Girl Scouting Goes Full Circle

Spotlight on Girl Scout Alumna, Katelyn Clark

Like most kindergarteners, Girl Scout Alumna Katelyn Clark had no clue what she was getting into when her mom signed her up for Girl Scouts. What she does remember from being a Girl Scout Daisy is being asked by her troop leader, Kim Harrington, what she wanted to do, what badges she wanted to earn and when she wanted to bring in snacks for the troop.

“I had a phenomenal troop leader. Even at that young age, she ensured a girl-led experience. That inspired me at a young age to be confident and self-led,” Katelyn said.

She also remembers making snow globes out of baby food jars to learn about the different winter holidays celebrated around the world; an activity that would influence her Gold Award project ten years later.

Katelyn as a Girl Scout Daisy and Brownie.

There are many life lessons learned and passions discovered that Katelyn credits to her time as a Girl Scout in the Spirit of Nebraska Council.

In middle school that Katelyn started to realize the opportunities available to her because she was a Girl Scout. At the age of 13 she went on her first destination trip to the Boundary Waters and fell in love with travel. “My mom put me on a little prop plane and I flew up to Ely, MN. I spent a week canoeing and I think that sealed the [Girl Scout] deal! I realized that I loved camping and that at 13 years old I could fly by myself, I could pick up a canoe and carry it over a portage and camp. It was really empowering to meet all these Girl Scouts from all over the United States that had such cool stories” Katelyn explained.

Katelyn during her Girl Scout Destination trip to the Boundary Waters.

Almost immediately upon her return from her Boundary Waters trip, Katelyn started planning her next adventure; she wanted to go to Costa Rica.

To raise funds, she and a Girl Scout sister Beth Harrington planned a lock-in for over 40 Brownies complete with workshop rotations and followed Girl Scout Safety Activity Checkpoints! They even recruited non-Girl Scouts to help with programming! It was so successful that it not only raised the funds they needed to go on their destination, but also inspired their Gold Award projects.

Drawing on that first Girl Scout memory with the snow globes, Katelyn created a half day Holiday Fun Fair for girls to learn about five different winter holidays celebrated around the world. Instead of charging admission to the event attendees were asked to bring an item like diapers, formula, etc. to be donated to KidsTLC, a local nonprofit in Nebraska. At the end of the Fun Fair, Katelyn delivered two car loads of items to KidsTLC!

“To go from a Daisy to earning your Gold Award is so fulfilling. At the time though, I didn’t realize the magnitude of it.”

As she grew through Girl Scouting, Katelyn wasn’t really thinking about the Gold Award. It was her progression through the program when it just kind of happened for her.  “I thought the Gold Award was something I wanted to do for me and thought it was just something you did in Girl Scouts,” she said.

After completing her project, Katelyn recalls receiving her Gold Award congratulatory packet in the mail. It contained letters of support and recognition from community members, elected officials and even the President of the United States and she thought “holy cow, this is a big deal!”

“I was more appreciative of my Gold Award actually after I earned it. It became something I put on my college applications, on resumes.”

Left: Katelyn with troop leader Kim Harrington. Center: Katelyn collecting items for KidsTLC during her Gold Award Project. Right: Katelyn with Girl Scout sister Beth Harrington.

Those college applications and essays earned her admission into Rockhurst University’s international business administration program and Katelyn moved from Nebraska to Kansas City to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree. Girl Scouting was never out of mind though, she returned to Nebraska every summer and worked as a Girl Scout camp counselor.

“Girl Scouts taught me I am who I am. I lived in middle school and high school as my most authentic self for who I was. Girl Scouts taught me that other people can be different as well and that everyone has a story. It also taught me to be compassionate, to look at those around you and see how you can make the world a better place.”

Today, Katelyn’s Girl Scouting experience has come full circle and she has remained in KC working for a senior living marketing company and is a Gold Award advisor and travel volunteer with our council, inspiring and empowering Girl Scouts through her own experiences!

Katelyn on a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park with GSKSMO Girl Scouts!

Katelyn’s advice to Girl Scouts? “I know it gets hard in that 5th, 6th and 7th grade time frame, but hang in there and look at what you can do as a teen Girl Scout. There are so many opportunities to travel, sit on teen advisory councils, sit down with mentors and business leaders. That’s a unique opportunity you can’t get anywhere but in Girl Scouting in your teen years. Know that while not every badge is the most fun or every Journey the best, look around and at the people you’re meeting. Some of these girls will be lifelong friends. You’ll have a moment that you change your perspective. Maybe you’ll be inspired and it’ll lead to a career. You’ll be surprised at where Girl Scouts will take you!”

You’re a Girl Scout Rock Star, Katelyn! We appreciate all you do for girls in our council!!

Don’t miss out on these upcoming opportunities available to teen Girl Scouts!
The first deadline to apply for a Girl Scout Destination trip is Nov. 1, you can take a domestic or international tirp with Girl Scouts from all over the US!
– Want to travel to the Boundary Waters, canoe and camp for a week? We’re taking a council-sponsored trip in July, 2018!
– Thinking about Going Gold?! Learn more about the steps and requirements!

 

The Great European Adventure

Switzerland – Part 3

Read Part 1 – London here and Part 2 – Paris here!

What. An. Adventure. Our first council-sponsored international trip is a wrap!

Girls said au revoir to Paris and hit the (long) road to Adelboden, Switzerland on Day 8! It was an 8+ hour bus ride to Our Chalet, another of the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) Centers! With the travel time, they wouldn’t make it to Our Chalet by dinner, so they stopped at a French supermarket on their way out of France. It was a cultural experience, for sure! The girls navigated the aisles and utilized their French speaking Girl Scout sister, Ruby J.! When they arrived in the Swiss Alps, they had a little GSKSMO potluck! It didn’t take long for them to fall in love with Switzerland!

The cool air, mountain views and slow pace were a welcomed change from the hustle and bustle of London and Paris! Our Chalet put together a great day of programming for the group. Everyone received their pewter Our Chalet pin that can only be received by visiting in person, toured the grounds and had the opportunity to do fire building or Swiss crafts. In the afternoon, they hiked nearly 4 miles round trip to Wanderfall in the Swiss Alps! They also got a chance to use all that rain gear they were told to bring (finally). The weather fluctuates so much in the mountains; the sun is shining one minute then the clouds roll in and there are chilly little rain showers! “I didn’t think Switzerland would be as beautiful as it is and that I would like it as much I do,” Katie W. said.

Their programming for the evening was a “Swiss Night” and there was a little concert by Alphorn players followed by Swiss Quiz Bowl game (the GSKSMO team won!) and fondue – one of the traditional foods of Switzerland!

The time at the two World Centers has been a once in a lifetime experience for our Girl Scouts. These Seniors and Ambassadors have participated in World Thinking Days year after year, researching and presenting what Girl Scouts looks like in others countries. Now, they have experienced it. Visiting the WAGGGS Centers has given them a whole new appreciation of the Girl Scout/Girl Guide sisterhood and some are considering working or volunteering at a WAGGGS Center now!

The next day, was their last full day in Europe. They left Our Chalet and had a two hour bus ride into Lucerne. After a visit to the monument dedicated to the Swiss soldiers who protected the Royal family during the French Revolution, a brief walking tour around the city square and a trip across the world’s oldest wooden bridge (built in 1365), they had their final excursion opportunity – a visit to Mt. Pilatus! A boat ride on Lake Lucerne brought them to the base of the mountain and the Cog Railway brought them up to the summit. It was fairly cloudy and rainy which made pictures difficult, but they were met with a rainbow on the cable car down! They ended the night, and trip with a traditional Swiss Folk Lore night complete with Alphorn playing, yodeling and dancing by our Girl Scouts!

It’s no surprise that GSKSMO girls made friends with other Girl Scout Sisters on this EF Tours trip from Silver Sage, Utah, NY Penn and Nation’s Capitol councils and were sad to part ways with them! Not only did they make friends with sister councils’ girls, but they made friends with each other. “It’s the people that are in Girl Scouts that made this trip memorable,” Kaitlin G. said. “The [Girl Scout] journeys teach you how to be a good person, so all the people here are nice!”

This wasn’t an overseas vacation for our Girl Scouts. It was an adventure that challenged, engaged and excited them. Girl Scout Senior Katie W. has always dreamed of living in Europe and this trip just validated those dreams. For Skylar, this was her first time visiting major a major city! “I don’t go a lot of places and I’ve never been a massive city. I feel like I adapted to every place easily,” Skylar said!

For all our Girl Scouts, this was a first good experience to ease into international travel, learning how to navigate the city and the different cultures.

“My favorite part of this trip was realizing that I can apply what I have learned from school and my French class and use it in real life.” Ruby J. said.  “This experience has helped prepare me for bigger adventures in the future.”

We are excited to announce that our next council-sponsored trip for Seniors and Ambassadors will be to Belize in the summer of 2019! Details will be posted to our website early next week so you plan your trip and travel like a Girl Scout!

The Great European Adventure – Girl Scout Style

Part 2 – Paris, France

Read Part -1 here!

Leaving London, you wouldn’t know that the group of 11 girls had only just met a few days before!

The group left London on the Eurostar bright and early on Day 5 and rode on the Chunnel under the English Channel. They arrived in Paris, France, the city of lights and the city of love just a few hours later and hit the ground running!

LOUVRE PHOTO

The bus dropped them off at the Louvre, the largest museum in the world, and the first one to ever open to the public. Among the 35,000 pieces in the museum are some of the world’s most famous such as the Mona Lisa, Venus di Milo and Winged Victory. Girls broke up into small groups and explored the museum hitting the highlights. To see every piece in the museum would take hundreds of hours!

That evening dinner was at Flamm. A French-styled pizza place and was the girl’s favorite meal so far!

The next morning they boarded the bus and made the drive into the city from the B&B Disneyland Paris hotel and got their first taste of Paris traffic, which would continue to impact their travels for the next two days! They picked up the tour guide and spent the morning seeing the Paris sights, trying to spot all the sailboats they could. Did you know that a sailboat is the official symbol of Paris?!

In the afternoon girls had the opportunity to do an excursion to the Palace of Versailles, the Royal Palace that King Louis XIV had built because he didn’t like the Parisians. The Palace only lasted a century before it closed during the French Revolution. While some toured the grandiose building and grounds, others had the chance to go up into the Eiffel Tower and visit the city’s most famous macaroon shop!

That evening there was the option to go up into the tallest building in Paris as well as go on a sunset river cruise on the Seine. Those two activities did not disappoint!

Day 7, was just as jam-packed as the previous day and there wasn’t a single second to be wasted their final day in Paris! The morning started out in the Latin Quarter of Paris at Notre Dame where Andrea, our awesome tour guide gave a brief history of the church. During the French Revolution the French beheaded the saints on the church because they thought they represented the Royal family. It wasn’t until The Hunchback of Notre Dame that the perception of the church changed and the statues were repaired!

Andrea walked our group around the area showing them the narrowest street in the city, Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche (The Street of the Fishing Cat). Named after an Inn that was on the street, it’s just over five feet wide! Also in the area was Shakespeare and Company, the first and oldest English bookstore in Paris (Hemingway was known to visit here)!

The group had another excursion option that afternoon to go to Disneyland Paris, just minutes from the hotel. While some chose to visit the most magical place on earth, others continued exploring the city of lights shopping and visiting Pompidou Centre, the modern art museum and going to Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur!

For all of the girls, this was their first time being in a place where English wasn’t the primary language. On their last night they were chatting and comparing the two cities they had visited thus far; liking both London and Paris for the own unique reasons. “I was surprised at how easy it was to still communicate with people who didn’t speak English,” Kaitlin B. said.

The next day the group will take 8-hour bus ride to Adelboden, Switzerland where there will be three different languages spoken – French, German and Italian and spend time at another WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts)!

How have you traveled like a Girl Scout? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Stop the Traffick!

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout, Phoebe Taylor

When Girl Scout Ambassador Phoebe Taylor attended a presentation on Human Trafficking with her troop, she was shocked to learn that Kansas City is reported to have the second highest rate of Trafficking in the United States. With Lansing, Kansas located just an hour away, she took the initiative to educate her community on the issue through her Gold Award Take Action Project. Phoebe wanted her community to be knowledgeable on the subject and hopefully prevent teenagers from falling victim to this horrible crime.

“My topic wasn’t the easiest to discuss or research, but I was able to set a plan and make sure that it didn’t become overwhelming!”

Phoebe worked with a graduate student in California to create a curriculum tailored to her region. Once the curriculum was finalized, Phoebe worked with her librarian to integrate the curriculum in her school’s weekly study hall that focuses on current events. She presented to the Mayor and Chief of Police of Lansing and gave two presentations open to the community at her local library. At the conclusion of all her presentations, participants were surveyed and the results indicated that 100% left more knowledgeable about human trafficking than when they arrived.

She also provided current research to a state senator to support legislation toward adding human trafficking training to commercial driver’s license requirements.

This project helped develop Phoebe’s public speaking skills and made her more confident in talking about sensitive topics. Phoebe’s presentation was so well received in her community that others have asked for more information and want to continue to raise awareness.

“I was able to become more aware on my community and I am now able to voice my opinions and concerns way more than I used to be able to,” Phoebe explained. “This has been one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

We are so proud of Phoebe and our other 41 Gold Award Girl Scouts! You can read more about the other Gold Award Take Action projects here. Do you have Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors? Summer is a great time to begin working on their Gold Award! Learn more about the prerequisites and process here.

 

 

Shutterbug of Service

“A picture is worth 1,000 words,” as the saying goes, and sometimes a picture can create a forever family. Thanks to Gold Award Girl Scout, Natalie Dameron, pictures helped bring shelter dogs into homes and created furrrever families all over Kansas City. This Girl Scout Ambassador from Kansas City, MO combined her love of photography, writing and animals to create a service project that changed the lives of pets and people.

Natalie has been in Girl Scouts for 10 years, following in the footsteps of her sister. Her mother served as troop leader and Natalie wanted to join because, as she says, “I saw the positive impact [Girl Scouts] could make on people.” While that deep love of service led to her Gold Award, Natalie also loved getting to meet girls from all over Kansas City though Girl Scouts. She remembers a troop sleepover at Great Wolf Lodge and other events that bonded her to her Girl Scout sisters.

Being a Girl Scout for most of her school career has given Natalie incredible opportunities to meet new people and grow as a person. “Not only is it a great experience to have in your childhood, it’s a great opportunity to get involved with the community and continue to meet other girls from all different backgrounds,” Natalie said.

That love of service that first brought Natalie to Girl Scouts made her determined to get her Gold Award, the ultimate service experience a Girl Scout can have. She wanted to do something that incorporated three things she loved, and her project, “Homes for Hounds,” was the result. “My Gold Award project was inspired by my love for photography, animals, and writing. I wanted to incorporate all of my interests into a project that would significantly help my community,” Natalie said.

 

Natalie’s Gold Award Project: “Homes for Hounds”

Natalie partnered with Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption in Mission, KS to find dogs that she could feature on her website to help get them adopted. She took photos of the dogs, wrote about their personalities and posted it on her website, http://homesforhoundskc.weebly.com/, for families to learn about the dogs looking for a home.

This powerful project not only helped Unleashed increase adoptions, it created families and helped Natalie become a stronger leader. By being in Girl Scouts, and especially earning her Gold Award, Natalie feels better prepare for the future. As a high school senior, this G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM is now ready to conquer the world. “Girl Scouting has given me confidence to pursue my passions, as well as provided me with so many opportunities for leadership,” Natalie said.

Natalie receiving her Gold Award pin by her family at the 2017 Inspire a Girl ceremony.

Now that she’s earned her Gold Award, her best piece of advice to Girl Scouts working on their Gold Award is to stay on top of it. “I would advise that you stay on top of planning, and do not get discouraged by setbacks. All aspects of the project should be parts of a learning process that help you to grow,” Natalie said. In all, earning her Gold Award was not only a personal accomplishment, it helped her as she prepared for college as well. “[The Gold Award] is recognized by many colleges as a great accomplishment, as I was asked about my Gold project in many of my college interviews”

We are so incredibly proud of this amazing G.I.R.L.! As she heads off to college, she knows that by being a Girl Scouts, she’s able to conquer any new adventure life has to offer. “Girl Scouts has helped me to be a G.I.R.L. in more ways than one, but in particular it gave me the confidence to take risks and step outside of my comfort zone,” Natalie said.

Check out Natalie’s Young Achiever spotlight on Fox 4!

Service from the Heart

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout and Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Out of tragedy comes hope. For G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM, turning tragic events into hope for the future is a way to heal and move forward. Meet Samantha Jansen, a Gold Award Girl Scout and 2017 Beth Winters Scholarship recipient from Service Unit 637 in Lenexa, KS. This amazing G.I.R.L. was able to provide healing to countless families who have suffered tragedy, like her family did, through the Girl Scout Gold Award and her own drive to give back.

In 2016, Samantha Jansen received her Girl Scout Gold Award for her project, “Building Hope, One Brick at a Time.” For her project, she created the Building Hope Brick Garden at the Ronald McDonald House Charities Kansas City to memorialize children who have passed away and celebrate children who have had successful recoveries. Aside from the beautiful flowers that brighten the garden, memorial bricks are available for families to have engraved with the names of lost children and those who are in recover. Today, families can purchase bricks according to their financial situation through a fund Samantha established, so the garden will keep growing with memorials and success stories.

This project was more than just a service project to Samantha and her family because they suffered the loss of a child, Samantha’s twin brother, Eric, who passed away when he was only five days old.  Samantha chose to create the garden in memory of Eric. Through giving back, she was able to find a way to make Eric’s memory a place of healing and hope rather than sadness.

 

Left: Samantha being pinned by her mother & troop leader, Elaine; Center: Jansen family planting a bulb in the Brick Garden; Right: Joyce Termini, Samantha, Chip Winters and Joy Wheeler, GSKSMO CEO

Another Girl Scout family did exactly the same thing more than 20 year ago when they suffered the loss of their beloved daughter, Beth Winters. The Winters’ family turned this tragedy into a movement for change by establishing the Beth Winters Scholarship, which Samantha Jansen was the 2017 recipient of. “This scholarship meant so much because my project dealt with the loss of a child and Joyce lost a child, so it was something we immediately bonded over in the interview. Even though I’d never met her, the interview with her felt so personal,” Samantha said.

Earning her Gold Award and being selected as a Beth Winters Scholarship recipient are the culmination of 12 years of Girl Scouting service. Samantha joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy in Kindergarten and stayed with the program because of the opportunities to give back and life skills she’s been able to learn.

“If I had gone out and tried to find all the opportunities Girl Scouts has provided me on my own, they would have been so much harder to find. The connections I’ve made through Girl Scouts have opened up a lot of doors for me and helped me with life skills,” Samantha said. By staying involved through her senior year of high school, Samantha has been able to go from a quiet middle schooler to a vibrant, young public speaker who’s able to serve as an event emcee! Talk about becoming a G.I.R.L.!

Girl Scouts has helped Samantha become a G.I.R.L. in a variety of ways, but especially as a “Risk-taker” and “Leader.” “Because of all the skills I’ve learned and by becoming a risk-taker [in Girl Scouts,] I’ve become a leader. By pushing myself, not being afraid to take charge of a group and by speaking up for myself, I’ve learned to lead. Being a risk-taker and a leader are so connected,” Samantha said.

We couldn’t be more proud of this amazing G.I.R.L. and her incredible family that’s stood by her side. Thank you to Samantha, her mother and leader, Elaine, and the rest of the Jansen family. Thank you for supporting your G.I.R.L. and for creating a better world

Toys for Orphans

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout Hayley Nitz

Did you know that nearly 20% of the people in Uganda live below the poverty line? This troubling statistic really struck Girl Scout Ambassador Hayley Nitz and inspired her to Take Action and earn her Gold Award.

Hayley began researching poverty and the root causes and learned that lack of education is one of the leading causes of poverty. So to help those in Uganda, she decided to work with the country’s youngest and most at-risk, orphans.

To help break the poverty cycle in Uganda, Hayley developed a plan to make six stimulating, educational toys out of upcycled material for children living at Amani Baby Cottage in Jinja, Uganda. Her plan included a community-wide workshop where she told stories of children living at Amani, spoke about their culture and explained what life below the poverty line was like in Uganda is like before participants started construction on the toys.

Hayley held her workshop and recruited participants through the help of KindCraft , a family service group with a goal of providing families with opportunities to serve once a month.

Thanks to this workshop, Hayley was able to hand-deliver 642 toys to Amani Baby Cottage in December of 2016. Not only did Hayley deliver the toys, but her and her mother spent a week serving as “Aunties” (volunteers) at the cottage!

Children at Amani Baby Cottage with the toys created by Hayley.

Read about that experience written by Hayley herself for KindCraft.

The toys are now being used in the preschool, providing new learning experiences and KindCraft will continue to hold workshops to make additional toys.

“I feel empowered to continue volunteering and I hope that through my workshop I inspired others to continue volunteering as well,” Hayley said.

On April 1, 2017 Hayley was presented with her Gold Award Pin and was also named as a Prudential Spirit of Community Honoree along with Ann Marie Hrdy, a 2016 Gold Award Recipient. Hayley will graduate from Olathe South High School this spring and is already using the skills gained from working on her Gold Award project to plan out her summer! We’ll give you a hint, it includes additional international volunteer adventures!

Hayley is certainly one of our high-achieving G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™. To learn more about Hayley and our 41 other Gold Award Girl Scouts, visit www.gsksmo.org/goldrecipients.

Bent not Broken

A Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout Leah Wiegers

Taking action – that’s at the core of Girl Scouting and our Highest Awards. For girls like Leah Wiegers, a Girl Scout Ambassador from Lansing, KS, taking action means creating a healthier tomorrow for kids in her community. By using her leadership skills and going for Gold, Leah turned a Gold Award project into required screenings in her community. Leah is a girl who proves that G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM can’t be broken!

In 2012, Leah was diagnosed with scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine. This was followed by years of treatment, including Leah wearing a specially designed brace to help the curve. While her treatments were successful, Leah discovered that many kids don’t have successful outcomes if they aren’t diagnosed early and it impacts them for the rest of their lives.

Leah has been a Girl Scout, learning about leadership, since kindergarten, so it’s no wonder she wanted to take action when she realized kids weren’t getting treatment they needed. As a mentor (with fellow Gold Award Girl Scout, Phoebe Taylor) to a younger troop in Lansing, it made it even more personal, knowing that age group needed screenings they currently weren’t getting.

Because of her work with these younger girls and her own experience with scoliosis, Leah decided to take action and ensure that kids had access to simple scoliosis screenings that could lead to life changing improvements in their health. “For girls, you screen in 5th & 7th grades, for boys, you screen 6th & 8th grades. If you catch it early, you can stop the curve from getting worse. The older girls get, the worse their curve gets,” Leah said.

Through her research, Leah discovered that advancements in technology have made scoliosis screenings easier than ever. A screening app that’s available for $5 is the only tool a trained school nurse needs to run screenings once a year. In her final proposal to the USD 469 school board, Leah was able to show that it would only cost schools an estimated $500 per year to screen all students in the suggested grade levels for scoliosis. If a nurse determined a student might have scoliosis, she referred them to an outside doctor so they could receive a diagnosis and treatment option.

Thanks to her hard work, Leah’s plan is now mandatory in all USD 469 (Lansing) elementary schools! Taking it to the next level, Leah and her advisor helped submit HSB2253 to the Kansas House of Representatives that would require scoliosis testing in all elementary schools in Kansas. Talk about making serious positive change.

Aside from the incredible work she’s done for her community, Leah thinks that the growth she experienced as a person was the best part of her Gold Award project. “While successes feel great, the best part of the Gold Award has been my personal growth. Nothing feels better than knowing I can stand in front of a group and be a leader,” Leah said.

What an incredible example of a G.I.R.L. making real change! Thanks to girls like Leah, Girl Scouts are making our future look brighter and HEALTHIER for everyone!

And, check out others taking notice of Leah’s great work. She was recently featured as a Fox 4 Young Achiever. Watch the story now.

 

2017 Inspire a Girl

42 Gold Award Recipients.

1 Beth Winters Scholarship Recipient.

2 Prudential Spirit of Community Award Recipients.

4 Bronze & Silver Take Action Project Displays.

11 Community Partner activities.

6 GSKSMO Program info stations and learning opportunities.

1 Kendra Scott Give Back shopping experience.

1 motivating keynote by author & Girl Scout Alumna Stephanie Warren Drimmer.

=  2nd Annual Inspire a Girl – G.I.R.L. Expo & Gold Award Ceremony

What an inspiring day we had on April 1 at the Overland Park Convention Center! Girl Scouts, volunteers, alumnae and supporters joined us to celebrate our 42 Gold Award Girl Scouts!

These young women have made an extraordinary impact on their communities through the Girl Scout Gold Award. Each recipient completed a Take Action project with a minimum of 80 hours in planning and implementation. They have created lasting change through sustainable projects and their impact will be felt for years to come.  Their Take Action projects cleaned up an outdoor classroom, made toys for an orphanage in Uganda, educated their community on scoliosis and so much more. In fact, you can read about each of their projects here!

2017 Gold Award Recipients

We started the day with a special breakfast for the Gold Award recipients, hosted by GSKSMO CEO Joy Wheeler and special guest, Stephanie Warren Drimmer. Each Gold Award Girl Scout received a signed copy of her book, “The Book of Heroines” and a necklace courtesy of Kendra Scott!

2017 Gold Award Recipients with Stephanie Warren Drimmer

After breakfast, the G.I.R.L. expo opened to attendees and there were smiles, learning moments and fun swag to be collected by all!

Girl Scouts were our VIGs (Very Important Girls). Upon entry, they received their VIG pass to unlock their G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™  opportunities as Girl Scouts! They could visit any combination of booths, securing a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader sticker. Some of the activities included: Go-getting by making healthy food choice with Natural Grocers; Innovating by creating structures out of Legos with LEGOLAND; Risk-taking by making music using fruit at Google Fiber; and Leading by learning sign language with the Deaf Cultural Center. Upstairs they visited Bronze Award Recipients, Troops 3645 & 1076 as well as Silver Award recipients in Troops 885 & 4213! They completed their pass by visiting with at least four Gold Award recipients and earned their Inspire a Girl patch!

Don’t worry, adults had just as much fun as the girls! Everyone was invited to take our G.I.R.L. quiz to determine if they were more of a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker or Leader and received a swanky button and could take their picture using our new Insta-frames!

We also kicked off Spring Re-Registration and had a demonstration of our new Volunteer toll-kit coming this summer!

The day culminated with our Gold Award Ceremony where the Gold Award Girl Scouts officially received their Gold Award Pin, the Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship was presented to 2016 Gold Award Recipient Samantha Jansen and the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were presented to Hayley Nitz and 2016 Gold Award Recipient Ann Marie Hrdy.

The ceremony was keynoted by Author and Girl Scout Alumna Stephanie Warren Drimmer who spoke on “How to be a Heroine” and not fearing fear! Stephanie spoke of female heroines like Marie Curie who discovered radiation, Sue Sally Hale who dressed as a man to play and win polo competitions and Jessica Watson, who at age 16 became the youngest person to sail solo around the world. None of these women set out to become heroines, they naturally fell into it and then persevered to create lasting change.

Left: Joy Wheeler and Prudential Spirit of Community Honorees Ann Marie Hrdy and Hayley Nitz; Center: Stephanie Warren Drimmer; Right: Chip Winter, Beth Winters Scholarship Recipient Samantha Jansen and Joyce Termini.

We are so incredibly proud of all our Gold Award Girl Scouts, and we have no doubt that they will become female heroines themselves and may even find themselves in future volumes of Stephanie’s books!

As Dr. Seuss so greatly said, “Congratulations, today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!”

See all the photos from the day, as well as the Gold Award Take Action Project video and Stephanie Warren Drimmer’s Keynote on our webpage.

We want to hear how you were inspired at Inspire a Girl, so leave us a comment below!

Rounding Up World Thinking Day Events!

Where in the world are Girl Scouts? All over our council Girl Scouts have been jumping on virtual planes, hiking invisible mountains and sailing across imaginary seas to learn about different countries and people around the world. It’s because of World Thinking Day events that girls are able to have this awesome exploration in just a few hours! Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and Girl Scout troops, World Thinking Day events are helping girls connect with cultures around the globe.

So what are World Thinking Day events? Generally, World Thinking Day events are hosted by an older Girl Scout troop with the support of adult volunteers within the service unit. Then the fun begins as each troop draws or is assigned a country to research. It’s up to the troop on how they want to learn about and celebrate the country, but at the end, all the troops come together, set up their booths and take turns traveling around the room and shopping. If a troop makes a SWAP or small item, girls can purchase these items (usually for 1-2 quarters) and fill bags with items from around the world. In many service units, the funds raised from the sales are donated to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, which helps girls travel the world or another charity.

World Thinking Day events ar e also awesome opportunities for girl leadership. Troop 108 from SU 694 in Overland Park, KS hosted their event as their Bronze Award project! We loved the little passports participating Girl Scouts received.

It’s a great way to not only bring together troops, but different cultures! We loved how SU 639 in Overland Park hosted a parade of flags where each country was represented. SU 805 in Maryville also had tables for each country and girls gave presentations! If you want to talk about YUMMY, SU 684 in Paola/Louisburg, had so many treats available, it was hard to try them all. SU 820 in Chillicothe, Princeton & surrounding areas had their event at North Central Missouri College and welcomed two international students (from Zimbabwe and Curacao) to speak!

Taking a different approach, SU 816 in Albany, Bethany & Grant City took troops to the Emerald Isle in an Ireland themed World Thinking Day. Girls kissed a Blarney stone (ps: you have to hang upside down from a castle for the real one, so they recreated it with a chair and fake stone!) and learned a step dance. So cool! SU 701 in Topeka, KS also got girls involved by having hands on activities in their multi-country World Thinking Day. SU 635 in Shawnee Mission got a little theatrical with their World Thinking Day by having troops prepare short presentations that they shared in front of an audience.

And some more shout-outs… We love SU 640 in Raytown Missouri’s use of photo props. Those France photo frames and mustaches are awesome! Way to go, GS Cadette Troop who planned and hosted this event. Girl Scouts from SU 607 in Kansas City put so much research into their displays. They went all out wearing attire and sharing food from their country. They also had awesome photo frames and props to celebrate and remember the day. Thanks, Hollie Miller for taking and sharing your great photos with us!

SU 704 in Manhattan, KS kicked off the Thinking Day season with their awesome and packed event on January 28th. SU 634 in Overland Park had a great event with rave reviews on the treats. Come on… that chocolate fountain in Switzerland is just delicious! And, SU 638 in Overland Park took us from China to Barbados to Bangladesh. What a tour! We’re exhausted!!

Wow – what amazing events and learning opportunities for girls!

Super shout out to all the awesome volunteers, parents, friends and Girl Scouts who make these events possible every year. Together, we’re making the world seem a little bit smaller and celebrating what makes us different and seeing what makes us so alike.

Check out this slideshow of World Thinking Day photos!