration that created these structures, we worked together to create a vision for our design. The Seven Wonders of OUR World represent different cultures, overcoming challenges, and the commitment to do something wonderful—the same elements that create a strong community of Girl Scouts! By working towards a shared goal and supporting each other, we can create something we’re all proud of.


Ultimately, Cookie Monsters was presented with the Juror’s Choice Award.  The jurors loved the composition and the theme of the book and how they built the world to come out of it. They also gave them high marks on their use of detail, using words found on the boxes themselves to tell a story on the pages of the book.

Thank you to our Jurors, Laura Beth Cochran, Sonya Jury, Galen Lif, Andrew Pitts, Jean Stoverink and our event Emcee Amy Slattery!

This program wouldn’t be possible without the support and dedication of our 30+ female design professionals throughout the Kansas City, Topeka and St. Joseph areas. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, expertise and time with our Girl Scouts!

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 23!

The 2018 Cookie Construction Program is a partnership with AIA Kansas City and made possible with the support of Crown Center, Mark One Electric Co. and Summit Homes.

Want to see more? Check out photos from Build Day on our Facebook Page. Want to participate?! Cookie Construction is open to Cadettes, Seniors & Ambassadors and registration will open this summer!

Gearing up for Cookie Construction 2018

For the past six months, Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors have been working alongside female design professionals to design and create a structure to be made solely out of Girl Scout Cookie Boxes! Cookie Construction will culminate at Build Day on March 3 at Crown Center!

This annual program is a partnership between Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri and AIA Kansas City. The 4th annual program is made possible thanks to our sponsors Crown Center, Summit Homes and Mark One Electric.

The 2018 Cookie Construction theme is “Travel like a Girl Scout” and each of the seven teams have had conversations planning sessions to identify what that phrase means to them and how they want it represented in their build using 1,000 Girl Scout Cookie boxes. Once they had a vision, they began drawing, planning and building scale models of their ideas, learning and tweaking their plans along the way.

Cookie Construction isn’t just about designing and building. The teams are made up of Girl Scouts of all different troops, with different ways of working and doing things. Throughout the program they’re learning the soft skills that you need no matter the career you choose.

“I’m very independent [but in cookie construction] I have to work with others. I think ‘if I do this build by myself, it’s going to look exactly how I want it to and it’s going to look great in my opinion.’ So when I have another person, I have two different points of view and that’s an extra challenge to me, Girl Scout Cadette Emily Stubbings said.

This program wouldn’t be possible without the nearly 30 female design professionals who are taking time out of their personal lives to mentor our Girl Scouts. For some, they’re involved because Girl Scouting played a role in their lives growing up and they want to give back. For others, it’s because they want to empower young girls to pursue a career in the design industry. For others, they’re looking to develop their own leadership skills!

Mentor Erin Hylton has been involved in the Cookie Construction program for the past three years. “Helping girls learn more about an industry where there aren’t a lot of women is unique and hard to find,” she said.

When the teams arrive at Crown Center on March 3 they will have four hours to officially build their structure that will then be evaluated by a panel of jurors and one team build will receive the “Jurors Choice Award.” After the presentation, we need YOUR help in deciding the People’s Choice Award that will be awarded when the structures come down on March 24! So, make plans to visit Cookie Construction at Crown Center March 4 – 23 and cast your vote for your favorite structure!