Cookie 5K Run/Walk

When Girl Scouts have big goals, innovation happens! Thanks to a super, supportive dad with special expertise, Girl Scout Junior Troop 1052 from Blue Springs, Missouri is working hard toward their troop goal of taking a trip together to St. Louis. And, Kansas City is getting its very first Girl Scout Cookie 5K Run/Walk. On March 3, 2018, you can run for cookies and celebrate G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM.

Scott Chilcutt manages runs for a living, working with KC Running Company. He’d seen Girl Scout cookie runs in other cities and when his daughter’s troop had ambitious goals for their trip, he saw it as a perfect fit to bring a Girl Scout cookie run to KC! It was a unique way he could contribute his own skill set to improve the troop experience for his daughter, Addy, and her Girl Scout sisters.

Troop 1052 has been together since 1st grade and they’re now awesome 5th grade Girl Scout Juniors. Scott loves having Addy in Girl Scouts because of the skills she learns and the things they get to do together.  “Girl Scouting gives Addy a lot of rewards. She has a community with her Girl Scout sisters, they have a lot of community involvement and I like the direction the troop has gone,” Scott said.

 

Left: Scott and daughter, Addy; Right: Troop 1052 at their 2017 St. Louis trip!

While his wife, Cassy, volunteers a lot with the troop, he still gets to be involved and help Addy with some of her new skills. “Girl Scouts is about getting back to the basics of what it is to be a dad and daughter. It’s an opportunity to work on skills that are starting to fall by the wayside,” Scott said.

Scott is hoping this run will become an annual event and hopes to involve more troops as it grows in size. He especially loves that it’s combining physical fitness with Girl Scout cookies – which are so very yummy and tempting to eat! “The Cookie Run will let people come support girls in a way they haven’t before. It’s a healthy initiative, which is new to combine with cookies. It’s teaching girls that it’s okay to eat the cookies when you’re pairing it with something healthy,” Scott said.

The run will take place in Independence, MO, near the Bass Pro Shop and with Girl Scout volunteers on hand, we know this is going to be an exciting celebration of girls! With Girl Scout Cookies as the prize and samples of each flavor available for runners, what better way to spend a Saturday? This run will feature food/celebrations at the end, runners getting to pick their favorite GS Cookie to celebrate finishing the race, a t-shirt for the day and much more.

 

Here’s a special sneak peek at the T-shirt design for the run!

If you’re inspired to support girls in a healthy, fun way, join us on March 3 as we cheer on everyone who stands with girls! You can register here – $34 for adults, $12 for kids (until March 1, when prices increase). You can also help the troop by sharing their facebook event for this run!

 

We LOVE Kappa Deltas!

5th Annual Kappa Delta Girl Scout Cookie Challenge Yields Record-Breaking Results

The hustle of boxes, the speed of sale, and the awesome energy of Kappa Delta women paired with Girl Scouts – it’s the annual Kappa Delta Girl Scout Cookie Challenge!

For the past five years Girl Scout troops have partnered with the Kappa Delta chapter at Kansas State University and the Kappa Delta chapter at University of Kansas for a friendly competition to see which school can sell the most Girl Scout cookies in a few hours!

It’s more than just a (coveted) Golden Thin Mint trophy, it’s a whole different kind of bragging rights between these schools. One that puts sister against sister!

What started out as a little game in 2014 has grown into the #KDGSCookieChallenge, with the Golden Thin Mint residing in both chapter houses twice. The fifth year, however, would mean that one school would be able to declare more wins over the other… and this year was another for the record books – with both schools selling more than they ever have in the history of the competition!

“I think what our chapter loves about this challenge is being able to see the impact we make directly with the Girl Scouts. It’s unique to be able to impact people at a local level and not just donate to an organization. We love being with the Girl Scouts and being able to spend time with them to hopefully build their confidence! It’s also really cool to see so many Kappa Deltas supporting them and seeing friendships made at the event,” K-State Kappa Delta VP-Community Service said!

This year, the KU Kappa Delta Chapter and Senior & Ambassador Troop 7579 sold 150 cases while the the K-State Kappa Delta Chapter and Cadette Troop 467 sold 158! Not only is this the most cookies ever sold, it’s also the narrowest margin in #KDGSChallenge history!

If you’re keeping total, that’s 3,696 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies sold at both schools in just three hours!!

School 2015 2016 2017 2018
KU 1,187 1,462 1,364 1,800
K-State 624 768 1,579 1,896

“For the house it’s a great opportunity to hang out with Girl Scouts more. We can develop more of a friendship with these girls and give them a glimpse into sorority life since they’re older girls we’re working with,” KU Kappa Delta VP-Community Service Cassidy Hild said. “I feel like with increased numbers by both schools it just shows the passion and effort we give this challenge each year!”

Both troops have big plans for the proceeds they earned while working with the Kappa Deltas. Troop 467 believes that their dream of a trip to a National Park will be made a reality this year and Troop 7579 is planning an international trip before they graduate next year!

Every year we’re blown away with the hospitality, enthusiasm, energy and effort that the women of Kappa Delta put into making the #KDGSCookieChallenge a huge success with the troops who are selected to sell at their houses. This is one sweet partnership and we are forever grateful!

Tell Your Butterfly Story!

“Resilient, determined, courageous and beautiful… You have the qualities to transform your world…” –Susan Lordi (artist).

These words – resilient, determined, courageous, beautiful – all describe not only the life journey of the monarch butterfly, but also our own G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM Girl Scouts. When you think about the journey a butterfly goes through – from caterpillar to cocoon to breaking out of its shell to becoming one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet – its resilient strength only gets amplified. It’s no wonder this creature was the inspiration for the Kansas City based, internationally known artist behind Willow Tree®, Susan Lordi.

Strongly influenced by nature, art history, architecture, ballet and her family, Susan conceives and creates each Willow Tree piece at her studio in Kansas City, MO, surrounded by the robust art scene of the Crossroads district. After Susan sculpts and carves the original, it is then cast in resin that perfectly captures each of her knife marks. Each piece is then hand-painted, based on coloration and techniques unique to Willow Tree.

Many of us have strong memories with one of Susan’s creations. Her gesture-focused figures, with their elegant simplicity, invoke memories for anyone who has received one as a gift. Maybe it was a graduation gift, maybe a brother gave it to a sister, maybe a mother gave it to her daughter at her wedding. No matter the occasion, if you have a Willow Tree sculpture, it has meaning for you.  In Susan’s words, Willow Tree isn’t so much about the tangible piece. It represents an emotion, or it marks a memory”.

For 2018, Susan Lordi created a very special sculpture that combines the power of a girl with the resilience of the monarch butterfly…all accented with gold. Inspired by her love of the prairie, butterflies and the strength of women, “Butterfly” the sculpture was born. Girls. Strength. Gold.

“Butterfly” beautifully captures the essence of being a Girl Scout. The journey a monarch goes through sounds very similar to the growth of a Girl Scout from Daisy to Ambassador – finding strength and becoming more beautiful as she learns to spread her wings and fly. Because Willow Tree sculptures are all about the personal stories behind them…Willow Tree, DEMDACO and Girl Scouts invite YOU to tell YOUR butterfly story!

Beginning TODAY, February 12, Girl Scout Junior, Cadette, Senior & Ambassador troops and individual (Indy) Girl Scouts are invited to submit their “Butterfly” story for an awesome contest. Your story will want to embody what it means to you to be resilient, determined and courageous. How do you take action to change the world? How have you grown or will continue to grow into the beautiful monarch butterfly? We want this to be a girl-led activity, include plenty of creativity (submit artwork, a powerpoint, a video, etc.) and show others the power of being a Girl Scout!

Our story submission process will end on Girl Scouts’ 106th birthday – March 12th, with winners announced on Tuesday, March 20th, the first day of Spring. Our friends at Willow Tree and DEMDACO will select the winning entries – including Susan herself!

What do the winning “Butterfly” storytellers receive? Each Girl Scout in the troop and her leader(s) will receive her/his own “Butterfly” sculpture AND complimentary entry to April 14th’s Inspire a Girl! We will also feature the winning stories at Inspire a Girl and get a special photo opportunity.  A minimum of two troops or Indy Girl Scouts will be selected from each region (Central, East, West & North).

Learn more and submit your entry here between Feb. 12 – Mar. 12, 2018. We can’t wait to see these awesome “butterfly stories” from our amazing Girl Scouts!

Watch this special message from Susan! 

A special thanks to DEMDACO for their incredibly generous donation of the “Butterfly” sculptures, and to Susan and Karen Lordi (artist and writer sisters behind Willow Tree) for making this contest possible. Stay tuned for more exciting “Butterfly” announcements coming soon!

Going Gold in the North & West Regions

The projects are done, the paperwork is in and excitement is brewing for Inspire a Girl! On April 14 we will honor sixty, (6-0!!!) Girl Scouts who completed their Gold Award Project and earned the highest award in Girl Scouting this year! This is the largest Gold Award Girl Scout class in recent history and it includes nine Girl Scouts from our council’s West & North regions!  This group of young women have spent more than 800 hours giving back to their communities. From creating literacy programs to community improvement projects and educational programs, these Girl Scouts have achieved the highest honor she can earn, the Gold Award!


NORTH

Skylar Clark, Atchison, KS
Troop 8184, Service Unit 801

Train Depot  – For her Gold Award project, Skylar Clark wanted to encourage local children to learn about their town’s history and have fun while doing it! She worked with the Atchison Chamber of Commerce and the Northeast Kansas Railroad Association to breathe new life into Atchison’s Train Depot. With the help of some friends and family members she did some painting at the depot and planted a brand new garden. After that, she hosted an educational workshop for children to learn about trains.

“I feel more connected to my community through the service that I’ve done for it.”


Werthen Gass, 
Trenton, MO
Troop 8081, Service Unit 820

NomNom ReadRead – Werthen Gass saw a need for additional literacy programs for young children, specifically those living in poverty. In her experience, those children were not prepared to become readers because they lacked resources in their life to provide the necessary equipment. To address the issue, she created the NomNom ReadRead YouTube channel in conjunction with the Trenton High School Key Club and Jewett Norris Library. She shared this resource with teachers and got their support to use the program within their own classrooms. To-date, she has 1,144 subscribers to the channel and nearly 1 million views!

“Through this project I realized that some kids never see any print in their homes. As a result, I developed a deeper sense of the world around me and I resolved to give the gift of reading to others.”

 

Latorrie Johnson, Trenton, MO
Troop 8081, Service Unit 820

Recycling on a Rural Community Level – Over the past few years, Latorrie Johnson noticed that the recycling had decreased in her rural town of Trenton, MO. To promote recycling on a local level she collected old bins and repurposed them into recycling bins and encouraged attendees to use them at community events. Latorrie also created a flier and passed it out at the local health fair and ran an article in the local newspaper to raise awareness about the importance of recycling!

“I have developed values such as persistency, determination, to work hard and never give up.”

 


Katelyn Kesinger, 
Atchison, KS
Troop 8184, Service Unit 801

American Flag Etiquette – Katelyn Kessinger wanted to educate her community on how to properly dispose of an American Flag. She worked with the Daughter of the American Revolution to create an education program that taught others how to hold an American Flag Retirement Ceremony and created a brochure that people could take away and refer to in the future.

“I learned that I just need to be more confident in myself and everything will go just fine!”


E’Lizabeth (Elle) Neal, 
Trenton, MO
Troop 8081, Service Unit 820

Preserving Trenton High School – Elle Neal saw a need for the digitization of her high school’s past yearbooks. The district didn’t have the capacity to do the work, so Elle stepped up. She collected yearbooks and scanned the thousands of pages to create a digital version of each one. She then created a website where the yearbooks would be accessible to alumni who are now living all around the world!

“I felt accomplished with the simple difference I made and I will try to continue to make a difference, no matter how little or big.”

 

Miranda Wagner, Atchison, KS
Troop 8184, Service Unit 801

Forest of Friendship; Make It KnownIn Atchison, KS is an International Forest of Friendship that was a gift from the City of Atchison and the international organization of women pilots, the Ninety-Nines that had been neglected by the community for quite some time. Miranda took it upon herself to  not only revitalize it, but create programming around the history of the forest and educate her community. She planted perennial flowers, created fact sheets and an educational scavenger hunt and installed a weather-proof box to make her resources available to all visitors. She promoted her project on the local radio station and held an event during the forest’s annual flag ceremony!

“Through my project I have shown how much one person can impact the world.”

 

WEST

Samantha Hall , Manhattan, KS
Troop 7189, Service Unit 704

Conversation about Conservation – Samantha Hall’s Gold Award project focused on the conservation of animals by focusing on the ways humans unknowingly harm the environment around them. She created a program centered around the palm oil crisis. Palm oil is a common item in household cleaning products that displaces and harms animals every day.  She worked with the Manhattan Sunset Zoo, creating backpack kits that visitors can check out and learn about ways they can easily help with animal conservation!

“I developed a stronger sense of self throughout this project. It made me take charge in ways that I haven’t before, prompting me to figure out how I work with people and the best way to get things done.”

 


Samantha Edwards, 
Sabetha, KS
Troop 7200, Service Unit 714

Birds of Prey Awareness – Samantha Edwards wanted to change the negative perception birds of prey have by educating people on the positive ways they impact the environment and ecosystem. Samantha created a presentation and website with interesting facts, benefits of their existence and how humans can help them thrive. She also created bird swag bags containing bird seed and trading cards. Her presentation and information will continue through efforts of her school and community library.

“I feel that my confidence will grow tremendously because this project showed me that I can speak my mind and that anything is possible of you put your mind to it. I set a goal and I accomplished it.”


Kelly Wichmann
, Manhattan, KS
Troop 7189, Service Unit 704

Bike to School Day
– Kelly Wichmann’s Gold award project started when she realized that her school parking lot was overflowing. She thought about the impact that all those cars had on the environment and decided to create a Bike to School day to help the environment while encouraging her peers to be active. Included in her project was work to update and better the bike racks at her school to encourage her classmates to consider bicycling as a form of transportation every day, not just on one day!

“I know the assertiveness in which I built upon during the project will definitely be of great importance as I move on to my college years.”

 

Make plans to join us at Inspire a Girl on April 14 at the Overland Park Convention Center as we celebrate our entire 2018 Gold Award Girl Scout Class with a hands-on Expo and Honors Ceremony where they will officially receive their Gold Award Pin!

Did you receive the highest award in Girl Scouting?! We want to know! Drop us a comment below or send an email to prdept@gsksmo.org!

A Golden Heart for Girl Scouts

Meet Girl Scout Alum Bernadette “Bernie” Murray

An alumna with a golden heart for Girl Scouts! Meet Bernadette “Bernie” Murray, a Highest Award Girl Scout Alumna, proud member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society AND Daisy’s Circle! Investing in the future of girls has become a passion for Bernie because of the impact the program had on her own life. Being a champion for women has been a lifelong goal – and it all started in a troop.

“I’m constantly working to building up women and to be a champion for women because we’re a minority in my line of work. But it’s something I’ve been doing my whole life and it started with Girl Scouts,” Bernie said, who currently works in cyber security – a male dominated industry.

Bernie entered the Girl Scout world as a Brownie and quickly found herself trying exciting things. She learned to drive a manual transmission car, did winter survival and travelled all over the world. In fact, she’s been to every World Center except India – what an impressive Girl Scout travel resume! Bernie even had a pen pal from one of her Destinations that she reconnected with on LinkedIn recently.

 

Bernie at National Center West in 1984.

Outdoor adventure became a passion as she entered her teen years and she served as a Counselor-In-Training and various other outdoor positions. She travelled to National Center West on a council sponsored trip called “Wyoming Trek.” To this day, she’s still an avid camper and credits a lot of that passion for the outdoors to Girl Scouts. She’s still in touch with girls from her Girl Scout camping days thanks to an outdoor program Facebook group!

“As a teen, Girl Scouts kept me on the straight and narrow. Without Girl Scouts, I would not be the same person I am today,” Bernie said.

This love of camping inspired her Gold Award project, which was creating a camp aid training program. “Girl Scout Cadettes and Seniors would go through this training to learn to work with troops who had leaders who didn’t have a strong background in the outdoors,” Bernie said. The program helped ensure that Girl Scouts got a great outdoor experience, even if their leader was learning alongside them! Today, leaders go through training at our council, but being a true Innovator, Bernie’s program was ahead of its time.

 

Bernie as a CIT at Camp Prairie Schooner

Fast forward several years and Bernie is still camping and finding Girl Scouts popping up in her life. At a work meeting she realized that the presenter was her Gold Award advisor! Those connections with other Girl Scouts and mentors have truly lasted a lifetime for this awesome Girl Scout.

Today, Bernie is a proud member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society, a special group of donors who have included Girl Scouts in their estate plans. Investing in girls was at the top of her list because of the impact the program had on her own life. “In Girl Scouts, I wasn’t told I couldn’t do something. I just did it. Because of that, I thrived. I want to make sure that the next generation continues to have those experiences without financial constraints,” Bernie said.

Thanks to donors like Bernie, Girl Scouts continues to be the top leadership organization for girls in the world. It’s because of dedicated alumna, donors and volunteers that we can build a bright future for girls!

Do you know a special alum like Bernie? Share the story with us using the comments below.

Inspired by Daisy

 Troops Follow Founder’s Footsteps as Philanthropists

Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, was not only an advocate for girls, she was also a philanthropist. She sold her valuable strand of pearls to provide funding for Girl Scouts in its early days. Today, troops are stepping up and becoming the philanthropists of tomorrow by joining Daisy’s Circle, the monthly giving program for our council.

Daisy’s Circle is named for Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low. By becoming members of Daisy’s Circle, troops are giving back to other girls so they can have a full Girl Scouting experience. Troops began joining Daisy’s Cirlce in 2016 (Troop 879) and we now have 6 amazing troops who are giving back to girls. Check out these awesome troops making a difference for sister Girl Scouts!


GS Cadette Troop 956 – Lenexa, KS

“I really wanted to help girls that couldn’t do Girl Scouts because it’s really fun and I like it.” – Alyssa E. (age 12)

Troop 956 selected Daisy’s Circle as their organization to donate to because the girls wanted to give to other girls in the program. Since they love Girl Scouts, they wanted to give to help other girls have the same opportunities. To help them understand what being a donor meant, Melissa Ford from the GSKSMO Philanthropy team, came to teach the girls about giving back at a troop meeting. After learning about Daisy’s Circle, the girls decided to join! The program is special to them and something they want to invest in because of the experiences they get working together as a troop. “Girl Scouts gives my girls, who wouldn’t necessary spend time together without Girl Scouts, the chance to be around other perspectives and learn to work together,” Wendee Egbert, troop leader said.

GS Junior Troop 1323 –

“I wanted people who couldn’t afford to be in Girl Scouts to be able to have a way to join and do all the fun stuff other Girl Scouts get to do all over the world.” -Allie R. (age 10)

For Troop 1323, the decision to join Daisy’s Circle showed a real commitment to having the voice of the entire group represented. When Kara Lineweber (from the Philanthropy team at GSKSMO) came to talk to the girls about philanthropy, only half the troop was present and they wanted to make sure everyone got to vote before deciding to join. At the next meeting, the girls who had been at the presentation explained the power of giving back to the other troop members and they voted to join. As troop leader Erin said, “by simply saying YES, the girls are proud member of Daisy Circle and wearing their pins!” This troop gives back all year through donations funded with their cookie proceeds, service projects and any other opportunity they see!

 

GS Multilevel Troop 0009 & Troop 1795 –

“Joining the Daisy Circle is important because it is a big way to give back to what the Council does for us. Without these donations, we wouldn’t be able to do the events and camps.  Together, if we all step in and donate, our Girl Scout experience will be even better.” – Brynna N. (age 13)

 “It was important to join Daisy’s Circle because it’s a way for our troop to give back to Girl Scouts and for other girls to participate in GS activities!” – Regan J. (age 15)

Troop 0009 and Troop 1795 joined Daisy’s Circle together since the two troops work together on a lot of projects. Led by amazing leaders, these troops are certainly Go-Getters – doing everything they can to give back. For Troop 1795, the decision was easy once the girl heard about the challenges some Girl Scouts, right next door, face just to go to troop meetings. “We talked about how in KCMO school district, some parents work two jobs to make ends meet and that not everyone can afford the things my girls take for granted – uniforms, activities, etc.  Our girls decided unanimously that they wanted to give back to other Girl Scouts,” Amy Rothery-Colin, Troop 1795 leader said.

Troop 0009 joined because they are a troop built on a love of giving back. This troop is all about service – kicking off their annual meetings in August with a service project at a soup kitchen to bond. Their leader, Mary Ellen Hughes, has developed a culture of giving back because she took on the troop when it was in need of a leader and told the girls that sometimes you have to be the one to do something when you see a problem. That made an impact on the girls and they’re now proud Daisy’s Circle members!

GS Multilevel Troop 4222 –

“We wanted to do good things for other girls who want to do good things and make the world a better place!” – Eden (age 11)

In the fall of 2017, Troop 4222 started learning all about money and budgeting. After a trip to the Federal Reserve Bank at Kansas City, the girls worked on their own budgets based on their cookie money earnings. Troop leaders Amy and Erin encouraged them to dream about what they wanted to do with their money as part of their budget. Nearly every girl had dreams of giving back. Remembering Daisy’s Circle from Inspire a Girl 2017, the leaders asked Kara to come teach the girls about philanthropy. After that, the girls voted 5 to 0 to join and now sport their awesome pins on their vests with pride! “The entire process was such a learning experience, but the real excitement was the very cool Daisy Circle pins and patches!  The girls are SUPER happy to sport those on their uniforms,” Troop Leader Amy Jones said.

Thank you to all our amazing G.I.R.L.s who are giving back to help other girls THRIVE in Girl Scouts! Together, we truly are building up one another in the world of Girl Scouting. You can read more about our first Daisy’s Circle troop, Troop 879 here! THANK YOU to all our incredible donors who make Girl Scouting possible.

Giving Back to the Community that Raised Her

Gold Award Girl Scouts are an extra special group of high-achieving women who are driven to make the world a better place as girl members and throughout their life. When you add “Lifetime member” and “Daisy’s Circle member” to that category, you get an awesome, unstoppable G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM! Meet Elizabeth Shyanne Adcock (although she goes by Shyanne)! This amazing Girl Scout not only has invested in her community with a powerful Gold Award project, but is investing in the future of the program she loves so dearly as a member of Daisy’s Circle.

Shyanne started her Girl Scout journey as a Daisy, as young as she could. “I really don’t ever remember NOT being in Girl Scouts,” Shyanne said. She has fond memories of cookie sales, events and giving back through service projects. Most importantly, she remembers the sisterhood she had. “I’m dyslexic, so learning the Promise and Law took me twice as long as the other girls, but when I finally got it down, everyone was so happy. I’ve always had support behind me in Girl Scouts,” Shyanne said.

One of the highlights was her Highest Award projects – all of which included flowers! Her Bronze Award project involved creating flower pots they donated to a local school that are still in use today! For Silver, she helped grow plants from seeds to donate. It’s only natural that she’d find a way to incorporate flowers into her Gold Award! Like many Girl Scouts, Shyanne had several amazing ideas, but hit some roadblocks within the community on what she could pursue. Finally, her prayer garden project was approved and she was able to make a beautiful addition to her town. “I wanted to find a way to give back to the community that raised me, which is why I worked so hard to find a project I could do,” Shyanne said.

Shyanne planted two prayer gardens – one in her town of Missouri City, MO and the second about a mile away one in a very small town nearby. She reached out to community members who donated artwork, garden decorations, lights, a bench and other items to make the gardens full of interesting elements. She even got a statue donated! Now, her gardens serve as a peaceful place for prayer and contemplation for those in her community.

After completing her Gold, Shyanne attended a meeting with her former troop leader, MaryEllen Hughes where the troop was being inducted into Daisy’s Circle for joining. Moved by what Girl Scouts had given her, Shyanne stepped up and decided to become a member that night as well. “Girl Scouts has done a lot for me and knowing that there are girls who can’t do Girl Scouts because of money just really hit me. I feel like Daisy’s Circle is a good place for my money,” Shyanne said.

Now Shyanne is attending University of Central Missouri as a graphic design major and discovering what she wants to do as a career. In April 2018, Shyanne will receive her Gold Award pin at Inspire a Girl and we can’t wait to watch her proudly walk across that stage. This amazing G.I.R.L. is a great example of not only a Girl Scout, but a philanthropist, looking to the future of the program that gave her a supportive, loving sisterhood of girls.  Thank you, Shayanne!

If you’re interested in joining Daisy’s Circle like Shayanne, visit http://www.daisyscircle.org!

Giving to Help Girls Tell Their Story

In November, GSKSMO asked supporters to help a girl tell her own, unique story by helping her fill her Girl Scout vest. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we raised $12,223.25, which has provided funding to cover the membership dues of 488 local girls who are now able to start telling their Girl Scout story – all thanks to you. A major part of the success of this campaign was a matching gift provided by Sylvia Wagner and E.R. Pullman. As a former board member, Sylvia discovered the power of Girl Scouts is something to invest in because girls are our most powerful resource.

Sylvia Wagner is a former GSKSMO Board Member and philanthropist who advocates for girls and serves as a volunteer and board member for a variety of incredible organizations across multiple states. As the VP of HR for Assurant in New York, Sylvia became a GSKSMO Board Member in the mid-1990s when she moved to Kansas City from Minneapolis. During her time as a Board Member, she learned about the amazing programming and stories of Girl Scouts inspiring her to be a champion for girls.

She first felt the power of a match herself while at a meeting where a match was offered for any gifts given that night. “I was at an evening meeting with Joy Wheeler and other Girl Scouts supporters, where they asked us to make a gift and said ‘if you give tonight, it will be matched.’ I thought ‘oh, that’s really great’ and I gave. This year, when I was asked me to give a match, I did because I think it really matters when there’s a match opportunity,” Sylvia said.

Sylvia is certainly right! Thanks to the gift, #GivingTuesday 2017 was a larger success than GSKSMO has ever seen with this campaign. Girls are celebrating with new vests, new patches and memberships already. With hundreds of girls waiting for funding through the Opportunity Fund at GSKSMO, the money raised helps these girls fulfill their Girl Scouting dreams.

The motivating force for Sylvia to give is the power of the Girl Scouts program and what it offers to girls today. When she joined the Board, she knew very little about the program. She had a son who was a Boy Scout, but she was not a Girl Scout alumna. During her many years of service on the Board, she learned just how life changing the program is. “I’m proud to say I became a Girl Scout in my 40s…which is a little older than most, but it was really fun!,” Sylvia said.

Sylvia and E. Robert Pullman with their son, Nick, in California and celebrating his JD/MBA graduation.

“Girl Scouts reinforces all the right things for girls and the programs are just wonderful [… and] when you hear the experiences these girls have, it’s the most compelling reason to give,” said Sylvia. In addition to empowering girls through giving, she loves the sense of gratitude she receives from the Council. “They have a wonderful sense of gratitude, and that makes a world of difference,” Sylvia said.

Gratitude overflows at Girl Scouts because, as an organization, it is built on volunteers and donors who change lives. From troop leaders who are on the ground, working directly with girls, to the donors who build rappel walls and support girls in need, Girl Scouts is a community of people who believe in girls. Because of that, we’re all thankful for everyone who works together to make Girl Scouting a reality.

“[In today’s climate], it’s really important for girls to have a positive place to be, to have positive role models and know that they have not only have a voice, but to use it. That’s what the Girl Scouts enables in these young, impressionable girls,” Sylvia said. That’s why now is an especially important time to give, to invest in girls and give them the tools they need to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Ensuring Girl Entrepreneurs SHINE!

When it comes to cookie sales, a personalized sales pitch, customer follow-up and a successful delivery are all key to Girl Scout success. In fact, those same skills lead to a powerful sales person in any industry. Girl Scout cookie dad, Shawn Muller should know! He’s a real estate agent and has served as cookie dad for Troop 545 for the past 5 years. What makes Shawn such an awesome volunteer is his application of skills he uses in his job, combined with a passion for helping his daughter (and her Girl Scout sisters) succeed. Because of volunteers like Shawn, girls are becoming the CEOs and sales leaders of the future!

Shawn became his troop’s cookie dad about 5 years ago when they needed someone with financial experience. His daughter, Maya, was in kindergarten and this was his first experience with Girl Scouting. Though his first year was intimidating, he jumped in and found resources to make it a great experience.  “The cookie manager training [at GSKSMO] was definitely helpful in terms of getting my comfort up, but I learned a lot of lessons that first year,” Shawn said.

Despite having some of those hard lessons to learn, Shawn got 100% troop participation in the program that first year and continues to have amazing success. As a cookie dad, he finds being organized helps everyone. At the first cookie meeting, Shawn gives out a wall calendar with the cookie dates already marked and a quick reference guide to make it easier to understand and manage for busy parents.

“One of my big things was just making sure parents understood the information. The wall calendars came from my day job as a real estate agent, I always send out wall calendars in December, so it was an easy thing to do,” Shawn said.

Shawn loves being cookie dad because it allows him to spend time with his daughter in an activity she’s passionate about. “On the most basic level, [Girl Scouts] makes her happy. She’ll come home from a troop meeting or an extra activity and she’s always excited and feeling like she accomplished something,” Shawn said.

For Shawn and Maya, the cookie season especially has become a chance for them to work together and for him to teach her sales skills. “This year, someone made an online order, so I took the opportunity to teach her about follow-up. She recorded a short video message and sent it to them on Facebook Messenger and that got a really good response. Now she’s learning that showing appreciation is important,” Shawn said. What an awesome way for dad and daughter to bond while teaching Maya to be an awesome G.I.R.L.?!

After 5 years on the job, Shawn has learned a few things. One of his best tips for increasing sales and helping the community is Cookie Share. “When the girls are asking for someone’s business, it’s such an easy thing to also say ‘I’m raising money in support of the Veterans’ Hospital and Harvesters, would you like to donate some boxes?,’ most of the time, people will say ‘yes.’ That charity aspect is important and I try to help my troop remember that as they sell,” Shawn said.

This amazing cookie dad loves his role as a volunteer and to other Girl Scout dads, “I’d say, 100%, dads should get involved in Girl Scouts and not be afraid of it. It’s so important for the girls to see that dads are interested and involved,” Shawn said. Without our amazing volunteers – moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends – Girl Scouts would not exist. So thank you to Shawn and all the other amazing cookie parents who make this program a success!

Do you have some awesome cookie season tips to share? Comment below!

The Power of Finding Yourself

Spotlighting Girl Scout Alumna Mackenzie Williams

Outdoor experiences are at the heart of Girl Scouting and help girls discover themselves. From leadership to physical fitness, Girl Scouts learn to be independent, strong women, in part thanks to outdoor activities and camping adventures. Most importantly, girls learn to rely on themselves in the outdoors. For Girl Scout alumna, Mackenzie Williams, living a life of adventure in the outdoors has turned into an exciting career of travel and independence.

Mackenzie started Girl Scouts as a girl in the Olathe/Desoto, KS area, but found her particular troop wasn’t a right fit for her. “I wish my parents had enrolled me in Girl Scouts sooner and treated it like you would soccer, something you just do. I didn’t join Girl Scouts until I asked and looking back, I wish that it had been part of my life earlier,” Mackenzie said.

At the age of 19, Mackenzie started travelling the US by herself, filling a personal need to travel and be outdoors. While it made her parents nervous, the experience changed her life. “When you get way out of your comfort zone and put yourself in different situations you learn about yourself in unique and different ways that you wouldn’t experience any other way,” Mackenzie said. During these travels she found a passion for the outdoors and getting people to experience nature.

At 21, she was able to work as a wilderness ranger in California’s Sequoia National Forest. “I’m very passionate about women doing jobs that are considered ‘male jobs,’ like being a park ranger. I had a hiker say to me ‘wow, women can do this job?’ and I remember saying ‘yes, we sure can!’” Mackenzie said. She was one of the strongest hikers on her team, averaging a mile ahead of the group, all despite being only 5’ and one of only two women on the team. Talk about an awesome G.I.R.L!

Today, Mackenzie is back in Kansas finishing her degree in Psychology at the University of Kansas. She plans to return to nature in the summer and become a ranger again. Recently, Mackenzie reconnected with her troop leader Leslie who opened the door to the outdoors when she was a younger Girl Scout. The two decided to have Mackenzie come speak to the girls about solo travel, independence and being a woman in a male-centric career.

 

Mackenzie talking to Leslie’s troop about her experiences with solo travel and being a wilderness ranger in 2017.

“[In Girl Scouts] you are learning these skills, which at the time you have no idea how important those lessons will be when you are older. It’s those little things, those skills, that knowledge, that builds a foundation for girls,” Mackenzie said. That’s why she loves coming back and reconnecting with Girl Scouts to share her knowledge and inspire girls to learn about themselves through solo travel and trying new things.

We thank Mackenzie and all the amazing G.I.R.L.s who are out there showing the world that there’s not job a girl can’t do AND coming back to share that knowledge with Girl Scouts today. It takes a village to raise a Girl Scout and Mackenzie is being part of that support system, encouraging independence and adventure. Thank you, Mackenzie! And AWESOME troop leaders like Leslie change girls lives. We are so incredibly honored to support volunteers like Leslie! Thank you, Girl Scout volunteers for growing these  G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers and Leaders)!!