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Spotlights

Girl Scouts - Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas has fantastic, inspiring, unique, hard-working, risk-taking, innovating girls, volunteers, staff and board members. Check here often to meet just a few of the great individuals and groups involved in Girl Scouts. Email us if you would like to nominate someone to be featured.

Girls

April 2021
Troop 1313’s Anna Claire B. recently learned she was a winner of the “Making Space for Girls” science competition presented by Girl Scouts Citrus Council and SpaceKids Global. Anna Claire’s science experiment will travel to the International Space Station on a SpaceX flight later this year.

Volunteers

 Please help us continue to highlight our great Girl Scout volunteers by submitting the name and brief description of a volunteer you know by completing the form at the bottom of this page or emailing online@girlscoutsdiamonds.org. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Christine Long
April 2022 

Christene Long has been involved with Girl Scouts for over 50 years as a girl and an adult and is troop leader of Troop 6117. Over the years, not only has she helped lead and grow her troop but has driven across the state to provide trainings for girls and adults. Christene hosts events and provides CPR and first aid training to Americorps members and Girl Scouts. She has also taken on multiple roles within her service unit to help with product, recognition and recruitment. Christene has made it her responsibility to help girls make the most of their Girl Scout experience by leading by example and informing them of every opportunity Girl Scouts has to offer. She has touched many lives with the lengths she goes for girls. Christene has managed to bring girls of every background to Girl Scouts throughout her years. Christene, thank you for all you do for Girl Scouts. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Pam Harding  
April 2022 

Pam Harding has been volunteering with Girl Scouts for 12 years, she is the leader for Troop 4097 and treasurer the Live Oak Service Unit. A retired teacher, Pam is known for being great to work with and her ability to lead from teaching into Girl Scouts. She serves as the glue to her service unit, instrumental in keeping troops running to the best of their ability. She is thorough in how she plans campouts and gives her girls opportunities for overnight experiences. Pam currently oversees 31 girls and 10 volunteers that she cares for dearly. She is also working with Girl Scouts to create new STEAM events for all girls to enjoy. Pam embraces the concept of empowering girls to try new things, whether they succeed or fail, and to push them beyond their comfort zone to develop new skills. Pam, thank you for all you do for Girl Scouts. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Billie Dadgar  
April 2022 

Billie has been a Girl Scout volunteer for over 15 years and is the director of the Evergreen Service Unit and manages several other roles. Billie often volunteers to help others in the Southwest region with the creation of new Girl Scout troops. She is a catalyst in keeping other volunteers engaged while helping plan activities. Billie is very methodical in how she organizes and works with other troop leaders to create the ultimate Girl Scout experience. Volunteers like Billie let their generosity, courage and heart shine through in everything they do—and her Girl Scouts take notice. So do we. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything you bring to Girl Scouting. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Chelsea Caspermeyer 
April 2022 

Chelsea Caspermeyer serves as a leader for Troop 5049 and is known for being incredibly energetic and proactive in getting her girls the greatest experiences. Her role in Girl Scouts came as a solution to a need in the community. This is her first year working with young girls and she is doing an excellent job learning along the way. She currently oversees nine girls and seven adults, working to get parents just as involved as the girls. Chelsea had to get creative with her new troop at the peak of the pandemic and created drive-through meetings to keep everyone active and safe. Innovation is one of the key components of Girl Scouts and Chelsea makes sure to set the bar high for all those who look up to her. Chelsea, thank you for all you do for Girl Scouts.  

Volunteer Spotlight: Marilyn Jo Bates 
April 2022 

Marilyn Jo Bates is the leader for Troops 1131 and 1132. When Marilyn saw a need for a leader with another troop, she stepped in so the girls could participate in cookie season and other Girl Scouting adventures. Not only is she overseeing two Girl Scout troops but is also working on ensuring success for the coming years by working to help establish more troops in the Southeast region. She has created a sense of belonging and independence among her troops by allowing girls to set their own goals for cookie season. Volunteers serve as the backbone of the Girl Scout experience and Marilyn is a prime example of this. Marilyn, thank you for all you do for Girl Scouts.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jamie Nelson Woods 
April 2022 

Through girl-led programming and with the help and guidance of trained adult volunteers, Girl Scouts encourages girls to take healthy risks and make their own decisions, which is what this volunteer instills in the girls she leads. Jamie Nelson Woods is always aiming to give girls the best experience possible. She serves as the director for Clay County Service Unit and is a leader for Troop 3011. Jamie has the biggest heart for Girl Scouts and often extends her reach to other girls in need. A troop 40 miles away from Jamie needed a leader and she took over that troop without hesitation. She is also known for organizing back-to-school donation drives for school supplies and clothes for children in need. Girl Scouts is all about girl leadership and Jamie has exceeded our expectations. Jaime, thank you for all you do for Girl Scouts. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Alice Page
November 2021

As we progress into a new Girl Scout year, we have the opportunity to see where our strengths lie, in our leaders.

And one of those leaders is troop leader of Troop 6412 in Carlisle, Arkansas, Alice Page.

"I became a troop leader by accident!”, says Alice. My daughter, Abigail, insisted on going to an informational meeting even though she feared the outdoors. We found out there wasn't a troop in Carlisle and all the girls and parents looked so disappointed. Then one of the girls said, 'Ms. Page would be the best to be our leader!' So in a matter of minutes, I became a Girl Scout troop leader. Three years later, I have almost all my original girls in my troop and have doubled my troop size this year."

Alice has been teaching 1st grade for 16 years at Carlisle Elementary. Alice has gone above and beyond for her community and now oversees 44 Girl Scouts, one of the biggest troops of the council. Originally Girl Scouts was going to be a way to get her daughter involved but she saw a higher calling.

"I realized there was a more important reason for me to be their troop leader. Some of them needed a mother to love them, some needed that shoulder to lean on, some needed friendship skills, and then some of them needed an outlet for all their incredible skills! I may only have one daughter that is biologically mine, but since being a Girl Scout leader I have gained many more daughters. I start every meeting telling them all that I love them and that I am always here for them no matter what."

Girl Scouts has not only given Abigail the chance to expand her horizons but has also given Alice the ability to change the lives of many young girls. 

"I see how my daughter has grown and matured in Girl Scouts and it just amazes me. I wish all girls could have the opportunity to be in a Girl Scout troop. The skills they could learn and use in their daily life could improve their lives so much."

Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Curiel

April 2020
Meet Melissa Curiel! Melissa is co-director of Gems of the Ozarks Service Unit and also leader of Troop 5197. Girl Scouting has had a lasting impact on Melissa’s heart, and she loves the opportunity it has given her to work with strong women and men and raise young women of courage, confidence and character.

As co-director of the Gems service unit, Melissa plans, organizes and implements the monthly service unit meetings, oversees the various committee positions- and brings the committee together to create the service unit calendar. Melissa also runs the Gems of the Ozarks Facebook page, and helps individual troop leaders or service unit teammates with questions or difficulties that arise in their troops.

Melissa’s involvement with Girl Scouts started with her oldest daughter. When she learned about Girl Scouts and wanted to get involved, but couldn’t find a troop in the Rogers area, Stacye Wyatt in Springdale offered to let her join their troop in Springdale. This kicked off Melissa’s love for Girl Scouts. Melissa tips her hat to Stacye for her help and guidance in the early days of her Girl Scout career. “I really got bit by the Girl Scout bug.” Melissa shares.

As far as troop leadership goes, Melissa got her first taste of the role with her youngest daughter’s troop. “Another mom and I, Kimberlea Murphy, took on the roles of leadership of that troop. That was eleven years ago, and I've never looked back.” Last year, in addition to her own group of older girls, Melissa started a Daisy Troop in Rogers. “I was able to help them grow and they now have an awesome group of parents leading their troop. The troop has grown from 12 to 18 girls! I'm so proud of them. I cannot think of anything more satisfying than watching my little group of girls grow up from 1st graders to now 12th graders who are moving off to college.” Melissa says all her Girl Scouts will always hold a place in her heart, and each of them have been an incredible blessing in her life.

Melissa has her own personal experience with Girl Scouting. “I was a Brownie and in a troop in Springdale. I have fond memories of meeting after school and my parents taking me to events, like Wild and Wonderful at Camp NOARK.” Her favorite memory of her days as a Girl Scout was the day Good Morning America came and filmed the Springdale Service Unit. “We stood in a large group to be filmed and have our picture taken. I had to be 7 or 8 years old, but I still remember it today.”

While Melissa has had many adventures with Girl Scouts, her favorite memories are with her girls. “We’ve traveled to Little Rock, St Louis, Colorado, New York, and even Canada. Even with all these amazing trips, my favorite memories with my girls have been our campouts at NOARK.” Melissa’s favorite place in the world is Camp NOARK. For Melissa, Girl Scouts is “that place”- a place just for girls to truly become amazing leaders of courage, confidence and character.

Girl Scouting is a large piece of Melissa’s heart and her day-to-day, but she also loves to read and hike. “Is having a lot of cats a hobby? If it’s not, it should be! I wish I could rescue every cat I could find, but I stopped at four.” Melissa is married to her high school sweetheart, and they have been married 25 years, with three wonderful children, her four cats, and a grand-puppy! Melissa graduated from University of Arkansas with a degree in early childhood education and additional certifications. “I passed my Science Praxis from things I’ve learned in Girl Scouts,” says Melissa. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Amber Bryant

Meet our latest volunteer spotlight, Amber Bryant! Amber is a troop leader for Ambassador Troop 4358, Cadette Troop 4280, Daisy Troop 4042, and Ambassador/Senior Troop 4208 from Van Buren, Arkansas, but it doesn’t stop there! She is also the product co-manager for the Red Oak Service Unit. Amber is a superstar to the Girl Scouts – Diamonds Council, and we want to share what makes her love Girl Scouts!

When Amber was a girl, she was a Girl Scout for six years in Troop 193 in the Mount Magazine Council.  “My mother was my troop leader. I vividly remember walking in a Christmas Parade in my hometown dressed in a silky green elf costume my mother made for several girls in my troop. The other girls wore big boxes as walking Christmas presents. I also remember a lock-in at Kelley Cabin where we slept under a big Christmas tree that was all lit up,” Amber shares with us.

As a mother and a teacher, at first the idea of adding the responsibilities as a troop leader to her plate made her a little reluctant. “I finally determined that I could juggle a troop along with my busy mom life. I scoped out a fellow mom in Sarah's kindergarten class, my good friend Kathy Griffin, and convinced her to become my partner in crime. Our first troop ended up with 13 girls and most of them stayed until their 9th grade year, we have three of them still in the troop about to graduate.” When Amber’s youngest daughter was ready to join Girl Scouts, she started her second troop.

When asked about her favorite experiences from Girl Scouts, Amber says “I have gotten to build memories and laugh until my stomach hurt with events like the Cardboard Boat Regatta and Magic Springs, my horizons have been expanded with events like Girl Fest, and I have developed some of my dearest, closest friends through fellow leaders as we plan events and make memories, and not only for our girls but also for us.”

Amber supports the Girl Scout mission because she loves the concept of empowering girls to try new things, whether they succeed or fail, and to push them beyond their comfort zone to develop new skills. “If parents want to build girls of ‘Courage, Confidence, and Character,’ they need to register them in Girl Scouts!”

Volunteer Spotlight: Paige Edgin

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Meet Paige Edgin, a volunteer who wears many hats, but is most notably a co-director of the Wildwood Service Unit and leader of Troop 1120 in Lexa! When Paige’s youngest daughter, Destiny, brought home a Girl Scout flyer from school, she knew it was an organization she wanted her daughters to be a part of, so she signed them all up, herself included!

“Girl Scouts has been a great way for me to spend time with my daughters,” Paige says. “Destiny is now in the seventh grade, so we’ve had a fun-filled six years in Girl Scouts.”

“Being a Girl Scout can mean many things,” says Paige. “One of the things it means to me is stepping up to do what’s right, even when it scares you, and even if no one sees you. Always do what’s right.”

So, when the former Wildwood Service Unit Director stepped down, Paige and another leader stepped up to share the responsibility of co-directing the service unit.

“Our goal is to combine efforts and revitalize our service unit,” Paige says. “I love exposing the girls to new experiences that they may otherwise not have had an opportunity to experience, and I am encouraged to continue this work every time I see the look of wonderment and excitement in a girl’s eyes when a she participates in Girl Scouts.”

While you can almost always find Paige planning something for her troop or service unit, she also enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Volunteer Spotlight: Teresa DeLuca

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Girl Scouts is all about girl leadership. Through girl-led programming and with the help and guidance of trained adult volunteers, Girl Scouts encourages girls to take healthy risks and make their own decisions, which is what this volunteer hopes to instill in all the girls she leads.

Meet Teresa DeLuca, leader of the Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors in Troop 1264 in White Hall and the newly elected director of Sunshine Forest Service Unit. Teresa and her daughter, MadelynMae, joined the council after moving back to Arkansas from Las Vegas. At first, Teresa hadn’t planned to be involved in Girl Scouts, but that quickly changed after serving as a parent volunteer.

“Volunteering with the organization was not in my original plan,” Teresa says. “Initially, I became involved because the drive home was too far for me to just drop my daughter off, but after serving as a parent volunteer with MadelynMae I realized the many opportunities I had to blaze a trail of my own while having a positive impact on the lives of girls, including my daughter.”

After serving as a parent volunteer, Teresa stepped up to lead a troop of her own. She also serves as an adult Council Advisory Team member and a service unit director. Having blazed a trail of her own, Teresa plans to encourage girls to do the same.

“Being able to share and guide girls to new adventures, opportunities and experiences is one of my favorite part of Girl Scouts,” Teresa says. “As a leader I feel it’s my responsibility to help the girls make the most of their Girl Scout experience, and I do that by leading by example and informing them of every opportunity Girl Scouts has to offer and letting them choose whether they’d like to participate or not.”

“Being a part of Girl Scouts has allowed me to watch girls come alive and out of their shells, develop leadership skills and build confidence. Knowing I’ve had a hand in that encourages me to continue my work with the organization.”

When she’s not busy, Teresa enjoys sewing, crocheting, listening to audio books, watching movies, and hosting events for family and friends.

Staff

Staff Spotlight: Meagan Piroutek

Meet Meagan Piroutek! Meagan is Girl Scouts – Diamonds event coordinator and spends her days in the office planning all the signature events we know and love. Did you attend Girl Fest last month? Thank Meagan for all her hard work putting it together!

Meagan was previously with the council for four years in the fund development department and returned to work as an event coordinator seven months ago. What makes Meagan’s job fun? She gets to plan big parties for all the Girl Scouts! She loves watching each event allow girls to discover new things they may not have the opportunity to experience otherwise. Her favorite part of the job is seeing brand new Girl Scouts attend their first event! She loves watching the girls meet new friends, experience new things and leave excited for the next Girl Scout adventure.

Channeling her inner Girl Scout, Meagan’s favorite event to attend is Girl Fest. “It’s so important we empower girls to explore STEAM careers and this is a one-of-a-kind event to get them involved. Plus, I love meeting all the STEAM program partners and getting to do the activities myself.”

Meagan’s favorite part about being a part of Girl Scouts is seeing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience in action. “Using the 'Discover, Connect, Take Action’ model in the smallest ways can have the biggest impact on our future G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) leaders who are already changing the world.”

When out of the office, Meagan loves attending live music shows and concerts! “I make it a point to see live music at least once a week and serve as a board member for a non-profit music festival.” Another fun fact about Meagan is that she is a certified yoga teacher and professional tennis coach.

Staff Spotlight: Briley Hutchison

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Meet Briley Hutchison, Girl Scouts — Diamonds program manager! Briley is no stranger to Girl Scouts, as she was one herself! Briley enjoys building relationships with troops, volunteers and partnering organizations who help make Girl Scouts great!

Originally from Amarillo, Texas, Briley’s love for Girl Scouts started when she was a Brownie. She moved on from Brownie to Cadette, to Junior and then when she graduated high school, she began volunteering at Camp Kiwanis in Amarillo. Briley loved being a Girl Scout so much, she began working for the Texas Oklahoma Plains Council. Briley moved to Arkansas and began working at the Diamonds Council in 2019.

Starting out her career with Girl Scouts as a girl experience specialist, Briley is now program manager. Her favorite part about her job is knowing the impact the organization has on girls everywhere. Briley believes what makes her job fun is “getting to learn more about my community and the state as a whole through interactions with troops and volunteers, as well as partner organizations.”

Briley graduated from St. Edward’s University with a B.A. in photocommunications and will graduate in May of 2020 with a master’s in art education from the University of Nebraska – Kearney.

When out of the office, Briley enjoys shooting tintypes, baking with her friends and exploring the outdoors. 

Staff Spotlight: Candace Weekley

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Meet Candace Weekley, Girl Scouts — Diamonds retail director! Candace is a retail superstar and spends her days working to bring girls, parents, troop leaders and volunteers their Girl Scouts merchandise and apparel. Whether it’s uniforms, t-shirts or Girl Scouts coin banks, Candace helps make it happen.

Candace graduated from University of Auburn with her degree in apparel design and production management and has been working for Girl Scouts — Diamonds for six years!

Candace has worked her capacity of Girl Scouts – Diamonds for three years but is no stranger to the retail world! With years of retail experience under her belt, Candace also lived in New York while interning for renowned designer Kay Unger.

 As retail director, Candace works hard to make sure our shops are full of merchandise and apparel to fit the needs of every member of the Girl Scout family. What’s Candace’s favorite part of her job? Traveling and hosting pop-up shops! Candace says the reason why she loves pop-up shops so much is because “They encompass everything about Girl Scouts that I enjoy!”

One of Candace’s goals as retail director is to make it possible for every girl to have access to Girl Scout merchandise. This is possible through allowing the opportunity to request pop-up shops, special ordering merchandise and having Girl Scouts – Diamonds apparel online.

When Candace is out of the office, you can find her hiking, catching up on the latest true crime podcast, watching college football with her hubby and chasing around her rescued fur-toddler, Gunner. Also, there’s a good chance you may have spotted Candace and her husband on an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters.”

Staff Spotlight: Whitney Miller

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Meet Whitney Miller, Girl Scouts — Diamonds data director! After working in for-profit business for many years, Whitney decided she wanted a job that was meaningful and more impactful to her community and the world around her, so she joined Girl Scouts.

When she first started, Whitney served the council as a Membership Marketing Specialist. Now, she serves as the director of data and customer care. In this capacity, Whitney and her team are responsible for managing the online registration systems and providing customer care both internally and externally on behalf of the council.

“Working as the data director, I’ve enjoyed learning and managing our systems and seeing how my work and the work of my team impacts the functions of other teams and the council as a whole,” says Whitney. “Every day I get to serve more than 8,000 girls and volunteers from behind the scenes, helping make sure they can register for fun and exciting events and programs that help build their courage, confidence and character, and that means a lot.”

And while Whitney enjoys being able to impact her community and the world around her through her work with Girl Scouts, she considers herself privileged to be able to witness the power of Girl Scouts firsthand in her own life.

“Joining the Girl Scouts — Diamonds team is one of the best decisions I’ve made,” Whitney says. “I’ve grown so much not only as a professional, but in my personal life as well. I’ve truly benefited working for an organization that is adamant about instilling the value of courage, confidence, and character in everyone, especially the girls and volunteers we serve.”

When she is not busy managing online systems, Whitney enjoys being a mom to her two children, Emreigh, who is a Brownie Girl Scout, and Quincy, as well as traveling and cooking.

Staff Spotlight: Sasha Iwaniuk - Bray

Sasha Iwaniuk - Bray

Meet Sasha Iwaniuk – Bray, Girl Scouts — Diamonds finance specialist. Sasha, an alum of Pulaski Technical College, has been an employee of the council for nearly eight years, and she, along with her team are responsible for all things finance like maintaining a balanced budget, providing clean audits and financials.

“My job is to keep the lights on, so to speak,” Sasha says. “I’m responsible for making sure all of the council’s bills are paid, processing payroll and employee benefits and assisting with financial audits.”

Essentially, Sasha is tasked with ensuring the council’s finances are in good standing and contributing to the goal of seamless operation of the council. Sasha takes pride in knowing her work behind the scenes effectively empowers more than 8,100 girls council wide.

“Having been in this organization for nearly 8 years, it amazes me to hear what great things young girls and women have done to create change,” says Sasha. “And we can attribute that to the programming Girl Scouting offers.  From honing entrepreneurial skills to lending a hand in our communities or to a fellow human being, the teachings really work.”

Not only that, Sasha describes working for the council as rewarding and names her co-workers as her favorite thing about her job.

“I’ve been able to look up to many wonderful women and men who are a part of our council staff as mentors and business professionals on the “how-tos” in both my professional and personal life,” Sasha says. “The people I work with daily are truly a fun and encouraging group.”

In her spare time, Sasha enjoys traveling, listening to music, dining out, going to the movies and spending time with her family.

Staff Spotlight: Sarah Hyndman

Sarah Hyndman

Ever wondered who’s behind all the great Girl Scouts — Diamonds events? Meet Sarah Hyndman, Girl Scouts — Diamonds event coordinator! Sarah is no stranger to Girl Scouts, growing up in Texas she was a member of the Tejas Council’s troops 2170 and 2666.

“As a girl, Girl Scouts gave me a sense of community and sisterhood. It gave me a core group of people who cared about the same things as I did,” Sarah says. “As an adult, I’ve been able to come full circle and instill in other girls the value and skills that were instilled in me through Girl Scouts, and that’s what I love about my job.”

As the event coordinator, Sarah is tasked with overseeing the planning and execution of all the council’s signature and major events.

“We put on eight major events per year for girls, volunteers and even staff,” Sarah says. “My favorite event is Girl Fest. I love that I get to provide girls and volunteers with unique experiences and introduce them to different STEAM-related careers through various program partners, especially when those partners are women. If girls can see it, they can be it!”

Sarah is an alum of Hendrix College where she earned a degree in religious studies and anthropology. While there she took an opportunity to study abroad in Rwanda, a country in Eastern Africa. She took an interest in interfaith issues and dedicates some of her time away from work working with the Multi-Faith Youth Group and Friendship Camp, an interfaith summer day camp.

When she’s not busy planning and executing council events, Sarah enjoys traveling, playing board games and spending time with her husband, Marvin.

Staff Spotlight: Sally Anderson

Meet Sally Anderson, a Girl Scout Staff Member for 11 years, current executive assistant to Girl Scouts – Diamonds President and CEO, Dawn Prasifka, and an avid fan of plants and animals!

“I joined the council soon after I graduated college,” Sally says. “As a recent grad way back when, I needed a place of employment that I could believe in, an organization that makes our world better, and I am so grateful for that interview and for the group of people who hired me into this organization,” says Sally. “I was destined for Girl Scouts.”

Since joining the council, Sally has served the council in many ways.  She was once a volunteer director, an adult education coordinator and membership specialist, and even a community program specialist for a short summer gig.  She has held her current position for nearly two years.

“In this capacity I try to keep up with our CEO,” Sally says. “I’m responsible for managing her travel, calendar, budget and anything else that I can do to help keep the organization running smoothly.”

Sally’s favorite part about working for the council is her fellow council staff members and the volunteers.

“The people are great! If there were an apocalypse, I know who I am calling and most of them are Girl Scouts,” she says.

When she is not busy helping ensure the seamless operation of the council, Sally enjoys spending time with her daughter, Oli, and two dogs, Bagel and Phrooty, and the four kittens they recently rescued. Sally is also the new board president of Dunbar Garden in Little Rock, a non-profit, educational garden that focuses on teaching sustainable, organic gardening practices to the students of the adjacent schools and community members.

Staff Spotlight: Betony Maringer

Betony

Ever wondered who’s the mastermind behind all the fun at Camp Cahinnio? Meet Camp Cahinnio’s Director, Betony Maringer!  Betony is a proud National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) graduate has been the director of Camp Cahinnio for three years and believes camp is a magical and transformational experience every girl deserves!

“I believe that every girl deserves camp,” says Betony. “She deserves a place where she can really be herself without the pressure to earn grades or deal with the drama of school.”

A Girl Scout for 22 years, Betony loves camp because “As a child, I could have adventures with brand new best friends every summer! As a mom, I love camp for the joy and experience it brings my children -- they truly come home as their best selves. They understand the value of teamwork, are braver about trying new things, and have a more developed sense of self.  As director, I love being wizard behind the scenes.  My staff and I work hard to create a culture that supports and challenges our girls.”

So what fun can campers expect at Camp Cahinnio this year? “This summer is Camp Cahinnio’s 50th birthday, and We’re going to celebrate with a party every session,” says Betony.  “Our campers will be able to participate in a commemorative work of art that will remain on the property. Our Tipi unit has brand new tents up on the platform, and we are unveiling a brand-new tradition to rocket us into the next half century!”  No worries, though, Betony assures us there will be plenty of traditional Girl Scouts fun like swimming, singing, cook-outs, delicious food, hiking, crafts and friends.

When she is not busy directing one of the best camps ever, Betony loves exploring familiar forests, beloved rivers, and new cities.  She also enjoys reading and spending time with her high school sweetheart and husband of 14 years and their two brilliant kids, Penelope and Felix.

Staff Spotlight: Marie Gieringer

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Meet Marie, Chief Financial Officer of the Diamonds Council. Though she has only worked for the council for three years, Marie is not new to Girl Scouts. As a young girl, Marie participated in Girl Scouts as a Brownie, a Daisy, and a Junior Scout. In fact, she spent her last year of Girl Scouting in the Philippines. 

“Scouting in the Philippines made me see what a true sisterhood and lasting impact Girl Scouting has on the world,” Marie says.

Marie graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with two degrees – accounting and personal financial planning, but she is no boring, straight-laced accountant. She is a black belt in taekwondo, has gone skydiving, enjoys bow hunting, and has even completed a marathon, but her favorite pastime is spending time outdoors with family and friends.

Speaking of family and friends, Marie has been married for 10 years and has two wild kiddos! Her favorite thing about her job is the smart, funny and passionate people she works with.

Friends/Donors/Juliette's Circle

Jennifer Wilson Harvey
July 2021

"I would like every girl to have the opportunity to work cooperatively in a group, learn leadership skills and build confidence in herself." 

Jennifer Wilson-Harvey is the Managing Partner and owner of The Wilson Law Group, which owns three separate law firms – Wilson & Associates, a three-state law firm which represents mortgage banking clients in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi; The Wilson Estate Planning Group, an Estate Planning and Elder Law firm and Attorney’s Title Group, a real estate title and closing company. Jennifer belongs to numerous industry and professional associations, as well as other community organizations, including Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, YPO Gold (formerly World Presidents’ Organization or WPO), the Arkansas Chapter of International Women’s Forum, the Aesthetic Club and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Jennifer loves spending time with her family, including her husband, two children and their spouses and her three grandchildren!

"It is vitally important to expose girls to opportunity and diversity. Girls need to grow up knowing they can be anything, do anything and create their own life path. Instilling confidence and a sense of accomplishment go a long way in creating a girl who loves who she is and is excited about her future and her abilities. In my hometown (El Dorado), I grew up as a Camp Fire Girl as there was no Girl Scout group at that time, but it is a similar program with similar goals in mind. It was my first “girl-focused” organization, with leadership & confidence-building activities that I enjoyed until I graduated from high school. It made a lasting impression."

Marie Holder
August 2021

Juliette's Circle member, Marie Holder was an adult volunteer for 6 years as officer in Chipato Valley Service Unit. Marie is currently serving as a commissioner for the Arkansas Highway Commission. She was also proud to serve Arkansas as a member of the Arkansas State Medical Board. She is an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Greater Little Rock Alumni Chapter of Delta Gamma. She is an ordained elder of Second Presbyterian Church where she has also served as Deacon, moderator and member of various committees over the past eighteen years. Marie is a past executive director of the Republican Party of Arkansas, director of AsaPAC, and finance director of Governor Hutchinson’s 2018 re-election campaign. She also worked as deputy press secretary to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

"I invest in Girls Scouts to pay forward the wonderful experiences provided by my Girl Scout leaders when I was a girl and the leaders who have supported our two daughters. Girl Scouts taught me to care about my community and challenged me to find ways to improve our troop, our homes, our school, and our church. This community awareness has continued through my life and pushed me to volunteer for many organizations."

Heather Nelson
September 2021

"The Brownies and Girls Scouts were both a big part of my childhood, and I have a lot of great memories from those experiences. I know that it is important to invest in organizations that are dedicated to empowering and educating young girls. I really remember loving the challenges and earning badges. Lessons of competition and teamwork will always stay with you."

Heather Nelson is co-founder and president of Seal Solar and a former corporate lender for some of the nation’s largest banks. Under her leadership, the local solar design and installation firm has completed more than 450, or approximately one in five, renewable energy projects in the state. Thanks to an innovative partnership with Evolve Auto, it is now one of the only businesses in the U.S. that is able to provide fully solar-powered ecosystems, including panels, batteries, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and EVs, in one transaction. Heather is the incoming board chair for the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) and currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is on the AAEA Distributed Generation Task Force, Arkansas History Commission, Junior Achievement of Arkansas Board of Directors, and UA Little Rock Foundation Fund Board. She regularly travels to Haiti with the Global Orphan Project of Kansas City, Missouri. She previously served two terms on the National Board of Directors for the Arkansas Alumni Association and as president of the Sam M. Walton College of Business Alumni Society.
In 2021, she received the Business Executive of the Year Award at the Arkansas Business of the Year Awards sponsored by Arkansas Business. In 2019, she received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from her alma mater, the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business. An Arkansas native, she also holds an MBA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Board Members

Board Spotlight: Sandy Risi

Sandy Risi

Meet Sandy Risi of Jonesboro, a Girl Scouts — Diamonds Board of Directors member at large. Sandy has an extensive Girl Scouts background as she herself was a Girl Scout, an adult volunteer and has put four daughters through the program!

“There are two things that I required of my girls as they we’re growing up — band and Girl Scouts,” Sandy says. “I believe Girl Scouting is the best overall experience a girl can have. All of my daughters graduated as Girl Scouts and have become successful young women.”

After all four girls finished Girls Scouts (all are lifetime members), Sandy pondered ways to stay involved with Girl Scouts and decided to join the board.

“After my last daughter graduated, I still wanted to serve,” Sandy says.  “I love the qualities of Girl Scouts and the leadership opportunities it provides girls, so I joined the board.  It has allowed me not only to continue my service to the council but broaden my own Girl Scout experience as well.”

Sandy currently serves on the Heritage and Mission Delivery Committees for the board. She is also involved in the council’s latest initiative, GirlsFirst for Girl Scouts, an auxiliary group working in support of the Girl Scouts — Diamonds mission of creating girls of courage, confidence and character. GirlsFirst Members work to enhance the Girl Scout experience by lending time, influence and expertise in creative ways that add value to girl programming, membership and volunteer operations.

 “We recently had our first GirlsFirst meeting and got a great response.  I love bringing out the creativity in others and I’m looking forward to growing our group to help with fund development, girl events and promoting Girl Scouts in the Northeast Arkansas region.”

Sandy attended the University of Florida and has a bachelor’s degree in music education. She considers herself a “career volunteer”, serving as a band parent president, PATHs president and committee chair, and a local garden club president.

When she’s not busy volunteering her time to others, Sandy enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading and making paper crafts.

Board Spotlight: Kathleen Pate

Meet Kathleen Pate, a former Girl Scout and current member of the Girl Scouts — Diamonds Board of Directors representing the Southeast region, chair of the Heritage Committee and member of the Mission Delivery Committee.

As a young girl, Kathleen was a Brownie and Junior level Girl Scout in the Central Savannah River Area Council in Augusta, Georgia. She enjoyed spending time at Camp Tanglewood on weekends with her troop and independently in the summer. Her positive Girl Scout experience as a child, and in partnership with Girl Scouts – Diamonds as an adult, made the decision to join the Board of Directors an easy one.

“I had a positive experience with Girl Scouts – Diamonds. I assisted with the planning and implementation of several large programs held at the Clinton Presidential Library including the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts celebration in March 2012. My favorite collaboration was an award-winning program in conjunction with the 19th Amendment being on display,” Kathleen says. “In the summer of 2013, I was the keynote speaker at the Gold, Silver and Graduating Seniors luncheon and I was very impressed with the caliber of the projects the girls had completed. A year later, I was invited to join the board and readily agreed to serve.”

Since joining the Board in 2014, Kathleen has served on the Board Development Committee, the team charged with soliciting and recruiting candidates to serve as officers and members of the Board of Directors and Board development Committee. She is also chair of the Heritage Committee, a relatively new committee that is working to care for and create programs with the collection of old uniforms and other Girl Scout memorabilia that belongs to the council.

Kathleen was born and reared in Augusta, Georgia, and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in sociology and a certificate in women’s studies.  She earned a master’s degree in public history from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and began her career in museum education at Historic Arkansas Museum in 1998. She currently works as an education specialist at the Clinton Presidential Library and lives in Pine Bluff with her husband, Matthew, and their rescue Boston Terrier, Tilly.

Aside from the amazing work she does with Girl Scouts – Diamonds, Kathleen also serves as the board president of the Arkansas Women’s History Institute, chair of the Arkansas Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemoration Committee, and the state liaison to the Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative.

Board Spotlight: Sharon Herrick

Meet Girl Scouts – Diamonds Board of Directors second Vice President and chairmen of the Council Advisory Team, Sharon Herrick. Sharon became a Girl Scout nearly 31 years ago when her daughter joined the organization as a Daisy. She volunteered with the troop for two years and then took over as the troop’s leader.

“Under my leadership, the girls of Troop 34 volunteered with Habitat for Humanity over a five-year span and helped with the construction of about five houses,” Sharon says. “A house in Fort Smith is even named the Girl Scout House honoring their work from the beginning to the end of construction.”

Sharon remained troop leader until all girls graduated high school. When she no longer had a troop, she became a program volunteer with the Mount Magazine legacy council and planned and chaperoned two girl trips to Our Cabana in Mexico and Our Chalet in Switzerland.

“I found so much joy and fulfillment in working with the girls,” Sharon says. The next stop on Sharon’s volunteering journey was to join the Girl Scouts – Diamonds Board.

“I joined the board because I thought my experiences with the Legacy Council and my troop could provide insight and help with planning for the Diamonds Council,” explains Sharon.

Sharon currently works as a Financial Representative at Northwestern Mutual Life and serves on the board of many other professional organizations including her own, NAIFA Arkansas, an affiliate of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, the state board of directors, Senior Care Alliance of Fort Smith, and the Fort Smith Montessori School.

In her spare time, Sharon enjoys reading historical novels, hiking and cooking. 

Board Spotlight: Mary Dillard

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Meet Mary Dillard, a member of the Girl Scouts – Diamonds Board of Directors.  Mary recalls being a Girl Scout from elementary to high school in Benton.

“As a Senior Scout, I was fortunate enough to go to Girl Scout Round Up in Button Bay, Vermont.  I also spent a lot of summers at Camp Ouachita and have fond memories of my times there,” Mary says.

As an adult, Mary became a board member of the Diamonds Council after encouragement from a friend.  She had previously served on the boards of the Ouachita and NOARK Councils, two of the five legacy councils that merged to form the Diamonds Council.

Mary has an undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Arkansas and a masters in environmental biology from the University of Colorado, so it comes as no surprise that she has had a backyard chicken flock for more than twenty years, two dogs and a cat!

Now in her retirement, after thirty years of consulting with nonprofit and political campaigns, Mary enjoys traveling, and her most recent trip was to India.

Board Member Spotlight: Esperanza Massana-Crane

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Going off to college at a young age is a culture shock in itself, but attending college in a new country can be a game changer. When Esperanza Massana-Crane was just 17 years old, she left her home in El Salvador to attend Harding University in Searcy, where she received a bachelor’s degree in marketing and international business and a master’s in business administration. In between her time spent at Harding, Esperanza moved back home to work for Nine West, but eventually settled on American soil when the CEO of CJRW offered her a job in Little Rock. Little did she know that another CEO would soon walk into her life during this time, and their relationship would prompt her to become a Girl Scouts – Diamonds board member.

Throughout her seven years spent working at CJRW, Esperanza got connected to the Centers for Youth and Families Foundation. This young professionals group is designed to help people improve their career, develop leadership abilities, build a network, and give back to the community. At the time, Dawn Prasifka, CEO of Girl Scouts – Diamonds was the executive director of the Centers Foundation, and she and Esperanza immediately formed a close bond. “Dawn was a great leader, and we have remained close and kept in touch ever since,” says Esperanza. When Dawn approached her about becoming a board member for Girl Scouts - Diamonds, Esperanza didn’t think twice about the opportunity, saying “I love what the Girl Scouts stand for and I believe in Dawn’s leadership. We need more women in leadership roles to empower more women, and Girl Scouts is the perfect organization to make that happen.”

Esperanza currently works at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, where she not only spends her days, but met the love of her life. She and her husband exchanged vows last July in El Salvador. Last weekend, Esperanza began yet another journey and attended her first meeting as a Girl Scouts – Diamonds board member, and is excited to help make an impact on young girls’ lives. “I want to help develop strong women and lay a foundation that will continue into their careers and adult lives,” says Esperanza.

Board Member Spotlight: Andrea Albright

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When her daughter, Mackenzie, joined Girl Scouts four years ago, Andrea Albright was inspired to become a board member for Girl Scouts – Diamonds. Girl Scouts helped Andrea build character and confidence as a young girl and she is excited to see Mackenzie blossom through her Girl Scout experience as well. As a board member, she serves on the finance committee and has played a major role in supporting the creation of a sustainable strategy and funding model that benefit our current and future girls and volunteers.

Andrea is currently the Vice President of Merchandising Human Resources for Walmart US and has held roles of increasing responsibility for Walmart over the last 12 years. In 2005, she received her bachelor’s degree in Apparel and Textile Science from Kansas State University and earned her MBA from the University of Arkansas in 2015. Along with her board experience, Andrea gives back to the community by serving on the Alumni Board for the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the board right now,” says Andrea. She loves our camps of excellence and believes our council has amazing natural resources that provide girls with endless opportunities. Andrea truly believes Girl Scouts - Diamonds has some of the best girls she has engaged with, who have confidence, ownership, and the desire to do more. When she isn’t working, Andrea spends as much time as she can with Mackenzie, her son Liam, and her husband, Patrick, and one of their favorite activities is visiting the Bentonville Farmers Market. 

Board Member Spotlight: Kim Snipes

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“Girl Scouts is about the experiences girls have and the life lessons they learn,” says Kim Snipes.  Kim is a member of the Girl Scouts – Diamonds Board of Directors and serves on the finance committee. With over 22 years of experience as senior vice president and auditor for First National Bank of Fort Smith, you could say she knows a thing or two about finances. “I want to be part of this organization for years to come,” says Kim. “My hope is to teach girls about financial literacy and have our members become advocates in their communities for Girl Scouts by sharing how the organization has impacted their lives.”

Kim graduated from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith (UAFS) with a bachelor’s in accounting in 2006 and received her MBA from John Brown University in 2008. It wasn’t easy to obtain both degrees later in life, but Kim credits her confidence and success in her career and other areas to the strong female leaders in her life, including her former Girl Scout troop leader. Growing up, Kim was one of six children, and she and her sister were very involved with their Girl Scout troop. In fact, the two were in the original Mount Magazine Troop in Fort Smith and part of the only family in town with two First Class Scouts, which was the highest award a Girl Scout could earn during this time. As a young Girl Scout, Kim loved traveling, and her most memorable trip was attending the centennial celebration of the Intercontinental Congress in Philadelphia, where she stood within inches of Queen Elizabeth. To this day, Kim keeps in touch with her troop leader and hopes that Girl Scouts from this generation will share a similar bond that she was able to experience.

Passionate about volunteering and working with children is an understatement when referring to Kim. Along with serving as a Girl Scouts – Diamonds board member for the last two years, her community involvement includes serving on the Community Clearing House board, developing and coordinating a financial literacy program for First National Bank, teaching financial literacy to students in local schools, 8th grade career classes, and UAFS students, serving on the advisory board to the alumni board at UAFS, and teaching managerial accounting at John Brown University. It is evident that Kim spends most of her time helping others, and she doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. 

Alumnae

Julia Kubiak
April 2022

While the crisis in Ukraine continues to unfold, our hearts are with those affected across the world.

In February, we celebrated the 96th annual World Thinking Day – a tradition held by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides across 150 countries, including Ukraine, which is home to over 1,000 Girl Guides. World Thinking Day honors the importance of global friendship and we strive to live its meaning every day.

We’ve recently learned about a Girl Scouts – Diamonds alum from Poland who is volunteering with Ukrainian refugees. Girl Scout alumna, Julia Kubiak joined Girl Scouts - Diamonds as an exchange student from Poland in 2017 with Troop 6735 from Texarkana, Arkansas. Her host parent, Edward Williams, filled us in on her recent activities.

Julia leads a troop in Krakow, Poland, where she is currently volunteering to help Ukrainian refugees. Julia and other Girl Guide volunteers she has encountered wear the Girl Guide emblem on their gear and it is recognized by evacuees they are encountering, some of whom have approached her to let her know they are part of the organization.

Volunteers like Julia are providing supplies like bedding, hygiene products and food to travelers crossing the borders into neighboring countries. Our thoughts are with our sisters like Julia who are striving to make the world a better place in the most difficult circumstances.

If you are interested in supporting the efforts of Girl Guides/Girl Scouts aiding those urgently in need, learn more here.

For caregivers looking for guidance on how to support children through this moment, GSUSA recommends the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s “Talking to Children About War” resource

Today's Cookie CEOs

Dequeshia Prude-Wheeler
April 2022

Meet Dequeshia Prude-Wheeler. Girl Scouts introduced Dequeshia to girls from all different backgrounds, learning how to connect with others as an inverted person. She was able to step out of her comfort zone.

“My favorite memory of being a Girl Scout was getting to earn new badges! I am very competitive, so I wanted to get as many badges as I could and collect more than any other Girl Scouts in my troop.”

Girl Scouts instilled confidence in Dequeshia as a young girl to have the courage to speak with authority, lead, and take initiative. She serves as a strong example to young girls of the role Girl Scouts and its many programs can have in their future successes. 

Michelle Van Schenck
April 2022

Meet Michelle Van Schenck. Girl Scouts taught Michelle to have confidence and gave her the experience of achieving goals. She was taught perseverance and resourcefulness to seek out the best opportunities and be fearless. As a woman leader, she focuses on resilience and kindness, seeking mentorships to teach and support young women joining the workforce. Girl Scouts places girls in positions to become self-sufficient, take initiative, set goals and work with a team. It gives them the freedom to grow their strengths, try new things and find their passions and causes. She learned goal setting, time and money management, project management, learning to deal with difficult situations. She also learned how to work with diverse people as well as respect and appreciate different cultures through her Girl Scouting experience.

“Girl Scouting can tick all the boxes you are looking for in business leadership and management.”

Through traveling, studying, camping, and activities, Michelle learned what it meant to have fun, learning life lessons and meeting people who became life-long friends. She serves as a strong example to young girls of the role Girl Scouts and its many programs can have in their future successes. 

Cathy Owen
April 2022

Meet Cathy Owen. Girl Scouting taught Cathy when to listen, when to act and when to encourage and help others.

“There’s a sense of fulfillment that comes from exercising a combination of resources. More importantly, this sense of fulfillment empowered us and gave us the confidence to believe in ourselves to achieve future successes.”

Cathy started Girl Scouts as a Brownie and continued into high school. She encouraged her daughter to be involved, who went on to earn her Gold Award while Cathy acted as a troop cookie mom for nine years. The Girl Scout cookie program instilled a mind of business into Cathy and fostered sales, marketing and organizational skills. She learned to achieve her goals through relationship building, creativity and decision making to gain respect exhibiting dependability and integrity. Through the years, Cathy made Bunsen burners out of coffee cans, and Christmas decorations out of magazines, learned knitting and went camping, but her leaders and fellow Girl Scouts made the biggest impact. She serves as a strong example to young girls of the role Girl Scouts and its many programs can have in their future successes. 

Ebonye Green
April 2022

Meet Ebonye Green. Girl Scouts taught Ebonye she could accomplish anything if she worked hard and set her mind to it. Every activity she participated in, every badge she earned, reminded her she was intelligent and capable of bettering her community and bettering herself. Ebonye learned how to be contributing citizen and the importance of respect for herself, but also for peers and authority.

“Girl Scouts teaches you that it costs nothing to be a genuine, caring person and that in the long run, you would love yourself more for doing so. The morals and values that are instilled upon you early on are irreplaceable.”

From Girl Scouts, she created some of her closest, life-long friendships. Her favorite memories are of traveling to Washington D.C. and Denmark with her troop through Girl Scout Destinations. She serves as a strong example to young girls of the role Girl Scouts and its many programs can have in their future successes. 

Anna Dickinson
April 2022

Meet Anna Dickinson. Through the Girl Scout motto, “Be prepared.” explained in the 1947 Girl Scout Handbook: “A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency”, Anna learned to be prepared.

“Try new things; be yourself; be prepared; change the world. These are the things that Girl Scouts taught me. All of these things go into play in my adult life and my career. There is never an obstacle too big to take on, especially trying new things.”

Anna’s favorite memory of Girl Scouts was getting together with friends and making arts and crafts. She serves as a strong example to young girls of the role Girl Scouts and its many programs can have in their future successes. 

 

 

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Share Your Story

Has Girl Scouting made a positive impact on your life? Tell us how! We love hearing about what Girl Scouts are up to.

Did you make a lifelong friend at camp? Did your troop get involved in a community event, hold a donation drive or go on an awesome adventure? Tell us all about it and share your photos.

Are you a parent, volunteer, or alumna with an inspiring Girl Scout story to tell? Maybe your Girl Scout completed a service project she’s really proud of or she and your troop did something extra awesome with their cookie earnings this year. Have you had an "aha" moment where you saw your daughter's courage, confidence, or character shine?

Fill out the form below or email us to tell us how Girl Scouts and Girl Scout volunteers are making the world a better place. Your story may be featured on social media, on our website or in your local newspaper! (Note: We cannot guarantee all submissions received will be used.)

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