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!

 

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.

A First Class Girl Scout and Volunteer

Spotlighting Claudia Boosman

G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™ are capable of anything. One of the best parts of being in Girl Scouts is being surrounded by people who never set limits on what you can dream to be. Meet Claudia Boosman, a Highest Award Girl Scout, former troop leader, proud alumna and member of Daisy’s Circle who learned in Girl Scouts that she could be anything she wanted to be. As a mom, she knows more than ever, that Girl Scouts helps girls be the best G.I.R.L.s they can possibly be!

Claudia began her Girl Scout journey in the 1960s when her mother and a friend started a troop. All her friends joined and Claudia found herself enjoying the experience of selling cookies door-to-door and trying new things. She loved primitive camping at Camp Oakledge and the challenges Girl Scouts let her conquer. “It was a whole world of trying and learning something,” Claudia said. Most importantly, Claudia found Girl Scouts to be a place where she could be anything.

“No matter what I did with Girl Scouts, I was never told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. This was pre-feminism, so I wasn’t thinking about it in those terms, but there was so much positive reinforcement and I was constantly told ‘you can do that,’” Claudia said.

As a naturally driven girl, Claudia became a Highest Award recipient, earning her First Class Award in the 1970s. “I was driven and liked to accomplish things, I could do all of that with the First Class Award,” Claudia said. That sense of accomplishment has made her a proud alumna who supports the program today, especially since it encourages team and individual skill building. “Girl Scouts matters because it’s one of the few activities where a girl can explore and learn as an individual […]there’s a balance of group and individual activities – especially with the Highest Awards,” Claudia said.

After getting a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Claudia entered the corporate world and became a mom of twin girls. Her girls, Jo and Kate, became Girl Scouts as Daisies with Claudia serving as leader for Troop 439 in Lee’s Summit. As a leader and a mother, Claudia got to experience time with her daughters that she wouldn’t otherwise have.

When the girls were Daisies, Claudia remembers a project on kindness that showed her the skills Girl Scouts was teaching. The troop drew pictures of their friends and said nice things. Claudia showed them her drawing then crumpled it to show the power of negative words. “The shock on all of their faces was incredible. The message was: ‘this is what happens when you say hurtful things.’ It was a great moment and message that Girl Scouts can provide to show girls a life skill,” Claudia said.

While in Girl Scouts, Claudia and her daughters travelled with the troop and had incredible experiences together. They even won an award in a Lee’s Summit parade! Girl Scout life is about experiences, and the Boosman family certainly lived those to the max! “Girl Scouts is all about the experiences you can’t get anywhere else. It gets girls in the door and into experiences they just won’t get anywhere else,” Claudia said.

Though Claudia is no longer a troop leader, she’ll never forget the power of seeing a girl’s eyes light up. “Any mom that’s thinking about being a leader – just jump in and do it. You’ll get all the support you need and the excitement of the kids makes it so worth it. It’s the hugs. The kids would hug me after we did something and it always blew me away. You just don’t get that in the corporate world,” Claudia said.

In addition to her service as a volunteer, Claudia joined Daisy’s Circle, GSKSMO’s monthly giving program, to make sure Girl Scouts is available to any girl who wants to join. “I want to be part of making sure Girl Scouts is as widely available as possible, for any girl who’s interested,” Claudia said. “You put your money where your heart is, and Girl Scouts is where my heart is.”

We can’t thank Claudia enough for her continued support of Girl Scouts as an advocate and member of Daisy’s Circle. I think it’s safe to say Claudia is a prime example of what it means to be a G.I.R.L.!

If you know of another amazing Girl Scout Alumna or member of Daisy’s Circle – share their story in the comments below. Were you part of Claudia’s troop? Share your favorite memory!

Four Generations of Girl Scouts

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Spotlight on Girl Scout Alumnae and Volunteers Doris Frost, Janet Pelton, Becky Blankenship and Girl Scout Cadette Katie Blankenship

There’s a special bond that Girl Scout mothers and daughters have. From sharing stories of badge earning decades ago, teaching the newest Girl Scout about how to cook on an open fire, to traveling together to the birthplace of the organization that you all hold so dear to your heart, Girl Scouts brings women even closer together who are already connected through their family tree.

Girl Scout Cadette Katie Blankenship is a fourth generation Girl Scout in her family. You might say that she was destined to be a Girl Scout that it’s in her DNA. After all her mother, Becky Blankenship was a Girl Scout. Her Grandmother, Janet Pelton was a Girl Scout. Even her Great Grandmother, Doris Frost was a Girl Scout!

As Doris recalls her own Girl Scouting experience, it doesn’t sound much different from the ones her great granddaughter Katie is having today. She remembers having awesome leaders, going camping, earning badges and just generally being a G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™.

Today, Becky and Janet are both troop leaders, and Doris is a retired troop leader. Between the four of them they have over 100 years of Girl Scouting experiences and stories!

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Doris (front), Janet (left), Becky (center), Katie (right)

Katie’s grandmother, Janet, went through all the Girl Scout levels herself then when her daughter Becky was old enough, she volunteered to lead her troop of Girl Scout Brownies (the first level of Girl Scouting in the 1980s) and saw them all the way through earning their Gold Award! When Becky left for college, Janet started all over again, with a brand new troop of Girl Scout Daisies, but this time she recruited Doris to join her on the troop leader adventure, and oh what an adventure Doris had with her daughter and the group of girls they led!

After 12 years of Girl Scouting, in Janet & Doris’s troop embarked on an 8-day cruise to culminate their Girl Scout experience before life took them in all different directions. That Girl Scout trip is what got Doris on an airplane for the first time in her life, at 84 years young.

“That trip was wonderful, the best time I ever had,” Doris said!

Doris (left) & Janet (right) on the cruise!

Doris (left) & Janet (right) on the cruise!

After that trip, Doris hung up her Girl Scout volunteer hat, but Janet decided to dive right back in and start all over again with her third troop; all while still continuing to serve as Service Unit Manager for Service Unit 661.

While Doris and Janet were leading their troop in Leavenworth, Kansas, Becky was stepping up for troops who were without leaders in Emporia, Kansas, while also going to school full time at Emporia State University!

After graduating college, Becky moved back to the Kansas City area, got married and had Katie! In January, before Katie was set to go to Kindergarten, Becky called her area service unit manager and let her know that she could count on her to lead the Daisy troop where Katie would go to school that fall!

Becky always dreamed of giving Katie the opportunities through Girl Scouting that her mother, Janet, had given her.

“Girls have opportunities they wouldn’t have without Girl Scouts,” Becky said.

This past summer, Janet and Becky took Katie’s troop on the council-sponsored trip to Savannah, Georgia, the birthplace of Girl Scouts. A trip that was important for Becky to experience with her mom. “She gave me my start in Girl Scouts and I wanted to have the experience of going to the birthplace with my family,” Becky explained.

“It was really neat that we got to do that last trip together,” Janet said of the cruise with Doris. “I’ve gotten to do so much with Becky now.”

Janet (left), Katie (center) & Becky (right) on the council-sponsored trip to Savannah, GA.

Janet (left), Katie (center) & Becky (right) on the council-sponsored trip to Savannah, GA.

For this family, Girl Scouting truly is in their DNA. Through all the things that life has thrown at them, they credit Girl Scouts for keeping them going. “Being a Girl Scout leader was a lifesaver during the times that my parents were sick. Most people quit being a volunteer when those things happen but it kept me sane,” Janet explained. “Girl Scouts is what keeps me happy.”

Girl Scouting has come full circle for these four women. Doris loves hearing what Katie is accomplishing through Girl Scouts and what exciting activities and trips Janet and Becky are doing as leaders for their girls. The memories that the four of them have all overlap and constantly remind them of what they’ve experienced not only as Girl Scouts, but as a family.

“All of the things Girl Scouts get to do are good. Everything is a learning experience for them,” Doris said.

Thank you Doris, Janet and Becky for all you’ve done to empower girls and instill the Girl Scout leadership experience in their DNA!

 

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A Girl Scout Gem

Celebrating 60 Years of Hidden Valley Camp

Tucked away in the heart of Lawrence, Kansas sits 40 acres of wildlife terrain where thousands of Girl Scouts have grown as G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers, Leaders)™ for 60 years! Hidden Valley Camp sits in what used to be a secluded part of Lawrence in 1956. Throughout the years, significant city developments have taken place all around the property, but Hidden Valley has remained a wilderness area and semi-primitive campsite, living up to the “hidden” part of its name!

Girl Scouts at Hidden Valley Camp in 1982 on the left, and in 2016 on the right!

Girl Scouts at Hidden Valley Camp in 1982 on the left, and in 2016 on the right!

Hidden Valley is one of the few privately owned and operated camps in the region. The land was purchased and Hidden Valley Camp was established with funds from the estate of the late Alfred Bromelsick who passed away in 1950. Mr. Bromelsick was a longtime advocate of outdoors programs for youth, specifically those of the Girl Scouts, Boys Scouts and 4-H organizations. Today, Hidden Valley Camp is owned and managed by the locally-based Lawrence Hidden Valley Committee (LHVC) Inc., a nonprofit organization comprised of adult Girl Scout members living in the greater Lawrence community.

Many additions and improvements have been made to Hidden Valley in the past 60 years to keep up with the growing needs of Girl Scouts! In 1996, Friends of Hidden Valley was created to keep up with those improvements. This separate committee supports LHVC in programming, maintenance and establishing and meeting the goals of the property today, and for the next 60+ years.

Hidden Valley has seen so much love from many dedicated Girl Scout volunteers over the past six decades. One of those volunteers was the late Mariana Remple. Mariana was a co-founder of Hidden Valley Camp along with Carolyn Blaas, and was active with Girl Scouts of the USA for 50 years! In addition to Mariana’s work with Hidden Valley, she served as troop leader for Troop 660 for over 40 years and as assistant troop leader until her passing.

Carolyn Blaas and Mariana Remple, two of the Co-founders of Hidden Valley Camp.

Carolyn Blaas and Mariana Remple, two of the Co-founders of Hidden Valley Camp.

As a treasured Girl Scouting experience for girls, those who once experience this camp as a young Girl Scout are now coming full circle serving on the LHVC and the Friends of Hidden Valley Board or serving in other capacities as adult Girl Scout members.

Durand Reiber remembers going to a very rainy Day Camp at Hidden Valley with her troop when she was just a Girl Scout Brownie. In 2002 she was hired as Camp Manager – the camp’s first paid employee, a role she still serves in today.

“I was a Girl Scout through my senior year, canoeing and camping away with Mariana Remple’s Mariner Troop 660, which had a profound impact on my life. I continued to travel, camp and canoe, often leading my women friends on trips. My love of all things natural, and my college and career choices are an extension of all those experiences, beginning with that rainy Day Camp at Hidden Valley,” Durand said.

Kyra Flummerfelt was a Girl Scout growing up in Lawrence, living right down the street from Hidden Valley, but didn’t experience it herself until she found herself leading her daughter’s Girl Scout Brownie troop! In 2008 she was asked to join LHVC board and oversee the reservations and equipment checkout process and now she also serves as the zip line and archery facilitator.

“I love getting to meet leaders and help make camping easier by providing them with pretty much everything they need to camp out.  When we decided to add the zip line to camp I signed up to be a facilitator.  I am afraid of heights but chose to overcome it so that I could not only help others experience the wonders of zip line but so I could do it too.  I now love to zip line,” Kyra said!

Today, the wondrous 40 acres of Hidden Valley boasts hiking trails, diverse habitats of the prairie, woods, rocky hillsides, wetlands and streams, a challenge course with two zip lines and archery range. It also has a tree house, Yurt (really big tent) and a cabin with a kitchen making it the perfect place for seasoned campers as well as young troops to experience the great outdoors!

One thing that hasn’t changed about Hidden Valley is that it has a profound impact on those who still visit it today, no matter their age.

“This easy year round access means many troops routinely go there and the girls and adults alike get to know it well, developing a deep love for it over the years…and over time, it just becomes one of those special places in life you always remember,” Durand said.

Girl Scouts celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Hidden Valley Camp at the Fall Frolic.

Girl Scouts celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Hidden Valley Camp at the Fall Frolic.

While Girl Scouts in the greater Lawrence, Kansas area have first priority in reservations, Hidden Valley is open to all Girl Scouts and other groups who wish to take advantage its amenities.

“I can assure you that the experiences Girl Scouts and Hidden Valley offers girls make a difference and gives them a place to practice courage, confidence, and character,” Kyra explained. “Hidden Valley has been a place to make memories for so many people for the last 60 years and hopefully with help from the girls, leaders and community volunteers we can keep it that way for many more to come.”

If you would like to make a reservation at Hidden Valley for your troop, visit their website at www.lhvcamp.org and click on the reservations and equipment tab!

Lifting up G.I.R.Ls through Giving

Spotlighting Girl Scout Alumna Mary McMichael

Creating G.I.R.Ls – what’s more important in the world today? It takes a village to support Go-Getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers and Leaders, and there’s a super team that make a huge difference in the lives of girls – alumnae who know firsthand the power of Girl Scouts. Meet Mary McMichael, a United Way donor and Girl Scout alumna who gives to make the next generation of Girl Scouts strong and brave. Today, Mary invests in girls by designating her United Way giving to Girl Scouts.

Growing up in Des Moines, IA, in a family of seven, Mary didn’t participate in many activities, but she found a home in Girl Scouts as a Brownie. “When I was growing up, everyone was a Girl Scout. My mom didn’t normally volunteer, but she signed up to be my leader and met her best friend because they were co-leaders together,” Mary said. She enjoyed the challenges of earning badges and adventures in the outdoors.

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“Back then, if you sold so many boxes of cookies, camp didn’t cost you a cent; it was motivation for me. It was something I could do that my family didn’t have to pay for if I worked hard,” Mary said. From grades 4th to 8th, Mary looked forward to summers at Camp Sacagawea in Boone, IA, where she learned to work hard, make friends and be brave. “When I went to camp….it was wonderful. Stomping through the woods, singing, meeting people from outside of Iowa…it made me brave,” Mary said.

After high school, Mary attended college at NWMSU in Maryville (which happens to be an awesome Girl Scout community partner!). Once she graduated, she used her bravery to follow friends to Kansas City where she’s been ever since. Today, Mary works for P&G in Kansas City, KS and proudly gives to Girl Scouts through United Way each year.

Memories from Camp Sacagawea, mid-1970s, including a letter from her grandmother.

Memories from Camp Sacagawea, mid-1970s, including a letter from her grandmother.

“I support Girl Scouts because it’s something I did, that I experienced, that probably doesn’t get a ton of money. Hopefully what I give can help get a girl get there that might not otherwise get there,” Mary said. That’s not where service stops for this alumna! Mary and her friends get together for birthdays and instead of gifts, they pick a service activity. Recently, the group packed 50 sandwich lunches and distributed them to homeless individuals for a 50th birthday in the group. How inspiring!

Mary has been giving for years to United Way, but feels the giving to girl-focused organization is critical right now. “I think now is more important than ever to keep girls courageous, brave and hopeful. We have to keep them up there and moving forward. If I can give to help that and go back to my friends and ask them to give, as women, to move girls along, I think it’s important,” Mary said. She knows that giving NOW will keep girls moving forward, motivated and showing them that they can be amazing leaders.

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It’s incredible to see philanthropy coming full circle. By giving to Girl Scouts through United Way, Mary is helping girls develop leadership skills, get to camp and learn to be brave – just like her. We can’t thank Mary enough for her continued service and for living life as a G.I.R.L. by being a Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker and Leader herself! The DNA of a Girl Scout lives in every alumna.

If you’d like to learn more about United Way giving, find your local United Way by clicking here. You can also join our circle of giving that directly impacts girls in our Council by joining Daisy’s Circle, GSKSMO’s monthly giving program. Together, every dollar we raise is helping us create the brave leaders of tomorrow.

Do you have a donor story you’d like to share or want to give a shout out to Mary? Comment below!

A Gold Standard of Girl Scouting

Spotlighting GS Alumna Vickie Trott

Warm campfires, s’mores and service – those words often revive fond memories for Girl Scouts. Meet Vickie Trott, a proud Girl Scout lifetime member, former troop leader, donor, Gold Award advisor and Trefoil Society member who continues to help girls go for Gold. Recently she won the “Philanthropist Award” at the Central Region’s Volunteer Appreciation event for her awesome work supporting girls – including getting her troop of six to all earn their Gold Awards. Thanks to donors like Vickie, Girl Scouts are continuing to create lasting change in their communities and reach for the stars.

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Vickie Trott started Girl Scouts in 2nd grade as a Brownie and volunteered her mother to be the troop leader. She fondly remembers adventures to Camp Oakledge and Timberlake and doing day camp with her troop. Her mother strongly encouraged camping and loved being outside with her girls.

After college, Vickie went on to become a successful business woman who holds a Bachelors in Accounting and her MBA, cofounding a family business along the way. Once kids entered the picture, her life turned back to Girl Scouts and Vickie became a leader of Troop 196 for her daughter, Anne and later her stepdaughter, Kelly. Her daughter’s school started with two troops for the grade and as time went on the other troop merged with Troop 196, eventually becoming a troop of 6 girls from three different high schools.  The troop loved camping, service and travel. Following in the footsteps of Vickie’s own Girl Scout experience, Troop 196 went camping often, sometimes Vickie’s mother, Gerry, would even join the adventures – three generations creating Girl Scouting memories.

Left: Troop 196 Investiture ceremony (1985) & at the International Fair (1987)

Left: Troop 196 Investiture ceremony (1985) & at the International Fair (1987)

“I learned camping skills as a Girl Scout, so we took our girls camping a lot. We had rules like ‘no makeup’ and joked that we could guarantee rain in whatever area we decided to camp in,” said Vickie. Four of the girls in the troop went on to become wranglers at Camp Winding River, wanting to inspire the younger girls. The troop adventured beyond the campsites with trips to Chicago and St. Louis as well as a float trip. On one of the float trips they encountered a Boy Scout troop who offered to help them set-up camp. As camping veterans, the girls assured the boys they were confident in their abilities to make their own campsite.

During the years of leading Troop 196, Vickie was an active volunteer, working as a troop organizer, Service Unit manager, Day Camp manager, Product Sales Manager for her Service Unit and taught a leadership institute for Senior Girl Scouts! Talk about keeping busy!

Left: Vickie, Gerry (mother) and Anne (daughter) at Camp Timberlake ( 1987); Center: Troop 196’s overnight (1986); Right: GSKSMO CEO, Joy Wheeler with Vickie at Camp Prairie Schooner honoring Trefoil Society members.

Left: Vickie, Gerry (mother) and Anne (daughter) at Camp Timberlake ( 1987); Center: Troop 196’s overnight (1986); Right: GSKSMO CEO, Joy Wheeler with Vickie at Camp Prairie Schooner honoring Trefoil Society members.

One thing Vickie knew was that she wanted to help her girls get their Gold Awards…and she succeeded! All six in the troop earned their Gold Award as a troop, as that was part of the program in the mid-1990s. For their project, the girls built tables, benches and racks out at Camp Winding River. “This was a time before the internet, so the girls went to the library, researched how to do it, how much wood they would need and raised money. We had to have adults actually cut the wood with the power tools, but we told the dads ‘only cut on the lines the girls drew’ and the girls did everything else,” Vickie said.

Today, Vickie continues her service to Girl Scouts as a Gold Award advisor and donor. She’s dedicated to the work of Girl Scouts because of the role models it provides. “Girl Scouts is the only all-female organization that I belong to because I think it’s really important that girls have a place where they’re in charge, where women are leaders,” Vickie said. Because of her passion for the mission of inspiring girls, Vickie decided to generously include Girl Scouts in her estate plans, ensuring her legacy lives on.

Camp Prairie Schooner – with Troop 196 in 1989 & as a Trefoil Society Member in 2015

Camp Prairie Schooner – with Troop 196 in 1989 & as a Trefoil Society Member in 2015

Caption: Camp Prairie Schooner – with Troop 196 in 1989 & as a Trefoil Society Member in 2015

“[My husband and I] each picked an organization that we believe in and an organization we jointly decided to give to in our estate plans. I think it’s important, if you have the means, to support organizations you believe in in that way,” Vickie said. With a continued inequality in funding for girls organizations compared to boys organizations, it was especially important to Vickie to support Girl Scouts in both a volunteer and financial capacity to allow girls to thrive.

We thank Vickie Trott and her family for their continued advocacy of girls and for making a difference every day. By supporting Girl Scouts, Vickie is paving the way for generations of leaders, just like her own family. Watch for new Gold Award Girl Scouts that Vickie will be leading as an advisor in the future! We’re excited to see new girls going for gold. To learn more about the Trefoil Society, contact Vanessa@gsksmo.org.

If She Can See It, She Can Be It

Did you know girls are statistically more likely to aspire to be and do things if they see women currently in those roles? Think about that for a second…

You may have heard the phrase “If She Can See It, She Can Be It” when Geena Davis came to Kansas City as part of the CHAT Series last year. This phrase and campaign is part of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. While with the original research focusing on the inequity of women in entertainment, we know that this issue extends far beyond the media industry thanks to Girl Scout Research Institute and the research of many others.

At Girl Scouts we’re working to break those gender stereotypes and show girls EXACTLY what they can be when they grow up. Like a football player or a race car driver.

Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors descended upon Arrowhead Stadium for the first-ever Girl Scout takeover on October 7. Nearly 150 girls went behind the scenes at Arrowhead, scoping out the press and locker rooms, designing team logos, learning the history behind the Chiefs and NFL and doing Play60 activities. However, the most inspiring part of the evening for many of them was actually participating in football drills with the Liberty North High School Quarterback, Brooke Liebsch and the women of the KC Titans football team.

Yes, a real-life female football player and the all-woman tackle football team in Kansas City.

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Brooke has been playing football since 2010 in a Pop Warner league where she was a Wide Receiver and Cornerback. After a little game of catch with her coach in 2013, she was moved to Quarterback and has been playing that position for the past four years. Brooke has only played on all-boys teams, but that doesn’t bother her.

“My whole football career I have had doubters, but that has never stopped me from playing the game I love.”

The KC Titans set up a series of drills for Girl Scouts to go through. Girl Scouts suited up with pads and helmet and ran drills. They worked on their passing game with Brooke, tried some defensive moves on an artificial field and tested their agility with some ladder runs!

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Brooke shared a quote from her mentor, Atlanta Falcons staff member, Katie Sowers, “stay humble, stay true and always believe. Go out there and follow your dreams, and NEVER GIVE UP!”

Girls left that evening with hugs galore from the women of the KC Titans, an autographed card from Brooke and the knowledge and experience to know that they can be anything they want to be – even a football player.

Now, fast forward a week to Girl Scout Day at Kansas Speedway on October 15.

Girl Scouts, troop leaders, moms and dads came from all around our region to see XFINITY race that and attend a Girl Scout-only Q&A with Danica Patrick.

The Girl Scout alumna fielded all sorts of questions from Girl Scouts about what it’s like to be one of the only females competing in a male-dominated sport, like:

“What’s your fastest time or speed?”

“When you get older do you still want to do race car driving?”

“When did you know that you wanted to be a racecar driver?”

And

“Do people make fun of you because you’re the only woman who is racing?”

Girls are asking these questions because they’re genuinely curious. They want to know what they’ll encounter if they choose to do something that is stereotypically considered a “boys activity.” They want to know that there are people out there that will support them and offer them encouragement and guidance to pursue their dreams and that maybe the idea isn’t as scary as it might seem.

Danica answered our girls’ questions honestly and with warmth and kindness.

“I’m sure they do [make fun of me for racing]. But some people to make fun of things because it’s something different and they’re scared of it, or jealous of it or don’t know what to think of it; But I like to be different. You just have to have confidence, believe in yourself and go after your goals.”

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Both Brooke and Danica are breaking the glass ceilings in their professions and showing girls that they can be anything they desire as long as they first believe in themselves and second put the hard work in to meet their goals.

See all the photos from Arrowhead Takeover and Girl Scout Day at Kansas Speedway!

 

Living United – United Way of Atichson’s Terry Knopke

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Every year Girl Scout councils receive funding from generous donors and organizations. Among these is the United Way – an organization that pools financial resources within communities and distributes it to areas of need. All the funds given to United Way stay local. Leading the Atchison Area United Way is Terry Knopke, a Girl Scout Alumna, a driven fundraiser and woman dedicated to service as a way of life.

Terry Knopke is the only full time employee at the United Way of Atchison and works tirelessly to support the organizations that benefit from the funds within the community. The United Way not only supports Girl Scout troops in Atchison, but other organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, KS Legal Service, and YMCA. In all, they support 19 deserving organizations and are committed to providing equal funding for children of both genders. “Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts always get the same amount of money from us to ensure equal opportunities,” Terry said.

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While Terry is the only staff member, she has the support a Board of Directors. Because of their support, her efforts don’t fall on deaf ears. “I have a wonderful Board of Directors […] We try to have board members from different areas because when they invite me into the board rooms…I know that when I leave…if the bosses are part of it, they’ll talk about it and say ‘this is something we need to support,’” Terry said. It’s a small community where the Board makes a real difference.

That small town feeling of community that keeps the Board dedicated, along with the beautiful, historic homes, was what drew Terry to Atichson in 1999. She even has her own piece of history – a “painted lady” home from 1883 with a special room she created with kennels for feral cats in recovery.

As someone passionate about helping animals, Terry helps with the local humane society. Her love for service is infectious, with her daughter saying it changed her perspective on life. “My daughter told me ‘Mom, I wanted to thank you for teaching me to love animals, it changed the way I look at everything.’ It  made me feel good, but I also thought ‘this is something we need to keep passing on,’” Terry said.

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Left: Terry collecting donations for the humane society, Center: Girl Scout troop 8021 building feral cat houses, Right: Terry and volunteers gathering donations.

Animal care is where Terry sees some of the impact that United Way funding makes for Girl Scouts first hand. “We have a list we hand out for the humane society, collecting money and donations, and Girl Scouts helps me with that. It’s a win-win-win, United Way has a directive to help the Girl Scouts, the Girl Scouts help me and we give to the Humane Society,” Terry said.

Jolleen Graf, leader for Troop 8347 sees the impact of the United Way and Girl Scouts every day. “[The United Way and Girl Scouts] help develop future leaders […] It helps break the stereotype of ‘… like a girl’ is a negative thing. We embrace ‘Hit Like a Girl, Fight Like a Girl, Throw Like a Girl,’ but we want that to be a compliment, not an insult,” Jolleen said.

Terry loves that Girl Scouts is included in the United Way family because of the support it gives to girls, like her daughter (a woman in STEM and GS Alumna) and shows them that it’s okay to be themselves. “Girl Scouts, which I love, is trying to teach young girls to get out there and that they can do anything,” Terry said.

We appreciate the great work that Terry and the other staff members of United Ways that support our Council do each day to support girls. Without the support of organizations like the United Way, we couldn’t continue to offer the great programs that change the lives of girls. Click here for full list of the United Ways that benefit Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri or click here to find the United Way near you!

How Cookies Got Weebles to Camp

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Spotlighting GS Alumna Elizabeth Bourquin

Girl Scout cookies – delicious and full of tradition. What many people don’t realize is the lifetime skills (goal setting, money management, decision making, people skills and business ethics) instilled in girls. One Girl Scout shows just how far cookie sales can take you with hard work and goals. Meet Elizabeth Bourquin, or “Weebles” if you met her at camp, from Topeka, KS. This Girl Scout alumna used her brains and business skills to have experiences that otherwise would have been out of reach.

As a 1st grader, Elizabeth begged her mother, Dora Lee, to let her and her sister become Girl Scouts. “None of the parents wanted to be the leader, but I begged the hardest, so my mom did,” Elizabeth said. As a single mom, leading Troop 428 wasn’t always easy, but it was important to her because of the experience it provided. “[My mom] grew up on a farm and didn’t get many experiences outside of school and farming. She wanted me and my sister to have experiences she didn’t get,” Elizabeth said.

Throughout their Girl Scout years, Troop 428 did “Try It” badges and community program events. As they got older, they set their eyes on a bigger adventure – travel. Enter the Cookie Program. As younger girls, they began planning trips and budgeting. To use their resources wisely, the troop planned trips to Kansas City, Leavenworth and the Kansas City Zoo and budgeted to stay at camps rather than hotels.

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With a goal in mind, the girls worked hard and raised funds through cookie sales to travel to Nebraska, Mall of America, Chicago and a big trip in high school to California (San Diego Zoo), Arizona (Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Four Corners), Oklahoma and Colorado (camped in Garden of the Gods). In addition, they funded smaller troop activities and projects. They sent a teddy bear to the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City as part of a multi-council program and found creative ways to get the most out of their troop experience (their bear came back home with special patches and awards).

The troop’s annual cookie booth in Goodyear’s parking lot became a popular spot in Topeka. More than a decade later, people still ask Goodyear when Girl Scouts will be selling cookies there. “One year radio V100 did a live broadcast from our booth and I did a sales pitch. A car salesman came by and said when I turned 16 he wanted to offer me a job,” Elizabeth said. What a way to show her leadership skills!

Dora wanted the girls to take full advantage of the business skills they could learn from the Cookie Program, so she insisted they learn by doing. “It was important to my mom that we were able to manage money, do the math and get customers all by ourselves. She was there and watched, but she wanted us to learn,” said Elizabeth. They had to make connections in the community and work as many booth opportunities as possible. When it was freezing and other troops stayed home, Elizabeth had personal goals that kept her selling even when it was hard.

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Beyond troop trips, Elizabeth’s personal goals of getting to camp and travel motivated her to go above and beyond. And by beyond we mean 3,700+ boxes of individual sales in one year! Some days she would be the only girl working the booth for hours before and after everyone else would take a shift. This dedication paid off. A former cookie funds program at Camp Daisy Hindman earned her an average of 1.5-2 weeks per year at camp because of her sales. This turned into a passion and Elizabeth became “Weebles,” a camp counselor at Camp Daisy from 2007-2009. At camp she wanted to give younger girls the same experiences she had at the camp she calls her second home.

In 2006 cookie funds took her even farther. By selling over 3,700 boxes of cookies she was able to go on two Wider Opportunities to a Kentucky horse ranch and to Boundary Waters in Minnesota. One year she travelled to a horse ranch and learned even more about the power of hard work. “There was work with the fun, which I find really important for girls to learn. If you work hard, you achieve great things. That’s what I took out of Girl Scouts doing the hard work to sell cookies so I could do fun trips,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth is now a manager at Payless at a young age, a testament to her business skills. She also has a cosmetology degree, showcasing that blend of creativity and business sense that she developed as a Girl Scout. As a passionate Alumna, Elizabeth participates in camp reunions and plans to begin volunteering. For her, Girl Scouts is more important than ever for girls to be in. “I think it’s really important for girls, especially in society right now, to learn outdoor stuff because we are becoming an indoor society. Girls have to know they can do whatever they want – it’s not man’s world anymore, it’s a woman’s world,” Elizabeth said.

Thank you to Elizabeth for proving that with hard work, anything is possible. Your story is an inspiration! If you knew Weebles at camp or want to share a story, comment below!