We’re Thankful For You!

This week is Thanksgiving and it is always a good time to reflect on the things we’re thankful for in our lives. Here at our council we want you to know that we are thankful for YOU!

We’re thankful for our Girl Scouts. Every day we see and hear all the awesome things they are doing to build a better world.

We’re thankful for all our wonderful volunteers. Without you, girls would miss out on amazing opportunities waiting for them.

We’re thankful for our parents and caregivers who encourage and support their Girl Scouts to reach for their dreams.

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving
surrounded by family and friends!




Girl Scouts Give Back through Red Bag Program

Every year about this time you can feel the excitement about the holidays. Many kids have already started writing their wish list of toys. Rarely does that list include basic needs such as warm socks and shoes. But for one eight-year-old girl in Kansas City, that’s exactly what was on her list.

Tara Plakyda, leader of GS Troop 3704 from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, knew that teaching her second-year Brownies the lesson of giving back was an important one. Through a friend Tara learned of something called the Red Bag Program, providing Christmas gifts to children who wouldn’t otherwise receive any gifts.

Tara back brought the idea of adopting a girl their same age and filling a red bag as a community service project. All the girls agreed this would be a perfect way to spend some of their hard-earned cookie sales money.

They chose an eight-year-old girl whose main wishes included a diary, a basketball and warm socks, shoes and clothes. They didn’t know her back story or why she didn’t have anyone who could give her these things. But they stepped up to provide for her.

In addition to their cookie proceeds, the troop did some additional money earning and decided that every dollar made would also be used to purchase items for the red bag. Then they had a wrapping party to wrap the gifts they had purchased. Although they quickly realized they would need a second bag as the red one was spilling over with goodies!


“I didn’t really know how much this meant to the girls,” Tara said. “We ended the project and didn’t really talk about it much again. But when the troop bridged to Juniors I asked each of them to write about what they loved from the last year. Every single girl wrote about the Red Bag Program.”

She realized then that it was something that had made a big impact on the girls. So much so that they are in the process of filling a new red bag for another little girl. This year, the girls are responsible for choosing which items they want to purchase for their adoptee and managing the money part of it too.


“This increases their responsibility and encourages them to think about others,” Tara said. “It shows them another meaning of the season.”

This is not just the spirit of the holidays. Every day we hear stories of troops who are stepping up to help others. Learning about the needs of our community and donating time and resources to assist where they can. This is the spirit of Girl Scouts!

Through all faiths and walks of life, Girl Scouts are making the world a better place!

Girl Scouts Get Creative

An art museum is a place for the community. They’re accessible and inviting and they’re educational and inspirational.  Museums bring people together.

Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri is proud to partner with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, for nearly ten years, to bring arts education and creative opportunities to Girl Scouts.

It’s easy to see why this is one of our longest standing partnerships.

There are opportunities for every level of Girl Scout, from Daisy to Senior and Ambassador, to learn a little about art and spark girls’ creativity.

In October, Girl Scout Brownie Troop 1418 attended a “Clay Creations” class with troop leader, Lindy O’Rourke. Lindy has been taking her troops to the Nelson-Atkins since 2011 and loves the activities that her girls participate in.

“I like most about working with the Nelson are the variety of different classes they offer for different grade levels, the cost of the programming (very affordable at $9.00 per girl), and teachers are great with the girls.  The girls always come home with a project, which they are proud to show their parents.  I couldn’t teach the subject of what the class was about for the cheap prices that the Nelson offers.  I like how the Nelson gives the girls a mini tour of the facility depending on what project they are working on.  The girls are always amazed at what the museum looks like,” said Lindy.

Each workshop is a hands-on activity that builds on an experience with pieces of art in the museum. The instructors have a way of bringing the art to life in the galleries, giving the girls an experience they wouldn’t normally get.

Girl Scout Brownie Troop 21 recently attended their very first class at the Nelson this month. The 11 brownies learned the differences between American, Impressionist and Flemish landscapes and tried their own hand at painting.

“The instructors were very knowledgeable and worked well with the girls. They were able to communicate the history behind works of art and art techniques at a level the girls could understand. They did a wonderful job of involving the girls and listening to their impressions of each piece we viewed,” Cory said.

In addition to clay and painting, there are classes on printmaking, drawing, jewelry and mixed media.

Whether you need to work on a step for a badge or are just looking for a unique way to expose your girls to an art museum, the Nelson-Atkins is great for any troop!

“It is important for our girls to explore Kansas City gems like the Nelson-Atkins and appreciate the incredible works of art we have in our community. The Nelson’s educational programs have a great reputation,” said Cory.

For a list of classes currently scheduled, check out the Nelson-Atkins Community Partner page!


KU and K-State Kappa Delta Chapters Support Girl Scouts

When you think of meaningful experiences for Girl Scouts, a sorority house on a college campus probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. Maybe it should be!

Every year 14,000 collegiate Kappa Delta Sorority members host Girl Scouts of all ages for confidence-building and anti-bullying events, International Girls Day celebrations and other activities at 156 college campuses across the country. This relationship, forged in 1998 is based on shared organizational values of honesty, integrity, friendship and girl leadership.

In our area, we’re lucky to have two Kappa Delta chapters working with our Girl Scouts – one chapter at the University of Kansas and another at Kansas State University. These two chapters have put in countless hours with Girl Scouts by hosting fun and skill-building activities and supporting cookie efforts for girls.

Events have included campus tours, Disney-themed parties promoting individuality, friendship workshops, and fun events like sleep overs and dance parties. Kappa Delta members have volunteered at our Centennial, helped sort cookies, assisted at a KU football game, put in manual labor at camp properties and assisted at day camp.

“I think the most unique thing about the Girl Scout/Kappa Delta partnership is that Girl Scouts is our philanthropy and though as collegians we don’t give money, but what we do give is our time. We interact directly with the Girl Scouts in our community and are able to provide them with fun and educational experiences.” Kaitlyn Morgan, KU Kappa Delta member.

In the spring of 2014, K-State and KU Kappa Delta chapters decided to face off in the name of Girl Scouts. Each chapter worked with local troops to see who could sell the most Girl Scout cookies on their respective campuses in one afternoon. While K-State won the competition in its inaugural year, cookie sales totaled more than 800 boxes that day! Plans are underway to continue this friendly, girl-led competition in 2015!

“My favorite memory was when the Girl Scouts came over to our house to sell cookies with us in a competition against the KU Kappa Delta chapter with the Lawrence Girl Scouts.  We helped the girls sell so many cookies that night that we had to call other troop leaders to deliver more cookies!  It was a blast and I’ll always remember playing with the girls and carrying them around on our backs during the event,” Maddy Larson, K-State Kappa Delta member.

Each chapter designs and implements their own activities, but there is one cornerstone event that brings all 156 Kappa Delta Chapters and Girl Scouts together– International Girls Day, which happens to be today, November 14. Organized by the Confidence Coalition, International Girls Day celebrates the aspirations of young girls and encourages girls to pursue their dreams, no matter how big they are.

IGD Patch

Last night, the chapter at KU celebrated International Girls Day with activities focused around self-confidence. Collegians talked about their own dreams of working in fields that are typically male-dominated. Proving that girls can do anything that boys can do! Tomorrow, the chapter at K-State will be celebrating with a “Frozen” themed event – making homemade ice cream, having an indoor snowball fight and discussing the importance of accepting differences and how girls can be good friends.

“Kappa Delta’s relationship with the Girl Scouts is definitely a unique one.  In some ways we are a teacher or a role model, we are also an assistant to them while they sell Girl Scout cookies, but we are also like a big sister and friend to each them.  Every single time the Girl Scouts come to the house we always learn so much about them, but it is so cool how much each Kappa Delta learns about herself.  We love the Girl Scouts because this relationship is so unique and we know we can carry our friendships throughout our lifetime,” Marissa Haake, K-State Kappa Delta member.

In addition to the hands-on work of the collegians, the Kappa Delta Foundation annually contributes funds to the Girl Scout Gold Award program and provides scholarships for the National Young Women of Distinction. This year, the relationship came full circle when Paige Young, from our council, was honored as a National Young Woman of Distinction and received her scholarship from Kappa Delta.

NYWD Image

2014 National Young Women of Distinction with Kappa Delta Executive Director, Pamela Elms

It’s hard to tell who benefits the most from this relationship– the Girl Scouts themselves or the Kappa Delta members.

“While we are away at school, we don’t get many opportunities to interact with younger girls. Working with the Girl Scouts always makes for a fun afternoon filled with lots of smiles and giggles!  I am so proud of the girls when they come back and share with us all they’ve accomplished in the past few months.  For me personally, I know that by working to instill confidence in the younger girls, it has given me more confidence as well.  Each of us want to be a great role model for the Girl Scouts, so they always keep us striving to be an even better person than we were before.  We want to make them proud just as much as they want to make us proud!” Katherine Sensenich, K-State Kappa Delta member.

We’re so thrilled to partner with both Kappa Delta chapters at KU and K-State and we thank them for all they do for our Girl Scouts!


Girl Scouts Honor and Remember Veterans

Today is Veteran’s Day and as such we would like to honor and remember those who served in the military. Girl Scouts has always supported those in uniform. We know that we would not have the freedoms we have today without these brave men and women who fought for our country.

happy-veterans-dayRachelle Dover is a mom of two girls, a brownie troop leader and a servicewoman. She joined the Army after graduating college in 2011. She works as a medic at the hospital in Ft. Riley, Kansas.

Although she already has a full schedule she signed up to volunteer as her daughter’s troop leader this year after other volunteers went through transitions.

Rachelle is no stranger to Girl Scouts. She started as a Daisy and stayed in it for seven years. Some of her favorite memories of those days were of traveling with her troop and winning an award for selling the most cookies. So it was only natural for her to want her daughter to join too.

“When we moved on base I thought I would put my daughter in it. They had a recruiting night on post and there was a spot open,” Rachelle said.

She admits there’s not much to do in rural areas of Kansas and she wanted her daughter to have fun and versatile opportunities. She knew Girl Scouts would provide that. The brownie troop at Ft. Riley is now 18 girls strong.

pledge of allegiance

“They did outdoor activities over the summer and I helped with that. Lots of camping, a fun run and glow run and the girls are always coming up with new ideas for what they would like to do next.”

Rachelle said that one of the unique challenges their troop faces is the constant change. All the families in their troop live on base.

“Some of these girls’ moms and dads are deployed. They don’t always have their parents around so it is different for them. Girl Scouts provides extra support and we can have those tough conversations because many of us have been there.”

Another thing that Rachelle and her daughter love about Girl Scouts is the focus on giving back to their community.

“Last year the girls got together and created a goal for selling cookies. They wanted to donate at least 200 boxes of cookies to the USO,” Rachelle said.

uso coat drive

This year our council will grow this effort to give back when the Cookie Program kicks off Operation Sweet Treat, an effort started by Manhattan Town Center in 2008 and beginning council-wide this cookie season. Girl Scout troops can ask customers to help them donate cookies back to the USO just like Rachelle’s troop did last year. Donating cookies to the USO is a small way we can teach girls to honor those who have sacrificed so much on our behalf.

Thank you, veterans, for your service!

Girl Scouts Give Back

November is upon us, and the holiday season is right around the corner. As we move into this season, it is common for us to reflect on the things we are thankful for and find ways to give back and help those in need. Girl Scouts exemplifies service to others. Girls from across our 47 counties demonstrate their thankfulness and generosity by giving thousands of hours to local food pantries, hospitals and shelters.

On October 11, troops in Service Unit 678 and 680 united to organize the largest donation drive that Mission Southside has ever received. And it all started as a way to unite the various troops in Olathe, Kansas.

Senior Girl Scout, Ann Marie Hrdy, was reminiscing on her younger Girl Scout days and remembered how she used to go caroling for can goods with older Girl Scouts during the holiday season. This memory sparked an idea with her mom and Service Unit Leader, Chris Hrdy, to bring Girl Scouts, of all ages together to give back to their Olathe community.

Chris and Ann Marie talked with various troop leaders in their service unit, as well as with Nicole Williams, service unit manager for service unit 680, about different organizations that they could partner with. One troop leader suggested Mission Southside. Mission Southside is a nonprofit organization that serves families and individuals in need of food, toiletries and school supplies, in Johnson County.

Following the suggestion of the troop leader, Chris and Ann Mariemet with the leaders of Mission Southside to see if there was a potential for partnership. Ann Marie loved talking with those at Mission Southside, because she wants to learn what it’s like to work with different organizations as she prepares to work on her Gold Award project.

Troops from both service units came together and each decided what they could each bring do for Mission Southside. The younger troops hosted canned food drives in their elementary schools so they could collect as much food as possible while the older troops hosted a drive at Wal-Mart, handing out shopping lists to the patrons.

Ann Marie’s fond memory wasn’t lost, either. Her troop partnered with two younger troops to inform neighborhoods of their effort and go trick-or-treating for cans. Unfortunately, weather didn’t work out in their favor and they had a last minute change of plans that resulted in her troop taking leadership in the unfair weather conditions.

All the troops came together for the final collection on October 11, the most successful item drive that Mission Southside has ever seen.

1011141318_resized 1011141208_resized 1011141145_resized 1011141144a_resized 1011141144_resized

Ann Marie hopes to further build a relationship with Mission Southside, whether it’s sorting the items that they collected, organizing another item drive or potentially working with them on her Gold Award project.

“It was a lot of fun and it was nice to get together with the community and give back to all the people who have gave to me since I was a younger girl. You can still be an older girl in Girl Scouts and still have fun, and be a big part of the community,” Ann Marie said.

Learn more about ways that your troop can give back by visiting the Community Programs section of our website!

Cookie Trainings – How Sweet it Is!

Can you believe the holiday season is upon us? We can’t either! Another very important season is sneaking up on us too – cookie season! The 2015 Cookie Program will begin on January 1, 2015. Are you ready? If not, we’ve got all the “sweet” details for you.


This past Saturday, Service Unit Product Sales Managers (PSMs) gathered at GSKSMO headquarters to learn the ins and outs of the upcoming Cookie Program and get a head start on planning.


Regina McCullum is a long-time volunteer. She was a troop leader for seven years when two of her daughters were Girl Scouts. She currently serves as the PSM for Leavenworth, Ft. Leavenworth and Lansing, Kansas. Even though she has seven years of experience in this role she came to the training because she said there is new information to learn each year.

One thing that was reiterated at the training is something that Regina believes in strongly.

“I like that it’s a girl-led program. It’s not just about selling cookies. It’s about girls learning the same skills they would use if they were in business. And that’s a big deal,” Regina said.

Regina is referring to Girl Scouts learning “The 5 Skills:” Goal Setting, Decision Making, Money Management, People Skills and Business Ethics – all of which they can experience while participating in the cookie program.

Regina’s top cookie program tips for troop leaders are:

1. Information and communication with parents / caregivers is key
2. Attending trainings is one of the best things you can do
3. Refer to the Cookie Program handbook and website for answers and ideas

Cookie trainings for troop leaders are taking place during the next two weeks. You can register now to be sure they are trained and ready to go when it’s time to start selling!

If you’d like to volunteer for the Cookie Program like Regina there are lots of opportunities to help. You could help girls develop skills that will last a lifetime.