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!

Daisies for Daisy’s Circle

Spotlighting Some of Our Youngest Philanthropists – GS Troop 4350

Spend. Save. Give. Three simple words that start financial literacy education in young Girl Scouts. When these lessons turn into action, it creates real change and a sense of accomplishment for girls. Meet Girl Scout Daisy Troop 4350, our newest Daisy’s Circle troop! These powerful little philanthropists decided to give back to fellow Girl Scouts after talking to Kara Lineweber, Donor Relations Manager for GSKSMO. As leader Amanda said, “once they talked to Kara, the vote was unanimous to give to Daisy’s Circle with part of their cookie proceeds.”

Troop 4350’s awesome first year of Girl Scouting!

Troop 4350 is just in their second year and hit the fast forward button to catch up to other troops. They started meeting in March of 2017 and decided to hold meetings throughout the summer and twice per week to earn all 10 petals. They also fit in camping twice per year and more activities to keep the troop active and learning all they can handle!

Troop 4350’s badge station and some fun troop time together!

It was during the lesson for the “Talk It Up Leaf” that troop leader Amanda Boyers had Kara come in and talk to the girls about philanthropy. Amanda talked to them about how they helped hurricane victims, the homeless and animals, and asked how they felt about helping sister Girl Scouts through Daisy’s Circle. That’s when it all came together, the girls voiced their decision to support fellow Girl Scouts and they received their own Daisy’s Circle pins.

As Girl Scout Daisy Joye said, “I like to help other Girl Scouts like me.” She proudly held up her pin, smiling as she talked about it. Troop member Phoebe said her favorite thing about Girl Scouts is camp, so she liked helping other girls get to camp too. “[Being a Girl Scout means] I help people, so this is how I can help other Girl Scouts,” Phoebe said.

 

Troop 4350 Girl Scouts Ruby (left), Joye (center) & Phoebe (right)!

Through the experience of giving back through financial gifts as well as time and service, these young Daisies are learning the fundamentals of the Girl Scout program. As Girl Scout Daisy, Ruby said “to be a Girl Scout, you have to be nice, kind and polite.” Learning to give back is certainly a great way to learn to be those things!

So many life experiences, so much fun – that’s what makes Girl Scouting so very special. On top of all the amazing skills girls learn and opportunities they have, troop leader Amanda sees the power in Girl Scouting as a family affair as much as it is beneficial for the girls. “It’s a great way for mothers and daughters alike to form relationships with peers as the troop continues to mature. It’s an opportunity for girls to have ownership both financially and in the decision making. I can’t think of another extracurricular activity that can provide this unique combination,” Amanda said.

 We can’t thank Troop 4350 and their leader enough for their support of Daisy’s Circle. By giving back, they’re helping empower sister Girl Scouts right here in their community. If you’d like to learn more about this giving program, visit www.daisyscircle.org or contact Kara Lineweber at klineweber@gsksmo.org to get started!

Gold Standard for Change

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout Lauren Ingraham

Winters in the Midwest can wreak havoc on communities. It doesn’t take much rain, ice or snow for individuals to be impacted by the unfavorable conditions. Unfortunately, life must go on and we find ourselves cautiously navigating our surroundings.

For Girl Scout Ambassador Lauren Ingraham, all it took was one Midwest winter in her very own neighborhood for her Gold Award project to be born.

Lauren lives in what was anticipated to be small subdivision in Kansas City, MO. When the road was built, the city didn’t anticipate it serving more than one neighborhood. As the community grew, so did the use of the road, which rapidly became unsafe, especially in winter conditions.  It was that one mild winter storm that Lauren realized that something needed to be done. There were too many cars that had gone off the road and slid into the ditches on either side of the road.

The winter storm and hazardous road conditions that inspired Lauren’s project.

“Seeing these accidents made me want to take action and help my neighborhood. I decided the best solution to this problem was to see if the road itself could be improved because it has no curbs or sidewalks,” Lauren said in her guest blog post with KC Healthy Kids. “The only way I would be able to fix the road was to convince the city of Kansas City, Missouri, to improve them. In order to do this, I would have to petition the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC).”

PIAC is a group of 13 individuals representing six Kansas City council districts appointed by the mayor and City Council.

While many might find this task daunting, Lauren did not! She got to work gathering data, writing letters and gathering support with the help of KC Healthy Kids. She presented her proposal at the PIAC meeting and received a positive response, including one from of Sara Loar, daughter of council-woman Teresa Loar. Sara was inspired by Lauren’s proposal and coached Lauren through her speech and the process of working with her local government.

Left: Lauren & Sara Loar. Right: Lauren presenting at the PIAC meeting.

Lauren’s proposal was ultimately supported by the PIAC committee and was sent to the City Council where they just recently approved the project and granted funding for the road to be repaired. Construction on the road will start sometime this summer or fall and is slated to be completed by next year!

“Even though I am a teenager and not yet old enough to vote, everyone has been genuinely supportive that I was speaking out for something that makes my neighborhood unsafe. I encourage all kids to do the same. If you see a problem in your neighborhood, speak out and get help to get it fixed!”

Lauren’s Gold Award project has inspired her to become more involved and use her voice in the political arena. She’s now volunteering on a Missouri State senate campaign and plans to be involved in a U.S. Senate campaign this fall!

Civic engagement is one of Girl Scouts’ four focus areas. Through the G.I.R.L. Agenda, Girl Scouts of the USA is providing tools and support to encourage Girl Scouts, like Lauren, to be a catalyst for change within their own communities. The Civic Action Toolkit is available for Girl Scouts of all ages as well as volunteers!

“Because of Girl Scouts I have learned that you don’t have to be an adult or someone in a position of power to make a difference in your community,” Lauren said.

On April 14, 2018 we celebrated and recognized 60 Gold Award Girl Scouts! You can read about all of their projects here!

 

Girl Scouts Shine Bright

Spotlight on our 2018 Beth Winters Scholarship Recipients

Beth Winters was a passionate Girl Scout; she loved camping, traveling and was part of Girl Scouts of the USA’s “Leadership Today and Tomorrow” program as a girl member. Beth was the kind of person who wanted to know everything about everything and she attended the University of Missouri where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Journalism.

Just four years after graduating college, Beth was tragically killed in a car accident.

Upon her passing, Beth’s Mother Joyce Termini and brother Chip began thinking of ways to honor and remember her. With Beth’s passion for continuing education and her love of Girl Scouts, a scholarship for graduating Girl Scouts in seemed like the perfect fit. “This was exactly the right answer,” is how Joyce describes starting the scholarship in 1995.

Over the past 22 years, the Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship has provided 32 scholarships totaling more than $50,000 to Gold Award Girl Scouts from our council. This year, we were honored to recognize three Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship recipients at Inspire at Girl on April 14, 2018.

Emily Musembi, Joyce Termini, Isabella Barnes, Chloe Rothery and Chip Winters

Isabella Barnes

Isabella’s Gold Award project addressed lack of literacy and emphasis on fostering the love of learning in at-risk communities in Kansas City. Prior to the sessions, children would spend time on their phones during Harvesters-sponsored Kid’s Café, only to return to their computers after their meals. After observing a few sessions of Kid’s Café in the summer of 2016, Isabella realized that their time could be put to better use, and could be a catalyst for change.

Isabella worked with the Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Public Library and the Kid’s Café to plan and execute the interdisciplinary literacy outreach program using arts-based curriculum. These bi-monthly sessions will continue to happen and Isabella is currently training another youth facilitator!

 

Emily Musembi

Emily’s Gold Award project addressed the memory preservation and overall wellbeing for survivors of domestic abuse. In many situations, survivors have to leave quickly and cannot take personal items like scrapbooks, art and journals. This program provided them with art supplies to help them express themselves while recording memories and helping them start a new life. For children, the art supplies allowed them to create works of art that could help define their new spaces as “home.”

Emily worked with Synergy Services, local Girl Scouts and a teacher to gather supplies, share the program and plan the events. Her program will be made available to future coordinators who may want to recreate the project through instructions, a video and the supplies Emily donated. She learned to project manage, gather donations and lead a program through this process. She hopes that the project will be shared with other shelters and the video will inspire others to recreate the program. Through art, survivors can find healing and a way to begin a new life and record positive experiences that make wonderful memories and scrapbooks.

 

Chloe Rothery

Chloe’s Gold Award project addressed the lack of awareness about opportunities in science classes and career pathways at Liberty High School. Working with local 8th graders, Chloe set-up a fair for them to learn about the opportunities available in high school and spark excitement about science. She asked fellow high school students to set up booths and talk about their classes and future careers. Many included interactive displays and experiments.

Chloe worked with her high school and Liberty Middle School to coordinate the 8th grade attendees and the fair. Her fellow high school students loved sharing their love of science with the middle schoolers and she found that the excitement translated to the younger students as planned. While most answered “no” when asked if they’d considered a career in science when they arrived, a large number said “yes” by the time they left! She hopes that this excitement will encourage more students to go into sciences for their careers, leading to a more robust STEM pipeline in the future!

Thank you to Joyce, Chip and Beth’s friends and family for making this scholarship possible!

We are excited to announce that an additional scholarship will be available in 2019 for graduating Girl Scouts form our council! This new scholarship is being sponsored by Highest Award Alum and Lifetime Member, Connie Davis and more information will be available soon!

Read how the other 57 Gold Award Girl Scouts are making an impact on our community here!

Interested in learning more about how you can start a scholarship for Girl Scouts? Contact Vanessa Van Goethem-Piela at Vanessa@gsksmo.org or 816-759-3072.

Take Action – Change the World – Inspire Others

Wrapping Up 2018 Inspire a Girl

What a truly inspiring day we had on April 14 at the Overland Park Convention Center! Girl Scouts, volunteers, alums and supporters joined us to celebrate our 60 Gold Award Girl Scouts!

These young women have made an extraordinary impact on their communities through the Gold Award. Each Girl Scout 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 included STEM kits for Children’s Mercy, education workshops on local political issues and reading programs for the underserved, just to name a few. Read about all of their projects here!

We kicked off the day with a special breakfast for Gold Award Girl Scouts and program investors, hosted by GSKSMO CEO Joy Wheeler. Girls were joined by our very special guest, creator of Willow Tree and artist/maker, Susan Lordi! Each Gold Award Girl Scout received her new Willow Tree piece, “Butterfly,” to remind them that they are the ultimate Butterfly – resilient, determined, courageous and beautiful, courtesy of DEMDACO!

To encourage Girl Scouts to “Shine Bright like a G.I.R.L.”, they visited a combination of Community Partner and GSKSMO Program booths, to collect a Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker and Leader sticker for their card! Activities included digitally connected instruments made from everyday objects with Google Fiber, Play60 games with the Kansas City Chiefs, building towers with Kansas Children’s Discovery Center and painting kindness rocks with Treehouse Art Studio, just to name a few!

Upstairs Girl Scouts visited Bronze and Silver Award Girl Scouts, collecting their respective starburst sticker!  They completed their activity card by visiting with at least four Gold Award Girl Scouts and earned their Inspire a Girl patch!

Our very special guest, Gold Award Alum, Miss Teen USA and keynote for the Gold Award Ceremony, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff joined in on the G.I.R.L expo fun and did a special photo op with Girl Scouts before heading into the ballroom to celebrate the stars of the day, our Gold Award Girl Scouts.

This extraordinary day culminated with our Gold Award Ceremony where the Gold Award Girl Scouts officially received their Gold Award Pin and the Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship was presented to Isabella Barnes, Emily Musembi and Chloe Rothery.

The ceremony was keynoted by Sophia, who shared her story of “Shining Bright like a G.I.R.L.” Her message was powerful and she encouraged girls to hold onto their Girl Scout roots and use them as a platform and springboard to continue creating change within their communities, wherever they may go.

Left: Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship Recipients, Emily Musembi, Isabella Barnes and Chloe Rothery. Center: Gold Award Girl Scout MaKynzee Gaddy with her Pinners. Right: Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff delivering the keynote.

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, the Gold Award Take Action Project video and Sophia’s Keynote on our webpage.

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

A SmART Gold Award Girl Scout

Inspiring today youth is one of the best ways to make a lasting impact on the world. When Girl Scout Grace Brunner decided to answer the call to Take Action, she wanted it to be with a project that connects underserved children with arts education. Working with Avenue of Life in Kansas City, KS, Grace established Camp SmART for underserved children to help them develop art and critical thinking skills through arts education.

This project grew out of a love for arts education and a passion for helping other kids get the same experiences she got as a kid. “Even though I’m not pursuing a career in arts education, I learned a lot as a kid from it and I’ve been involved with arts organizations,” Grace said. By providing arts programs to kids in areas with limited funding means Grace is putting the power of education in the hands of kids who may otherwise not have access to it. That’s the power of the Gold Award – a Girl Scout learning to lead while improving her community!

 

Grace with students at Camp SmART!

“I had some of the best art teachers in the world and I can’t imagine getting to where I am now without those teachers and opportunities,” Grace said. After doing research on the improvements students have in academic testing when exposed to art, Grace felt exposing young students to the arts would help them across the board in their educational pursuits. By improving their connection with the arts, it could have a positive impact on their information processing and critical thinking skills.

For her arts camp, Grace had students come daily over winter break and take art classes at Avenue of Life. The students did painting and other artistic activities while surrounded by encouraging instructors. Thanks to her project, students had a fun, art-filled winter break!

Not only did the camp fill a need for students in KCK, it gave Grace a better understanding of the needs of students in underserved communities. “It was a new experience for me because, growing up in Blue Valley, I had so many educational opportunities available to me. When we did this camp, I saw the students were from districts that are underfunded, some were homeless and were coming to camp while their parents went to food kitchens. It was a very different experience than what I grew up with,” Grace said.

 

Grace Brunner as a young Girl Scout through Ambassador!

Earning the Gold Award has been the pinnacle of Grace’s amazing Girl Scout journey. Starting as a Kindergartener, she got to experience field trips, working with a group and building a support system that all came together through working on her Gold Award project. “I love Girl Scouts because we have so many opportunities [… such as] leadership experiences, outdoor opportunities, the chance to be entrepreneurs.  It’s just so much programming that people don’t even realize,” Grace said.

“Through the Gold Award, I found an inner leadership and strength I didn’t know was there,” Grace said. With all her incredible work on her Gold Award under her belt and years of Girl Scouting to prepare her, Grace is now excelling at the University of Kansas, volunteering as Director of Hospital and Family Relations for KU Dance Marathon, a charity by students at KU. She’s also serving as an intern for Kansas House Representative Koesten! Talk about a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™

We couldn’t be more proud of Grace or her incredible work through Girl Scouts to serve her community! You can meet Grace and our awesome 2018 Gold Award Girl Scout class at Inspire a Girl on Saturday, April 14th!

Stepping into Leadership

A Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout Abby Bidwell

This year we are truly honored to celebrate 60 Gold Award Girl Scouts during the biggest party of the year, Inspire a Girl! These girls have completed outstanding projects addressing needs in their communities. As these girls worked to go Gold, they put in countless hours to execute a plan and conduct research to leave their mark as a Girl Scout.

Girl Scout Ambassador Abby Bidwell understood what it would take to achieve the Gold Award, after earning both the Bronze and Silver Awards she was not afraid to take on the challenge.

When Abby discovered a student council program was not offered to the students at Tiffany Ridge Elementary, she instantly wanted to come up with something that would encourage 5th graders to begin stepping into leadership roles preparing them for middle school. She decided the best way to tackle the issue was to create the Emerging Leaders club.

Not only would the club help students learn the importance of being leaders in their community but as the club’s creator and ambassador, Abby would help students develop skills in public speaking and team work while they improved work ethic. Emerging Leaders students were able to work closely together to plan spirit assemblies for Tiffany Ridge Elementary. Abby led as a risk-taking Girl Scout by helping her students create a huge change in the school community, implementing student-led assemblies at the elementary level.

The impact of the first assembly was reported to Abby following a conversation she had with one of the teachers, “the next day, a second grader told their teacher he wanted to try really hard to have perfect attendance so his name can be called at the next assembly,” Abby said.

Abby did not anticipate the impact Emerging Leaders would have on the younger student or herself. She stated, “I’m inspiring 5th graders, while they are inspiring everyone else.” Later in her project she decided to create an Emerging Leaders manual providing the parent letter, an application and t-shirt permission slips along with every meeting agenda. With the hopes of encouraging other people to sponsor Emerging Leaders in different schools, Abby provided all 10 elementary schools in Park Hill High School District with a manual.

Assembly at Tiffany Ridge Elementary School

“I hope to see more students interested in leadership and more teachers and parents supporting student leadership in the future,” she said.

To share their story, Emerging Leaders had the opportunity to sit down with Channel 18 news for an interview. In the interview, members of Emerging Leaders expressed what they learned throughout the year and how they felt their skills would impact them in the future.

“Emerging Leaders has helped me become who I want to be and who I strive to be every day, and to be the leader I want to be when I grow up.” Lydia Keller shared. By educating students and parents about the importance of student leadership, the students of Emerging Leaders plan to apply to be a part of their middle and high school Student Council.

With the help of Tiffany Ridge’s principal, Mr. Fitzmorris, Abby has put 110 hours into her Gold Award project and will continue to work with the kids of Emerging Leaders to influence more guidance among the younger generation.

“I told my 5th graders that this is a place where they are the leaders and here, they don’t have to wait for a teacher or parent to tell them what to do. They get to decide.”

As Abby worked through her Gold Award project she had the chance to experience what it would be like to be a teacher. Getting the experience to email parents, work with the students and be their teacher for a few hours out of the week, Abby discovered her passion for teaching and established her desired career path. She plans to be a secondary education teacher and is considering the Peace Corps to impact students internationally through her teaching.

“Being a leader is fun, but having our voice heard and being part of making something happen is amazing!”

Congratulations on earning your Gold Award, Abby! We’re excited to celebrate you and the 59 other Gold Award Girl Scouts at Inspire a Girl on April 14!