Blasting Off on a Girl Scout Destination

Three innovators from our council set out on a Girl Scout destination to Space Academy this summer!  Molly, Jenna, and Katie might’ve gone to the same camp with an extreme love for space exploration, but all three came back with different takeaways and experiences on their space missions.

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I hoped to go more in depth with what I learned in school in a new environment,” Katie said.

For most of the girls, this was their first long trip away from home, and Girl Scouts was able to push them out of their typical troop traveling comfort zone.  Each girl prepared in different ways for their trip!

“I thought it would be really helpful to look over my past school notes and brush up on current relevant events in the news to make sure I was ready for a tough week at the Space Academy,” Molly said.

Once the girls arrived, they all noticed how cool it was to be surrounded by Girl Scouts from all over the country, some from around the world.  “Everyone brought swaps from near and far, I thought that was a cool Girl Scout tradition that we kept going,” Jenna said.

“It was neat learning how everyone had a different perception and experience with space exploration based on where they were from,” Molly explained. “The Girl Scouts from New Zealand were near iconic landmarks that I had never seen.  Even though we all see the same sky at night, Girl Scouts from all over were surrounded by different Space Museums than I was.”

Katie with the Troop from New Zealand

On the second day of Space Academy, the girls went through lesson and mission training.  Each girl got a specific role to play that they trained for.  Molly was a Module Commander, Jenna was a Mission Specialist and Katie was in Mission Control. “Mission prep was a very big deal.  It was how we got to figure out how our simulations would actually go and the lingo we needed to learn. Understanding screen operations and commands while following a script was very difficult,” explained Katie.  One of Jenna’s favorite parts of her first day was making rockets.  “We had to use general supplies found in our kit to learn more about the physics behind space, it was so neat!” Jenna remarked.

Jenna and Molly in Mission Control!

The third day was completely filled with simulating their mission!  “They really set us up to succeed.  It would have been hard for us to completely fail, with how much prep we did. We learned so much,” Katie said excitedly!  Molly read through her journal and remembered how cool it was to work with Girl Scouts for this mission.  “The difference in working with Girl Scouts during our space mission was that we all really wanted to learn.  In class, people get frustrated too early, but when I worked with Girl Scouts, we were open communicators, learned how to adapt and tried harder to get along.  I liked that,” Molly laughed.

Days four and five mimicked the same activities on the previous days, and the girls got new roles for their new mission!  “The second mission went MUCH smoother,” Jenna remembered, “we had adjusted and knew how to better handle space anomalies.”  Jenna was in Mission Control this time, Katie was the Commander, and Molly was a trained GNC (a weather specialist).

Each girl had their own unique experience as well that was slightly different than the rest.  Jenna got to meet a female astronaut, Wendy, who had previously held records for trips to space and LOVED that it was a woman who held these records.  Alternatively, Katie got to meet the founder of Space Academy during their graduation.  She received a book and was able to have it autographed! Molly’s favorite part was realizing that a career in STEAM, specifically space exploration, was very possible for her someday.

Jenna at graduation from the program receiving her Flight Wings

All the girls expressed their desire to go on another destination in the future!

“We just love Girl Scouts because no other organization for girls has grander travel opportunities like this organization does,” Becky Blankenship, Katie’s Mother, said.

Molly in anti-gravity gear!

What an empowering experience!  These innovators are certainly well on their way to a world of more travel possibilities, learning about new careers along the way!

2019-2020 Girl Scout destination programs are being added through September. Check them out and submit your application to our council by Nov. 15 to be included in the first round of consideration!

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!

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.