Built by G.I.R.L.s for G.I.R.L.s: A Look Inside the “Magical” Camp Prairie Schooner

Frolicking with the Prairie Fairy and adventures out in Farmer’s Field – those are experiences that Girl Scouts who call Camp Prairie Schooner home are very familiar with. For more than 70 years, Girl Scouts have taken pride and ownership in this beautiful camp located near the Little Blue River in Kansas City, MO. It’s also the location of our upcoming Alumnae Reunion Weekend, Lifetime Member Picnic and Trefoil Society Pinning Ceremony on Sept 23 – 24! Today we’ll take a look how this camp came to be and the women whose tenacity made it a reality.

Camp Prairie Schooner patch (left); Flag ceremony and patches (center) and early sign (right).

In the early 1940s, the Independence Council of Girl Scouts decided they wanted a camp for Kansas City Girl Scouts. A leader in that initiative was Mrs. Dewitt, who was active in the community and knew about a war time fund that had unallocated money. During World War II, the War Chest fund had been active in raising funds and by 1945, the remaining money was in limbo, ready to be reorganized.

Mrs. Dewitt, advocating for girls, approached the War Chest Board about the funds before they reorganized and the leadership wasn’t sure if they could trust ladies to establish and run a camp. As we know, G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM can do anything, and the Girl Scout Council knew they could achieve their goal, even if the Board doubted them.

The Council found the land where Camp Prairie Schooner currently sits and decided it was an ideal location. With a train stop just a short hike away, wooded areas and space for camp, they advocated for the funds. Despite pushback from the War Chest Board, Mrs. Dewitt was a hard woman to say “no” to and the Board sent the Jackson County Planning Commission to look at the land and make a recommendation. They had planned to use this as a stalling technique, hoping the women would give up before getting the funds.

Jerry Manning was sent to inspect the site and as he visited, he met the team behind the camp plan. It included community leaders and strong women who knew this would be a success. He realized this was a project backed by serious people wanting to create a better world for girls, not a whim that ladies had. He made the recommendation that the War Chest

Camp Prairie Schooner staff from 1988 (left) and approx. late 1970s (right).

funds should be given to Girl Scouts, and they were. After they acquired the land, the Council asked Mr. Manning to become the Camp Chairman, which started many years of service he gave to Girl Scouts, including serving as President of the Pioneer Trails Council!

Cookie money and funds from the War Chest paid the $4,000 for 127 acres of land that is now Camp Prairie Schooner. Still having reservations about the project, the War Chest Board held the title to Camp Prairie Schooner until the Council proved the camp was successful. After the installation of a pool and successful management of the property, they realized that these G.I.R.L.s meant business and the title was officially given to Girl Scouts.

Camp Prairie Schooner philanthropy! Girl Scouts from SU 638 & 639 built a Gaga Pit in 2015 (left) and Burns & McDonnell host annual work days at camp (right).

Today, Camp Prairie Schooner stands as a living testament to the power of G.I.R.L.s who wanted to make the world better for young women. We thank those early pioneers for their vision and tenacity that brought that camp to life as well as the current day donors who add to camp each year! Businesses, donors, and girls have added new facilities and games to camp, creating more opportunities and adventures (read our blog post about girl donated projects). Thank you!

We invite you to join us at Camp Prairie Schooner for our Alumnae Reunion! Registration closes SOON, so register today at www.gsksmo.org/reunion! See you at camp!

Becoming a Woman of Confidence

Spotlight on Alumna & Donor Chris McClain

 Girl Scout Lifetime member and Camp Prairie Schooner alumna, Chris McClain found her voice in the great outdoors at camp as a Girl Scout. Through Girl Scouting, Chris was able to discover who she was, learn acceptance and become the strong woman she is today. Growing up in the 1950s, Chris was given unparalleled opportunities because of Girl Scouts.

Now a resident of Vermont, Chris found herself back among the Prairie Fairy and familiar trails of Camp Prairie Schooner last winter when she was visiting Kansas City. While on a walk through memories and trails of camp, Chris happened upon the GSKSMO Philanthropy team as they were having a meeting. After some introductions, she was able to reconnect with the council and camp of her childhood.

Chris McClain (third from the left), with GSKSMO Philanthropy team in December 2016.

Camping was a huge part of Girl Scouting for Chris. She remembers working at Camp Prairie Schooner and getting to know new girls every time she went. It was a place of discovery where she was able to push her limits and explore possibilities.

During the 1960s, camp was a place where she learned acceptance and social inclusion as race riots in Kansas City changed the dynamics of camp. During the riots, there was a particular push to get Girl Scouts of color to camp, not only for their protection, but to give them a chance to just be girls and focus on their own development. For Chris, this gave her new opportunities to meet girls she’d never met before and see that everyone was accepted. At camp, everyone was a Girl Scout, no matter the social climate in the city.

“[Girl Scouts gives you] the confidence to try stuff outside your comfort zone and to stand up for what you believe is right,” Chris said.

A highlight of her experience was attending a Girl Scout Roundup in Vermont during high school. After applying with thousands of other girls from around the country, she and her troop were accepted and jumped on a train for Vermont. She and 10,000 other Girl Scouts camped together and made new friends. One of the best parts? A closing campfire with the real life Maria Von Trapp!

This Roundup group continues to hold reunions every other year, reuniting Girl Scout friends from around the country. Chris is an active member of planning these reunions and loves the chance to reconnect with one of the most life changing opportunities she had in her childhood.

 

Chris McClain in her home in Vermont and enjoying bagpiping – a hobby and profession for this alumna!

Today, Chris is a proud Girl Scout Lifetime member, an active community member and periodic volunteer for Girl Scouts in Vermont. She loves having opportunities to inspire young girls and give back to the organization that helped her grow into the woman she is today. She’s also become a member of the Trefoil Society, giving back to Girl Scouts through her estate. “After all Girl Scouts did for me, I can finally give back,” Chris said.

Thank you to Chris and the other Trefoil Society members who are leaving a legacy and making a better tomorrow for girls. If you’d like to share a powerful Girl Scouts story from Camp Prairie Schooner, leave a comment below!

Celebrating the Awe-Inspiring Volunteers of the East Region

It takes a village to raise G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM, and thanks to Girl Scout volunteers, girls haven an amazing circle of support! On Thursday, May 4, we were able to honor and thank the incredible volunteers across our East Region.

2017 East Region Volunteer Award Recipients

The East Region Volunteer Celebration was a Mad Hatter event! Everyone arrived in their wackiest hats or made them there at the hat creation station. Girl Scouts enjoyed our G.I.R.L photo booth, and there were plenty of goodies for everyone to eat in the reception following the awards ceremony. It was a night of fun, celebration and appreciation! We love our East Region volunteers!

At the awards ceremony, we presented the President’s Award to 10 incredible service units who are providing girls with amazing experiences in the East region (SU 604, SU 605, SU 607, SU 618, SU 620, SU 646, SU 648, SU 649, SU 654 and SU 655 – way to go!).  These service unit awards show the power of working together for girls.

We honored 29 outstanding individuals with the Appreciation Pin, an award that recognizes outstanding service given to at least one service unit. Every one of these volunteers has shown incredible dedication, passion and service to the girls in our community and they’re changing lives every day. Thank you to these amazing volunteers!

In addition to these awesome Appreciation Pin and President’s Award recipients, we were able to honor volunteers who have contributed to the success of Girl Scouts in the areas of STEM, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Service. To name just a few, we presented the Recruitment Award to the Recruitment Team of Service Unit 604 (Heather Cooper, Chessie Hernandez, Lindsay Peterson, Paige Rahman and Katherine Stitt). The Rising Star Award was given to Barbara Schlesinger for her work with her troop!  Erica Johnson was honored not only as an Appreciation Pin recipient, but also with the G.I.R.L Brand Ambassador Award for her mission-focused storytelling and volunteer work. You all ROCK – THANK YOU!

Philanthropy is a huge part of Girl Scouts, and we wanted to thank a couple of incredible philanthropists that contribute to Girl Scouts! Tara Scherer was honored as the Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist, Ron Grode was honored with the Philanthropist Award and Hallmark received the Corporate Philanthropist Award. Way to go, philanthropists! Thank you for investing in girls!

What an incredible night honoring our East Region team. We can’t thank our incredible volunteers enough; you all are making an incredible impact on girls. Because of you, we are growing G.I.R.L.s who will lead tomorrow! THANK YOU!!

To see a full list of awardees and photos from the night, click here to view our program and gallery.

Leading by Example Through Giving

Spotlighting Girl Scout Cadette & Philanthropist Maddie Gaines

Each year, tens of thousands of hours of service are done by Girl Scouts for nonprofits serving every sector of life. It takes a special Girl Scout to see that sometimes the most important service is done behind the spotlight. Meet Maddie Gaines, a 12 year old Girl Scout Cadette from Independence who knows that leading by example and giving back changes the world.

Maddie has a natural desire to help wherever she can.  At events, she’s always ready to step up and takes the jobs that don’t always get a lot of praise, but have to be done. As Maddie said, “I don’t have a specific motivation to help. I just know that helping others can make them happy and I like making people happy.” It’s this sort of selfless drive to give that made take a new approach to giving by becoming a member of Daisy’s Circle while at a Girl Scout event!

If there’s one thing Maddie really loves, it’s STEM! She eagerly signed up for Cookie Construction and became a member of team Alpha Builders with HOK. For months, she worked with a team of Girl Scouts and mentors to design their creation that would come to life on Build Day (March 4, 2017). During that Build Day, Maddie learned about Daisy’s Circle and knew she wanted to give back.

 

Maddie and Team Alpha Builders work on their creation for Cookie Construction.

By talking with her mom, she agreed to exchange extra chores at home to cover the monthly commitment she wanted to make to girls just like her. Now, Maddie is a proud member of Daisy’s Circle and a philanthropist at the age of 12. “I wanted to join Daisy Circle because I know that it will help other girls in Kansas City have experiences they might not have if we didn’t have Girl Scouts. I think everyone should be giving back no matter how old they are,” Maddie said.

Maddie selected Girl Scouts as her philanthropy because of all the friendships and opportunities it has afforded her personally. “I wouldn’t have learned about STEM if it wasn’t for Girl Scouts [and in the program] you’re given a way to learn things you wouldn’t otherwise. You make friends for life and you will ALWAYS have a sister girl scout no matter where you go.  You learn to be a better person by following the Girl Scout promise and law,” Maddie said.

This awesome Girl Scout is already working on her second Highest Award, her Silver Award, after earning her Bronze Award with Girl Scout sister, Alexis. For their Bronze Award project, the girls collected toys and stuffed animals and delivered them to police and fire stations. The toys will be given to kids during emergencies to help ease fear while the first responders address a crisis. She attended Inspire a Girl in 2016 to learn more about the Highest Award and even met former GSUSA CEO, Anna Maria Chavez, which her mother said was one of the highlights of her Girl Scouting experience.

 

Maddie at camp; Maddie with her family and Maddie meeting GSUSA Former CEO, Anna Maria Chavez at Inspire a Girl 2016.

“Girl Scouts gives me a balance with all the other activities I do and keeps me focused and grounded. [My troop leader and Girl Scouts] encourages us to learn new things and to remember to be ourselves. I try my best to live every day by the promise and law,” Maddie said.

By becoming a member of Daisy’s Circle, she’s allowing other girls the opportunity to do the same and sees the benefit of investing in girls while they are young. “If you learn early it is likely to carry on into adulthood, which can help make the world a better place,” Maddie said.

Thank you to Maddie, her mother and troop leader, Heather, and all the Girl Scouts who give back in such a big way. Maddie is an example of how to be an amazing Girl Scout and citizen. By investing as a girl as well as finding ways to serve throughout her life, Maddie is creating a better tomorrow for everyone.

Know a Girl Scout making a BIG difference in her community? Share her story with us using the comments below.

A Girl Scout Life of Adventure  

 

Adventure is something Girl Scouts are definitely familiar with. Whether it’s camping away from home for the first time or speaking in front of a group, Girl Scouts have the courage to face it all. Girl Scout alumna, donor and Curved Bar recipient, Barbara Weary, has lived a Girl Scout life of adventure and held the Girl Scout Promise close to her heart. This amazing alumna has spent a lifetime supporting Girl Scouting both locally and abroad.

“Girl Scouts changed my life. It gave me the courage to be a real person and follow my dreams,” Barbara said.

Barbara became a Girl Scout in grade school, asking her mother to be the leader. She remembers one year where troops in her community hosted their own Day Camp at a farm at what was the end of Mission Road at the time (105th & Mission). For that Day Camp, they invited local African American Girl Scout troops to attend, knowing the communities they reached out to didn’t have the resources to host their own.

Her mother, Trudy, even started working at the Girl Scout council after becoming a troop leader and had an inspiring 17 year career serving girls!

In 1949, at the age of 19, Girl Scouts took Barbara to Europe where she traveled to five countries in three months. She arrived in London, England and met with Girl Guides. She then travelled to the Netherlands, France, Germany and Austria. The summer after the trip, Barbara gave speeches about the experience, inspiring other girls to travel.

“That summer was a mammoth dose of scouting. I got to go camping in the Netherlands, go to occupied Germany and Austria, meet up with another Girl Scout in Paris, where I spent all my money…it was incredible,” Barbara said.

Barbara’s Girl Scout pins from across the world; Barbara (leader) watches her daughter, Alison, pin her mother, Trudy in a three generation Girl Scout ceremony; Trudy’s appreciation certificate for her service.

After the trip, Barbara attended Vassar College where she remained active in Girl Scouts. She organized an all-city Girl Scout choir and helped troops with badge work. Upon returning to Kansas City, she began teaching and co-led a troop with 60 girls.

When Barbara became a mother, Girl Scouts was a top priority for her girls. She was a leader and watched her own daughters become courageous women.

Through all these years, Barbara has stayed committed because of the mission and what she sees girls gain from being Girl Scouts. “Girl Scouts empowers you. It teaches you the things you really need to know to be effective. Things like how to work in a committee, how to set goals for yourself and evaluating events to see how you can improve,” said Barbara.

Barbara Weary truly embodies the idea that you’re a Girl Scout “at any age, at any stage.” No matter where she was in life, she found a way to be engaged in Girl Scouting – even meeting up with international troops when she did personal travel, such as a trip to Japan in 1966.

Barbara looks over Girl Scout memorabilia; Barbara with staff at the Girl Scout shop; Barbara with fellow alumna, Barbara Lee, at Camp Daisy Hindman.

Today, Barbara still continues to be involved as a donor, member of the Trefoil Society and as a volunteer. She’s a strong believer in investing in girls when they’re young because it has greater impact than when they’re adults.

“You’ll never have the opportunity to impact them the rest of their lives any other way. If you miss the opportunity when they’re young, you’ll see impact, but not at the same level,” Barbara said.

We thank her for decades of service to girls and the incredible impact she’s had on the Girl Scouting community.

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!

A First Class Girl Scout and Volunteer

Spotlighting Claudia Boosman

G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™ are capable of anything. One of the best parts of being in Girl Scouts is being surrounded by people who never set limits on what you can dream to be. Meet Claudia Boosman, a Highest Award Girl Scout, former troop leader, proud alumna and member of Daisy’s Circle who learned in Girl Scouts that she could be anything she wanted to be. As a mom, she knows more than ever, that Girl Scouts helps girls be the best G.I.R.L.s they can possibly be!

Claudia began her Girl Scout journey in the 1960s when her mother and a friend started a troop. All her friends joined and Claudia found herself enjoying the experience of selling cookies door-to-door and trying new things. She loved primitive camping at Camp Oakledge and the challenges Girl Scouts let her conquer. “It was a whole world of trying and learning something,” Claudia said. Most importantly, Claudia found Girl Scouts to be a place where she could be anything.

“No matter what I did with Girl Scouts, I was never told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. This was pre-feminism, so I wasn’t thinking about it in those terms, but there was so much positive reinforcement and I was constantly told ‘you can do that,’” Claudia said.

As a naturally driven girl, Claudia became a Highest Award recipient, earning her First Class Award in the 1970s. “I was driven and liked to accomplish things, I could do all of that with the First Class Award,” Claudia said. That sense of accomplishment has made her a proud alumna who supports the program today, especially since it encourages team and individual skill building. “Girl Scouts matters because it’s one of the few activities where a girl can explore and learn as an individual […]there’s a balance of group and individual activities – especially with the Highest Awards,” Claudia said.

After getting a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Claudia entered the corporate world and became a mom of twin girls. Her girls, Jo and Kate, became Girl Scouts as Daisies with Claudia serving as leader for Troop 439 in Lee’s Summit. As a leader and a mother, Claudia got to experience time with her daughters that she wouldn’t otherwise have.

When the girls were Daisies, Claudia remembers a project on kindness that showed her the skills Girl Scouts was teaching. The troop drew pictures of their friends and said nice things. Claudia showed them her drawing then crumpled it to show the power of negative words. “The shock on all of their faces was incredible. The message was: ‘this is what happens when you say hurtful things.’ It was a great moment and message that Girl Scouts can provide to show girls a life skill,” Claudia said.

While in Girl Scouts, Claudia and her daughters travelled with the troop and had incredible experiences together. They even won an award in a Lee’s Summit parade! Girl Scout life is about experiences, and the Boosman family certainly lived those to the max! “Girl Scouts is all about the experiences you can’t get anywhere else. It gets girls in the door and into experiences they just won’t get anywhere else,” Claudia said.

Though Claudia is no longer a troop leader, she’ll never forget the power of seeing a girl’s eyes light up. “Any mom that’s thinking about being a leader – just jump in and do it. You’ll get all the support you need and the excitement of the kids makes it so worth it. It’s the hugs. The kids would hug me after we did something and it always blew me away. You just don’t get that in the corporate world,” Claudia said.

In addition to her service as a volunteer, Claudia joined Daisy’s Circle, GSKSMO’s monthly giving program, to make sure Girl Scouts is available to any girl who wants to join. “I want to be part of making sure Girl Scouts is as widely available as possible, for any girl who’s interested,” Claudia said. “You put your money where your heart is, and Girl Scouts is where my heart is.”

We can’t thank Claudia enough for her continued support of Girl Scouts as an advocate and member of Daisy’s Circle. I think it’s safe to say Claudia is a prime example of what it means to be a G.I.R.L.!

If you know of another amazing Girl Scout Alumna or member of Daisy’s Circle – share their story in the comments below. Were you part of Claudia’s troop? Share your favorite memory!

5 Unique Ways to Invest in Girls (that you may not know about!)

Today is #GivingTuesday – a holiday that celebrates giving on the Tuesday after Black Friday & Cyber Monday. As they say on GivingTuesday.org “after you get, you give.” We hope you are watching our social media channels and sharing our inspiring stories of girls who are changing the world – right here in our council. By investing in girls, you can help change the world.

While giving directly to Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri is the very best way to invest in girls, we have some creative ways you can give that you may not know about. Some are literally FREE TO YOU, but supports girls! How cool! Check out these 5 ways and share with friends. Together, we can show girls they matter and invest in our best natural resource – GIRLS!

 

#1 Giving Tuesday

givingtuesday

Giving today makes a real difference. We have a bold $5,000 goal to kick-off our season of giving and that means every dollar we raise today helps us reach that goal for girls. Give today and you’re not only investing in girls, you’re contributing to a global movement of giving. Post an #UnSelfie of yourself giving and tag #gsksmo, share our Facebook stories, invite friends to our digital event and check out our video featuring Girl Scout Alumna and Program Leader, Amilee Turner.

All day we’re highlighting G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters. Innovators. Risk-takers. Leaders)TM from our Council who’ve made a difference. Learn more about these girls here! Go-getter – Blayre Messner, Innovator – Jolly Patro, Risk-taker – Amanda Johnson, Leaders – Troop 2300 from John Fiske Elementary

 

#2 Amazon Smile

amazonsmile

Giving back costs you NOTHING by using Amazon Smile. Do your holiday shopping today and give back in return. All you have to do is use the link here: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/43-0892926 or go to smile.amazon.com and type “Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri” into the Charity search. Once you designate your charity, .5% of all your purchases goes back to Girl Scouts. Same Amazon, just giving back! Make sure to use smile.amazon.com whenever your shopping to active the giving.

 

#3 United Way/CFC

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Live United and/or give as a federal employee. These two awesome programs use funds from generous donors who give to United Way or CFC and in turn, the funds are distributed to critical organizations in their communities. When you give to either United Way or the Combined Federal Campaign, you are part of a mission of giving that generates thousands of dollars for important organizations each year. Here’s a handy list of the United Ways that service our Council or click here to find your local United Way. Check out some GSKSMO supporters from the blog – Terry Knopke and Mary McMichael!

If you’re a CFC donor – please consider directing your CFC contribution to GSKSMO (#35109)

 

#4 Corporate/Workplace Giving

workplacegiving

Does your employer have a VIP (Volunteer Incentive Program)? Many organizations provide incentives for employees to give of time or money to a charitable organization. By selecting Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri as your organization, you’ll make a real difference in the lives of girls! Plus, you may get rewarded in return. Your company can also sponsor Girl Scout events like Inspire a Girl or the Volunteer Recognition Events. Sponsorships are a great way to show how much a company cares about the community and supports girls. Each company is different and we’re here to help. Contact the TanyaDunn@gsksmo.org if you have questions!

 

#5 Charity Fundraisers

charityfundraiser

Are you part of an organization, club or group that does an annual fundraiser for charity? If so, we need YOU! Advocating for GSKSMO to be the recipient of your group’s fundraiser can make a real difference in our community. In 2016, thanks to Board Member Sherry Gibbs advocating for girls, GEHA selected GSKSMO as the recipient of funds raised from their annual golf tournament. This was a $100,000 investment in girls – how incredible! You can read the full story here and if you’d like to make incredible change like this, contact the VP of Philanthropy, Vanessa Van Goethem-Piela (Vanessa@gsksmo.org).

Invest in Girls. Change the World. That’s what we believe and we hope you’ll invest today. It only takes a few minutes and your gift of any size can make a huge difference for girls right here in your community. Want to make an even bigger impact? Join Daisy’s Circle, GSKSMO’s monthly giving program. With your help, we can show girls they matter!

www.gsksmo.org/GivingTuesday

#givingtuesday #givingtuesdaykc #gsksmo #girlscouts

We Are Thankful

It’s the week of Thanksgiving and we are all about showing how thankful we are for all of the awesome experiences girls are able to have in Girl Scouts. We’re also thankful for YOU – our Girl Scout families, volunteers, donors and advocates. Together, we are helping girls become the leaders of tomorrow. Here are a few things we’re extra thankful for this holiday season!

Outdoor Program

Our Outdoor Program offers girls the opportunity to have amazing adventures and become confident. For many, camp is a “home away from home” and the highlight of their year. We’ve been honored to receive some amazing gifts this year to our camp properties including sound dampening panels to lodges, the start of a new low ropes course, a facelift for the rappel tower and the addition of a slingshot course! We are so thankful for the girls who bring the properties to life with their giggles, the site managers / rangers who keep them safe and beautiful and the donors and volunteers who help add new adventures every year. THANK YOU!

 

STEM

As STEM donor Denise Mills said, “Society conditions girls with messages that STEM isn’t a good fit for them, even today. Even though there’s an emphasis on STEM right now, when women get to college they’re advisors question them about it. ‘Why are you taking computer science? Usually guys take that.’” That’s why Girl Scouts is taking the lead in offering a variety of engaging, exciting STEM opportunities for girls of all ages. Our STEM program is strong because of our supporters who believe that investing in girls is investing in the future. We are so thankful for the incredible SPARK event sponsors who welcome Girl Scouts to their locations to learn, to the donors who know STEM is the way of the future, and to the Girl Scout leaders who bring STEM into troop meetings! STEM ROCKS!

 

Entrepreneurship

Girl Scouts are the business owners of tomorrow – and that begins with learning business skills as a girl! By participating in the Girl Scout Cookie and Fall Candy, Nuts & Magazine Programs, girls develop their own business plan, learn to budget with the profits, learn sales and money management. “The 5 Skills” that girls learn are critical to their future skills involving financial literacy and business. We’re so thankful for the leaders, cookie moms and dads (like Craig Lybarger) and families that help girls reach their entrepreneurial goals through the Cookie Program. Plus, who isn’t thankful for the yummy cookies they get when Girl Scouts come around selling cookies?!

 

Advocacy

We are thankful to have a strong group of women who advocate for themselves, their communities and the world. Through the leadership programs in Girl Scouts, girls are excited and encouraged to use their voices. We are thankful for the troop leaders who encourage girl-led experiences, for the Community Partners who create activities that inspire leadership and the Girl Scouts who are brave and take the lead. What an amazing group of leaders we have! We love sharing their awesome stories every day!

Most of all – we’re thankful for YOU! Without you, our Girl Scouts and advocates, we wouldn’t be able to help the girls of today become leaders of tomorrow. Thank you for all you do!

Don’t forget to join us on Tues., Nov. 29th for #GivingTuesday! We’ll have inspiring stories, a video and lots of things to share that day as we kick-off our season of giving with a bold $5,000 Giving Tuesday goal! You can RSVP for the event and even add a profile photo frame NOW to get started.

gt-change-profile

Go to www.facebook.com/profilepicframes, click “Day of the Girl” from the dropdown, select the GS logo and SAVE!

 

We’d love to hear what YOU’RE thankful for this year! Leave a comment below to share!

Troop 879 is Standing with Sister Girl Scouts

blogHeader-DCSpotlight

Introducing our inaugural troop to join Daisy’s Circle

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, MO is taking the law to heart by becoming 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.

In November 2016, Troop 879 welcomed Melissa Bondon, Donor Relations Manager for GSKSMO, to do a special pinning ceremony where each girl received a Daisy’s Circle pin. Just like adults who join, the pin is a way to show they make a monthly gift to Girl Scouts. The girls also received a special patch to mark their achievement. Shiloh P described her pin by saying, “we earned [the Daisy’s Circle pin] by doing the Girl Scout law, being a sister to other Girl Scouts and giving to the community.”

Troop 879 with Melissa Bondon from GSKSMO at their Daisy’s Circle pinning ceremony

Troop 879  at their Daisy’s Circle pinning ceremony

Philanthropy has been an important part of troop life from the beginning. Leader Michelle Twyman has a passion for giving and noticed the girls were naturally inclined to help the community. “We are living in an entitled world where kids believe things are owed to them. We want our girls to have a different mindset. Last year’s girls all had that giving mentality and as first graders, they were driving philanthropy, not the leaders,” Michelle said.

Troop 879 has a constantly changing membership from year to year. It’s a school district with particularly high turnover, so 7 out of the 9 girls from last year have since moved and left the troop. Now, the troop has 12 Brownies and the job of educating 10 new Girl Scouts about philanthropy has largely been left to the two from the previous year. Aubrey and Shiloh, the two girls who have been with the troop from day 1, are up for the challenge because they believe in giving.

“It’s important to give to other Girl Scouts because some girls don’t get to do the things we do, so we give money so they can do it too,” Shiloh P. said. She proudly wears her Daisy’s Circle pin to meetings as a reminder of her giving.

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Aubrey T, the other original member of the troop, thinks it’s the right thing to do as a Girl Scout: “[My troop] gave to other Girl Scouts because that’s what good Girl Scouts would do.” She found courage in herself to advocate for philanthropy and already the rest of the troop is on board.

At a mid-November meeting, the girls voted to give some money they raise in fall sales and cookie sales to philanthropic efforts. This year they voted between giving to people in need or animals in need. People in need won. Some girls really still wanted to help animals, so the troop decided to go read to animals at a shelter as an activity while their funds would go to helping others in their community.

November 2016 – Troop 879 being silly & discussing their philanthropic efforts for the year.

November 2016 – Troop 879 being silly & discussing their philanthropic efforts for the year.

By giving to others, Troop 879 is also learning the value of their own experience in Girl Scouts. Alia is new to the troop, but already wanting to share the lessons of courage she’s getting with other girls. “Some people don’t have the courage to do stuff like we do, so it would be nice to give money so that other girls can have courage too,” Alia B. said.

Troop 879 is looking forward to using some of their fundraising money to help others in their community, even as they continue to give to Daisy’s Circle this year. Every dollar makes a difference and this troop is a great example of the power of giving that lives in Girl Scouts. In addition to giving, the troop uses funds to do activities, crafts (sometimes led by Girl Scout dad, Tony Twyman!) and leadership experiences.

At the end of the day, Michelle and the other parents and leaders want the girls to grow up to be good people. “We don’t want our girls to be so focused on things. We want them to learn that people are important. Everyone can give in some way. Some can give with money, some with time, and we talk about that with the girls. We are trying to show our girls how they can support others, not just entitled to help themselves,” Michelle said.

If you or your troop is inspired by Troop 879’s dedication to the Girl Scout promise of being a sister to every Girl Scout, contact MelissaBondon@gsksmo.org or click here to become a member of Daisy’s Circle! If your troop has a great philanthropy story, share in the comments below.

Don’t forget – Giving Tuesday is on Tuesday, November 29th and will kick off our season of giving at Girl Scouts. We invite you to follow, share and like our Giving Tuesday stories and help us continue to empower girls by investing in girls.