Where Oh Where Could My Co-Leader Be?

If your troop needs a co-leader, here are some tips to help you find the right one!

 Who to Ask

  • Ask parents! Begin by asking parents of girls who want to join if they are interested in volunteering with the troop.
  • Think outside the box! Just because someone doesn’t have a school-aged girl doesn’t mean they can’t volunteer.  Retirees and young professionals are another great place to start.
  • Role models! Think about people you know who are courageous, confident, and exemplify good character.  Let them know you admire these traits and ask them to help you pass them on to girls!
  • The more the merrier! If you cannot find someone to commit to being a full-time co-leader, ask two or more adults to share the responsibility. This will make it easier for them to say yes and will prevent burnout.
  • Ask a guy! Don’t forget that men can volunteer with a troop. Girls benefit from both male and female role models.

How to Ask

  • Don’t ask them to do it as a favor to you. Tell them that you want to include them in on this wonderful opportunity!
  • Highlight some of the benefits to volunteering: it’s a resume builder and will help them gain networking, event planning, and problem solving skills.
  • Assure them that they will be provided with the right information, training, and support.
  • If you’ve been a leader before, share your positive experiences with them.
  • Once they commit, don’t forget to say thank you!

Train now so you don’t cry later!

By: Kat Rourke

Marathon runners must train and condition themselves to prepare before the day of the race if they hope to cross the finish line. Summer is the perfect time for Girl Scout Volunteers to prepare themselves through training to effectively lead their troop and make it to the finish line intact. There are many options for training depending on your troop’s need and interests, and it is helpful to get those under your belt before the back to school rush.

IMG_3847On August 24th in the Central and Southwest Regions and on October 12th in the Southeast Region, we are having our enrichment training day known as Learn to Lead. This fun filled day of learning covers everything from age level training to games and crafts to troop management. It also provides you with an excellent opportunity to connect with council staff, as well as other leaders in your region. Networking with other leaders allows you to share your experiences, as well as tips and tricks and can offer opportunities for troops to work on projects together. The deadlines for registration for these great events are August 1st and September 25th, respectively.

Equally important are training’s designed to prepare you for troop activities and teach you the skills you’ll teach the girls.  CPR/First Aid is an important one for everyone’s safety during any kind of Girl Scout gathering, and it is helpful to have more than one adult with the troop trained. Other important training that you will need for troop outings or camping are:  BOS (basic outdoor skills), BTC (basic troop camping), Wilderness First Aid, and small craft and water safety. Additional opportunities for training such as Archery and NPP (National Program Portfolio/Journeys) are also available to leaders and troop volunteers.

Some of you may be saying, “Well that is all well and good, but if I were preparing for a marathon I could run outside for free and these training’s cost money.”

Good Point! The costs of the training’s vary due to type, intensity and supplies, but there are some options in helping making them affordable. As for the training you want to take, you may pay for it out of pocket, apply to council for Financial Assistance, or if the troop chooses,  it could be paid with troop funds. The skills needed for basic events and outings are like supplies for the troop to function so it is not impossible to go this last route, but I caution leaders to use it as a last resort since there are other options that won’t dip into the girls’ funds.

IMG_1434After you have completed your necessary training, you are ready for troop meetings to begin, but remember, pace yourself and drink plenty of fluids!

The schedules and registration forms for the Learn to Lead event can be found here.


GSMH Property Update

We asked for your feedback on the recommendation for GSMH program properties and we definitely received it. Many people expressed their love for the properties and asked for an opportunity to be able to retain them. As announced after the June 14 Board of Directors meeting, the Board voted to allow volunteer/community groups the opportunity to develop and submit sustainable, viable long-term plans for supporting Girl Scouting including retaining and maintaining all of the GSMH program properties that were recommended for divestment.

We know that many people are anxious to begin work on their plans. We will announce the criteria/expectations for those plans very soon. Therefore, we want to share some dates with you now. We will hold meetings in August to meet with volunteers/community members that will be involved in developing sustainable plans to retain properties to submit to the Board. We will provide information and answer questions about plan development. Each of these meetings will be from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and there is no registration required. The meetings will be held at the respective program properties, except the Sacajawea East meeting will be held at the Cape Girardeau Girl Scout service center. The schedule is:

Monday, August 5 – Latonka Program Center
Tuesday, August 6 – Sacajawea East at Cape Girardeau service center
Thursday, August 8 – Mintahama Program Center
Tuesday, August 13 – Sacajawea West Program Center
Wednesday, August 14 – Greenberry Acres Program Center

Anne Soots, GSMH CEO, and council Board member representatives will attend all of the meetings to give input into the discussion. We are looking forward to thoughtful, constructive dialogue about the future of Girl Scouting and program properties in GSMH.


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.



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.”





Covering Ground with Geocaching

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.

Blog1Geocaching 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 itBlog 2
  • 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!


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.