Finding Her Voice and Blazing Her Path

Spotlight on Camp Fury Participant and Future Firefighter, Autumn H.

Most of us can’t imagine running into a burning building, but for Girl Scout Senior Autumn H., that is exactly what she dreams of doing for her future career.

Autumn is a sophomore and a part of the Olathe West Public Safety Academy, a program where students gain the knowledge and skills necessary for post-secondary experiences in the professions of fire rescue or law enforcement through a partnership between Olathe West High School, Olathe Public Safety Department and Johnson County Community College. Autumn enrolled in the program during her freshman year of high school. After a semester learning about the various public safety fields, she chose to continue to the program on the fire rescue tract.

When Autumn learned about the opportunity to further her knowledge and gain experience from female professionals in the field through a Girl Scout Destination, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I thought it would be a great step in the direction of what I want to do, gain experience outside of Olathe, KS and learn how other city’s public safety departments function,” Autumn said!

In May, Autumn packed her bags and headed to Camp Fury in Tucson, AZ, a high adventure immersion experience for Girl Scouts, led by elite women of the fire and police services. Over the course of a week, Autumn and 40 other Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from all over the world participated in real-life drills and practice scenarios with female professionals in fire rescue, EMT, EMS, police, border patrol, FBI and SWAT fields.

Girls stayed at a local Girl Scout camp outside of Tucson and would bus to the Tucson Public Safety Academy by 7am each morning. Their days started out with physical training (PT) then they would break off and do field specific training each day. Fire rescue happened in the middle of the week, and it was (no surprise), her favorite.

“I’m kind of biased to the fire side! Day three or four we started off the morning with a controlled car fire instead of PT. We got to gear up and put out a car fire, which was kind of cool! We also did hose relays, climbed to the top of the aerial ladder on top of engine and did a blind search and rescue to find a person in the house that is filled with smoke,” Autumn explained.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only about 4 percent of firefighters are women nationwide. That figure has risen to about 14 percent in police work and the military.

“I was worried about sexism in the field in the general; seeing that these women can do it made me realize that I can do it too. They were so encouraging. They wanted us to do our best and I feel like that really helped me,” she said.

When she returned from her Camp Fury Girl Scout Destination Autumn joined Fire Explorers, another program in her community that will enhance and compliment the experiences she’s having in her Public Safety curriculum at school. Each week in the Fire Explorers program – a male dominated program, she draws on her experiences at Camp Fury this past summer.

“Sometimes it can be a little stressful; the guys will try to step in while you’re doing something even though you have it. Other times they trust you,” she explained. “You have to declare your presence and try and fit in as much as possible but let them know you’re still a woman. You can’t have fear and you can’t second guess yourself. If they see you second guessing yourself, they’ll second guess you.”

Autumn also returned from Camp Fury feeling confident about her future career plans.

“After school ended, I was still hesitant about going down this [fire rescue] career path. I knew I would finish the program, but I didn’t know if I wanted to run into burning building and save people on the worst day of their lives,” Autumn explained. “Camp Fury convinced me.”

When Autumn graduates from Olathe West 2021, she’ll do so with Fire 1 & Fire 2 credentials. “I’ll be eligible to be hired onto a department right out of high school.”

Thanks to Camp Fury, Autumn has a network of Girl Scout sisters all around the world who are also passionate about a career in the public safety sector and working to close the gender gap in their desired field.

“I have a friend in Poland! Another friend from Milwaukee started the process of joining the Air Force the day after she flew back home and a friend from Tennessee is now a volunteer firefighter!”

As for her advice if you’re thinking about a Camp Fury experience?

“Do it! Absolutely do it. I definitely found my voice there [at Camp Fury]. It was a great experience and over that week you bond so much with other girls it’s unbelievable.”

Camp Fury – Tucson, AZ, 2018

We are excited to announce that Camp Fury is coming to Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri through a partnership with the Kansas City MO Fire Department, Kansas City Kansas Fire Department, Kansas City MO Police Department and the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s office! Catching Fury will take place in the summer of 2019 and will be for Girl Scouts entering 8th and 9th grades. Then in 2020, Camp Fury will take place and be open to Girl Scouts entering 10th – 12th grade!

If you can’t wait or want to fill your time while you do, you can apply for the Girl Scout Destinations program that Autumn did in Tucson, AZ. The first round of applications is due Dec. 1 but applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the program is full.

 

Easy ways to STRETCH your Girl Scout Giving!

#GivingTuesday is just one week away and everyone in the Girl Scout family is gearing up for an exciting holiday season with family and friends. With Thanksgiving just two days away, there’s no better time to prepare for another very important holiday established in 2012 – #GivingTuesday! This celebration of giving back is the IDEAL time to show girls that you’re STANDING UP for them and willing to invest in their future.

Did you know that a girl’s very first resume is her Girl Scout vest? Think about it! A resume shows your skills and shares a story of victories and failures overcome. The same can be said about a Girl Scout vest brimming with badges – all showing skills Girl Scouts have learned. On #GivingTuesday you can say “I Stand Up for Girls” by investing in their future.

…Plus – for 2018 #GivingTuesday there’s an even bigger reason to give – DOUBLE YOUR DOLLAR (up to $10,000)!

In addition to the celebration of #GivingTuesday, you can give all throughout the holiday season AND year with these easy ways to give back to Girl Scouts!

 

1. Employer Match – INCREASE YOUR GIVING POWER

Did you know many employers in our region offer giving matches or volunteer incentives? When you give back, your company may support your efforts in a variety of ways! Contact your HR department to see if they offer giving matches, incentives for volunteer hours or paid volunteer time. Your financial gift or volunteer time + your company’s incentives could help us grow the giving power of our community!

Check out this list of known employers in our council who offer incentives and email rberg@gsksmo.org if your company is missing from this list!

 

2. AmazonSmiles – FREE MONEY FOR GIRLS!

What’s better than getting free money for girls? When you shop on Amazon, be sure to use AmazonSmiles girls get a special .5% back on qualifying purchases. That means every time you shop, you can feel good knowing that Amazon will make a donation to Girl Scouts! What’s better than that? Just be sure to make ALL your purchases on a web browser and use “https://smile.amazon.com” to have the purchases count.

Link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/43-0892926

OR: visit https://smile.amazon.com and type “Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri” into the Charity Search.

 

3. #GivingTuesday – DOUBLE THE POWER OF YOUR DOLLAR!

If you’re planning to make a gift to Girl Scouts this holiday season, there’s truly no better time to give than #GivingTuesday (November 27, 2018). Thanks to TWO very special matches from Sylvia Wagner & E.R. Pullman and the VanBlaricum Family, all donations up to $10,000 will be MATCHED on #GivingTuesday! Learn more: www.gsksmo.org/givingtuesday

PS: You can give TODAY and have it qualify if you visit our #GivingTuesday page! All gifts received on THIS PAGE qualify as a #GivingTuesday Early Bird and will be matched, up to $10,000!

 

4. Join Daisy’s Circle – JOIN A NETWORK AND GROW GIVING!

Our last tip on how to make your giving dollars go even further this holiday season is to join Daisy’s Circle – GSKSMO’s monthly giving program. By joining this network of Girl Scout supporters, your monthly gift, of any size, works together with other donors to provide consistent, reliable income for girls. Plus, with opportunities to advocate and promote as a member of Daisy’s Circle, you can help us GROW THE CIRCLE! Learn more: www.daisyscircle.org

Thank you for standing up for girls this holiday season and making your giving dollars go even further! Join us on social media all day on  November 27, 2018 (#GivingTuesday) and help us advocate for girls by sharing, liking and posting (with the #GivingTuesday and #GSKSMO)!

From Girl Scouts to Nonprofit Leadership

Girl Scout Alum Dani Wiles is in her third year at William Jewell College, studying nonprofit leadership and organization. Dani was matched with us for Nonprofit Connect’s annual Shadow Day this year and after spending a day with the GSKSMO Brand & Marketing Department, she reflected on the opportunities she had as a young Girl Scout, realizing that those experiences put her on her career path she’s pursuing today.

“Leading up to kindergarten I remember telling my mom how badly I wanted to be a Girl Scout. I was a shy, outdoors-loving, and creative child. I remember wanting to be a Girl Scout because of my friend’s older sister’s involvement with the organization. The vest, the badges, the friendships, and the activities were all I could ever ask for when joining an organization at such a young age. Once I was old enough to become a Girl Scout I joined the troop at my elementary school. Joining that troop not only gave me something to talk about with my peers, but allowed me to make life-long friends with the girls! I was very lucky that my parents became heavily involved with the organization to support my dream of being a successful Girl Scout. My mom went to every troop meeting, and my Dad made phone calls to all of his friends during the cookie season! My parents’ efforts to see their child succeed didn’t go unnoticed by me. When I sold nearly the largest number of cookies in my troop, I thanked my parents first thing! To this day my mom and I still talk about how fun it was to participate in Girl Scouts.

Dani as a young Girl Scout.

Troop meetings were my favorite part of being a Girl Scout. I loved getting the opportunity to see all my friends outside of school, do arts and crafts, and play games. The games and activities that my troop participated in during meetings actually helped me to develop into the confident young-woman I am today. Before Girl Scouts, I was horribly shy around my peers. At my first troop meeting I didn’t plan on speaking to anyone because I was so nervous. Thankfully, they all spoke to me and welcomed me with open arms. Those girls helped me to grow and come into my own. At meetings and in school I no longer kept to myself, I wanted to be social and explore the opportunities I was given through Girl Scouts and my new-found confidence!

It’s been 15 years since I first joined Girl Scouts, which sounds so wild to me! I am a Junior at William Jewell College (Go Cards!) studying Nonprofit Leadership and Organization! When I first went to college I wasn’t sure what I should major in or what career to pursue. This caused me to do a lot of self-reflection about the times in my life I was really passionate about an activity or organization I was involved in and how I could turn those passions into a career. This self-reflection led me to realize the three things that I was truly passionate about are photography, the outdoors, and Girl Scouts. After a few discussions with my mom and my close friends, I realized that I could pursue all of those passions with a career in Nonprofit Leadership! It wasn’t until college that I realized the Girl Scouts was a nonprofit organization (silly, right?) or how much the community engagement, leadership encouragement, or entrepreneurial spirit the Girl Scouts instilled in me had an impact on the woman I am today.

Without a doubt in my mind, I can say that Girl Scouts gave me the confidence to know that I can be a leader on my campus, in the Kansas City area, and in the nonprofit sector. Girl Scouts was the first time I had been exposed to women and girls in leadership roles. Seeing these women and girls being strong, kind, and courageous leaders helped me to develop my own leadership skills and follow my dreams.

I now realize that the skills I utilize every day in the classroom are the skills I learned in Girl Scouting. My experience playing leadership games, getting to explore my creativity, selling cookies, and building relationship skills in the Girl Scouts prepared me to present ideas during nonprofit board meetings, create marketing plans and think of ways to engage volunteers! I am thankful for my experience in Girl Scouts which has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams fearlessly!”

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Dani! We have no doubt that you’re going to great things in the nonprofit sector!