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!

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.

An Officer and a Gentleman

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Troop Leader, Police Chief Tom Alber is Man Enough to be a Girl Scout

When it comes to leadership, there’s no bigger advocate than new Girl Scout troop leader, Chief Tom Alber. As a proud Eagle Scout, leadership guru and police chief, there’s no wonder why Tom and his wife have their girls in the best female leadership program around – Girl Scouts! Talk about “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!” Chief Tom knows that along with co-leader Monica, they can help the girls in Troop 1346 in Kansas City, MO find their voice and become the leaders of tomorrow.

When we say Chief Tom Alber’s leadership resume is impressive…we mean it. He’s the Police Chief for Garden City, 1st VP of the FBI LEEDA Executive Board of Directors (he helps pick teens for FBI leadership training), and a retired U.S. Army Officer – just to name a few! “Our young women need to develop leadership skills, and that’s what Girl Scouting does. I’m a military retiree and in my service I could see a real difference between those who had been in scouting programs and those who had not,” Tom said.

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Scouting is important to both Tom and his wife, Kathleen, who’s also a police officer. Tom’s family was involved in Scouting and Kathleen is a Girl Scout alumna. “Scouting has always been important in my family and we had active troops that kept us involved. When my girls expressed interest, it was a no-brainer. Of course you’re going to be a Girl Scout,” Tom said.

Troop 1346 is a multi-level troop of Daisies through Cadettes. Tom’s daughter, Emma, is a proud Cadette who already has a multi-page list of activities she wants to do. A goal Tom has for the troop is for them to lead each other. “The #1 thing that keeps people form leading is public speaking. That’s why I want our Cadettes to lead the Juniors, the Juniors to lead the Brownies and so on,” Tom said.

Every day, the Albers go to work serving the community and they want to instill that sense of service in their girls. At their first troop meeting, Troop 1346 was asked by their school principal to participate in a hygiene bag drive. Of course, the Girl Scouts were eager to jump on board.

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Troop 1346; Right: Emma leading the Promise at their first troop meeting.

Pulling from Tom’s own experience as a Boy Scout, the troop is working to increase membership with a recruiting technique that’s also a public speaking exercise. The girls are encouraged to wear their uniforms to school the day of the meetings and leaders are helping them learn how to talk to people who ask about Girl Scouts. Not only will this help the troop, it’ll help the girls learn to be an advocate.

In addition to their volunteerism, leadership and advocacy, the Albers family supports the ambitions of their daughters. Their youngest, Samantha (GS Junior), is an aspiring Vlogger (video blogging), so the Albers family let her participate in a PSA they created. This gave her experience using video to create a message. Tom was proud to say “I’m a Girl Scout leader…I really am a Girl Scout leader!” in the video.

What do Emma and Samantha think about their dad being her leader? Samantha said: “I hope he doesn’t embarrass me, but I’m really excited!” Emma was excited not only because it’s her dad, but because she likes his leadership style. “I wanted him to be a troop leader so bad. I like things structured, and he’s good at that… he’ll do meetings that are structured where we can get things done,” Emma said.

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As Chief Tom says, leadership is vital to the long term success of girls. “We always think about leadership development of the boys, but not always about the girls. It’s important to me that my girls develop those skills because that might be the next president, congresswoman, CEO or police chief [sitting in my troop meeting] and they need that development just like the boys.”

We can’t wait to see all the amazing things Troop 1346 is going to do in the coming years. With Chief Tom, co-leader Monica and the other parents and volunteers, we know they’re destined for greatness. You can follow Chief Tom on Twitter @ChiefTomAlber! If you have a great story about a guy who’s “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout,” share in the comments below!

Raising girls to be G.I.R.Ls (Go-Getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers and Leaders)

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Nazario Wilcock is Man Enough to be a Girl Scout

There’s nothing quite like dedicated Girl Scout parents. Meet Nazario Wilcock, a Girl Scout dad from Sabetha, KS dedicated to raising his daughters in a world of courage, confidence and character! The Wilcock’s family knows what it means to be gold standard Girl Scouts! The family has helped lead two daughters and 5 other Girl Scouts to be Gold Award recipients. It’s amazing to see what great mentors can do for girls!

Nazario (“Naz”) is definitely “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout.” When his daughters Hanna and Elisha became Girl Scouts, he knew he wanted to be involved in the Girl Scout world. Troop life became an important part of the life because of the lessons on basic respect and self-worth that Naz and his wife, Joy, wanted the girls to learn. “Girl Scouts teaches girls about respect, The Golden Rule – ‘do unto others and you would do unto yourself,’ – and promotes self-worth,” Naz said.

Hanna started in Girl Scouts as a Daisy and from the beginning, Naz and Joy saw how impactful achieving success was to their daughters. “The day [Hanna] got her first petal, she was jumping up and down, just so excited. It got me excited as well,” Naz said. When she was old enough, Elisha joined and the troop split into two. Joy led a troop and Naz continued to help as “Troop Dad” with another dad named Jeff.

Left: Troop 7200 having fun; Troop 7200’s annual Murder Mystery Party with alumnae

Left: Troop 7200 having fun; Troop 7200’s annual Murder Mystery Party with alumnae

Throughout their girl years the “Troop Dads” would help with transportation, show the girls how to set-up camp, and support the troop. During elementary school, some girls almost had to drop because they couldn’t get to troop meetings. The Wilcock family sprang into action. Naz arranged a van and they provided free transportation to any girls who couldn’t make it to the meetings. What an inspiration!

Naz sees his involvement in Girl Scouts as a way to be part of his daughters’ lives. “If dads don’t get involved, all they will have is regret.  There’s so much I would have missed. I would have listened to them talk about ‘oh, we did this and that,’ but instead I get to say ‘I saw them do this, I saw them do that’ because I was there and I got to be part of it,” Naz said.

 Once the girls reached high school they were back in the same troop, Troop 7200 and continued to do amazing things. Recently they were awarded “Troop of Distinction” at the 2016 West Region Volunteer Appreciation Event!

Troop 7200 at the 2016 West Region Volunteer Celebration

Troop 7200 at the 2016 West Region Volunteer Celebration

The Wilcock daughters received their Gold Awards in 2015 and 2016. Hanna used her talents as an artist to create the “Santa Comes To Town” project, painting a winter backdrop and building a sleigh for Santa. Elisha developed the “Offline Project,” a PSA about Cyber/Internet addiction. Naz and Joy were by their sides the entire way – inspiring them to achieve their goals and feel the same pride they felt as Daisies earning their first petals. “Once my girls got [their Gold Awards], the pride they held and sense of accomplishment they had…we realized how powerful those projects really were,” Naz said.

Troop 7200 has 5 Gold Awardees, including Madison Williams who received her Gold Award for raising awareness about the bee population and Dayna Williams for her project, “The Butterfly Effect.” Two more girls are working their Gold Award projects now.

The real power of Girl Scouts is the lasting impact it has on the confidence of the girls – and that’s why the Wilcock family believes it was so important to make a priority. “[Girl Scouts] shows my girls, in so many different ways, just how important they are. By working with them in Girl Scouts, I’m telling them ‘you are important and there’s a full organization showing you that,’” Naz said.

The most important thing is to just be part of the lives of girls. “I want to say one thing to any dad who ever thought about [getting involved]: quit thinking about it and get involved. It’s worth it,” said Naz. This is why Naz really is “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” – he had the courage to be involved.

We thank Naz and the entire Wilcock family for their dedication to service and empowering girls to make a difference. If you know of an awesome “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” – leave a comment below!

Super Girl Scout Cookie Dad

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Helping girls build their entrepreneurial skills one box at a time

When you buy a box of Girl Scout cookies (or 10…let’s be honest here), you directly influence a girl’s business skills. What most people don’t see are the awesome volunteers who work long hours behind the scenes to make this program possible. These volunteers are known as “Product Sales Managers” or “PSM’s” and they coordinate, organize, educate and calculate thousands of boxes of cookies each year.

One of these PSM’s is Girl Scout dad, Craig Lybarger supporting Service Unit 642 in Olathe, KS! Craig and his family found that supporting cookie sales has been a wonderful way for them to be together. His oldest daughter, Samantha, is a Brownie and their second daughter, Katarina, is in Kindergarten and a brand new Girl Scout Daisy this year! Both love the cookie program and the pride they have showing off their cookie dad.

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In Craig’s words, the job of a PSM is: “to have a discussion with the parents in the troop to support fall product sales or cookie sales, talk about recognition levels, provide dates when things are due and walk them through the program and how it works. We also talk about the girls and their goals. For the Service Unit Manager, I do that training with the troop PSMs, who then talk to the parents in the troop.”

Becoming a cookie dad was at the top of Craig’s list when Samantha’s troop was first forming. It has always been important to Craig to find a way to be involved with his children as much as possible, even with a difficult work schedule. “I have an on-call schedule, so I knew I couldn’t commit to doing something right after school. I volunteered to support the Cookie Program because I knew I could make [Samantha] proud to know that I was trying to help and be involved with her in Scouts even if I couldn’t be the troop leader,” Craig said. As a Boy Scout, son of an Eagle Scout and a Girl Scout, Craig was raised to value the Scouting experience.

For Samantha’s first year, Craig served as the troop cookie manager and after talking with the former Service Unit Product Sales Manager, he found out she was stepping down and was looking for a replacement. It stuck with him through the cookie season and at the end, he asked if he could shadow her during the final turn-in. The next year, he became the Service Unit 642 PSM.

It takes a lot of work to lead an entire service unit’s cookie program – but the impact it has had on Samantha makes it worth it. One story Craig shared captures the real power of the Girl Scout Cookie Program and the skills girls can learn in just one day of selling.

“The first year of cookie sales, in one day, one 12-hour period, my daughter changed before my eyes. The first house we went to, she rang the doorbell, her head was buried in her chest and quietly said ‘would you like to buy some cookies?’ and that was all she said. 12 hours later, at the last house, she rang the doorbell and full of energy said ‘Hi! My name is Samantha from Troop 3506 and I’m selling Girl Scout cookies! Do you like peanut butter?’ and talked to the customer about options. She changed how she conducted herself, stood up straight, shoulders back, and made eye contact with the customer, having a good conversation…in one day. To see her blossom in that 12-hour day made me so excited. She would not have done that and know how to handle herself like that if not for Girl Scouts,” Craig said.

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The passion and energy for the job, because of the power he sees in the program, is infectious. He recently inspired a woman from Overland Park to become a troop cookie manager for her troop after just one conversation. As the PSM for the entire service unit, the excitement and energy he has for the Cookie Program is being spread to all the troops in SU 642!

Beyond cookies, the opportunities Samantha has had speak for themselves in his eyes. “Samantha is learning to be nice in a safe environment and she gets to do things she wouldn’t normally get to do, like canoeing and kayaking. This summer she got to do archery for the first time, nature hikes, all those things she gets to do by being part of Girl Scouting,” Craig said.

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As a dad, he knows that his involvement in Girl Scouts is something a little extra, because not all dads want to volunteer. “Samantha got a special badge that she wore like a badge of honor that said ‘my dad is a cookie dad’ and she loved telling everyone ‘my dad’s in charge of cookies!’ To see how proud it made her, how happy it made her, that’s why I did it,” Craig said.

When it comes to being Man Enough to be a Girl Scout, Craig says: “Don’t be afraid to volunteer, don’t think it’s just for females to be involved with or what you might think about volunteering, it’s all about the child that you’re doing it for and how proud it will make them feel that you want to be involved with them, spend time with them and make memories for them,”

We know Service Unit 642 is on to great things and we can’t wait to see what their cookie sales look like this year. With thousands of girls to inspire to be business leaders, the hard work of PSM’s really makes a difference. We thank all our awesome volunteers who work behind the scenes to make sure girls have the power to be tomorrow’s leaders.

If you have an inspiring cookie story, share in the comments below!

A Girl Scout Hiro

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Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – Jerry O’Keefe

When you think of a Girl Scout volunteer, the words “dedicated,” “generous,” and “committed” probably come to mind. Those are great words to describe the awesome Girl Scout dad and volunteer, Jerry O’Keefe! This Scout dad is dedicated to making an amazing troop experience not only for his own daughter, but for the entire Troop 1237 family. Known as “Hiro” at camp, Jerry O’Keefe is a dad who’s showing what it means to be “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout.”

When daughter Hayley was born in 2003, Christine (“Chris”) and Jerry O’Keefe knew they wanted to do their best to raise their only daughter with all the skills she’d need to become a thriving adult. Naturally, they got Hayley involved in Girl Scouts as a Daisy and the rest, as they say, is history. Chris (“Gogo” at camp) leads Troop 1237 with 9 girls currently in the troop with Jerry actively involved at her side. The girls attend Mill Creek Middle School and together have come up with innovative service projects that get them involved and more importantly, doing things as a family.

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Spending time together is at the core of what Chris and Jerry want for their family. Because of Girl Scouts, this family has grown from three to a small community that is Troop 1237. “I enjoy being with my family. Not only with my wife and daughter, but the other girls in your troop, being together from kindergarten on, they’re like your adopted daughters in a way or at least a couple times a month when Girl Scouts meets,” Jerry said. The troop actively involves parents through campouts, overnights at the Omaha Zoo, group activities and service projects.

Jerry has been involved in everything he can with Girl Scouts and loves watching his daughter grow. At day camp he helps run stations, plan activities and assist the teens. One of his favorite things is watching Hayley grow into a young leader that other girls look up to. “I love watching them develop and go from being the one who idolizes to the one being idolized,” Jerry said. There’s something extra special for him watching his daughter be the one that girls jump into the arms of when they’re leaving day camp.

The family is incredibly proud of the fact that Troop 1237 has completed their Bronze Award, is working on their Silver Award and at least 2/3 of the girls are planning to go for Gold! Their Bronze Award project was a Frozen Party for younger troops that Jerry loved getting to help with. In addition to Highest Award projects, the troop does service projects for their former elementary school serving as photographers for school events and performed a flag ceremony for a local veterans’ ceremony.

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Jerry and the other awesome parents in the troop can’t wait to see where their girls go and they’re noticing increasing parent involvement across the Service Unit. At the 2016 day camp, Jerry said he noticed more dads getting involved than ever before and it’s great to not feel like the only guy around anymore. “There’s no reason dads can’t be involved just because it’s Girl Scouts. It lets your daughters know that you think they’re worth your time,” said Jerry. His biggest advice: “Don’t be afraid to go,” Jerry said. We love Jerry’s advice!

We thank Jerry O’Keefe and all the other awesome Girl Scout families that work hard to give girls absolutely amazing experiences. From day camps to service projects to camping, Jerry O’Keefe is there for it all and a great example of someone who’s “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!”

If you know of an awesome dad or male caregiver, share his story in the comments below!

Stepping up for Girls

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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.

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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!

Bringing Up Brownies Through Outdoor Adventures & Leadership Experiences

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – Dylan Smith

Wrangling a group of 2nd graders (21 of them!) around Kansas City is not for the faint of heart. Especially when you have little leaders like Girl Scouts! Dylan Smith is a Girl Scout dad and troop leader in Kansas City, MO who is dedicated to providing an exceptional Girl Scout experience for the Brownie troop at Academie Lafayette (a French immersion charter school in KCMO). This special troop has the added advantage of being part of a school that teaches in French, so all the girls are learning to be bilingual. To keep up with these vivacious, intelligent young women, Dylan Smith, his family and parents in the troop work hard to create memorable experiences that are focused on fun.

The Smith family is all about art and experiencing life in the outdoors. As a senior Art Director at VML, Dylan spends much of his day creating eye-catching campaigns to help companies get their message across to consumers. On top of that, the Smith family just welcomed baby Zephyr into the family three months ago! As you can imagine, the job can be demanding and with a new baby, time is precious, but that doesn’t stop Dylan from taking the lead twice a month at the Plaza Branch of the Plaza Library for Girl Scouts.

The Smith family’s Girl Scout adventure started in the fall of 2014 when their daughter, Phoenix (age 5 at the time), wanted to join the Daisy troop at her school. There was already an older troop in existence, but the school needed someone to lead the younger girls. As with many troop leaders, Dylan stepped up when no other alternatives became available. As a dad, he wants girls to see women in leadership roles – especially in organizations like Girl Scouts. However, with the risk of the troop not coming together, he took the lead. “I really like the principals of teaching girls to be leaders, […] the business aspects, girls leading meetings when they are older, all of that teaches girls to succeed. So for me, a big part of that is having female troop leaders that lead by example. To show girls that women can be in these positions of authority,” Dylan said.

Since Dylan is such a strong believer in developing young leaders, he helps the girls figure out what they want to do as a troop. While some badges he selects based on his skillset to teach because of the ages of the girls, he gives them a voice whenever possible. That’s why the girls have done events like overnights at the KC Zoo with the penguins, outings around Kansas City and of course, camping!

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Troop 842 loves the outdoors and the girls get to really cut loose when out in nature. In March and August of 2015 the troop visited Camp Prairie Schooner and Camp Tongawood for some time in the outdoors. For Dylan, he loves getting to see how engaged they get with nature. “The most captivated our girls have ever been was when my wife was showing them a deer bone when camping. They were almost drooling! And a frog became a little bit of an issue because everyone wanted to hold the frog…so we had to tell them to take turns to not hurt this frog,” Dylan said.

For this young troop, the Smith family is finding a community in their Girl Scouting experience with the parents and families that work together to give girls a great experience. While running a troop is time consuming, having a community makes it possible – even with a busy schedule like Dylan’s. “You need to have parents who are willing to help…it’s a team effort. But [you’ll find] that the people who get involved are the best people. It’s really rewarding in that sense. You get to know these people, establish friendships and share these experiences,” Dylan said.

By sharing his love of nature, art and leadership with girls, Dylan hopes to lead his girls to discovering leadership and confidence in their own time by exposing them to new experiences. Because so many girls don’t spend a lot of time outside, that’s become a main focus of what Dylan wants to show his troop. “I’m not actively teaching them to be a leader, I’m hoping it’ll come naturally from meetings, going out and being in new situations. My main goal is to get these girls in tune with the environment and nature. Get them to be more athletic and engaged with the outdoors,” Dylan said.

For Dylan and Phoenix, Girl Scouts is another great way for them to spend time together. This dad and daughter duo have their own video blog, go to soccer together (Dylan coaches) and work on her homework together because Dylan knows some French. It’s amazing to see a father so engaged in helping his daughter excel, while still putting a premium on having Lindsey (his wife) show Phoenix great female leadership.

We love what Dylan, his family, and the Girl Scouts families of Academie Lafayette are doing for girls! Thank you for all the hard work, dedication, and leadership you’re showing girls. If you’re “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” and looking for camping opportunities with your Girl Scout this summer, check out our “You & Me: He” camping sessions! These are BRAND NEW camping sessions created  just for male caregivers and Girl Scouts!

If you know of an awesome dad who’s “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” – share the story in the comments!

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – Randy Searcy

Finding a way for fathers and daughters to connect can sometimes be a challenge. For Girl Scout dad, Randy Searcy, transitioning from a life coaching sports with his son to becoming a Girl Scout troop leader was a leap into uncharted waters. He quickly discovered the world of Girl Scouts was more than just a commitment to his daughters, it was something he really enjoyed. As a troop leader for the Juniors in troop 3470 in St. Joseph, MO, Randy Searcy is an amazing example of a dad “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” and building an even stronger bond with his daughters.

The Searcy family has been involved in Girl Scouts since daughter Lauren (now 9 and a Junior) joined as a Daisy. Daughter Madeline (now 8 and a Brownie), is also part of the troop and her age group is led by Randy’s wife, Jessica, who has been involved since the girls started. Randy’s decision to get involved in Girl Scouts came from a desire to be more involved with his daughters when he found that his son’s sports obligations were no longer taking as much of his time.

“I coached my son in sports a lot when he was growing up, but as he got into high school, he didn’t need dad as a coach as much anymore […] so I started getting involved with the girls more. They weren’t real hip on basketball or things like that, but they really enjoyed Girl Scouts. So I made the decision that if I wanted to spend more time with them, I was going to need to get involved. As I got more involved, I found I really enjoyed it,” Randy said.

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Soon after he started working with the girls, Randy became troop leader for the Juniors in the troop, with wife Jessica leading the Brownies. In all, troop 3470 has about 30 girls. Now, Girl Scouts has become a family affair. They work on cookie sales, badges and events together, helping the family spend time together in fun, educational ways.

While troop 3470 does a wide range of activities, his girls especially love getting badges. “The girls are badge hounds, but we do a mix of everything,” Randy said. He loves getting to watch the new skills his daughters are learning and how Girl Scouts challenges them to discover new things. “During cookie season, the program teaches them how to run their own small business. Skills like that are things they may not get from school or other activities,” Randy said.

As a dad, Randy especially loves the way that Girl Scouts provides opportunities to his girls and how he gets to see them grow as young women. “Girl Scouts opens their eyes to things they may not have ever tried on their own,” Randy said.

This past winter the troop participated in a cardboard sled building competition, hosted a food drive at and ran a clothing drive. The 2015 clothing drive was a particularly successful event, with the troop gathering more than 1200 clothing items. The troop also participates in the South Side Fall Festival each year where the girls build a float to participate in the parade. That’s all in addition to camping, badge earning and the friendship building the troop gets to do. Talk about an active Girl Scout experience!

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For the cookie season, the troop worked together to create a drive-thru cookie station in a large parking lot. Customers were able to drive-thru to pick up orders and they had a ton of success. What a great, innovative way to get sales! One of the coolest things about troop 3470 is their level of motivation. The girls didn’t have a particular goal for their money yet, but they worked hard to get as much as they could anyway, knowing they would probably come up with an idea in the future. Awesome financial planning, Girl Scouts!

The troop also takes advantage of our amazing Girl Scout community partners. “Because there are community partners in St. Joe, the girls get to do a lot of things without it costing the parents a lot of money. It enables the girls to do a lot more,” Randy said. Recently they did an activity with the Robidoux Resident Theater and worked on a badge with them! He loved getting to see his daughters do research on a woman in history, then dress up and present the woman to the rest of the troop.

Being a man in a world of Girl Scouts may have been completely new and intimidating at first, but Randy has found a passion for helping his daughters grow into amazing women. Rather than watching from the sidelines, he’s involved and seeing a boost in his connection with his daughters. “Our girls have been involved since kindergarten and it was always a mom and girls thing. Then as dads started getting involved, the girls got excited. I know we’ve gotten closer because of it,” Randy said.

If he had one thing to say to dads of Girl Scouts, it would be to “just give it a shot. You’ll never know if you like it until you try it,” Randy said. He has noticed a boost of dad involvement within his own troop just in the past year, and knows the girls really enjoy having the family involved.

This week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week and we certainly appreciate the Searcy family! It’s amazing all the things they’re doing for the Girl Scouts in St. Joseph, MO. What an inspiring North Region troop and leader! If you know of an awesome volunteers or Girl Scout dads, share the story in the comments below!

Thank you, Randy, for being Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!

 

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – Dad of All Trades, Robert Barnett

What does a dad do when his daughter’s troop takes a vote to elect him the new troop leader when their current leader had to step down? For Girl Scout dad, Rob Barnett, there was no choice when he was called to duty…and now he’s the leader of Troop 8709 in St. Joseph, Missouri. This former Eagle Scout, Navy veteran, musician, Harley builder is a jack of all trades who believes the most important job in the world is that of being a dad.

Troop 8709 has an incredible network of parent volunteers and that has always included the Barnetts. When the former leader had to step down, the troop felt the decision of picking their next leader should be girl-led. At the time, Rob was their basketball coach, so the girls were used to being on a team with him. “I wasn’t at the meeting at the time, but the girls took a vote and asked me. I said yes because even though I’m a guy, I always try to be part of my girls’ lives. And Scouting has been part of my life,” Rob said. Luckily, the troop has a wide range of interests, meaning “Coach Rob’s” background that ranges from musical theatre to building motorcycles to primitive camping was put to good use.

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When Rob was young, he was very active in Boy Scouts and believes the skills he learned and values from his experiences are the same things Girl Scouts teaches his daughters. “Girl Scouts gives them a good moral compass. It gives them a foundation of what’s right and it’s coming from something other than me just telling them to do it,” Rob said. Both of Rob’s daughters, Morgan and Alexandria (Allie), were in Girl Scouts starting as Daisies. Morgan is now a freshman at Missouri Western State University where she is a cheerleader and studying to be a doctor. Alexandria is a freshman in high school and just bridged to Senior Girl Scout with Troop 8709.

For the Barnetts, having the girls involved in Girl Scouts was simply part of the learning experience they wanted for their daughters. “[Girl Scouts] teaches them to be individuals, give thanks and that you don’t have to conform. It shows them that you can just do what you need to do and not worry about what other people are doing,” Rob said. Through Girl Scouts, he has been part of his daughter earning her Silver Award, the troop creating new events for younger girls and even working on business skills like fundraising to take a Girl Scout destinations trip overseas in 2017.

Now that Rob is a leader, he is not only appreciating his Boy Scout leaders, but he now has an appreciation for the challenges that come with being a parent and leader. “The hardest thing about being a parent and a leader is that you have to step back. It’s still my little girl and I want to jump in and help. But sometimes you have to let them sink a little bit so they can figure out how to start paddling back up,” Rob said. The troop is fortunate to have a team of supportive parents, including Rob’s wife, Chasity, Rob’s co-leader Sarah Graham is incredibly supportive and helps Rob with some of the “girl” stuff that the troop wants to do at times.

One of the proudest moments he had recently was watching his daughter, Allie, work with younger girls on a diversity exercise for World Thinking Day. “They were teaching these little girls that diversity is more than just hair color, skin color, nationality…it’s personality, it’s likes and dislikes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get along. And the look in the eyes of the little girls…that was a great moment for me to see, not just with my daughter, but the other girls too,” Rob said. The troop has a “Cupcake Fun” event in March 2016 where the troop will show younger Girl Scouts different cake decorating methods in a “Cupcake Wars” style event.

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Left: Bridging ceremony from Cadette to Senior. Center: Troop 8709 and Rob working on Silver Award. Right: Troop 8709 diversity activity with younger Girl Scouts.

For Rob, the troop is more than a group of girls – they’re an extended family. “They’re like my daughters, all of them, so I want them to know they always have a safe haven,” Rob said. His dedication to these girls reaches beyond troop meetings. He attends band concerts, sporting events and other activities outside of Girl Scouts that the girls participate in. “My Boy Scout leader was there for more than just Boy Scouts. It was my sports, choir concerts, everything. And I remember what that meant to me,” Rob said.

As a male troop leader, Rob knows he plays a special role in the lives of these girls. “In a world of glass ceilings, I think that it’s important for me, as a dad, to show girls that it’s okay to be a leader. They’re just as capable as a guy. I want them to know that gender does not control where they end up in life – they control where they end up in life,” Rob said. What a powerful message he is teaching the troop. Having such a dedicated leader is part of why Troop 8709 has such a rich Girl Scouting experience!

We love hearing stories of men who are willing to stand up and say they’re “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!” Thank you to Rob Barnett and all the parent volunteers for Troop 8709! If you’d like to share a story about a great Girl Scout male caregiver, comment below!