Stepping up for Girls

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*This story originally published on June 30, 2016.

In loving memory of Jason Coppedge, 1979 – 2017. 

Jason Coppedge is Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!

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

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

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

JCoppedge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ultimate Go-Getter

A Gold Award Alumna Spotlight

Gold Award Girl Scouts are go-getters to the ultimate degree. Through the Gold Award, they spend over 100 hours solving a problem in a sustainable way that positively impacts their community. It’s no wonder that these Girl Scouts go on to achieve some pretty remarkable things! Meet Amanda Stanley, a Gold Award alumna who turned tremendous personal obstacles into a profession and life of positivity.

Amanda started Girl Scouts as a Junior in Wichita. As the first Girl Scout troop at the school, she got to help younger girls learn the ropes…Sometimes, quite literally! One of her favorite annual service projects was teaching Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies  to camp – how to tie knots, pitch a tent and cook over a campfire. It’s no wonder that this love of service translated into an awesome Gold Award project.

During high school, Amanda saw a need for a better way to organize volunteers at a living history museum she volunteered at. This was before digital databases were common (early 2000s), but looking forward, Amanda knew this would be a good solution to the problem. “My biggest challenge was all the places they had volunteer data. You’ve got paper data and data in excel sheets and word documents and jotted on pieces of paper and trying to put that into a usable system was difficult,” Amanda said.

Amanda and her troop at a camping event – one of her early service projects; Amanda as a Cowtown volunteer; Receiving her award for her Gold Award project.

Her project produced a usable database for the Old Cowtown Museum, allowing the organization to find volunteers with those unique “living history” skills, when they needed them. It’s not always easy to know who can play a blacksmith or teach kids to churn butter! But the database let them find those volunteers – all thanks to the work of a Girl Scout!

“What I love about the Gold Award, and why I think it’s important for girls now, is that it makes you look at a problem and see if you can come up with a solution. You then plan it out, work on time management and figure out how your project will create good,” Amanda said.

During high school she also got to participate in Girl Scout Destinations, including one to Washington D.C. focusing on art. “We went to art galleries, stayed with a Girl Scout family for a night, did art projects that I still have hanging on my wall. It was a great way to see the monuments and city,” said Amanda.

Amanda and her mother who served as troop leader; Amanda’s troop at a horse riding event.

Completing her Gold Award earned Amanda two scholarships and she attended Newman University in Wichita where she got a degree in Biology. From there she went to the KU Med, on her way to becoming an MD. After her first year of medical school she was diagnosed with cancer and, always the fighter, she had surgery, it went into remission and she returned to school. After her second year, the cancer came back, she had another surgery and decided to take a year off to focus on her recovery. During that year, she decided life was too short to not be in a career she completely loved…so she took the LSAT and enrolled in law school! Talk about a driven G.I.R.L.!

“I knew I wanted to leave all through my second year, but was too scared because I didn’t have a backup plan. Plus…no one drops out of medical school. But during my year off and almost dying…I realized life was far too short to go to work and hate your job every day,” Amanda said.

In 2014 Amanda graduated from KU Law and is now working for the League of Kansas Municipalities. She travels around Kansas, teaches classes to city officials and loves her job. She is also a lobbyist for local governments to the KS legislature, meaning she testifies in front of committees and really makes an impact on the Kansas government.

As a Girl Scout alumna, she sees the benefits of the program for today’s girls, just like it positively impacted her. Girl Scouting gave her the courage and more importantly, gave her people “in her corner” who were there to support her. “We are in a unique time in history where girls have come a long way, but there are still implicit biases, discrimination and stereotypes – like girls aren’t good at science – that Girl Scouts gives you the tools to combat. It teaches that a stereotype is just a stereotype and if you’re motivated, you can do whatever you want,” Amanda said.

We couldn’t be more proud of this incredible G.I.R.L.! She’s recently decided to become a volunteer at Girl Scout Day at the Capitol, helping girls learn more about the KS government she loves so much. Thank you, Amanda, for continuing to support girls and for being such a great example of a Girl Scout alumna!

6 Ways to Give Back to Girl Scouts This Holiday Season!

It’s that time of year! The weather is getting chilly and soon we’ll be celebrating friends, family and the holidays. As you gear up for holiday shopping and giving, we wanted to give you a few tips on ways to give to Girl Scouts WHILE you go about your holiday routine! Seriously, some of these ARE FREE WAYS TO GIVE BACK! Check out our 6 ways to give back this holiday season and help us create women of courage, confidence and character all year!

#1 #GivingTuesday – Her Vest. Her Story. Join us Nov. 28!

Double your gift!  November 28, 2017 is #GivingTuesday, a holiday celebrating giving back following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What’s so special about our 2017 #GivingTuesday campaign? Your gift is DOUBLED, thanks to a generous match from Sylvia Wagner and E. R. Pullman. So help us spread the word on November 28th and give!

You can also post an #UnSelfie of yourself giving and tag #gsksmo! www.gsksmo.org/givingtuesday

#2 Amazon Smile – FREE FOR YOU, $$ for GSKSMO!

Give while shopping – it’s FREE FOR YOU! Do your holiday shopping today and give at the same time. All you have to do is use the link here: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/43-0892926 or go to smile.amazon.com and type “Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri” into the Charity search. Once you designate your charity, .5% of all your purchases goes back to Girl Scouts. Same Amazon, just giving back! Make sure to use smile.amazon.com whenever you shop to active the giving.

#3 United Way/CFC – Give to the Community!

Live United and/or give as a federal employee. These two awesome programs use funds from generous donors who give to United Way or CFC and in turn, the funds are distributed to critical organizations in their communities. When you give to either United Way or the Combined Federal Campaign, you are part of a mission of giving that generates thousands of dollars for important organizations each year. Click here to find your local United Way.

If you’re a CFC donor – please consider directing your CFC contribution to GSKSMO (#35109)

#4 Corporate/Workplace Giving – Get YOUR Business Involved!

Does your employer have a VIP (Volunteer Incentive Program)? Many organizations provide incentives for employees to give of time or money to a charitable organization. By selecting Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri as your organization, you’ll make a real difference in the lives of girls! Plus, you may get rewarded in return. Your company can also sponsor Girl Scout events like Inspire a Girl or the Volunteer Recognition Events. Sponsorships are a great way to show how much a company cares about the community and supports girls. Each company is different and we’re here to help. Contact the VirginiaPennington@gsksmo.org if you have questions!

 

#5 Charity Fundraisers – Fundraise for GSKSMO!

Are you part of an organization, club or group that does an annual fundraiser for charity? If so, we need YOU! Advocating for GSKSMO to be the recipient of your group’s fundraiser can make a real difference in our community. In 2016, thanks to Board Member Sherry Gibbs advocating for girls, GEHA selected GSKSMO as the recipient of funds raised from their annual golf tournament. This was a $100,000 investment in girls – how incredible! You can read the full story here and if you’d like to make incredible change like this, contact the VP of Philanthropy, Vanessa Van Goethem-Piela (Vanessa@gsksmo.org).

#6 Join Daisy’s Circle – Give ALL Year!

Ready to make a monthly commitment to girls? Joining Daisy’s Circle is one of the best ways you can support Girl Scouts and our mission! Investments of any size are appreciated and now small businesses AND TROOPS can become members of Daisy’s Circle! This special group of supporters helps Girl Scouts plan for the future by providing predictable, monthly income that supports programming, the outreach program and so much more. Learn more at www.daisyscircle.org or contact Kara Lineweber (klineweber@gsksmo.org) for more information.

Every Girl Scout vest is a story, and you can help a girl tell her story by investing today. Together, we can help girls build their first resumes (their vests) and learn skills that will last them a lifetime. It only takes a few minutes to use any of these tips to give back and your gift of any size can make a huge difference for girls right here in your community. Thank you and we hope you share this post to inspire friends and family to give to Girl Scouts!

Did you use our Amazon Smiles link? Maybe encouraged a friend to join Daisy’s Circle? Share how you used these tips in the comments below!

#givingtuesday #givingtuesdaykc #gsksmo #girlscouts

Travel Like a Girl Scout

Travel. Something Girl Scout Senior Amanda M. is incredibly passionate about. She’s been on three Girl Scout Destination trips since she was old enough to apply. Space Camp in Huntsville, AL in 2015,
Leadership in the Andes in Peru in 2016 and STEM: Energy Solutions in Germany in 2017; a progression of location, skills and experience in true Girl Scout fashion.

Left: Taking the view in at Neuschwanstein Castle. Center: Amanda at Our Chalet. Right: Enjoying the Girl Scout energy at Our Chalet!

Over the course of 13 days this summer, Amanda, along with 15 other Girl Scouts from around the United States traveled throughout Germany and Switzerland learning about sustainable and renewable energy and global energy policies.

“I’ve always know that I wanted to work with sustainable energy, something that’s good for the environment. I knew this Destination would further my knowledge and passion and give me real life experiences that weren’t just isolated in the United States,” Amanda said.

This Destination, like her others, was an eye-opening experience for Amanda.

Before they left the country, the group of 16 Girl Scouts spent two days in Boston getting to know each other and learning about sustainable energy in the United States so they would understand the differences when they were learning Germany and Switzerland. One perspective they gained was how other countries value their energy sources more than the United States because unlike the United States, they’ve experienced a loss of them. As a young country, the United States just can’t relate in that way.

 

Left: Turbines at a power plant in Germany. Center: Wind turbine in Switzerland. Right: Green living project.

This Girl Scout Destination experience, like her others, diversify her learning and expand her studies outside of school.

“Destinations are a great outlet for girls to not only extend their education, but extend themselves as people,” Amanda explained. “You can take a girl and give her Google, or give her a ticket to go to Peru or Germany and the education is completely different. My generation wants to just watch things on YouTube; stepping outside of their comfort zone will give them life. It’s an impact that is completely unfathomable.”

This Destination had a significant impact on Amanda as a Girl Scout as well. While in Switzerland they had the opportunity to visit one of the World Centers, Our Chalet in Adelboden. As if they hadn’t bonded as Girl Scouts already, they were once again reminded of the national and global Movement they all belong to. While at Our Chalet they met British Girl Guides and Amanda describes the bond as almost instant.

Amanda’s Destination group at Our Chalet.

As recognition of her passion for travel and education through Girl Scout Destinations, Amanda was nominated as Girl Scout of the year by EF Girl Scouts, the travel partner of Girl Scouts of the USA. As part of her nomination, she had to write about her Destination experiences.

Standing below a towering windmill you take a deep breath of air and look out across the valley.  Chalets sprinkled across the hillside open their windows to welcome in the fresh summer air.  Some people don’t understand just how essential travel is to developing one’s self.  To me, travel is important because it affords me the opportunity to experience other cultures in a way that I would not be able to inside of a classroom.  The life lessons you can learn just by getting on an airplane and walking around a plaza in Peru, or a museum in Germany, or a Koi pond in Japan can never be replicated.  So I encourage you to travel.  See things like you have never seen before, live life through a lens of curiosity.

 These experiences can be even more impactful when going on a trip with a group of strangers. After just a few days of friendship you will start to feel like you have known your new acquaintances for your whole life.  As a group of Girl Scouts I developed deep ever-lasting bonds with young women from all areas of the United States.  While touring Our Chalet in Switzerland my American group met British Girl Guides, and the bond was almost instant.  Within minutes we were singing songs, shared social media handles, and told stories of our experiences as Scouts. Whether visiting abroad or within the borders, meeting a group of Girl Scouts is like finding long lost sisters, and the adults, parents.  The experience I received on the trip helped to form my world view, and I hope that you will love it as much as I did.

Amanda is truly a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) when it comes to travel!

Applications are now open for 2018 Girl Scout Destinations and the first deadline to apply with preferential placing is November 15. Don’t wait, plan your trip to #travellikeagirlscout!

G.I.R.L. 2017 – That’s a Wrap!

A GSKSMO Point of View

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

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

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

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

What was it like to be a Convention delegate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GSKSMO Delegates with GSUSA CEO, Sylvia Acevedo.

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

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

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

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

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

 What speaker resonated the most with you? Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STEMing Ahead with Community Partners

Full STEM Ahead!! When it comes to STEM experiences, no organization offers girls the wide range of opportunities that Girl Scouts does. Just ask Girl Scout Troop 5571 from KCMO! This Brownie troop has taken full advantage of the many programs available through the Girl Scout Community Partner Program! In fact, the troop was so active and showcased so many cool things that at recruitment night, they grew from a troop of 6…to a troop of 22! WOW!

“The Community Partner [program] is great. Because we did so many last year, my troop grew from 6 to 22,” Renita Hudson, leader for Troop 5571 said.

Troop 5571 delivering cookies to Fire Station 37 in South KCMO, as a service project.

Showing photos from all their service projects and Community Partner programs really made a difference for parents who weren’t sure what exactly a Girl Scout troop experience was like. Renita was able to show that Girl Scouting is girl-led and that being in a troop gives girls access to experiences they would never be able to have outside the program. Where else can girls get on field experiences with the KC Chiefs, like Troop 5571 did just last month?! Only in Girl Scouts!

This was Renita’s first year leading the troop on her own and the Community Partner opportunities help her create a full troop experience without having to plan every detail. Last year, they participated in  events at Google Fiber, Avila University and the Belger Art Center, just to name a few. It certainly was a busy year of learning for these Brownies.

Renita Hudson and her daughter, Veronica at Inspire a Girl 2017 and participating in STEM activities.

In addition to Community Partner STEM programming, Renita received STEM training from GSKSMO trainer, Kate Hood. “Trainings with Kate were great. She said she was there for us beyond class. Since this is the first time leading on my own, it’s good to know I have someone who can help,” Renita said. The troop even received books to help the girls along their STEM journey. Once the training was over, Renita took the books to her girls and watched their faces light up.

“Just getting the Journey books and seeing all the choices they had made my girls so excited,” Renita said. “[Girl Scouts] is about building our girls up […] and STEM experiences led by women give them confidence.”

As a troop leader, Renita gets to see firsthand the interest in STEM spark in her young girls. For some, incorporating STEM programming can be intimidating, but as Renita has shown, by taking advantage of the programs already available through Girl Scouting, there’s no better place for a girl to grow as a leader in STEM and in life.

Thank you, Renita, for leading girls through STEM adventures. When parents see unrivaled opportunities and want their daughters to be G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM, the future looks BRIGHT for Girl Scouts! If you’d like to know more about the Community Partner Program or have an organization that would like to create opportunities for girls, check out our Community Partners page here!

Rock Chalk, STEM Hawks!

It’s fall and that means it’s a perfect time to get outdoors and get your hands dirty! For Girl Scouts, this included an exciting STEM day at Camp Tongawood, hosted by KU’s Biology department (the Ecology & Entomology graduate program students), who wanted to do their part in inspiring the next generation. As Andrew Mongue, a grad student lead on the project, said “One of our big motivators with these STEM activities is to provide encouragement and re-spark interest in girls at the critical ages.” Thanks to their work and innovative activities, girls were laughing their way to a love of science.

The University of Kansas (the Jayhawks), worked with Girl Scouts to create a program that not only inspires girls, but provides their grad students an opportunity to interact with kids. With grad programs taking 5-6 years, this community engagement helps keep the students motivated and gives Girl Scouts unique STEM experiences in the most critical time in their lives.

“…it really is a two-way street; I get encouragement from the girls’ excitement. A PhD is a long-term goal (5-6yrs) and at times I can lose sight of the passion that set me down this path. Working with kids who have nothing but pure wonder for the sciences and natural world helps remind me of my own passion for Biology,” Andrew said.

This year KU hosted a bug event where girls were able to capture bugs, look at them up-close and get guidance from Andrew (AKA “Ant-Man”) and Kaila Colyott (AKA “Wasp”). They ran around with nets, got into the creek and captured bugs on the ground. One of the most exciting parts for girls was watching normally sweet dragonflies eat prey in the enclosure!

In October, a larger project with more students from KU joined together for this rotation style STEM expo. Girls got to experience wide range of activities from looking at worms, fish and fungi under microscopes to changing colors with acids and learning about genetics! It was quite the experience for girls.

“…it’s important to develop and promote STEM learning outdoors, like Camp Tongawood. There is a lot of great ecology (read: really cool bugs among other things) in the countryside of Kansas that most people won’t interact with going about their daily routine. These places are great to explore nature are crucial nurturing that curiosity in kids,” Andrew said.

One of the favorite projects was an art project using fish specimens! That’s right! Girls picked a dead fish that had patterns/textures they found interesting and used paint to transfer the patterns on to pieces of white cloth, creating their own art pieces! What a cool way to explore animals and learn about what makes fish so interesting.

The acids and bases activity was a bubbly experience with some real chemistry magic! Adding either a base or an acid to a solution let girls watch it bubble, change colors and even smoke when dry ice was added. Girl Scouts learned about ocean acidification that is a concern for scientists and ways we can go about preventing it. What a colorful way to learn about chemistry.

Thanks to the KU Biology department for their hard work on this expo. Girls were raving about it and were clearly inspired! Together, we can keep inspiring young women to love science and create a bright future in science.

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