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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

Leading by Example and Growing the Circle

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.