As part of Girl Scout Week, National Girl Scout Day is observed annually March 12. Girl Scouts officially began March 12, 1912, when Juliette Gordon Low organized the first meeting in Savannah, Georgia.
Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri is one of 112 Girl Scout councils in the U.S. and is comprised of approximately 23,000 girl members and 9,000 adult volunteers, according to the organization’s website.
Lansing Girl Scout volunteer Carla Wiegers has been an area leader since 2005.
“Like many families here, the military brought us, so I volunteered to lead our oldest daughter Leah’s Troop 1067 when she entered kindergarten,” Wiegers said. “I later volunteered to lead Troop 506 for our youngest daughter Alyssa. … With the constant moving of military families, troop sizes fluctuated, with both troops reaching as large as 20 to 23 members during some years. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and honor of spending time with these extraordinary girls. I have known them from before they could read through getting their driver’s licenses. They have grown together into strong young women who hold each other accountable and support one another.”
Troop 1067 girls graduated high school in 2018 and have gone on to pursue higher education in three different states, Wiegers said.
Troop 506 girls are winding down their senior year at Lansing High School and are planning for transition to their college experience.
The troop has served the community in different ways through the years. In elementary school, they donated signage to Lansing Elementary School.
“I remember someone from Young Sign Company came to one of our Girl Scout meetings at our school and we walked outside and discussed where the signs could best be placed to help drivers,” said troop member Anne Strukel. “We donated all of our cookie money that year for those signs, over $1,000. I feel proud that I can still look at those signs and see our troop number on them.”
“I have enjoyed volunteering at City Union Mission,” said troop member Liz Sanders. “I find it personally gratifying to give of my time to others. It makes me grateful of the support I receive from my family and community and I have become more aware of the circumstances of others and I see things with more understanding. I plan to volunteer into adulthood.”
In the past four years, 10 Lansing girls have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the organization’s highest honor.
Girls are expected to “identify an issue, investigating it thoroughly, getting help and building a team, creating a plan, presenting the plan, gathering feedback, taking action and educating and inspiring other,” according to the GSUSA website.
Issues have ranged from human trafficking, Alzheimer’s awareness and driver safety basics to how the importance of bee populations correlate with the health of humans.
“I planted pollinator stations along the walking path around LHS to raise awareness of our declining pollinator population,” said troop member Madeline Clark. “I had to clear this through the administration and I obtained free native Kansas plants from Leavenworth Master Gardeners.”
Since 2005, Troops 506 and 1067 have camped, hiked, practiced civic engagement by raising awareness of issues, volunteered for Backpack Buddies, served meals locally, traveled down part of the Santa Fe Trail and prepared meals for Kitchen Angels in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
They have planned a spring break trip this year to Hannibal, Missouri, to study Mark Twain, then to Springfield, Illinois, to visit Abraham Lincoln sites, then on to Chicago, traveling along old Route 66 part of the time and visiting some Lewis and Clark sites and the Cahokia Mounds, an ancient Native American site in southern Illinois.
For more information about Girl Scouts, visit www.gsksmo.org