Celebrating our North Region Volunteers!

Celebrating our North Region Volunteers!

Volunteers are the foundation of an excellent Girl Scouting experience. Without volunteers to lead troops, organize events, manage cookie programs and inspire girls, we wouldn’t have Girl Scouts. On Sunday, June 11, we honored amazing volunteers from across our North Region at the 2017 North Region Volunteer Celebration.

The North Region event was held in St. Joseph, MO and was all about “flamingling!” What is “flamingling?” It’s mixing and mingling with a flamingo theme. There was plenty of pink, pineapples and tropical fun to be had at this event. We even had an awesome Girl Scout dad and sensational volunteer show up with a giant inflatable flamingo to celebrate the day! There’s definitely a lot of Girl Scout enthusiasm in the North.

After Girl Scouts, volunteers, staff and families mixed and flamingled a bit, it was time for the awards ceremony. We honored 5 Appreciation Pin recipients, Meaningful Mentor, Rising Star and Risk-taker Awards, just to name a few. We thanked 3 philanthropists for their investment in girls – Joleen Graf (Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist Award), Rick Berger (Philanthropist Award) and the Atchison Area United Way (Corporate Philanthropist Award). We honored many more amazing volunteers and you can see a full list of honorees using the link below.

There was also a special call out to Velma Sommers from Atchison who has been Girl Scout strong as a volunteer for 50 years! Talk about incredible dedication to girls!

The biggest honor of the event was the Thanks Badge, presented to Misty Coyle from Service Unit 808 in St. Joseph. This amazing volunteer received a standing ovation from her fellow Girl Scouts and family members, and it was an honor to give her this award. Congratulations to Misty and all the other honorees.

After the awards ceremony, there was a door prize drawing for fun goodies like gift certificates and a gold pineapple rolling cooler! When the event wrapped, girls and families had more time for chatting, taking photos at the G.I.R.L. photobooth and our CEO, Joy Wheeler, even tried on the inflatable flamingo for some photos with girls! How cool!

We are so honored to have these amazing volunteers as part of the Girl Scouting family. Because of their hard work and dedication, girls are changing the world and growing up to be incredible women.

See a full list of awardees and photos from the event, click here to view our program and gallery.

Thank you to all the volunteers we’ve honored over the past few months! You are SIMPLY THE BEST!

Check out blogs about the Central, East and West Region events here!

Celebrating the Awe-Inspiring Volunteers of the East Region

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

2017 East Region Volunteer Award Recipients

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating the Sensational Volunteers of the Central Region

Girl Scout volunteers grow G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM every day by dedicating countless hours, dozens of hugs and sacrificing sleep to help Girl Scouts thrive. On Sunday, April 23, we were able to honor several of the incredible Central Region volunteers who make a difference in the lives of girls. Without volunteers, Girl Scouts could not happen.

We presented the President’s Award to 5 incredible service units who are providing girls with a top rate Girl Scout experience (SU 632, SU 634, SU 642, SU 671 and SU 672 – way to go!). 22 volunteers received the Appreciation Pin, given for outstanding service to at least one service unit. Because of volunteers like the 22 we honored, the Central Region is on fire! We also presented several awards for excellence in STEM, Philanthropy, Entrepreneurship and other key areas where volunteers excel.

2017 Central Region Award Recipients

To name just a few, we presented the Innovator Award to Denisse Osorio de Large and Steven Large from Service Unit 672 for their work with Cerner to create a STEM Spark event that integrated Spanish into the program, so Spanish-speaking Girl Scouts and families could be included. Regina McCullum from Service Unit 661 was honored with the Growing Entrepreneurs Award for her years of service as a Product Sales Manager and her work creating future CEOs through the Cookie Program. Tori Hirner from Service Unit 638 was honored with the Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist Award for her inspiring work to grow the Circle. NIC was honored as our Corporate Philanthropist for their incredible financial and volunteer support to build the next generation of STEM innovators.

These are just a few of the incredible honorees that made the Central Region Girl Scouting experience absolutely spectacular. With over 10,000 girls in the Central Region, it takes some pretty special volunteers to make it happen!

At the end of the ceremony, we presented two incredible volunteers with the Thanks Badge – the highest honor a Girl Scout volunteer can earn. Linda Bradley was honored for her many years of service, her work as a trainer and dedication to G.I.R.L.s. Carla Redondo de Castillo was honored for her amazing work not only with her service unit, but with Spanish speaking Girl Scouts all over the council. She spends countless hours reviewing and translating manuals into Spanish for all our awesome Spanish speaking Girl Scout families. You can read more about Carla in her recent blog post here! Thank you, Linda & Carla, and congratulations on receiving the Thanks Badge for your work!

We can’t thank our incredible volunteers enough. Thank you for all you do! You make the Central Region what it is. Thank you for helping us grow G.I.R.L.s! View photos of the event, honoree digital photo frames and our event program by visiting http://www.gsksmo.org/celebrate.

Our 2017 Central Region Volunteer Honorees

President’s Award
Service Unit 632, Shawnee Mission
Service Unit 634, Overland Park
Service Unit 642, Olathe
Service Unit 671, Shawnee
Service Unit 672, Overland Park

Appreciation Pin
Marie Burger, Service Unit 671; Shawnee
Tonya Burke, Service Unit 671; Shawnee
Dayna Carney, Service Unit 679; Olathe
Jennifer Cheffey, Service Unit 632; Shawnee Mission
Marianne D’Amato, Service Unit 632; Shawnee Mission
Joslyn Dawson, Service Unit 672; Overland Park
Tracey Fuller, Service Unit 678; Olathe
Susie Gilson, Service Unit 678; Olathe
Jennifer Gleason, Service Unit 716; Lawrence
Sydney Harrington, Service Unit 672; Overland Park
Nikki Hokanson, Service Unit 675; Overland Park
Laura Logan, Service Unit 638; Overland Park
Craig Lybarger; Service Unit 642; Olathe
Melissa Lyons; Service Unit 642; Olathe
Tacey Mullen; Service Unit 680; Olathe
Melanie Nolker, Service Unit 672; Overland Park
Gretchen Schmanke, Service Unit 679; Overland Park
Stacey Smith, Service Unit 635; Prairie Village
Nicole Wallerstedt, Service Unit 672; Overland Park
Angela Wang, Service Unit 638; Overland Park
Nikohl Williams, Service Unit 680; Olathe
Jessica Wright, Service Unit 638; Overland Park

Recruitment Award
Kristen Brooks, Service Units 672, 674, 675 & 694; Overland Park

G.I.R.L. Empowerment Award
Mindie Paget, Service Unit 716; Lawrence

Meaningful Mentor Award
Betty Buchholz, Service Unit 661; Lansing

Rising Star Award
Katie Mclean Campbell, Service Unit 631; Shawnee

Risk-taker Award
Kyra Flummerfelt, Service Unit 716; Lawrence

 Go-getter Award
Nadine Nanko, Service Unit 674; Shawnee

Innovator Award
Denisse Osorio de Large & Steven Large, Service Unit 672; Overland Park

Community Partnership Award
Deer Creek Hen House Market; Overland Park
Journey Church; Paola
Master Suzan Crochet; Overland Park
Paola Inn & Suites; Paola
Paola Public Schools USD 368; Paola

Daisy’s Circle Philanthropist Award
Tori Hirner, Service Unit 638; Overland Park

 Philanthropist Award
Connie Davis; Lake Quivira

Corporate Philanthropist Award
NIC

Growing Entrepreneurs Award
Regina McCullum, Service Unit 661; Lansing / Leavenworth / Fort Leavenworth

Growing STEM Innovators Award
Jennie Cronin, Service Unit 635; Leawood

G.I.R.L. Brand Ambassador Award
Sheri James, Service Unit 694; Overland Park

G.I.R.L. In Action Award
Girl Scout Cadette Troop 890, Service Unit 631; Shawnee

Thanks Badge
Linda Bradley, Service Unit 635; Shawnee Mission
Carla Redondo de Castillo, Service Unit 716; Lawrence

Celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week

It takes a special kind of person to help empower G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM to be their very best. Just ask any Girl Scout and she’ll tell you that her adult role models (our awesome volunteers) are a major part of what makes her Girl Scout experience amazing.

To the more than 9,000 volunteers who make Girl Scouting possible across our 47 county council – THANK YOU! Thank you for encouraging young Go-getters to look for opportunities to be bold and succeed. Thank you for inspiring Innovators to see a problem and find a solution rather than giving up. Thank you for standing behind Risk-takers as they zipline or stand in front of an audience to give a speech for the very first time. Thank you for raising up Leaders to be cooperative, understanding and compassionate women who take charge. Thank you for making all this possible.

To celebrate, we’re asking girls, families and volunteers to help us celebrate our AMAZING volunteers and all they do for G.I.R.L.s! First, April 22nd is Girl Scout Leader’s Day! Then, April 23rd through April 29th, we’re celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week. We want to encourage girls, parents and caregivers to take a little time to say THANK YOU to the volunteers in your troop or service unit.

Need some creative ways to say “Thank you”? Here are 10 great ideas to get you started:

  1. Send an electronic or printed card – Download e-card | printable cards
  2. Deliver a special gift or card in person. We have many Girl Scout items that make really meaningful gifts in our GS Shop! Visit online or in-personGift ideas for volunteers
  3. Write your favorite volunteer a love letter. Imagine their surprise when they open their mailbox and find a love letter from you. Need a little inspiration? Check out the letter Girl Scouts put together for these amazing volunteers!
  4. Take your leader or other volunteer out for a special dinner.
  5. To honor the time they give, decorate a terracotta pot and plant thyme as a gift!
  6. Wrap an empty cookie box and fill with special notes from girls and parents – show them just how sweet they are!
  7. Organize a special outing to have the leader relax – spa, museum, movies.
  8. Give a mug full of chocolate hugs and kisses.
  9. Give your volunteer a shot out on social media! Post a photo, share a comment, and let them know they are the very best! Tag @girlscouts, @gsksmo and use the hashtag #NVW2017!
  10. Make a tribute gift in honor of your special volunteer to help more girls be a part of Girl Scouts.

Let’s make sure all Girl Scout volunteers know how much you appreciate them during National Volunteer Appreciation Week! Thank you to all our awesome volunteers for all YOU do!

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – Terry Seymour

Spotlighting SU 687 PSM Terry Seymour

Quality Controller at the rock quarry by day; Girl Scout Leader for #1727 and Service Unit Product Sales Manager (SUPSM) for 687 by night.

Eight years ago Terry Seymour declared himself “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” when his daughter’s Daisy troop leader relocated. He didn’t know much about Girl Scouts at that point, but knew enough to make the decision to step up and co-lead this troop of young girls to ensure that his daughter Marissa and her Girl Scout sisters would continue growing through the program.

Over the course of eight years, Terry and his co-leader Angie Sutton have guided the 12 girls in Troop 1727 to practice leadership the Girl Scout way and to be G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™.

“I love it. I love the girls. I love being a Girl Scout Dad,” Terry said.

While outsiders may view Troop 1727 as having a usual Girl Scout experience with an unusual leader, there’s nothing unusual about it to the girls or their parents. They see a very dedicated, resourceful and brave mentor in Terry.

In fact, you might say that Terry is Man Enough to be a G.I.R.L.

“Our girls have been with us so long, they don’t think it’s unusual to have a male leader,” Terry explained.

Terry and Angie have taken Troop 1727 to Airport Day at the Ottawa Airport, slept with the polar bears at the Kansas City Zoo, managed countless GS Cookie Booths, hosted car washes and bake sales, and so much more.

Left: Terry working Cookie Delivery and Pickup for SU 687. Right: Terry working with girls at Day Camp.

Through Girl Scouting, Terry has also discovered that he has a very special skill. He has knack for using Girl Scout Cookies wisely in the kitchen! A few years back, he decided to change up the crust of his famous homemade cheesecakes…using Lemonades!

“Not to brag, but I make a killer cheesecake!”

This little bake sale experiment helped his troop raise the necessary funds to take a trip to Eureka Springs, AR!

Now they’re working towards taking a trip to Europe in four years. For Terry and Angie they want the girls to know that as go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders, anything is possible and they are there to support them.

Terry wants dads to know that there are various ways to be involved with their daughter’s Girl Scout troop – you don’t have to be the leader to contribute; think about what you are passionate about, and there’s a pretty good chance that it fits into Girl Scouts somewhere!

“I believe Girl Scouting has made Marissa and I closer,” Terry said.

And if leading a troop isn’t enough for him, he added the title of SUPSM to his Girl Scout resume your years ago and manages Cookie Program orders and delivery for all the troops in SU 687.

Had Terry’s wife Rosa not been working nights eight years ago, he likely wouldn’t be in the Girl Scout roles he is today and would have been what he refers to as “the typical Dad.”

“[Girl Scouts] is the best thing I’ve ever done with my life.”

Troop 1727 is so lucky to have you, Terry!

Do you know someone who is “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout?” Share this story with them and drop us a note in the comments below!

Girl Scout Cookie Superheroes

Celebrating Our Longest-Serving Product Sales Managers – Part 2

 Earlier this week, we learned about our first five amazing, longest-serving Service Unit Product Sales Managers (SU PSMs) who have served our council for many years. Today, you’ll meet 5 more who have served as SU PSM for 11 to 35+ years. Wow. That’s some serious commitment to G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM.

These volunteers have seen it all. From taking cookie orders on paper to moving to SNAP to increased recognitions for girls, they’ve been critical to improving the program year after year. Not only have they been vital in providing feedback for our council, they’re an invaluable resource for new cookie moms/dads trying to help their troops succeed. Without them, girls wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn these important business skills. We cannot begin to thank them enough for their incredible work and dedication!

Check out Part 1 of this blog here!

Mary Lang with volunteers at cookie deliver; Diana Nolan; Carmellya Anderson at the 2016 Volunteer Celebration and Lesma Whalon with her daughters’ troop.

 

Mary Lang – SU 635 – Prairie Village

“I am so proud to be part of this amazing organization that focuses on “Building girls [and adults] of courage, confidence, and character.”  I hope that my role as PSM helps other girls achieve these characteristics and, hopefully, enjoy their own treasured memories as a Girl Scout as I cherish mine.”

Years as a PSM: 11 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Alumna:

  • Daughter, Emily (Alumna)
  • Sister, Bev (Girl Scout & troop leader, leading her daughter’s troop through Bronze, Silver & Gold awards); Sister, Cindy (Alumna); Niece, Becca (Bev’s daughter, active Highest Award Alumna)
  • Mother, Gloria (Camp name was “M&M,” and a Girl Scout in the 1940s. Active volunteer even after graduating, including becoming Day Camp Director)

Her Girl Scout Story:

“Cookie Monster” – that’s the affectionate name passed from SU PSM to SU PSM in SU635! Mary became “Cookie Monster” after being asked by the Service Unit Manager.  Mary was eager to jump on board. With such an extensive GS family background – it’s no wonder! The thing she loves about the Cookie Program specifically is the skills that girls learn and her hope that she’s inspiring future “Cookie Monsters.” With all the changes she’s seen, the willingness of people to help and the inspiring stories of the girls are what keep her motivated. It’s really all about empowering G.I.R.L.s!

 

Diana Nolan – SU 611 – Liberty

“Girl Scouts is a great organization that helps to develop girls into tomorrow’s leaders.  I truly believe that Girl Scouts builds girls courage, confidence and character.  It’s an organization where girls have to opportunity to try new things that they may not have otherwise been able to do.”

Years as a PSM: 11 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Alumna:

  • Amanda, Shannon & Peyton (All 3 Girl Scouts K-12, now a Lifetime Girl Scouts)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Diana has never been the type of volunteer to pass up an opportunity to serve! After serving as Service Unit Registrar, Teen Manager, Day Camp Business Manager and various roles on Northland Owl Prowl committee, she wanted something that was consistent. “With Service Unit PSM position, everything is black and white, and as long as you follow the guidelines, it’s a piece of cake (at least for me).” When she began, everything was on paper, so she’s seen the growth of the program into a digital platform that eliminates manual math and double checking. Diana keeps up with this role because she believes in the power of the program and what it teaches girls about business and confidence. Her favorite thing about being a PSM, aside from watching the girls, is the friendships she’s developed in her community. Diana Nolan is awesome! She is stepping away from serving as a PSM to take on other GS volunteer positions.  We know Diana won’t be too far away and available for a cookie question or two from time to time. Thanks, Diana!

 

Carmellya Anderson; Mary Lang with mom, Gloria (Alumna) and GS daughter, Emily; Lesma Whalon

Carmellya Anderson – SU 641 (current) & SU 620 (part of her 18 years) – Kansas City

“I love the learning and program opportunities that cookies  provides to the Girl Scouts in our community. I especially love to see shy girls blossom into confident business women.”

Years as a PSM: 18 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Silver Award Alumna:

  • Daughter, Alana (Current Girl Scout Cadette)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Carmellya became a SU PSM after moving to Kansas City from Kentucky when she was looking for ways to meet new people. She tried serving as assistant leader, the scheduling for SU PSM worked much better for her. Fast forward 18 years and she’s still a dedicated volunteer. When she first started she “used to receive four pallets full of material to eye level. A whole lot of paper, paper, paper.” Luckily, technology has caught up to the growing needs of girls and now it’s mostly digital. What kept her motivated through mountains of paper work and years of serving was seeing girls reach their goals and establish skills that will last a lifetime. Between her volunteers and Girl Scouts, she’s found a community through serving and helping to empower G.I.R.L.s.

 

Lesma Whalon – SU 645 – Lee’s Summit/Raytown

“I love helping troop leaders order cookies and when I’m out at the stores, seeing girls selling cookies and the girls see me and go ‘yeah, I’m the cookie lady.’”

Years as a PSM: 20 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & First Class Alumna:

  • Dacia (Girl Scout K-5th), Shyra (Girl Scout K-12, earned Silver Award), Alyssa (Girl Scout K-12, was featured on cookie boxes from 3rd grade to 12th grade)

Her Girl Scout Story:

When it comes to working hard for girls, Lesma certainly has the years of experience to show she’s dedicated! She became SU PSM after a council staff member asked her to step in. Unlike many PSMs, Lesma had never served as a Troop Cookie Manager, but she was the Leader for her daughters’ troops. Still, she accepted the role like a true Go-getter.  As someone that works in technology, Lesma has watched the change from excel spreadsheets to SNAP and tries to integrate new technology often. When it comes to moving Girl Scouts forward, Lesma is right there to help new troop leaders and support girls. She even attends service unit meetings just to be there for advice! Even though she’s retiring this year, Lesma knows she won’t go far. This First Class Girl Scout is a prime example of leading like a Girl Scout! Thank you, Lesma for your incredible commitment to girls!!

 

Suzan – SU 701 – Topeka

“Over the years of being a SU PSM, I have watched girls go from Daisies to Ambassadors and troops go through the program saving for trips and then listening to their experiences after.”

Years as a PSM: 35+ years

Proud Girl Scout Mom

Her Girl Scout Story:

What started as her daughter raising her hand and volunteering her mother for a job has become over three decades of service to girls. Suzan began serving in Topeka and has made incredible contributions to the program over the years. She gained the nickname “Cookie Lady” after a Brownie stopped her in the store and said “You’re the Cookie Lady, right?” and since then, the name has stuck. With her knowledge, empathy and understanding, she’s able to connect with the long time cookie volunteers just as well as the brand new cookie parent who feels overwhelmed. As she says “I truly understand the first year cookie mom or dad who is overwhelmed by the program. I was there also.” Topeka’s “Cookie Lady,” has been making a positive impact on the lives of Girl Scouts for decades and inspiring generations of girls.

 

Thank you to the 10 awesome volunteers we’ve highlighted in this two-part blog and to everyone who makes the Cookie Program a reality. Thousands of hours of work, countless sleepless nights and lots of heavy lifting go into every cookie season and it’s all because of volunteers who believe in girls. Thank you for supporting our Girl Scouts with their cookie business!

If you want to share a special memory or shout out to any of these volunteers, please leave a comment below.

Girl Scout Cookie Superheroes

             

Celebrating Our Longest-Serving Product Sales Managers – Part 1

Who can carry 1000 boxes of cookies in a single delivery? Who can inspire and support thousands of troop cookie managers and leaders through every obstacle the season presents?  Who has the heart of a champion ensuring the groundwork is set for girls to have a fantastic cookie business. Service Unit Product Sales Managers (SU PSMs) of course! These volunteers are the superheroes behind every box of Girl Scout Cookies we buy to support young business leaders. This week, we’re celebrating amazing SU PSMs who have served GSKSMO for anywhere from 7 years to 35+ years! Talk about dedication. These ladies essentially work a second job during cookie season organizing orders, checking troop sales, helping new cookie moms/dads and inspiring their service unit along the way with their belief in the power of G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM.

Today we introduce our 7 – 10 year SU PSMs and celebrate their dedication to the Cookie Program. You’ll meet Gail Alvarez (SU 640), Beth McCreight (SU 678), Linda Christensen (SU 805), Lisa Simmons (SU 716) and Regina McCullum (SU 661).

These are the volunteers who spend their weekends stopping by booth sales to cheer on troops. These are the volunteers who advocate for enhancements to the program. These are the volunteers who care about every girl they watch grow from Daisy to Ambassador and transform from girl to businesswoman. These are the volunteers who make a life changing difference by supporting a program that empowers the women of tomorrow. Doesn’t that make each bite of Girl Scout Cookie just a little bit sweeter?

 

Gail Alvarez, Beth McCreight, Lisa Simmons and Regina McCullum

 

Gail Alvarez – SU 640 – Lee’s Summit/Raytown

“I love the Cookie Program because I love seeing the troops grow their business and finding out what they’re doing with their money.”

Years as a PSM: 7 years (3yrs in Lee’s Summit, 4yrs in Raytown)

Proud Girl Scout Mom:

  • Two Girl Scout daughters (Girl Scouts K-12, now Alumnae)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Gail served as Troop PSM and was recruited by the retiring SU PSM to step into the role. She has loved being a volunteer so much she even offered to move over to Raytown’s service unit to help fill a need there. Her favorite part of the experience is getting to know the troops. “I enjoy working with my troops – both the newbies and the oldies!” She has also served on committees that evaluate the program each year and work on ways to improve. One piece of advice she gives to younger troops is to take advantage of Candy, Nuts and Magazine Program, because it gives them a financial bump right away to start doing great things. Gail loves being involved with Girl Scouts and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

 

Beth McCreight – SU 678 – Spring Hill / Olathe

“I love seeing girls accomplish things that they’ve never done before.”

Years as a PSM: 7 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom:

  • Daughter, Rebecca (Girl Scout Cadette)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Serving as troop leader AND SU PSM? That takes a special kind of volunteer. Meet Beth McCreight, Troop 0027 leader and SU PSM! This awesome Girl Scout mom loves leading her daughter, Rebecca, and the rest of the troop through the adventures of being teens while learning how to be G.I.R.L.s. When she was asked to be SU PSM, she stepped up to the plate and has enjoyed watching changes like the increase in recognition for sales. She says the best thing about being involved with Girl Scouts is “seeing my troop doing things that they probably would not do otherwise and watching friendships develop.”

 

Linda Christensen – SU 805 – Maryville

“I have enjoyed seeing my girls go from Daisies now to Senior and Cadettes and they know how to budget. I am very proud of these girls and this process of teaching.”

Years as a PSM: 7 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom:

  • Daughter, Errin (Alumna) & Zoey (GS Cadette)
  • Granddaughters, Alli (College Girl Scout), Bridget (GS Senior) & Taylor (Girl Scout)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Watching girls go from children to young women – that’s one of the best things about being a Girl Scout volunteer. Linda Christensen knows firsthand, having 2 daughters and 3 granddaughters who are all proud Girl Scouts! She accepted the role of SU PSM when there was a need for someone to fill the position and has stayed with it ever since. For her, change is constant in the Cookie Program, but as she says “As a Girl Scout, change is good.” Her absolute favorite thing about being SU PSM? Watching the girls grow into young businesswomen. Most importantly, she believes in the power of the program and the way it inspires leaders.

 

SU 716 cookie delivery; Regina McCullum with daughter and Girl Scout Daisy granddaughter, Dalaina; Lisa Simmons at camp.

Lisa Simmons – SU 716 – Lawrence / Eudora

“[Girl Scout volunteers] have a common belief or goal in helping girls and these other volunteers are such good people!  I’m blessed to know them!  Every year there are new leaders…New friends!”

Years as a PSM: 8 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Alumna:

  • Daughters, Sydney (Alumna & Lifetime Girl Scout) and Skyler (Girl Scout K-8th)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Girl Scout volunteer life doesn’t end after a Girl Scout daughter graduates. That’s definitely the case for Lisa Simmons, who didn’t want to stop giving back after her daughter graduated high school. Lisa noticed that the previous SU PSM was getting promoted at work and under increasing stress, so she offered to take over because she really enjoyed the job – especially the other volunteers. In 8 years, she’s gone from taking bundles of checks and cash to the bank over her lunch hour (imagine depositing money from 80 troops over your lunch hour!) to not handling any money, allowing her more time to focus on organization. Aside from loving the people, she loves the business skills that girls are learning and that moment when Girl Scouts make a sale and see a smile on the face of a customer. She knows that’s when girls see how businesses can positively impact customers.

Regina McCullum – SU 661 – Leavenworth / Fort Leavenworth / Lansing

“This program helps build confidence, character, and courage and in the end will develop confident, kind, and courageous women. The world could use more of that.”

Years as a PSM: 10 years

Proud Girl Scout Mom & Alumna:

  • Daughters, Daneen & Deondra (Girl Scouts K-12, now Alumnae)
  • Granddaughter, Dalaina (1st grade Daisy in SU 661)

Her Girl Scout Story:

Regina is an incredible advocate for Girl Scouts. After 10 years as SU PSM, it’s no wonder! After being a Junior troop leader, she answered the call when the service unit was looking for an SU PSM and as she says, “I never looked back.” Her passion? BOOTH SALES! She absolutely loves watching the excitement on the faces of girls as they make sales to customers at booth sales. On weekends, she makes the rounds to check on the troops and see how sales are going. Talk about dedication! We thank Regina for her years of dedication, experiences and friendships with volunteers and council staff.

What incredible stories of dedication to G.I.R.L.s! Thank you to all these incredible volunteers for their years of service. Check out Part 2 of this blog (11 – 35+years) on Thursday! If you want to share a special memory or shout out to any of these volunteers, please leave a comment below.

An Everyday Hero Standing with Girls

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout: Mark Jeffrey

It takes a special person to be a hero. Police officers, firefighters and EMTs risk their lives to protect us. Meet Mark Jeffrey from Grain Valley, MO, a dad to two amazing Girl Scouts, a police officer, former firefighter and EMT. Talk about a hero among! Most importantly, Mark is a proud Girl Scout dad and volunteer, making the world better for girls. He’s certainly Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!

Mark Jeffrey loves his community.  And, his decades of public service prove it. He served as an EMT and firefighter for 13 years before becoming a community officer then a police officer for Lake Latawana, where he’s served for 16 years. This devoted protector loves being out in his community and getting to know people. When he became a dad, he knew he wanted to have his children involved in organizations that would expose them to their community. “It’s important to be involved with your kids in activities that help us bond and make them into great people,” Mark said.

Mark and his wife, Erin, have three children – all involved in Scouting. Son, Chase (12) and daughters Alexis (9) and Elizabeth (5) have been in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts since kindergarten. Mark has recently become an assistant leader for Alexis and Elizabeth – helping with shirt designs, cookie sales and general troop support. “I was in Cub Scouts for one year and it really stuck with me, so when my kids were born, I saw it as an opportunity to get back involved with Scouting,” Mark said.

Scouting is important to the family because it lets the Jeffrey kids explore and do things outside the house. “Scouting provides life skills that help you become a good member of society. It teaches girls they can go as far as they want. Kids get the opportunity to explore, learn and discover their interests, so they grow up to be great men and women of society,” Mark said.

Alexis is part of Girl Scout Junior Troop 716 and volunteers with Girl Scout Daisy Troop 1854, Elizabeth’s troop (PS – Michelle Twyman, leader for Troop 879, has a daughter in this troop too!). Elizabeth was inspired to join Girl Scouts because of Alexis. The two have a very close relationship and as Mark says, they’re almost like twins. Having an older Girl Scout participate means the world to the new Daisies who are working hard on their first year selling cookies.

“Elizabeth’s troop is crazy about cookies. She’ll ask anyone she sees to buy them. She went to one of Chase’s Boy Scout meetings and started asking them to buy cookies,” Mark said. What a go-getter!

The Jeffrey family is active in PTA for Matthews Elementary, supported Service Unit 646’s Holly Jolly Jamboree and participates in Grain Valley’s Police Explorers. The Police Explorers is a program introduces kids to law enforcement careers through interactive activities like learning to use handcuffs and touring the police station. While his daughters are too young to officially join, they’ve participated in many activities.

Each year in the PTA, Mark is a driving force behind the annual carnival fundraiser for the school. He builds activities, helps organize and is very hands on with the event. For Mark, it’s all about getting to spend more time with his kids and make their life better. “As a dad, my kids are my world. To see my kids having fun and being part of that, I get to be a dad and having fun with them, be part of their life,” Mark said.

Girl Scouts in particular allows Mark to be a male role model and watch his daughters become G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM.  “It’s important for girls to have good, male role models in their lives and a girl’s father should be the first one she sees,” Mark said.

Thank you to Mark, Erin and all the amazing supporters of Girl Scout Troops 716 and 1854 in Grain Valley, MO! Your hard work helps girls shine every day! THANK YOU! If you know of another amazing Girl Scout volunteer, share their story in the comments below.

A First Class Girl Scout and Volunteer

Spotlighting Claudia Boosman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gift of Language

Spotlighting Girl Scout Volunteer Carla Redondo

Para ver este blog en español, haga clic aquí

Have you ever thought about what it’d be like to speak a second language? For many girls in our council being bilingual isn’t just a skill they have, it’s a pride point. Being bilingual is a verbal badge of honor that shows they’ve not only learned to speak to a wider audience, but learned about another culture. Carla Redondo, a proud Girl Scout mom and volunteer, believes that being bilingual is a powerful way to help her daughter excel in the world. That’s why she’s stepped up to provide a critical skill to Girl Scouts as a volunteer – English to Spanish translation.

Carla and her family moved to the US seven years ago from Venezuela. They moved to Lawrence, KS because her husband, Roberto, became a Fulbright scholar and was working on his Phd in architecture! He’s now a KU professor and Carla has been able to focus on the most important thing in their lives – their daughters, Helena (8) and Carlota (2 ½). Before leaving Venezuela, Carla got her degree in architecture and was working as a supervisor on projects for her firm. Once in America, she added graphic designer to her extensive list of skills, which has made her an especially valuable resource for Girl Scouts.

When daughter, Helena, became a Girl Scout, Carla was exploring the Spanish section of the Girl Scout website. While there, she saw a note asking for volunteers and contacted Lisa Peña, Manager of the Hispanic Initiative at GSKSMO. The two started talking and the rest is history!

The family loves that Helena is in Girl Scouts because they see her exploring new things. “I think it’s a great experience for her to learn outside of school,” Carla said. It’s the time that she gets to spend with Helena learning about things like nature – which is what she’s noticed her daughter taking a particular interest to. Because Helena attends a school with a no homework policy, Girl Scouts gives her activities to pursue that don’t include watching TV most of the time! “We spend quality time together and even though I’m not a Girl Scout, I’m learning alongside my daughter,” Carla said.

Not only is Carla the assistant troop leader for Helena’s Brown Troop 3861 in Lawrence, she also generously gives her time in other important volunteer roles. Carla is a Puente Volunteer (a communication liaison between a Spanish speaking mother and an English speaking troop) in Shawnee, she’s translated New Leader Express training materials and serves as a bilingual trainer for new leaders.

Her biggest project recently has been to translate the entire Cookie Training Manual! What makes Carla extra special for this project is her background in graphic design, which meant she could translate right in the software that it was designed in. She spent 23 hours translating that one manual – THANK YOU, CARLA! The best part? Seeing her daughter proud of the work she’s doing.

“When I was comparing the two versions of the Girl Scout Cookie Manual, one in English, one in Spanish, Helena asked me why I had both, I told her ‘I did this,’ and she felt so proud,” Carla said.

The time and effort Carla gives to support other Spanish-speaking Girl Scout families and girls is simply incredible. For her, it’s more than just giving back, it’s about instilling pride in her daughter. “By volunteering with Girl Scouts, I’m opening [my daughter’s] eyes to how beneficial it will be to her when she grows up, to be bilingual,” Carla said.

We can’t thank the Redondo family enough for the gift of their skills and time. They’re truly opening up a world of Girl Scouting to girls through language.  Thank you for making a difference in the lives of girls.

If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, like Carla, let us know! Also, if you’re a Spanish-speaking family and interested in Girl Scouting, please contact Lisa Peña (lpena@gsksmo.org)!