Leader Weekend 2013 Windows to the Past

By Ginger Schneider, Service Team Manager SU 7562011 AD

Having attended Leader’s Weekend every year since 2000, I was asked to share why I attend.

The short answer is because it is fun.  I have met so many new friends from all over the council and I wouldn’t miss the chance to spend the weekend with them.

Leader’s Weekend gives us the chance to re-connect, catch up on each others lives, share our concerns and join the excitement of the Girl Scout Movement.  I come for the whole weekend, but it is planned so you come and go as it fits your schedule.

There is a lot of time and travel spent by the committee to make this all happen.  I have been a part of the committee since 2001.  I wanted to help plan, find workshop presenters, and share. This event is planned by volunteers for volunteers.  2012 P

Leader’s weekend becomes what you want it to be. There is lots of networking, and learning new skills to share with your girls, experiencing night at camp, exchanging ideas and contact information.  The list goes on.

My favorites are being co-unit leader with Trina Keeler, my early morning bird hike, zip line at night, Sunday service at inspiration point and the many new friends I have met, to name a few.  Oh and I can’t forget the fabulous food and not having to cook the entire weekend!

Looking back I am so glad in 2000 (having just moved to Missouri from Minnesota) that I left my comfort zone and went to an event where I didn’t know anyone.

Hope to see you there! 2011 AM

All Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland volunteers are invited to attend Leader’s Weekend: Windows to the Past on Friday, April 12 – Sunday, April 14 at Finbrooke Program Center. Join us for fun, friendship and learning! Come for the whole weekend, a day or just a few workshops. You won’t want to miss this exciting event!
Register now!

All registrations must be postmarked by March 4, 2013.
If you have any questions contact Melody Hutchison, leadership and learning specialist-volunteerism at mhutchison@girlscoutsmoheartland.org  or 877-312-4764 x1122.



February 8 is National Girl Scout Cookie Day!

18018tGirl Scouts of the USA has declared February 8 as National Girl Scout Cookie Day. Why? To increase national awareness of what the Girl Scout Cookie Program does for girls and their communities, of course!

Nationally and locally, we’ll be working with media to get the word out about 4 key messages:

  1. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the biggest girl-led business in the world, generating $790 million in annual sales. 
  2. Girls sell more than 200 million cookie packages a year to more than 50 million cookie customers.
  3. The Girl Scout Cookie Program builds 5 essential life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.
  4. With their Girl Scout Cookie Program earnings, girls fund important community projects at the local level.

What can you do? Help spread the word about National Girl Scout Cookie Day! Share the news about this exciting day with your friends and family on your Facebook page. You can even change your cover photo or profile picture to show your support.

On February 8th, tweet about #5Skills or encourage your followers to purchase #onemorebox of #girlscoutcookies.

Girls can purchase a fun patch at a local GSMH retail shop to proudly proclaim their participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program and National Girl Scout Cookie Day.

Most importantly, celebrate! National Girl Scout Cookie Day is a day to celebrate all the wonderful skills girls learn through the Girl Scout Cookie Program as part of their Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Take extra time to tell your Girl Scouts how proud you are of them and let them know that all of us at Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland are proud of them too!


What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

Such a simple question that elicits very strong responses! Many times, around our offices you get more than a simple answer of “Thin Mints.”  Oftentimes there are a lot more specifics involved such as these:  “My favorite cookies are Thin Mints taken from the freezer” or “I like the Shortbreads dunked in my coffee” or “I love the Peanut Butter Patties with an ice cold glass of milk.”  These are just a few of the common responses around the GSMH offices.

Or maybe there is more to it than that.  Perhaps you remember sharing your favorite cookie with a special relative or as a Girl Scout yourself you recall that cookie that everyone asked for when you came around during cookie time.  Whatever the reason for your favorite, it is a fact that Girl Scout cookies hold a passionate place in many people’s hearts.

We know that the top selling cookies are Thin Mints, Caramel DeLights and Peanut Butter Patties, but we are curious what your favorite Girl Scout cookie is. Take this quick survey and let us hear from you–What’s your favorite cookie?



Registration Gets Easier with the Arrival of Online Registration!

There’s something new and exciting coming to Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland which will revolutionize membership registration and make registration faster, and everything more accurate! It’s called eBusiness, or “eBiz,” and it will make your life as a volunteer a lot easier–allowing you to spend more time providing a rewarding experience for your girls and less time doing paperwork!

In brief, “eBiz” is a collection of online tools that allows girls, guardians, and volunteers to take advantage of online registration via the web. When we release eBiz, it will include the following features:

For individuals:

  • customer profile management
  • membership renewals
  • new member registration
  • family giving donations
  • self reporting

For troop leaders:

  • troop maintenance
  • troop rosters and email communications

Later in 2013, we will be implementing additional features which will allow:

  • adult training registration
  • program/event registration
  • camp registration
  • troop program registration

Imagine that! Parents able to register, re-register, pay for registration, all online! No more rushing and scrambling to collect registration forms, no more trying to read handwriting and figure out mistakes, no more hassle getting troop information changes made and rosters sent. With eBiz, parents and girls can be responsible for their own registrations, and you have more power as a leader to manage your troop’s information. It’s a win-win for everybody!

Unfortunately, something like this doesn’t just *poof* into existence overnight. It has taken a lot of work on the part of many individuals to bring online registration to our council, and the job isn’t done. We need our volunteers to help to make sure it is rolled out early this year with little trouble. Whenever possible, please make sure that you have collected the correct email addresses of everyone in your troop who has one, adult and girl alike, and send them to your membership marketing specialist. An email address is the key to accessing the online registration system! (Make sure to let your adults know that having their email address for eBiz is to allow them to use the upcoming online registration tool and not for marketing purposes.)

Keep an eye out for more information about online registration in the weeks to come, along with specific dates for its official release. There will be incentives to girls and troops to encourage online registration and re-registration for the 2014 membership year!


2013 Girl Scout Cookie Program

Goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—wait! What? I thought I was selling a box of cookies…what’s with the rest of this stuff?

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is about so much more than selling cookies. This girl-led annual program is designed to equip girls and troops with more than proceeds or a stuffed dolphin. The various levels of the cookie program help girls with those 5 skills mentioned above, skills that are transferrable to activities and situations outside of Girl Scouting.

Goal Setting: “Girls work together, with adults and teammates, to strategize and plan for their cookie sale-how many boxes can well sell? How many boxes will it take to help us do the things we want to do?” This skill helps girls learn to plan ahead, consider their options, and be prepared. For example, she won’t tell you on Sunday night that her science fair project is due tomorrow.

Decision Making: “We’ve set a goal, how do we get there? Where do we find customers?  How long will it take to sell all of these cookies? How can we advertise and market our product? What’s our plan of action?” This skill helps girls evaluate and make decisions based on their options. For example, she will be prepared to think through and decide how and when to spend money she’s earned from babysitting or a part-time job at the grocery store.

Money Management: “Basic mathematics-making change for customers and tracking her sales. How much money does it take to be able to do the things we’ve planned for?” This skill helps girls practice critical money management skills that can translate into designing and balancing a budget or saving.

People Skills: “What do I say to customers? How do I get them to buy a box of cookies? What if my teammates or the other girls in the troop don’t want to do the same things I would like to do with our proceeds? How do we work that out?” The skill of talking to and working with people is a significant skill for all experiences in life; it helps girls to work well with others on school projects or as part of a team, or can help girls to engage with others and make new friends.

Business Ethics: “Selling more cookies means handling more money in a responsible and honest way.” This skill helps girls to grasp the importance of honesty, and might help her develop references for her first job application, or work out situations with friends and classmates who value her approach.

These skills are important for girls, who are always learning and growing through new experiences and new encounters. The Girl Scout Cookie Program provides these new experiences and gives girls the opportunities they need to be successful. These things are carried with them into other aspects of their life: in the classroom, in peer relationships, and through contributions to their communities.

At GSMH, we know that girls today are bombarded with fundraisers and activities through school, church and sports, but we want to emphasize the learning experience.  The Girl Scout Cookie Program is  not just about having the funds to support the group, although that’s important too, it’s about preparing girls to be the adults and leaders of our world.


The Opportunity to Travel is Within Reach

When you think about your favorite childhood memories, do you find yourself remembering vacations and trips to places near or far? Can you recall a time when your horizons were widened after experiencing a different culture?

Girls who dream of seeing different parts of the country or experiencing other cultures throughout the world can make their dreams come true sooner rather than later. There are so many ways for Girl Scouts to travel and they are within reach of your Girl Scout!

For instance, Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland is going to Washington, DC this summer—and for less money than you might think. Some middle schools take trips to Washington, DC during Spring Break and the cost can run more than $1,300. But we’re offering an option for this trip that costs less than $1,000 per girl! This five day, four night trip offers the opportunity for girls to experience our nation’s capital with friends and visit national monuments, world-renowned museums, and the National Zoo. Check out the details, but hurry—the registration deadline is January 4, 2013!

Other trips within reach for Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland include trips to Chicago and Salt Lake City. And if a girl has the travel bug bad, she can start making plans now to join us on our Europe Trip: London to Lucern in 2015! Trips like this can give a girl a whole new perspective of the world and her future in it. Books and movies can tell you a lot about what’s out there, but nothing compares to seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and smelling the aroma of another city or country.

Many people don’t get an opportunity to travel at a young age, but that doesn’t have to be the case for your Girl Scout. In addition to traveling with Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland, she can travel with Girl Scout destinations to places all over the globe. Girl Scout destinations slated for 2013 include Andes Trekking: Peru, Iceland Exploration, New Year’s in London: 2013, Wilderness Adventure Photography, and The Great Panda Adventure—and that’s just to name a few!

Opportunities are out there for traveling—don’t let your Girl Scout miss out! Encourage her to choose an adventure, make a plan, and support her along the way. Girls who sell Girl Scout cookies can earn cookie credit which is a great way for even younger girls to participate in paying her way for trips. If you ever have questions about GSMH travel opportunities, contact Leadership and Learning Specialist–GSLE Stefanie McCall at smccall@girlscoutsmoheartland.org.








Blessed in the USA

by Brandi Freeman

Sometimes I feel like it hits me full force in the face just how fortunate I am. I mean, really – I’m blessed!

One of those moments was when I was flying home from visiting my little sister who is serving in the Peace Corps in Zambia. This trip to Africa was my first trip out of the United States and I absolutely loved my trip, but I was really excited to be going home. It wasn’t until the excitement of my adventure was over that I really began to realize how fortunate I am.

One of the things that jumped out at me in the capital city, Lusaka, Zambia, was the lack of infrastructure. Even in the cities, they didn’t seem to have a well-organized way of dealing with trash. Many people burn their trash or bury it, because a big truck doesn’t come by and carry it off to a landfill once a week. I’ve taken the fact that I have trash service for granted my whole life. When I moved into my house three years ago, all I had to do was call a trash company and set up service and ‘Viola!’ my trash is picked up once a week. I don’t ever have to think about it again. (Yes, I realize not thinking about our waste is a problem in America and probably contributes to why we create more trash than anywhere else in the world, but I’m grateful we have a system even if the system needs improvement!)

I also came to understand what people mean when they say America is the land of opportunity. I used to think that statement was a bit overdramatized, but when I talked to my sister about the problems people face in her village I could see that I was wrong. The life expectancy at birth in Zambia is 37.5 years and the number one underlying cause of death among children is malnutrition.

I know that a lot of people in America struggle and there are children right here in Springfield who don’t even get proper nutrition, but we have opportunities. If you don’t like your situation, there is almost always something you can do to change it in this country. Medical care is available. Education is readily available. The United Way and other organizations offer all kinds of support and programs. Not to even mention the Girl Scouts!

This is a land of opportunity, and when I see how fortunate I am I can’t help but be a bit overwhelmed. After I settle down I usually feel compelled to find new ways to pay it forward and do something to give back. How about you? When you feel blessed, do you feel like giving back to your community or less fortunate parts of the world? What do you do?


Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and reflect on the bounties that we have. Whether they are large or small, we still need to be thankful.  Some have the glass ½ empty thoughts and are thankful, and others see the glass ½ full and are more gracious with all the little things in their lives.   Personally, I am thankful for the usual; family and friends, health, employment and food on the table. But I am truly thankful to all of the hardworking volunteers and staff that make up Girl Scouting.  So here’s to the volunteers and staff that make Girl Scouting possible!

T- Taking time to see the potential in girls

H- Having time to give to the girls

A-Always helping others

N- Never saying no to volunteering

K- Kindly including all of the girls so they feel important

F- Fulfilling the Girl Scout Promise

U-Using resources wisely

L-Loving Girl Scouts as much as I do


A Season for Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving was my grandma’s favorite holiday. It is the one holiday that she insisted all 5 of her children (and spouses), 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren must gather in Hoberg, MO to enjoy the Turkey dinner she made for us. Grandma didn’t mind if we moved our Christmas celebration to another day, or if our Easter egg hunt fell on a random Saturday. Thanksgiving, however, was to only be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each and every year.

To honor her request, every year my entire family would squeeze into my grandma’s tiny modular home. We would pray for nice weather so we could send all the kids outside to run around the farm so the adults could find a place to sit.

I have many fond memories of those Thanksgivings with my grandma. But I have to admit, I never looked forward to the actual Thanksgiving meal. The food itself was never very good and if you weren’t at grandmas before 11:00 a.m. there usually wasn’t any food left anyway.

But the Thanksgiving celebration wasn’t about the food or the location, it was about gathering with my family and listening to my grandma tell stories about my mom, aunts and uncles. She would tell silly jokes and laugh at all the kids while stirring up her boxed mashed potatoes.

As I’ve grown up, gotten married, and had children of my own, I realize how special those Thanksgivings really were. And having made a Thanksgiving meal myself, I now understand the actual cost of the meal and why there wasn’t much food and why the mashed potatoes came out of a box.  I understand how blessed my family was.

My family’s Thanksgiving celebrations have changed considerably since my grandma passed away. We no longer gather as one big group and there is no Turkey dinner with boxed mashed potatoes.  Instead, we honor the memory of my grandma and her favorite holiday by helping families in need around the community.

As W.J. Cameron said “Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”  As a Girl Scout, I know what it means to take action to make the world a better place.  There are so many ways to give your time and make an impact on someone’s life:

  • Help prepare and serve a meal at a local soup kitchen
  • Collect non-perishable items for a food pantry
  • Make a Thanksgiving food basket for a local family
  • Send a shoebox for soldiers  http://www.operationshoebox.com/
  • Invite others to share  your Thanksgiving feast
  • Make  “thank you” cards for veterans
  • Make Thanksgiving goodie bags for a crisis nursery or women’s shelter

During this wonderful family-filled season of thanks, I challenge you to count your blessings and if you are able, take time to give back to others. “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.” ~Theodore Roosevelt.


Hurricane Sandy Recovery: How You Can Help

We have all heard about the devastating impact Hurricane Sandy has had on families, businesses and our Girl Scout sisters on the East Coast. Many people remain displaced from their homes and are dealing with the struggles of rebuilding their lives after losing so much. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals, families, and Girl Scouts who are dealing with the loss and damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Our own National Headquarters at GSUSA was affected by the storm and only recently reopened. Eight of our sister councils were severely affected by Hurricane Sandy, four in New Jersey and four in New York.

Here at GSMH we can relate to the feelings of loss and grief our neighbors to the east are experiencing.  Our Girl Scout families and neighbors have survived major tornados and devastating floods in the past two years.  We know that many of you are looking for ways to help our Girl Scout sisters just as many of them reached out to help us in our time of need.

In response to all the outpouring of offers to help, GSUSA has lifted fundraising restrictions to enable girls to raise money for Girl Scouting recovery efforts in the eight councils.  This means that interested troops will be able to submit applications for money earning activities to raise funds on behalf of our sister councils in New Jersey and New York.  Please note that all current GSMH money earning guidelines still apply and all activities should be completed by December 31.  If you have any questions about the money earning application process, please contact Angie Robinson Sullivan, chief development officer, at 877-312-4764 x 1343 or via email asullivan@girlscoutsmoheartland.org.

GSUSA has also established a Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund to help address the needs of councils affected by the storm. To give, go to https://donate.girlscouts.org/hurricanerecovery where you will find links to the online giving sites for all eight councils, as well as the giving form for the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund.

Many of you have expressed an interest in donating materials or supplies to help our Girl Scout sisters; unfortunately our sister councils are not currently in a position to receive, process or organize such donations.  A local Girl Scout Troop from Indiana has taken the lead to collect donations of Girl Scout uniforms and insignia to send directly to Girl Scouts who have lost their own uniforms in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. You can find more information on Operation: Be a Sister by visiting their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OperationBeASister.

Please help share this information with girls, parents and other volunteers in your area and fulfill our Girl Scout Promise to help people at all times.