A Career of Giving and Service

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Spotlighting Girl Scout Alumna & Daisy’s Circle Member Kim Flynn

Kim Flynn is a Girl Scout alumna, educator and nonprofit leader who has dedicated her life to service. As a former employee at GSKSMO, Kim knows the power of the organization firsthand. “As a staff member, girl and someone working with volunteers, Girl Scouts empowers people to be their best,” Kim said. Beyond Girl Scouts, she has worked with adult education programs and as a professor at Rockhurst University in Nonprofit Leadership Studies.

Growing up in Wichita, KS, Kim loved being a Girl Scout. Starting as a Daisy she continued through middle school and feels a strong connection to the experiences she gained through Girl Scouts. She remembers getting to meet new girls at camp and how those experiences helped her develop relationships as an adult. “When you meet girls out at camp you don’t think about differences. You don’t think ‘you came from this background and I came from this background.’ At camp you’re just people,” Kim said. These early experiences helped her develop a love of giving back to the community.

Just as being a Girl Scout was something her mother passed down to her, Kim wanted her daughter, Allie, to also be a Girl Scout. Kim felt Girl Scouts was important because of the impact it had on her own life. “I saw the same thing with my daughter’s experience and as a staff member that I saw with my own – that she met people and realized that everyone comes from some place different, but we’re all just people,” Kim said.

Allie and Kim Flynn – daughter and mother Girl Scout Alumnae

 

As an alumna, daughter and mother of a Girl Scout, Kim has watched the organization change with each generation to fit the needs of girls. “The values of the organization are timeless, but it’s able to change for each generation. What was appropriate for my mother’s generation wasn’t appropriate for mine. The fact that the organization can evolve as girls do is a powerful thing,” Kim said. She noticed that her daughter had a different Girl Scout experience than she did because it was aimed at a different generation’s needs. However, at the core, the values remained the same.

From roughly 2000-2010 Kim took her Girl Scout experience full circle and joined GSKSMO as a staff member on the Fund Development team. She has loved working in the non-profit world because of the positive feeling you leave work with each day. “It may sound cheesy, but I really do like making a difference. Even if I’m not directly working with girls, I’m helping make an impact,” Kim said. During her time she also worked with Rockhurst University and found innovative ways to link the two organizations.

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2008 “Badges Rock” featuring Rockhurst students & Girl Scouts (2008)

With a passion for Girl Scouts in mind, Kim worked to integrate a program for girls into the Volunteer Management program she taught at Rockhurst. The program was called “Badges Rock,” and combined awesome programming for Girl Scouts with real world training for her students. “Badges Rock” gave her students the chance to work on a real event and manage volunteers while Girl Scouts in the Outreach Program got the opportunity to earn badges. She fondly remembers the smiles on the faces of girls who came to the event, many of whom had never been on a college campus before.

Recently, Kim decided to join the Trefoil Society to leave a legacy that honors her family. It was important to her to give to an organization that had great utilization of resources and a personal connection. “Something I learned as a staff member was that gifts given to Girl Scouts are utilized so well. I have confidence in the organization and know that gifts directly impact the lives of girls. I wanted to leave that kind of legacy for my family in a place that was impactful for me,” Kim said. By leaving this legacy Kim is continuing her dedication of service long into the future.

We thank Kim and her family for their incredible dedication, generosity and passion for Girl Scouts. What a way to leave a legacy and empower girls for generations to come. If you know of a Daisy’s Circle member with a great story, comment below! For more information on Daisy’s Circle or the Trefoil Society, contact us!

A ROCK-ing Girl Scout Experience

Celebrating Girl Scout Highest Award Alumna Nancy Banta

How closely do you look at the landscape around you? If you’re a geologist like Girl Scout and First Class alumna, Nancy Banta – the answer is probably a lot. Through Girl Scouts, Nancy was able to share her love of geology to educate other girls and gain life skills that gave her the confidence to thrive. From wrangling cattle in muddy boots to getting her first job offer while working at camp, Nancy is a proud Girl Scout and woman in STEM who defied the odds to live a life of adventure and travel.

Born into a military family, Nancy moved frequently, but found a home in Girl Scouts. “[I liked] having something that was the same structure wherever I went. I may have been the new kid in school, but I was still a Girl Scout – that gives you a lot of confidence,” Nancy said. Starting as a Brownie, she continued through high school and earned the First Class, an award that is now the Gold Award. While in Girl Scouts she remembers camping, service projects and developing leadership skills. “We used to say they could drop us out of a plane with a jack knife and twine and we could build a city,” Nancy said.

Her first job was as a counselor at Girl Scout Camp Brandy in New York and required special permission from GSUSA since she was below the age threshold. At camp, she became “Battleship Nancy” and said that “as a counselor, it was important to me to give [girls] an experience that their parents couldn’t offer them.” Camping was a passion and inspired her decision to become a geology major at Beloit College in Wisconsin.

As a woman in STEM in the 1970s, she faced shocking gender obstacles. Missouri legally would not allow women to descend into mines, making her field work dependent on what the men in the group could bring back. This lack of gender equality in the field was daunting, but didn’t stop Nancy from graduating as a geologist and even pursuing her PhD in geology from the University of Texas at Austin in the 1980s.

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After college, Nancy became a counselor and geologist at National Center West, a highly competitive and prestigious Girl Scout camp.  That summer gave her lifelong friends and skills that helped her get a job. Known as “Rock” at camp, Nancy spent hours riding horses each day to teach Girl Scouts about geology.

Toward the end of her time at National Center West, Nancy got a call from Getty Oil Company asking her to come out to California for an interview. Getty Oil was a large, successful company that has since become part of Texaco. At the time, it was owned by J. Paul Getty (named richest living American by Fortune in 1957). In 1974 less than 1% of petroleum geologists were female, so the odds of Nancy getting a job with this prestigious company was so unthinkable, she didn’t take it seriously. “The big deal at dinner was ‘well Rock, when you get this job, we’ll all go with you to Los Angeles!’” Nancy said. Little did she know – those girls actually would travel to California with her and become her first roommates.

The interview process wasn’t stressful because Nancy didn’t think she had a chance. “I was totally relaxed. At that time women in petroleum geology were .06%, so I had extremely low expectations,” Nancy said. To her surprise, Getty sent a limo to pick her up from the airport and hired her as a Junior Geologist.

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Working with Getty allowed Nancy to have a life of adventure. She traveled all over the world, spending time on oil rigs and examining ground samples. She mapped swamps in Guatemala, worked on wells in Columbia and Canada and visited places like Madrid, Glasglow, Houston, London & Vienna for a geology meetings, among many other adventures. Nancy was responsible for giving presentations from her team because she was an excellent communicator. They even took presentations to schools to teach kids about geology – skills she had from being a camp counselor. With Getty she was part of the team responsible for exploration in Spain, Northern Europe and North Africa. The experiences she had with Getty were the ultimate outdoor adventure – a life of science all over the world.

Nancy continues to inspire girls and be an advocate for women in STEM. She’s a member of Daisy’s Circle, GSKSMO’s monthly giving program and a member of the Trefoil Society. Nancy believes that Girl Scouts has a lasting power for women – no matter the generation. “Girl Scouts teaches values, gives you friendships and the confidence from having the skills you need. [As a Girl Scout] you really aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night,” Nancy said.

There is one camp song in particular that Nancy feels sums up the camping experience and her time as a Girl Scout. The lyrics are from “On My Honor” and go: “But we find more meaning in a campfire’s glow / Than we’d ever learn in a year or so / We’ve made a promise to always keep / And the day is done before we sleep / We’ll be Girl Scouts together and when we’re gone / We’ll still be trying and singing this song.”

Thank you to Nancy for all your amazing advocacy and work with Girl Scouts and as a woman in STEM. If you have any memories with “Battleship Nancy,” “Rock” or of another awesome Highest Award recipient, share in the comments below!

Alex & Kelsey Good: Love at First Campsite

When Alex Good left his home in Australia in 2006 to come be a Girl Scout camp counselor in the United States for a summer when he was 19, he didn’t realize that would be the first time he met his future wife, Kelsey. Just a camper at the time, Kelsey met Alex at Camp Oakledge when she was just 15 and he was her kayak instructor. “She complained to me saying ‘your kayaking program, we just stayed in the glade’ and I go ‘it was storming! I couldn’t take you past the glade in a storm!’ So she judged me on that one session,” said Alex.

Alex & Kelsey as campers and counselors at Camp Oakledge

Alex & Kelsey as campers and counselors at Camp Oakledge

Four years passed after their initial meeting and Alex took the familiar trip to the United States to become “Bacon” (Alex’s camp name) one last time at Camp Oakledge. That’s where the two reconnected as staff and by the end of the summer they started emailing when Alex left for Australia. “Squeaky” (Kelsey’s camp name) and “Bacon” hit it off over email and the two began dating long distance. Less than a year later, Kelsey packed up her life and headed to the land down under to be with Alex and see where the relationship would take them.

Around Kelsey’s birthday in 2013, Alex surprised her with an adventure – climbing up the Sydney Bridge. This daring, dangerous experience required that everyone wear harnesses and have no loose objects. That became a challenge for Alex, who was using the opportunity to take the biggest adventure of all – to propose to Kelsey. Armed with an engagement ring attached to a ribbon around his wrist, the two climbed the Sydney Bridge and with the help of the guide, Alex got a private moment at the top of the world to ask the love of his life to marry him.

Caption: Alex & Kelsey at Camp Oakledge, Engagement in Sydney and Alex with son, Jonah, at Camp Oakledge.

Caption: Alex & Kelsey at Camp Oakledge, Engagement in Sydney and Alex with son, Jonah, at Camp Oakledge.

Surrounded by friends and family, including a wedding party that mostly consisted of friends from camp, Alex and Kelsey got married in Missouri in 2013. Since then Alex and Kelsey have welcomed their first child, a son named Jonah, although sometimes Alex refers to him as “Bacon Bit,” recalling his camper name.

As a girl, Kelsey loved camp because it gave her opportunities to become confident and have stability she didn’t always have at home. She had a life full of love, but moved between a couple of relatives with her twin sister and other siblings. It was Girl Scouts that she could always depend on because every caregiver made it a priority to get her to troop activities.

Leaving for camp was the most exciting time of the year for her because she could get away and be her own person for a week or more. “I learned confidence from camping with Girl Scouts. Some things they do put you out of your comfort zone, but that’s good, because by the end, you usually liked it. As an adult I get pushed out of my comfort zone and going to camp gave me confidence to do that,” Kelsey said. As she transitioned into alumnae, she knew she wanted to return to camp as a counselor.

Alex also loved the opportunity to make an impact at camp. As a male counselor he knew he had a special role to play. Many of the girls he interacted with came from homes where they didn’t have a positive male role model, and he saw it as an opportunity to make a difference in their lives. “People say things to me about being involved with Girl Scouts and I go ‘I don’t care! I’m proud of it! I’m man enough to be a Girl Scout,’” Alex said.

More than just being a role model, Alex learned the true meaning of GIRL POWER being involved in a female outdoor experience. “Being around a Girl Scout camp really opened my eyes to what girl power is. Girls are tough. I’d rather play scatterball with a bunch of boys because the girls are vicious! But in today’s society, I think that girl power is really important and I’m glad I saw that,” Alex said.

The two love the life lessons girls learn at camp and how it prepares them for life. “I think it should be absolutely necessary for girls to go to camp. Just like out on the lake, life can be dangerous. Going out in town with a bunch of friends is dangerous and they need to use skills like the buddy system they learn at camp. From an early age it sets them up to know what to do when they’re older, how to be safe and how to have courage,” Alex said.

Kelsey said one of the biggest lessons she learned in Girl Scouts was from Robyn Ratcliff, former director of Camp Oakledge. “Robyn told me, ‘we are in the change business’ and I’ve never forgotten that. As I got older, I realized how right she was even though I may have not understood it as a young counselor. But that’s what we do at camp for girls,” Kelsey said.

As a couple, Alex and Kelsey have joined Daisy’s Circle, the monthly giving program for Girl Scouts that provides critically important, dependable income for the organization. Giving to the organization is more than just the slice of their income they put aside for charity – it’s paying it forward for another girl. As Kelsey put it: “in order for me to go to camp, I had to have a scholarship. Someone had to donate for me to be able to have this experience, so now I feel like I’m returning the favor.”

Alex and Kelsey’s story is an incredible one of love, finding girl power and outdoors. If you have a memory of kayaking with “Bacon” or camping with “Squeaky,” share in the comments below!

The Power of Perseverance

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One in two women was a Girl Scout at some point in her lifetime. And for many of these Girl Scout alumnae, they choose to become lifetime members of our organization. These lifetime members are a cherished part of the Girl Scout family. They advocate, open doors to new opportunities and give their time, talent and treasure to support the next generation of leaders.

Meet Connie Davis, one of our cherished lifetime members. Like many lifetime Girl Scouts, Connie is deeply rooted in the mission of Girl Scouts. She has had experiences only found in Girl Scouts, credits these experiences to her career advancement and wants to support more girls to have this same edge.

“I credit Girl Scouts with helping me find the confidence and leadership ability that have served me well throughout my life,” Connie said.

Connie’s Girl Scout story began in Wichita, Kansas when she joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie. Like many Girl Scouts, Connie fondly remembers her younger years. These experiences in growing friendships or taking on new challenges in the outdoors prepared her for what was to come in Girl Scouts and in life.

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Connie as a middle school Girl Scout in Wichita, Kansas in the early 1960s.

 

Two common themes for Girl Scout alumnae: friendships that last a lifetime and the power of a troop leader. Connie experienced both. First, she met her best friend Marilyn at age 12 in Girl Scouts. And you guessed it…Connie and Marilyn continue their friendship today. That’s an impressive 50 year friendship!

Now to the power of a Girl Scout troop leader. As Connie continued her experience into high school, she joined a troop led by a Wichita State University professor. This troop became one of the largest and most well-known troops in the city.

“She was the best troop leader and encouraged us to try things we had never done before,” Connie said. “She loved to camp and made sure service to our community was a priority.”

Connie’s troop leader inspired her Girl Scouts to apply for a Reader’s Digest grant to start up a summer day camp for underserved children. The troop was awarded the grant, and they were off and running to set up their camp. These Girl Scouts set up this camp from scratch and then successfully operated it. The skill development for these girls could be found no other place but Girl Scouts and made possible because of an innovative, energetic, motivational role model.

Connie’s troop leader would continue the encouragement and door opening. During the summers, Connie would go to Turkey Creek, a GS camp near Pratt, Kansas. When it came time to become a counselor-in-training, Connie applied, was interviewed but not accepted. All of her friends would be at Turkey Creek, but Connie would not.

Connie’s troop leader would not let her stay at home and instead made a call to the director of Camp Pin Oak located near Osage Beach, Missouri. After that phone call, Connie’s troop leader encouraged her to apply at Camp Pin Oak.

“It was a very scary thing to do, but I did apply and was selected,” Connie said. “Going to Pin Oak was the best thing that could have ever happened, because I was forced out of my comfort zone to make new friends.”

While Connie was a counselor at Pin Oak, she had another opportunity to apply for the Girl Scout National Roundup to be held in Idaho the following summer. Again, all of Connie’s closest friends were selected yet she was chosen as an alternate. As it turned out, Connie got to go when of the selected girls broke her leg. It was truly a memorable experience for Connie!

“I was a shy teenager and confidence in my leadership abilities clearly did not come through during interviews,” Connie said. “These disappointments didn’t signal the end of opportunities because other doors would be opened.”

And other doors certainly opened. Connie’s Girl Scout experience prepared her for a career of barriers to break through and extraordinary achievements to have. Connie went to college at Pittsburg State and studied elementary education. As she began her student teaching, she courageously stood up to say that teaching wasn’t the right career path for her.

It wasn’t that she didn’t appreciate the amazing teachers she had, especially her troop leader. At this time, women didn’t have many options to pursue for their secondary degree.

“I believe that if there were career interest tests at the time I would fit perfectly doing something using math skills,” Connie said.

Connie moved with her husband to Kansas City and began her career as a secretary. She then went to work for TWA as a statistical clerk. In just nine months, Connie had proven herself that she applied for a mid-level manager position and got it. Connie had to endure much conversation, including an article written in the corporate newsletter about her gender and age. She proved all the naysayers wrong, worked hard and spent 15 years at TWA.

At 41, Connie decided she needed to leave TWA and go to graduate school. She received her Masters of Science in Business degree and then went to work for 9 years as the Director of Purchasing for La Petite. Connie continued her career path as the Director of Purchasing managing a 50+ member team at Seaboard Foods. She retired in 2013.

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Connie enjoys a little archery at Camp Prairie Schooner at the Trefoil Luncheon earlier this spring. She also received her Juliette Gordon Low Society pin for including Girl Scouts in her estate plans.

As a Girl Scout alumna and lifetime member, Connie wants other girls to have the same opportunities she did. Girl Scouts was life-changing for Connie, and she knows that when Girl Scout lifetimers like her lift other girls up, our world will be forever changed.

Today, marks a special day as Connie is hosting our very first lifetime member luncheon. She invited lifetime members across Greater Kansas City 45 years and older to come together and share stories, express appreciation and connect to support future leaders.  Thank you, Connie for your leadership in hosting our inaugural luncheon!

We would love to host lifetime member luncheons across our council – would you be willing to host and/or help us plan and connect with others? Do you know a lifetime member like Connie who we should spotlight? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Power of the Circle

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A circle to Girl Scouts conjures up such memories from forever friendships to a unified bond with others who share the same values. Daisy’s Circle brings together individuals who want all girls to have an opportunity to experience Girl Scouting. These generous alumnae, lifetime members, moms, dads, volunteers and friends have made a monthly financial commitment to support Girl Scouting across our 47 counties.

Sherry volunteers at a special camp-out for Girl Scouts in our Outreach Program. Shower caps are on as a color war is about to begin.

Sherry volunteers at a special camp-out for Girl Scouts in our Outreach Program. Shower caps are on as a color war is about to begin.

Meet Sherry Gibbs, a founding member of Daisy’s Circle. Growing up in Queens, New York, Sherry was surrounded by strong female role models. Her mother, grandmother and Girl Scout troop leader were encouraging and pushed Sherry to set and reach for her goals.

Sherry fondly remembers her Girl Scout experience and like many Girl Scouts earning badges and cookie season were her favorite times. For Sherry, setting goals, learning new skills and ultimately feeling accomplishment was the definition of being a Girl Scout.

“Girl Scouting made me aware of all the cool things you could do,” Sherry said.

Those strong female role models and cool Girl Scout experiences led Sherry to attend the University of Pennsylvania, a prestigious Ivy League School and then onto Duke for graduate school where she earned her MBA. It was during her college experience where Sherry became increasingly aware that not every young woman was surrounded by inspiring role models like she had been.

Sherry worked hard, engaged in collegiate activities and ultimately began her career path back in New York City. So there she was comfortable in her career, in her 30s and single, Sherry was ready to step into volunteering. She tried a couple of opportunities, but those didn’t feel quite right.

“I fondly remembered my Girl Scout experience and thought this would be the perfect place to give my time,” Sherry said. “I knew the headquarters for Girl Scouts was in New York City, so I just called them to see what opportunities were available.”

Of course, there were plenty of opportunities. Sherry asked to volunteer near where she lived in Harlem. After training at Girl Scouts’ headquarters, Sherry was connected with troops at Salem United Methodist Church. With the support of another Girl Scout volunteer (Miss Marshall, whom Sherry still stays in touch with) she became the troop leader for 7 Junior Girl Scouts.

At Salem United Methodist Church, Girl Scouting was fully integrated. Girls would come every Saturday for their Girl Scout meeting and then it was off to choir or dancing making their stay at church an all-day affair. Sherry enjoyed opening the door to new things for these girls.

Of course, these Girl Scouts did plenty of things like badge earning, camping, field trips, including two trips skiing. For many of these girls, it was the very first time they tried skiing. Nearly every Saturday for four years, Sherry led and grew her troop of Juniors. The girls loved their experience so much that they would bring friends growing the troop to 28 girls.

Sherry’s volunteer experience was magical bringing her as much joy as she was bringing opportunities to her Girl Scouts. However as we all face in life, Sherry wanted to take career to the next level. This career advancement opportunity led Sherry to Kansas City and our council. Lucky us!!

After arriving to Kansas City, Sherry was settling into her career when she met her husband. After a little time off for career and family, Sherry was ready to step back into volunteering. Of course, Girl Scouts was the place. She volunteered at a local church for a while, but the set up wasn’t quite the same as in Harlem. It wasn’t the right fit, but Sherry would soon see that a better and broader fit was soon coming.

In 2012, Sherry was asked to join the GSKSMO Board of Directors. She is now able to lend her voice to 23,000 Girl Scouts in 47 counties.  Sherry believes whole heartedly that she must give her time, talent and treasure to empowering girls.

“I love sharing my story and showing girls someone who looks like them,” Sherry said. “I want girls to have opportunities that expand their horizons.”

Today, Sherry is the Director of Marketing leading 40 employees at GEHA, the second-largest national health plan and the second-largest national dental plan serving federal employees, federal retirees, and their families.

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Sherry takes Girl Scouts on hike during the annual Outreach Program camp-out.

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, Sherry volunteers with our Outreach Program. She has volunteered during troop meetings, Science City field trip and a favorite activity, the annual camp-out. Sherry loves watching girls discover the amazing outdoors.

“As girls climb the wall or zipline, they literally blossom and are so excited when they conquer their fear,” Sherry said. “Girl Scouts is all about experiences and letting girls try something they may never have an opportunity to try.”

In addition to giving her time and talents, Sherry gives her treasure. Sherry’s financial commitment is directed to girl organizations.

“I believe in the mission of Girl Scouts, and I want to do whatever I can to support more experiences for girls,” Sherry said.

Sherry is a proud founding member of Daisy’s Circle. Her favorite part of giving a monthly gift is the reminder of her gift she receives each time. This reminder showcases the impact of her gift.

Daisy’s Circle is a powerful circle with no beginning or ending. We need more members like Sherry and our more than 300 generous members. Do you share Sherry’s vision? Join our growing circle today! Learn more at www.daisyscircle.org.