Junior First Lego League Series

By Stefanie McCall, Leadership & Learning Specialist -GSLE

Who knew that playing with Legos would teach girls engineering and problem solving skills and help them travel the world?  This was something that 16 first and second grade Girl Scouts discovered this past spring as members of a Junior First Lego League team (Jr. FLL).  Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland received a grant from Girl Scouts of the USA to start two Jr. FLL teams.  We partnered with the staff of John Thomas School of Discovery in Nixa to deliver the program.  The response was so overwhelming that we actually formed four teams!

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The girls spent six weeks with teachers of the Thomas School of Discovery and GSMH staff, discovering the world of Jr. FLL.  First, the girls learned about problems that senior citizen encounter as they age.  The girls did some problem solving and invented tools to help combat these obstacles.  Using Legos, girls created models of their inventions.  The inventions included tools to make using the phone easier and tricked-out wheelchairs that solved a multitude of mobility problems.


DSCN6841At the end of the program, girls took a one-day road trip to the First Lego League/Jr. First Lego League World Expo Festival in St. Louis, Missouri.  At this event girls saw FLL & Jr. FLL exhibits and models from teams all over the world.  Girls met other Girl Scout teams from Kansas, Colorado and Minnesota.


They met people from Hong Kong, Switzerland, Great Brittan, Japan and Germany to name just a few.  It was truly a life-changing opportunity for these first and second grade girls.

DSCN6886I am confident that out of the 16 girls on our teams that at least one of them will be inspired to become an engineer or a scientist.  Thanks to the field trip the girls had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and discover that while we all look different and speak different languages, everyone worked on creating a solution to the same problem.  Sharing the excitement of discovery with these girls has been a life changer for me as well.


Meet Your New Camp Directors!

Girl Scout Summer Camp is almost here! Registrations are piling in, sessions are filling up, and confirmations are being mailed. Very soon girls will start packing their duffel bags and making the journey to the Girl Scout camp of their choice. This year our Girl Scouts will be welcomed by new resident camp directors at each of our program centers.

Mouse” is the southeast region camp director (Cherokee Ridge & Latonka). Camp Director-Rachel_MouseMouse is from Cape Girardeau, MO and is a lifetime Girl Scout. She earned her Girl Scout Silver Award and her Girl Scout Gold Award. Mouse enjoyed camping as a Girl Scout, worked at summer camp and loves being at camp as a director. Her goals for this summer include, “Teaching girls basic outdoor skills, helping the girls to become more independent and grow into leaders. I want the girls to get the most out of camp that they can. Most of all have fun!”

Mouse’s faves:
Color: Yellow
Animal: Hippo
Camp activity: Making new friends
Camp song: “Tarzan”
Place at camp: By the lake watching the reflection of the moon and stars


Camp Director-Kalie_BearBear” is the southwest region camp director (Finbrooke & Mintahama). She is originally from Redding, CA and currently lives in Jonesboro, AR. Bear was a Girl Scout as a girl and has worked at both Girl Scout and Boy Scout camps through college. Bear is passionate about Girl Scout camp and says becoming camp director is a dream come true. “Every girl can expect to get an all-around Girl Scout camp experience: outdoor education, songs, games, pool time, learn new skills, and forge everlasting bonds with new friends and counselors. Our campers will be able to challenge themselves in a safe, secure environment. We have an amazing staff dedicated to Girl Scouts.”


Bear’s faves:
Color: Purple
Animal: Panda Bear
Camp Activity: Singing songs around a campfire
Camp Song: “On the Loose”
Place at Camp: The dining hall overlooking Lake Mintahama, the porch overlooking main camp at Finbrooke


New GSMH website to go live on May 21, 2013!

We are excited to announce our new and updated website will go live on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. In order to make the transfer happen, our website will be unavailable on Monday, May 20, 2013. Our website address will remain girlscoutsmoheartland.org. If you need access to any forms or other information normally found on the website while the site is down, please call 877-312-4764 and we will be happy to assist you. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by our site being down on May 20, 2013.



Bridging happens when a Girl Scout is ready to transition from one leadership level to the next.  Bridging consists of two parts:  earning the bridging award and participating in a bridging ceremony.

 The Bridging Award

The Handbook section of the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting contains information about the bridging award for each level.  Each level has two bridging award steps, Pass It On and Look Ahead.  In step 1, Pass It On, girls share their talent and skills with younger girls.  In step 2, Look Ahead, girls learn about the next level by meeting with older girls and asking them to share their experiences.  When Ambassadors complete the Look Ahead step, they get together with Girl Scout adults.

The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting contains three suggested activities for each step that are age-level appropriate.  The guide states that only one of these activities, or something similar, needs to be done to complete the step.


The Bridging Ceremony

Once girls have completed their bridging award requirements, have a ceremony to celebrate this special transition to the next level.  Bridging ceremonies differ, so you can customize one for your troop however you would like!  Some service units even do bridging ceremonies for several troops together as a group.  Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Some troops have girls cross a footbridge at a local park to symbolize their crossing into the next level.  Others use a symbolic bridge made of poster board or other materials.
  • You can give bridging favors to the girls.  For example, for a Bridging to Junior ceremony, you could give each girl a packet of daisy seeds to remind them of where they’ve been, a brownie to remind them of where they are, and a box of Junior Mints to symbolize what lies ahead.
  • In addition to the bridging awards, bridging certificates are available at all GSMH retail shops.

Event Recap: Leader’s Weekend Windows to the Past

Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland held the annual Leader’s Weekend event  April 12th – 14th at Finbrooke Program Center in Rogersville, MO.  This event is planned, organized and held by a committee of volunteers for volunteers. Many thanks to the dedicated committee members who planned the 2013 Leader’s Weekend: Trina Keeler, Kris Kessler, Kim Kneeter, Debra Kroll, Stephanie Lodes, Barbara Lowery, Melinda McGee, Goldie Prine, Karin Poppe, Jan Rorrer, Ginger Schneider, Mary Sheppard, Annette Thomas, Jamie Turner, and Stacy Weinstein.  Without these volunteers, Leader’s Weekend wouldn’t have been so successful! IMG_4317

About 125 Girl Scout adult volunteers from across the council gathered for a weekend filled with fun, friendship and learning! The Windows to the Past theme was reflected in the workshops, food,  and souvenirs offered. Workshops included beeswax candle making, crocheting, outdoor cooking, archery, games great-great grandma would have played and more.


If that wasn’t enough, participants were able to experience zip lining at night, s’mores around the campfire, and explore camp by taking a morning and night hike.  There was even a make and take craft station to make t-shirt scarves.

Leader’s Weekend is an annual event for all Girl Scout adult volunteers across the council.  If you would like to join in the planning for the 2014 Leader’s Weekend and have fun ideas please join the committee. New committee members are always welcome!  If you have any questions or want to join the committee contact Melody Hutchison, leadership and learning specialist-volunteerism or 877-312-4764 x 1122.


Top 5 Reasons to be an Early Bird!

Early Bird packets and info are being sent out to service units this month.  Here are the top 5 reasons to participate in Early Bird registration for the 2013-2014 membership year:

1. Online Option – GSMH is now able to accept girl and adult registrations online!  Members can register with a credit or debit card.  At this time, cookie credit payments and financial assistance request will still be done by paper.  For more information, ask your troop leader for a Girl Scout Registration Family Guide or visit ROSE (Registrations Online, Simple and Easy).

2. Patches! – Girls have a chance to receive 3 different patches during Early Bird.  By registering before July 1st, they will get the 13-14 Early Bird patch featuring a colorful peacock.  If they are registered using online registration, they will receive a ROSE (Registrations Online, Simple and Easy) patch featuring the owl mascot.  A third patch is available for girls whose families participate in the Strive for Twenty-Five Family Giving Campaign.









3. We Accept Cookie Credit – Teach your girls to be self-sufficient by using their recently used Girl Scout Cookie Credit to pay for their membership dues!  As a reminder, Cookie Credit can be used in GSMH retail shops to buy books and uniforms.  It can also be used for GSMH program event fees.

4. You’ll be ready to go in the fall! – 2012-2013 memberships will expire on September 30, 2013.  Register now and you won’t get sidetracked by the start of school and fall activities and forget to re-register!  Adults and girls must be 2013-2014 members in order to attend and conduct any Girl Scout meetings or events after September 30, 2013.

5. Volunteer Tote Bags – Troops who re-register and have submitted a 2012-2013 Troop Financial Report by the July 1st Early Bird deadline will receive 2 Girl Scout volunteer tote bags for the troop leader and co-leader.

Don’t forget—the deadline for Early Bird Registrations is July1, 2013!


Thank You!

By Melody Hutchison

In Girl Scouting, we celebrate April 22nd as Leader’s Day – this day just happens to fall in the middle of National Volunteer Week, too!  Girl Scout Leader’s Day started on April 22, 1982, when a flag honoring Girl Scout leaders was flown over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.  This day honors those volunteers who make Girl Scouting an amazing experience that is known today.

13_VolAppWeek_FacebookCoverPhotoI remember my Girl Scouting years fondly and especially remember the leaders that helped shape me into the woman I am today.


I will forever be grateful for all the leaders I had in Girl Scouting, but the two that stand out the most are, Boomer and Tweety.  I will never forget the life lessons and experiences these women gave me!

I encourage you to take this day to say thank you to Girl Scout leaders and volunteers in your troop and area. I have shared a few creative ways to say thank you below.

  • Make thank you cards
  • Make dinner for leaders and other volunteers
  • Make a paper flower bouquet or other hand-crafted gift
  • Get a gift certificate for coffee or other favorite treat
  • Each girl could write a thank you letter or poem/or other form of self-expression

I personally want to take this time to thank girls, families, volunteers and the entire Girl Scout community for everything they do to make Girl Scouts such a huge success!



Get Out and Get Moving!

by Erin Schloss

When looking for things to do this summer, you won’t have to look far.  In fact, your summer adventure is right out your front door.  Many communities have public swimming pools and parks to enjoy, as well as local library programs and art workshops. Larger areas may have access to a children’s museum or zoo.  For history buffs, look for historic sites or re-enactments to visit.

If giving back to others is your thing, then volunteering your time can be a fun way to spend your summer.  Contact a local health center, hospital or nursing home for volunteer opportunities.

And if you look a little closer, you will find there are plenty of opportunities to earn fun patches!

  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Walk on a hiking trail
  • Start or join a book club
  • Participate in a summer parade
  • Bowling and roller skating are great indoor activities (air conditioning, yay!)

For upcoming events and places to visit, contact your local newspapers or city and school websites.  Now, get out and get moving!
Below is a quick craft idea to get your creative juices flowing. You can make these and place them around your neighborhood while enjoying a nature walk.

Bird Feeder

You will need toilet paper tube, peanut butter, and bird seed. Simply spread the peanut butter over the toilet paper tube, then roll the tube in bird seed and hang the tube on a tree branch!  It’s easy, fun and you’re recycling!



Do your part to combat Summer Brain Drain!

By Kat Rourke

Being in membership, I have been hearing that troops are winding down for the summer and I find myself wondering why they aren’t taking advantage of this awesome opportunity that is available to them! I know sometimes summer can be a hard time to connect due to family vacations, but if a troop compares plans before school ends then they are able to easily schedule around those family trips.

Summer provides troops a plethora of time free of after school activities and never ending sports schedules as well as many opportunities to be more visible in your communities through fairs and festivals. Keeping up a strong Girl Scout presence in your community allows more girls to see what fun and interesting things Girl Scouts get to do and learn, while also helping draw in adult volunteers and community resources that can support programs in your area. While girls are out of school, many parents are not out of work and so often kids are left to their own devices or cared for with little educational value. Keeping your troop active during the summer allows the girls to receive skills and leadership education and participate in constructive activities that impact not only their lives but their communities and the world at large as well.

Often charities are overwhelmed around the holidays with volunteers, but then thirst for volunteers during the long hot summer. What an awesome pairing it would be to have the girls volunteer where they are needed most, when they are needed most.

While our council does provide summer programs and camping, nothing stops the creation of an event such as a family game night, going camping with your troop, or pursuing interests of the girls that cannot be pursued during the school year. Leaders can use events like these to bond with the girl’s families so the girls will want to return next year. Parents also become more involved with their daughter’s leadership experience and will want to assist as volunteers. If new volunteers need training, summer is the perfect time to complete them before the hectic back to school schedules start up again.

Leaders can also use the summer to get a jump start on awards, badges and community service projects; or if the troop has worked hard all year, then why not party during the summer?

Fundraisers like car washes and lemonade stands are perfect for summertime. Short and long distance trips, that the school year just does not allow, can be taken with the proceeds. Troop meetings can be less formal and girl driven since they have the free time to help plan out what they want to do.

If some girls are too busy to join in the fun during the summer, then why not partner up with another troop and share in the fun. A big part of the troop pathway is building relationships, but there is no rule that they have to be from the same troop. Getting to know new friends and sharing those fun experiences is half the fun and allows the girls to become more plugged in.

Girl Scouts is typically thought of as only a school year activity. Between the summer programs, camp, community service opportunities, travel, awards, badge work, Journeys, local events, and any other thing you can think of; girls won’t have time to just lay by the pool all summer, unless you plan an amazing pool party that is!