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!

Going Gold with STEM


Introducing Senior Girl Scout Jolly Patro’s Take Action Project

When most girls have a Friday off from school they’re ready to spend time with friends or spend the day relaxing. For Jolly Patro, an aspiring Gold Award Girl Scout, it’s a day to do something she loves – service. On this particular Friday in September, Jolly spent her day off at Children’s Mercy Hospital handing out her first STEM kits for her Gold Award project. This awesome Girl Scout Senior from Troop 107 in Olathe, KS is on her path to Gold by combining her love of helping kids, STEM and education.


Jolly Patro is a sophomore at Olathe North high school and a girl of many talents. She’s involved in Science Olympiad, works at Kumon, plays the viola, is an officer in her school service club, a member of student council and volunteers at Children’s Mercy! Talk about a go-getter! Yet no matter how busy she is, she always finds time for Girl Scouts and most recently, for her Gold Award project.

She began working on her Gold Award after going to Inspire a Girl in April 2015. “One of my friends got her Gold Award at Inspire a Girl, so I started mine after that ceremony. I thought ‘this is something I can do’ after talking with the other recipients that day,” Jolly said. Seeing the other projects and having earned her Bronze & Silver Awards, Jolly knew it was something she wanted to earn.

While Jolly’s path is STEM focused now, her favorite things to do as a younger Girl Scout involved camping and her friends. “My favorite part [of Girl Scouts] was camping because I got to spend the night with my best friends and camp in cool places like the Zoo or Timberlake,” Jolly said. As she got older she became interested in careers where she could help people and turned her sights to medicine.  “I want to be a pediatrician […] and I want to work with kids,” Jolly said.


Her Gold Award project consists of creating STEM kits for the children at Children’s Mercy. They include activities that require common components (string, aluminum foil and tape), so they can easily be reused in the future. For Jolly, it was the perfect combination for her interests. “I started my Gold Award project and knew I wanted to do something with science, medicine and kids. So I thought of Children’s Mercy and we worked together to come up with the idea for STEM kits for the kids,” Jolly said.

These kits not only give the kids something to do while they spend time at the hospital, they inspire them to learn about a variety of STEM-focused areas. “The kits we currently have are a robotic hand kit, parachute challenge kit, zipline challenge kit, structure challenge kit and an adventure kit,” Jolly said. It’s truly engaging the children of the future. Jolly even talked about the power of STEM, Girl Scouts and her project at the GEHA Golf Tournament in September where $100K was donated to Girl Scouts! Jolly’s inspiring story as a driven Girl Scout had the audience on their feet, applauding her success.


Just as her Gold Award project is hoping to inspire kids to learn more about STEM, she believes that giving to Girl Scouts does the same thing – creates a better next generation. “Girl Scouts tackle all topics, not just one area, like STEM. Girl Scouts conquer everything. You know that you’re shaping the women of tomorrow [by supporting Girl Scouts]. If someone donates, they’re helping girls for a better tomorrow, a better next generation,” said Jolly. “You’re helping the next generation when you give to Girl Scouts, that’s the most important thing,” Jolly said.

This inspiring young woman plans to stay active in Girl Scouts because of the bonds she has with her Girl Scout sisters and the unique opportunities that Girl Scouts offers. “By sticking with your troop, you get to stay with girls you’ve been with for years, you meet new girls and you all bond over Girl Scouts. With busy schedules you don’t always have time to see each other, but when you’re in Girl Scouts, you always have that one time you’re together during Girl Scouts. It also gives you so many opportunities. That’s why I stay with Girl Scouts,” Jolly said. “Without Girl Scouts, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

Her biggest piece of advice to other girls planning to do their Gold Award is to pick something you’re really passionate about. “Pick something you’re passionate about because that’s the only thing you’ll be willing to spend that much time doing,” Jolly said. She found her passion and is thrilled to be sharing it.

What an inspiring young woman! We thank Jolly for all her amazing work and for being an inspiring young woman. Know another awesome Girl Scout working toward Gold?  Share her story in the comments below!


Harvesting Change


Spotlight on National Young Women of Distinction Nominee, Blayre Messner

“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” That’s was the philosophy behind Gold Award Recipient, Blayre Messner’s project: “Hometown Harvest: Growing Together.” Working with her community, she created a community garden that provides fresh produce to those in need. The project also earned her one of three GSKSMO nominations for National Young Women of Distinction (NYWOD).


Blayre Messner joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy in Albany, MO. Growing up on a farm, she was surrounded by livestock and learned to grow her own food. The Messner family is instilled the love of service in her from the start. “Our family Christmas tradition is to go serve at the hospital on Christmas morning and pack meals for those in need. We do it on Thanksgiving too. Growing up and serving others is what I learned to love and Girl Scouts is the best way to promote that,” Blayre said. Her older sister, Courtney is a Lifetime Girl Scout and her mother is also a Girl Scout Alumna.

Her community has a population of 1,700, so the small town didn’t see many Girl Scouts. While Troop 8724 started with 22, by high school, Blayre was on her own. But that didn’t stop her! She earned her Bronze award by packing backpacks for a program called “Backpack Buddies” and her Silver Award by setting up a day camp for 1st – 5th graders. For her Gold Award, she knew she wanted to get the community involved and saw a lack of fresh produce being available to low income families and the elderly population. “Poverty is a major issue [in my community]. Different organizations provide food stamps or money to purchase food, but what they end up buying is fast, cheap, ready-to-eat meals and I saw that there was a lack of produce in the diet of those in poverty,” Blayre said.

Blayre got to work and established a community garden. While she tilled, seeded, weeded and fertilized the garden to start, she wanted to make sure she was building skills that would last rather than just providing food for one year. “I wasn’t just going to grow it for them and give it to them, because then they’re not learning! So in order to get produce at the end, they had to come in and work,” Blayre said. The community worked together and taught the “lost art of gardening” as Blayre calls it, to a new generation. People also exchanged extra hours of work for those who physically couldn’t work but needed produce (like the elderly population).


After the harvest, they hosted a community dinner where everyone brought a dish made with food they had learned to grow. The Messner family provided chicken breasts and cous-cous, but otherwise, everything they made was from the garden. It fed over 75 people, a lot for this small town! In all, Blayre’s project provided a 5-10week supply of produce to 40 families, 23 individuals and 2 businesses! JUST IN THE FIRST YEAR! Talk about harvesting change!

Blayre has already encouraged her little sister, Kayce, to build on the “Hometown Harvest” project by building raised gardening beds for her Silver Award project. In the fall, Blayre will head to Columbia, MO to study agricultural business at the University of Missouri with hopes of going into agricultural pharmaceutical sales. With her project going strong again this year, they look forward to a second community dinner in the fall and will add a fall crop rotation this year! Way to go, Girl Scout!

We are proud of Blayre for her achievements and dedication to service. We wish her the very best as Girl Scouts of the USA selects 10 ladies from all the nominees to earn the National Young Women of Distinction honor! Good luck to Blayre, Teresa Shockley and Alyssa Klinzing, the three nominees from GSKSMO!

If you know of an incredible Gold Award story, share in the comments below!