Taking the World by Storm

Meet Girl Scout Junior & Inventor Julia Luetje

From class project to world class design, our very own Girl Scout Junior Julia Luetje’s Storm Sleeper is taking the world by, well, storm! Julia is one of just five finalists in Frito-Lays national Dreamvention Competition!

You see, Julia has always been afraid of storms and living in the Midwest, the storms can be pretty loud and crazy. So when her 4th grade science competition came around, she was inspired to officially create something that might help others who were also afraid of storms. Using a lot of hot glue, a couple of bulky pillows, a blanket and a blue tooth speaker, the Storm Sleeper was born. Think of it as a specialized, high-tech pillow fort that not only blocks out the sights and sounds of storms, but obnoxious siblings and snoring parents, too!

A couple months later she was watching EllenTube and saw a call for Innovation submissions for the Dreamvention Competition and she was compelled to enter.

The Dreamvention competition has been an exciting whirlwind for the entire Luetje family! Mom and Dad found out early on that Julia was selected as a finalist, but they had to keep it a secret from Julia until she flew down to Austin, TX for what she thought was a semi-finalist meeting in early September. Upon her arrival with just four other young inventors, she was presented with a professionally made prototype and the news that she was among the top 5!

As a finalist she received $10,000, a professional prototype of her invention as well as support to patent and trademark the Storm Sleeper.

Throughout the process, Julia has sought support from her fellow Girl Scout sisters. She used troop meetings to test early prototypes and drew from projects she had done in Girl Scouts to help her actually construct the Storm Sleeper.

But now, she really needs her Girl Scout sisters’ support!

“I need votes,” Julia says!

The Dreamvention with the most votes by November 27 will win big – they’ll win a one-hour mentoring session with a celebrity mentor and $250,000.

Simply visit www.mydreamvention.com every day through November 27 on all your devices and vote for her Storm Sleeper!

Ultimately, Julia just hopes that her invention helps others – people and pets alike! Whether they’re scared of storms, or have sensory sensitivity the storm sleeper is going to make a difference in the lives of others and she’s plans to take it to market, no matter the outcome of the competition!

Julia with her parents Chucker Luetje and Susan Bernstein Luetje and her prototype and the finalists meeting.

“Winning would be crazy because I never would have thought that I would be doing this especially since I’m 10 and helping out other people is just something everyone should do and that’s really kind. It’s exciting to know that it can help other people and that my ideas are coming to life,” Julia said in a story with Fox4 Kansas City.

Gymnast. Student Council President. Inventor. Girl Scout. Let’s help Julia add Dreamvention Champion to that already impressive resume!

Don’t forget to vote every day, on all your devices for the Storm Sleeper and share with your network!

The Ultimate Go-Getter

A Gold Award Alumna Spotlight

Gold Award Girl Scouts are go-getters to the ultimate degree. Through the Gold Award, they spend over 100 hours solving a problem in a sustainable way that positively impacts their community. It’s no wonder that these Girl Scouts go on to achieve some pretty remarkable things! Meet Amanda Stanley, a Gold Award alumna who turned tremendous personal obstacles into a profession and life of positivity.

Amanda started Girl Scouts as a Junior in Wichita. As the first Girl Scout troop at the school, she got to help younger girls learn the ropes…Sometimes, quite literally! One of her favorite annual service projects was teaching Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies  to camp – how to tie knots, pitch a tent and cook over a campfire. It’s no wonder that this love of service translated into an awesome Gold Award project.

During high school, Amanda saw a need for a better way to organize volunteers at a living history museum she volunteered at. This was before digital databases were common (early 2000s), but looking forward, Amanda knew this would be a good solution to the problem. “My biggest challenge was all the places they had volunteer data. You’ve got paper data and data in excel sheets and word documents and jotted on pieces of paper and trying to put that into a usable system was difficult,” Amanda said.

Amanda and her troop at a camping event – one of her early service projects; Amanda as a Cowtown volunteer; Receiving her award for her Gold Award project.

Her project produced a usable database for the Old Cowtown Museum, allowing the organization to find volunteers with those unique “living history” skills, when they needed them. It’s not always easy to know who can play a blacksmith or teach kids to churn butter! But the database let them find those volunteers – all thanks to the work of a Girl Scout!

“What I love about the Gold Award, and why I think it’s important for girls now, is that it makes you look at a problem and see if you can come up with a solution. You then plan it out, work on time management and figure out how your project will create good,” Amanda said.

During high school she also got to participate in Girl Scout Destinations, including one to Washington D.C. focusing on art. “We went to art galleries, stayed with a Girl Scout family for a night, did art projects that I still have hanging on my wall. It was a great way to see the monuments and city,” said Amanda.

Amanda and her mother who served as troop leader; Amanda’s troop at a horse riding event.

Completing her Gold Award earned Amanda two scholarships and she attended Newman University in Wichita where she got a degree in Biology. From there she went to the KU Med, on her way to becoming an MD. After her first year of medical school she was diagnosed with cancer and, always the fighter, she had surgery, it went into remission and she returned to school. After her second year, the cancer came back, she had another surgery and decided to take a year off to focus on her recovery. During that year, she decided life was too short to not be in a career she completely loved…so she took the LSAT and enrolled in law school! Talk about a driven G.I.R.L.!

“I knew I wanted to leave all through my second year, but was too scared because I didn’t have a backup plan. Plus…no one drops out of medical school. But during my year off and almost dying…I realized life was far too short to go to work and hate your job every day,” Amanda said.

In 2014 Amanda graduated from KU Law and is now working for the League of Kansas Municipalities. She travels around Kansas, teaches classes to city officials and loves her job. She is also a lobbyist for local governments to the KS legislature, meaning she testifies in front of committees and really makes an impact on the Kansas government.

As a Girl Scout alumna, she sees the benefits of the program for today’s girls, just like it positively impacted her. Girl Scouting gave her the courage and more importantly, gave her people “in her corner” who were there to support her. “We are in a unique time in history where girls have come a long way, but there are still implicit biases, discrimination and stereotypes – like girls aren’t good at science – that Girl Scouts gives you the tools to combat. It teaches that a stereotype is just a stereotype and if you’re motivated, you can do whatever you want,” Amanda said.

We couldn’t be more proud of this incredible G.I.R.L.! She’s recently decided to become a volunteer at Girl Scout Day at the Capitol, helping girls learn more about the KS government she loves so much. Thank you, Amanda, for continuing to support girls and for being such a great example of a Girl Scout alumna!

G.I.R.L. 2017 – That’s a Wrap!

A GSKSMO Point of View

Earlier this month, Girl Scouts of the USA held their National Council Session and Convention – G.I.R.L. 2017. Thousands of Girl Scouts, and those who support them, came together for the largest girl-led event in the world! But, you didn’t have to look far to spot a member of our council! Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri was well represented with four girl delegates, six adult volunteer delegates, a staff member on the planning team and a girl member on the G-Team (the nickname for the girl-led planning team). To top it off, our own Gold Award Alumna and Miss Teen USA, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff was a G.I.R.L. speaker among other women including Gabby Douglas, Chelsea Clinton, Mae Jemison and Barbara Pierce Bush!

Over the course of four days, Columbus, OH was turned Girl Scout green. This national event kicked off with the 54th National Council Session where delegates were responsible for influencing the strategic direction of the Movement  by providing guidance to the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors, in the form of electing new board members, amending the Constitution and proposing positive change. After the official business was done, G.I.R.L. 2017 truly kicked off with inspiring speakers, entertaining performances and a celebration of all G.I.R.L.s (go-getters, innovators, risk-takers & leaders).

For our girl delegates Akela C., Aidin M., Lauren M., and Amanda M. and G-Team Member, Caroline S., this was a Girl Scout experience of a lifetime!

Left: Delegates and Staff of GSKSMO. Right: Delegates Lauren , Aidin & Amanda with G-Team Member Caroline (2nd from Left).

What was it like to be a Convention delegate?

Being a delegate was pretty scary at first. But once I really understood what I was doing, it felt like a proud commitment that I could remember.
   -Akela C., Delegate

Being a delegate at convention was a wonderful experience. I learned about parliamentary procedure and how the voting process works.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

To be a convention delegate was a once in a life time opportunity to meet new people and get a say in the decisions of tomorrow. Some of the discussions were long during the voting process but every new speaker brought up a new and unique point that added to the conversation of pros and cons and even long term implications.
   -Lauren M., Delegate

It was amazing and such an empowering experience!  Being in the presence of some of the most amazing and accomplished women in the world was awing.
   -Amanda M., Delegate

What was it like to be on the G-Team, Caroline?

Being a part of the G-Team was being a part of a sisterhood. Through countless hours of work during the year and a half we had to plan G.I.R.L, we worked as a pack, even when we got no sleep. Helping each other up and cheering each other on with every step we took.  Each girl on G-TEAM was on a different sub-team. I was on the Marketing and Design team, and I worked with four other girls to reach people on social media, design the look of convention, and also run girl spaces at G.I.R.L. As an entire G-Team we went to Columbus the summer before Convention in 2016, and went to Edith Macy conference center in New York and GSUSA in NYC in August of 2017. Through these two trips we had conference calls, meetings, and more than anything we bonded as a team. The special thing about the women on my sub-committee was their drive towards something bigger than themselves. Each time we met, they inspired me to go further, to reach as high as possible, and be a woman of confidence and kindness.
   -Caroline S., G-Team

Describe G.I.R.L. 2017 in 280 characters or less.

G.I.R.L. 2017 was an inspiring experience that showed me how to be a G.I.R.L. and opened up new experiences for me.
   -Akela C., Delegate

 very girl at Convention had the opportunity to meet other girls from around the world through breakout sessions, SWAPS, or simply talking to many different people. G.I.R.L was a hub of girl power. Everywhere you turned the event fostered creativity and excitement, and every girl came out of the event feeling proud to be a G.I.R.L.
-Caroline S., G-Team Member

G.I.R.L. 2017 was a wonderful, life-changing experience that I will never forget; bringing girls from all over the nation together to make decisions for the future of Girl Scouts. I made lifelong friendships at convention and have irreplaceable memories. I’m so honored that I was a part of this experience.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

G.I.R.L. 2017 was an event to include and inspire girls and women from all walks of life to be Go-Getters, Risk Takers, Innovators, and Leaders.  Speakers from all over the world flew into Columbus, Ohio to launch the next generation of leaders.  In less than a week Girl Scouts of the USA changed thousands of lives, forever.
   -Amanda M., Delegate

GSKSMO Delegates with GSUSA CEO, Sylvia Acevedo.

What inspired you or surprised you about G.I.R.L. 2017?

Convention had several surprises and inspiring moments. The biggest surprise to me was that I went into this event thinking the role I played in planning G.I.R.L would be the most inspiring and exciting aspect of the trip. While it was exciting to see our hard work put into action, it was more so all the other women I met that inspired me the most. I met women from all over the world who were determined to make a positive impact on the Girl Scouting Movement.
   -Caroline S., G-Team Member

I loved the feeling of being included and knowing that I had friends everywhere I went in both the city and the event hall, we really did turn Columbus Girl Scout green!
-Amanda M., Delegate

I was inspired by all the speakers that shared their stories and careers. The speakers taught me that it is okay that I am not set on my future (none of them were). Sally Jewell, the 51st Secretary of Interior, originally was going to be a dentist. She went on to work on an outdoor clothing line and was appointed by President Obama which is pretty cool.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

At convention, one of the things that inspired me were how brave some of the girls were to get up and challenge ideas, even when they weren’t popular. It showed me that while many people adhere to the status quo, we don’t have to. We can challenge ideas when we see fit.
   -Akela C., Delegate

 What speaker resonated the most with you? Why?

The speaker that resonated with me the most was Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff, Miss Teen USA. She is from my hometown, and she’s not only Miss Teen USA, but a Gold Award recipient as well. She said that she was Sophia first, and everything else second. This was inspiring not only because it shows anyone can make an impact, but that your achievements don’t have to become your identity.
   -Akela C., Delegate

NASA Astronaut, Mae Jemison resonated with me because she asked us, “What do you INTEND to be?” instead of “What are you going to be?” Which I answered with I intend to be a good student, to go to college, and become a lifetime Girl Scout. Also Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff was awesome to hear speak because she had earned her Gold Award, is Miss Teen USA, graduated high school and going to college a year early… all at 17. Just one year older than me. That’s crazy!!! Also she was just super nice in general; being from her council made us feel more connected.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

Gold Award recipient Vilmarie Ocasio resonated the most with me because while presenting her Gold Award she spoke with contagious passion and inspired me to take a step forward in my community and make a change for the better.
   -Amanda M., Delegate

As an emcee at the opening ceremony, I got the chance to introduce Mae Jemison on stage and ask her a couple of questions. I was absolutely astounded by her story. I am inspired because as a woman who would like to go into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) field, she inspires me to never give in to the setbacks that may come in my way. Mae had a passion for something bigger than herself, and she never took no for an answer on her path to success.
   -Caroline S., G-Team

GSKSMO Girl Scouts with Gold Award Alumna & Miss Teen USA, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff.

What did you learn at Convention that you want to bring back to your troop, service unit or council?

At G.I.R.L I learned that women can achieve the impossible if we are working as one. From my role on the G-Team and listening to other speakers talk, I saw firsthand the work that we can accomplish if we bind together. I also realized how important it is for all Girl Scouts to encourage other girls to join the Girl Scouting Movement. In my life and in the lives of many other girls I have met, we would not have had the same learning experiences if we had not been in Girl Scouts, and this is something we need to share with the world! Girl Scouting is so powerful and positive, it should be spread to all!
   -Caroline S., G-Team

It’s vital that we keep girls and women in Girl Scouts, and doing so will change the world for the better.  By encouraging girls to go outside, learn about the world, and explore new places and ideas we can foster a new generation of Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders!
   –Amanda M., Delegate

One thing I learned at convention that I wanted to bring back was how many amazing opportunities there are for Girl Scouts. Many people tend to think of Girl Scouts as sitting quietly at a table sewing and making baskets, but we have the opportunities to go rock climbing, hiking, camping, diving, swimming, and so, so much more.
   -Akela C., Delegate

I learned about how big the Girl Scouts is; that we have so many sisters around the United States and world. I will take back my excitement and passion for the future of Girl Scouts back to my service unit and troop.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

Is there anything else you want to share about your Convention experience?

For any girls who have the opportunity to go as a Delegate or just attend convention, you should. You might have to travel far but you will meet people from all over the world and as a Delegate you will get to leave your imprint on Girl Scouts. You might meet people with opposing views or people that have a different life path than you but being able to share this Girl Scout experience with so many other people is extremely inspiring. At convention, you are not only told how the world is your oyster but how you can make the work as your oyster and they encourage you to do so.
   -Lauren M., Delegate

I would encourage anyone if they have the opportunity to go to the 2020 National Girl Scout Convention in Orlando, FL. This event was truly life changing for everyone who attended, and the next convention will be too.
   -Caroline S., G-Team

Thank you, Girl Scouts, for representing GKSMO so incredibly well!

Girl Scouting for Girls

Boy Scouts of America officially announced its plan to bring girls into its organization.  Girls can enter as Cub Scouts in 2018, and then by 2019 at other grade levels including high school girls who will be allowed to earn the Eagle Scout Award.  Girls and boys are not the same. Therefore, we do not agree that the Boy Scout Program meets the unique and specific needs of a girl’s leadership journey.

Girl Scouts has 105 years of experience in supporting girls to develop leadership skills in a girl-only supportive environment.  A girl’s life is primarily experienced in a coed environment.  Significant data and research suggests that girls thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risks, succeed, fail and learn in the company of other girls.  Girl Scouts offers that in an outside the classroom experience. This extensive research guides our programs delivered in the unique way girls learn. Our focus on leadership skills development and preparing girls to meet future workplace demands offers progressive girl led opportunities throughout her Girl Scout experience.

We are incredibly proud to offer our more than 23,000 Girl Scouts opportunities for adventure, inspiration, and valuable mentoring. We offer hands-on, girl-centered learning in STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship, and abundant opportunities to develop invaluable life skills. Girl Scouts helps all girls take the lead early and often.  Our highly valued volunteers and community leaders serve as role models and mentors for guiding girls in these experiences.

Our girls need even more opportunities to take the lead. Our girls need a girl-only safe space where they can grow their courage, confidence and character. Our girls need adult role models; women and men who will support them every step of the way.

A Girl Scout Dad Perspective

Jared Bixby, Education Professional from Manhattan, KS

Jared with his Girl Scout daughter fishing.

“As a father of a girl and a boy, I stand with Girl Scouts!

As a parent, my daughter does not come second.

As a parent, my son does not come second.

As a parent, I make sacrifices for the development of my kids because I want them to grow up to be strong, caring, successful individuals.

It’s not about convenience, Boy Scouts of America.

Let me repeat, it’s not about convenience, parents.

Our family is involved in soccer, 4-H, gymnastics, etc. These are things that our kids want to do and we make them happen for them. We take the interest of our kids and we find activities that match their interest and make them work. That’s what parents do.

It’s what’s best for your girl. I will not provide even the glimmer of thought that my daughter is second to my son because of convenience, Boy Scouts of America. My daughter deserves the best I can provide, and I trust in Girl Scouts and the 100+ years of research that guides their girl leadership development approach to do just that. That’s what I want for my daughter.

I challenge all dads of girls: Are you #ManEnoughToBeAGirlScout?

I AM!

My family strongly believes in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides, which creates a space for girls to learn and thrive. Girl Scouts works and we’re committed to preparing our daughter as a next generation woman leader with Girl Scouts.”

Want more information? Check out:

Girl Scouts is the Girl Leadership Expert

The Girl Scout Difference

The Case for Girl Scouts: Research & Data

From Gold Award to the Silver Screen

Spotlight on Filmmaker and Gold Award Alumna, Morgan Dameron

Morgan Dameron has known that she wanted to make movies ever since she was old enough to figure out what a movie was. As a young Girl Scout Brownie, she remembers being fascinated with the coveted Polaroid camera and the camcorder that that was just as big as she was. “I used to make my family members and pets re-enact scenes from Disney animated films in my living room,” Morgan said!

When Morgan was in high school in the early her passion for film grew and the arts scene in Kansas City was only beginning to blossom into what it is today. With the leadership skills she learned through Girl Scouting, Morgan influenced the film scene for women and teens. She was an honorary board member for Kansas City Women in Film, founded the youth division of the Kansas City Independent Filmmakers Coalition and started the first ever film festival for the Kansas City Teen Star.

“Having that idea of being a leader, following my dreams and having a support system of other strong-willed girls and leaders of our troop really influenced me growing up.”

It’s no surprise that when it came time to think about her Gold Award, making a movie was what Morgan knew she wanted to do for her project. With some help from the Women in Film Commission, Morgan wrote and produced a short-film called Finding Harmony; a story about a young woman and older man who formed an unlikely friendship through music.

“I had to raise the money, cast, shoot and do everything. The amount of hard work that is required is a lesson I was able to learn so young is a result of my Gold Award project.”

That lesson has paid off, ten-fold.

Morgan graduated from Pembrooke High School in 2007 and attended University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts on a full-ride scholarship. While at USC, she made short films that played in film festivals all around the world. When she graduated, she landed a job with a production company in Los Angeles where she worked on movies including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek Into Darkness and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Yep, she worked with the amazingly talented Film Director J.J. Abrams.

Now at the age of 28, Morgan’s first-ever feature full length film Different Flowers is being screened in theatres across the United States.

“I had always wanted to tell stories since I was little girl. I had gone to USC to film school and worked in the industry for 5 years and the time was right to make this movie. I was just bursting at the seams to make my first film and nothing was going to get in my way,” Morgan said.

Morgan made a plan. Plan A was to make a movie; there was no plan B.

“It’s been a year!” Morgan said.

Different Flowers is a dramedy feature film full of kooky characters, and real heart inspired by the relationships and surroundings of Morgan’s childhood, growing up in Missouri. Characters, Millie and Emma are sisters with a rocky past who are each stuck in their ways and bring out the best – and worst – in each other. When Emma helps Millie run out on her wedding, they embark on an adventure neither could have anticipated. It’s a story about following your heart, and how, sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. And that’s okay.

Shot on location in Kansas City and surrounding areas, Different Flowers isn’t only about women but it’s powered by women too. Something that was important to Morgan as a female filmmaker. “I really wanted it to feel authentically Kansas City and authentically mid-western. I wanted it to be infused in every element.”

Morgan spared no detail in achieving that feel. The cinematographer is from Kansas City, many of the sound tracks are by local musicians including Sarah Morgan, Darling Side and Brewer and Shipley, one of the necklaces worn by a cast member is made by a Kansas City jewelry artist and Millie’s wedding dress was designed by Kansas City Designer, Emily Hart.

This project was a family affair for all of the Damerons and they were promoted from their home movie roles they played in the 90’s for Morgan’s first feature-length film! Morgan’s younger sisters and fellow Gold Award recipients Natalie and Mallory have cameos in the film in the bridal suite, her Dad is the reverend and Mom plays Chef Suza.

Different Flowers also has some connections to Morgan’s Gold Award project film, Finding Harmony. The lead actor from that film, Ari Bavel, has a supporting role as a Boulevard Delivery Man in Different Flowers.

“The Gold Award has stuck with me. Even though you know it’s going to be so much work, you know that it’s going to be so rewarding to do what you know you love to do,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s sister Natalie also got to use skills she learned through her own Gold Award project, serving as the on-set photographer for the film!

Photos by Gold Award Alumna, Natalie Dameron.

“The biggest piece of advice I can give is to give yourself permission to follow your dreams. Don’t wait for someone else to give it to you. You have the tools you need to tell your story, you can make it happen. The Gold Award is a good experience to just try it,” Morgan said!

We love that Morgan’s Gold Award project inspired her to follow her dreams and that she’s using the leadership skills she gained through her Girl Scouting experience to continue empowering adult women to pursue theirs!

Different Flowers is being shown at AMC Town Center in Overland Park, KS and AMC Barrywoods in Kansas City, MO beginning Sept. 29, check their websites for show times. Want to meet the Leader and filmmaker Morgan Dameron?! She’ll be doing a talk-back on Oct. 1 at AMC Town Center following the 5:10pm showing and at AMC Barrywoods following the 7:00pm showing!

Check out the trailer for Different Flowers!   And, make plans to join us! Let’s pack the theater with Girl Scouts!!

A Troop of Innovators

Girl Scout Junior Troop 1287 Brings Energy-Efficient Upgrades to Owl’s Nest

INNOVATOR – Thinking outside the box is her specialty. She’s always looking for a creative way to take action. She knows how to get things done.

When you think of an innovator, are these some of traits that come to mind? There couldn’t be a better example of innovation than Girl Scout Junior Troop 1287 from Independence, Missouri. These Girl Scouts ROCK!

Troop 1287 from Independence, MO needed to complete an energy audit to complete their Get Moving Journey, and of course one of their favorite places at Camp Prairie Schooner came to mind. What is this special place that many Girl Scouts call a favorite? Owl’s Nest, of course! This building is perfect for a troop camp-out whether in the spring, fall, summer or winter.

As Troop 1287 completed their energy audit, they discovered that Owl’s Nest needed a little TLC to make it more energy efficient. These Girl Scouts had a plan… what if they took on some of the energy efficient upgrades as a Take Action project? And going even bigger, what about if it was their Bronze Award project?

The girls knew this would be a HUGE undertaking. It would take a lot of support from their troop leaders, family members and definitely some financial resources. These challenges did not stop this troop of innovators.  They went BIG & BOLD and began gathering their resources and talking with Site Manager Zac and the property team.

What’s super cool about this project is that every girl had a role and then they used that troop teamwork to make the changes a reality. And, every Girl Scout used their innovator skills to think about who they could ask or what resources they could bring.

“My dad is an electrician so he helped us install the fans and add new outlet plates,” said Kadence. “I loved working alongside him and learning how to do some of the electrical work.”

The talent pool on this project was tremendous: a grandma with incredible sewing ability to show the girls how to make the new curtains, a dad with plumbing skills, parents who opened doors to in-kind gifts of rock and other supplies and all family members who gave these Girl Scouts the support they needed to finish a project like this. Girl Scouting is a family affair, and we are so thankful that Troop 1287 and our entire council has awesome adults like these!

These Girl Scouts were able to do so much for Owl’s Nest because of a generous micro grant they received from KCP&L and a few other donations from local supporters. To prepare to write the grant for KCP&L, two Girl Scouts (Cecilia and Isabella) met with our Philanthropy team. Then these Girl Scouts went to work sharing all about their project and how it was going to have a huge impact. Yep, these two awesome Girl Scouts wrote and submitted a grant. Not many 5th graders can say that!

And guess what? Troop 1287 was one of 23 recipients of the 2017 KCP&L micro grants!

“I felt so excited when we found out that we got the grant,” Cecilia said. “I felt such a sense of accomplishment!”

Now that these Girl Scouts had their resources, it was time to roll up their sleeves and get to work. And work they did! These Girl Scouts caulked windows and behind the fireplace, they created and put up signs throughout Owl’s Nest sharing of its new energy efficiencies, they sewed and hung up new curtains, they installed an exhaust fan and four ceiling fans in the main room, they put in new rock and solar lights at the fire circle, painted cabinets and doors, added a microwave, put in a new shower head and toilet seat and bought new plastic cups and plates with owls. And coming soon – two new doors and a glass top oven. Wow!

These Girl Scouts used every resource they had to bring incredible improvements to Owl’s Nest. And, these Girl Scouts won’t let anyone tell them that girls can’t do these renovations. They are strong, innovators and know they can accomplish anything.

“We can do anything that boys do and if anyone says differently than showing them the results of this project proves them wrong,” Isabella said.

That’s right, Isabella!

So what’s next for Troop 1287? Well, they will officially bridge to Girl Scout Cadettes in October and then we hope they will start thinking about the Silver Award and onto Gold.

Troop 1287, you are AWESOME! We are so appreciative of your hard work and know your Girl Scout sisters are going to love the energy efficiency you have brought to Owl’s Nest. Does your troop want to take on a project at one of our camps? We would love it! Let us know in the comments below.

G.I.R.L.ing in the Rocky Mountains

Go-getters. Innovators. Risk-takers. Leaders. The 15 Girl Scout Cadettes who went on our Rocky Mountain Park Excursion are truly G.I.R.L.s. They hiked over 15 miles in three days, summited a mountain, restored a trail in the National Park, camped in black bear country while using the skills they learned through Girl Scouting.

“Try new things, work hard, and always help out are things I’ve learned in Girl Scouts,” Leah Perila said.

That’s exactly what Leah and 14 other Girl Scouts did during their six days in the Rocky Mountains!

A week in the Rocky Mountains is challenging for anyone, Girl Scout or not. You have to be prepared physically and mentally for this kind of experience; prepared to be away from home with others you’ve only just met and without cell service for unknown periods of time, prepared to contribute to the group at all times and prepared to trust in adults who are committed to the safety and enjoyable experience of all involved.

As a Girl Scout, Paige Hwang feels ready for anything to happen and was totally prepared for a week in the Rocky Mountains. “This trip exceeded my expectations. We got to climb a mountain, meet cool people, do trail work and make food over a fire,” she said.

For many of the girls, the afternoon spent doing trail restoration in the Rocky Mountain National Park was their favorite part of the trip. The group met two National Park Service Rangers, Ben and Marika (a Girl Scout alumna!), and hiked a quarter of a mile up the mountain with shovels, pick axes, crow bars and tarps to narrow a trail that had grown too large. The work process involved prying large rocks out of the side of the mountain and rolling them down to the trail to create a natural barrier on the trail that was popular for equestrian rides. Holes had to be dug for the large rocks in the trail and smaller rocks placed and crushed around it to keep it in place. Then girls gathered tuff, a combination of pine needles, twigs and dirt to scatter on the outer part of the new trail to make it look as naturally occurring as possible. At the end of the afternoon, they were asking if there was more work to be done! Ben and Marika had nothing but the highest praise for the amount of work that our Girl Scouts did!

The group collectively felt challenged during their three major hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park; the first at Bear Lake, the second to The Pool and the final one to the summit of Deer Mountain. Each hike a little more difficult than the previous one. They talked about how discouraged they felt during the long ascents, but how they were inspired by the scenery and thought of accomplishment that they were able to empower themselves to keep moving forward.

“I was challenged mentally by thinking I couldn’t do it, but once I thought positive I did better,” Zoey Christensen said.

The views at the end of the hikes did not disappoint!

“The beauty and wonder of the mountains met my expectations, but the wonderful friends I made exceeded them. Girl Scouts has taught me to socialize and talk to new people. Without Girl Scouts, I would be one of the most lonely and socially-awkward people on the face of the Earth!” Cassidy Freeman

We are excited to challenge, inspired and have girls make new friends at our next council-led excursion to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota in July 2019! Stay tuned to our social media for registration details!

 

Inspiring the STEM G.I.R.L.s of Tomorrow!

Spotlighting Girl Scout Alumna Emily Meyer

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math…STEM. It’s a term that we hear a lot today. Getting kids interested in STEM, especially girls, has become a focus for Girl Scouts so we can fill the STEM pipeline and change the statistics that report less than 20% of STEM jobs being filled by women. One Girl Scout alumna who’s making a difference is Emily Meyer! Emily is the STEM Education Program Manager at Science City (one of our awesome Community Partners) and has a passion for engaging girls in STEM! By showing girls how cool science, technology, engineering and math can be when they’re young, we can change the future and take advantage of the greatest untapped resource of the future – G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM!

Emily Meyer loved her Girl Scouting experience as a girl. She fondly remembers exploring the outdoors with her troop, spending time at camp and trading SWAPs. The memories of camp still fill her mom’s house with little blasts from the past still in daily use. “My mom still uses a popsicle stick napkin holder I made at camp. I’m not sure if she’s repaired it or it was made with really good glue, but she still has it. She also still has my SWAPs hat…that I’ve been able to share with my daughter’s troop,” Emily said.

 

Left: Cadence’s Daisy Troop 5006; Right: Emily and Cadence having fun

Fast forward a few decades from those camp days and Emily is now the proud Girl Scout mom to Girl Scout Daisy, Cadence. She decided to put Cadence in Girl Scouts because of the positive experience she had as a girl. “Girl Scouts was such a big part of my childhood. [With Cadence’s troop] I get to be really involved with planning activities and things like that,” Emily said. Recently she helped the troop plan, plant and maintain a butterfly garden full of daisies at their elementary school! The troop did everything, from planting the seeds to transferring them to the garden to agreeing to maintain the garden over the summer. What a cool way to introduce girls to STEM!

In addition to awesome projects like this, Emily is shaping the STEM experience for girls at Science City. After graduating with a degree in biology and chemistry she became a researcher and was asked to go to a school to talk about life cycles with children. That one trip was all it took for Emily to realize how much she loved STEM education and she went back to school to get a graduate degree in education!

 

Emily  (and Emily and Emily and Emily!) at Science City’s Genetics Exhibit: Unlock the Code, playing with the Duplication Station

Now, Emily gets to teach and inspire a love of STEM every day at Science City and create programming for groups like Girl Scouts! She was proud to see that the three of the top winners of the 2017 Greater Kansas City Science & Engineering Fair were high school girls with truly inspiring projects. How inspiring to see girls making a statement in science so young!

Teaching STEM is more than just a career, it’s combating a global issue on a local scale. The more girls we can expose to STEM, the more we can fill the STEM pipeline of the future. More than that, it’s a way to develop skills that every G.I.R.L. needs – not just those going into STEM as a career. “Teaching STEM isn’t just about creating more scientists, because science isn’t for everyone. STEM education is about encouraging curiosity, developing critical thinking skills and learning that failure is okay,” Emily said. We couldn’t agree more!

Thank you, Emily, for all you do at Science City and for creating opportunities for girls all over Kansas City and beyond. We love the partnership with Science City and can’t wait to see the new, innovative ways we can come up with to inspire girls in STEM!

Click here to learn more about Science City events with Girl Scouts!

A Go-getter from Gold to Polar Bears

Spotlight on Go-Getter and Gold Award Girl Scout, Jenny Stern

A Go-getter. Someone who is bold, honest and determined to succeed. In her mind, failure is no reason not to get back up and try again, and again. That’s Jenny Stern, G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™, 2012 Gold Award Recipient and graduate student at the University of Washington studying polar bears and how what they eat changes with climate change.

How cool is that?!

Her goal is to become a professor that focuses on research, education and outreach and she credits her Girl Scout experiences with her life aspirations.

During her senior year, Jenny volunteered as a childcare assistant for a local English Language Learners (ELL) class. Each week, she would play games with the children and read the few books that were in the space they were using. While volunteering, she saw an opportunity for a deeper experience and her Gold Award project took shape. Jenny organized a book drive and designed a free reading program for the children of the ELL attendees to learn English at the same time as their parents. To sustain the program, she coordinated and trained volunteers!

Jenny as a Girl Member with her troop!

“My Gold Award was my first experience designing and implementing a large project,” Jenny explained. “This experience prepared me for my coursework and research completed as an undergraduate as well as implementing my project as a graduate student.”

Not only is Jenny a Gold Award Recipient, but she’s a Beth Winters Scholarship recipient as well! As a Girl Scout Alumna, she now serves on the Beth Winters Scholarship Panel helping to select other Girl Scouts who have demonstrated an excellence in leadership and service to receive the same scholarship she did.

“Girl Scouts taught me the importance of service from a very young age. My troop focused on improving our community and demonstrated to me that one person can make large positive impacts,” Jenny said. “I attribute the development of my confidence and compassion to both Girl Scouts and how my parents raised me!”

Even with all the exciting STEM experiences that Jenny has had (remember, she studies polar bears!), she still considers her Gold Award one of her proudest experiences.

Jenny’s advice to Girl Scouts considering earning their Gold Award? “Choose a project you are passionate about and don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

We can’t wait to see what this Go-getter accomplishes, learns and shares with the world through her research and career aspirations!

Do you have a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker or Leader story? Share with us in the comments below, and we might feature your G.I.R.L. in an upcoming blog.

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!