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!


ROSE: Registrations Online Simple and Easy

NEW THIS YEAR! Online Registration is Available Beginning April 15!ROSE-ICON


Beginning April 15 parents or guardians can re-register their Girl Scouts online using the new Online Registration system. Simply click on the little owl named ROSE (Registrations Online Simple and Easy) on our website to get started!


Special note! We have extended our Help Desk hours for your convenience during the first and last week of ROSE’s Early Bird debut. We will have staff on site at each council service center from 4:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m., April 15-19, June 24-27*, and July 1.

Call the Help Desk number or stop by any of our council offices if you need assistance in using ROSE.

It’s quick, easy, and you don’t have to deal with a bunch of paperwork! Get more Just Roseinformation about Online Registration at


A Girl Scout Journey-From London to Lucerne

by Stefanie McCall

Picture yourself sipping tea in London, strolling down the Champs-Élysées in Paris, or hiking a mountain trail in the Swiss Alps. Girls attending the 2015 Council Trip to Europe will experience these things, plus so much more!  We will spend 10 days exploring London, Paris, Adelboden and Lucerne, Switzerland while learning the history and culture of each destination. Our trip includes visits to two Girl Scout World Centers: Pax Lodge and Our Chalet.

London 094In London girls will visit Windsor Castle (weekend home to Queen Elizabeth), ride the London Eye, cruise down the River Thames, visit Pax Lodge and of course see Big Ben!  Optional activities may include seeing a play in the theater district, visiting the “Making of Harry Potter Attraction” or a guided themed walking tour.


From London, girls will ride the Eurostar to Paris.  In Paris girls will visit The Louvre, Europe 2012 774Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and have time for shopping.  Additional activities may include a nighttime Seine River cruise, a visit to Versailles, a walking tour of Paris in the evening or a relaxing stop at a sidewalk café to enjoy amazing pastry.

The last part of our trip will be spent in two beautiful cities in Switzerland. The first stop DSC_0112is in Adelboden, a little village of about 2000 people nestled in the middle of the Swiss Alps, with spectacular views in every direction.  While in Adelboden girls will visit Our Chalet, the first of the four world centers. Girls can explore many hiking trails, do a little shopping or just enjoy the beauty that surrounds them!  The last stop is the city of Lucerne.  A walking tour of this beautiful city provides views of frescos painted on the buildings, remnants of medieval times, the world’s longest covered bridge, and a Swiss folk lore festival.  Girls can also choose to take a cog rail ride to the peak of Mt. Pilatus.

Girls must be 14 years of age by July 1st, 2015 to attend the trip, but they can start SANY0134registering now.  Our tentative travel dates are July 5 –July 15, 2015  .  Traveling to see new parts of the world is an amazing growth experience for our girls.  Girls will gain independence and life skills as they experience life in a new country while learning to budget their money, trying new things and making new friends. There will be two official trip chaperones plus a registered nurse. We do understand that some parents will not be comfortable sending their girls without them, so a mom, dad, aunt or grandma can attend with the girl.  However, each girl can have only one adult with her because this is a girl trip, not a family trip.

This trips costs $4,450 for girls and $4,845 for adults.  A $95 deposit will reserve your spot and there are flexible payment plans available. Travelers who register by April 30, 2013 will receive $100 discount.  Cost covers airfare and transportation, hotels, breakfast, dinner, entrances to all group attractions and a full time tour director.  Girls can use their cookie credits to help pay for the trip. There will be group fundraisers and financial assistance is available.

If you would like to register for this trip or need more information, please contact Stefanie McCall, leadership and learning specialist-GSLE at 877-312-4764 ext. 1137 or



Celebrate Girl Scout Week!

 2013 Girl Scout Week Suggested Activities

Sunday, March 10: Girl Scout Sunday. Visit your church of choice or enjoy a walk in nature.

Monday, March 11: Tell a non-Girl Scout friend about Girl Scouting. Let them know about all the fun things Girl Scouts do and learn!

Tuesday, March 12: Girl Scout Birthday. Show your pride by wearing a Girl Scout uniform, t-shirt, or pin!

Wednesday, March 13: Support Girl Scouting worldwide by collecting at least 101 pennies to give to the Juliette Gordon Low World Friendship Fund.

Thursday, March 14: Learn about Girl Scout history – there are over 100 years of interesting material!

Friday, March 15: Enjoy a Girl Scout tradition – making s’mores – with Girl Scout friends or family!

Saturday, March 16: Girl Scout Sabbath. Get a group together for a day of community service.


Have you heard of Pinterest?

by Shandon Hill

Pinterest is an online sharing service that allows members to “pin” images and video onto virtual pin boards.

Whether you’re a seasoned expert with projects to share or a newbie looking for inspiration, Pinterest can be an excellent resource for your Girl Scout troop!

Here are some basic Pinterest terms:

Board: a virtual cork or pin board

Pin: noun – images and video you put on your board are “pins”

verb – the act of putting a picture or video on a board is “pinning”

Repin: If you like someone else’s pin, you can “repin” it and place the picture on an appropriate board of your own

Like: If you like a pin, but it doesn’t fit into your own boards, you can click a button to “like” it.

Service Unit 734 uses a Pinterest board to share craft ideas.  Below are a couple of pins posted on their board:

(embed these)

Cookie thank you card

Bridging cake idea

For more information on Pinterest, please join me at the “Oh, How Pinteresting!” session at GSMH Leader’s Weekend 2013.  Register quickly because space is limited!  The registration packet is available here.