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!

A Sisterhood that Defies All Boundaries

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout, Faith Endsley

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls, the most difficult to earn and it’s only attainable by Girl Scouts. The Gold Award requires a Girl Scout to identify an issue that is important to her and her community. She researches, plans, presents and takes action, spending no less than 80 hours on a project that will be sustainable within her community.

When Girl Scout Ambassador Faith Endsley started thinking about going Gold, she knew exactly what she wanted to do to improve the community that she is a part of.

Faith is a member of Girls Night Out (GNO), a social skills and self-care program for adolescent girls with autism and other developmental disabilities through the University of Kansas Medical System. Through GNO, girls who have autism are paired up with a mentor, a girl who does not have autism for one year. Throughout that year they get together for monthly activities like movie outings, shopping events, spa nights and holiday parties, just to name a few. However, when that year is over the mentors and participants are considered alumni and the program is just over for those girls. There weren’t next steps or resources for those girls who had spent a year making friends, interpreting social cues, learning personal hygiene, working on their eye contact and other things that those with autism struggle with.

That wasn’t something that set well with Faith who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. So, for her Gold Award project, she put together a plan to expand the GNO program far beyond that first year.

“I’ve learned things like self-care skills, how to dress and social skills [because of GNO],” Faith said.

Faith worked closely with the founder of the program and her community advisor, Dr. Jamison to put together multiple resources for GNO program alumni. One of the resources was an application for girls to complete that would better match them with others of similar interests.

“It’s hard sometimes for girls with autism to make friends,” Faith said.

This application will allow girls to be matched with other girls based on shared interests, removing the sometimes awkward step of finding common ground when trying to make a new friend with autism.

The second part of her project was to create a catalog of activities that girls could reference when planning activities. Faith spent hours researching and compiling a wide variety of activities being sure to include time of year, location, cost and other details that are important in selecting activities to do with friends.

“I want to see girls connecting, making and keeping friends because they’re doing things together that they’re both interested in [through Girls Night Out],” she said.

Lastly, she put together a presentation for Dr. Jamison to be able to use to tell the GNO story. She will be used at conferences to encourage her colleagues across the country to start similar programs and be shared with potential donors to garner additional support for the program.

At this point, Faith has put more than 160 hours into her Gold Award project and still working with Dr. Jamison to get everything hosted online and distributed to the alumni.

Girls Night Out Participants

Community service is something that Faith is passionate about and Faith’s mom, Christie Endsley credits the structure of her Girl Scout meetings these past eight years for fostering this passion within Faith. Each month the troop would have one meeting of a fun activity, a meeting that involved a badge lesson and a meeting that would be community service.

Just this week, Faith made and donated 14 pet blankets to KC Pet Project and she regularly folds origami and fills it with candy, delivering to police and fire stations and emergency rooms on all the major holidays.

“It makes me feel good to help others,” Faith said.

In addition to the Gold Award, Faith has also earned the Girl Scout Silver and Bronze Awards. Her community service has earned her the Bronze Presidential Medal of Service and the Gold Presidential Medal of Service – skipping right over the Silver!

Faith will graduate from Staley High School in May with a 3.88 GPA and all the honors mentioned above.

“I want to be a medical laboratory technologist,” Faith proudly said.

Right now she’s looking at two options following graduation. She’s applied to Project Search at Children’s Mercy Hospital, a program that allows students to experience what a career in the medical field is like before deciding to pursue that education path. Her second option is to attend Maple Woods Community College where she’s earned herself two years of free tuition through the A+ program because of her outstanding academic performance.

Faith as Brownie, Junior and Ambassador!

“[When she was diagnosed with autism] the doctors said she wouldn’t have a sense of humor. Anyone who knows her knows how funny she is! They weren’t sure she would talk or be social. They didn’t think she would have any empathy. It was very gloomy diagnosis,” Christie Endsley explained. “Here she is doing community service like crazy! She’s excelled past all expectations, medically and personally.”

“I plan to be a lifetime Girl Scout member and remain active with Girl Scouts. I will participate in GNO Connections as a founder, member, coordinator and supporter. It’s good to have positive girl groups to belong to. It gives me a sisterhood I do not get anywhere else.”

Join us on April 14 at Inspire a Girl where we will celebrate Faith and our 59 other Gold Award Girl Scouts. If you stop by Faith’s display, she might just have a special treat for you…

Giving Back for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Spotlighting Daisy’s Circle Founding Member Beth Kealey

Sharing some serious Girl Scout love through giving back! Meet Beth Kealey, a Girl Scout mom, alum, Daisy’s Circle member, Philanthropy award winner, troop leader and Gold Award advisor! Not only has Beth supported Girl Scouts as a donor, she’s been there for her daughters as a troop leader and is an advocate for ensuring these incredible programs her daughters experienced are available for the Girl Scouts of tomorrow. After following Girl Scouts through different states, 3 daughters, 3 troops and the Gold Award in 2016 with her youngest daughter, Stephanie, it’s no wonder this awesome Girl Scout mom is also a Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist award winner!

Beth, Stephanie and her Gold Award Advisor, Linda Weerts at the 2016 Inspire a Girl Ceremony

All three of Beth’s daughters have loved Girl Scouting! Christina, the oldest, was lucky enough to have Beth as her leader when she started as a Daisy, and Jennifer, the middle child, had Beth as her troop’s co-leader. Stephanie started in Girl Scouts and even though she became inactive after earning her Silver Award, she and a friend decided they wanted to go for Gold and she re-registered to get that ultimate Girl Scouting honor.

Beth watched Stephanie SHINE through her experience with the Gold Award where she created a slam poetry program to give teens a place to feel loved and accepted. The company that hosted the slam poetry nights told her she had to get 15 to show up for the event….in true Girl Scout fashion, Stephanie got 95 to attend. They all knew they had something really important happening in this space and because of it, Stephanie earned her Gold Award and walked across the stage in 2016 with pride.

Images from Stephanie’s Gold Award project – Slam Poetry; Stephanie hugging her mom, Beth, after receiving her Gold Award pin in 2016.

“Stephanie was so proud of earning her Gold Award. It was all about her being able to say ‘I did this!’ and be really proud of that accomplishment,” said Beth. More than just pride, there was a maturity and growth that Stephanie now had. That’s especially evident when you watch her “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” vide with Bob Regnier! Of course, Beth couldn’t be more proud of what her daughter became. “After earning the Gold, you could see a difference in the way she presented herself. There was a maturity there,” Beth said.

As the parent of a Gold Award Girl Scout, Beth saw growth in her daughter and a sense of pride she hadn’t seen before. “What you see as the parent of a Gold Award recipient is that they have much more poise, grace and just the way they present themselves after going through the experience of earning the Gold,” Beth said. That’s one of the reasons she’s continued to give as a member of Daisy’s Circle, even though all three of her daughters are no proud alumna.

 

Stephanie and Beth at the 2016 Gold Award ceremony; Right: Beth with GSKSMO CEO, Joy Wheeler upon receiving the 2016 Daisy’s Circle Philanthropy Award for the Central Region.

 

“Giving is just a cultural thing for me. If we want the experiences my daughters received for future Girl Scouts, we have to keep giving. You need that grassroots foundation of support to keep these programs,” Beth said. It’s important to her that she supports the same opportunities for the Girl Scouts of tomorrow that her daughters received. Because of her giving, advocacy and volunteerism, it’s no wonder Beth received the “Daisy’s Circle Appreciation” award for the Central Region in 2016 too!

Beth Kealey is a beautiful example of a strong Girl Scout supporter who continues to create a future for the Girl Scouts of tomorrow! This amazing volunteer is definitely what we would call Girl Scout Strong!! Thank you, Beth, for your leadership and continued support of Girl Scouting!

Going Gold in the North & West Regions

The projects are done, the paperwork is in and excitement is brewing for Inspire a Girl! On April 14 we will honor sixty, (6-0!!!) Girl Scouts who completed their Gold Award Project and earned the highest award in Girl Scouting this year! This is the largest Gold Award Girl Scout class in recent history and it includes nine Girl Scouts from our council’s West & North regions!  This group of young women have spent more than 800 hours giving back to their communities. From creating literacy programs to community improvement projects and educational programs, these Girl Scouts have achieved the highest honor she can earn, the Gold Award!


NORTH

Skylar Clark, Atchison, KS
Troop 8184, Service Unit 801

Train Depot  – For her Gold Award project, Skylar Clark wanted to encourage local children to learn about their town’s history and have fun while doing it! She worked with the Atchison Chamber of Commerce and the Northeast Kansas Railroad Association to breathe new life into Atchison’s Train Depot. With the help of some friends and family members she did some painting at the depot and planted a brand new garden. After that, she hosted an educational workshop for children to learn about trains.

“I feel more connected to my community through the service that I’ve done for it.”


Werthen Gass, 
Trenton, MO
Troop 8081, Service Unit 820

NomNom ReadRead – Werthen Gass saw a need for additional literacy programs for young children, specifically those living in poverty. In her experience, those children were not prepared to become readers because they lacked resources in their life to provide the necessary equipment. To address the issue, she created the NomNom ReadRead YouTube channel in conjunction with the Trenton High School Key Club and Jewett Norris Library. She shared this resource with teachers and got their support to use the program within their own classrooms. To-date, she has 1,144 subscribers to the channel and nearly 1 million views!

“Through this project I realized that some kids never see any print in their homes. As a result, I developed a deeper sense of the world around me and I resolved to give the gift of reading to others.”

 

Latorrie Johnson, Trenton, MO
Troop 8081, Service Unit 820

Recycling on a Rural Community Level – Over the past few years, Latorrie Johnson noticed that the recycling had decreased in her rural town of Trenton, MO. To promote recycling on a local level she collected old bins and repurposed them into recycling bins and encouraged attendees to use them at community events. Latorrie also created a flier and passed it out at the local health fair and ran an article in the local newspaper to raise awareness about the importance of recycling!

“I have developed values such as persistency, determination, to work hard and never give up.”

 


Katelyn Kesinger, 
Atchison, KS
Troop 8184, Service Unit 801

American Flag Etiquette – Katelyn Kessinger wanted to educate her community on how to properly dispose of an American Flag. She worked with the Daughter of the American Revolution to create an education program that taught others how to hold an American Flag Retirement Ceremony and created a brochure that people could take away and refer to in the future.

“I learned that I just need to be more confident in myself and everything will go just fine!”


E’Lizabeth (Elle) Neal, 
Trenton, MO
Troop 8081, Service Unit 820

Preserving Trenton High School – Elle Neal saw a need for the digitization of her high school’s past yearbooks. The district didn’t have the capacity to do the work, so Elle stepped up. She collected yearbooks and scanned the thousands of pages to create a digital version of each one. She then created a website where the yearbooks would be accessible to alumni who are now living all around the world!

“I felt accomplished with the simple difference I made and I will try to continue to make a difference, no matter how little or big.”

 

Miranda Wagner, Atchison, KS
Troop 8184, Service Unit 801

Forest of Friendship; Make It KnownIn Atchison, KS is an International Forest of Friendship that was a gift from the City of Atchison and the international organization of women pilots, the Ninety-Nines that had been neglected by the community for quite some time. Miranda took it upon herself to  not only revitalize it, but create programming around the history of the forest and educate her community. She planted perennial flowers, created fact sheets and an educational scavenger hunt and installed a weather-proof box to make her resources available to all visitors. She promoted her project on the local radio station and held an event during the forest’s annual flag ceremony!

“Through my project I have shown how much one person can impact the world.”

 

WEST

Samantha Hall , Manhattan, KS
Troop 7189, Service Unit 704

Conversation about Conservation – Samantha Hall’s Gold Award project focused on the conservation of animals by focusing on the ways humans unknowingly harm the environment around them. She created a program centered around the palm oil crisis. Palm oil is a common item in household cleaning products that displaces and harms animals every day.  She worked with the Manhattan Sunset Zoo, creating backpack kits that visitors can check out and learn about ways they can easily help with animal conservation!

“I developed a stronger sense of self throughout this project. It made me take charge in ways that I haven’t before, prompting me to figure out how I work with people and the best way to get things done.”

 


Samantha Edwards, 
Sabetha, KS
Troop 7200, Service Unit 714

Birds of Prey Awareness – Samantha Edwards wanted to change the negative perception birds of prey have by educating people on the positive ways they impact the environment and ecosystem. Samantha created a presentation and website with interesting facts, benefits of their existence and how humans can help them thrive. She also created bird swag bags containing bird seed and trading cards. Her presentation and information will continue through efforts of her school and community library.

“I feel that my confidence will grow tremendously because this project showed me that I can speak my mind and that anything is possible of you put your mind to it. I set a goal and I accomplished it.”


Kelly Wichmann
, Manhattan, KS
Troop 7189, Service Unit 704

Bike to School Day
– Kelly Wichmann’s Gold award project started when she realized that her school parking lot was overflowing. She thought about the impact that all those cars had on the environment and decided to create a Bike to School day to help the environment while encouraging her peers to be active. Included in her project was work to update and better the bike racks at her school to encourage her classmates to consider bicycling as a form of transportation every day, not just on one day!

“I know the assertiveness in which I built upon during the project will definitely be of great importance as I move on to my college years.”

 

Make plans to join us at Inspire a Girl on April 14 at the Overland Park Convention Center as we celebrate our entire 2018 Gold Award Girl Scout Class with a hands-on Expo and Honors Ceremony where they will officially receive their Gold Award Pin!

Did you receive the highest award in Girl Scouting?! We want to know! Drop us a comment below or send an email to prdept@gsksmo.org!

Giving Back to the Community that Raised Her

Gold Award Girl Scouts are an extra special group of high-achieving women who are driven to make the world a better place as girl members and throughout their life. When you add “Lifetime member” and “Daisy’s Circle member” to that category, you get an awesome, unstoppable G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM! Meet Elizabeth Shyanne Adcock (although she goes by Shyanne)! This amazing Girl Scout not only has invested in her community with a powerful Gold Award project, but is investing in the future of the program she loves so dearly as a member of Daisy’s Circle.

Shyanne started her Girl Scout journey as a Daisy, as young as she could. “I really don’t ever remember NOT being in Girl Scouts,” Shyanne said. She has fond memories of cookie sales, events and giving back through service projects. Most importantly, she remembers the sisterhood she had. “I’m dyslexic, so learning the Promise and Law took me twice as long as the other girls, but when I finally got it down, everyone was so happy. I’ve always had support behind me in Girl Scouts,” Shyanne said.

One of the highlights was her Highest Award projects – all of which included flowers! Her Bronze Award project involved creating flower pots they donated to a local school that are still in use today! For Silver, she helped grow plants from seeds to donate. It’s only natural that she’d find a way to incorporate flowers into her Gold Award! Like many Girl Scouts, Shyanne had several amazing ideas, but hit some roadblocks within the community on what she could pursue. Finally, her prayer garden project was approved and she was able to make a beautiful addition to her town. “I wanted to find a way to give back to the community that raised me, which is why I worked so hard to find a project I could do,” Shyanne said.

Shyanne planted two prayer gardens – one in her town of Missouri City, MO and the second about a mile away one in a very small town nearby. She reached out to community members who donated artwork, garden decorations, lights, a bench and other items to make the gardens full of interesting elements. She even got a statue donated! Now, her gardens serve as a peaceful place for prayer and contemplation for those in her community.

After completing her Gold, Shyanne attended a meeting with her former troop leader, MaryEllen Hughes where the troop was being inducted into Daisy’s Circle for joining. Moved by what Girl Scouts had given her, Shyanne stepped up and decided to become a member that night as well. “Girl Scouts has done a lot for me and knowing that there are girls who can’t do Girl Scouts because of money just really hit me. I feel like Daisy’s Circle is a good place for my money,” Shyanne said.

Now Shyanne is attending University of Central Missouri as a graphic design major and discovering what she wants to do as a career. In April 2018, Shyanne will receive her Gold Award pin at Inspire a Girl and we can’t wait to watch her proudly walk across that stage. This amazing G.I.R.L. is a great example of not only a Girl Scout, but a philanthropist, looking to the future of the program that gave her a supportive, loving sisterhood of girls.  Thank you, Shayanne!

If you’re interested in joining Daisy’s Circle like Shayanne, visit http://www.daisyscircle.org!

From Gold Award to the Silver Screen

Spotlight on Filmmaker and Gold Award Alumna, Morgan Dameron

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

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

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

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

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

That lesson has paid off, ten-fold.

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

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

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

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

“It’s been a year!” Morgan said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by Gold Award Alumna, Natalie Dameron.

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

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

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

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

A Troop of Innovators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s right, Isabella!

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

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

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 The Child Saving Institute, a local nonprofit in Nebraska. At the end of the Fun Fair, Katelyn delivered two car loads of items to The Child Saving Institute!

“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 GSSN Board Member, Karen Morey. Center: Katelyn collecting items for The Child Saving Institute 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!