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!

 

Stop the Traffick!

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout, Phoebe Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Shutterbug of Service

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Service from the Heart

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toys for Orphans

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout Hayley Nitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read about that experience written by Hayley herself for KindCraft.

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

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

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

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

Bent not Broken

A Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout Leah Wiegers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2017 Inspire a Girl

42 Gold Award Recipients.

1 Beth Winters Scholarship Recipient.

2 Prudential Spirit of Community Award Recipients.

4 Bronze & Silver Take Action Project Displays.

11 Community Partner activities.

6 GSKSMO Program info stations and learning opportunities.

1 Kendra Scott Give Back shopping experience.

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

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

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

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

2017 Gold Award Recipients

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

2017 Gold Award Recipients with Stephanie Warren Drimmer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That Amazing Feeling of Giving Back

Spotlighting Girl Scout Ambassador & Daisy’s Circle Member Katlyn Morris

For anyone who’s had “that moment” giving back, it’s something you want to keep doing because of the amazing feeling you get being part of a global community of good. For some Girl Scouts, giving back in a BIG way starts early. Meet Katlyn Morris, a Girl Scout Ambassador from North Kansas City, MO who gives back to girls! This awesome Girl Scout did something only one other group has done – she joined Daisy’s Circle as a girl in Girl Scouts!

If you read our blogs regularly, you know the story of Brownie Troop 879 from Grain Valley, MO – the small Girl Scouts who give back to their Girl Scouts sisters in a BIG way! Katlyn took the lead first and joined last April at Inspire a Girl while helping a friend set-up her Gold Award presentation.

After learning how Daisy’s Circle provides consistent, dependable income for Girl Scouts to provide programming, awareness and financial support for local girls in need, Katlyn decided it was something she wanted to be part of. “What they were saying about needing support to get the word out about Girl Scouts, that definitely hit home. Even though I joined young, I wish I had known about Girl Scouts earlier. I wanted to help with that and give back,” Katlyn said.

Katlyn joined Girl Scouts as a 2nd grade Brownie, but still wishes she had been able to join earlier. She loves the opportunities Girl Scouts provides, the friendships, Day Camp and service. “I love getting out in the community and doing things I wouldn’t be able to do if I wasn’t in Girl Scouts,” said Katlyn. She even met her best friend in Girl Scouts! Now as a high school junior, Katlyn can look back and see all the positive things that have happened to her because of Girl Scouts. “It’s nice to have people who understand where you’re coming from, but that you don’t see every day,” Katlyn said.

Giving back is one of her favorite things about being in Girl Scouts. For her Silver Award, she and a couple of her troop sisters sent boxes of supplies and gifts to children in need overseas. She remembers the amazing feeling she had when the child she sent a gift box to wrote back!  “The kid said ‘thank you so much, it’s so nice that my friends and I can share these!’ I thought it was amazing that something as simple as crayons could impact someone’s life in the way that it did. It felt so amazing,” Katlyn said. Those are the experiences that turn philanthropy and service into a lifestyle.

By joining Daisy’s Circle, Katlyn knows that she’s making a monthly contribution to girls just like. With wisdom beyond her years, Katlyn said: “If we can impact girls when they’re young, who knows what kind of global impact it has and the types of girls we’re putting into the future.” What an incredible investment Katlyn is making, not only in herself, but in the future.

“If you’re thinking about joining, just go for it. [As a Girl Scout] it’s investing in you. It’ll help you be a better person in society and other girls in your community,” said Katlyn. We can’t wait to see where Katlyn goes! She’s currently preparing to submit her Gold Award proposal, so hopefully we see her walk across the Inspire a Girl stage in 2018 as a Gold Award Recipient!

Thank you to Katlyn and all the incredible Daisy’s Circle donors in our council! If you’re interested in making a difference for local girls, join Daisy’s Circle today! It takes less than two minutes to make a difference. If you know of an awesome Girl Scout donor, please share their story in the comments below!