Ensuring Girls Reach for the Stars and Beyond

Spotlight on STEM Volunteers, Joe & Rita Wright

What do you get when you combine a retired postal service worker and a mechanical designer? Two EXTRAORDINARY Girl Scout Outdoor STEM Program volunteers, of course! Joe and Rita Wright are and they have been sharing their love and vast knowledge of astronomy with Girl Scouts in our council for over 10 years!

You might call Joe and Rita Professional Amateur Astronomers. Joe oversees the UMKC Observatory and both he and Rita have impressive resumes, accolades and honors for this only being a hobby of theirs!

Joe attributes his initial fascination with astronomy to his father who was a plane mechanic for TWA. He remembers earning his Astronomy Badge at Boy Scout camp and that year his parents bought him a telescope. He would take that telescope to Boy Scout camp outs and would teach others about astronomy. This was just the beginning for Joe! As for Rita, she was fascinated by everything she learned from Joe and it became a passion of hers as well!

Just as fascinating as their path to interest in astronomy is their involvement in Girl Scouts! When Joe relocated the Boy Scout troop he was leading (and the troop he earned is Eagle Scout in) to a new church, the church asked what they were going to do for girls. So, they formed a multi-level Girl Scout troop! While they have a son and a daughter, neither was involved in Scouting. Joe and Rita chose to lead these groups because they felt like it was important to their community.

Combining their love of astronomy and Scouting programs, Joe and Rita were invited to a training at the University of Arizona to learn how to bring more astronomy programs to Girl Scouts in 20114. They worked with other Girl Scout trainers and under Dr. Don McCarthy developing programs to bring back to Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri.

Every spring and fall Joe and Rita put on multiple STEM in the Outdoors Programs at Camp Tongawood for Girl Scouts of all levels. Joe and Rita ensure each program is progressive so that girls can continue building on their knowledge, if they choose. Girl Scouts who attend one of their programs will use Joe and Rita’s incredible equipment like telescopes, infrared cameras, specialized lights and measurement tools that Joe and Rita haul out to Girl Scout camp in an old converted scout trailer! Girls will get to see and touch unique artifacts such as meteoroids and dessert glass. But most importantly, they will be challenged to answer their own questions by two very passionate and caring volunteers who hope to inspire just a little interest into the field of astronomy.  “We want girls to learn from their peers if they don’t understand. We don’t just give them the answers, we try to weasel it out of them!” Joe said.

Since 2004 they have participated in eight different astronomical education trainings in their spare time, often writing applications and proposals and securing the funding themselves to cover the costs of their attendance so they can further their knowledge to share with community.

This summer they will travel to Greenbelt, MD to the Goddard Space Flight Center with two Girl Scout Ambassadors from our council for “Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts.” We are just one of 10 councils selected to participate in the new 5-year space science education program that will bring together Girl Scouts with scientists, engineers and educators at NASA and beyond! They will help create a new series of Space Science badges for Girl Scouts nationwide and the groundwork to create a council-wide astronomy club!

Also this summer, Joe and Rita have been invited to be part of the staff for the first-ever Girl Scout destination at the University of Arizona-Steward Observatory! As if their summer wasn’t busy enough, they’re also coordinating community events around the Kansas City area for the solar eclipse that will happen on August 21, 2017!

“Most of our joy is in the programs we do for Girl Scouts. It’s seeing the lightbulb for the girls come on. It clicks and that’s what inspires us and rejuvenates us,” Joe said.

Joe and Rita are truly life-long learners who are inspired by Girl Scouts to continue pursuing and sharing their passion for astronomy, and we are so lucky to have them as volunteers!

Be sure you follow our social media channels as we share what Joe, Rita and the two Girl Scout Ambassadors are up to in Goddard, MD this summer at their NASA training!

More Than Just S’mores

 

School is winding down and the temperatures are warming up! As you plan your summer, is camping like a Girl Scout on your summer to do list?! You know that Girl Scouts and the outdoors go together just like that perfectly toasted marshmallow goes between graham crackers and chocolate! And everyone knows that s’mores taste the best at Girl Scout Camp!

But, Girl Scout Camp is about SO much more than just s’mores. Girl Scout camp is where your G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ will lead like a Girl Scout.

Because at Girl Scout camp, she will:

Be determined to succeed. Honest. Fair. Ambitious. = She’ll try new things, learning more about herself as well as her strengths and weaknesses.

Think outside the box. Experiment. = She will use her resources wisely and be a creative problem-solver.

Try new things. Be courageous. Embrace the unfamiliar. = She’ll discover how one decision she makes impacts her and the world around her.

Empower others. Be empathetic. Advocate. = She will lead with integrity and practice grit.

When she camps like a Girl Scout, she will empower herself for life.

There are still several open spots at Girl Scout Camp this summer for you to be a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader!

Did you know that monthly outdoor exposure contributes to girls’ challenge seeking and problem solving? Or that an overwhelming majority of girls really enjoy outdoor activities in Girl Scouts? How about that Girl Scouts who get outdoors are twice as likely to connect with and care for the environment that non-Girl Scouts?

Below are some new and exciting programs and sessions that we want to make you aware of!

Teens Only Session – Session 4 (July 6 – 14 & July 9 -14) features programs just for girls going into 6th grade or higher! Teens will rule Camp Daisy and will enjoy connecting with other teens!

Extended Programming – throughout the summer are some extended programs, mostly for teen Girl Scouts, to build skills and friendships that will last a lifetime!

Journeys! – Complete your Sow What Journey (9 – 12 grade) or Breathe Journey (6 – 8 grade) at camp this summer!

Excursions – Learn skills at Camp Daisy, then take them offsite with our resident camp staff and do adventure activities, kayak on a lake (Kayak Kansas), problem solve on a high ropes course (Challenge Accepted) and more!

Mini Camp – for Brownies & Juniors who are new to outdoor experiences and overnights away from home. These two-night experiences will give her a taste of summer camp and leave her wanting more!

We know that choosing to send your Girl Scout to resident camp is a big decision for both you and your girl, so take sure that you both take the Camp Readiness Quiz on page 4 & 5 in our 2017 Summer Camp Digital Guide! If the results indicate that either one of you aren’t quite ready, think about going to camp WITH your Girl Scout!

You & Me: Ladies is for Girl Scouts in K-3 grade and a female caregiver in her life!

You & Me: Gentlemen is for Girl Scouts of all ages and male role model in her life

S’mores & More is for the whole family! Mom, Dad, Brother, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends!

So, will you make that perfect s’more at and enjoy it at Girl Scout Camp this summer?! Learn more and register today!

All the Reasons to Camp Like a Girl Scout this Summer!

Camping has long been an aspect of Girl Scouting. Girl Scout Camp is where your G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)™ will lead like a Girl Scout.

Because at Girl Scout camp, she will be:

A GO-GETTER: Determined to succeed. Bold. Honest. Fair. Ambitious.

An INNOVATOR: Creative. Will think outside the box. Use resources wisely. Experiment.

A RISK-TAKER: Try new things. Be courageous. Step up. Discover. Embrace the unfamiliar.

A LEADER: Confident. Responsible. Empathetic. Advocate. Empowers others.

Because when she camps like a Girl Scout, she empowers herself for life.

We’re excited to announce that registration for 2017 Summer Camp is now open! We have some new and exciting programs and sessions that we want to make you aware of!

Badges – In most programs, girls will complete steps and earn a badge at resident camp. In all programs, girls will complete steps in additional badges that coincide with girl-led activities!

Teens Only Session – Session 4 (July 6 – 14 & July 9 -14) features programs just for girls going into 6th grade or higher! Teens will rule Camp Daisy and will enjoy connecting with other teens!

Extended Programming – throughout the summer are some extended programs, mostly for teen Girl Scouts, to build skills and friendships that will last a lifetime!

Journeys! – Complete your Sow What Journey (9 – 12 grade) or Breathe Journey (6 – 8 grade) at camp this summer!

Excursions – Learn skills at Camp Daisy, then take them offsite with our resident camp staff and do adventure activities, kayak on a lake (Kayak Kansas), problem solve on a high ropes course (Challenge Accepted) and more!

Mini Camp – for Brownies & Juniors who are new to outdoor experiences and overnights away from home. These two-night experiences will give her a taste of summer camp and leave her wanting more!

We know that choosing to send your Girl Scout to resident camp is a big decision for both you and your girl, so take sure that you both take the Camp Readiness Quiz on page 4 & 5 in our 2017 Summer Camp Digital Guide! If the results indicate that either one of you aren’t quite ready, think about going to camp WITH your Girl Scout!

You & Me: Ladies is for Girl Scouts in K-3 grade and a female caregiver in her life!

You & Me: Gentlemen is for Girl Scouts of all ages and male role model in her life

S’mores & More is for the whole family! Mom, Dad, Brother, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends!

We asked our Resident Camp Director Marley Parsons (aka Ferris) why she is so passionate about camp and why it’s so beneficial for girls to go to Girl Scout Resident Camp. As a lifelong Girl Scout and lover of the outdoors, she passed along some great resources to reference when considering summer camp!

 

More than S’mores – In 2014, Girl Scouts of the USA published a study by the Girl Scout Research Institute called More than S’mores. For this study they talked to nearly 3,000 Girl Scouts in fourth-through-eighth-grade about their outdoor experiences

American Camp Association (ACA)-  Camp Daisy Hindman is accredited by the American Camp Association. The ACA is a community of camp professionals who, for over 100 years, have joined together to share their knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs. On their website is a great article called The Case for Camp- Why Kids Need it Now More Than Ever.

So what are you waiting for?! Get your Girl Scout registered for Summer Camp! The first 400 girls who register for any camp program (You & Me, S’mores & More, Mini or Resident Camp) will receive this limited edition Camp Daisy bandana!

A Girl Scout Gem

Celebrating 60 Years of Hidden Valley Camp

Tucked away in the heart of Lawrence, Kansas sits 40 acres of wildlife terrain where thousands of Girl Scouts have grown as G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers, Leaders)™ for 60 years! Hidden Valley Camp sits in what used to be a secluded part of Lawrence in 1956. Throughout the years, significant city developments have taken place all around the property, but Hidden Valley has remained a wilderness area and semi-primitive campsite, living up to the “hidden” part of its name!

Girl Scouts at Hidden Valley Camp in 1982 on the left, and in 2016 on the right!

Girl Scouts at Hidden Valley Camp in 1982 on the left, and in 2016 on the right!

Hidden Valley is one of the few privately owned and operated camps in the region. The land was purchased and Hidden Valley Camp was established with funds from the estate of the late Alfred Bromelsick who passed away in 1950. Mr. Bromelsick was a longtime advocate of outdoors programs for youth, specifically those of the Girl Scouts, Boys Scouts and 4-H organizations. Today, Hidden Valley Camp is owned and managed by the locally-based Lawrence Hidden Valley Committee (LHVC) Inc., a nonprofit organization comprised of adult Girl Scout members living in the greater Lawrence community.

Many additions and improvements have been made to Hidden Valley in the past 60 years to keep up with the growing needs of Girl Scouts! In 1996, Friends of Hidden Valley was created to keep up with those improvements. This separate committee supports LHVC in programming, maintenance and establishing and meeting the goals of the property today, and for the next 60+ years.

Hidden Valley has seen so much love from many dedicated Girl Scout volunteers over the past six decades. One of those volunteers was the late Mariana Remple. Mariana was a co-founder of Hidden Valley Camp along with Carolyn Blaas, and was active with Girl Scouts of the USA for 50 years! In addition to Mariana’s work with Hidden Valley, she served as troop leader for Troop 660 for over 40 years and as assistant troop leader until her passing.

Carolyn Blaas and Mariana Remple, two of the Co-founders of Hidden Valley Camp.

Carolyn Blaas and Mariana Remple, two of the Co-founders of Hidden Valley Camp.

As a treasured Girl Scouting experience for girls, those who once experience this camp as a young Girl Scout are now coming full circle serving on the LHVC and the Friends of Hidden Valley Board or serving in other capacities as adult Girl Scout members.

Durand Reiber remembers going to a very rainy Day Camp at Hidden Valley with her troop when she was just a Girl Scout Brownie. In 2002 she was hired as Camp Manager – the camp’s first paid employee, a role she still serves in today.

“I was a Girl Scout through my senior year, canoeing and camping away with Mariana Remple’s Mariner Troop 660, which had a profound impact on my life. I continued to travel, camp and canoe, often leading my women friends on trips. My love of all things natural, and my college and career choices are an extension of all those experiences, beginning with that rainy Day Camp at Hidden Valley,” Durand said.

Kyra Flummerfelt was a Girl Scout growing up in Lawrence, living right down the street from Hidden Valley, but didn’t experience it herself until she found herself leading her daughter’s Girl Scout Brownie troop! In 2008 she was asked to join LHVC board and oversee the reservations and equipment checkout process and now she also serves as the zip line and archery facilitator.

“I love getting to meet leaders and help make camping easier by providing them with pretty much everything they need to camp out.  When we decided to add the zip line to camp I signed up to be a facilitator.  I am afraid of heights but chose to overcome it so that I could not only help others experience the wonders of zip line but so I could do it too.  I now love to zip line,” Kyra said!

Today, the wondrous 40 acres of Hidden Valley boasts hiking trails, diverse habitats of the prairie, woods, rocky hillsides, wetlands and streams, a challenge course with two zip lines and archery range. It also has a tree house, Yurt (really big tent) and a cabin with a kitchen making it the perfect place for seasoned campers as well as young troops to experience the great outdoors!

One thing that hasn’t changed about Hidden Valley is that it has a profound impact on those who still visit it today, no matter their age.

“This easy year round access means many troops routinely go there and the girls and adults alike get to know it well, developing a deep love for it over the years…and over time, it just becomes one of those special places in life you always remember,” Durand said.

Girl Scouts celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Hidden Valley Camp at the Fall Frolic.

Girl Scouts celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Hidden Valley Camp at the Fall Frolic.

While Girl Scouts in the greater Lawrence, Kansas area have first priority in reservations, Hidden Valley is open to all Girl Scouts and other groups who wish to take advantage its amenities.

“I can assure you that the experiences Girl Scouts and Hidden Valley offers girls make a difference and gives them a place to practice courage, confidence, and character,” Kyra explained. “Hidden Valley has been a place to make memories for so many people for the last 60 years and hopefully with help from the girls, leaders and community volunteers we can keep it that way for many more to come.”

If you would like to make a reservation at Hidden Valley for your troop, visit their website at www.lhvcamp.org and click on the reservations and equipment tab!

Camp Like a Girl Scout

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Spotlight on CIT II Olivia Aractingi aka “Puffy”

When Girl Scout Ambassador Olivia Aractingi went to summer camp for the first time in 2007, she left feeling empowered.

Empowered to embrace her unique qualities.

Empowered to believe in herself.

Empowered to make friends wherever she went.

“Even at 8 years old I knew. I met tons of different people and I loved the diversity between us. That experience made me who I am,” Olivia said.

Camping has long been an aspect of Girl Scouting. Girl Scout Camp is where every G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)™ will lead like a Girl Scout, like Olivia.

Over the past nine years, she has been to three different camps, participated in a variety of programs and formed countless friendships with campers and counselors. Through her experiences at camp, Olivia has found her passions and challenged herself.

One summer her mom signed her up for a horse program. “I tried something new, realized that I didn’t like to ride horses, but I like to help out with them. The beauty of camp is that its challenge by choice,” she explained. “Camp shows yourself your boundaries. You explore what you do and don’t like – it’s perfect because if you don’t want to do one thing, there’s always something else.”

As Olivia has grown through camp each summer, so have her leadership skills. She’s earned both her Counselor-in-Training (CIT) I & II pins and works to ensure that younger campers have an experience as memorable as her first one was.

“My goal every summer is to get to know everybody at camp – learn one thing about every person. That does great things for building friendships!”

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Olivia knows that her experiences and skills she builds at camp stay with her even when she’s not there. During the school year she her camp experiences and recruits girls of all ages to join Girl Scouts to join her the next summer!

“Going to camp has helped me communicate with people in the real world. It has turned me into a leader and a problem solver,” Olivia said.

Because she camped like a Girl Scout, Olivia is empowered for life.

What program will empower your G.I.R.L. this summer?! Our 2017 Summer Camp Guide is now live and registration opens on January 5, 2017 at 9:00 am!

Camp Daisy Program Staff

Get to know some of our summer camp program staff!

Megan Martin, Program Manager

Camp Name: Sheriff – A former camp colleague from Australia gave her the name because she is from Texas!

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Megan has more than five years’ experience working at Girl Scout camps across the country and is a proud Girl Scout alumna!

Favorite Memory as a Camper: All of her cool counselors!

Favorite Place at Camp Daisy:  Pioneers Ridge

Favorite Camp Activity: Tempera Twister

Favorite Girl Scout Song: Princess Pat

Favorite thing to get in the mail: Camper mail!

Favorite Camp Snack/Food: Sloppy Joes

To the caregiver/parent:  When your Girl Scout comes home, she will be a new and more excited Girl Scout!

What she’s most looking forward to: Working at Camp Daisy! My Dad worked at the Kaw Valley Council and Camp Daisy in the early 1980’s!

Why she became a camp counselor: I had AMAZING counselors when I was a camper. I want every girl to have the same positive, uplifting and inspiring experiences that I had.

 

Savannah Coffey, Lifeguard

Camp Name: Beenie – When she was a CIT, she wore a beanie every day.

Hometown: Neosho, Missouri

Savannah was a camper for 10 years at Camp Mintahama in Joplin, Mo. and a staff member for 1 year at Camp Finbrooke in Rogersville, Mo. This is her first year on staff at Camp Daisy Hindman!

Favorite Memory as a Camper: Spending time at waterfront

Favorite Place at Camp Daisy: On the dock listening to all the bullfrogs

Favorite Camp Activity: Campfire on the last night of camp

Favorite Girl Scout Song: Linger

Favorite thing to get in the mail: Letters from my little sister

Favorite Camp Snack: Banana boats

To the caregiver/parent:  Going to camp is an amazing experience that every girl should have.

What she’s most looking forward to: Watching all the campers get into a canoe for the first time!

 

Kaitlyn Edwards, STEM Specialist

Camp Name: Roo – From the kangaroo from Winnie The Pooh.

Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

School Attending: Saint Louis University

Kaitlyn is a Girl Scout alumna, participated in the CIT program as a camper and helped lead her service unit day camp.

Favorite Memory as a Camper: Resident camp in the canoe trek program.

Favorite Place at Camp Daisy:  Top of the hill

Favorite Camp Activity: Stargazing

Favorite Girl Scout Song: Chocolate Chip Cookies Song

Favorite thing to get in the mail: Fun stickers

Favorite Camp Snack/Food: Spaghetti

To the caregiver/parent:  Camp is a safe place where girls can practice being independent and have a say in what they do.

What she’s most looking forward to: Helping campers become excited about STEM and allowing them to choose what they want to learn about at camp.

What she wants you to know about her program area: STEM activities at camp are fun and allow girls to participate in hands on experiences in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

 

Morgan Wood, Riding Instructor

Camp Name:  Slugger – She is a former softball player and that was a nickname that stuck with her!

Hometown: Maryville, Missouri

School Attending: Northwest Missouri State University

This is Morgan’s first summer ever at Girl Scout camp! She is working at camp as part of her field experience for her corporate recreation degree!

Favorite Place at Camp Daisy:  Horse Barn & Chandler House

Favorite Camp Activity: Campfires

Favorite Girl Scout Song: Lion Hunting

Favorite Camp Snack/Food: Taco Salad

To the caregiver/parent:  We have a caring staff here at camp that are all well trained and experienced in their area. This opportunity is a great experience for your girl to learn and grow.

What she’s most looking forward to: Spending a majority of my time with the horses and riding with the kids!

What she wants you to know about her program area: Horses are a great therapy for girls and they get so excited to be on horseback for an hour out of their day!

 

Emily Budzowski, Riding Instructor

Camp Name:  Bandana – She has a small collection of 45 bandanas and wears one daily.

Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas

School Attending: Truman State University

Emily has participated in programs at all 5 of our camp properties and is a Girl Scout alumna!

Favorite Memory as a Camper:  My last year as a camper I was able to keep some ashes from my last campfire.

Favorite Place at Camp Daisy:  Barn and Lake Odonata

Favorite Camp Activity:  Archery

Favorite Girl Scout Song: Magic

Favorite thing to get in the mail: Letters

Favorite Camp Snack/Food: Taco Salad and Gooey Balls

To the caregiver/parent:  Your child will learn different skills that aren’t available in everyday situations. Also, she will make great friends and challenge herself.

What she’s most looking forward to: I’m excited to be a part of this staff. I’ve been waiting to work at camp since my first year as a camper and I finally get to work behind the scenes and make a difference in girls’ lives!

What she wants you to know about her program area: Horses area a wonderful activity that teaches you trust, confidence and self-empowerment. Our program is a challenge by choice, but it can push you out of your comfort zone and open you up to new experiences.

 

Curious about what a day at Resident Camp looks like for campers and staffers?! Social Media Day at Camp is on Wednesday! Follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the inside scoop!

Or, you can meet these staffers in person when you drop your Girl Scout off at Resident Camp!  Sign her up today!

 

Top 10 Outdoor Adventures in Kansas and Missouri

Ever talked to someone who has never visited Kansas or Missouri? If you have, chances are good they thought you were from “boring” states. The following list is a surefire way to prove them wrong! It may be hard to believe we have so many beautiful outdoor treasures right here in our states. But after researching favorite tourist sites, some of which are a *bit* out of the way, we know we can entice anyone to explore these amazing places! Girl Scouts, are you ready to be adventurous this summer?!

Top Ten Outdoor Adventures in Kansas and Missouri

The Fugitive Beach – Rolla, Missouri

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Pack your swimsuits and sunscreen and get ready to make a splash at The Fugitive Beach in Rolla, Missouri! Located eight miles south of Rolla, this “beach” is actually an abandoned rock quarry. And at only $6 per person it is a real steal! You can relax on the beach, swim or go down a water slide. But if you’re feeling ready for adventure, check out the obstacle course training. All of their rules and regulations are located on their website so make sure to come prepared with what you need to enjoy a day of water fun!

Mark Twain State Park – Florida, Missouri

There is so much to see and do here we don’t have room to write it all! But rest assured there is something for every level of adventurer! Whether it be camping, hiking, boating or educational presentations, you’ll find it all at this versatile State Park. Native trees and soaring views are only some of the greatest attractions nestled in the middle of the Salt River Hills of North-Central Missouri.

Kansas Children’s Discovery Center – Topeka, Kansas

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The Discovery Center offers an exciting and safe place for families and children to explore and discover nature within 4.5 wooded acres in Topeka’s Gage Park. You’ll find obstacle courses, hiking trails and bike paths. It’s okay to get dirty here, girls! Go on and build a fort, make a mud pie or scale rocks! Adventure is the name of the game here! And even better, they are one of our community partners!

Onondaga Cave State Park – Leasburg, Missouri

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Come see why Missouri is often called “The Cave State!” You’ll be mesmerized by stalagmites, stalactites, and active flowstones. Visitors can descend into the depths of the caves with a guided tour. If you’d rather stay at the surface, the park’s Vilander Bluff Natural Area provides a panoramic view of the Meramec River.

Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure – Salina, Kansas

Rolling Hills Zoo is home to 100+ species of animals located in a beautifully landscaped 60 acre park. Ride the tram, feed the giraffes or listen to one of the many zookeeper talks! The onsite museum provides plenty of hands-on, interactive ways to explore and learn about animals!

Flint Hills Discovery Center – Manhattan, Kansas

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This outdoor treat turns out to be an unexpected beauty for those who have never made the trip. The Flint Hills of Kansas, which are some of the last tallgrass prairies in North America, are currently endangered. The mission of the Discovery Center is to inspire people to celebrate, explore and care for the Flint Hills. We are so honored that Flint Hills Discovery Center is one of our community partners!

Monument Rock National Landmark – Oakley, Kansas

Monument Rocks

If you really want to go off the beaten path, you’ll find an amazing sight at Monument Rock – but it will take you some time and patience to get there. This adventure is more suited for older Girl Scouts as you will have to drive on a dirt road, 25 miles south of Oakley, Kansas. When you arrive you will definitely know it! You can spot the chalk formations that rise 100 feet into the air as if from out of nowhere. These rocks, or “pyramids” as locals call them, attract many visitors every year. These are located on private property but visitors are welcome to drive up to the structures and photos are welcome.

Powell Gardens – Kingsville, Missouri

It’s time to come smell the roses (and many other flowers) at Kansas City’s botanical garden. Book a group tour to experience the sights, sounds and smells of this beautifully landscaped attraction. You can’t go wrong when nature and STEM come together! Now through September 7th, explore 27 all new LEGO sculptures, which represent how all living things connect on Earth.

Bennett Spring State Park – Lebanon, Missouri

Get your fishing poles ready! Located in southwest Missouri, Bennett Spring is best known for its fish hatchery with excellent trout fishing opportunities! This state park also provides camping, cabins, trails, a nature center, restaurant, store, picnic tables, and a playground. Take a tour of the hatchery or spend the day canoeing down the scenic Niangua River.

Wildwood Outdoor Adventure Park – Manhattan, Kansas

Want a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Flint Hills? Wildwood Outdoor Adventure Park is where it’s at! Scheduled to open on June 25th, this brand new zip line park has seven zip lines with trails. Children and adults can zip over treetops and ravines. You won’t see this in Kansas west of Manhattan!