Today's Girl

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Jenna Richie and her daughter Madelynn of Troop 1929.


A Note from Maggie Elder CEO, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana

Despite looking different during COVID-19, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana continues its mission to increase girls’ access to the outdoors and opportunities to build leadership skills and confidence, says new CEO Maggie Elder. Stepping up has been the name of the game since Spring. Every member of the staff at Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, as well as its 5,000-strong adult volunteer network, has stepped up and offered new ways of thinking about what Girl Scouts mean to members and families. “Girls more than ever need something to feel good about,” Maggie says, so Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana has done camp, troop meetings, and outdoor activities a little differently so that girls can continue to feel engaged and excited even during a global pandemic. The Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana has become a strong force in helping girls and young women reach their full potential. Go to to register your child or to become a volunteer.


By Tonilyn Hornung


hen asked what her absolute favorite part of being a member of Brownie Troop 1929 is, 7-year-old Madelynn Richie says, “my friends.” The close bond this group shares is why Madelynn’s mother and co-troop leader Jenna Richie is making safe adjustments to continue meeting during this period of COVID-19. These creative modifications will keep the girls’ friendships a certainty during a time when much has become uncertain. The Girl Scout Brownies are the second level of the Girl Scout program, which began more than 100 years ago. Their mission is one of building “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” This is accomplished by taking part in activities such as earning badges, doing community service projects, and, of course, selling their Famous favorite cookies. Here in Kentuckiana, this Brownie Troop “goes on

journeys together.” In this way, they’re given the opportunity to pick up on their own leadership skills. Jenna says her girls go “hiking, learn about the community, and about friendship. They get to have adventures together, and this creates a special bond.” This “special bond” is keeping these friends together no matter what the challenges. “We finished our troop meetings last [school] year virtually,” Jenna says. Having this as a choice was an excellent way for the girls to maintain their supportive connection. “The council has found ways where troop leaders can provide badges in the comfort of their own homes.” This flexible online option gives girls an opportunity to continue to earn badges and participate in activities. Along with acquiring badges, the traditional bridging ceremonies have also been adjusted. A bridging ceremony is a ceremony that celebrates moving up to a new Girl Scout level.

Jenna Richie and Sara Yager’s Troop 1929 from Mt. Washington Elementary in Kentucky.

Girl Scouts @ Home Girl Scouts at Home provides engaging, family-friendly activities that girls can complete safely at home or outside while social distancing, with either no supplies or simple items that you might already have around the house. There’s no need to have experience with the types of activities your girl chooses — at Girl Scouts, both girls and adult leaders learn by trying new things and discovering new skills and interests along the way. And remember while she may need your support or guidance, Girl Scouts is specifically designed to work best when your girl takes the lead. Those times when she’s “in charge” of a project or activity — with you there to help if needed — making her own choices and bravely testing new skills; those are the moments that will give her the independence, resilience, and sense of self she’ll need later in life.

Making Masks for the Community Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana helped prepare students, faculty, and staff for their return to the classroom by creating and donating masks to Coverings for Kids, an initiative developed by Kentucky First Lady Britainy Beshear and Lt. Governor Coleman.

Jenna Richie and her daughter Madelynn of Troop 1929 work on earning the First Aid badge at home.

Photo and Cover photo by Melissa Donald

Madelynn was part of the Daisy Troop before she became a full-fledged Brownie. Jenna says their bridging ceremony looked a little different this year. “We requested that only immediate household members come, and it took place outside and protective masks were worn.” “Playing” is Madelynn’s other favorite part of her Brownie experience, and she’s not alone. This is why it was agreed, despite the pandemic, to move meetings off-screen and into the outdoors in order to give the girls more space and personal interaction. To accomplish this safely, Jenna says the troop has used “all the safety measures that our Governor and our council has made available.”

Some of their protocols include temperature checks, wearing masks, and social distancing. “Each of the girls has their own beach towel and chair, and they sit on those in a circle six feet apart,” Jenna says. The girls even have Girl Scout-themed matching masks to make it more fun. “It has worked out really well,” Jenna says. Being a troop leader has been a rewarding experience for Jenna. She’s witnessed firsthand the positive and transformative power of the Girl Scout program. “Being a Girl Scout is the best way to get involved with the community and build lasting friendships,” Jenna says. Madelynn couldn’t agree more, saying “Yes!” to any girl her age who might like to join.

Troop 1929 Troop 1929 is masked up and have begun their new troop year with both outdoor outings and virtual meetings. Troop 1929 members: Adalyn Yates Avery McConnell Emery Bibee Jane Reibert Kylie Kidwell Lainey Lyons Layla Tipton Madelynn Richie Morgan Hardy Violet Yager Co-leader: Jenna Richie Co-leader: Sara Yager


How Parents Can Offer

Get Some Fresh Air @ Home Outdoor adventures have always been an important part of Girl Scouting. Beyond helping girls understand and appreciate the need to protect the earth, time spent outside helps girls thrive physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Get outside with your girl, Girl Scout style, with these easy but meaningful experiences. • Have a photo scavenger hunt. You’ll learn more about your town and have fun trying different photography techniques. • Plant something and track its growth. Nurturing a plant takes patience and dedication, and teaches her about her natural environment. • Stargaze and point out constellations. Thinking about our place in the universe sparks imagination and can put things in perspective. • Volunteer to walk dogs from a shelter. Helping pups in need teaches girls responsibility and underscores the importance of giving back.

Help Her Soar with STEM Studies show that girls are more likely to go into STEM fields if they have STEM role models — or even just see Mae Among the Stars STEM role models in the media they by Roda Ahmed consume. How can you help? Think about the books your daughter reads and the movies she watches. What roles do girls and women play? When there are scientists, builders, or tech geniuses in a story, are they

A member of Troop 1220 in Floyd Knobs, Indiana, makes her own terrarium. You can even teach your Girl Scout about recycling by using a two-liter soda bottles as the terrarium container.

YOU can be a volunteer! Here’s how. Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana offers the option to train on your own time with Digital Chalk! It’s our easy-to-use online training platform where volunteers can

take GSKU training courses. Most videos are 15 minutes or less, its available to all GSK volunteers, and we have a variety of course offerings included, but not limited

to: Troop Leader Essentials, Product Programs, Volunteer Toolkit, Outdoor Trainings and more! We’ll help you with everything you need to lead your troop online.

female? From kid-friendly books about astronaut Mae Jemison and architect Zaha Hadid to documentaries about primatologist Jane Goodall and computer scientist Grace Hopper, there are tons of books, movies, and online videos featuring amazing women in STEM. Need help finding them? Ask your librarian!

Learning Life Skills Starts Now Girl Scouting has a strong focus on civic engagement, wellness, communication, healthy relationships, and other practical life skills. You can help her learn to take care of herself and others through simple and fun family activities at home. Responsibilities like feeding and cleaning up after a pet, helping to plan dinner menus, saving and budgeting for her own birthday party, and learning first aid techniques she could use in case of emergency teach her important skills that will help her live her best life.

Be Her Cookie Champion All Girl Scouts have the chance to learn business skills like goal setting and money management through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, but did you know it’s the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world? Here are a few things you can say to support her as she learns how to be a boss! • When she says she’s nervous about the cookie booth sale… “You know what will make you feel better? Practice. Let’s come up with questions customers might ask you — like what your favorite cookie is and what your troop will do with the money earned. Then we can practice answering!”

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Girl Scouts’ Beginnings

Since 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA has given girls the tools to lead, break barriers, and create positive change. It began with Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low, who believed in the power of every girl. Today we continue her vision of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place by helping them discover their inner strength, passions, and talents. Everything your Girl Scout does — whether it’s climbing mountains, making her voice heard, or designing new technology — has been created especially for, and is tested by, girls.

• When she wants you to collect orders at work… “Let’s find a way for you to still make the sale, even though you won’t be there. Maybe you could make a poster or a short video to attract customers and tell them about your troop’s Take Action projects. I’ll take it to the office with your order form!” • When your older girl says customers would rather buy cookies from “little” girls… “Daisies and Brownies do get a lot of attention — but you have years of experience and business skills on your side! Let’s think about what you can do to make your cookie business stand out from the crowd.”

Go to to register your child or become a volunteer. The Girl Scout membership fee is $40 excluding the price of uniforms. Financial assistance is available.


Making Virtual Work

Troop 1017 from New Albany, Indiana, invited the New Washington Fire Department to join its online Zoom meeting and help them complete steps for the Junior First Aid Badge. First responders, including a female responder, showed the girls the trucks, ambulance, equipment, and talked to them about what to do in different emergencies.


Family Summer Camps


Camp In a Box

Summer camp was a family experience in 2020, which allowed families to kayak, do archery, and go on scavenger hunts with the physically-distanced guidance of dedicated volunteers. Maggie Elder, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana CEO, says this was empowering to girls because they could show off the skills they had learned from Girl Scouts to their moms, dads, and brothers who don’t get to see them in action during a normal summer camp experience.

The Camp in a Box alternative brought girls the fun of camp as well as encouraged them to get outside. Each box included an activity booklet and items the girls needed to complete different badges, whether it was foil to make the box into a solar pizza oven or raisins and peanuts to create Gorp. Girls were also able to have Zoom meetings as a way to meet others and experience some of the fun that can be had at camp, including skits and singing. “We had five different themed boxes, each with a younger girl and older girl [focus],” says Kristin Johnson, outdoor experience manager.

Olivia Botner

Emily Brucker



Project Title: Sketchings and Actions Preventing Allergic Reactions Troop Leader: Susan Botner Project Advisor: Dr. John Riehm, Family Allergy & Asthma Root Cause: Lack of food allergy education Olivia’s project brought awareness to food allergies. She became aware of the lack of food allergy education in our community, so she created an activity-coloring book that covers the physical, mental, and social challenges people with food allergies face every day. She distributed the book, as well as a pamphlet she made, throughout the Louisville community.


Suffragette 100-Year Celebration

It’s been 100 years since the U.S. Constitution recognized women’s right to vote, so for the year 2020, Girl Scouts explored the history of women’s voting rights and civic engagement,which helped them better understand the gender barriers that have been broken and celebrate women who broke them. 6 2020 | the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana


Project Title: Paint for a Change Troop Leader: Tracy Plummer Project Advisor: Laurel Lammers, Jefferson County Public Schools Root Cause: Low self-esteem and bullying Emily’s project involved her painting positive affirmations on bathroom stalls for kids and creating a website that offers positive affirmations, tools, and outlets to children struggling with bullying and its effects.

Olivia’s activity/ coloring book, Sketchings and Actions Preventing Allergic Reactions. Olivia was chosen as the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana’s nominee for National Gold Award Girl Scout. She has been a Girl Scout in Troop 8 for the past 14 years.

Girl Scouts

Emily Gillis

Kavya Koneru

Michaela Newberry




Project Title: Wanna Build a Garden? Troop Leader: Debbie Stephens Project Advisor: Debbie Stephens, irl Scouts of Kentuckiana Root Cause: Food Literacy

Project Title: A Consumer Friendly Guide to All Louisville Farmers’ Markets Project Advisor: Chaitanya Vukkum, Rainbow Learning Center Root Cause: Local food movement sustainability

Emily’s project involved teaching children how to garden. Her goal is to teach children that there is so much that can be discovered outside and that they can learn without an electronic device.

Food deserts are prevalent in Louisville as well as the U.S. One of the main ways to combat these deserts is by introducing fresh foods through farmers’ markets. In order to help more people become informed about farmers’ markets in Louisville as well as other cities, Kavya created a user friendly e-book and website guide to all markets in the area, with a comprehensive description of how to get involved in the local food movement.

Project Title: Girl Possible Troop Leader: Elisa Di Giovanni Project Advisor: Linsey Roberts, Hardin County Schools Root Cause: Lack of Self Esteem Michaela’s project addresses a huge problem in today’s society: low self-esteem in young girls. During this transitional time, low selfesteem is evidenced by drops in grades at school, when girls stop communicating with their parents, depression, and even a rise in bullying and other negative behavior.

? Gold Award Girl Scouts are the dreamers and doers who take “make the world a better place” to the next level. The Gold Award is the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA, earned by Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Only 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award. The Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana are pleased to announce that five Girl Scouts from our Council have received this prestigious award for 2020 by providing sustainable solutions to society’s biggest challenges to make a personal and meaningful impact on the world.

“You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to step up.” — Maggie Elder, CEO of Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana

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