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!
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.
At 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.
I 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.
Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland’s Board of Directors voted on Friday, June 14 to move forward with the property committee’s recommendation regarding the council’s interests in Suzanne Program Center (SW region). The Board also unanimously voted to allow local communities additional time to work with the council to develop sustainable long-term viable plans for supporting Girl Scouting including retaining and maintaining all other Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland program properties that were recommended for divestment. The Board will further evaluate this issue in November 2013. If no viable options for long-term sustainability are presented, the Board will proceed with the property committee recommendations.
“The property committee recommendation was shared with our membership prior to the Board of Directors meeting to allow the opportunity to provide feedback. We appreciate the respectful manner in which additional input was provided regarding the property recommendation,” states Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland’s Chief Executive Officer Anne Soots. “We look forward to working with our volunteers and community members to explore viable options for sustaining and maintaining these program properties.”
by Erin Schloss
If you are like me, you are asking yourself, “What is geocaching?” I’ve heard this term on several occasions and decided it was time to find out.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. These coordinates can be located on several geocaching websites and apps and are only accessible to registered members.
“Who can be a geocacher?” Anyone! In fact, that’s one of the draws of geocaching. Girl Scout troops or families can trek about in search of finding the next cache. Caches are hidden in both easy and hard to find places, and the owners of these caches are pretty creative.
I tagged along with a “Cacher” who showed me several hidden caches throughout my own town. Some were hidden in plain sight. However, when finding one of these treasures, you must be very discreet to avoid catching the eye of a “muggle” or a non-cacher. Other things to remember when caching:
- Leave the cache where you found it
- If you take something from the cache, you must leave something in its place (of equal value)
- Never put anything in the cache that could expire (i.e. food)
- Cache owners are responsible for maintaining their caches
- Geocache in groups for safety and support
All in all, I found Geocaching to be both challenging and rewarding, but most of all fun. The cachers are some of the most enthusiastic, passionate sportsmen I have ever encountered and their excitement and dedication for the sport makes you want to be part of the fun. We can help you get started with our Perfectly Effortless Program: Geocaching. So gather your Girl Scouts, get up, get out and get Geocaching!
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). Mouse 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!”
Camp activity: Making new friends
Camp song: “Tarzan”
Place at camp: By the lake watching the reflection of the moon and stars
“Bear” 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.”
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
To Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland Girls and Volunteers:
Our Strategic Learning process continues! Please take a few minutes to answer a short survey to help us plan the direction of our council by May 22, 2013.
Survey for current Girl Scouts.
Survey for current Girl Scout volunteers.
Thank you for helping guide Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland into the future!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
I 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!