Supporting G.I.R.L.s Lasts a Lifetime and Beyond

Spotlighting our Newest Juliette Gordon Low Society Member: Ally Spencer

Early October brought Girl Scouts, volunteers and advocates together from all over the country for the ultimate gathering of G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM – the 2017 Girl Scout Convention (G.I.R.L. 2017). Among these delegates voting on the future of Girl Scouting was Ally Spencer and her daughter, Alex, a Girl Scout Senior from Kansas City , Missouri. Serving as delegates allowed these two to spend time together and help shape the future of an organization they’re passionate about. How passionate? Ally serves as Northland Encampment Director, service unit volunteer, troop leader and new member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society! Talk about a family that LOVES Girl Scouting!

Ally Spencer is a proud Girl Scout alumna, but feels her true Girl Scout journey began when Alex was in kindergarten. As often happens, a Daisy troop was forming, but had no leader. Ally hesitantly raised her hand after seeing no other volunteers and it was a life changing moment that has shaped the last decade of her life with her daughter.

“I sent a long email to my membership manager about my first year because it was so magnificent. I talked a lot about my challenges (the membership manager thought I was quitting most of the email she told me later), and ended it saying ‘thank you for one of the best years of my life,’” Ally said. That first year has turned into a decade of service, with her little GS Daisies now strong, independent GS Seniors.

Ally and Troop 2089 at the Kansas City Lyric Opera community partner event (left), at a troop meeting (center) and Alex, her daughter, receiving her Silver Award (right).

One thing Ally particularly loves is the support a service unit can give to new leaders, which ledto her volunteering on a larger scale. “Walking into a service unit meeting is wonderful. Your first year, you don’t know what to say, you don’t know what you don’t know…but at a service unit meeting, you have 30-40 troop leaders there representing probably 100 years+ worth of experience…all there ready to help you,” Ally said.

She took on becoming director of the Northland Encampment, a big event for the Northland Girl Scouts that’s very successful. The 2016 Encampment was a rainy, muddy weekend, but she loved how the Girl Scouts splashed in the mud and found a way to turn the rain into joy.

Northland Encampment over the years.

As a mother, Ally has loved watching her daughter grow into a strong young woman through Girl Scouting. At Convention, Alex had some hard decisions to make when she voted on national issues. After one particularly divided issue, Ally witnessed Alex not only continue to support her vote,  but spoke up to opposition who questioned her decision.

“My daughter said ‘you tell me I’m smart enough to be a delegate [and evaluate decisions] and that I can control our destiny, so I voted the way I thought was appropriate.’ It was a beautiful moment, I thought ‘she’s not a teenage girl right now, she’s an articulate, young lady.’ It’s moments like that you see [in Girl Scouts],” Ally said.

Experiences like this led Ally to join the Juliette Gordon Low Society while at National Convention. This society (previously known as the Trefoil Society at GSKSMO) is for anyone leaving a financial legacy to Girl Scouts in their estate plans.

Ally receiving her Juliette Gordon Low Society pin from Founding Chair, Dianne Belk (left & right). Ally posing with Dianne and Lawrence Calder (center).

“As someone in the corporate world, my time is money. Right now, I can give my time, but when I’m no longer able to give time, leaving a legacy means my giving can continue on past me,” Ally said. In a very special moment, Ally was pinned by JGL Society Founding Chair, Dianne Belk, at Convention.

 

We thank Ally for her service and continued dedication to Girl Scouts. Her volunteer work and leadership is helping girls become all they can be. By joining the Juliette Gordon Low Society, she is creating a positive future for the girls of tomorrow. Thank you for creating lasting change!

 

Do you know a special volunteer we should highlight? Tell us about her or him in the comments below.

Girl Scout Lingo, Decoded – Part 2

Everything a new Girl Scout Family Needs to Know

Did you catch the first part of this two-part blog story?! Read Part 1 here!

So now you’re familiar with the organization structure and the traditions; but what are all the Girl Scout awards, Girl Scout dates, acronyms about?!

Girl Scout Awards

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

All three awards give your Girl Scout the chance to do big things while working on an issue that’s captured her interest. She might plant a community garden at her school or inspire others to eat healthy foods for her Bronze Award, advocate for animal rights for her Silver, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for her Gold. Whatever she chooses, she’ll inspire others (and herself).

Bronze Award– achieved as a Girl Scout Junior (4th & 5th grade) as a troop or with a group of other Girl Scout Juniors.

Silver Award – completed as a Girl Scout Cadette (6th – 8th grade) individually or with 1 or 2 other Girl Scout Cadettes.

Gold Award – the highest and most prestigious award in Girl Scouting and earned individually as a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador (9th – 12th grade). 80 hours is the suggested minimum hours for the steps: identifying an issue, investigating it thoroughly, getting help and building a team, creating a plan, presenting your plan, gathering feedback, taking action, and educating and inspiring others. A Girl Scouts’ Gold Award projects are not “one shot”—they create lasting change and have a sustainable impact in her community.

Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri celebrates and recognizes all Gold Award recipients annually at Inspire a Girl. Save the date! This year’s celebration is April 14, 2018 at the Overland Park Convention Center.

 

Girl Scout Calendar

Throughout the year, girls and adults celebrate some very special days in Girl Scouting!

  • Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday or Founder’s Day, October 31, marks the birth in 1860 of Girl Scouts of the USA founder Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia.
  • World Thinking Day, February 22, celebrates the worldwide sisterhood of Girl Scouts / Girl Guides.
  • Girl Scouts’ birthday, March 12, commemorates the day in 1912 when Juliette Gordon Low officially registered the organization’s first 18 girl members in Savannah, Georgia.
  • Girl Scout Week is celebrated each March, starting with Girl Scout Sunday and ending with Girl Scout Sabbath on a Saturday, and it always includes Girl Scouts’ birthday, March 12.
  • Girl Scout Leader’s Day, April 22, honors all the volunteers who work as troop leaders and mentors in partnership with girls. On this day, girls, their families, and communities find special ways to thank their adult Girl Scout volunteers.
  • Girl Scouts’ national convention is celebrated every three years, and was just held earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio. Open to all, it was called G.I.R.L. 2017.

 

Girl Scout Terms & Acronyms

  • ABC Bakers– one of two Girl Scout Cookie bakers in the nation and the supplier for GSKSMO
  • Brand Center – online resource for using the Girl Scout brand.
  • Candy, Nuts & Magazines – The fall Product Sales program and a way for parents and leaders to coach their girls on the 5 Skills and a way for troops to earn funds for the first part of the year.
  • Community Partners – Organizations & Companies that partner with GSKSMO to provide Girl Scout related programming at free or reduced costs to Girl Scouts!
  • Council-Sponsored Trip – a trip organized by GSKSMO and open to troops and individual girls
  • Cookie Dough – awarded to Girl Scouts at various levels in the Cookie Program
  • Daisy’s Circle – a monthly giving program at GSKSMO
  • Destinations – for Girl Scouts 11 years old and older to travel with other Girl Scouts from all over the country.
  • Fall FUNds – awarded to Girl Scouts at various levels in the Candy, Nuts & Magazine Program
  • I.R.L. – Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader
  • GSUSA – Girl Scouts of the USA
  • GSKSMO – Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri
  • Indy Girl/Juliette – A Girl Scout who is taking the lead individually and not in a troop setting
  • Journey – a curriculum for Girl Scouts at every level to make a difference in the world and have fun doing it.
  • SACs- Safety Activity Checkpoints. When preparing for any activity with girls, always begin with the SACs written specifically for that particular activity.
  • Shop – The Girl Scout Shop is located at 8383 Blue Parkway Dr., Kansas City, MO 64133.
  • STEM – Science, Technology Engineering & Math
  • SU – Service Unit
  • SUM – Service Unit Manager
  • PSM – Product Sales Manager
  • VTK – Volunteer Toolkit, a digital resource that supports troop leaders and co-leaders, making the process of running a troop easier and more efficient.

 

Girl Scout Levels

All levels are Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts precedes the level on the first mention then the level on all mentions thereafter.

  • Girl Scout Daisy – girls in grades K – 1
  • Girl Scout Brownie – girls in grades 2 – 3
  • Girl Scout Junior – girls in grades 4 – 5
  • Girl Scout Cadette – girls in grades 6 – 8
  • Girl Scout Senior – girls in grades 9 – 10
  • Girl Scout Ambassador – girls in grades 11 – 12
  • Girl Scout Alumna – a female who was a member at ANY level of Girl Scouting, even if she was only a member one year.
  • Girl Scout Alumnae (pronounced: alum-knee) – a group of females who were a member of ANY level of Girl Scouting, even if they were only a member one year

 

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts & World Centers

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is a 146-member organization that includes Girl Scouts of the USA. Its mission is to inspire girls and young women to reach their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world.

World Centers offer Girl Scouts and Girl Guides a comfortable and safe place for short stays or long-term accommodations, seminars, training sessions, and international events. Members and their families are encouraged to visit the centers, meet girls from other countries, and build lasting friendships.

WAGGGS has World Centers located in Pax Lodge in the United Kingdom, Our Chalet in Switzerland, Our Cabana in Mexico, Sangam in India, and Kusafiri in Africa.

Girl Scouts for GSKSMO visited Pax Lodge and Our Chalet this past summer – watch our video!

Do you have a question about something that we didn’t address in either post? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Girl Scouting!

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

How to be a G.I.R.L. this Halloween!

Halloween is just a few weeks away and we have some awesome G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM inspired suggestions for all our Girl Scouts! These costumes range in complexity, but you can always think outside the box to celebrate these outstanding women. Check out our suggestions and post your own below!

We’ve designated how difficult we think each costume would be (if you were to DIY it) with these symbols – ❧ = easy, ❧❧❧❧❧ = difficult. If you are already a soccer player or a ballerina, some of these may be easier for you!

 

Go-Getters

Alicia Alonso – Cuban ballerina highly regarded for her convincing portrayals of leading roles in the great works of classical and Romantic ballet.

Difficulty Level: ❧❧❧

 

Mia Hamm – is a retired professional soccer player, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion. She is hailed as a soccer icon.

Difficulty Level:

  • What you need:
    • Athletic shorts (soccer shorts – women’s)
    • Team USA Women’s soccer shirt (with a #9!)
    • Soccer cleats or tennis shoes
    • Hair: pulled back in a ponytail

Innovators

Jane Goodall  – British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, she is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute.

Difficulty Level: ❧❧

  • What you need:
    • Khaki shirt & shorts, tennis shoes
    • Notebook and pen – you’re taking notes on your observations!
    • A stuffed Chimpanzee is always a plus
    • Hair: pulled back in a ponytail

 

Katherine Johnson  – is an African-American mathematician who made contributions to the United States’ aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. She is one of the main subjects of the movie Hidden Figures.

Difficulty Level: ❧❧❧

  • What you need:
    • 1950s inspired dress (you can usually find something in a thrift store. Some 1980s cotton dresses, sans the shoulder pads, can work! Just look for inspiration images). You can also use a white button-up shirt and patterned skirt.
    • Black cat-eye glasses
    • Notepad, calculator and pen/chalk – you have calculations to do!
    • Hair: 1950s styled (depending on your hair type, there are lots of tutorials online!)

 

Risk-takers

Cleopatra – One of Egypt’s last pharaohs, Cleopatra was a fierce queen who was one of the most powerful women in history.  She commanded armies at 21, spoke several languages and was highly educated.

Difficulty Level: ❧❧❧ (since Egyptian costume pieces are popular, we gave this an easier rating since you can find a lot of items in a thrift store)

  • What you need:
    • Dress & Accessories (DIY tutorial for gold jewelry & dress)
      • White, loose dress (or an Egyptian queen costume), tan sandals
      • Lots of gold accessories (bangles, rings and a neck collar)
      • Crown with snake or Egyptian crown – whatever you can find!
    • Hair: Black wig with gold headdress or braided black hair
    • Makeup: LOTS of black eyeliner, blue eyeshadow and mascara for a very bold eye

 

Malala Yousafzai – This education activist is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. After being shot by the Taliban, Malala survived and has become a global advocate for education for girls.

Difficulty Level: ❧❧

  • What you need:
    • A colorful headscarf – aka: Hijab (to put your hair under)
    • A long shift dress and leggings. If you have access to traditional dresses like Malala wears, there are lots of options!
    • Bonus: a copy of I am Malala and a fake a Nobel Peace Prize to wear around your neck.

 

Leaders

Maya Angelou – was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences, the most famous of which is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Difficulty Level: ❧❧

  • What you need:
    • A very bright headscarf for your hair (in a head wrap style). Get inspired here!
    • Black dress or blazer and shirt/skirt
    • Large pearl necklace & earrings.
    • Bonus: a copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings & a fake Presidential Medal of Freedom!

 

Sonya Sotomayor – is a Supreme Court Justice of the United States, serving since August 2009. She is the first Justice of Hispanic heritage, the first Latina and its third female justice.

Difficulty Level:

  • What you need:
    • Black graduation robe
    • Gavel
    • Hair: curled and down (if you have a shorter haircut).

 

BONUS: The Ultimate G.I.R.L.

Juliette Gordon Low – The founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low left a legacy that has changed the lives of millions of women. This ultimate G.I.R.L was pretty spectacular – check out our past blog on her!

Difficulty Level: ❧❧❧

  • What you need:
    • A beige or dark dress with buttons and a collar with a brown belt around the waist.
    • Hair: Style under a Fedora style, brown hat. Decorate it with the Girl Scout trefoil in the center using black felt!
    • Bonus: Get an old book you can mark up and write “Girl Scouts” across the front to look like you’re on official Girl Scout business.

Are you dressing up as another awesome G.I.R.L.? Tell us all about your creative idea below in the comments.

Girl Scout Lingo, Decoded – Part 1

Everything a new Girl Scout Family Needs to Know

So you’ve signed your girl up to Lead like a Girl Scout! Maybe you’re a brand new Girl Scout family, or perhaps you’re rejoining the Movement as an adult to empower your girl the opportunity to stand up, speak up and take action! Whichever situation you’re in, you may be feeling a bit lost with all the Girl Scout lingo that’s being thrown around! Well, we’re here to help and get you fully into the Girl Scout loop!

Across the United States, Girl Scouts are 2.6 million strong—1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world.

Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

Organizational Structure
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is our overarching organization
Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri (GSKSMO) is one of 112 Girl Scout councils in the country
Service Unit is a community of volunteers and girls in Troops within a geographic area within our council
Troop is a group of girls who get together to earn badges, go on field trips and explore the outdoors regularly and who belong to a service unit.

Uniform
Girl Scouts at each level now wear one required element (tunic, sash, or vest) to display official pins and awards. Girls can mix and match pieces from the official Girl Scout collection to complete the uniform, or add items from their own wardrobes! Learn where the different insignias go on her uniform here!

Fun patches (items received to commemorate an event, occasion, or product sales recognitions) always go on the back of the tunic, sash or vest.

Girl Scout Sign
Girl Scouts make the Girl Scout sign—raising three fingers of the right hand with the thumb holding down the pinky—when they say the Girl Scout Promise. The three fingers represent the three parts of the Promise.

Motto
The Girl Scout motto is “Be prepared.” In the 1947 Girl Scout Handbook, the motto was explained this way: “A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency.” The same holds true today.

Slogan
The Girl Scout slogan, which has been used since 1912, is “Do a good turn daily.” The slogan is a reminder of the many ways girls can contribute positively to the lives of others.

Greeting
Girl Scouts can greet one another with the Girl Scout handshake, used by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides all over the world. The handshake is made by shaking hands with the left hand and making the Girl Scout sign with the right. The left hand is nearest to the heart and signifies friendship.

Friendship Circle
Representing the unbroken chain of friendship among Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world, the Friendship Circle involves Girl Scouts standing in a circle, crossing their right arms over their left, and clasping hands with their friends on both sides. Everyone then makes a silent wish as a friendship squeeze is passed from hand to hand around the circle.

 SWAPS
Girl Scouts often make small tokens of friendship to exchange with the Girl Scouts they meet while traveling. These little gifts are called “SWAPS,” which stands for “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.”

We hope this brings a little more understanding to the awesome world that is Girl Scouting! Stay tuned for part 2 of Girl Scout Lingo, Decoded next week where we’ll break down the Girl Scout calendar and dive into acronyms commonly used in Girl Scouting! Have a specific question? Leave them in the comments below!

From Gold Award to the Silver Screen

Spotlight on Filmmaker and Gold Award Alumna, Morgan Dameron

Morgan Dameron has known that she wanted to make movies ever since she was old enough to figure out what a movie was. As a young Girl Scout Brownie, she remembers being fascinated with the coveted Polaroid camera and the camcorder that that was just as big as she was. “I used to make my family members and pets re-enact scenes from Disney animated films in my living room,” Morgan said!

When Morgan was in high school in the early her passion for film grew and the arts scene in Kansas City was only beginning to blossom into what it is today. With the leadership skills she learned through Girl Scouting, Morgan influenced the film scene for women and teens. She was an honorary board member for Kansas City Women in Film, founded the youth division of the Kansas City Independent Filmmakers Coalition and started the first ever film festival for the Kansas City Teen Star.

“Having that idea of being a leader, following my dreams and having a support system of other strong-willed girls and leaders of our troop really influenced me growing up.”

It’s no surprise that when it came time to think about her Gold Award, making a movie was what Morgan knew she wanted to do for her project. With some help from the Women in Film Commission, Morgan wrote and produced a short-film called Finding Harmony; a story about a young woman and older man who formed an unlikely friendship through music.

“I had to raise the money, cast, shoot and do everything. The amount of hard work that is required is a lesson I was able to learn so young is a result of my Gold Award project.”

That lesson has paid off, ten-fold.

Morgan graduated from Pembrooke High School in 2007 and attended University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts on a full-ride scholarship. While at USC, she made short films that played in film festivals all around the world. When she graduated, she landed a job with a production company in Los Angeles where she worked on movies including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek Into Darkness and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Yep, she worked with the amazingly talented Film Director J.J. Abrams.

Now at the age of 28, Morgan’s first-ever feature full length film Different Flowers is being screened in theatres across the United States.

“I had always wanted to tell stories since I was little girl. I had gone to USC to film school and worked in the industry for 5 years and the time was right to make this movie. I was just bursting at the seams to make my first film and nothing was going to get in my way,” Morgan said.

Morgan made a plan. Plan A was to make a movie; there was no plan B.

“It’s been a year!” Morgan said.

Different Flowers is a dramedy feature film full of kooky characters, and real heart inspired by the relationships and surroundings of Morgan’s childhood, growing up in Missouri. Characters, Millie and Emma are sisters with a rocky past who are each stuck in their ways and bring out the best – and worst – in each other. When Emma helps Millie run out on her wedding, they embark on an adventure neither could have anticipated. It’s a story about following your heart, and how, sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. And that’s okay.

Shot on location in Kansas City and surrounding areas, Different Flowers isn’t only about women but it’s powered by women too. Something that was important to Morgan as a female filmmaker. “I really wanted it to feel authentically Kansas City and authentically mid-western. I wanted it to be infused in every element.”

Morgan spared no detail in achieving that feel. The cinematographer is from Kansas City, many of the sound tracks are by local musicians including Sarah Morgan, Darling Side and Brewer and Shipley, one of the necklaces worn by a cast member is made by a Kansas City jewelry artist and Millie’s wedding dress was designed by Kansas City Designer, Emily Hart.

This project was a family affair for all of the Damerons and they were promoted from their home movie roles they played in the 90’s for Morgan’s first feature-length film! Morgan’s younger sisters and fellow Gold Award recipients Natalie and Mallory have cameos in the film in the bridal suite, her Dad is the reverend and Mom plays Chef Suza.

Different Flowers also has some connections to Morgan’s Gold Award project film, Finding Harmony. The lead actor from that film, Ari Bavel, has a supporting role as a Boulevard Delivery Man in Different Flowers.

“The Gold Award has stuck with me. Even though you know it’s going to be so much work, you know that it’s going to be so rewarding to do what you know you love to do,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s sister Natalie also got to use skills she learned through her own Gold Award project, serving as the on-set photographer for the film!

Photos by Gold Award Alumna, Natalie Dameron.

“The biggest piece of advice I can give is to give yourself permission to follow your dreams. Don’t wait for someone else to give it to you. You have the tools you need to tell your story, you can make it happen. The Gold Award is a good experience to just try it,” Morgan said!

We love that Morgan’s Gold Award project inspired her to follow her dreams and that she’s using the leadership skills she gained through her Girl Scouting experience to continue empowering adult women to pursue theirs!

Different Flowers is being shown at AMC Town Center in Overland Park, KS and AMC Barrywoods in Kansas City, MO beginning Sept. 29, check their websites for show times. Want to meet the Leader and filmmaker Morgan Dameron?! She’ll be doing a talk-back on Oct. 1 at AMC Town Center following the 5:10pm showing and at AMC Barrywoods following the 7:00pm showing!

Check out the trailer for Different Flowers!   And, make plans to join us! Let’s pack the theater with Girl Scouts!!

A Troop of Innovators

Girl Scout Junior Troop 1287 Brings Energy-Efficient Upgrades to Owl’s Nest

INNOVATOR – Thinking outside the box is her specialty. She’s always looking for a creative way to take action. She knows how to get things done.

When you think of an innovator, are these some of traits that come to mind? There couldn’t be a better example of innovation than Girl Scout Junior Troop 1287 from Independence, Missouri. These Girl Scouts ROCK!

Troop 1287 from Independence, MO needed to complete an energy audit to complete their Get Moving Journey, and of course one of their favorite places at Camp Prairie Schooner came to mind. What is this special place that many Girl Scouts call a favorite? Owl’s Nest, of course! This building is perfect for a troop camp-out whether in the spring, fall, summer or winter.

As Troop 1287 completed their energy audit, they discovered that Owl’s Nest needed a little TLC to make it more energy efficient. These Girl Scouts had a plan… what if they took on some of the energy efficient upgrades as a Take Action project? And going even bigger, what about if it was their Bronze Award project?

The girls knew this would be a HUGE undertaking. It would take a lot of support from their troop leaders, family members and definitely some financial resources. These challenges did not stop this troop of innovators.  They went BIG & BOLD and began gathering their resources and talking with Site Manager Zac and the property team.

What’s super cool about this project is that every girl had a role and then they used that troop teamwork to make the changes a reality. And, every Girl Scout used their innovator skills to think about who they could ask or what resources they could bring.

“My dad is an electrician so he helped us install the fans and add new outlet plates,” said Kadence. “I loved working alongside him and learning how to do some of the electrical work.”

The talent pool on this project was tremendous: a grandma with incredible sewing ability to show the girls how to make the new curtains, a dad with plumbing skills, parents who opened doors to in-kind gifts of rock and other supplies and all family members who gave these Girl Scouts the support they needed to finish a project like this. Girl Scouting is a family affair, and we are so thankful that Troop 1287 and our entire council has awesome adults like these!

These Girl Scouts were able to do so much for Owl’s Nest because of a generous micro grant they received from KCP&L and a few other donations from local supporters. To prepare to write the grant for KCP&L, two Girl Scouts (Cecilia and Isabella) met with our Philanthropy team. Then these Girl Scouts went to work sharing all about their project and how it was going to have a huge impact. Yep, these two awesome Girl Scouts wrote and submitted a grant. Not many 5th graders can say that!

And guess what? Troop 1287 was one of 23 recipients of the 2017 KCP&L micro grants!

“I felt so excited when we found out that we got the grant,” Cecilia said. “I felt such a sense of accomplishment!”

Now that these Girl Scouts had their resources, it was time to roll up their sleeves and get to work. And work they did! These Girl Scouts caulked windows and behind the fireplace, they created and put up signs throughout Owl’s Nest sharing of its new energy efficiencies, they sewed and hung up new curtains, they installed an exhaust fan and four ceiling fans in the main room, they put in new rock and solar lights at the fire circle, painted cabinets and doors, added a microwave, put in a new shower head and toilet seat and bought new plastic cups and plates with owls. And coming soon – two new doors and a glass top oven. Wow!

These Girl Scouts used every resource they had to bring incredible improvements to Owl’s Nest. And, these Girl Scouts won’t let anyone tell them that girls can’t do these renovations. They are strong, innovators and know they can accomplish anything.

“We can do anything that boys do and if anyone says differently than showing them the results of this project proves them wrong,” Isabella said.

That’s right, Isabella!

So what’s next for Troop 1287? Well, they will officially bridge to Girl Scout Cadettes in October and then we hope they will start thinking about the Silver Award and onto Gold.

Troop 1287, you are AWESOME! We are so appreciative of your hard work and know your Girl Scout sisters are going to love the energy efficiency you have brought to Owl’s Nest. Does your troop want to take on a project at one of our camps? We would love it! Let us know in the comments below.

Girl Scouting Goes Full Circle

Spotlight on Girl Scout Alumna, Katelyn Clark

Like most kindergarteners, Girl Scout Alumna Katelyn Clark had no clue what she was getting into when her mom signed her up for Girl Scouts. What she does remember from being a Girl Scout Daisy is being asked by her troop leader, Kim Harrington, what she wanted to do, what badges she wanted to earn and when she wanted to bring in snacks for the troop.

“I had a phenomenal troop leader. Even at that young age, she ensured a girl-led experience. That inspired me at a young age to be confident and self-led,” Katelyn said.

She also remembers making snow globes out of baby food jars to learn about the different winter holidays celebrated around the world; an activity that would influence her Gold Award project ten years later.

Katelyn as a Girl Scout Daisy and Brownie.

There are many life lessons learned and passions discovered that Katelyn credits to her time as a Girl Scout in the Spirit of Nebraska Council.

In middle school that Katelyn started to realize the opportunities available to her because she was a Girl Scout. At the age of 13 she went on her first destination trip to the Boundary Waters and fell in love with travel. “My mom put me on a little prop plane and I flew up to Ely, MN. I spent a week canoeing and I think that sealed the [Girl Scout] deal! I realized that I loved camping and that at 13 years old I could fly by myself, I could pick up a canoe and carry it over a portage and camp. It was really empowering to meet all these Girl Scouts from all over the United States that had such cool stories” Katelyn explained.

Katelyn during her Girl Scout Destination trip to the Boundary Waters.

Almost immediately upon her return from her Boundary Waters trip, Katelyn started planning her next adventure; she wanted to go to Costa Rica.

To raise funds, she and a Girl Scout sister Beth Harrington planned a lock-in for over 40 Brownies complete with workshop rotations and followed Girl Scout Safety Activity Checkpoints! They even recruited non-Girl Scouts to help with programming! It was so successful that it not only raised the funds they needed to go on their destination, but also inspired their Gold Award projects.

Drawing on that first Girl Scout memory with the snow globes, Katelyn created a half day Holiday Fun Fair for girls to learn about five different winter holidays celebrated around the world. Instead of charging admission to the event attendees were asked to bring an item like diapers, formula, etc. to be donated to The Child Saving Institute, a local nonprofit in Nebraska. At the end of the Fun Fair, Katelyn delivered two car loads of items to The Child Saving Institute!

“To go from a Daisy to earning your Gold Award is so fulfilling. At the time though, I didn’t realize the magnitude of it.”

As she grew through Girl Scouting, Katelyn wasn’t really thinking about the Gold Award. It was her progression through the program when it just kind of happened for her.  “I thought the Gold Award was something I wanted to do for me and thought it was just something you did in Girl Scouts,” she said.

After completing her project, Katelyn recalls receiving her Gold Award congratulatory packet in the mail. It contained letters of support and recognition from community members, elected officials and even the President of the United States and she thought “holy cow, this is a big deal!”

“I was more appreciative of my Gold Award actually after I earned it. It became something I put on my college applications, on resumes.”

Left: Katelyn with GSSN Board Member, Karen Morey. Center: Katelyn collecting items for The Child Saving Institute during her Gold Award Project. Right: Katelyn with Girl Scout sister Beth Harrington.

Those college applications and essays earned her admission into Rockhurst University’s international business administration program and Katelyn moved from Nebraska to Kansas City to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree. Girl Scouting was never out of mind though, she returned to Nebraska every summer and worked as a Girl Scout camp counselor.

“Girl Scouts taught me I am who I am. I lived in middle school and high school as my most authentic self for who I was. Girl Scouts taught me that other people can be different as well and that everyone has a story. It also taught me to be compassionate, to look at those around you and see how you can make the world a better place.”

Today, Katelyn’s Girl Scouting experience has come full circle and she has remained in KC working for a senior living marketing company and is a Gold Award advisor and travel volunteer with our council, inspiring and empowering Girl Scouts through her own experiences!

Katelyn on a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park with GSKSMO Girl Scouts!

Katelyn’s advice to Girl Scouts? “I know it gets hard in that 5th, 6th and 7th grade time frame, but hang in there and look at what you can do as a teen Girl Scout. There are so many opportunities to travel, sit on teen advisory councils, sit down with mentors and business leaders. That’s a unique opportunity you can’t get anywhere but in Girl Scouting in your teen years. Know that while not every badge is the most fun or every Journey the best, look around and at the people you’re meeting. Some of these girls will be lifelong friends. You’ll have a moment that you change your perspective. Maybe you’ll be inspired and it’ll lead to a career. You’ll be surprised at where Girl Scouts will take you!”

You’re a Girl Scout Rock Star, Katelyn! We appreciate all you do for girls in our council!!

Don’t miss out on these upcoming opportunities available to teen Girl Scouts!
The first deadline to apply for a Girl Scout Destination trip is Nov. 1, you can take a domestic or international tirp with Girl Scouts from all over the US!
– Want to travel to the Boundary Waters, canoe and camp for a week? We’re taking a council-sponsored trip in July, 2018!
– Thinking about Going Gold?! Learn more about the steps and requirements!

 

Camp Tongawood: A Powerful Place to Empower Today’s G.I.R.L.s

In preparation for our 2017 Alumnae Reunion Weekend and Lifetime Member Picnic (Sept 23 – 24), we’ve been taking a look at the histories and folklore that make our Girl Scout camps so special. At Camp Daisy Hindman we learned about a community that came together to support girls through volunteerism and philanthropy. At Camp Prairie Schooner, we learned how Girl Scout volunteers fought for the camp and proved to everyone that G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM can do anything. The story of the Oakledge Ish-ki-ti-ni showed us the power of the Girl Scout camping experience and the lasting legacy alumnae leave on camps.  Today, we’ll explore the third camp in our Council – Camp Tongawood – and how it is empowering the G.I.R.L.s of today through unparalleled leadership experiences during those awesome day camps.

Camp Tongawood is a special, outdoor sanctuary in Tonganoxie, KS where girls can zipline, fish and create memories that last a lifetime. In addition to awesome programming on site, Camp Tongawood serves as home to day camps throughout the summer. These camps offer incredible leadership experiences for teens. Most day camps allow teens to have innovative leadership experiences for their younger Girl Scout sisters and the creativity is always inspiring. For some teens, it’s the first time they are taking on a leadership role.

As a Day Camp Teen Leader, older Girl Scouts get to transition into a role of leadership and learn the basics of planning and running a large event. Considering some Day Camps have hundreds of attendees, these are impressive events that Girl Scout teens put on! With the support of their leaders, they plan events, coordinate volunteers and help run the operations. At Camp Tongawood, girls are able to offer fishing, STEM activities, crafts, fire camp bonding, ziplining and a wide variety of other opportunities.

What’s especially beautiful about Camp Tongawood is the wide variety of multifunction spaces (both inside and outside) that allow girls to come up with unique experiences in the outdoors. Have a space-themed Day Camp? Girl Scouts planned a slime STEM activity that helped younger Girl Scout learn about mixing ingredients to create something gooey! Ready to take a leap? Day Camps are able to offer ziplining that help build confidence for girls.

In a world where girls are getting less and less time outdoors, Day Camps often offer Girl Scouts a chance to just be girls in the outdoors. As Alumnae, Elizabeth Bourquin (aka “Weebles”) said, “I think it’s really important for girls, especially in society right now, to learn outdoor stuff because we are becoming an indoor society. Girls have to know they can do whatever they want – it’s not man’s world anymore, it’s a woman’s world.” Day Camps help girls push their limits in ways that being indoors just simply doesn’t allow.

Camp Tongawood has also been home to some really amazing STEM experiences. From stargazing to geocaching, girls have had the chance to explore this property using science. Where else are there outdoor places completely dedicated to empowering G.I.R.L.s except for Girl Scout camps? We can’t think of any!

Thank you to all the alumnae, volunteers, teens and staff that have made Camp Tongawood an extra special place for today’s girl. Your dedication to Girl Scout programming make Day Camp leadership experiences possible for teen girls. If you’ve had a Day Camp at Tongawood, we’d love to hear your camp experiences in the comments below! Share with us how this property inspired your own G.I.R.L.s (or your own experience).

Don’t forget to join us Sept 23 – 24 for our GSKSMO Alumnae Reunion Weekend and Lifetime Member Picnic! Registration is now closed, but contact VirginiaPennington@gsksmo.org to see if any spots are still available. Visit www.gsksmo.org/reunion for more information.

 

Using the NEW Volunteer Toolkit

By now you’ve probably heard of the new Volunteer Toolkit – also known as the VTK! As back to troop season is here, we want to make sure you know about some of the awesome features of this new digital planning tool that will make your Girl Scout year a total success!

The Volunteer Toolkit is a new digital planning tool that gives volunteers resources and program content to get the year started—and keep it going smoothly! Fully customizable, the toolkit is digitally responsive so volunteers can plan and prepare practically anywhere (yes, from your mobile device too)!

Girls have more fun when they can shape their own experience, do hands-on activities, and work together as teams. With the new toolkit, girls and leaders can explore meeting topics and program activities together, and follow the fun as they plan their Girl Scout year!

Here are some highlights of the Volunteer Toolkit!

Year Plan Options – When you log in for the first time as a Daisy, Brownie or Junior troop leader, you will see year plan options for you and your troop that includes badges and journeys. They’re prepopulated in system and you can pick the one that your troop wants to do! But don’t feel like you’re confined to that year plan, they’re totally customizable and moveable. You can also mix different badges in with your Journey work, just click on the Year Plan Library tab.

 

Setting Troop Meeting Times & Locations – You can configure the date time and meeting locations for the year. You will also be able to see national holidays and schedule your meetings around those you choose. For meeting locations, each meeting can be customized, so if you’re participating in one of our Community Partner Programs, you can customize the address for that meeting.

 

Meeting Plan Overview – After you’ve selected your meetings from the Year Plan Library, you can click on Meeting Plan and see all the details for each meeting. Under the Planning Materials section are three resources for leading a successful meeting! The Meeting Overview is a high-level look at that meeting, the Activity Plan has the meeting activities planned out, including duration time for each activity. Lastly, the Material List is like your shopping list. It has all of the items you’ll need for the meeting that week.

 

Communicate with Caregivers – Through VTK, you can communicate and remind caregivers about upcoming Girl Scout meetings and activities! As girls register and join your troop, their contact information is saved in your My Troop tab. Then, each meeting you have the option to email out a reminder and information about that week’s meeting to all caregivers.

Resources Search Tab – The Resources Search tab lets you search for a robust search engine that lets you search for VTK content like meeting aids, meeting overviews and additional supporting materials and info you’ll need as a troop leader. You can add these materials to any meeting of your choice to supplement your planning for that meeting!

Have you been utilizing the VTK?! Let us know some of your favorite features in the comments below!