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!

Rounding Up World Thinking Day Events!

Where in the world are Girl Scouts? All over our council Girl Scouts have been jumping on virtual planes, hiking invisible mountains and sailing across imaginary seas to learn about different countries and people around the world. It’s because of World Thinking Day events that girls are able to have this awesome exploration in just a few hours! Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and Girl Scout troops, World Thinking Day events are helping girls connect with cultures around the globe.

So what are World Thinking Day events? Generally, World Thinking Day events are hosted by an older Girl Scout troop with the support of adult volunteers within the service unit. Then the fun begins as each troop draws or is assigned a country to research. It’s up to the troop on how they want to learn about and celebrate the country, but at the end, all the troops come together, set up their booths and take turns traveling around the room and shopping. If a troop makes a SWAP or small item, girls can purchase these items (usually for 1-2 quarters) and fill bags with items from around the world. In many service units, the funds raised from the sales are donated to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, which helps girls travel the world or another charity.

World Thinking Day events ar e also awesome opportunities for girl leadership. Troop 108 from SU 694 in Overland Park, KS hosted their event as their Bronze Award project! We loved the little passports participating Girl Scouts received.

It’s a great way to not only bring together troops, but different cultures! We loved how SU 639 in Overland Park hosted a parade of flags where each country was represented. SU 805 in Maryville also had tables for each country and girls gave presentations! If you want to talk about YUMMY, SU 684 in Paola/Louisburg, had so many treats available, it was hard to try them all. SU 820 in Chillicothe, Princeton & surrounding areas had their event at North Central Missouri College and welcomed two international students (from Zimbabwe and Curacao) to speak!

Taking a different approach, SU 816 in Albany, Bethany & Grant City took troops to the Emerald Isle in an Ireland themed World Thinking Day. Girls kissed a Blarney stone (ps: you have to hang upside down from a castle for the real one, so they recreated it with a chair and fake stone!) and learned a step dance. So cool! SU 701 in Topeka, KS also got girls involved by having hands on activities in their multi-country World Thinking Day. SU 635 in Shawnee Mission got a little theatrical with their World Thinking Day by having troops prepare short presentations that they shared in front of an audience.

And some more shout-outs… We love SU 640 in Raytown Missouri’s use of photo props. Those France photo frames and mustaches are awesome! Way to go, GS Cadette Troop who planned and hosted this event. Girl Scouts from SU 607 in Kansas City put so much research into their displays. They went all out wearing attire and sharing food from their country. They also had awesome photo frames and props to celebrate and remember the day. Thanks, Hollie Miller for taking and sharing your great photos with us!

SU 704 in Manhattan, KS kicked off the Thinking Day season with their awesome and packed event on January 28th. SU 634 in Overland Park had a great event with rave reviews on the treats. Come on… that chocolate fountain in Switzerland is just delicious! And, SU 638 in Overland Park took us from China to Barbados to Bangladesh. What a tour! We’re exhausted!!

Wow – what amazing events and learning opportunities for girls!

Super shout out to all the awesome volunteers, parents, friends and Girl Scouts who make these events possible every year. Together, we’re making the world seem a little bit smaller and celebrating what makes us different and seeing what makes us so alike.

Check out this slideshow of World Thinking Day photos!

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!

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

Click the image to watch the video!

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!