GSMH 2014 Signature Event

STEM

 

Join us for a fun-filled, STEM-tastic day! Girls of all ages can explore science, technology, engineering, and math through fun and educational activities. There will also be interactive exhibits and live demonstrations.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy this event—but it might just inspire you to become one! Girls and troops will have a chance to show off their talents too! Mini competitions will be taking place throughout the day.

  • There will be concessions available for purchase.
  • Troops are allowed to tent camp on Saturday night at the location of the event.
  • Discounted hotel rates are available at hotels in Columbia and Jefferson City.

DATESaturday, April 12, 2014
LOCATIONAshland Optimist Club, 511 Optimist Dr., Ashland, MO 65010
TIME10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
COST$20 (includes admission, patch, and t-shirt)

Information packets and registration forms will be available on the GSMH website mid-November.

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Nominate a Volunteer for Recognition

Recognize the Girl Scout volunteers you know by nominating them for a Council or Service Unit Award!

Recognized_volunteers

 

 

 

 

 

Review all the different awards and submit completed nomination form(s) either via e-mail, no later than December 6, 2013, to Shirley Stevens , or postmarked by December 6, 2013 to:

Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland
Attn: Council Awards – Shirley Stevens
1432 Kurre Lane
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Awards will be presented at the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland Volunteer recognition Ceremony on Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Tips for nominating a volunteer for recognition:

  • Review the award description, especially the criteria, in its entirety to best match the volunteer and their service with the appropriate award. See full descriptions here.
  • Remember that the committee is looking for service above and beyond the expectations for their volunteer role.
  • The person making the nomination cannot submit a letter of endorsement for the nomination. These must come from additional people who can attest to the level of service the volunteer provides.
  • Provide as much supporting information as possible. The committee is relying solely on what is provided when reviewing and voting on nomination, so give specific examples.
  •  Ensure that all supporting documentation is submitted along with the nomination form.

LINGO to know:

GSLE – Girl Scout Leadership Experience: Encompasses everything we know and love about Girl Scouts – troops, camp, events, patches, cookies, etc. – and enhances these elements with critical leadership processes and outcomes.

National Program Portfolio (NPP) – Has two main parts: the National Leadership Journeys and the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. This is complemented by the Girl Scout Cookie program, Girl Scout travel, and Girl Scout awards. The NPP is designed to help girls develop as leaders and build confidence by learning new skills. It also ensures that Girl Scouts at every level are sharing a powerful, national experience – girls together changing the world!

Council Recognitions Committee – A committee consisting of fellow volunteers from around the council’s jurisdiction. These volunteers review all nominations, approve or make recommendations if necessary and submit them to the Board of Directors. The committee works in partnership with the Leadership and Learning Specialist – Volunteerism.

Supporting Documentation – Any additional “proof” that supports the nominations, such as membership reports, product sale reports, pictures, program reports, etc. 

Geographic Area of Service – A specific county or service unit.

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Strategic Learning in Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland

Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland is currently engaged in its second cycle of the Strategic Learning process.  This work will set the direction for the council for 2014-2017.  Strategic Learning is a process that was developed by Willie Pietersen, Columbia University Business School, and adopted by Girl Scouts of the USA several years ago.  The key to Strategic Learning is to help build adaptive organizations ready to meet the challenges facing them and prepared to achieve their mission.

The Council Strategy Team, comprised of operational volunteers, board members, community volunteers and council staff members, began their work in April 2013.  They did intensive research to discover the “brutal truths” facing Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland and began to develop the strategy that will help the council move forward in achieving the Girl Scout mission.  The work of the team was approved by the council board of directors in September 2013.

This work has produced five Strategic Priorities that will drive all of the efforts of GSMH during this upcoming three-year period.  These priorities are:

  • Recruit, develop, retain, recognize and inspire volunteers who are equipped to support the Girl Scout program.
  • Develop and implement fun, quality, outcomes-based leadership experiences for girls.
  • Create sufficient and sustainable council funding by developing the potential of all council revenue streams and increasing contributed income.
  • Develop and implement flexible strategies to increase retention of girls in grades 1-7.
  • Build upon Girl Scouts’ iconic brand to educate the public on the value of the Girl Scout program.

Staff Gap Teams are working now through early January 2014 to develop strategies to “close the gaps” we have identified and move the council toward the achievement of these Strategic Priorities.  They are eager to have more input from the volunteers.   Any input regarding these five priorities and strategies to achieve them can be emailed to the following addresses:

Volunteer Support Gap Team

Program Delivery Gap Team

Funding Gap Team

Girl Retention Gap Team

Perception and Awareness Gap Team

Anne Soots, Strategic Learning Project Manager

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Child Abuse Prevention Training

Girl Scouts and the Junior League of Springfield are partnering to host a Darkness into Light child abuse prevention training in November. The program is for any responsible adult who cares about the welfare of children. Sessions are FREE and last 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Space is limited.

Nov. 19   Springfield Service Center        6:30pm – 8:30pm

Please RSVP via email to Missy Cravens or call her at 877-312-4764 x 1124 no later than November 15.

 

 

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Volunteer to Be a National Delegate

National Delegates are appointed for a 3-year term to represent GSMH at the National Council Session which is held every 3 years. The 2014 national session will be held October 16-19, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah.Salt Lake City

The council pays for registration, transportation, hotel, and meal costs. To be considered as a National Delegate, you must be a registered Girl Scout member, a citizen of the US, 14 years of age or older, available to attend the national council session, willing to participate in national delegate training, commit to a 3-year term, and be willing to participate in follow-up activities upon returning from the national council session. IMG_4199 (2)

If you are interested, please submit a letter of interest indicating why you feel qualified to be a delegate. Send it to the Springfield Service Center, attention: Board Development Committee. All submissions must be received by December 1, 2013 so that they can be placed on the slate which goes to the Board of Directors in January.

If you have any questions, please contact Executive Assistant Missy Cravens.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Highlights Importance of Girl Scout Volunteers

You know that feeling when one day is over and you can’t wait for the next one to start? When you’re lying in bed and you’re so excited thinking about tomorrow that you can almost see it floating by on the ceiling? That’s the feeling girls get in Girl Scouting.

We want every girl to be so excited about the adventure she’ll have with us that she can hardly wait for it, because she knows she can do anything she sets her mind to. That feeling starts with parents who encourage their daughters, and volunteers who are role models.

Girl Scouting is dedicating the week of September 30-October 6 as National Girl Scout Recruitment week. We are excited to announce that First Lady Michelle Obama has recorded an online video calling upon moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles or anyone else looking to help girls in our community reach their full potential to become a Girl Scout volunteer.

We need your help to spread the word and connect with as many potential volunteers as possible. Share the video. Go to our Facebook page and share the link with your friends, retweet to all your friends, or forward this to five of your friends, family or neighbors and encourage them to go to www.girlscouts.org find out how they can become a Girl Scout volunteer.

Whether 5 or 55, doing something different, out of the ordinary, unexpected, new, makes life more exciting, keeps people engaged-and wanting more. From the girls who want to teach younger girls a new skill, to the adults who want to make a big impact on a little girl’s life, everybody desires to share something new, over and over again.

I can’t wait to see what you will do to help her dream bigger and go further than she ever imagined.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Anne Soots
Chief Executive Officer

 

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Introducing…The 4Her Promise Program

By Kat Rourke

One struggle that many troop leaders face is getting enough support from the parents in their troop. Not having enough support directly affects the quality of the experience that the girls have, and can cause leader burnout. When leaders step down due to burnout no one wins, especially not the girls. That is why I am excited to announce a new program we are rolling out for leaders for use in increasing family involvement.

The 4HER Promise Program is used with permission from the Girl Scouts of North Texas with a few tweaks. 4Her promise is designed to help leaders build needed support and help families become more engaged in their girls Girl Scout experience. All of the program materials can be found  on our website.  http://www.girlscoutsmoheartland.org/content/forms-and-resources-library#management.

The guide explains how to better communicate and connect with families in your troop so parents know exactly how they can help. Each family is asked to pledge four hours of service to the troop for the year. Most people would agree that out a whole year, four hours isn’t asking a lot. This request is made of the entire family: moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents can all participate. Families are given volunteer menus on which they can list activities they are interested in helping with. This enables the leader to ask for help on specific tasks within a specific time-frame so that families know exactly what is expected of them. When the needs for those tasks arise, the troop has someone who is capable of completing it and takes that task off of the leaders’ shoulders.

Tracking hours that the families give is important so families can be recognized for their contributions. When a family has completed the 4Her four hour pledge, the leader can recognize the family in a variety of ways. For example, the troop can present the family with a Certificate of Appreciation, thank them in the troop newsletter, on the troop Facebook page, etc.

Families can also use any and all volunteer hours they complete to count towards the President’s Volunteer Service Award. All types of service that strengthens the community qualify for this award, including assisting Girl Scouts, PTA, coaching sports, etc. This award recognizes individuals, families and groups that have achieved a certain standard, measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of the lifetime. Take Action projects also count toward this award and so the families can combine service to the troop as well as service with the troop to measure your whole family’s impact. You can register and track your volunteer hours online.

Hopefully troops and families will find this program useful and work together to provide an amazing Girl Scout experience for all our girls!

 

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Service Unit and District Level Volunteer Position Restructure Research Summary

by Valarie Moseley, Chief Membership Services Officer

In 2010 and 2011, Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland embarked on an extensive process called Strategic Learning, where we comprehensively evaluated our internal and external realities. This evaluation brought us to an understanding that it was imperative that we, as an organization, align our internal systems to best support Girl Scouting at the local level. As a result of this process, several volunteers, parents, and girls participated in “Your Voice, Your Council” input sessions throughout the council during January of 2012. There were several topics discussed at each meeting, but the primary purpose and focus of these conversations was to evaluate the current service unit structure. The goal was to determine what changes were needed to best support volunteers in our local communities. Many participants felt that the service unit was essential, but that there needed to be some changes. Concerns regarding the current structure were focused on difficulty filling positions, difficulty in getting accurate and timely information, lack of local training, and challenges related to the differences in culture and geography across the council jurisdiction.

Based on this feedback, a task force comprising volunteers and staff was developed in each region. Task force groups were conducted in mid-June 2012 in each region of the council. Participants were asked to review four suggested volunteer structures from GSUSA and determine which would work best for our council, or develop a new structure if necessary.

The task force participants recognized that our council faces major challenges in relation to geography and felt that it would be beneficial to allow for both regional and local positions. They also thought that fewer layers in the service unit structure would increase communication between the council and volunteers. They believed that there should be avenues for allowing girls to participate in the service unit structure. And, finally, they concluded that there was a strong need for flexibility within the structure that would allow for communities to evaluate their needs and volunteer support.

The result of over two years of evaluation and input is a new volunteer position structure that will be rolled out across the council in the 2013–2014 membership year. Membership marketing specialists will be working with each district they serve to begin the dialogue about how to make this new structure work for their community. They will also begin transitioning current service team members to new positions. We have provided training for the new positions beginning with Learn 2 Lead events in August and October across the council. Training opportunities will continue throughout the year as we take a gradual approach to this exciting new change!

Please take a moment to look over the new structure and the new positions for volunteering with girls and volunteering with adults  that are within the structure and feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have. While we know that this is a substantial change, we sincerely believe that this change will allow us to best support girls and volunteers across the council jurisdiction as they deliver and participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience!

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Resident Camp is Over, But the Camp Pathway has just Begun!

Hundreds of girls enjoyed resident camp this summer at Cherokee Ridge, Finbrooke, Latonka, and Mintahama Program Centers.  But just because resident camp has come to an end does not mean that the camp pathway has slowed down.   If you had the chance to attend resident camp this summer, we would love your feedback so we can make resident camp even better next year.  Please click the links below and complete a short survey.

Camper Survey

Parent/Guardian Survey

Upcoming Outdoor Program Opportunities 

Troop Camping:  Have you reserved a weekend at one of our Program Centers for the fall or winter? Once your dates are set, it’s time to plan what activities you will participate in. Here are some fun options – hiking, canoeing, paddle boating, challenge courses, archery, horseback riding and more.  Contact our Property and Risk Manager Sandy Vaughn at 877-312-4764 ext. 1514 to reserve a weekend.

PublicationsVolunteer 411 and Girl Newsletters were recently mailed out with various outdoor opportunities to choose from this year.  We offer troop camping, horseback riding, archery, challenge courses, and much more.  Check them out and register soon!

Outdoor Days: This is a free camping event sponsored by Bass Pro and Springfield Parks & Recreation Department.  The event is from September 6-8 at Springfield Lake. Choose to camp the whole weekend or just come out for the day.  There will be many villages with outdoor initiative activities.  Follow the link below for more information.

Outdoor Days 

Outdoor Program Input Sessions: Coming to a Service Center near you!  We want to receive input from girls, parents/guardians, troop leaders, and you about what outdoor programming you would like to see in across the council.  Come with ideas about resident camp, day camp, troop camping and outdoor program events. Each session is scheduled from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

September 12–Joplin Service Center

September 16–Jefferson City Service Center

September 18-Springfield Service Center

September 25 -Cape Girardeau Service Center

October 3-Dexter Service Center

 

 

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Starting from Scratch

By Kat Rourke

Many volunteers become leaders because they have a daughter interested in Girl Scouts. Or maybe they value the lifelong friendships and life skills that girls gain as Girl Scouts. New leaders can feel overwhelmed and under-prepared as they start their troops, but they want to do it right!

We want to guide new leaders through the steps of starting a troop and provide some helpful hints for a successful start to the Girl Scout year.  First, all adult volunteers with the troop must complete an application and pass a background check, which council provides at no cost to the volunteers.  Second, attend new leader orientation. This training covers the basic paperwork and policies and can give you some good insight on where to start. Third, recruit a co-leader.  Ask parents of other interested girls; talk with co-workers or professional organizations in which you belong. Church groups, retirees and recent graduates, as well as under or unemployed adults can be great troop helpers.

Once you have squared away troop leadership, you’ll receive a Girl Scout troop number, start the troop bank account (with three signers) and plan where and when you will have your troop meetings. Common places to meet are the school library or cafeteria, community rooms, meeting rooms at colleges, local businesses, or the local library.  Connect with other troop leaders in your local service unit as they are great resources and support. Make sure you are engaged and do your best to attend the monthly service unit meetings. You’ll meet other new and experienced leaders as well as gain knowledge and learn about important updates and information that is vital to your troop.

Ask the school if you can distribute flyers so girls and their parents can come to an informational meeting to join the troop. Many schools allow this, but for the ones that don’t, there are other options. Submit information to the school or district newsletter, a teacher blog, or school Facebook page. Attend PTA/PTO meetings and promote your troop and have your daughter tell her friends! Girls recruiting girls is a wonderful tool.  At your informational meeting you will want to lay down expectations of the parent support you need. Be Specific! Most parents don’t know how they can help and will be happy to help if they know how they can help.

Plan out a structure for your meetings, and you can always make adjustments if things don’t quite pan out how you thought it would. Having a packet of extra activities that you can fall back on if you have extra time can be life lines, so always have a backup! At your new leader orientation you will be provided with some sample sessions for meetings, but you can also pick other leader’s brains or be creative and come up with something totally different. Customize your Girl Scout meetings to best suit your Girl Scout troop.  As a new leader, you will have a learning curve figuring out what works best for your girls. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your troop parent’s, your service unit, your Membership Marketing Specialist, and other council staff are all great resources. We are here to support you and answer any questions you may have. Have a wonderful Girl Scout year!

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