We are Girl Scouts, We are Innovators – Part 1

Spotlight on 2017 Cookie Construction Teams

The 3rd Annual Cookie Construction program is in full swing! The seven teams are having their final meetings and preparing for Build Day on March 4 at Crown Center when all their planning comes to fruition, each team transforming 1,000 Girl Scout Cookie boxes into intricate, elaborate and structurally sound constructions!

This year’s theme is We are Girl Scouts. We are Innovators. Each team spent their first meeting in September talking about what innovation means to them as young women and as Girl Scouts.  Over the past month, we’ve been visiting with each of the teams to see how their initial concepts have transformed to visions and building plans leading into Build Day!

Team Time Travelers

Team Time Travelers are being led by mentors Marcia Trein, Erin McFarland and Mary Rogers from Rosemann & Associates and Emily Gale and Amy Kinderknecht from GastingerWalker&. When we caught up with them at the beginning of January, they were beginning to lay out their design and were finalizing their construction documents that the judges will use to assess their creations on Build Day! They took the theme and really thought about how innovation has evolved over time and are incorporating aspects of Kansas City into their build! “We wanted to make it something about Kansas City because we’re all from Kansas City and it will be displayed at Crown Cener,” Girl Scout Cadette Emily Stokes said!

Team Time Keepers

Similar in name, but different in design concept is Team Time Keepers led by female design professionals Ivy Hurst, Sara Lichti, Brittany Winnike, Kelly Neiling and Meredith Stoll from BRR Architecture! Team Time Keepers has a few Cookie Construction professionals, Girl Scouts who have been participating since the program’s inception in 2014. For these girls, they really thought about how innovation bridges the past to the future and what that means to each of them. They separated into sub-teams working on different elements (and there are many!) of their overall teams design concept. “It’s fun to be a part of team. At the end we’re going to have this awesome project and it’s been way cooler than I ever imagined,” Girl Scout Cadette Briana Brewood said.

Team Alpha Builders

Team Alpha Builders also has an experienced Cookie Construction Girl Scout on their team along with some veteran mentors! Girl Scout Senior Alyssa Harmon loved her experience so much last year, she just had to do it again – working with mentors she grew close to last year. Alison Lampier, Macrina Abdouch and Natalie Berg are once again bringing their knowledge and expertise from HOK Architecture and Populous and recruiting a new mentor, Renee Petty to join them in the fun! “I was a mentor last year as well and from that it was really great to see young girls wanting to get involved in programs that had to do with architecture. There wasn’t an opportunity like this for me when I was a Girl Scout so I wanted to get involved in order to share information with young girls about this field,” Macrina said.

“These mentors are amazing, they’re so smart,” Alyssa said! Alyssa sees herself as a “moderator” on the team, helping direct dialogue, leading brainstorming sessions and bringing the team’s design to life using a computer program called Sketchup. Their design really shows the Girl Scout spirit and will showcase various influential women in innovation!

Team Gear Girls

When Gear Girls first heard the theme, they all had one thought – robots. Since that initial meeting in September they been working to understand and expand on that design element. Kate Moeder, Shelli Ulmer, Ashley Meadows and Damaris Russell from Hollis and Miller Architects have been leading their team to expand that idea robots and their relationship to innovation. On their team are an aspiring structural engineer and interior designer who both feel like they’ve gotten so much out of their Cookie Construction experience already. For Girl Scout Cadette Sophia Fisher Cookie Construction is a way for her to gain real-life experience in the field that she aspires to be in when she gets older. “It’s a start for me to learn how to actually build things,” she explained. Working as a team, with Girl Scouts of all ages, levels and Cookie Construction expertise on their team, Gear Girls they have been able to take their robotics design idea and are well on their way to a multi-element design and structure on Build Day.

Look for the second part of this story on Feb. 23 when we bring you highlights from the final three teams! The seven structures will be on display at Crown Center from March 4 – 24 and we need YOU to visit and cast your ballot for People’s Choice Award!

The 2017 Cookie Construction Program is a partnership with AIA Kansas City and made possible with the support of McCownGordon Construction, Centric Projects, Mark One Electric Co. and SFS Architecture.

620 Hours of Making a Difference

A Spotlight on Special Initiative for Service Unit 620

620. That’s the service unit number for 77 troops in the Kansas City, MO area. That is also the number of community service hours Girl Scout members in Service Unit 620 have pledged to complete this Girl Scout year.

What came out of a small troop project for Girl Scout Leader Valerie Johnson has had a ripple effect far beyond just the girls in her Junior troop.

Last year Val noticed that her girls were participating in several great service activities on their own and wanted to create a way to recognize and encourage both individual and troop service projects. They started out with a troop goal of 100 hours between the 16 of them. At the end of the year, Troop 4519 had more than doubled their goal with over 245 hours completed!

Having chaired Service Unit 620’s World Thinking Day event for the past two years, Val was ready for a new challenge, so she brought this idea of service hour tracking to the service unit level. “From talking to other Girl Scout leaders, I KNEW our service unit was doing a lot of great service out there and I wanted to find a way to capture, celebrate and maybe inspire others to lend even just one hour of service to their community,” Val said.

From that, 620 Hours from Service Unit 620 was born.

Jada Sudduth from Troop 3335 knows that service is important, even at the young age of 11.

“Since this community is our community, we should help. It’s good to give back to people and to help them, so they can help other people,” Jada said.

Keeping track of the hours has been relatively easy for Val. Each troop leader logs their girls’ hours into their website and everyone in the service unit can see what girls are up to. Projects range from volunteering at council-wide Girl Scout events to spending time at retirement communities, making food baskets for those in need, putting on anti-bullying programs and so much more.

As of today, Service Unit 620 has SURPASSED their goal, logging 713 hours and they still have four months to go!

“This has been such a win! First, there have been some great discussions as to what activities constitute ‘service’ and the girls discuss and determine.  For example, they determined that selling cookies – while a good thing – isn’t giving service but volunteering for a community parade or march is,” Val explained.

We love how Service Unit 620 are G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™ through this effort and can’t wait to share how many hours they completed at the end of May!

How is your troop or service unit helping make the world a better place? Share your great service projects in the comments section below.

And, don’t forget… March is Inspire a Girl Month of Service. Girl Scouts who complete and log a service project in March receive the special patch. Watch the February 17th S’MORE for all the details. Start planning your service project today!

GSKSMO Goes to the Nation’s Capital

Guest Bloggers: Sara Babcock and Roxie Cody, Girl Scout Ambassadors

Long before any primary or convention, we planned a trip where Girl Scouts could experience history and democracy in action. And, they could have robust conversation, learn from one another and know their voice matters. Last Thursday – Sunday, these 14 Girl Scouts traveled to Washington DC together, united as Girl Scout sisters. Thank you to Sara and Roxie for documenting their incredible experience.

We had the opportunity to witness the Inauguration of the 45th president of the United States through Girl Scouts and EF Tours with 12 other sister Girl Scouts. The trip was not only about the inauguration but about getting to know Girl Scouts from other service units, visit the Smithsonian Museums, monuments and memorials in and around DC. Before the trip Regan gave a very funny speech about group dynamics that had us all laughing and two of the younger girls helped us prepare for safety on the trip as well as airport etiquette.

On Inauguration Day, it took us 4 hours to walk to the National Mall. We were surrounded by tons of people while standing in the security line to enter the National Mall. There were a lot of security and military personnel from all over the US, even some from Alaska!

The audience was a mix of supporters, protesters, and those just wanting to witness history in person as we watched the Inaugural speech of the 45th President of the United States of America on a JumboTron next to the Washington Monument. What we witnessed were many speeches that recognized importance of the peaceful transfer of power to President Trump. It was ironic to be standing next to the Washington Monument, remembering a class lecture where we learned how George Washington shocked the entire world when he peacefully transferred the power of the presidency, starting the tradition we have today.

The next day we visited the Capitol Building; the Mall was so overwhelmed with people that they had closed the Capitol Building and we had the opportunity to see the Women’s March first hand. Everywhere we looked there were people holding signs and supporting the Women’s March. Some were holding signs, but not all. Those that didn’t made us curious as to what they were there support specifically. Everything during this trip was very interesting to see and to experience.

During the trip girls prepared and gave small speeches about the places we were visiting when we arrived, including the Vietnam and Korean War memorials, well as the Lincoln Memorial.

An older girl in our group, Annaleigh, said that her favorite part of the trip was our first day when we visited with Congressman Kevin Yoder. “He was very kind and willing to answer our questions not just briefly, but he gave very descriptive answers”

Overall he was a very kind and accepting person. He took our questions seriously and didn’t talk down to us.

Fellow group members Naomi and Courtney both said that they “liked making new friends and that the trip as a whole was low drama!” We walked a lot every day (11 miles on Inauguration day, alone); so in addition to having a good pair of shoes, having a low drama group was very important. Especially when everyone, was tired, sleepy, and a bit cranky!

When asked why she wanted to come in this trip, one of our group members, Riley said “I wanted to try something new.” Which we personally think exactly describes everything we did on this trip. It was all new and exciting. Some of us had never ridden a plane, the metro (subway), or been to a food truck before.

We were complimented multiple times by our bus driver and the tour director for being attentive and so well behaved. Overall, it was a very engaging and interesting learning experience for all of us involved.

“This trip was important because I got to witness an inauguration, a crucial part of our nation’s politics. The most important thing I got to do on the trip was attend the Women’s March. Dissent is also a very important part of our country; attending the march made me feel like I was part of something bigger.” Lillie said.

Thanks to Girl Scouts and EF Tours we were able to try new things, met new people, and had experiences we will never forget.

Girl Scout Cookies Power BIG Adventures for Girls

2017 B.I.G. Cookie Kick-Off a Skill-Building Success

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We love Girl Scout Cookies, yes we do! We love Girl Scout Cookies, how about YOU?

It was a BIG day filled with cookie cheers, skill-building and fun at our B.I.G. Cookie Kick-off at UMKC on Saturday!

More than 400 Girl Scouts came to conquer all the steps to earn their Girl Scout Cookie pin. They rotated through the interactive booths led by our awesome teen Girl Scouts. These booths included playing a game of cookie safety bingo, exploring the history of the 100 years of Girl Scout Cookies, writing thank you notes to soldiers, practicing the cookie ask, counting back change, taking a great cookie photo or two, adding a cookie goal to the wall and so much more.

What a day! Our Girl Scouts kicked things off with an opening pep rally that was 100% girl-led; including a visit from Juliette Gordon Low, troop leaders stacking those cookies as high as possible and the fantastic Taiko drummers, including some super talented Girl Scouts. Following the pep rally, our Girl Scouts were super pumped ready to tackle those interactive booths and meet & greet with our fantastic community partners and program experts. And, in between they voted for their favorite Bling Your Booth entry. A tough vote, for sure!

Before you knew it and after a little lunch, it was time to cheer on the UMKC Women’s Basketball team. Prior to tip-off, our Girl Scouts joined the UMKC cheerleaders to get the crowd ready. Our Girl Scouts love to dance and cheer. And, speaking of cheering… 100 Girl Scouts took the floor during halftime for a special Girl Scout Cookie Cheer. They were AWESOME!

Following the game, our Girl Scouts enjoyed (you guessed it!) more dancing and a little time with the UMKC basketball team.

We couldn’t tell who enjoyed the day more – our Girl Scout attendees, our energetic Teen Girl Scouts, our adults or the role model UMKC athletes who joined us throughout the day. OK, maybe it was Roo who you could find at the GS Cookie photo booth most of the day!

The B.I.G. (Believe in Girls) Cookie Kick-Off was an incredible event! There are so many to thank you who made this day possible. First, our event chair who brought this vision forward and championed it to a successful reality. Thank you, Amber Cannady! A huge shout-out to our entire event team who generously gave their time, talent and creativity to make this event come to life!

Our Teen Girl Scouts were awesome and embodied what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™!

All of our inspiring community partners and program staff showed girls how they can used their troop proceeds and Cookie Dough to have BIG adventures!

Thank you to all of our adult volunteers who helped our teens get ready  for their interactive booths and served throughout the event.

And last but certainly not least – thank you to our Super Skill-Building Girl Scouts and their parents / caregivers who joined us for the B.I.G. Cookie Kick-Off!

What was your favorite part of the day? Tell us in the comments below!

See all the photos from the B.I.G. Cookie Kickoff Here!

Cookie Dough Gives Girl Scouts an Opportunity to Choose their Next Big Adventure

Cookie season is officially here and what a special season it is – the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies! We’re sure you’re out and about working your business, collecting those pre-orders; But have you thought about what you’re going to do when Cookie Season comes to a close and you’re faced with the decision of choosing an item from the Girl Recognitions or Cookie Dough?!

What is Cookie Dough you ask?! Cookie Dough is credit that may be earned by Girl Scouts during the annual Cookie Program. Girls can choose to earn “Dough” in lieu of another recognition item! Cookie Dough can be redeemed in a variety of ways at Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri and may be redeemed through Sept. 30, 2017!

Girl Scout Shop – get your year-end recognition items, Girl Scout swag, or buy materials for your next Girl Scout year!

Travel – with a variety of council-sponsored trips coming up in the next few years, you can apply your Cookie Dough to your travel balance!

Outdoor Experiences – get outdoors and try something new! Cookie Dough can be redeemed for any outdoor program we offer – archery, tomahawks, zipline, low ropes and resident camp. And, it also can be redeemed for service unit day camp.

While cookies have long been an aspect of Girl Scouting, so has camping! What better way to celebrate being a Girl Scout than by using your cookie proceeds to go to resident camp?!

Girl Scout Junior Alexis Wolfgang chose Cookie Dough last year, and doesn’t regret that decision!

When she began setting her goals for last year’s program, she had her eyes on item at the 1,250 level – a Chromebook! Alexis put on her entrepreneur hat and turned her business into a family affair! It only seemed appropriate since she helps her dad, Brett with his home remodeling business and her brother, Drake in his Boy Scout fundraising efforts!

From the day the Wolfgang family received their cookies, they were setting up their little shop out of the back of Brett’s truck. Alexis would make the signs and handle the customers and Drake would fashion a costume out of the cardboard cases!

“I like to watch her succeed, set the goal and see it through.” Brett explained. “Every year that comes she works more and more on her own.”

When GS Cookie Season concluded, it was no surprise that Alexis had reached that coved 1,250 goal and earned herself that Chromebook, however she also earned every level leading up to that. Recognition levels are cumulative, so Alexis went through and chose where she wanted to receive Cookie Dough over the item. When it was all said and done, she had earned $150 in Dough!

With that $150 in Cookie Dough, Alexis decided to go to resident camp at Camp Daisy Hindman! While there she rode horses, did STEM activities and went canoeing for the first time ever! In her short three days there she made friends and memories to last a lifetime!

“Selling cookies and hanging out with my friends is my favorite part of Girl Scouts,” Alexis said. “When I look over the recognitions, I like being able to choose cookie dough!”

“She likes it because she can choose to buy things she needs or pay for things she wants to do like camp,” Brett said.

Alexis totally agreed!

So while you’re out and about taking those pre-orders think about increasing your goal to earn some more Dough to Camp Like a Girl Scout! Programs can be found at www.gsksmo.org/camp  and registration officially opens at 9:00 am, today! The first 400 girls who register for any camp program (You & Me, S’mores & More, Mini or Resident Camp) will receive a limited edition Camp Daisy Bandana! Camp balances aren’t due until 3 weeks prior to the program, so you have plenty of time to earn and then redeem that Cookie Dough!

5 Tips & Tricks for a Successful Cookie Program

From Girl Scout Senior, Kimma Edwards

It’s official – we are celebrating a BIG milestone!  Well before Girl Scout Cookies were produced by licensed bakers to sell nationally, Girl Scouts baked and sold cookies on their own. Our girls were entrepreneurs going as far back as 1917! In 2017, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first known instance of Girl Scouts selling cookies and learning the basic skills and acumen they need to be leaders in business and sales, manage their personal and family finances, and gain self-sufficiency and confidence handling money.

Girl Scout Senior, Kimma Edwards from Olathe, Kansas has nearly mastered those skills. In the 10 years of her cookie business, she has sold over 7,500 boxes! Last year alone she sold 2,000, earning a coveted spot in a suite at Girl Scout Day at the K and being one of our council’s top cookie sellers!

“Selling Girl Scout cookies in general is just so much fun for me. I love seeing my accomplishments at the end of the season,” Kimma said!

We caught up with Kimma to see what tips and tricks she has for Girl Scouts of all ages to be as successful as her with their own businesses in this historic year!

  1. Set a Goal
    “The most important thing to sell is having a goal,” Kimma said.
    Kimma looks at the recognition sheet and sets her goal passed on the items and amount of Cookie Dough she wants to earn. Last year it was suite tickets for Girl Scout Day at the K (2,000 boxes), this year she has her eyes on the luggage set (1,250 boxes).
  1. Use the phrase “Would you like to support my Girl Scout Troop?”
    “You don’t necessarily have to buy cookies to support our troop,” Kimma explains. She says that using the phrase ‘Would you like to support my Girl Scout Troop’ is more polite and that it gets the attention of those who have it in their minds that they don’t want to buy her product for various reasons. It opens the door for her to have a conversation about her goals, how the Cookie Program powers great adventures and Cookie Share.
  2. Work as many Cookie Booths as possible.
    When she was a Daisy, Troop Leader and Mom, Misty Edwards would create a schedule for girls to work in 30 minute shifts at Cookie Booths. Throughout the 10 years, the shifts have expanded and they have been more strategic with their booth setup. Her advice is to cover all the entry and exit points of the location and use the magic phrase above!
  3. Talk to EVERYONE.
    When cookies arrive in February, you will find Kimma carrying a Girl Scout Cookie duffle bag stocked with cookies everywhere she goes and asking everyone she encounters if they would like to support her troop!
  1. Work with your Girl Scout sisters.
    This coincides with #1 – Set a Goal. The girls in Troop 431 know each other’s Cookie Program goals and they work together to achieve them. This past year Kimma was working toward her biggest goal yet, as was her Girl Scout sister Desi, however their goals were different. On the last weekend of Cookie Booths, Kimma and Desi set up their shop at a local Wal-Mart and utilized all the tips above. At the end of the day, instead of splitting the work 50/50, Desi only wanted credit for enough boxes to get her to her goal, giving Kimma the remaining number which just barely pushed her over the 2,000 mark. That’s Girl Scout teamwork right there!

It’s evident that Kimma has learned The 5 Skills (Business Ethics, People Skills, Decision-Making, and Goal Setting) that the Cookie Program has been teaching for 100 years and those are skills that will stay with her for a lifetime.

“I don’t know what it is about it, but selling Girl Scout Cookies is just so much fun. It’s my favorite part of Girl Scouts!” She explained. “It’s even helped me think about what I want to do. I think I want to be a business owner, maybe own a toy store or candy shop because I really love children.”

What tips and tricks do you have? Share them below in the comments section.

Making the World a Better Place

Girl Scouts Give Back with 690,000 Hours of Service This Year!

It’s a season of giving, and Girl Scouts are the BEST at giving back to their community! In fact, Girl Scouts of the USA estimates that every Girl Scout does 30 hours of service per year. With 23,000+ Girl Scouts in our 47 county region, that adds up to an amazing amount of volunteer work for your favorite charities – 690,000 hours of service to be exact!

Take a look at how some of the troops and service units in our council have given back this holiday season!

Girl Scout Junior Troop 78 from Liberty, Missouri had their favorite troop meeting of the year where they turned into Christmas elves by adopting a family with two little girls in their community. As a troop they give some of their troop proceeds and also ask their families to support this feel good project too. And, that’s not all – these Girl Scouts add some skill-building in there as well. They determine needs versus wants, came up with a good mix of each, made a budge and decided as a team what to get to stay in their budget. They then bought their presents at TJ Maxx in Liberty (their 3rd year assisting Troop 78) and wrapped presents for delivery!

 

Girl Scout Senior Troop 1169 from Lee’s Summit, Missouri collected baby books and donated them to the moms and babies at Mother’s Refuge. After an inspiring tour of this awesome organization, the girls are now brainstorming other ways they can make a difference.

 

Girl Scout Brownie Troop 5681 from Junction City, Kansas knows that giving back feels oh so good and they were all smiles!! These awesome Girl Scouts saved some of their 2016 Cookie Program proceeds just to buy special toys to be donated to the Salvation Army to ensure other kids have gifts under the tree this Christmas!

 

Girl Scout Daisy Troop 5116 from Mission, Kansas had a great meeting where they heard how Della Lamb supports others & presented gifts to their guest speaker for the organization’s Operation Santa Program. Each Girl Scout in the troop made two Blessings Bags; one to give to the VA Hospital and the other bag to keep and give to someone they want to bring blessings and good will to.

 

Girl Scouts at Heartland Elementary in Overland Park, Kansas joined their Boy Scout brothers to package 4,000 meals for the Something to Eat program. These Girl Scouts are always serving others, but we love that they did this special project on Giving Tuesday.

 

We were thrilled to be a part of KMBC Channel 9 and the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family Day again this year! We had 10 troops from our council adopt 10 families, spreading holiday cheer for over 40 individuals this holiday season! Those troops delivered their gifts and enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of KMBC’s studio in November.

 

Ten Girl Scout troops at Mission Trail Elementary School in Leawood, Kansas hosted a Give-A-Palooza and invited their family members to participate too. Together, they collected and sorted clothing and pull-ups for SAFEHOME, made cards for patients at Menorah Medical Center, and collected travel-sized toiletries for the Ronald McDonald House!

 

Girl Scout Junior Troop 7112 from Lawrence, Kansas gave back and used their creativity by making some fleece blankets for Douglas County CASA. These blankets will be put to great use!

 

Turkey and all the trimmings! These Girl Scouts are showing their appreciation for all they have by supporting others in their community. More than 250 Girl Scouts of all ages in Service Unit 648 from Lee’s Summit, Missouri participated in the “Thanks for Giving Fun Drive”. Girl Scouts brought food donations to fill 36 bags with a complete Thanksgiving dinner including the turkey! The girls made scarecrows and cards for each Thanksgiving bag that will be distributed this Saturday to Coldwater Lee’s Summit families. Thanks for giving, Girl Scouts! You are making such a difference and ensuring a fantastic Thanksgiving for others!!

 

A STEM lesson + teamwork = Caring & Kindness! What a fantastically, creative kindness project Girl Scout Troop 177 from Overland Park, Kansas just completed. These Girl Scouts learned all about soldering & computer coding to illuminate LED lights and make them display different colors. Then, they went to Topeka to donate a really cool, hand crafted, animated LED-lit rainbow Christmas tree to Planting Peace’s Equality “Rainbow” house. The girls learned a lot and had tons of fun together. Wow, what big hearts these Girl Scouts have! They chose the project and are committed to spreading kindness all year long! You can learn more about how Troop 177 created the tree here!

Troop 879 is Standing with Sister Girl Scouts! Introducing our first Daisy’s Circle troop… Being a sister to every Girl Scout is so important, it’s in our law. Not only does it stress the importance of kindness, but also supporting sister Girl Scouts. Troop 879 from Grain Valley, Missouri is taking the law to heart and became the first Daisy’s Circle troop! In a girl-led decision on budgeting, the girls decided to use half of their cookie money to help other Girl Scouts succeed. You might think a troop with this much heart must be in high school – but they’re actually 2nd grade Brownies. Troop 879 is setting the bar for giving as a troop. 

How have your Girl Scouts made a difference this holiday season?  Let us know in the comments below!

Four Generations of Girl Scouts

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Spotlight on Girl Scout Alumnae and Volunteers Doris Frost, Janet Pelton, Becky Blankenship and Girl Scout Cadette Katie Blankenship

There’s a special bond that Girl Scout mothers and daughters have. From sharing stories of badge earning decades ago, teaching the newest Girl Scout about how to cook on an open fire, to traveling together to the birthplace of the organization that you all hold so dear to your heart, Girl Scouts brings women even closer together who are already connected through their family tree.

Girl Scout Cadette Katie Blankenship is a fourth generation Girl Scout in her family. You might say that she was destined to be a Girl Scout that it’s in her DNA. After all her mother, Becky Blankenship was a Girl Scout. Her Grandmother, Janet Pelton was a Girl Scout. Even her Great Grandmother, Doris Frost was a Girl Scout!

As Doris recalls her own Girl Scouting experience, it doesn’t sound much different from the ones her great granddaughter Katie is having today. She remembers having awesome leaders, going camping, earning badges and just generally being a G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™.

Today, Becky and Janet are both troop leaders, and Doris is a retired troop leader. Between the four of them they have over 100 years of Girl Scouting experiences and stories!

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Doris (front), Janet (left), Becky (center), Katie (right)

Katie’s grandmother, Janet, went through all the Girl Scout levels herself then when her daughter Becky was old enough, she volunteered to lead her troop of Girl Scout Brownies (the first level of Girl Scouting in the 1980s) and saw them all the way through earning their Gold Award! When Becky left for college, Janet started all over again, with a brand new troop of Girl Scout Daisies, but this time she recruited Doris to join her on the troop leader adventure, and oh what an adventure Doris had with her daughter and the group of girls they led!

After 12 years of Girl Scouting, in Janet & Doris’s troop embarked on an 8-day cruise to culminate their Girl Scout experience before life took them in all different directions. That Girl Scout trip is what got Doris on an airplane for the first time in her life, at 84 years young.

“That trip was wonderful, the best time I ever had,” Doris said!

Doris (left) & Janet (right) on the cruise!

Doris (left) & Janet (right) on the cruise!

After that trip, Doris hung up her Girl Scout volunteer hat, but Janet decided to dive right back in and start all over again with her third troop; all while still continuing to serve as Service Unit Manager for Service Unit 661.

While Doris and Janet were leading their troop in Leavenworth, Kansas, Becky was stepping up for troops who were without leaders in Emporia, Kansas, while also going to school full time at Emporia State University!

After graduating college, Becky moved back to the Kansas City area, got married and had Katie! In January, before Katie was set to go to Kindergarten, Becky called her area service unit manager and let her know that she could count on her to lead the Daisy troop where Katie would go to school that fall!

Becky always dreamed of giving Katie the opportunities through Girl Scouting that her mother, Janet, had given her.

“Girls have opportunities they wouldn’t have without Girl Scouts,” Becky said.

This past summer, Janet and Becky took Katie’s troop on the council-sponsored trip to Savannah, Georgia, the birthplace of Girl Scouts. A trip that was important for Becky to experience with her mom. “She gave me my start in Girl Scouts and I wanted to have the experience of going to the birthplace with my family,” Becky explained.

“It was really neat that we got to do that last trip together,” Janet said of the cruise with Doris. “I’ve gotten to do so much with Becky now.”

Janet (left), Katie (center) & Becky (right) on the council-sponsored trip to Savannah, GA.

Janet (left), Katie (center) & Becky (right) on the council-sponsored trip to Savannah, GA.

For this family, Girl Scouting truly is in their DNA. Through all the things that life has thrown at them, they credit Girl Scouts for keeping them going. “Being a Girl Scout leader was a lifesaver during the times that my parents were sick. Most people quit being a volunteer when those things happen but it kept me sane,” Janet explained. “Girl Scouts is what keeps me happy.”

Girl Scouting has come full circle for these four women. Doris loves hearing what Katie is accomplishing through Girl Scouts and what exciting activities and trips Janet and Becky are doing as leaders for their girls. The memories that the four of them have all overlap and constantly remind them of what they’ve experienced not only as Girl Scouts, but as a family.

“All of the things Girl Scouts get to do are good. Everything is a learning experience for them,” Doris said.

Thank you Doris, Janet and Becky for all you’ve done to empower girls and instill the Girl Scout leadership experience in their DNA!

 

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Standing with the Next Generation of Girl Scouts

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The Taliaferro family is a shining example of a Girl Scout family who does more than participate as volunteers – they’ve become members of Daisy’s Circle to support the next generation of Girl Scouts. Girl Scout dad Henry, Girl Scout alumna, Kathryn and Girl Scout daughter, Caroline, believe in the power of Girl Scouting because of the opportunities it provides for girls to thrive. Kathryn is the troop leader for Caroline’s Girl Scout Junior Troop 3084 from Blue Valley and sees firsthand the work that Girl Scouts does to help girls become G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters. Innovators. Risk-takers. Leaders.)TM.

Troop 3084 love to take advantage of all the opportunities our council offers. “The opportunities that are available now are amazing, especially with community partners. You have everything there for you. [Girl Scouts] has already reached out and made connections with organizations that have resources that we need,” Kathryn said. The troop has attended the Girl Scout night at the Lyric Opera, rock climbing and many other activities.

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Troop 3084 had their first camping experience at Camp Prairie Schooner this fall and Kathryn saw Caroline face her fears in a way she didn’t expect. When the troop went ziplining, Caroline was a little nervous about the experience. Despite her fears, she was able be take a risk thanks to the support of her Girl Scout sisters and the camp staff member who reminded her that it was a “challenges of choice.”

“My daughter is a little more shy and reserved, so she did not want to do zipline at all. The staffer handled it really well. He told her ‘this is a challenge of choice,’ which communicated to her that there wasn’t pressure. Because of that, the girls didn’t make fun of each other for not doing it, and eventually, after watching all the other girls go, she was able to do it,” Kathryn said.

At the core, Kathryn wants the troop to have a traditional Girl Scout experience that includes things like camping – just like she had. As an alumna, Kathryn remembers enjoying the Girl Scout experience as a girl and the unique opportunities she was able to experience. She also sees the power of the sisterhood Girl Scouts creates. While the Taliaferro family has two adult children who live in other states, Caroline doesn’t have any siblings living at home, so Girl Scouts gives her a sisterhood that Kathryn and Henry feel are important to her overall development.

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Having been a Girl Scout in the past, Kathryn sees a resurgence of the program and she wants to be part of it. “We enjoy giving and we’ve had such a good experience with Girl Scouts. Plus, I feel like Girl Scouts is really making a comeback, so the chance to be involved in something that gives opportunities to girls of all economic and social backgrounds is great,” Kathryn said.

As members of Daisy’s Circle, the Taliaferro family went on a site visit to Emerson Elementary, home to Outreach Girl Scout troops supported in part by Daisy’s Circle.  “I’ve never had anyone reach out to me to show me the direct impact of our gifts. You sign up for something…but this is the first time I’ve been invited to see how it works. I try to get ideas from other troops, so while I was there I was learning about some things to bring back to my troop and seeing the impact was great,” Kathryn said.

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Giving to help the next generation of Girl Scouts is important to the whole family. “[We give because] Girl Scouts has a great synergy within the community with all the connections it makes and the opportunities our daughter has. Plus, the organization is well managed, there are good people involved and the money goes to good use,” Kathryn said.

What an incredible example of a troop leader and Girl Scout family who stands by girls! Not only do they give selflessly of their time as volunteers, but of financial gifts that propel programming forward and provide opportunities for girls all over our council. If you’d like to learn more about Daisy’s Circle, check out www.daisyscircle.org. Thanks to the Taliaferro family for all they do and a big “WAY TO GO” to Caroline for conquering her fear of the zipline!

Do you know an awesome Daisy’s Circle Girl Scout family or have a great story to share about Girl Scout opportunities? Share in the comments below!

Camp Like a Girl Scout

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Spotlight on CIT II Olivia Aractingi aka “Puffy”

When Girl Scout Ambassador Olivia Aractingi went to summer camp for the first time in 2007, she left feeling empowered.

Empowered to embrace her unique qualities.

Empowered to believe in herself.

Empowered to make friends wherever she went.

“Even at 8 years old I knew. I met tons of different people and I loved the diversity between us. That experience made me who I am,” Olivia said.

Camping has long been an aspect of Girl Scouting. Girl Scout Camp is where every G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)™ will lead like a Girl Scout, like Olivia.

Over the past nine years, she has been to three different camps, participated in a variety of programs and formed countless friendships with campers and counselors. Through her experiences at camp, Olivia has found her passions and challenged herself.

One summer her mom signed her up for a horse program. “I tried something new, realized that I didn’t like to ride horses, but I like to help out with them. The beauty of camp is that its challenge by choice,” she explained. “Camp shows yourself your boundaries. You explore what you do and don’t like – it’s perfect because if you don’t want to do one thing, there’s always something else.”

As Olivia has grown through camp each summer, so have her leadership skills. She’s earned both her Counselor-in-Training (CIT) I & II pins and works to ensure that younger campers have an experience as memorable as her first one was.

“My goal every summer is to get to know everybody at camp – learn one thing about every person. That does great things for building friendships!”

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Olivia knows that her experiences and skills she builds at camp stay with her even when she’s not there. During the school year she her camp experiences and recruits girls of all ages to join Girl Scouts to join her the next summer!

“Going to camp has helped me communicate with people in the real world. It has turned me into a leader and a problem solver,” Olivia said.

Because she camped like a Girl Scout, Olivia is empowered for life.

What program will empower your G.I.R.L. this summer?! Our 2017 Summer Camp Guide is now live and registration opens on January 5, 2017 at 9:00 am!