Stepping up for Girls

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*This story originally published on June 30, 2016.

In loving memory of Jason Coppedge, 1979 – 2017. 

Jason Coppedge is Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!

When it came time to choose extra-curricular activities for their daughter and son, there was not much discussion between Jason and Shana Coppedge – Scouting was #1 on their list. Shana is a Girl Scout Alumna and Jason is a Boy Scout Alum with a lot on that resume. He is a former staff member of Camp Nash, attended National and World Boy Scout Jamborees, hiked Philmont and earned his Eagle Scout Award!

Jason and Shana registered their daughter Piper for Girl Scouts when she was in first grade and she joined an established Daisy Troop. At the end of that amazing year, Piper’s leader stepped down. However, Jason was there to step up. He eagerly took on the troop of seven year old Girl Scout Brownies and officially declared himself Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!

“Some of my fondest memories involved Scouting and I wanted her to be able to have that same experience and keep the girls together,” Jason said.

JCoppedge

And he’s done just that. Over the past five years Jason and his co-leaders have led Troop 3145 on some amazing experiences and adventures. They are a troop that absolutely loves camping, building fires, learning survival skills and generally experiencing the outdoors.

One of Jason’s favorite memories is from one of the first troop campouts. After the girls helped cook dinner and cleaned everything up, they found themselves with some extra time on their hands.  Jason challenged them to find something to do. Before he knew it the girls were playing Zombie Tag, a game they came up with all on their own.

“Scouting teaches a lot of values that are sometimes missed with today’s technology. It gets you back to the basics in life like camping, how to start a fire and fix things.”

The only difference the girls of Troop 3145 see in having Jason as a troop leader is that his craft skills aren’t quite up those of some of his co-leaders…

“It’s definitely entertaining to see him try to do the crafts,” Piper said!

“I know when to ask for help!” Jason said!

To close out their final year as Girl Scout Juniors, the girls headed down to Jason’s “office,” South Metro Fire Department in Raymore, MO to work on their Take Action Project – a video on gender stereotypes in male-dominated professions. On Jason’s shift is a female firefighter and paramedic who graciously answered all their questions on camera and led them through some training drills!

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As Troop 3145 bridges up, Jason sees himself and his co-leaders stepping back more. “Next year the girls are leading –it’ll be a different boat. They’ll work together and we will help them organize.”

In fact, Piper already has her eyes set on earning her Gold Award in the future. It’s easy to tell that she looks up to Jason as her dad AND as her troop leader.

“I can definitely confide in him if I have problems. I don’t get my word heard first; he makes it fair so everyone gets their word heard,” Piper explained.

In addition to leading Troop 3145, Jason is also involved in Boy Scouts as Advancement Chair, Trainer and Assistant Den Leader for his son’s Boy Scout troop.

Jason describes being Piper’s troop leader as “total enjoyment,” and something that he encourages every dad to think about.

Jason overseeing Troop 3145 build garden beds at Camp Daisy Hindman for their Bronze Award Take Action Project!

Jason overseeing Troop 3145 build garden beds at Camp Daisy Hindman for their Bronze Award Take Action Project!

“I don’t think [being her troop leader] should be that big of a deal. Dads shouldn’t be afraid to step up for their daughters and help them out.”

Thanks for all you do for girls, Jason! Do you know a man that has declared himself Man Enough to be a Girl Scout?! Let us know in the comments below!

G.I.R.L. 2017 – That’s a Wrap!

A GSKSMO Point of View

Earlier this month, Girl Scouts of the USA held their National Council Session and Convention – G.I.R.L. 2017. Thousands of Girl Scouts, and those who support them, came together for the largest girl-led event in the world! But, you didn’t have to look far to spot a member of our council! Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri was well represented with four girl delegates, six adult volunteer delegates, a staff member on the planning team and a girl member on the G-Team (the nickname for the girl-led planning team). To top it off, our own Gold Award Alumna and Miss Teen USA, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff was a G.I.R.L. speaker among other women including Gabby Douglas, Chelsea Clinton, Mae Jemison and Barbara Pierce Bush!

Over the course of four days, Columbus, OH was turned Girl Scout green. This national event kicked off with the 54th National Council Session where delegates were responsible for influencing the strategic direction of the Movement  by providing guidance to the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors, in the form of electing new board members, amending the Constitution and proposing positive change. After the official business was done, G.I.R.L. 2017 truly kicked off with inspiring speakers, entertaining performances and a celebration of all G.I.R.L.s (go-getters, innovators, risk-takers & leaders).

For our girl delegates Akela C., Aidin M., Lauren M., and Amanda M. and G-Team Member, Caroline S., this was a Girl Scout experience of a lifetime!

Left: Delegates and Staff of GSKSMO. Right: Delegates Lauren , Aidin & Amanda with G-Team Member Caroline (2nd from Left).

What was it like to be a Convention delegate?

Being a delegate was pretty scary at first. But once I really understood what I was doing, it felt like a proud commitment that I could remember.
   -Akela C., Delegate

Being a delegate at convention was a wonderful experience. I learned about parliamentary procedure and how the voting process works.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

To be a convention delegate was a once in a life time opportunity to meet new people and get a say in the decisions of tomorrow. Some of the discussions were long during the voting process but every new speaker brought up a new and unique point that added to the conversation of pros and cons and even long term implications.
   -Lauren M., Delegate

It was amazing and such an empowering experience!  Being in the presence of some of the most amazing and accomplished women in the world was awing.
   -Amanda M., Delegate

What was it like to be on the G-Team, Caroline?

Being a part of the G-Team was being a part of a sisterhood. Through countless hours of work during the year and a half we had to plan G.I.R.L, we worked as a pack, even when we got no sleep. Helping each other up and cheering each other on with every step we took.  Each girl on G-TEAM was on a different sub-team. I was on the Marketing and Design team, and I worked with four other girls to reach people on social media, design the look of convention, and also run girl spaces at G.I.R.L. As an entire G-Team we went to Columbus the summer before Convention in 2016, and went to Edith Macy conference center in New York and GSUSA in NYC in August of 2017. Through these two trips we had conference calls, meetings, and more than anything we bonded as a team. The special thing about the women on my sub-committee was their drive towards something bigger than themselves. Each time we met, they inspired me to go further, to reach as high as possible, and be a woman of confidence and kindness.
   -Caroline S., G-Team

Describe G.I.R.L. 2017 in 280 characters or less.

G.I.R.L. 2017 was an inspiring experience that showed me how to be a G.I.R.L. and opened up new experiences for me.
   -Akela C., Delegate

 very girl at Convention had the opportunity to meet other girls from around the world through breakout sessions, SWAPS, or simply talking to many different people. G.I.R.L was a hub of girl power. Everywhere you turned the event fostered creativity and excitement, and every girl came out of the event feeling proud to be a G.I.R.L.
-Caroline S., G-Team Member

G.I.R.L. 2017 was a wonderful, life-changing experience that I will never forget; bringing girls from all over the nation together to make decisions for the future of Girl Scouts. I made lifelong friendships at convention and have irreplaceable memories. I’m so honored that I was a part of this experience.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

G.I.R.L. 2017 was an event to include and inspire girls and women from all walks of life to be Go-Getters, Risk Takers, Innovators, and Leaders.  Speakers from all over the world flew into Columbus, Ohio to launch the next generation of leaders.  In less than a week Girl Scouts of the USA changed thousands of lives, forever.
   -Amanda M., Delegate

GSKSMO Delegates with GSUSA CEO, Sylvia Acevedo.

What inspired you or surprised you about G.I.R.L. 2017?

Convention had several surprises and inspiring moments. The biggest surprise to me was that I went into this event thinking the role I played in planning G.I.R.L would be the most inspiring and exciting aspect of the trip. While it was exciting to see our hard work put into action, it was more so all the other women I met that inspired me the most. I met women from all over the world who were determined to make a positive impact on the Girl Scouting Movement.
   -Caroline S., G-Team Member

I loved the feeling of being included and knowing that I had friends everywhere I went in both the city and the event hall, we really did turn Columbus Girl Scout green!
-Amanda M., Delegate

I was inspired by all the speakers that shared their stories and careers. The speakers taught me that it is okay that I am not set on my future (none of them were). Sally Jewell, the 51st Secretary of Interior, originally was going to be a dentist. She went on to work on an outdoor clothing line and was appointed by President Obama which is pretty cool.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

At convention, one of the things that inspired me were how brave some of the girls were to get up and challenge ideas, even when they weren’t popular. It showed me that while many people adhere to the status quo, we don’t have to. We can challenge ideas when we see fit.
   -Akela C., Delegate

 What speaker resonated the most with you? Why?

The speaker that resonated with me the most was Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff, Miss Teen USA. She is from my hometown, and she’s not only Miss Teen USA, but a Gold Award recipient as well. She said that she was Sophia first, and everything else second. This was inspiring not only because it shows anyone can make an impact, but that your achievements don’t have to become your identity.
   -Akela C., Delegate

NASA Astronaut, Mae Jemison resonated with me because she asked us, “What do you INTEND to be?” instead of “What are you going to be?” Which I answered with I intend to be a good student, to go to college, and become a lifetime Girl Scout. Also Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff was awesome to hear speak because she had earned her Gold Award, is Miss Teen USA, graduated high school and going to college a year early… all at 17. Just one year older than me. That’s crazy!!! Also she was just super nice in general; being from her council made us feel more connected.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

Gold Award recipient Vilmarie Ocasio resonated the most with me because while presenting her Gold Award she spoke with contagious passion and inspired me to take a step forward in my community and make a change for the better.
   -Amanda M., Delegate

As an emcee at the opening ceremony, I got the chance to introduce Mae Jemison on stage and ask her a couple of questions. I was absolutely astounded by her story. I am inspired because as a woman who would like to go into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) field, she inspires me to never give in to the setbacks that may come in my way. Mae had a passion for something bigger than herself, and she never took no for an answer on her path to success.
   -Caroline S., G-Team

GSKSMO Girl Scouts with Gold Award Alumna & Miss Teen USA, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff.

What did you learn at Convention that you want to bring back to your troop, service unit or council?

At G.I.R.L I learned that women can achieve the impossible if we are working as one. From my role on the G-Team and listening to other speakers talk, I saw firsthand the work that we can accomplish if we bind together. I also realized how important it is for all Girl Scouts to encourage other girls to join the Girl Scouting Movement. In my life and in the lives of many other girls I have met, we would not have had the same learning experiences if we had not been in Girl Scouts, and this is something we need to share with the world! Girl Scouting is so powerful and positive, it should be spread to all!
   -Caroline S., G-Team

It’s vital that we keep girls and women in Girl Scouts, and doing so will change the world for the better.  By encouraging girls to go outside, learn about the world, and explore new places and ideas we can foster a new generation of Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders!
   –Amanda M., Delegate

One thing I learned at convention that I wanted to bring back was how many amazing opportunities there are for Girl Scouts. Many people tend to think of Girl Scouts as sitting quietly at a table sewing and making baskets, but we have the opportunities to go rock climbing, hiking, camping, diving, swimming, and so, so much more.
   -Akela C., Delegate

I learned about how big the Girl Scouts is; that we have so many sisters around the United States and world. I will take back my excitement and passion for the future of Girl Scouts back to my service unit and troop.
   -Aidin M., Delegate

Is there anything else you want to share about your Convention experience?

For any girls who have the opportunity to go as a Delegate or just attend convention, you should. You might have to travel far but you will meet people from all over the world and as a Delegate you will get to leave your imprint on Girl Scouts. You might meet people with opposing views or people that have a different life path than you but being able to share this Girl Scout experience with so many other people is extremely inspiring. At convention, you are not only told how the world is your oyster but how you can make the work as your oyster and they encourage you to do so.
   -Lauren M., Delegate

I would encourage anyone if they have the opportunity to go to the 2020 National Girl Scout Convention in Orlando, FL. This event was truly life changing for everyone who attended, and the next convention will be too.
   -Caroline S., G-Team

Thank you, Girl Scouts, for representing GKSMO so incredibly well!

Girl Scouting for Girls

Boy Scouts of America officially announced its plan to bring girls into its organization.  Girls can enter as Cub Scouts in 2018, and then by 2019 at other grade levels including high school girls who will be allowed to earn the Eagle Scout Award.  Girls and boys are not the same. Therefore, we do not agree that the Boy Scout Program meets the unique and specific needs of a girl’s leadership journey.

Girl Scouts has 105 years of experience in supporting girls to develop leadership skills in a girl-only supportive environment.  A girl’s life is primarily experienced in a coed environment.  Significant data and research suggests that girls thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risks, succeed, fail and learn in the company of other girls.  Girl Scouts offers that in an outside the classroom experience. This extensive research guides our programs delivered in the unique way girls learn. Our focus on leadership skills development and preparing girls to meet future workplace demands offers progressive girl led opportunities throughout her Girl Scout experience.

We are incredibly proud to offer our more than 23,000 Girl Scouts opportunities for adventure, inspiration, and valuable mentoring. We offer hands-on, girl-centered learning in STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship, and abundant opportunities to develop invaluable life skills. Girl Scouts helps all girls take the lead early and often.  Our highly valued volunteers and community leaders serve as role models and mentors for guiding girls in these experiences.

Our girls need even more opportunities to take the lead. Our girls need a girl-only safe space where they can grow their courage, confidence and character. Our girls need adult role models; women and men who will support them every step of the way.

A Girl Scout Dad Perspective

Jared Bixby, Education Professional from Manhattan, KS

Jared with his Girl Scout daughter fishing.

“As a father of a girl and a boy, I stand with Girl Scouts!

As a parent, my daughter does not come second.

As a parent, my son does not come second.

As a parent, I make sacrifices for the development of my kids because I want them to grow up to be strong, caring, successful individuals.

It’s not about convenience, Boy Scouts of America.

Let me repeat, it’s not about convenience, parents.

Our family is involved in soccer, 4-H, gymnastics, etc. These are things that our kids want to do and we make them happen for them. We take the interest of our kids and we find activities that match their interest and make them work. That’s what parents do.

It’s what’s best for your girl. I will not provide even the glimmer of thought that my daughter is second to my son because of convenience, Boy Scouts of America. My daughter deserves the best I can provide, and I trust in Girl Scouts and the 100+ years of research that guides their girl leadership development approach to do just that. That’s what I want for my daughter.

I challenge all dads of girls: Are you #ManEnoughToBeAGirlScout?

I AM!

My family strongly believes in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides, which creates a space for girls to learn and thrive. Girl Scouts works and we’re committed to preparing our daughter as a next generation woman leader with Girl Scouts.”

Want more information? Check out:

Girl Scouts is the Girl Leadership Expert

The Girl Scout Difference

The Case for Girl Scouts: Research & Data

Built by G.I.R.L.s for G.I.R.L.s: A Look Inside the “Magical” Camp Prairie Schooner

Frolicking with the Prairie Fairy and adventures out in Farmer’s Field – those are experiences that Girl Scouts who call Camp Prairie Schooner home are very familiar with. For more than 70 years, Girl Scouts have taken pride and ownership in this beautiful camp located near the Little Blue River in Kansas City, MO. It’s also the location of our upcoming Alumnae Reunion Weekend, Lifetime Member Picnic and Trefoil Society Pinning Ceremony on Sept 23 – 24! Today we’ll take a look how this camp came to be and the women whose tenacity made it a reality.

Camp Prairie Schooner patch (left); Flag ceremony and patches (center) and early sign (right).

In the early 1940s, the Independence Council of Girl Scouts decided they wanted a camp for Kansas City Girl Scouts. A leader in that initiative was Mrs. Dewitt, who was active in the community and knew about a war time fund that had unallocated money. During World War II, the War Chest fund had been active in raising funds and by 1945, the remaining money was in limbo, ready to be reorganized.

Mrs. Dewitt, advocating for girls, approached the War Chest Board about the funds before they reorganized and the leadership wasn’t sure if they could trust ladies to establish and run a camp. As we know, G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM can do anything, and the Girl Scout Council knew they could achieve their goal, even if the Board doubted them.

The Council found the land where Camp Prairie Schooner currently sits and decided it was an ideal location. With a train stop just a short hike away, wooded areas and space for camp, they advocated for the funds. Despite pushback from the War Chest Board, Mrs. Dewitt was a hard woman to say “no” to and the Board sent the Jackson County Planning Commission to look at the land and make a recommendation. They had planned to use this as a stalling technique, hoping the women would give up before getting the funds.

Jerry Manning was sent to inspect the site and as he visited, he met the team behind the camp plan. It included community leaders and strong women who knew this would be a success. He realized this was a project backed by serious people wanting to create a better world for girls, not a whim that ladies had. He made the recommendation that the War Chest

Camp Prairie Schooner staff from 1988 (left) and approx. late 1970s (right).

funds should be given to Girl Scouts, and they were. After they acquired the land, the Council asked Mr. Manning to become the Camp Chairman, which started many years of service he gave to Girl Scouts, including serving as President of the Pioneer Trails Council!

Cookie money and funds from the War Chest paid the $4,000 for 127 acres of land that is now Camp Prairie Schooner. Still having reservations about the project, the War Chest Board held the title to Camp Prairie Schooner until the Council proved the camp was successful. After the installation of a pool and successful management of the property, they realized that these G.I.R.L.s meant business and the title was officially given to Girl Scouts.

Camp Prairie Schooner philanthropy! Girl Scouts from SU 638 & 639 built a Gaga Pit in 2015 (left) and Burns & McDonnell host annual work days at camp (right).

Today, Camp Prairie Schooner stands as a living testament to the power of G.I.R.L.s who wanted to make the world better for young women. We thank those early pioneers for their vision and tenacity that brought that camp to life as well as the current day donors who add to camp each year! Businesses, donors, and girls have added new facilities and games to camp, creating more opportunities and adventures (read our blog post about girl donated projects). Thank you!

We invite you to join us at Camp Prairie Schooner for our Alumnae Reunion! Registration closes SOON, so register today at www.gsksmo.org/reunion! See you at camp!

50 years of serving G.I.R.L.s!

Girl Scout volunteers are at the core of a great Girl Scouting experience. For three generations of Girl Scouts in the Sommers family, one woman has been at the center of it all, Velma Sommers. This amazing volunteer has been serving the mission for more than 50 years and was the troop leader for her daughter, granddaughters and great-granddaughter. In addition to leading troops, Velma has served in almost every major volunteer role and propelled the mission of Girl Scouting to new heights by lending experience and wisdom to today’s girls.

In 1967 Velma Sommers found herself as a new volunteer with Girl Scouts. She took the lead of her daughter’s troop and found a love of serving. After holding a long list of Girl Scouting volunteer positions, it’s no wonder that she holds both the Thanks Badge 1 & 2, along with several other recognitions for her service. All this because she believes in the power of girls!

“I enjoy being a troop leader because of the girls. It’s my biggest love about volunteering – getting to work with the girls and seeing them grow,” Velma said.

Left: Velma presenting the Silver Award with one of her Girl Scouts; Right: Velma and her troop at a flag ceremony at Camp Meadowlark.

One of her biggest projects has been working on Day Camps and all that goes in to coordinating those events. Despite not being a big fan of the outdoors and camping, something happens when Girl Scouts are involved and Velma is able to find courage in herself to face fears for the girls. Inspiring the younger generation empowers her just as it does the girls!

“The truth is, I’m not an outdoors person, but you put me out there, with the girls, and you’d think I knew it all! I’m terribly afraid of snakes, but when the girls are there and we see a snake, I’m able to be calm and we talk about it…but if I was by myself, it’d be a different story,” Velma said.

 

Velma being recognized for 50 years of service at the North Region Volunteer Appreciation event  (2017); Right: Velma being honored with a spot at Camp Meadowlark named “Grandma’s Grove” in her honor.

One of the most meaningful projects she did with her Girl Scouts was creating stepping stones for their local camp; Camp Meadowlark. They used molds, mortar and Velma had her kitchen covered in a tarp while the girls worked. It’s a fond memory of the mess they made and the beautiful, lasting additions to camp that came out of that experience. It is memories like this that make Girl Scouting such a sweet part of Velma’s life.

“Girls get to do things that they would never get to do if it wasn’t for us getting them involved in Girl Scouting. Think about camp, [for girls from lower income communities], getting to go to camp is an experience they might never get if it wasn’t for Girl Scouts,” Velma said. Being able to provide these opportunities has been an extra special part of serving for this devoted volunteer.

The skills girls learn in Girl Scouting truly last a lifetime. Velma helped her granddaughter’s troop with a part of the Silver Award that had the girls create a quilt block. While the girls struggled a bit, they loved the project and felt pride in their blocks. That Christmas, her granddaughter asked for a sewing machine, which she received. Fast forward a few decades and Velma’s granddaughter, Brandi, now a Gold Award recipient, gave Velma a quilt she had made of all the Day Camp shirts she had as a gift. Talk about coming full circle!

Giving back to girls truly does last a lifetime and for Velma, those moments where girls reconnect help her see the impact that troop leaders have. “Some of the girls in my troops still ask me for references, and it makes you feel good. It makes you realize that you really did have an impact on their lives,” Velma said. Through years of Girl Scouting, she knows that a great troop leaders and volunteers in any job make the Girl Scouting experience what it is. You can change the world by inspiring a girl.

“I just wish I could live to be 150 so I could go on and on being a Girl Scout volunteer,” Velma said.

Thank you to Velma and all our incredible volunteers for years of hard work and service to girls. You are helping create a better tomorrow! If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Girl Scouting volunteer like Velma, check out our volunteer opportunities!

 

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!