Leaving a Legacy for an Inspirational Leader

The Lela Mae Girl Scout Adventure Fund!

Girl Scout leaders are inspirations for the girls in their troops and create a lifetime of memories. For Karen Ebert, and all the girls in her troop, that inspirational leader was Lela Mae Knipp. Not only was Lela Mae a fantastic troop leader who pushed the girls to be the very best versions of themselves, she stayed involved in Girl Scouting for more than 60 years! Karen was a Girl Scout in the early 1960s, a time when women were not always encouraged to dream big about their careers – but Lela Mae gave them that confidence through Girl Scouting! This lasting legacy of service and supporting generations of girls inspired Karen to do something incredible – invest in the future of girls in Lela Mae’s name.

For Karen Ebert, creating a fund for Girl Scouts that will leave a legacy was the best way to honor Lela Mae. “I believe leaving a legacy is important. As a Girl Scout alum, I wanted to give back to the organization that meant so much to me,” Karen says. To honor Lela Mae’s 60 years of volunteer service, Karen set-up the Lela Mae Girl Scout Adventure Fund in 2018 at the West Region Volunteer Celebration. This fund will provide financial support to girls in Westmoreland and throughout Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee Counties so they experience incredible adventures in Girl Scouting.

As a girl, Karen remembers Lela Mae’s generosity and the courage she instilled in her. “To Lela Mae, every girl was unique and special,” Karen said. One memory Karen has of this generosity happened when she was selling cookies to raise money for camp. “I took my money from my cookie sales to Lela Mae, and she said to me ‘oh you are so close, but you are short $14.’ My heart sank and I know she saw that. Later that night, she called to say she ‘miscounted’ and I had just enough to go to camp. I will always think she had something to do with me having ‘just enough,’” Karen said.

With all these amazing memories and life skills that Karen learned from Girl Scouting, she wanted to make sure today’s girls have access to the same opportunities she did. “If people look back at the experience they have in Girl Scouting, I think they would want every girl to have that experience. As adults, I hope we all want to give to the future,” Karen said. Thank you, Karen, for investing and honoring Lela Mae!


Karen Ebert, Lela Mae Knipp and family members, Sonja Stanley, Bonnie Taylor and Melissa Phipps as they presented Girl Scouts with the check to establish the fund.

In March 2019, Lela Mae celebrated her 95th birthday, and Karen Ebert and the Knipp family created a shower of gifts to help local Girl Scouts by donating to the fund, and you can still make a gift as well! A gift of any size to the Lela Mae Girl Scout Adventure Fund in honor of her birthday can be made by via www.gsksmo.org/donate. Thank you to Karen Ebert for establishing this fund to honor an amazing Girl Scout!

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