Investing Together in a Brighter Tomorrow for Girls

Spotlighting Donors Kathleen & Steven Hermes

 With the hot summer weather, the minds at GSKSMO are focused on our brand new Aquatics Center at Camp Prairie Schooner. Thanks to incredible supporters, Girl Scout families, troops and service units, the funds are coming together to replace one of the oldest pools in KC with a new, ADA-compliant pool, splash pad and all-season shower house.

To make a BIG, BOLD project like this possible for girls, Girl Scout supporters are coming together and saying “girls are important!” by investing in the new Aquatics Center. Two of these awesome donors are Kathleen and Steven Hermes. As an alum and former staff member, Kathleen Hermes and husband Steven, are proud to support girls in a time when the need is greater than ever. For Kathleen, supporting Girl Scouts means giving back to a place she was able to call home.  “Girl Scouts was a warm, supportive environment and gave me a place,” Kathleen said.

Steven & Kathleen Hermes at Camp Prairie Schooner with GSKSMO Board Members & Staff, February 2017

When Kathleen was a girl, Girl Scouts provided much needed emotional support when she moved from Chicago to Kansas City, a whole new world for her. It also provided her a place to explore her wide variety of interests. “I was a little bit of a lost kid, I didn’t have a place, until Girl Scouts became that place. In many ways, it’s part of who I became. I don’t know where I would have landed without it,” Kathleen said.

As a former leader, Kathleen found a chance to connect with her daughters and help them excel through activities like badge work and camping. “Girl Scout camp awakened a lifelong love of nature in me,” Kathleen said. She was the leader for both daughters, Kristin and Kim, and got to experience the programming both as a girl and as a leader. With a love of nature and great Girl Scout programming in her heart, it’s no wonder that she and Steven have become supporters of the new Aquatics Center at Camp Prairie Schooner.

Steven & Kathleen Hermes with GS Alum daughters, Kristin & Kim

Investing in the new Aquatics Center means they’re investing in the future of girl programming, making opportunities available to ALL girls (thanks to a new, fully ADA compliant pool) and showing girls they deserve the very best. “Now more than ever, this is the prime time to support girls,” Kathleen said.  We thank Kathleen and Steven Hermes for their on-going support of Girl Scouts – both as donors and as volunteers. Without supporters like these two incredible individuals, Girl Scouts could not be the premiere leadership development organization for girls.

Rendering of the Aquatics Center

If you’d like to make your mark on Camp Prairie Schooner and join the Hermes in supporting the new Aquatics Center, you can make a gift TODAY at https://www.gsksmo.org/makeasplash.

Girl Scouts is the Place for All Girls – Mermaids Included!

Meet Irena, a super-outgoing seven year old Girl Scout Brownie from Service Unit 625. Irena is just like any other Girl Scout her age: she enjoys reading, ziplining at camp, and pretending to be a mermaid gliding through the pool with her magnificent tail. To us, Irena is one of the coolest and most courageous soon-to-be third graders we’ve ever met.

At just a year old, Irena’s father, Chris Johnson, was told she had a medical condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).  SMA is a rare condition that affects parts of the nervous system as it relates to voluntary movement.  Most children with SMA are not able to walk, have trouble breathing, and often are more susceptible to fatal illness.  Our Irena has Type II, so unlike many other cases of SMA, Irena is able to walk on her knees allowing for some lower body movement. Irena is so strong!  She visits specialists all over the country for treatment and surgery to help improve her mobility and work toward a cure.

This summer has been extra special for Irena and her dad!  During Irena’s time at Camp Prairie Schooner for Service Unit 625’s weekend camp-out, Chris was able to come along to assist. This gave dad and daughter a unique experience together.

“Girl Scouts allowing me to stay at camp with Irena meant the world to me to be able to provide her with the care she needs while getting to see her have the ability to do the things other kids do,” Chris said. “Irena isn’t 100% fearless, close though! At Girl Scouts, she is getting the support to take on those new challenges.”

With the expertise and encouragement of her dad and our Outdoor Adventure staff team, Irena took on one of those Girl Scout “challenges of choice” – ziplining. Irena had an awesome cheer squad led by her super enthusiastic (and from Irena) extra LOUD Troop Leader Miss Tiffany and backed up by all her Girl Scout sisters. She flew across that zipline with a big smile on her face and mastered a brand new skill.

Of course for Irena after completing the zipline, she declared it was no big deal. It was just another challenge that she faced and conquered. It was like when she puts on her Mermaid tail and she can glide through the water with ease. For others who watched Irena conquer this challenge, watching her glide across that zipline brought tears of joy.

This is what Girl Scouts is all about. Girls of all abilities are welcome to learn new skills, grow their friendships, take on challenges, fail, try again and succeed in a girl-powered space. And of course, dads who are “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” are always encouraged!

Irena says her favorite parts of camp were the fun science activities she did, sleeping in a bunk bed- top bunk, and getting to be with her friends.

Chris and Irena can’t wait for the new Aquatics Center at Camp Prairie Schooner to open.  Part of Irena’s physical therapy exercises in making her legs stronger include swimming- with that magnificent mermaid tail!  The motion helps her hips grow strong, and makes it easier for her to be able to walk in water.

So what’s the future hold for this super G.I.R.L.(Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™? Nothing but BIG goals, of course! Irena wants to become a chemist so she can find a cure for SMA and other diseases and be able to help kids just like her. We’re also pretty glad she has several more years to keep conquering those Girl Scout challenges!

Irena is most definitely a G.I.R.L.!  Way to go, Irena!  We love having your bright smile in Girl Scouts!

For the Love of Girl Scouts

A Profile of Giving Back: Henderson Engineers

It takes a community to raise Girl Scouts and our friends at Henderson Engineers are doing their part to build a better future for girls! This amazing partnership began with a cookie recognition event where a Girl Scout dad saw camp needs and realized what a strong partnership Henderson Engineers could have with GSKSMO. Because of that partnership, Henderson has not only given financially to support the Outreach Program, but they’ve volunteered to make necessary repairs and updates to Camp Prairie Schooner!

Girl Scout dad, Jason Wollom took his Daisy daughter, Lily, to participate in an outdoor art program she received as part of Cookie Program. Because of her hard work, Lily had earned the event as a recognition for selling Girl Scout Cookies. While the Girl Scouts took the art class, parents were invited to take a quick tour of Camp Prairie Schooner with our Philanthropy department. Jason Wollom decided to go on the tour and immediately saw an opportunity.

During the visit, Jason was inspired by the incredible opportunities that camp provides and connected GSKSMO’s Melissa Ford with the Henderson Foundation, the philanthropic organization supported by Henderson Engineers. Since then, the Henderson Foundation has made amazing financial gifts to support girls in the Outreach Program and decided to involve their staff in a volunteer work day at camp!

Their support of the Outreach Program is part of Henderson’s focus on education and supporting girls in the urban core. By providing opportunities to these Girl Scouts, Henderson is not only helping the girls, but also the community, because of the projects these Girl Scouts are able to complete. It’s a powerful ripple effect all thanks to supporting girls!

Henderson Engineers volunteers work on the basement and kitchen of Neal Lodge, 2017

In 2017, the Henderson Engineers’ team came out to Camp Prairie Schooner and did some major updates to the property! They renovated the basement of Neal Lodge, including hanging drywall and various other updates. The team deep cleaned the kitchen at Neal Lodge before Zombie Camp, making sure it was ready for all the awesome girls that would come to camp that weekend. Finally, they helped demolish a permatent site! Talk about some seriously awesome work. Their combination of giving through financial support and volunteerism truly makes this partnership special.

Henderson Engineers volunteers demolishing the permatent site, 2017.  DNF18

Thank you to Henderson Engineers for their on-going support of Girl Scouts! They’re joining us in 2018 for another volunteer day and we can’t wait to see what changes they’re able to make at camp. Without volunteers and community supporters like this, Girl Scouts could not provide the vital programming it does. Thank you!

If your organization is interested in helping changes the lives of girls, please contact our VP of Philanthropy, Vanessa Van Goethem-Piela.

A Golden Heart for Girl Scouts

Meet Girl Scout Alum Bernadette “Bernie” Murray

An alumna with a golden heart for Girl Scouts! Meet Bernadette “Bernie” Murray, a Highest Award Girl Scout Alumna, proud member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society AND Daisy’s Circle! Investing in the future of girls has become a passion for Bernie because of the impact the program had on her own life. Being a champion for women has been a lifelong goal – and it all started in a troop.

“I’m constantly working to building up women and to be a champion for women because we’re a minority in my line of work. But it’s something I’ve been doing my whole life and it started with Girl Scouts,” Bernie said, who currently works in cyber security – a male dominated industry.

Bernie entered the Girl Scout world as a Brownie and quickly found herself trying exciting things. She learned to drive a manual transmission car, did winter survival and travelled all over the world. In fact, she’s been to every World Center except India – what an impressive Girl Scout travel resume! Bernie even had a pen pal from one of her Destinations that she reconnected with on LinkedIn recently.

 

Bernie at National Center West in 1984.

Outdoor adventure became a passion as she entered her teen years and she served as a Counselor-In-Training and various other outdoor positions. She travelled to National Center West on a council sponsored trip called “Wyoming Trek.” To this day, she’s still an avid camper and credits a lot of that passion for the outdoors to Girl Scouts. She’s still in touch with girls from her Girl Scout camping days thanks to an outdoor program Facebook group!

“As a teen, Girl Scouts kept me on the straight and narrow. Without Girl Scouts, I would not be the same person I am today,” Bernie said.

This love of camping inspired her Gold Award project, which was creating a camp aid training program. “Girl Scout Cadettes and Seniors would go through this training to learn to work with troops who had leaders who didn’t have a strong background in the outdoors,” Bernie said. The program helped ensure that Girl Scouts got a great outdoor experience, even if their leader was learning alongside them! Today, leaders go through training at our council, but being a true Innovator, Bernie’s program was ahead of its time.

 

Bernie as a CIT at Camp Prairie Schooner

Fast forward several years and Bernie is still camping and finding Girl Scouts popping up in her life. At a work meeting she realized that the presenter was her Gold Award advisor! Those connections with other Girl Scouts and mentors have truly lasted a lifetime for this awesome Girl Scout.

Today, Bernie is a proud member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society, a special group of donors who have included Girl Scouts in their estate plans. Investing in girls was at the top of her list because of the impact the program had on her own life. “In Girl Scouts, I wasn’t told I couldn’t do something. I just did it. Because of that, I thrived. I want to make sure that the next generation continues to have those experiences without financial constraints,” Bernie said.

Thanks to donors like Bernie, Girl Scouts continues to be the top leadership organization for girls in the world. It’s because of dedicated alumna, donors and volunteers that we can build a bright future for girls!

Do you know a special alum like Bernie? Share the story with us using the comments below.

Giving to Help Girls Tell Their Story

In November, GSKSMO asked supporters to help a girl tell her own, unique story by helping her fill her Girl Scout vest. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we raised $12,223.25, which has provided funding to cover the membership dues of 488 local girls who are now able to start telling their Girl Scout story – all thanks to you. A major part of the success of this campaign was a matching gift provided by Sylvia Wagner and E.R. Pullman. As a former board member, Sylvia discovered the power of Girl Scouts is something to invest in because girls are our most powerful resource.

Sylvia Wagner is a former GSKSMO Board Member and philanthropist who advocates for girls and serves as a volunteer and board member for a variety of incredible organizations across multiple states. As the VP of HR for Assurant in New York, Sylvia became a GSKSMO Board Member in the mid-1990s when she moved to Kansas City from Minneapolis. During her time as a Board Member, she learned about the amazing programming and stories of Girl Scouts inspiring her to be a champion for girls.

She first felt the power of a match herself while at a meeting where a match was offered for any gifts given that night. “I was at an evening meeting with Joy Wheeler and other Girl Scouts supporters, where they asked us to make a gift and said ‘if you give tonight, it will be matched.’ I thought ‘oh, that’s really great’ and I gave. This year, when I was asked me to give a match, I did because I think it really matters when there’s a match opportunity,” Sylvia said.

Sylvia is certainly right! Thanks to the gift, #GivingTuesday 2017 was a larger success than GSKSMO has ever seen with this campaign. Girls are celebrating with new vests, new patches and memberships already. With hundreds of girls waiting for funding through the Opportunity Fund at GSKSMO, the money raised helps these girls fulfill their Girl Scouting dreams.

The motivating force for Sylvia to give is the power of the Girl Scouts program and what it offers to girls today. When she joined the Board, she knew very little about the program. She had a son who was a Boy Scout, but she was not a Girl Scout alumna. During her many years of service on the Board, she learned just how life changing the program is. “I’m proud to say I became a Girl Scout in my 40s…which is a little older than most, but it was really fun!,” Sylvia said.

Sylvia and E. Robert Pullman with their son, Nick, in California and celebrating his JD/MBA graduation.  DNF18

“Girl Scouts reinforces all the right things for girls and the programs are just wonderful [… and] when you hear the experiences these girls have, it’s the most compelling reason to give,” said Sylvia. In addition to empowering girls through giving, she loves the sense of gratitude she receives from the Council. “They have a wonderful sense of gratitude, and that makes a world of difference,” Sylvia said.

Gratitude overflows at Girl Scouts because, as an organization, it is built on volunteers and donors who change lives. From troop leaders who are on the ground, working directly with girls, to the donors who build rappel walls and support girls in need, Girl Scouts is a community of people who believe in girls. Because of that, we’re all thankful for everyone who works together to make Girl Scouting a reality.

“[In today’s climate], it’s really important for girls to have a positive place to be, to have positive role models and know that they have not only have a voice, but to use it. That’s what the Girl Scouts enables in these young, impressionable girls,” Sylvia said. That’s why now is an especially important time to give, to invest in girls and give them the tools they need to be the leaders of tomorrow.

STEMing Ahead with Community Partners

Full STEM Ahead!! When it comes to STEM experiences, no organization offers girls the wide range of opportunities that Girl Scouts does. Just ask Girl Scout Troop 5571 from KCMO! This Brownie troop has taken full advantage of the many programs available through the Girl Scout Community Partner Program! In fact, the troop was so active and showcased so many cool things that at recruitment night, they grew from a troop of 6…to a troop of 22! WOW!

“The Community Partner [program] is great. Because we did so many last year, my troop grew from 6 to 22,” Renita Hudson, leader for Troop 5571 said.

Troop 5571 delivering cookies to Fire Station 37 in South KCMO, as a service project.

Showing photos from all their service projects and Community Partner programs really made a difference for parents who weren’t sure what exactly a Girl Scout troop experience was like. Renita was able to show that Girl Scouting is girl-led and that being in a troop gives girls access to experiences they would never be able to have outside the program. Where else can girls get on field experiences with the KC Chiefs, like Troop 5571 did just last month?! Only in Girl Scouts!

This was Renita’s first year leading the troop on her own and the Community Partner opportunities help her create a full troop experience without having to plan every detail. Last year, they participated in  events at Google Fiber, Avila University and the Belger Art Center, just to name a few. It certainly was a busy year of learning for these Brownies.

Renita Hudson and her daughter, Veronica at Inspire a Girl 2017 and participating in STEM activities.

In addition to Community Partner STEM programming, Renita received STEM training from GSKSMO trainer, Kate Hood. “Trainings with Kate were great. She said she was there for us beyond class. Since this is the first time leading on my own, it’s good to know I have someone who can help,” Renita said. The troop even received books to help the girls along their STEM journey. Once the training was over, Renita took the books to her girls and watched their faces light up.

“Just getting the Journey books and seeing all the choices they had made my girls so excited,” Renita said. “[Girl Scouts] is about building our girls up […] and STEM experiences led by women give them confidence.”

As a troop leader, Renita gets to see firsthand the interest in STEM spark in her young girls. For some, incorporating STEM programming can be intimidating, but as Renita has shown, by taking advantage of the programs already available through Girl Scouting, there’s no better place for a girl to grow as a leader in STEM and in life.

Thank you, Renita, for leading girls through STEM adventures. When parents see unrivaled opportunities and want their daughters to be G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM, the future looks BRIGHT for Girl Scouts! If you’d like to know more about the Community Partner Program or have an organization that would like to create opportunities for girls, check out our Community Partners page here!

Supporting G.I.R.L.s Lasts a Lifetime and Beyond

Spotlighting our Newest Juliette Gordon Low Society Member: Ally Spencer

Early October brought Girl Scouts, volunteers and advocates together from all over the country for the ultimate gathering of G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM – the 2017 Girl Scout Convention (G.I.R.L. 2017). Among these delegates voting on the future of Girl Scouting was Ally Spencer and her daughter, Alex, a Girl Scout Senior from Kansas City , Missouri. Serving as delegates allowed these two to spend time together and help shape the future of an organization they’re passionate about. How passionate? Ally serves as Northland Encampment Director, service unit volunteer, troop leader and new member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society! Talk about a family that LOVES Girl Scouting!

Ally Spencer is a proud Girl Scout alumna, but feels her true Girl Scout journey began when Alex was in kindergarten. As often happens, a Daisy troop was forming, but had no leader. Ally hesitantly raised her hand after seeing no other volunteers and it was a life changing moment that has shaped the last decade of her life with her daughter.

“I sent a long email to my membership manager about my first year because it was so magnificent. I talked a lot about my challenges (the membership manager thought I was quitting most of the email she told me later), and ended it saying ‘thank you for one of the best years of my life,’” Ally said. That first year has turned into a decade of service, with her little GS Daisies now strong, independent GS Seniors.

Ally and Troop 2089 at the Kansas City Lyric Opera community partner event (left), at a troop meeting (center) and Alex, her daughter, receiving her Silver Award (right).

One thing Ally particularly loves is the support a service unit can give to new leaders, which ledto her volunteering on a larger scale. “Walking into a service unit meeting is wonderful. Your first year, you don’t know what to say, you don’t know what you don’t know…but at a service unit meeting, you have 30-40 troop leaders there representing probably 100 years+ worth of experience…all there ready to help you,” Ally said.

She took on becoming director of the Northland Encampment, a big event for the Northland Girl Scouts that’s very successful. The 2016 Encampment was a rainy, muddy weekend, but she loved how the Girl Scouts splashed in the mud and found a way to turn the rain into joy.

Northland Encampment over the years.

As a mother, Ally has loved watching her daughter grow into a strong young woman through Girl Scouting. At Convention, Alex had some hard decisions to make when she voted on national issues. After one particularly divided issue, Ally witnessed Alex not only continue to support her vote,  but spoke up to opposition who questioned her decision.

“My daughter said ‘you tell me I’m smart enough to be a delegate [and evaluate decisions] and that I can control our destiny, so I voted the way I thought was appropriate.’ It was a beautiful moment, I thought ‘she’s not a teenage girl right now, she’s an articulate, young lady.’ It’s moments like that you see [in Girl Scouts],” Ally said.

Experiences like this led Ally to join the Juliette Gordon Low Society while at National Convention. This society (previously known as the Trefoil Society at GSKSMO) is for anyone leaving a financial legacy to Girl Scouts in their estate plans.

Ally receiving her Juliette Gordon Low Society pin from Founding Chair, Dianne Belk (left & right). Ally posing with Dianne and Lawrence Calder (center).

“As someone in the corporate world, my time is money. Right now, I can give my time, but when I’m no longer able to give time, leaving a legacy means my giving can continue on past me,” Ally said. In a very special moment, Ally was pinned by JGL Society Founding Chair, Dianne Belk, at Convention.

 

We thank Ally for her service and continued dedication to Girl Scouts. Her volunteer work and leadership is helping girls become all they can be. By joining the Juliette Gordon Low Society, she is creating a positive future for the girls of tomorrow. Thank you for creating lasting change!

 

Do you know a special volunteer we should highlight? Tell us about her or him in the comments below.

Becoming a Woman of Confidence

Spotlight on Alumna & Donor Chris McClain

 Girl Scout Lifetime member and Camp Prairie Schooner alumna, Chris McClain found her voice in the great outdoors at camp as a Girl Scout. Through Girl Scouting, Chris was able to discover who she was, learn acceptance and become the strong woman she is today. Growing up in the 1950s, Chris was given unparalleled opportunities because of Girl Scouts.

Now a resident of Vermont, Chris found herself back among the Prairie Fairy and familiar trails of Camp Prairie Schooner last winter when she was visiting Kansas City. While on a walk through memories and trails of camp, Chris happened upon the GSKSMO Philanthropy team as they were having a meeting. After some introductions, she was able to reconnect with the council and camp of her childhood.

Chris McClain (third from the left), with GSKSMO Philanthropy team in December 2016.

Camping was a huge part of Girl Scouting for Chris. She remembers working at Camp Prairie Schooner and getting to know new girls every time she went. It was a place of discovery where she was able to push her limits and explore possibilities.

During the 1960s, camp was a place where she learned acceptance and social inclusion as race riots in Kansas City changed the dynamics of camp. During the riots, there was a particular push to get Girl Scouts of color to camp, not only for their protection, but to give them a chance to just be girls and focus on their own development. For Chris, this gave her new opportunities to meet girls she’d never met before and see that everyone was accepted. At camp, everyone was a Girl Scout, no matter the social climate in the city.

“[Girl Scouts gives you] the confidence to try stuff outside your comfort zone and to stand up for what you believe is right,” Chris said.

A highlight of her experience was attending a Girl Scout Roundup in Vermont during high school. After applying with thousands of other girls from around the country, she and her troop were accepted and jumped on a train for Vermont. She and 10,000 other Girl Scouts camped together and made new friends. One of the best parts? A closing campfire with the real life Maria Von Trapp!

This Roundup group continues to hold reunions every other year, reuniting Girl Scout friends from around the country. Chris is an active member of planning these reunions and loves the chance to reconnect with one of the most life changing opportunities she had in her childhood.

 

Chris McClain in her home in Vermont and enjoying bagpiping – a hobby and profession for this alumna!

Today, Chris is a proud Girl Scout Lifetime member, an active community member and periodic volunteer for Girl Scouts in Vermont. She loves having opportunities to inspire young girls and give back to the organization that helped her grow into the woman she is today. She’s also become a member of the Trefoil Society, giving back to Girl Scouts through her estate. “After all Girl Scouts did for me, I can finally give back,” Chris said.

Thank you to Chris and the other Trefoil Society members who are leaving a legacy and making a better tomorrow for girls. If you’d like to share a powerful Girl Scouts story from Camp Prairie Schooner, leave a comment below!

Girl Scouts Give Their Heart to Camp!

“We are always looking for places to help, but sometimes the person or place we need to help is right next to us. We have a tendency to look globally, which is great, but sometimes you need to learn to look locally for who you can help.” -Liz Gregoire, Girl Scout Junior Troop 173.

Girl Scout camps are places of adventure and opportunity. Thanks to the work of countless individuals, generous gifts from donors and members of Daisy’s Circle, and Girl Scouts, camps continue to grow to meet the needs of the girls they serve. This effort to keep improving camps has inspired girls to find ways to give back themselves. Check out these three inspiring stories about new opportunities added to camps for girls by girls!

GAGA BALL PIT

It all started with the GaGa Ball Pit! In 2015, Service Units 638 & 639 added a GaGa Pit to Camp Prairie Schooner as a Day Camp service project. Girl Scout dad, Bill Schneider worked with Site Manager, Zac Sibert, to plan the project and coordinated the teens on build day. While Bill handled all the cutting of the wood, girls helped assemble, stain and drill on the project to make it come to life.

“We wanted another experience for the girls…[a GaGa Pit] is competition, fun and not too physically demanding while still getting your heart pumping,” Mr. Schneider said. The GaGa Pit has since been a place where girls can go for free-form fun. It’s organic play that the girls can do during down time and where girls meet new people. This project has since inspired two troops to give back to camp and complete their Bronze Award projects!

9 SQUARE GAME

Junior Troop 173 from Lee’s Summit, MO gave back by building a 9 Square game in Farmer’s Field for their Bronze Award. The troop knew they wanted to give back to Girl Scouts, so they walked around Camp Prairie Schooner and made note of their favorite things and the GaGa Pit was the top option.

“What our girls love about the GaGa Pit is that they get to meet other girls, so we built something in Farmer’s Field that could do the same thing,” Liz Gregoire, Troop 173 leader said. Part of the appeal of 9 Square was that it was a structure the girls could build without a lot of adult help and they could be creative.

Through the process, the girls learned to write donation request letters and how to build the structure. They printed rules that hang by the game and can see the result of their work every time they visit camp. “By seeing an activity you did within Girl Scouting, you will see it year after year and how it gets utilized by your troop and other girls. While service projects for other organizations are great, you don’t get to see the lasting results like you do giving back to Girl Scouts,” said Liz.

OUTDOOR JENGA

Gaming fun! An outdoor Jenga set was added by Junior Troop 1963 from Shawnee Mission, KS, also as a Bronze Award project. The troop got supplies donated and with the help of parents, they measured, cut and stained the game. While the actual cuts were done by adults, the girls did all the measuring, wore all the safety gear and were taught about the tools that were being used for the project.

“Giving back makes their experience better and gives them ownership in the camp. They see immediately value in their service by seeing other girls enjoying their project,” said Barb Janssen, Troop 1963 leader.

While they originally planned to go to several stores to inquire about donations, they only needed to make one stop – Home Depot! Melissa from that store donated the wood, stain and sandpaper to make this project a reality. We love it when the community comes out to help girls.

“My favorite thing about the project was getting to build something that every girl in Kansas and Missouri is going to be able to use,” said Jessica Janssen, one of the Girl Scouts who built the Jenga set. The troop donated the game just before their Day Camp, so the Girl Scouts got to see other girls using the game right away. Thanks for this awesome addition to camp!

What an inspiring set of projects! These girls are giving back and making camp better than ever – thank you! Together, we are making camp an absolutely incredible place to be.

Do you love our beloved camps as much as our featured Girl Scouts? You can join us in continuing to support these awesome experiences. Right now, your gift has double the power to help girls get the outdoor experiences they need! The Feist Charitable Foundation is offering a matching investment of $10,000 to underwrite Outdoor Adventure Programming at Camp Prairie Schooner and enable program to develop and grow. Now is a great time to make your gift have twice the impact! You can give now by visiting www.gsksmo.org/Donate

Have you tried out one of these awesome girl-inspired and created activities? Share your experience using the comments below.

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!