Earning the Highest Awards in Girl Scouting

What you need to know & expanded criteria

In Girl Scouting, the Bronze, Silver and Gold Award are the highest honors a girl can achieve. Each award gives girls a chance to identify an issue they’re passionate about and create lasting change within their community!

The highest awards are progressive. The earlier a girl starts the process in their applicable level, the better prepared she is to go for the next level – and the better prepared you are to support her!

As Juniors, girls work together on their Bronze Award as a troop, sharing responsibilities and practicing group decision making.

Troop 3327 from Topeka, KS made comfort kits for children undergoing cancer treatments at Children’s Mercy Hospital after one of their fellow troop member’s sister went through cancer treatment herself. After the troop did some initial research, they invited the sister to the troop meeting to help them brainstorm care package items and make a shopping list. They created five different packages based on age and included blankets and homemade cards in each kit.

Left: Guest speaker talking about her cancer treatment experience at Children’s Mercy. Right: girls making blankets for comfort kits.

As Cadettes, each girl increases her level of responsibility and can work in small groups of one to three girls to complete their Silver Award Project.

In Troop 2041 in Kansas City, MO, three Girl Scouts identified three issues that they cared about. Emma S. wanted more children to experience the joy of art so she created and sold her own pieces to purchase supplies for children at Mattie Rhodes Art Center. Avery W. educated her community on water pollution and how to keep water clean and water bills down, earning her Citizenship award in the process! Andra B. became interested in the issue of light pollution after traveling to a national park and seeing the true night sky for the first time then created a website article and is initiating conversation on the issue of human caused pollution of light.

Left: Snip it of Emma’s flier. Center: Avery selling her art. Right: Light Pollution image on Andra’s article (Photo Credit: chungking / Fotolia).

Then, as a Senior or Ambassador, a Girl Scout is ready to lead a project on her own and earn her Gold Award – the most prestigious award in the world for girls. Each year we recognize Girl Scouts who have achieved this honor and present them with their Gold Award Pin at Inspire a Girl – Expo & Gold Award Ceremony.

Taylor Edwards from Troop 506 in Lansing, KS earned her Gold Award last year after creating the Young Voters Committee at Lansing High School. She worked with her State Representative and History Teacher to create workshops educating her peers on political issues that are affecting their community and it is now a recognized school club that meets monthly reviewing issues on upcoming ballots with elected officials attending as guest speakers!

“Because of Girl Scouts I was able to find myself as a leader not only in my troop or school, but in my community,” Taylor said.

Left: Taylor with Debbie Deere, State Representative 40th Ditto, during Gold Award project. Center: Receiving her Gold Award Pin from troop leader, Carla Wiegers at Inspire a Girl. Right: Taylor in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat at Girl Scout Day at the K.

When girls are introduced to and practice the components of the highest awards as Juniors and Cadettes, they are best prepared to Go Gold! However, Bronze and Silver are not prerequisites for the Gold Award.

As of October 1, 2018 Girl Scouts of the USA expanded the criteria for Silver and Gold Award projects to no longer exclude Girl Scouts from being the beneficiary of a Silver or Gold Award project. It is still important for girls to go through the process of identifying and selecting the cause that is important to them. Silver and Gold Award projects should only serve Girl Scouts if the girl(s) decide that is the best audience for their project! Any projects benefiting our council or Girl Scout property will need to be approved by a GSKMO Vice President. For more information, contact TracyHull@gsksmo.org.

The Bronze and Silver Awards are approved at the troop level, there is no paperwork required on the council level once the project is complete; but we do ask that you complete the tracker so we know about your project and can potentially share your story! Upon project completion you’ll want to visit the Girl Scout Shop to get all the swag that shows your accomplishments, especially the Bronze or Silver Award pins!

Beyond sharing your troop or girls’ story with us, help them share it within their community and beyond. On social media use #gsBronzeAward, #gsSilverAward, #gsGoldAward and #gsksmo. If you have media inquiries during or after the project is complete, contact prdept@gsksmo.org so we can work with you to tell the story in those mediums.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service and honors students in grades 5-12 for making meaningful contributions to their communities. This is a great opportunity for girls who have achieved earned any of their highest awards to potentially be recognized. In 2017, we had two Girl Scouts receive honors! 2018 applications are due November 6.

Earning these highest awards and leadership achievements is a BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT! We want all our Girls Scouts to be proud and share their accomplishments far and wide!!

Greater Than an Individual

Giving Back on 9/11

“When I found out I was having a daughter, I said ‘She’s going to be a Girl Scout!’” Jen Mitchell said. This reaction sums up the passion for Girl Scouting that runs deep in this alum. For Jen Mitchell, Girl Scouting has been a family affair that provided countless opportunities. Girl Scouts also ties her to a tragic period in recent US history – the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001.

Jen Mitchell’s Girl Scout life began when she was in 1st grade and her mom started a troop. “Both my parents were extremely involved and as my troop got going, my grandmother said ‘well, I’ve got to get in on this.’ Then, of course, my grandfather said ‘well, I’ll have to drive her, so I’m getting involved’ and it ended up being an entire family affair for about 17 years,” Jen said. Her dad later became her troop’s co-leader and even joined the Board of Rolling Hills Council in New Jersey.

With a support system like this, it’s no wonder Jen became close with her troop. They took trips to places like New York City and Niagara Falls. With travel and sisterly love in their hearts, they went to London after a troop member moved there. “One of our troop members came to a meeting and said ‘my dad’s job is moving and you guys are my best friends and I’m never going to see you again’ and we go ‘That’s not true, we’ll come see you!’” Jen said. And in true Girl Scout form, they did.

Throughout their troop years, they stayed active in service projects as well. They completed their Highest Awards, including a Silver Award project where they collected yarn and took it to a retirement community, then collected completed scarves and hats made by the residents and took them to a local cancer center. They volunteered with the VFW, and local high schools as well.

During her senior year service took on a new level of meaning for Jen. On September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was destroyed in a terrorist attack just 45 minutes away from her home, Jen had the most impactful Girl Scouting experience she could imagine – giving back to a country in crisis.

Jen’s words best describe the experience:

“Even though we were high school seniors, coming to the end of our troop years, we wanted to do something together. The aunt of one of our troop members was a Port Authority officer and told us they needed supplies for the morgue, including things like Chapstick for the workers who were spending all day in cold rooms, and that need wasn’t being addressed.

Our troop started collecting items and took them to those in need. A couple of times when we would make the drop-offs we were able to go to places normal volunteers couldn’t. Security was high, but because we were Girl Scouts, we had the credibility we needed to be able to help.

It was Girl Scouts that let me be part of helping families get closure. It was such an emotional thing to be 17 and have volunteers and workers so excited to see us and get the supplies. There were a couple instances where a fallen first responder was brought in while we were there and we were able to be part of that and help the family. It brought our troop closer together. Girl Scouts gave us the opportunity to do something so much bigger than we could have ever done as individuals,” Jen said.

Left & Right: Jen with daughter Ellie in Ireland; Center: Ellie at a G.I.R.L. Event!

Today, Jen is excited to be a Girl Scout mom to Ellie, her brand new Daisy. She went to a New G.I.R.L. Event and couldn’t be more excited to help Ellie on the same path that she, her mom and grandmother have taken.  And while we all hope Ellie doesn’t have to experience tragedy like 9/11 again, we know she will find connection and meaning through service like her mother did.

As the anniversary of 9/11 comes once again, we remember and honor the victims, families, first responders, volunteers and city workers who came together to bring New York City and the country together. We thank Jen and her troop for being part of that recovery and for being Girl Scout Strong in one of the darkest moments our country has experienced.

Hollywood Dreamin’

Girl Scout Senior, Patricia Smith is no stranger to travel. Her mother and leader, Arjean Smith is in the Army and the Smith family has been stationed all around the world. Patricia originally joined Girl Scouts in Virginia, they then moved to Germany where she was part of a Girl Scouts on-base program. While there, Patricia and Arjean traveled to London to visit Pax Lodge, and made three trips to Our Chalet in Switzerland!

“It’s a new experience to go different places and see how people do things differently. It’s also cool to meet new people,” Patricia explained.
The Smiths’ moved back to Fort Leavenworth in the summer of 2016 and Patricia has stayed involved in as an Indy Girl Scout.
With a love of travel instilled in her, Patricia researched ways she could continue to see the world as a Girl Scout, and ultimately decided she wanted to go on a Girl Scout destination to Hollywood and learn about filmmaking. Over the past two years, she set goals for her cookie business and earned enough money to pay for the trip herself!

On July 1, Patricia boarded a plane in KC and took her first solo flight to Los Angeles, CA where she met up with 15 other Girl Scouts from around the country for their Hollywood Dreamin’ Destination!

Her trip started out with tours of production studios and the city of Los Angeles. At Warner Bros Studio, they learned how sets and scenes work and saw that some shows actually share set pieces. One of the highlights for Patricia was seeing the Fuller House set and seeing some of the props being constructed for a future episode.

“When I’m seeing all this, I’m like oh my gosh! I’m kind of star struck!”


After learning about the industry as a whole, Patricia got to work in a small group to write, direct, produce and edit a short film of their own! They even hired and paid actors from the budget they were given. “Union actors cost more. Non-union actors are cheaper but they haven’t been in as much stuff.”

They had a few prompts to choose from for their concept, and Patricia’s group chose to create a film about what happens when two people are stuck in an airport together. The film itself couldn’t be more than four minutes long or use more than two actors.

“What surprised me was the emotion that the actors gave us. I didn’t think they would be so emotional in their role,” she explained. “Also there are more angles than what you see in the film. Shots are harder to get than what you would think!”

This destination gave Patricia a glimpse into what career in the film industry would be like and it’s now a career path she’s interested in!
“It was definitely something different because I didn’t go out of the country. We had downtime compared to other trips I’ve been on and we got to get to know each other, and had a lot of fun times!”

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!

Cool New G.I.R.L.s!

Summer might be over, but there are so many things to look forward to as a returning or a brand new Girl Scout and we have a feeling this is going to be THE. BEST. YEAR. EVER!

At Girl Scouts, G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders) unleash their strong and become SUPERHEROES and the world can always use more superheroes so we’re sharing the Girl Scout experience all around our council with New G.I.R.L. Events!

Natalie T. & Lily helped prep and test the activities to get them ready for girls!

At these events families can see what Girl Scouting is all about. With hands-on activities in each of our four program worlds, GS staff, adult volunteers and current Girl Scouts like Lily W. and Natalie T. from Lenexa, KS are helping future Girl Scouts unleash their STRONG!

Girls will wear Innovator cape on in the world of STEAM;

Girls make a balancing robot, learning about weight distribution.

Put their Risk-taker powers into action in the world of Outdoor Experiences;

Using the very sling shots she’ll use at camp, girls take aim at the target and match native animals to their tracks

Showcase their business savvy skills as the ultimate Leader in the world of Entrepreneurship;

In this play Cookie Booth, girls get to handle cookie boxes and make their initial Cookie sale!

And put their Go-Getter heart, voice and hands to work in the world of Civic Engagement!

Girls complete their very first service project, decorating bags to be used by Meals on Wheels.

These free, open house style events are girl-tested, girl-APPROVED! “They’re learning about cookies, how to do sling shots, and about giving back,” Lily explained. “The coolest part of being a Girl Scout is getting to help people!”

After exploring all the different worlds, we hope that all girls leave as brand new Girl Scouts ready for even BIGGER ADVENTURES!

Help in spread the word! Find an event in your area and share with families that you want to learn more about Girl Scouting!

Making a SPLASH at Camp Prairie Schooner        

Day Camp is a special place where Girl Scouts get to know others in their Service Unit and teen Girl Scouts grow as leaders. Every summer Service Unit 637 holds a Day Camp where girls explore and learn new skills at Camp Prairie Schooner. Troop 3389 from Lenexa, KS, led by Crystal Hoopes and Susanne Neely is one of the troops in Service Unit 637 with girls who have grown up to be awesome teen leaders.

Troop 3389 has been together since kindergarten and they’re now high school sophomores, so they’re experts on camp. These Girl Scout Seniors have wonderful memories of camp and though their memories of the pool area have been fond, in recent years, the declining state of the pool has left them wanting more. Finally, their dreams are being answered with the brand new Aquatics Center and All Season Shower House.

As an advocate for girls and longtime Camp Prairie Schooner visitor, Crystal Hoopes knows firsthand the state of the pool area and how desperately it needed to be improved for the Girl Scouts who call Camp Prairie Schooner home each summer. “Even public pools are better quality…and our Girl Scouts deserve better,” Crystal said. Each year her Girl Scout teens help younger girls learn to swim and beat the heat in the cool water, but the girls couldn’t be more excited for a facility that’s updated and focused on programming.

Troop 3389 with young Girl Scout sisters at Day Camp at Camp Prairie Schooner.

“Our girls are excited about being able to learn to kayak and canoe off-season!” Crystal said. The opportunity to teach these skills is just one of the awesome new things that will come with the new Aquatics Center. The opportunities are limitless with this new design and we couldn’t be more excited.

One of the best new features, for Crystal, is the fully ADA-compliant, zero-entry pool. “If you can’t go down a ladder, you can’t enjoy the pool. The new zero-entry will let every Girl Scout and leader enjoy it,” Crystal said. She knows younger girls at Day Camp will also love the feature because it will help them ease into swimming more easily than the current pool drop-off.  As a troop who’s grown up at Camp Prairie Schooner and with this pool, Troop 3389 has wide eyes set on their 2019 adventure.

Troop 3389 growing up at Camp Prairie Schooner.

Having access to top quality facilities like this empower girls to reach their potential. “Being a Girl Scout means I’m gaining skills to help for my future,” Girl Scout Mary Hoopes said. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience and outdoor adventure opportunities empower girls like Mary and all the members of Troop 3389 to take on challenges and leadership roles like never before. For families, Girl Scouting offers fantastic memories. “Girl Scouting helps build leader, but it’s also great memories, both for adult women and the girls,” Crystal said.

As the new Aquatics Center inches closer to being funded and opening a new world of opportunities for girls, we want to extend a special opportunity to have YOU as well! You can have your name memorialized at camp for years to come! With a gift of $250, $500 or $1,000, you can have your name placed on a paver or locker/cubby. See www.gsksmo.org/MakeASplash for more details!

We can’t wait to make a BIG SPLASH for G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™ in 2019! Thank you to troop leaders, like Crystal and Susanne, for their on-going support, advocacy for girls and time as leaders. See you by the pool!

Entrepreneurs for Sister Girl Scouts

The Girl Scout Cookie Program not only inspires future entrepreneurs, it creates the philanthropists of tomorrow. After voting to commit to philanthropic efforts, the Girl Scout Cadettes and Seniors of Troop 5003 have pledged to support other girls while learning critical business skills. As new members of Daisy’s Circle, the Girl Scouts of Troop 5003 each committed to sell enough packages of cookies to support at least one month of Daisy’s Circle giving. Talk about some inspiring G.I.R.L.s!

Troop 5003 came together after a few troops either disbanded or found themselves without leaders two years ago. Leader Jennifer Gust has two daughters in the troop, Clara, a Girl Scout Senior and Anna, a Girl Scout Cadette, and became the leader in 2017. When she took up the role of troop leader, she wanted to make sure the troop was focused on the girls. “Our troop is focused on being girl-led,” Jennifer said.

Their troop has experienced a lot of cool things since forming. They’ve taken trips with other troops, like to the Truman Library and have gone camping. “Being girl-led, their experiences are about what they want to do. I am there to help them find a way to do it,” Jennifer said. It was during one of their brainstorming sessions that they decided to divide their cookie proceeds into three categories important to the girls: trips, philanthropy and Silver.

Troop 5003 presented the Colors for the Opening Ceremony for the Women in Railway Business Conference; Camping Wallace State Park

For their philanthropy portion, the Girl Scouts decided that giving back to other girls in their community who might not otherwise be able to join the program was the way they wanted to give back. Each girl committed to selling cookies to help achieve the goal of giving to Daisy’s Circle each month and their annual gift really adds up! Thanks to the support of Daisy’s Circle members, $86,787 was raised in 2017 by this powerful network of donors – and now Troop 5003 is helping grow that number!

“I think it’s important to help other girls who would not have had the opportunity to become Girl Scouts so they can have the experiences that I have been able to have. Girl Scouts gives me confidence and I want other girls to gain it too,” Girl Scout Cadette, Anna Gust said.

When asked why Daisy’s Circle was something the troop wanted to join, Girl Scout Evie said: “Being a part of Daisy Circle is important because EVERY girl should be able to be a Girl Scout! I like that I’m following in Juliette’s example of selling her pearls to help girls be Girl Scouts when the program first began and I’m trying to carry on that legacy.” These girls certainly are giving just like Juliette Gordon Low!

Troop 5003 at their end of year meeting when the girls received their awards and badges.

In addition to their amazing financial support, Troop 5003 is planning a Silver Award that examines crisis plans in local schools. The girls recognized a lack of communication between parents, students and school administrators regarding what to do during a crisis, and they’re in the early stages of planning a Silver Award project that will address this issue. How inspiring!

When girls give back to other girls, it creates a circle of women supporting women that will lead to a brighter future for all women. By standing together and for each other, Girl Scouts are showing just what it means to be Girl Scout STRONG!

Thank you, Troop 5003, for giving back not only through service to your community, but to sister Girl Scouts as members of Daisy’s Circle. Currently, Daisy’s Circle is 468 members strong and we’re hoping to push past the 500 member mark! Join Troop 5003 by supporting girls today at http://www.daisyscircle.org!

Girl Scout Green was the Color of the Day at the K 

Another Awesome GS Day at the K is a Wrap

The 2018 Girl Scout Day at the K is a wrap! Over 10,000 Girl Scouts, friends and family packed Kauffman Stadium to cheer on our Kansas City Royals as they took on the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, July 8! You didn’t have to look hard to spot Girl Scout green, vests and sashes as well as homemade signs and apparel at the K!

The Kansas City Royals made sure that everyone else in the stadium knew that it was Girl Scout Day as well!

Girl Scouts who sold 300+ boxes of Girl Scout Cookies earned 2 free tickets and the opportunity to walk around the field prior to the game! These girls were led by high achieving cookie sellers Rebecca McCreight from Spring Hill, KS, Alma Solano from Independence, MO, Joslin Ungles from Skidmore, MO and Patricia Smith from Leavenworth, KS.

Our top cookie seller (3,551 packages and the top seller for the second year in a row), Girl Scout Brownie Paige Thomas from Lee’s Summit, MO delivered the game ball to the pitcher’s mound.

(Photo by Jason Hanna/Kansas City Royals)

Our second-place seller (2,701 packages), Girl Scout Brownie Emauri Snider from Eudura, KS served as our Captain’s Club representative and accepting a game ball for our incredible ticket sales.

Photo by Jason Hanna/Kansas City Royals)

The first pitch and first catch were completed by 2018 Gold Award Girl Scouts AND top cookie sellers, Tehya Frederick from Kansas City, MO and Kresynda Robinson from Olathe, KS!

(Photo by Jason Hanna/Kansas City Royals)

The colors were presented by the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club from Fort Leavenworth, KS with three of the four members being Girl Scout Alums!

In the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat was Gold Award Girl Scout and National Yong Woman of Distinction nominee, Taylor Edwards from Lansing, KS. For her Gold Award project Taylor created the Young Voters Committee at Lansing High School. Taylor worked with her State Representative and History Teacher to create workshops educating her peers on political issues that are affecting their community. It’s now a recognized school club that meets monthly reviewing issues on upcoming ballots with elected officials attending as guest speakers.

Girl Scout Dad and troop leader Tech. Sgt. Robert Jennings from Whiteman Airforce Base was recognized in the Salute to Heroes seat!

Prior to the game,  Caitlin Stratmann from Topeka, KS, Zia Montigny from Raymore, MO, Lily Wollum Lenexa, KS and Amara Wray from Lee’s Summit, MO, delivered a sweet snack break to Rex Hudler and Ryan Lefebvre in the Fox Sports Broadcast booth and received an autographed baseball in return!

Haley Guyer from Olathe, KS, Alana Mallen from Lone Jack, MO and Layla Bradley from Junction City, KS officially declared the start of the game by announcing “Play Ball!”

Thank you to everyone who came out and participated in 2018 Girl Scout Day at the K! We want to hear about the memories you made with your girl, family or troop, so be sure to leave those in the comments below!

Want more photos? See all our 2018 Girl Scout Day at the K photos here! Feel free to view, download, share and/or print!

Girl Scouts Inspire Girl Scouts

Spotlight on Girl Scout Cadette, Channing Saint Onge

Do you remember the story we told you last year about FIRST LEGO League Participants, Troop 1987?! Girl Scout (newly bridged) Cadette, Channing Saint Onge sure does. Troop 1987 inspired her to take lead like a Girl Scout and establish a FIRST LEGO League team within her own troop…but that’s just the beginning!

From Troop 5177 out of Lawrence, KS, “Sleep Squad” was formed. A team of five Girl Scouts and their troop leader and coach, Kristi Kamm got to work learning all they could about FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and preparing for their first season of competition! In their first year of local competition, they finished in the top 30 teams, and even got to meet their inspiration (turned now competition!) the J. Gordon Low Resistance!

Teams J. Gordon Low Resistance and Sleep Squad at the local FIRST LEGO League Competition

Channing fell in love with robotics through this program and wanted to continue working with Ollie (their robot) after competition wrapped up last December.

“I like that I get to work with a team and I really like programming. It’s not super hard for me and it’s not super easy, either.” Channing said.

She founded Egno Robotics – a passion project and nonprofit-in-the-making to introduce robotics to other Girl Scouts and it’s become a family affair (Egno is part of Channing’s last name, backwards)!

Having watched his big sister have all the fun, Thurston wanted to join in too so Channing, Thurston and Kristi developed a three station workshop for elementary girls to learn the basics of robotics. Kristi leads a station teaching girls (and adults) about FIRST LEGO League, Thurston teaches circuits and Channing brings it all together showcasing Ollie and leading girls through building a robot!

“We figured we could help troops trying to earn these robotics badges. They don’t have the robots, but we do! It’s been fun to learn how to teach girls and be patient,” Channing said!

Left: Channing with robot, Ollie. Right: Channing teaching Girl Scouts about Robotics.

Egno Robotics piloted the program in their own troop, helping all girls earn their Junior Robotics badge and it has expanded from there! Channing presented Egno Robotics at a Service Unit meeting and has since conducted the workshops to five more troops in just the last six months with the hopes of visiting more troops this fall.

Channing has big dreams for Egno Robotics, hoping to turn it into a nonprofit exposing as many girls as possible to the world of robotics. She has already designed her own mat (like what FIRST LEGO league uses) based on Hidden Valley Camp and envisions using it with Girl Scout troops for their own mini robotics competitions!

The Robotics mat Channing has designed for future Girl Scout competitions.

Channing loves talking robotics and teaching others. Since founding Egno Robotics, she has been tweaking the workshop to be relevant to the ages she’s working with and has helped girls’ complete steps in all the levels of the Robotics badges!

“It was kind of hard to teach juniors, because I would be teaching them at the same age [I am]. Brownies are the easiest! I might be able to teach juniors better now [that I’m a Cadette],” she said.

Kristi, an engineer herself, has loved watching Channing take to the robotics world and seeing her passion for sharing it with others. “You gain a lot of confidence and the skills to each other people and feel a sense of mastery. They [Channing and Thurston] show others that they can do this!”

Is your troop interested in earning their Robotics badges with Egno Robotics? Leave a comment below with your name and troop number and we’ll put you in contact!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Girl Scout Strong

Spotlight on GS Alum & Volunteer Becky Estep

Becky Estep, from Cameron, MO is lifetime Girl Scout Member, Highest Award Alum, Daisy’s Circle Founding Member, Troop Leader, Service Unit Manager and has over 45 years of experience with Girl Scouts. This summer Becky will retire from her role as Service Unit 814 Manager after serving in that role more years than she can count!

Becky’s Girl Scout story began when she was in 2nd grade. Her troop met weekly after school. “We wore our uniforms so proudly with sashes, beanies, ties, flashers on our socks, and dues pouches on our belts!” When she was 13, she was selected through written essay and interview to go on a trip to Europe, 7 countries in 13 days! This experience led to many new adventures for her including research, community-wide Fundraising, packing, traveling and presentations. She spent her Girl Scout summers as counselor and program director at Camp Woodland where she I learned life skills, fostered a love for the outdoors and made lifelong friends!

“There is so much joy in watching girls and adults learn and grow to become leaders and role models for others and to use those skills & their voices to help build girls with courage, confidence, & character to make our world a better place!”

Becky has been using her Girl Scouting background and education as an Environmental Scientist with the EPA to help make our world a better place! Throughout these past 45 years Becky’s Girl Scout roles have included camp counselor and program director at Camp Woodland, service unit product sales manager, day camp director, council trainer/facilitator, events manager and troop leader for her daughter Amanda’s troop through high school graduation and now her niece’s Cadette troop.

“I truly want to give back, to be there for our girls to help them achieve their goals and dreams and to enjoy Girl Scouts as much as I have over all these years! Our girls face so many wonderful choices and challenges on their journey through life and need our Girl Scout program and leaders like us more than ever to help them on their way!”

Becky, thank you so much for all your commitment, dedication and passion to Service Unit 814 and our entire council over the past umpteen years! We are thrilled to have you stay connected as a troop leader and as a mentor for the next service unit manager!