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!

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout: A Career of Creating Unforgettable Outdoor Adventures for Girls

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For most Girl Scouts, camping carries fond memories and new chances to explore. Especially within Girl Scout camp properties, girls are surrounded by exciting challenges and the chance to join in a rich tradition of camp life. Behind these amazing properties are three incredible men that are “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” – camp rangers Keith Broxterman, Dave Prihoda and Zac Sibert. These men lead a life dedicated to giving girls the best camping experience possible, and truly love their role in Girl Scouts.

Rangers Keith, Dave and Zac have been with Girl Scouts for many years. Keith is the ranger at Camp Daisy Hindman and has been with Girl Scouts almost 10 years. Dave celebrates 5 years with GSKSMO this March and facilitates multiple properties, especially Camp Tongawood. Zac is the ranger at Camp Prairie Schooner and has been with our council for 4 years. In their time at camp, they’ve seen thousands of excited girls, nervous parents and inspirational staff pass through the properties.

Girl Scout properties have been more than just worksites – they hold a special place in the lives of the rangers. Keith met his wife, Emily, at Camp Daisy when they were working as summer camp staff. As a girl, Emily camped at Camp Daisy and now they’re raising their daughter, Grace, on the property! Zac was raised on a Girl Scout camp and is now raising his son, Dallas, with his wife, Ashley, at Camp Prairie Schooner. Dave gets to work with his children’s grandfather, Ranger Larry Mills, who is a contractor at Camp Tongawood and loves the family bond that’s part of his work life. Being outdoors is a passion he loves sharing with his five, now adult, kids: Krystal, Matthew, David Neil, Jessica and Shyann.

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LEFT: Ranger Zac’s son, Dallas at Camp Prairie Schooner; RIGHT: Ranger Zac and wife, Ashley.

Across the board, the camp rangers love getting to help girls connect with the outdoors. “Out at Prairie Schooner we run a lot of experiences for our Outreach Program, and many of these girls have not experienced an outdoor program. One girl asked me ‘there are no sidewalks, where do we walk?’ and that really hits you because some of them never have the privilege of camping before. It’s cool that we get to be part of that,” Zac said.

“I do [this job] because I love all the new experiences the girls get to have. A lot of them come from homes where they haven’t had the opportunity before, so getting them on the property and seeing them light up because they get a fire started…that’s pretty rewarding,” Keith said.

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LEFT: Ranger Keith bringing home daughter from the hospital; RIGHT: Ranger Keith with wife and daughter in the great outdoors.

If you’re wondering what life as a ranger consists of, it’s just about anything and everything on camp property. From fixing leaks and checking waterlines to keeping up all the safety components of camp, these men truly put their blood, sweat and tears into making camp an amazing place for girls. “[At camp] you name it, we do it. As a ranger, we’re responsible for the day in and day out. We look at all the safety features at camp and make sure everything is safe for the girls,” Keith said.

LEFT: Ranger Larry and granddaughter, Jessica; CENTER: Ranger Dave working on camp; RIGHT: Dave and children on camping vacation

LEFT: Ranger Larry and granddaughter, Jessica; CENTER: Ranger Dave working on camp; RIGHT: Dave and children on camping vacation

Being a man in the world of Girl Scouts, the rangers see their role as an opportunity to make positive influences on the lives of the girls that come to camp. “There’s a good majority of girls that come who don’t have a positive male figure in their lives. So, I think seeing a man step up and say ‘I want to be part of this, I want to help you grow,’ I think helps. It may be the only way they hear that as a young person,” Keith said.

A special part of the camping experience compared to other Girl Scout programs is the setting, which tends to be more inviting for men and allows them to be involved in the lives of their daughters. “It gives a father the chance to connect with their daughter(s). I have two daughters of my own and liked to have more opportunities to connect with something I enjoy and can show them. For the girls, it gives them a chance to see their dad in a different way. Rather than just providing all the time they get to see him let loose and have a good time,” Dave said.

The three camp rangers are very excited about the new “You and Me: He” camping sessions this summer because of the opportunity it opens for dads, uncles, grandfathers and male caregivers to camp with girls. They had a few things to say about why camp is amazing for this type of adventure:

Keith: “It’s almost contagious, going to camp. If there’s a dad out there with a son, most of the time, the daughter stays home if they go camping or fishing. This is a chance to flip that role. To take the daughter camping and see if she loves it just as much as the sons do. Dad’s won’t know until they get out and experience that with their daughters and have that time together.”

Zac: “We offer everything from rappelling, horseback riding, tomahawk throwing, camping to STEM activities and more, so there’s something out at camp that men can relate to. It’s a place to get away, be unplugged from everything, not worry about what needs to be done around the house, and just spend time with their daughter.”

Dave: “Depending on the man’s background, it can be something good for him to show his daughter. Just get out there, spend time with your daughter. It’s a great time.”

We love these incredible men and all they do for Girl Scouts. You know there’s real passion in what they do when the rangers can say “It’s one of those things where it’s not even fair to get paid for it because it’s that rewarding,” Zac said. Next time you’re at Camp Daisy, Camp Prairie Schooner or Camp Tongawood, make sure to say “hi!” to these men who are great examples of what means to be “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!”

Do you have an amazing man who’s Man Enough to be a Girl Scout? Do you have a great memory of one of our three great camp rangers? Share your stories in the comments below!

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – How Men are Changing the Leadership Landscape for Girls

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Are you MAN ENOUGH to be a Girl Scout?  That’s what we’ve asked regional leaders who know what it takes to be an amazing leader. Fourteen men from our region have stepped up to join our 2016 “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” campaign and pledged their support to changing the leadership landscape for girls.

The Man Enough to be a Girl Scout campaign paired Girl Scouts with civic leaders who share their interests for a social media and billboard campaign that explores the great things being done by Girl Scouts. The goal of the campaign is to educate the public about the organization’s focus on STEM exploration, outdoor experiences and community service through Girl Scouts’ highest awards, the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. In each video, these influential leaders discuss how Girl Scouts are learning vital skills needed to become the decision-makers of tomorrow. These men have achieved amazing success and are dedicated to helping girls make their dreams a reality.

“I have a very favorable impression of the way the Girl Scout organization is operated in the Kansas City metropolitan area,” said Bob Regnier, president and CEO of Bank of Blue Valley, and one of the faces of the campaign. “It really does a lot to build character, confidence and build ability in these young people, and allow them to be the best that they can be in whatever they do.”

At the campaign launch event on Tuesday, January 12, Girl Scouts and an audience of supporters gathered at the Shield Club at the Children’s Mercy Park (Home of Sporting KC) to reveal the fourteen men who have joined the campaign. At the event, Girl Scouts introduced the first five videos in the Man Enough to be a Girl Scout campaign, featuring Mayor Sly James (Mayor, KCMO), Cliff Illig (Co-Founder, Cerner), Dave Hall (President, Hallmark), Bob Regnier (CEO, Bank of Blue Valley) and Greg Graves (CEO, Burns & McDonnell).

“We are honored and humbled that these high profile and very busy civic leaders enthusiastically agreed to be a part of this campaign. We appreciate their generosity of time in meeting and offering advice to some of our Girl Scouts who also participated in the campaign. Each of them were positively impressed by those interactions, and that will come through loud and clear in the campaign,” said Joy Wheeler, CEO of Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri.

These videos will be shared each week through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and at GSKSMO.org). We believe that when girls succeed, so does society. To change the leadership landscape it will take all of us to get her there; men and women working together to open the door to opportunities for girls.

Thank you to our 2016 Man Enough to be a Girl Scout leaders:

  • Mike Brown, CEO, Euronet Worldwide
  • Peter deSilva, Civic Leader
  • John Dicus, President & CEO, Capitol Federal Savings
  • Terry Dunn, Founder, DD Ranch Leawood
  • Greg Graves, Chairman and CEO, Burns & McDonnell
  • Dave Hall, President, Hallmark
  • Cliff Illig, Co-Founder, Cerner
  • Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Mark Jorgenson, Market President, US Bank
  • Albrecht Kissel, CEO, Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Leo Morton, Chancellor, UMKC
  • Danny O’Neill, President, The Roasterie
  • Bob Regnier, President & CEO, Bank of Blue Valley
  • Mark Ruelle, President & CEO, Westar Energy

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Watch the videos (a new one rolls out every Tuesday) on our Youtube Man Enough Channel and be sure to connect with GSKSMO on social media to catch all the latest news about this campaign!  Join us in making the world a better place for girls! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and at GSKSMO.org.

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – Kevin Harrill

 

blogHeader-ManEnoughIf you’ve been to a Girl Scout event, you know how exciting it is to engage with girls and watch them learn something new. As you’re talking with girls, do you ever stop and think about the person who set the event up, put the tablecloths on and made sure the event started on time?  The exceptional volunteers who work at the least glamorous job, the behind-the-scenes work, are critical to the overall success of Girl Scout.

This is where Girl Scout dad, Kevin Harrill, found his niche. “[Set-up] was where I saw the biggest shortage for volunteers. You can get people to come to an event to talk with the girls, but you can’t get anyone to help set-up,” said Kevin. He found that working to make an event run is how he could make the biggest impact on creating great experiences for his girls and their fellow Girl Scouts.

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As the father of a 13-year-old Cadette Girl Scout, Katrina (Troop 971) and 18-year-old Ambassador, Kaela (Troop 761), Kevin has had quite a bit of experience running Girl Scout events. He and his wife, Stephanie, have played an active role in their daughters’ Girl Scout experience since Kaela joined at the age of 5. Both strongly believe in being part of the journey their girls are taking.

“If I had boys, I’d be involved in Boy Scouts. As a parent, I feel you should be involved and active in your kids’ lives,” Kevin said. That’s why he worked to find the niche where he felt he could contribute his unique skill set.

Kevin was a chef for 17 years, so he found his Girl Scout home in the kitchen. “It’s natural and I don’t have to pull a lot of other people away. I cook 450-500 hot dogs at Day Camp, and it’s easy. Cooking isn’t work for me,” Kevin said. Since cooking is such a passion, the family has become a major part of Service Unit 645’s annual event – Rolling in the Dough.

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Rolling in the Dough is a service event and fundraiser hosted by Service Unit 645 in Blue Springs, Missouri. For a small fee, Girl Scouts come together and each girl makes two dozen rolls from scratch. After prepping the dough, they send them to Kevin for baking. Each girl takes one dozen home to their family and the second dozen is donated to local charities.

The event takes about six months of planning and “the month before, it’s our whole focus,” Kevin said. In 2014 Kevin baked 4,800 rolls for the event in just one day! “We maxed out last year with a little over 400 girls. We are there at 7:30 in the morning and we don’t get home until 9:30 at night,” Kevin says about the wildly successful event.

These events bring the family together and Kevin gets to see his daughters develop into leaders. “Girl Scouts teaches them that they can do things for themselves. They don’t have to be dependent on parents or even other people. They can achieve. They learn to think for themselves,” Kevin said.

One of the moments where Kevin knew he had his girls in the right organization was when his oldest daughter, Kaela, applied to be a Junior Counselor at Juliette Low camp. “When she found out she could work with disabled girls – it was the most excited I’ve ever seen her. It was from being in Girl Scouts and learning how to lead that brought her to that point. When you see results like that…you go ‘okay, you’re doing something [right],” Kevin said.

What an amazing moment – his daughter was so thrilled about an opportunity to serve. That is an example of a true Girl Scout. Not only was she being the leader Kevin has always wanted, but it was in a way that makes the world a better place. It is his dream to see his daughter’s succeed in whatever makes them happy, and Girl Scouts is helping the girls discover what those passions are.

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Because of the support of volunteers like Kevin, Girl Scouts is able to offer unique experiences that empower girls to become the leaders of tomorrow. As a parting piece of advice, Kevin wanted other dads, uncles and caregivers to find a way to jump in and be part of the Girl Scout experience. “I think most guys don’t know what they can do because it’s girls. What I tell all the guys that see me at everything is, ‘find a niche.’  Find something that you’re capable and comfortable with doing and do that for them,” Kevin said. We love this encouragement for other men to be involved in Girl Scouts!

What an inspiring story. Thank you, Kevin, for all your work and for helping create amazing Girl Scout events possible for over a decade. Have a story to share about Kevin Harrill or another amazing guy who’s Man Enough to be a Girl Scout?  Comment below!