Leading by Example and Growing the Circle

blogHeader-DCSpotlight

A Daisy’s Circle Spotlight: Diana Fabac

Leading by example – that’s what Daisy’s Circle member, troop leader and Girl Scout mom, Diana Fabac does every day for girls. Not only did Diana become a leader more than 10 years ago, but she recently became a member of Daisy’s Circle. By showing her girls, parents and community what an impact being a monthly donor to girls does for the community, she’s helping to change the culture of philanthropy.

 

Troop 1807’s Halloween party with family and leaders!

Troop 1807’s Halloween party with family and leaders!

Diana Fabac was a Blue Bird as a young girl and her mother was her leader. As a mom, it was important for Diana to make sure her daughter had some of those same experiences, so they got involved in Girl Scouts. When Megan (Diana’s daughter) asked her to lead the troop, Diana remembered the impact of her mother’s leadership and it gave her the courage to take on the job. At the first meeting another woman, Dawn, offered to be the co-leader. Together, more than a decade later, Diana and Dawn lead the seven girls of Troop 1807 from Kansas City, KS.

“As a troop leader, I’ve learned I can be as strong and courageous as we are teaching our girls to be,” Diana said.  “I wouldn’t be successful without my troop.” This boost of confidence shows that many times, the power of Girl Scouts goes far beyond just the girls – it touches the families as well.

Troop 1807’s “Gratitude Tree” project in fall of 2014.

Troop 1807’s “Gratitude Tree” project in fall of 2014.

Caption: Troop 1807’s “Gratitude Tree” project in fall of 2014.

In April 2016 Diana attended the Inspire a Girl Expo where she learned about Daisy’s Circle. When she realized the power of monthly gifts and how it could support girls in all walks of life, she decided to become a member. It set an example of giving for her girls that she’s proud of.

  “Girl Scouts has given me so much; I want to continue to give back and give more girls opportunities. I can’t give much, but Daisy’s Circle is my way to make a bigger difference,” Diana said. It’s all the power of the circle and gifts working together to make change.

During Inspire a Girl, new Daisy’s Circle members were entered in a drawing for a prize that included a free week of camp for a Girl Scout. Diana was the lucky winner! It was a touching moment because sending Megan to camp was proving to be financially challenging, so the prize was a wonderful surprise. Megan ended up having a conflict, but the Fabac family was happy to pay it forward to another Girl Scout. What an amazing moment of generosity.

Troop 1807 enjoying Halloween (2016) and a visit to the Sea Life Aquarium (2015)

Troop 1807 enjoying Halloween (2016) and a visit to the Sea Life Aquarium (2015)

Diana continues to be an advocate for girls and lead Troop 1807 with Dawn at her side. Four of the girls have been on this amazing Girl Scout journey together since Daisies and the troop of seven Girl Scout seniors is stronger than ever! They enjoy service projects, Halloween costume parties and adventures as a troop. You can feel the power of sisterhood in Troop 1807 and the connections with the parents who get to experience Girl Scouts with their daughters.

As Diana says, “I’m proud I gave of myself; I wouldn’t change a thing. Life as a Girl Scout Troop Leader has brought me so much joy, as much or more than I could ever give.”

We thank the Fabac family for their advocacy and continued support of Girl Scouts. When volunteers become donors, they truly bring giving full circle. If you’d like to be like Diana and join the circle of giving that provides countless opportunities for girls, right here in our council, please visit www.daisyscircle.org to get involved!

Know of another amazing Daisy’s Circle donor? Comment below and share their story!

A Gold Standard of Girl Scouting

Spotlighting GS Alumna Vickie Trott

Warm campfires, s’mores and service – those words often revive fond memories for Girl Scouts. Meet Vickie Trott, a proud Girl Scout lifetime member, former troop leader, donor, Gold Award advisor and Trefoil Society member who continues to help girls go for Gold. Recently she won the “Philanthropist Award” at the Central Region’s Volunteer Appreciation event for her awesome work supporting girls – including getting her troop of six to all earn their Gold Awards. Thanks to donors like Vickie, Girl Scouts are continuing to create lasting change in their communities and reach for the stars.

img_7147

Vickie Trott started Girl Scouts in 2nd grade as a Brownie and volunteered her mother to be the troop leader. She fondly remembers adventures to Camp Oakledge and Timberlake and doing day camp with her troop. Her mother strongly encouraged camping and loved being outside with her girls.

After college, Vickie went on to become a successful business woman who holds a Bachelors in Accounting and her MBA, cofounding a family business along the way. Once kids entered the picture, her life turned back to Girl Scouts and Vickie became a leader of Troop 196 for her daughter, Anne and later her stepdaughter, Kelly. Her daughter’s school started with two troops for the grade and as time went on the other troop merged with Troop 196, eventually becoming a troop of 6 girls from three different high schools.  The troop loved camping, service and travel. Following in the footsteps of Vickie’s own Girl Scout experience, Troop 196 went camping often, sometimes Vickie’s mother, Gerry, would even join the adventures – three generations creating Girl Scouting memories.

Left: Troop 196 Investiture ceremony (1985) & at the International Fair (1987)

Left: Troop 196 Investiture ceremony (1985) & at the International Fair (1987)

“I learned camping skills as a Girl Scout, so we took our girls camping a lot. We had rules like ‘no makeup’ and joked that we could guarantee rain in whatever area we decided to camp in,” said Vickie. Four of the girls in the troop went on to become wranglers at Camp Winding River, wanting to inspire the younger girls. The troop adventured beyond the campsites with trips to Chicago and St. Louis as well as a float trip. On one of the float trips they encountered a Boy Scout troop who offered to help them set-up camp. As camping veterans, the girls assured the boys they were confident in their abilities to make their own campsite.

During the years of leading Troop 196, Vickie was an active volunteer, working as a troop organizer, Service Unit manager, Day Camp manager, Product Sales Manager for her Service Unit and taught a leadership institute for Senior Girl Scouts! Talk about keeping busy!

Left: Vickie, Gerry (mother) and Anne (daughter) at Camp Timberlake ( 1987); Center: Troop 196’s overnight (1986); Right: GSKSMO CEO, Joy Wheeler with Vickie at Camp Prairie Schooner honoring Trefoil Society members.

Left: Vickie, Gerry (mother) and Anne (daughter) at Camp Timberlake ( 1987); Center: Troop 196’s overnight (1986); Right: GSKSMO CEO, Joy Wheeler with Vickie at Camp Prairie Schooner honoring Trefoil Society members.

One thing Vickie knew was that she wanted to help her girls get their Gold Awards…and she succeeded! All six in the troop earned their Gold Award as a troop, as that was part of the program in the mid-1990s. For their project, the girls built tables, benches and racks out at Camp Winding River. “This was a time before the internet, so the girls went to the library, researched how to do it, how much wood they would need and raised money. We had to have adults actually cut the wood with the power tools, but we told the dads ‘only cut on the lines the girls drew’ and the girls did everything else,” Vickie said.

Today, Vickie continues her service to Girl Scouts as a Gold Award advisor and donor. She’s dedicated to the work of Girl Scouts because of the role models it provides. “Girl Scouts is the only all-female organization that I belong to because I think it’s really important that girls have a place where they’re in charge, where women are leaders,” Vickie said. Because of her passion for the mission of inspiring girls, Vickie decided to generously include Girl Scouts in her estate plans, ensuring her legacy lives on.

Camp Prairie Schooner – with Troop 196 in 1989 & as a Trefoil Society Member in 2015

Camp Prairie Schooner – with Troop 196 in 1989 & as a Trefoil Society Member in 2015

Caption: Camp Prairie Schooner – with Troop 196 in 1989 & as a Trefoil Society Member in 2015

“[My husband and I] each picked an organization that we believe in and an organization we jointly decided to give to in our estate plans. I think it’s important, if you have the means, to support organizations you believe in in that way,” Vickie said. With a continued inequality in funding for girls organizations compared to boys organizations, it was especially important to Vickie to support Girl Scouts in both a volunteer and financial capacity to allow girls to thrive.

We thank Vickie Trott and her family for their continued advocacy of girls and for making a difference every day. By supporting Girl Scouts, Vickie is paving the way for generations of leaders, just like her own family. Watch for new Gold Award Girl Scouts that Vickie will be leading as an advisor in the future! We’re excited to see new girls going for gold. To learn more about the Trefoil Society, contact Vanessa@gsksmo.org.

Building Change from the Ground Up

Denise Mills Stands with Girls

Building girls of courage, confidence, and character to change the world – not only is that the mission of Girl Scouts, it’s the reason GSKSMO donor, Denise Mills, has become a supporter. As a philanthropist, entrepreneur, former GSKSMO Board Member, grandmother of a Girl Scout and one of Kansas City’s “Most Influential Women,” Denise Mills is shaping the women of tomorrow by investing in girls.

denisecollage1

Denise Mills in the workplace building courage and reading with her Girl Scout granddaughter.

As an executive coach and business consultant, Denise consistently sees women in all walks of life struggling with confidence. “Over 90% of the women I talk to […] in some way, don’t feel confident. The two big issues are: ‘help me build confidence and use my voice’ and ‘help me overcome fear of what others think.’ So courage and confidence are the two biggest issues I see in some of the most accomplished, incredible women you’ll meet,” Denise said.

After hearing these concerns repeatedly, Denise was asked to work with a domestic violence shelter as part of her philanthropic work. At the core, she realized that confidence was an issue for both her clients and the victims. The two connected and she decided to combat both problems with an alternative approach, by supporting Girl Scouts to empower young girls and stop the problem before it began.

“I started asking ‘why is the issue of female abuse continuing to grow?’ and I tried to think about the root causes. Part of it is a lack of confidence, courage and self-esteem in women that prevents them from getting out of unhealthy relationships before they become abusive.  I was looking around to see who offered a solution by building courage and confidence in young girls through positive affirmation,” said Denise. Having worked with Girl Scouts in a professional setting as a consultant, it all just came together. “It just made sense to give because Girl Scouts can impact a bigger social change the lives of adult women by building courage, confidence and character in them as girls.”

Denise made the decision to become a supporter of Girl Scouts and joined the Board of Directors in 2008. She served as a Board Member until 2014 and has continued her support through gifts and volunteering through today. She even joined Daisy’s Circle because “as a Daisy’s Circle Member, every month, I’m reminded that I’m contributing to helping a girl build their courage, confidence and character. It’s a feeling I get when I see that monthly gift and I think ‘yeah! This is good.’” She’s also a proud member of the Trefoil Society.

Most recently she gave a generous gift to support STEM programing and joined GSKSMO at the Inspire a Girl event in April of 2015. STEM became a recent interest because it played into the same issues of societal change that brought her to the organization in the first place.

“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,’” Denise said. By investing in STEM within Girl Scouts, it’s connecting courage with STEM in young woman – the perfect recipe for inspiring strong women with an interest in STEM in the future.

Now her giving has come full circle as Denise’s first granddaughter, Kenlee, is a new Girl Scout Daisy this fall! The whole family is excited about the new journey, especially Denise. She intends to stay very involved with Kenlee as she lives her Girl Scout dream.

denisecollage2

Denise Mills with Former GSUSA CEO, Anna Maria Chavez and with her granddaughter, Kenlee.

Denise Mills knows that by supporting Girl Scouts, she’s making impact for more than just the girls, she’s making a change in the world. “While on the Board I heard about Girl Scouts impacting the lives of mothers as well as the girls. If a mother struggles with confidence, but does activities side-by-side with her daughter in Girl Scouts, those messages are infused into the mother as well,” Denise said. It’s amazing what empowering a girl can do.

Without donors like Denise Mills, Girl Scouts and the programming it provides would not be possible. Thank you to Denise and all the incredible donors who make Girl Scouts possible for more than 23,000 girls in our council. You make a difference every day. To learn more about giving, Daisy’s Circle or how you can support Girl Scouts, visit our website.

Living United – United Way of Atichson’s Terry Knopke

blogHeader-AlumSpotlight

Every year Girl Scout councils receive funding from generous donors and organizations. Among these is the United Way – an organization that pools financial resources within communities and distributes it to areas of need. All the funds given to United Way stay local. Leading the Atchison Area United Way is Terry Knopke, a Girl Scout Alumna, a driven fundraiser and woman dedicated to service as a way of life.

Terry Knopke is the only full time employee at the United Way of Atchison and works tirelessly to support the organizations that benefit from the funds within the community. The United Way not only supports Girl Scout troops in Atchison, but other organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, KS Legal Service, and YMCA. In all, they support 19 deserving organizations and are committed to providing equal funding for children of both genders. “Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts always get the same amount of money from us to ensure equal opportunities,” Terry said.

terrycollage

While Terry is the only staff member, she has the support a Board of Directors. Because of their support, her efforts don’t fall on deaf ears. “I have a wonderful Board of Directors […] We try to have board members from different areas because when they invite me into the board rooms…I know that when I leave…if the bosses are part of it, they’ll talk about it and say ‘this is something we need to support,’” Terry said. It’s a small community where the Board makes a real difference.

That small town feeling of community that keeps the Board dedicated, along with the beautiful, historic homes, was what drew Terry to Atichson in 1999. She even has her own piece of history – a “painted lady” home from 1883 with a special room she created with kennels for feral cats in recovery.

As someone passionate about helping animals, Terry helps with the local humane society. Her love for service is infectious, with her daughter saying it changed her perspective on life. “My daughter told me ‘Mom, I wanted to thank you for teaching me to love animals, it changed the way I look at everything.’ It  made me feel good, but I also thought ‘this is something we need to keep passing on,’” Terry said.

terryandtroopscollage

Left: Terry collecting donations for the humane society, Center: Girl Scout troop 8021 building feral cat houses, Right: Terry and volunteers gathering donations.

Animal care is where Terry sees some of the impact that United Way funding makes for Girl Scouts first hand. “We have a list we hand out for the humane society, collecting money and donations, and Girl Scouts helps me with that. It’s a win-win-win, United Way has a directive to help the Girl Scouts, the Girl Scouts help me and we give to the Humane Society,” Terry said.

Jolleen Graf, leader for Troop 8347 sees the impact of the United Way and Girl Scouts every day. “[The United Way and Girl Scouts] help develop future leaders […] It helps break the stereotype of ‘… like a girl’ is a negative thing. We embrace ‘Hit Like a Girl, Fight Like a Girl, Throw Like a Girl,’ but we want that to be a compliment, not an insult,” Jolleen said.

Terry loves that Girl Scouts is included in the United Way family because of the support it gives to girls, like her daughter (a woman in STEM and GS Alumna) and shows them that it’s okay to be themselves. “Girl Scouts, which I love, is trying to teach young girls to get out there and that they can do anything,” Terry said.

We appreciate the great work that Terry and the other staff members of United Ways that support our Council do each day to support girls. Without the support of organizations like the United Way, we couldn’t continue to offer the great programs that change the lives of girls. Click here for full list of the United Ways that benefit Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri or click here to find the United Way near you!

Golfing for Girl Scouts

blogHeader-InvestingInGirls-GEHA

GEHA generously supports GSKSMO with proceeds from annual golf tournament

There are many companies and individuals who make awesome leadership opportunities possible for our Girl Scouts. We are appreciative of their generosity and commitment to girls! Today, we are honored to be a part of a special opportunity that involves 18 holes and some incredible men and women.

GEHA (Government Employees Health Association, Inc.), the second-largest national health plan and the second-largest national dental plan serving federal employees, federal retirees and their families has chosen GSKSMO as their 2016 golf tournament beneficiary. GEHA is the 6th largest private company in the Kansas City area with more than 1,300 employees and a strong commitment to its community.

For several years now, GEHA has held a golf tournament as a relationship-building opportunity with their vendors and way to raise funds for their selected charity. This year, GEHA generously chose Girl Scouts and what a great fit. GEHA’s CEO Julie Browne is an incredible role model for girls. She started with the organization 25 years ago as a market analyst before making her way through the ranks to CEO last April.

In addition to Browne, who is also a mom to a Girl Scout, GEHA has several Girl Scout volunteers and parents on staff. These staff members include GSKSMO Board Member Sherry Gibbs and Lead Senior Attorney and GS mom Belinda Thompson.

Belinda is mom to Girl Scout Daisy Carolina, a member of Troop 1992 in Lee’s Summit, MO, and also to two boys. She knows first-hand the power of Girl Scouts and how its leadership programming is benefiting her daughter.

“Girl Scouts is a great foundation. It gives my daughter an opportunity to try new things and grow her life skills,” Belinda said.

For the Thompson family, Girl Scouts is a family affair. Belinda knew that her daughter would be a Girl Scout after hearing all the great things from her sister-in-law Andrea who is a troop leader in Lee’s Summit.

GS Daisy Troop 1992 at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center participating in a Monarch Butterfly class.

GS Daisy Troop 1992 at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center participating in a Monarch Butterfly class.

Belinda is also a fantastic role model for her daughter and other girls. Before coming to GEHA this past February, she spent 12 years in private practice. Law firms traditionally don’t have a high number of female partners. Typically, three to four out of the 16 to 17 partners are female. There is also a great deal of turn –over among the female attorneys. Belinda has found a great home at GEHA and feels her voice is heard as their business continues to grow.

“I love that GEHA chose Girl Scouts this year with our golf tournament proceeds, and I look forward to the impact this gift will have on future opportunities for my daughter and other Girl Scouts,” Belinda said.

Golfers tee off for the GEHA Golf Tournament at noon. Some of our Girl Scouts will be onsite as golfers come off the course. Thank you to Troops 3090, 3114 and 3144 from Kansas City, MO and Jolly Patro from Olathe, KS. Jolly will share her Girl Scout story during the closing dinner. And during this dinner, we will be presented the check from the tournament.

Thank you to all of the incredible employees at GEHA for selecting GSKSMO and putting such hard work into today’s golf tournament! Watch our Facebook page later tonight for photos from the day and the big announcement.

Share your appreciation with GEHA in the comments below.

Giving Back Goes Full Circle

blogHeader-VolSpotlight

Meet a Special Group of Women from Silvercrest at Deer Creek

 

If you’re a Girl Scout donor, you’re probably familiar with the birthday cards that come, hand addressed, to your mailbox once a year. These cards, signed by Girl Scouts from our council on the inside are addressed on the outside by a group of volunteers at Silvercrest Retirement Community at Deer Creek. The team of four residents, Carol Hollander, Anne Roane, “Dot” Sime and Harriet Copus, and activities coordinator, Diane VanBuskirk, address the cards by hand as part of a monthly service project.

Ladies-Collage

In January 2016, Diane was looking for a service project the residents. As a strong advocate of residents having a choice of activities, she knew service was something that many wanted to have the option of doing. After trying several organizations that didn’t quite have the right project for the community, she remembered being a Girl Scout leader and reached out to GSKSMO. Virginia Pennington, Administrative Assistant for the Fund Development department knew the birthday card project would be a great fit.

Each month GSKSMO drops off birthday cards already signed by one of many volunteer Girl Scout troops and a list for the ladies at Silvercrest. Sitting together at a table over the course of a few days, the ladies chat and address the cards together. In all, the ladies spend about 7 hours a month each working on the cards – that’s around 35 hours of volunteer time for Girl Scouts between the five of them! The ladies enjoy giving back to the community and having a social activity each month. “We enjoy helping the community because it gives us a feeling of accomplishment,” Carol said.

Signing-Collage

While they write they discuss their lives and sometimes are intrigued by last names or places they’re addressing to. “I remember writing ‘Napoleon, Missouri’ and none of us knew where that was! So I got out my atlas and found it,” Dot said.

For Anne, Diane and Dot, their history with Girl Scouts goes back to their childhood or time raising children. Anne was a Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader in the early 1970s and remembers doing unique activities like dissecting frogs. “To be honest, we dissected frogs with the girls because I was leading the Boy Scouts and ordered too many frogs. When I got them in, I thought, ‘well, the girls are going to do it too!’ When we went to dissect them, I think the girls were better. They were more curious. One of the boys wouldn’t even get the knife close to the frog,” said Anne. As a child welfare worker, Anne said “I felt like I worked for the Girl Scouts before I even had daughters. When I would help foster parents I told them to put the foster child in scouting because it was a really good thing.”

From her Girl Scout experience, Dot remembers camping when she was the leader of her daughter’s Brownie troop in Illinois. “[When we were camping] one time, I remember one of the girls turned over a rock and there was a snake under there…I don’t remember if the girls were scared, but I was!” Dot said. Diane also remembers camping with her daughters, Aubrey, Caitlin, Kelsey and Rebecca, who were all Girl Scouts. She was the leader for Caitlin and Kelsey’s troop and volunteered for Aubrey and Rebecca’s troop.

Carol was a Boy Scout Den Leader Coach when she lived in Iowa with her three sons, Bill, Scott and Todd. Bill became and Eagle Scout, but all three were in scouting because her husband and father were Boy Scouts and supported the boys being part of it. As Diane says, “Carol was handpicked for this group, I thought she’d like it.” There’s a definite sense of pride that Carol and all the ladies have for working on a community project.

Card Photo

The work these women continue to do is invaluable to the Girl Scout organization. By taking the time to hand address envelopes every month, they’re supporting the efforts of Girl Scouts to thank our donors during their birthday, a special time of the year. During the rest of the month the team is busy with personal hobbies and activities. Harriet is a baker who makes Norwegian cuisine that everyone raves about (we are really interested in the cinnamon rolls and lefse, a traditional Norwegian flatbread she told us about)! Dot enjoys chatting with other residents about their careers and learning interesting stories.

When asked why the like this project, Harriet summed it up very well, saying “I love volunteer work and I like that it helps girls.” This team of ladies truly enjoys just spending time together and helping where they can. The work they’re doing truly makes a difference and they know they’re having a direct impact on girls in their community. We cannot thank them enough for their incredible work!

If you’ve received a hand addressed card from one of these ladies, comment below! We’d love to see how far their impact reaches.

A Team Approach to Raising a Troop

Spotlighting Troop Leaders Tori Hirner & Jessica Wright

For most troops, summer time is when you’re hitting the pool with friends, heading out to day camp or packing your bags for vacation. For Troop 545 and the dynamic duo co-leaders Tori Hirner & Jessica Wright, summer time is still active troop time, with a more flexible schedule! These two awesome co-leaders are showing that just because school takes a vacation, Girl Scouts doesn’t have to! Planning hikes, summer take home activities and adventures, Troop 545 never takes a vacation from building woman of courage, confidence, and character.

Tori & Jessica have been leading the 23 Brownies of Troop 545 in Overland Park, KS since the girls were in kindergarten and have watched the entire troop get close. In fact, they’ve had almost 100% retention because of their amazing leadership and the bond the girls share. They especially love how close their daughters have become as Girl Scout sisters. “Our daughters are best friends, they call each other ‘sister,’ they hold hands and tell each other ‘you’re my bestie,’ we just love it,” Jessica said.

Leaders-Collage

As alumnae, Tori & Jessica also know firsthand the impact Girl Scouts had on their own lives and want to share those lessons with their daughters. “Girl Scouts is all about empowering women – that’s what I want for my daughter. In a world where we still have gender bias, don’t have equal pay and don’t have equality in STEM fields, I want my daughter to know that she can do it and that she’s worth it,” Tori said.

Something the troop loves is all the awesome programming Girl Scouts makes available to troops. They have taken advantage of Community Partner programs, STEM activities and donor sponsored events like Girl Scout Night at Swan Lake in spring 2016. They also plan independent troop activities like rock climbing, hiking and swimming – trying to keep the girls moving and active. “As a former teacher, I know that giving kids experiences is the best way to get them to learn. We want our girls to have experiences they may not be able to have without Girl Scouts,” Tori said. These experiences make a real difference and the leaders see what supporting Girl Scouts can do for girls.

One of the unique approaches to troop management this team has developed is the use of stations in troop meetings. Rather than trying to get all 23 Brownies working on one activity at the same time, they are fortunate enough to have amazing parent support that allows them to have multiple stations and break the girls up into various activities and rotations. They find it keeps the girls more engaged, allows parents to be part of the process and keeps the energy up. The leaders also utilize parent support to run their wildly successful cookie program (100% participation in 2016) and daily activities. What an awesome network these girls have!

TroopCollage

After seeing the impact of Girl Scouts in her own life, Tori Hirner became a Founding Member of Daisy’s Circle, giving a monthly financial gift to Girl Scouts. These two proud Alumnae also give of their time to Service Unit 638, serving as service unit manager (Tori) and service unit treasurer (Jessica).

Seeing the light in the eyes of their “Girl Scout daughters” every time they participate in an event, Tori and Jessica know that their contributions of time and financial gifts are making a difference. Thank you to the incredible Girl Scout volunteers, like Tori and Jessica, who are empowering women, one Girl Scout at a time.

If you know of an awesome Girl Scout volunteer story, share in the comments below!

RTC15

The sweet success of being a Girl Scout

Gold Award Alumna Spotlight – Heather Magee

When Girl Scouts runs in the family, girls know they are destined for greatness. Meet Heather Magee, a 3rd generation Girl Scout, Gold Award Alumna and volunteer who is passionate about the leadership and business programs Girl Scouts offers. She’s also the artist behind the floral arrangements at the 2016 Inspire a Girl event that made the room beautiful. A dedicated Product Sales Manager, Heather Magee shows that when Girl Scouts is in your blood, you never grow out of it.

Heather grew up in Stewartsville, MO where she joined as a Brownie and was one of the first Girl Scouts in her town. Of the original troop, three of the girls continued through high school and completed their Gold Award, setting the bar high for any girls who followed in their footsteps. The troop camped at Camp Woodland in Albany, MO and were in charge of the “work and play weekend” where they helped get the camp ready for the spring and helped close the camp in late fall. It was one of her early introductions to a life of service that she fondly remembers.

Heather Magee - 4 Generations

4 Generations: Sheryl (Mother), Heather, Twila (Grandmother), Kinley (Niece), Erin (Sister) & Allie (Niece)

As a Scouting family, Heather’s siblings often accompanied her at day camp and other events. Her sister, Erin, is also a 3rd generation Girl Scout (her daughter  Allie is a 4th generation Girl Scout) and brother, Adam, is a 3rd generation Boy Scout (2nd generation Eagle Scout) and his sons, AJ & Ryan, are following in his footsteps to start the next generation of Eagle Scouts. “My sister and brother were always tagalongs at events and camping. We have [Scouting] in our blood. My grandma was even our cookie manager at the time, which I do in Oak Grove now,” Heather said. Both Erin and Heather earned their Gold Award and their mother earned her First Class Award. Talk about a family of achievers!

For her Gold Award project, Heather did improvements to the softball field at her high school. Her project entailed building stairs and a railing to help fans get to the field safely as well as planting flowers and doing general improvements. While the Gold Award project wasn’t easy, she feels like she learned a lot. “It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do that you’ll also have the most appreciation for. It’s hard, it’s stressful, but you learn a lot of things you wouldn’t otherwise. When you’re a shy person, having to get out and talk to people, it drew things out of me,” Heather said.

Gold-Award-Collage

The process of completing a Gold Award can be daunting, and Heather knows how scary it can be to look at all the work that has to go into it. However, as someone who completed the project, she knows just how valuable completing the project was to her life. “I think what scares a lot of people is that it is a lot of work and some people take that the wrong way. But just doing all that work and going through the process, it’s so rewarding at the end and you don’t see it until you get there,” Heather said.  Completing the project helped her have the courage to face her next big life step – attending Graceland University in Iowa to study Commercial Design.

Heather Magee - Cookies

Today, Heather loves getting to be involved as a Girl Scout volunteer and watching her nieces embark on their Girl Scout journey. Her main volunteer role is as serving as Product Sales Manager for Service Unit 644. “I like everything about Girl Scouts and I call cookie season ‘Cookietopia’ because I just love it so much. The organization, the colors and the program, I love it all. I think I got it from my grandmother because she served as cookie manager for 15 years,” Heather said.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the personal benefits that service has for Heather. “Giving back, volunteering, that changes a person. I think that helps you, just in general, become a better person by giving back to the community,” Heather said. This dedication is exactly what Girl Scouts learn by being in a program focused on service.

The Cookie Program is an incredible experience for girls but takes a lot of work for our volunteers, so we can’t thank Heather enough for her service. In addition to her gift of time, Heather gives financial gifts through Daisy’s Circle, the monthly giving program through GSKSMO. She’s even a Founding Member of the program! In addition, Heather is also a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts. Thank you, Heather for inspiring the next generation and for living a life of service.

If you know of another amazing Girl Scout Highest Award Alumna, share her story in the comments below!

 

From Tragedy to Celebration

Life is unpredictable. Just ask Joyce Termini, mother of the late Beth Winters.

When Joyce took Beth to a meeting to learn more about being a Girl Scout in the 1970’s, Joyce left that meeting with a new title, troop leader. We’re sure some of you can still relate to this same story too!

Beth took to camping and loved everything about Girl Scouts. Beth was the kind of person who wanted to know everything about everything. Beth traveled with the first rendition of what is now called the Girl Scout Destinations program and was part of “Leadership Today and Tomorrow,” a national initiative of GSUSA and AVON at the time. In that program, she received a scholarship to attend the University of Missouri where she went on to earn a degree in Journalism and minored in music.

Beth paid for her own college experience by working and receiving grants and scholarships, something that her and her family was proud of. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1991 and upon graduation, was offered a job with Time Life Books, of which she interned with during her time in college.

BethWintersCollage

Just four years after graduating college and a year after getting married in Joyce and George Termini’s backyard garden, Beth was tragically killed in a car accident.

Upon her passing, Joyce and Beth’s brother Chip began thinking of ways to honor and remember her. With Beth’s passion for continuing education and her love of Girl Scouts, a scholarship for graduating Girl Scouts in seemed like the perfect fit. “This was exactly the right answer,” is how Joyce describes starting the scholarship.

Twenty years later, the Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship has provided 28 scholarships totaling nearly $50,000.

Joyce jokes that “Beth started her own scholarship” since she was so organized with all of her retirement planning and life insurance policies, things that typical 26 year olds don’t give much thought.

Groups that she had worked with and people Beth had met sent donations to the scholarship in lieu of flowers and the next thing Joyce and Chip realized is that they had the foundation for scholarship fund that would be sustainable.

Joyce presenting the 2016 Beth Winters Scholarships at Inspire a Girl.

Joyce presenting the 2016 Beth Winters Scholarships at Inspire a Girl.

Each year, Joyce contributes to the scholarship fund to honor Beth’s birthday and give her a gift at Christmas and family members continue to donate as well.

While Joyce and Chip do all the granting from the fund, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri manages the financial side.

“This scholarship is in celebration of her life and the accomplishments of so many young women who in their curiosity, enthusiasm, energy and efforts to better the world, remind us of Beth.”

Former scholarship recipients include a pastor, public relations director for the Fort Osage school district, a professional actress living in New York, a Major in the Army, a project leader for the Boston Consulting Group, assistant rowing coach at K-State, a teacher in the Park Hill school district and many other distinguished young women and current students!

This year’s recipients are Amanda Johnson, Blayre Messner and Abby Mitchell.

RecipientCollage

When Joyce and Chip started the scholarship, there were other scholarships available to graduating Girl Scouts. In the past 20 years, the organizers of those scholarships have since moved on to other projects, leaving the Beth Winters Memorial Scholarship as the only one specifically for deserving Girl Scouts.

Joyce is challenging you to fund a scholarship to honor and reward deserving girls every year. It could be a memorial scholarship like theirs, a scholarship that honor someone special, or recognize what Girl Scouting has meant to your own life!

She’ll tell you that you don’t have to know much about how to do it! Our council’s staff will assist; manage the fund and providing administrative support so you can do the fun stuff.

“If you want to see your dollars put to good use making the world a better place, please consider a Girl Scout scholarship, I can’t think of a better investment in the future,” Joyce said.

If you’re interested in learning more about starting a scholarship fund, please contact Mary Pat Beals at 816-759-3045 or marypatbeals@gsksmo.org

 

 

 

 

A Career of Giving and Service

blogHeader-DCSpotlight

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.

Kim Flynn - Badges Rock 2008 Students & Girls

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!