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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.


Girl Spotlight: Rylee D.

Meet Rylee D. of troop 1309 in DeWitt, Arkansas! She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and recently earned her Gold Award.

Rylee started her Girl Scouts journey when a flyer was sent home for school about signups. “I knew immediately I wanted to join because my two older brothers were Cub Scouts.” Her favorite part of Girl Scouts is traveling with her troop. “In my troop as we reach the highest award at each level, we go on trips. When we earned our Bronze Award we visited Branson, Missouri. After our Silver Award, we visited Savannah, Georgia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This summer our Gold Award recipients will travel to New York.” Rylee’s favorite trip so far has been to Savannah where she visited the birthplace of Girl Scouts.

Rylee feels that the Girl Scout program has helped shape her into the person she is today. “It has allowed me to find my inner strengths, step into leadership roles, and given me the confidence needed to not be afraid to try new things and go after my goals.”

Rylee’s Gold Award project, S.W.I.N.G (Service With Impact for a New Generation) was about educating the younger generation on handicap awareness and inclusion.

 “I believe addressing the younger generation can get a ‘jump start’ on acceptance and inclusion for those that are differently-abled. This will hopefully lead to less bullying and exclusion due to a lack of understanding. Inclusive play is a great place to foster that acceptance,” Rylee shares. This is why my project included purchasing a wheelchair swing, that can accommodate both youth and adult chairs, for my city park, which previously had no handicap equipment. Now the park can serve a wider range of needs across the generations.”

While working on her Gold Award, Rylee was awarded the Good Deed Award by the American Legion Auxiliary for outstanding community service. She received the award at both local and state levels and was honored as the 2019 Citizen of the Year in south Arkansas County. “To any girls who are currently working on their Gold Award project, I think it’s important to start working on it early! Just like in life, your project will have unforeseen hiccups and obstacles and time goes quicker than you think.”

In addition to Girl Scouts, Rylee also cheers for the DeWitt Dragons, is the captain of the color guard, is student council president and is part of the Girl Scouts – Diamonds Council Advisory Team. She also enjoys hanging out with her friends, playing the piano, watching Netflix and shoe shopping! After high school, Rylee plans to attend Phillips County Community College for her basics and then transfer to the University of Central Arkansas to obtain a doctorate in occupational therapy.

Girl Spotlight: Sarah B.

When she's a Girl Scout, she’s also a G.I.R.L. – Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader. Sarah B. is 100 percent G.I.R.L.! Sarah is an Ambassador in Troop 4358 as well as an assistant Troop leader for Daisy troop 4042. But it doesn’t stop there, she is also working hard on her Gold Award.

Sarah has been in Girl Scouts for 13 years, starting out as a Daisy. According to Sarah, growing up in Girl Scouts has made a strong impact on her character, “I’m confident when communicating with others, courageous when attempting new things, and considerate to myself and others when overcoming obstacles.”

When it comes to her work on Girl Scout awards, Sarah has learned to strive for more than personal success in life by giving back to her community. “Working on awards has fostered important skills and traits that are necessary to be a good leader. For example, time management, communication, determination and adaptability have all improved from working on awards.”

Sarah’s favorite part about Girl Scouts is creating and maintaining friendships. “I have another family who has my back. These people are always in my corner supporting me, from marathon card games to cleaning up our community, these influential women and girls have taught me the significance of having a group to turn to,” Sarah shared. 

Have you met Sarah before? If not, you’ve probably noticed her artwork at Girl Scout functions! At every Girl Scout event, Sarah leaves her mark by drawing Rosie The Riveter, whether she’s working with sidewalk chalk, creating a button or doodling on a piece of paper. “I believe Rosie the Riveter’s message of independence, strength and giving back is a message all girls should carry.” Sarah leaves behind these images to share Rosie’s message with others.

When Sarah’s looking for a fun-filled afternoon she’s curling up with a new book, watching movie marathons and spending quality time with her best friends and family.

Girl Spotlight: Morgan H. 

Girl - Morgan H.

Real friends introduce their other friends to Girl Scouts! Meet Morgan H., a third year cadette in Troop 6289 in Maumelle. Morgan joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie after being introduced to the organization by her close friend, Natalie. Since then, Morgan has taken part in all that Girl Scouts has to offer — badge earning, camp and outdoor activities, product sales and volunteering to name a few.

“My Girl Scout experience has been amazing,” Morgan says. “Right now, I’m working on earning the Science of Happiness, Cadette Girl Scout Way and Babysitter badge.”

Additionally, Morgan is working toward earning a Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn, and she is planning to go on a Girl Scout Destinations trip this year.

Aside from seeking out all the great opportunities offered through Girl Scouts, Morgan enjoys giving back to the council by volunteering her time.

This summer, Morgan volunteered her time to the council assisting with large projects like annual conference activities, and most recently, sorting renewal patches for the membership, volunteer and program department, working toward yet another reward, a Cadette Service to Girl Scouting Bar.

“Being a Girl Scout has helped me to become more independent, more self-reliant,” Morgan says. “Girl Scouts builds powerful young women, and I am happy to be a product of the Girl Scout program.”

When she is not busy participating in all that Girl Scouts has to offer, Morgan enjoys playing soccer and basketball. Morgan also likes to craft, paint, sing and hang out with friends.

Girl Spotlight: Charley C.

Girl - Charley C.

Girl Scouts is deeply rooted in a passion for adventure, which many girls experience at Girl Scout camp. Meet Charley C., a Senior Girl Scout member of Troop 6862 in Little Rock and a full-time camper! No really, she spends her entire summer at Girl Scout camp!

Charley joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie seven years ago. At first, she had a very traditional experience —earning badges, selling cookies and going on trips with her troop. In the summer of 2015, Charley decided to enhance her Girl Scout experience by attending summer camp for the first time. She enjoyed herself so much that she now attends multiple sessions every summer!

“Being a Girl Scout has had such a positive impact on my life,” says Charley. “But attending Girl Scout Camp has helped me to develop and hone many essential skills through various adventures, leadership opportunities, and confidence-building activities all while having fun.”

“Girl Scout camp is a great way to learn how to work with others and have new, unique experiences,” says Angela, Charley’s mom. “It is a safe place for girls to grow and change while being supported in that process. Charley loves camp; she likes to be the first girl in the gate when camp opens and the last to leave.”

Charley enjoys the horsemanship program at Camp Crossed Arrows. She has completed five horse levels including Saddle Up, Tenderfoot, Trailblazer, Wrangler and most recently, Advanced Wrangler — the highest level of the program.

“Completing the horsemanship program was no small feat,” Charley says. “There’s a lot of hard work, dedication and responsibility that goes into it. I learned a lot through the horsemanship program at camp — about myself and others too.”

“As a parent, it’s a joy to know your daughter is loved, accepted and supported for who she is,” Angela says. “Through Girl Scouts, I have been able to watch my daughter become a young woman in a supportive environment, and for that I am grateful.”

When she is not busy making the most of her summers at Girl Scout camp, Charley enjoys vacationing on the beach with her family, playing volleyball, hunting and binge-watching true crime tv shows.  

Girl Spotlight: Sydney D.

Sydney Dumond

At Girl Scouts, we have a mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place, and this Girl Scout has embodied that mission through service in her own community. Meet Sydney D. — a member of Troop 1309 in DeWitt and a Gold Award Girl Scout! Last year, Sydney earned a Gold Award for her Numbers for Safety Gold Award project. This year, Sydney is being recognized statewide for her contributions to her community through her Gold Award project.

Numbers for Safety addressed the issue of homes and businesses in Sydney’s community that were not in compliance with the city ordinance requiring each home and business to have at least 4-inch numbers posted, clearly visible from the nearest road.

“The emergency vehicles in my town are not equipped with GPS navigation systems, so it’s critical that no time is wasted when an emergency arises,” says Sydney. “So, I set out to implement a sustainable solution to the problem.”

Sydney developed a log of all 1,668 homes and businesses in the community and noted the condition of the numbers.  She visited those that were not in compliance to inform them of the ordinance and the importance of complying. When Sydney completed her project, all homes and businesses were in compliance with the city ordinance.

“Earning a Girl Scout Gold Award has afforded me so many opportunities,” says Sydney. “But nothing makes me feel more pride than going through town and realizing that I have helped my community be just a little safer.”

Since earning her Gold Award, Sydney has been recognized by her city council with a proclamation, she was recognized at a school board meeting, and she even was named Citizen of the Year at the Best of South Arkansas County Banquet— the first time the award has been given to a youth. Most recently, Sydney has been named the youth honoree for the Arkansas Community Service Awards.

When she is not busy making the world a better place, Sydney enjoys duck hunting, playing basketball and serving on the Girl Scouts — Diamonds Council Advisory Team. She plans to attend college at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and major in wildlife biology.

Girl Spotlight: Kierstyn R.

Kierstyn R.

Meet Kierstyn R., a member of Troop 6347 in Gravel Ridge and a hardworking cookie boss.! Kierstyn joined Girl Scouts nearly seven years ago when her mother started a troop in their area. Now as a cadette, Kierstyn is taking what she’s learned in Girl Scouting and helping other Girl Scouts along the way.

“I’ve wanted to be a Girl Scout since the moment I was introduced to the idea of Girl Scouting,” Kierstyn says. “I was only 4 years old then, so I had to wait, but when I turned 5 my mom and I joined the organization. There wasn’t a troop in our area, so she stepped up to begin a troop and I recruited friends from my elementary school to be a part.”

Since then, Kierstyn and her troop have participated in many aspects of Girl Scout programming, and she credits those activities with instilling in her some very core personal values like treating all people with respect and being a great friend, but her favorite part is the leadership opportunity she’s afforded by participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

“I always shoot for the top,” Kierstyn says. “But it’s okay if I don’t get there in numbers because the cookie program is more than just selling cookies, it’s an opportunity to be a leader and part of that is helping your sister Girl Scouts.”

“Last year, I set a goal to sell 2,018 boxes of cookies, and I did. But I didn’t stop there,” says Kierstyn.

“Once I reached my goal, I continued selling cookies to help another  Girl Scout reach her goal. We didn’t quite make it, but what matters most is that I extended a helping hand to a sister Girl Scout, and to me that’s what Girl Scouts is all about.”

This year, Kierstyn plans to sell 2,019 boxes of cookies. She and her troop plan to use their cookie proceeds to go camping, buy badges and to host parties and events for their troop and service unit.

When she’s not busy managing her cookie business, Kierstyn enjoys painting her nails and practicing contortion! She hopes one day to own her own salon or be a contortionist.

Girl Spotlight: Presley F.

Presley F.

Meet Presley F., a junior Girl Scout in Troop 3415 in Jonesboro! Presley joined Girl Scouts in kindergarten when her first-grade teacher, now council staff member, Beth Quarles, formed a troop at her elementary school.  Through Girl Scouting, Presley discovered her passion for STEAM and now attends STEAM school!

 “After joining Girl Scouts, I took an interest in all the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities we did. This year, I am attending a STEAM Academy in my hometown,” Presley says.  “A lot of what I’ve learned in Girl Scouts I’ve been able to apply in my schooling and vice versa.”

“Presley’s love of learning has always gone beyond the walls of the classroom,” Beth says. “When she joined Girl Scouts, she was always excited about the activities and even more excited to share what she learned with others in class — it was a joy, and I know her love of learning and leadership will take her far.”

Presley also credits Girl Scouting with some of her most valuable lessons outside of the classroom, like being a leader and being of service to others.

“I’ve learned how to be a good role model for my friends — even those who are not Girl Scouts, as well as helping others,” says Presley. “These are things that help me to get along with others, especially at school, and to be a good citizen and caring person to everyone.”

Aside from Girl Scouts, Presley is involved in a lot of activities that keep her busy including Junior Olympic volleyball, violin, junior Beta Club and hip-hop dance classes.  In her free time, Presley enjoys word searches, reading and catching up on her favorite tv shows.

Girl Spotlight: Sophia H. 

Sophia H.

Meet Sophia H., a member of Troop 5340 and one of Girl Scouts — Diamonds top cookie bosses!  Last year, Sophia sold 2018 boxes of cookies and she and her troop used their earnings to take a weeklong camping trip!

“I got involved with Girl Scouts through a friend,” Sophia says. “Since becoming a Girl Scout, I’ve gotten to do a lot of amazing things. I have marched in parades and volunteered at the local animal shelter, nursing homes and our community garden.”

In addition to serving her community, Sophia has learned valuable skills by participating in the world’s largest girl-led business in the world — the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Girls who participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program learn five key skills — goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

“My strategy is pretty much to pitch a sale to everyone I see. That, along with being polite is key to sales.  Also, it helps to keep in mind that it’s okay if people say no,” says Sophia.

Through her individual cookie sales, Sophia earned her way to Girl Scout Camp at Camp Cahinnio for a week. And get this, it was FREE! As a troop, Sophia’s troop uses their cookie proceeds to go camping in different parts of the country.

“Our first trip was to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado,” says Sophia.  “Last summer we camped out for a week at Mount Rushmore! While at Mount Rushmore, our troop gave a speech to the crowd about flag etiquette and we were presented with a retired flag that had once flown there. We also got to do a ropes course that was hoisted 30 feet in the air and visit the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.  We funded this all with our cookie proceeds!”

This year, Sophia’s troop has voted to use their cookie funds for a weeklong campout at Yellowstone National Park.

When Sophia is not busy meeting her Cookie Goals, she enjoys participating in other extracurricular activities like speech and debate, and her most favorite hobby, reading.

Girl Spotlight: Sarah L.

Sarah L.

Meet Sarah L., a Senior Girl Scout from Texarkana! Sarah joined Girl Scouts in kindergarten viewing the program as an opportunity to come out of her shell.  Soon after, Sarah realized she was in for more than she originally bargained for — not only has the program helped her to be more confident, it’s taught her valuable life lessons through leadership and service and brought her lifelong friendships.

“Girl Scouts has definitely been a lot of fun and a major factor in me coming out of my shell,” Sarah says. “My favorite thing is getting together with my friends who are also Girl Scouts. We’ve been in the same troop since kindergarten and have grown really close. In fact, we even went on a trip to Europe together through our high school this past summer.”

Girl Scouts has also helped Sarah to build character — because of Girl Scouts, Sarah says, she enjoys getting involved in her community and serving others.

“Girl Scouts introduced me to community service and cultivated my passion for serving others,” Sarah notes, “The program has taught me how to put others before myself and how to help others when I can.  I held on to that and I strive to model my life around the principle of service to others.”

Sarah recently earned both the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a national award established to honor the volunteer efforts of individuals, families and organizations, and a Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, for her efforts serving others in her community.

When Sarah is not busy with her Girl Scout activities, she enjoys playing tennis and is involved in various student leadership organizations at her school including Student Council and National Honor Society.

Girl Spotlight: Tori T.

Tori T.

Meet Tori T., an Ambassador in Troop 6675 in Sherwood. Tori joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie nine years ago after receiving information about the Girl Scout program at school.  Since then, Tori has enjoyed some of the best experiences Girl Scouts has to offer and has even incorporated values she’s learned through Girl Scouting in her everyday life.

“Girl Scouts has offered me many experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise have,” Tori says. “I’ve earned a Bronze Award with my troop; I’ve been trained in CPR, outdoor sports like horseback riding, archery, water safety, and the proper presentation of flags.”

Tori has also learned the value of giving back to the community and dedicates much of her time to helping others in need.

“My past leaders, Emily Hulsey and Cindy Taylor, who just so happens to be my mom, have always inspired me to be the best Girl Scout I can be, and a big part of that is serving others.” Tori says

Tori has earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) at the bronze, silver and gold level for her nearly 220 hours of service, many of which were completed through Girl Scouts. The PVSA is a national award established to honor the volunteer efforts of individuals, families and organizations.

“Choosing Girl Scouts was a great choice,” Cindy Taylor says. “It has given Tori opportunities build confidence and character through leadership and she’s taken on those opportunities with confidence and courage like only a Girl Scout can.”

When Tori is not busy serving others, she enjoys playing video games and participating in Cosplay events.

Girl Spotlight: Ava F. 

Meet Ava F., a first year Brownie in Troop 6904! Ava joined Girl Scouts two years ago after family friends suggested the Girl Scouts program to her parents. Since then, Ava has learned a lot from Girl Scouts and has even brought the power of Girl Scouts to others with her very own “Be Kind” patch.

“I was inspired by the patch I was given by our council’s CEO, Mrs. Dawn, two years ago,” Ava says. “She told us a story about her son and reminded us to be kind to one another, and that has stuck with me.”

So, what did she do? Ava made her own “Be Kind” patch and hands them out to remind other Girl Scouts and encourage others to always be kind.

“I switch up my patch often, like Mrs. Dawn,” Ava says. “My patch is a SWAP, so they’re always different, but just like all of her patches have a sun, all of my patches have “Be Kind” written on them as recognition of someone’s kind act or as a reminder to always be kind.”

When she is not busy encouraging others to be kind, this second grader loves meeting new people and animals, especially rabbits and horses, and loves to draw and write short stories.  She also enjoys camping, swimming and spending time with her pets, which include two turtles, two rabbits and one dog — for now. 

Girl Spotlight: Belle F.

Meet Belle F., a Junior in Troop 6754 in Little Rock, and a great example of a go-getter!  After hearing about plans to upgrade Girl Scout – Diamonds camp properties at the Annual Conference and Leadership Meeting, Belle reached out to President and CEO, Dawn Prasifka, to discuss some ways girls could help bring the plans to fruition.

 “I heard some talk that the adults were putting forth a lot of effort and work to revamp our Girl Scouts Camps of Excellence,” Belle said. “I thought this would be great for we Girl Scouts to have a hand in and that we should have an opportunity to help out, so I reached out to Mrs. Prasifka and asked if we could meet.”

After scheduling a meeting with Dawn, Belle came up with various fundraising ideas to present — ideas that not only got the girls involved, but further promoted the skills girls learn from Girl Scouting.

“I enjoyed getting to talk with Mrs. Dawn. We talked about some ways the girls can be included in helping fund the building of our camps,” Belle says. “One of the ideas I had was for a Girl Scouts Expo. The idea for this is that we Girl Scouts will make and sale things like baked goods, original arts and crafts, and other things to help fund the building project,” says Belle. “Not only will we be raising funds, we’ll also be focusing on interaction,” says Belle. “Schools only teach you about money, but Girl Scouts teaches us so much more about setting goals, raising funds and managing a business, so we want to focus on those aspects as well.”

While Belle’s ideas are still in the planning stage, she along with Dawn and other council staff discussed some ways she could partner with local schools and other troops for a pilot project of the Girl Scout Expo.

“There is a little research I need to do before moving forward, but I’m really hoping to do this in the spring,” Belle says.

Belle credits her go-getter attitude to the Girl Scout Program. She says that Girl Scouts has given her the confidence to speak up without being shy and take action both in Girl Scouts and her community.

“Belle told me she not only wants to help our camps, but she also desires to have all girls feel comfortable and participate in Girl Scouts. This reflects her being a sister to every Girl Scout,” Dawn says.

When she’s not busy speaking on behalf of the other go-getter Girl Scouts, Belle enjoys art, singing and dancing. As a matter of fact, she has written songs and entered them in the PTA’s Reflections Program, several of which won first place in Arkansas and one earned an honorable mention at nationals. Belle also enjoys arts and crafts and is currently learning how to sew.

Girl Spotlight: Mattie M.

After seeing the impact of Girl Scouts on her older sister’s life, this G.I.R.L. knew she wanted to be a part of the Girl Scout Movement. Meet Mattie M., a program aide, Silver Award Recipient and the youngest girl in Troop 4372 in Fort Smith!

“I watched the neat things that my big sister did as a Girl Scout including traveling to Europe and earning a Gold Award, and I just knew I had to be a Girl Scout, too,” Mattie says.

Since joining Mattie has been very active within the organization.  She is a trained Leader in Action (LiA) and Program Aide (PA) which has allowed her to take on more responsibility with younger girls in her community. In fact, she spent some time this summer teaching at a STEM Day Camp.

“With my LiA and PA training, I was able to plan and lead a Brownie troop through a Journey during a summer day camp,” says Mattie. “I also got to advise them at a robotics competition where they earned a STEM badge.”

Though she’s making a Girl Scout experience of her own, Mattie is making sure to experience the fun and excitement that attracted her to Girl Scouts in the first place, earning prestigious awards and traveling.

Mattie recently earned a Silver Award for her Take Action Project, “Two Liter Bottle Greenhouse”, where she built a greenhouse offering low income families a chance to grow their own food while preventing thousands of plastic bottles from being sent to the landfills.

“I learned valuable skills while completing my Silver Award,” Mattie says. “Planning and implementing the project honed skills like meeting with community leaders, time management and engineering.”

Mattie also got to travel with her troop and with other Girl Scouts on a Girl Scouts Destinations trip. She was also one of 20 girls selected to represent the council at the Always and Walmart Live #LikeAGirl STEM Academy at headquarters in Hoboken, New Jersey, and most recently she attended the Space Academy and visited Yellowstone National Park.

“Destination Wildlife, Mountains and Geysers was amazing,” says Mattie. “I enjoyed canoeing, camping and working with Girl Scouts from all over the United States. My favorite site was the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park and the grizzly bear I spotted.”

When Mattie is not busy making the best of her Girl Scout experience, she is a member of the band, robotics and dance teams at school and she helps with Tinker Tuesday, an after-school program.  She enjoys learning pointe and ballet, travelling, fishing, camp and attending sporting events.

Girl Spotlight: Anna Claire T.

Anna Claire T. (1)

Meet Anna Claire T.! A member of Troop 4372 in Fort Smith, Council Advisory Team (CAT) and a Program Aide (PA). After witnessing her older sister have fun with her troop, Anna Claire joined Girl Scouts. Nearly ten years later she is making the most of her Girl Scout experience and accrediting a lot of her personal and professional development to the program.

“I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for Girl Scouts,” Anna Claire says. “Girl Scouting has given me a platform to build courage, confidence and character that girls can’t receive anywhere else.”

Anna Claire is very involved with the organization as she is a member of CAT, a group of girls elected to discuss future council activities with the council President and CEO, as well as a program aide, a Girl Scout trained to work with younger Girl Gcouts and assist leaders in daily activities.

“I knew I wanted to be involved outside of just my troop because of the leadership opportunities I’d have,” says Anna Claire. “I am interested in a career in government and CAT has helped me gain communication and reasoning skills that will help me in my future, and as a PA I am babysitter and CPR-certified which is beneficial in all aspects of life.”

Because of her Girl Scout experiences, Anna Claire has been able to make priceless memories and has gained valuable skills that have benefited her at school, with friends and even in the workplace. In fact, she landed her dream summer job through her volunteer work with Girl Scouts.

“I volunteered at an event in downtown Fort Smith teaching younger girls about the Wild West history of Fort Smith,” says Anna Claire. “While there, one of the park rangers from the Fort Smith National Historic site reached out to me about becoming a park volunteer. Last summer I volunteered and this summer I have a job through the Youth Conservation Corps—all because of Girl Scouts!”

Anna Claire has also traveled on Girl Scouts Destinations trips to parts of the world she never imagined she’d see.   

“Girl Scouts Destinations are a wonderful but often overlooked part of Girl Scouting,” Anna Claire says. “Through Girl Scouts, I’ve been to Space Camp twice, and more recently, Switzerland.”

While in Switzerland, Anna Claire stayed at one of the Girl Scouts World Centers, Our Chalet, ziplined, hiked to the peak of a Swiss Alp, swam in a freezing cold glacier lake, ate her weight in Swiss chocolate, went whitewater rafting, and even taught the girls how to call the Hogs earning her a feature on several media outlets across the state. If you missed it, you can watch it here:

“Everyday I thought to myself ‘This is the best day of my life!”, she says. “And the next day I would top myself.”

When she’s not taking advantage of all that Girl Scouts has to offer, Anna Claire enjoys hiking, kayaking and hanging out with friends. She is involved in quiz bowl, band, student council and FBLA at her high school.

Girl Spotlight: Haley P.

girl - Haley P.

Meet Haley P., a member of Troop 6818 in Conway and a Counselor in Training (CIT) at Camp Cahinnio! Haley has enjoyed Girl Scouting for 11 years and credits her self-discovery to the program.

“My family has been in Girl Scouts for four generations,” says Haley. “My great-grandma started Girl Scouting shortly after the organization’s establishment, my grandma and my mom are both Girl Scouts, and I absolutely love it. Everything I’ve been exposed to through Girl Scouts has opened my eyes to so much and I have learned a lot about myself in the process.”

Haley has attended camp every year since joining Girl Scouts and has registered to be a CIT for the summer.

“I’m excited to be a CIT,” says Haley. “It really matches my personality; I love to work with younger girls and help them learn new things,” she says.

After this summer as a CIT, Haley hopes to advance to a unit counselor position.

“My ultimate goal is to be a unit counselor,” says Haley. “It brings me great joy to provide amazing experiences just as I had when I attended the exact same camps years ago!”

Aside from providing great experience to girls at Girl Scouts – Diamonds Camps of Excellence, Haley enjoys art, nature and spending time outdoors.

Girl Spotlight: Troop 2061


They’re back! What better way to follow up than with a Girl Spotlight? Today, we’re spotlighting the cadettes of Troop 2061 in Texarkana. The girls represented the Diamonds Council as one of five councils nationally selected to attend Always and Walmart’s Live #LikeAGirl STEM Academy at headquarters in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Girls from troops in Greenwood, Fort Smith and Fayetteville also attended and will be featured in upcoming spotlights.

While there, the girls participated in a day of workshops and panels centered around STEM. They even heard from celebrity guest speakers including Abigail Breslin and GSUSA CEO, Sylvia Acevedo.

“I learned a lot,” says Sadie M. “Many of the women who spoke to us weren’t encouraged to stick with STEM.  Understanding that lack of encouragement makes me want to make sure our Take Action project tells younger girls that they can do STEM.”

In addition to participating in workshops and panels, the girls were assigned a STEM mentor from with whom they worked one-on-one to outline a Take Action project to implement in their own communities.  Troop 2061 worked closely with Lauren Haag, a member of analytics team, to plan a coding camp for girls in 1st – 3rd grade, which they plan to host later this month.

And of course, in true Girl Scout tradition, the girls set out on an adventure and explored New York City.  They visited GSUSA Headquarters, took in a show on Broadway, and even visited Carlos’ Bakery featured in TLC’s show “Cake Boss”.

Girl Spotlight: Annika F.

Annika F.

Today we’re spotlighting Girl Scouts-produced SHEro Annika F.  Annika, a member of cadette Troop 6897, joined Girl Scouts to find new friends after moving to the area from Missouri.  She got more than she bargained for, though.  In addition to new friends, Annika has learned to be a leader, a role model for others, and she has gained valuable skills that she has been able to apply in the real world.

“Annika has always shown courage and confidence.  Her first Girl Scout fun event was roller skating.  She helped a few Daisies with skating and staying upright.  It didn’t go unnoticed by leadership, and at the next fun event we recognized her and presented her with a fun patch in front of all the girls,” says Amber Mlenar, Annika’s troop leader.

Since then, Annika has continuously demonstrated leadership skills and even acquired new life skills that she was recently able to use to save a life.

“Through Girl Scouts I was certified for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich Maneuver.  When a fellow student choked on a piece of candy at school, I was able to perform the Heimlich and dislodge the candy,” says Annika.  “When the incident happened I felt confident, and afterwards, I was proud and happy that I was able to help someone.”

Helping others is no new phenomenon to Annika. In fact, her troop leader believes it’s her second nature.

“I am so proud that she took her CPR training seriously and focused on every word taught.  Her quick action at school helped a fellow student in need,” Amber says. “Without a moment’s thought, she knew exactly what to do.  Helping others is like her second nature.”

When she’s not busy being helping others, Annika enjoys singing, reading and hanging out with her friends and her dog, Marcus.

Girl Spotlight: Allie G.


This Diamond of Juliette Low Service Unit has competed in seven spelling bees and has set a goal to compete nationally. Now that’s a G.I.R.L. agenda we can get behind! Meet Allie G., a Cadette in Troop 6897.  In third grade, Allie went to present something for her school at a Cabot School Board Meeting and there she met the Cabot District Spelling Bee winners. 

“I thought it would be really cool to win a spelling bee like them, so last year I competed in my class spelling bee and won, and that got me started,” Allie says.

After winning her class spelling bee, Allie placed 5th in the school bee, which qualified her for the district bee where she placed 8th.

“Participating in Girl Scouts selling cookies has taught me perseverance which helped me to keep competing after some losses last year,” Allie says.  “This year, I won my class bee again, and placed first in the school bee!”

Allie went on to compete against 5th- 8th graders in her school’s district bee and the Lonoke County Bee where she placed first.  She is currently preparing to compete in the Arkansas State Spelling Bee where she hopes to win and compete nationally.

“I try to study every night for two or three weeks leading up to each bee,” says Allie, “Lately, I’ve been studying 30 minutes to an hour each day getting ready for the state bee.”

So far, Allie has learned 2500 new words competing in spelling bees!

“I am working on learning 1,150 new words for the state bee,” Allie says, “My mom usually looks up a word and tells me the definition and how to pronounce it, and then I try to spell it.  I also use an app on the family iPad to study.”

What’s her secret, you ask? Well, aside from diligent studying, Allie has a lucky outfit!

“My lucky outfit is a pink and navy blue striped dress with stars on it,” Allie says, “I have worn it to every spelling bee so far this year, however, for the State Bee they will provide all the contestants with matching t-shirts…No worries though, I’ve got brains which is more empowering than luck.”

Allie has been in Girl Scouts for six years, and when she is not competing in spelling bees Allie enjoys playing the violin, attending Bible class and participating in other activities with her church group, Kids for Christ. She also enjoys watching Kid’s Baking Championship and then trying out her own baking skills in the kitchen and reading.

What a G.I.R.L.!

Girl Spotlight: Toni T.

Toni girl spotlight

Meet Toni, one of the cookie bosses of Troop 6349 from Little Rock! After receiving a recruitment flyer at school, Toni joined Girl Scouts and has enjoyed being a leader in her community, going to summer camp and, you guessed it, selling cookies!  Last year Toni sold 1,100 boxes of Girl Scouts Cookies making her the top seller of her service unit, and this year she plans to sell even more.

“My goal this season is to sell 1,500 boxes of cookies,” Toni says.  “Selling cookies is how I earn my way to summer camp, that’s what motivates me. And, of course, the prizes!”

Toni generally describes the cookie season as busy but specifically identifies pre-sales as her busiest time of the season and even offers tips on how to master pre-sales.

“Pre-sales is the aspect I dedicate the most time to,” Toni says.  “The key to success with pre-sales is being intentional, planning where you want to sell before you head out; being dedicated, always putting a smile on your face and enjoying selling; being proactive, being the first in your neighborhood to pitch a sale.”

Toni also enjoys participating in booth sales.  “It’s fun because I get to hang out and sell cookies with my friends,” Toni says.

Aside from individual rewards, Girl Scouts can use their cookie profits to reward their community in various ways.  Toni and Troop 6349 plan to help the homeless and local shelters. 

Hats off to this G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader) and Troop 6349!

Girl Spotlight: Karli R.

girl spotlight

Meet Karli: six-time top cookie seller of the Chipato Service Unit in Little Rock and the reigning top cookie seller of the council! 

Karli, a member of troop 6097 in central Arkansas, has been a Girl Scout since she was in kindergarten. She realized her competitive nature after her first season of cookie sales, and has set a goal to be recognized as a top-seller ten years in a row.  She is well on her way to completing that goal with six consecutive years under her belt.

“Being top-seller takes a lot of hard work,” Karli says. “But the competitive nature of the program is what keeps me motivated to sell.”

Karli even offered a few selling tips just in time for the upcoming cookie season.

“Always be polite and respectful,” she says.  “If someone says they’re not interested, or on a diet, tell them about donated cookies.  Tell them how they can donate cookies to military soldiers stationed overseas.  Our troop has sent over 700 boxes to troops in the last 6 years.”

The cookie sales program is designed to teach girls many skills, one being decision-making. The girls get to decide how to use the money raised from their cookie sales.  In the past, troop 6097 has been on trips to Branson, Chicago and on a cruise!

Karli is currently working towards a Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn, and plans to keep her troop in the spotlight with another year of top cookie sales and more involvement in the community.

Girl Spotlight: Hollan B.

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No spoiler alert here, because we don’t know how Hollan B. is planning to incorporate the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” into her Gold Award project, we’re just intrigued that she is. Hollan, a member of Troop 2125 in the Southwest Region, has been a Girl Scout since she was in kindergarten. Now a Senior Girl Scout, she is currently in the midst of researching, planning and fundraising for her Gold Award. When she saw “Hamilton” on Broadway, Hollan was inspired by the intellect of Alexander Hamilton. Read the full story.


Girl Spotlight: Stephanie W. and Lauren K.

“While in London, I learned so much about the international world of Girl Scouts,” Lauren K. says about her Destinations trip. Last summer, Lauren and Stephanie W. from Troop 6659 had the incredible opportunity to travel to London, England through the Girl Scouts Destinations program. This unique program offers the ultimate adventures for individual girls ages 11 and older. During these unforgettable trips to different parts of the world, girls make friends from all over the country as they travel with Girl Scouts from different states. Read the full story.


Girl Spotlight: Kelsey G.

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One of Kelsey G.’s passions in life is working with younger girls and Girl Scouts provides several opportunities for her to do so. This go-getter Cadette in Troop 3302 frequently volunteers within her service unit in Paragould to mentor and work with younger girls and has even worked with local elementary schools on an anti-bullying campaign. When asked about her experience at Camp Crossed Arrows this summer, she said one of her favorite parts was participating in activities with girls younger than her. Read the full story. 

Girl Spotlight: Claire G.

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“I love the impact we get to make on the community through Girl Scouts,” says Claire G. from Troop 6577. Since Claire became a Girl Scout three years ago, she has had the opportunity to combine her love for animals and passion to help others in more ways than she thought possible. She never ceases to come up with new project ideas, and her troop leader, Paula, is constantly amazed by her drive and go-getter attitude. Along with Girl Scout projects and activities, Claire enjoys spending her time volunteering for local theaters, her church and the Humane Society, and loves to take on new tech projects. Read the full story.

Girl Spotlight: Mary H.

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If you ever get the chance to meet Mary H., it won’t take long to understand why she will be entering the 7th grade at just 11 years old. Mary and her sister, Sophie, are two of the most well-spoken and friendly 10 and 9-year-olds and are homeschooled year-round in Bella Vista. The pair have been Girl Scouts in Troop 5340 for four years and their mother, Brandy, took over as troop leader a year ago. Since the girls spend most of their days at home with their parents, Girl Scouts has been a great outlet for them to make friends, go to camp and learn new skills. Read the full story. 

Girl Spotlight: Erica Z.

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Even though Erica Z. and her mom, Regina, didn’t know much about Girl Scouts two years ago, it didn’t stop them from registering for every Girl Scout event in the Texarkana area to get the full experience. Erica is now on her way to becoming a Cadette in Troop 2211 and has earned 17 badges over the last two years. Not only has she found success in Girl Scouts, but she excels in the classroom at school as well. Erica is a straight-A student, part of the gifted and talented program, and has won a trophy every year so far for earning the most Accelerated Reading (AR) points in her grade. Read the full story.


Girl Spotlight: Lucianna R.

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“Girl Scouts was a positive outlet during this time and everyone was so kind and supportive,” says Lucianna R. When Lucianna’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, Lucianna showed a tremendous amount of valor and leadership by stepping up in her family and her Girl Scout troop. Her mom had to spend a lot of time away from home while being treated at the Mayo Clinic, so Lucianna picked up household duties and learned how to balance a variety of things. Read the full story.

Girl Spotlight: Zoe P.

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“She can do the same things as anyone else, just a little different,” says Zoë P.’s grandmother, Melinda Kelly. Due to Zoë’s prematurity at birth, she has struggled with speech and walking, along with other milestones. Thanks to physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and the support of her family, she defeated the odds and has since reached her full potential. Read the full story.

Girl Spotlight: Brooklyn Y.

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“Brooklyn is always engaged and willing to help other kids,” Grier Pegram, community programs manager for Girl Scouts - Diamonds says. Brooklyn is a 5th grader at Scott Charter School in Little Rock and has been part of Troop 6076 the Girl Scouts - Diamonds school-based STEM program since January. Ever since Brooklyn’s friend told her about the fun science projects Girl Scouts participate in, she wanted to join as well.  Since becoming a Girl Scout, Brooklyn has enjoyed hands-on projects, creating things, making friends, and most of all, selling cookies. Read the full story. 

Girl Spotlight: Rylee N.

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“My favorite part about being a Girl Scout is selling cookies,” Rylee claims. She is usually shy around people, but Rylee loves that selling cookies helps her come out of her shell and form relationships. Along with people skills, she has learned how to manage money and her time through her experience as a Girl Scout. As a thriving sophomore in high school, Rylee is involved in several activities, including: Girl Scouts, band, choir, managing her high school football team and volunteering in the Fort Smith community. Read the full story.

Girl Spotlight: Katlyn W.

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Katlyn is the true definition of a go-getter. Between her involvement in Girl Scouts, school activities and volunteer work, she maintains a full schedule and enjoys every minute of it. Katlyn is an Ambassador in Troop 2402 in Texarkana and this is her 12th year in Girl Scouts. Her favorite part about being a Girl Scout is volunteering in her community and helping younger girls achieve their goals. Read the full story

Girl Spotlight: Maddie R. 

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“We wanted to do an activity this holiday season that involved the community because it is more meaningful,” troop leader Tiffany Rowe explains. This week, 11-year-old Maddie R. and her friends from Troop 6856 in Little Rock, will hand out Blessings Bags to those in need within the community. The gallon-size bags are filled with essential items such as granola bars, hand warmers, tooth brushes, winter hats, socks, etc., and each of the girls will get three or four of their own bags to personally hand out. Read the full story. 


Girl Spotlight: Team Whatchamacallits and Team Cookie Kickers

Whatchamacallits FINAL

Four Girl Scout troops in NWA express their passion for STEM through the FIRST program, a non-profit designed to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Team Whatchamacallits from Troops 5807, 5327 and 5605 are in their fourth year and team Cookie Kickers from Troop 5327 are in their third year of competing. Read the full story


Volunteer spotlight: Melissa Curiel

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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Christene Long

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Meet Christene Long, leader of Troop 6117 and director of the Pocahontas Service Unit! Christene has been a member of Girl Scouts for more than 40 years, most of which she has spent as a volunteer.

Christene first joined the organization as a brownie in the Arkansas Post Council in Stuttgart, but her girl experience was cut short.

“I joined Girl Scouts through my school in second grade,” Christene says. “It was the first opportunity I had to join, and I knew it was something I wanted to take part in.”

Christene participated in Girl Scouts through seventh grade until the troop disbanded because of the loss of the troop’s leader. When she began studying at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, she made her way back to the organization, this time as a volunteer. She worked with two troops at a local church in Pine Bluff while in college. Shortly after moving to Little Rock, Christene took on Troop 6117 at St. John Baptist Church where she has served as a volunteer for an amazing 26 years.

“Girl Scouts provided me with opportunities to experience things I otherwise may not have,” says Christene.

“The Girl Scout program is ideal for all girls,” Christene says.  “In fact, I believe in the mission and power of Girl Scouts so much that my own daughters and granddaughter were Girl Scouts, and I plan to help keep the organization present and active for other girls in my community.”

When she’s not busy ensuring every girl gets a chance to experience Girl Scouts, she enjoys singing, dancing and watching football. She also enjoys spending time with her family — Hosea, her husband of 33 years; their three children Felicia, Cecily and Andrew; and, their nine grandchildren.

Volunteer Spotlight: Wanda King

Wanda King

Girl Scouts offers something for everybody. For this parent and volunteer, it offered her an opportunity to spend quality time with her daughters while being involved in their extracurricular activities, and more recently, an opportunity to impact the lives of other girls through her role on the Girl Scout Gold Award Committee.

Meet Wanda King, co-director of Troop 6659 in Little Rock. Wanda joined Girl Scouts more than 15 years ago after registering her daughter for the program. Since then, she has impacted the lives of many girls, including a Gold Award Girl Scout of her own.

“I support the mission of Girl Scouts because it helps girls grow and develop lifelong leadership skills,” Wanda says. “I wanted my daughter to experience that, so I registered her to participate in the program, and because I like to be involved in any activities my children participate in, I registered myself to volunteer.”

After volunteering as a parent, Wanda later became troop leader and now serves as co-director of St. Mark Troop 6659. Volunteering has allowed Wanda to shape the Girl Scout experience for her troop as well as other Girl Scouts through her involvement with the council Gold Award Committee. 

“I joined the Gold Award Committee after my daughter completed the Gold Award process,” says Wanda. “I encouraged Lauren to go for the gold, and I was always in her corner to mentor and motivate her when she needed. When she completed the process, I realized there were more girls who needed that same encouragement, so I accepted an offer to join the committee.”

“It’s been rewarding to see how the girls follow through on their projects, create change in their communities and obtain their Gold Award. Seeing the girls grow into young, female leaders with servant hearts is what encourages me to continue my work with the organization.” Wanda says.

Wanda has two daughters, Lauren and Blair, who are both Girl Scouts. When she is not busy shaping the Girl Scout experience for her troop and other Girl Scouts across the state, Wanda enjoys traveling, reading, shopping and exercising. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Connie Hansen

Volunteer Profile - Connie Hansen

In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Month, we’re shining a light on one of our best Girl Scout volunteer stories! Meet Connie Hanson – a member of Girl Scouts for nearly 50 years and a leader of Troop 6314 at Wakefield Elementary School in Little Rock.

Connie first experienced Girl Scouts as a young girl. In her family, Girl Scouts is a tradition that’s been around for generations. Her mother was a Girl Scout with her grandmother as troop leader; when Connie was a Girl Scout, her mother was her troop leader; all three of Connie’s daughters were Girl Scouts, with her as their troop leader, and now her granddaughter is a Girl Scout!

“Over the years, Girl Scouts has been a way for me to bond with the women in my family. Now, it’s a way for me to give back to the community and to create an even tighter bond with the girls at my school,” Connie says.

During the 2017-2018 school year, a colleague of Connie’s, Tonya Nichols, piloted the Girl Scouts program with 5th grade girls in her class to gauge interest. The girls’ interest was evident, and the school partnered with the Girl Scouts – Diamonds council to implement the program for girls of all ages. The council provided funding to start the troop and continues to fund the troops programing today, while Connie and other teachers volunteered to help bring Girl Scouts to all girls at Wakefield Elementary. After getting the program started, Connie planned to retire.

“I originally volunteered as co-leader of a Daisy troop,” Connie says. “It was a great experience. I was a Girl Scout, so I got to share what I knew and experience Girl Scouts one last time before retiring, or so I thought.”

Just two days before the end of the school year, Connie decided it wasn’t time for her to retire just yet. There was something urging her to stay put — she didn’t know at the time, but she later found out it would be to continue the Girl Scout program at Wakefield.

“After school reconvened and Girl Scouts started for the 2018-19 school year, we received some devastating news — Tonya was diagnosed with Leukemia,” says Connie.

“The diagnosis rocked our world,” remembers Connie. “We weren’t sure how we’d continue, but we knew we had to continue the program for the girls who love it so much and for Tonya, so I stepped up and volunteered to lead the program.”

Today, Connie and nine other volunteers lead the troop, which has nearly 75 girls, allowing them to experience the power of Girl Scouts — an experience they may otherwise never had.

“I think this is a fantastic organization with a longstanding history that I hope to see continued for many more years to come,” says Connie. “This organization and its values have always been something I can come back to, even as an adult, and I hope one day the girls at Wakefield can say the same.”

When Connie is not busy ensuring girls at Wakefield Elementary experience the power of Girl Scouts, she enjoys spending time with her family — her husband, three daughters and two grandchildren — and spending time outdoors.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kimberlea Murphy

Kimberlea Murphy

Looking for ways to up your girls’ participation in Girl Scout product programs? Kimberlea Murphy may give you some inspiration. Kimberlea’s Girl Scout journey began in 2008 when her daughter brought home a flyer from school. The two decided to join, but Kimberlea never expected be as involved as she is. Now, she leads her own troop of Ambassadors and serves as product manager for the Gems of the Ozarks Service Unit.

“I fully expected to be that parent who signed their kid up for the program, dropped her off and picked her up after each meeting, but boy, was I in for a surprise,” Kimberlea says. “I agreed to help with one activity during a troop meeting, and shortly after that I became the troop treasurer and then a co-leader.”

Kimberlea’s original troop grew to be nearly 50 girls, so the leadership team decided to transition from a multi-level troop to troops exclusive to different levels, and she took on the role of leader to the older Girl Scouts.

“My role as leader has evolved over the last couple of years, and I’m happy to say that right now it’s quite minimal,” says Kimberlea. “The girls started as Brownies following my leadership and guidance, and now as Ambassadors, they know what to do. I am here as their support, but they are creating their own experiences and adventures through what they’ve learned in Girl Scouts over the years.”

As product manager, Kimberlea is responsible for training and supporting leaders during the Fall Product and Girl Scout Cookie Programs. But, like a true Girl Scout, Kimberlea has gone a step beyond her responsibilities and offers additional incentives for both girls and volunteers who participate in Girl Scout Product Programs.

“Each year I offer the girls and leaders a more personal incentive to participate,” Kimberlea says. “The council offers physical incentives that the girls love, but to incentivize them even more and push them to their personal bests, I offer them individual and joint experiences.”

For the girls, the prizes have ranged from miniature golf outings and troop pizza parties to chocolate factory tours where girls get to make their own chocolate! As for the leaders, they too can expect a reward for their hard work when they participate in both Fall Product Program and the Girl Scout Cookie Program.  

“Making that choice to not be the ‘hands-off’ parent is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made,” says Kimberlea. “I’ve witnessed first-hand the power of Girl Scouting not only in my daughter’s life, but mine as well, and I’d do just about anything to make sure young girls continue to experience the power of Girl Scouts.”

When Kimberlea is not busy with managing products or leading her Girl Scout troop, you can most likely find her sharing her love with animals. She and her husband of 28 years have one daughter, Caitlin, who is a Girl Scout; two dachshunds, four cats and one very lively parrot.

Volunteer Spotlight: LaCresha Newton

LaCresha Newton

Girl Scouts is many different things for different people, but for this troop co-leader Girl Scouts is a way to impact the future of young women; a way to pour into young girls what they don’t yet know to pour into themselves. Meet LaCresha Newton, co-leader of Troop 6659 at St. Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock!

LaCresha first experienced Girl Scouting in 2003 after joining St. Mark.

“I immediately got involved,” LaCresha says. “I wanted to get involved in something, and I realized that the Girl Scout ministry at our church would allow me to work with youth — moreover, young girls — and empower them,” says LaCresha. “That’s when I knew this was a family I wanted to be a part of.”

Since joining Girl Scouts, LaCresha has become the “cookie boss” of Troop 6659. Each year, she’s responsible for all things cookies including pre-sales, booth sales, and their troops own cookie warehouse.

“Cookie season gives me life,” LaCresha says. “It’s the liveliest part of the year, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than driving my troop to do their best and watching them come out on top!”

Each year, Troop 6659 sells thousands of boxes of cookies. How do they do it?

“I teach my troop that this business, as with any business, is all about relationships,” says LaCresha. “I encourage them to build relationships rather than just pitching a sale. I also encourage them to think outside of the box — while everyone is competing for sales at local grocery stores, we’re outside fast food restaurants selling cookies at a booth that could almost pass as a drive -thru!”

“We also use a lot of grassroots marketing — each girl in our troop has an ‘Ask me about Girl Scout Cookies!’ button to wear during the cookie season; we have car magnets, and I’ve literally had people ask me to pull over at a stoplight and once even on an interstate to buy cookies,” LaCresha says. “The girls also hit the pavement at school. The older girls sell directly to their friends and teachers; younger girls take orders and we deliver.”

With their techniques, Troop 6659 has already exceeded their cookie sales from last year by 119 cases and have planned two trips with their cookie proceeds! The younger girls will enjoy a trip to Branson, while the older girls will take a trip to Atlanta with a day trip to Juliette Low’s hometown and the birthplace of Girl Scouts, Savannah, GA.

LaCresha has two daughters, Mackenzie and Mya, who are both Girl Scouts. When she’s not busy coordinating the Girl Scout Cookie Program for her troop, LaCresha continues to give back to her community through her work with City Year, a non-profit that partners with the Little Rock School District, keeping at risk children on track for high school graduation.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kayla Reyer

Kayla Reyer

Meet Kayla Reyer, leader of multi-level Troop 6787! Initially, Kayla joined Girl Scouts with high hopes for her daughter, but she quickly discovered Girl Scouts also offered her rewarding leadership opportunities.

“My daughter is the oldest of three children and she has two little brothers, so we both felt she needed some girl time — something she and I could do together, and a way for her to connect with other girls and experience sisterhood.”

After plenty of research, Kayla decided that Girl Scouts was the best organization for her daughter to grow and learn while having fun.

“Just in our few years as members, Ansley has grown so much,” Kayla says. “Her confidence has skyrocketed and her ability to be a sister to every Girl Scout really shows. She also gets to do the things she enjoys like camping,” says Kayla.

In the fall of 2017, Kayla realized that Girl Scouts was not only beneficial for Ansley, but for herself as well. Troop 6787 needed a new leader and Kayla stepped up to the plate and began leading the troop and working to bring about positive change.

Kayla reached out to other troop leaders for assistance and began implementing a model of leadership that allowed for smoother troop operations and ultimately better experiences for each girl member. And, while she believes the largest hurdles are behind her, she knows that challenges are inevitable, and she plans to use troop parents and fellow service unit leaders to help her overcome those challenges.

“My girls and parents are my biggest supporters, and I know with them I can face anything,” says Kayla. “They are what keeps me going.”

In addition to leading Troop 6787, Kayla is the recognitions coordinator for the Juliette Low Service Unit and she also participates on the service unit’s event/camp planning committee. Kayla is a wife and the mother of six — three children: Ansley, Hudson and Connor; and three fur babies: Jackie, Bella and Duchess. She enjoys painting, knitting, crafting and spending time with her loved ones.

Volunteer Spotlight: Trish Mitchell

Trish Mitchell

Meet Trish Mitchell, leader of Troop 2061 in Texarkana and Girl Scouts — Diamonds Leader of the Year! As a young girl, Trish longed to be in Girl Scouts but never had an opportunity, so she has dedicated the last eight years to bringing the power of Girl Scouts to all girls in Southwest Arkansas.

“I first began volunteering with Girl Scouts when my daughter started the program eight years ago,” Trish says. “The first two years I did my part as a parent volunteer helping with our troop meetings and service projects.  When my daughter’s troop leaders needed to step down, I stepped up to continue the program.”

Since becoming a troop leader, Trish has helped shape the ultimate Girl Scout experience for many girls. So much so, she was recently named Leader of the Year by Diamonds the Council.

“I’ve never been more surprised than I was being named Leader of the Year at the Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference,” Trish says. “It was such an honor, considering how many other amazing leaders there are within the council. I believe my girls and their parents see how much I love them and want them to accomplish the amazing things in life. I thrive on helping to shape their experiences and I treasure the opportunity I’ve had to guide them from little girls to young ladies.”

Trish strives to keep the girls active and engaged in Girl Scouts by giving them access to every new opportunity.  In doing so, many girls in Troop 2061 have completed their Bronze Awards and are working towards their Silver Awards, and the entire troop was selected to represent the council at the Walmart and Always’ Live #LikeAGirl STEM Academy in New Jersey.

“Trish is a strong believer and follower of the Girl-led leadership principal,” Amy Kyles, co-leader of Troop 2061 says. “The girls are the decision makers and Trish gently guides them. Her approach allows our girls to hone their decision-making skills and be the leader of their own lives.”

When she’s not busy ensuring every girl in Southwest Arkansas has an opportunity to experience Girl Scouts, Trish enjoys camping, reading and spending quality time with her family.

Volunteer Spotlight: Candace Hawkins

Meet Candace Hawkins, a Girl Scout alum and co-leader of Troop 3210 in Caraway! An avid fan of Girl Scouts, Candace decided to bring Girl Scouting to her area so that her daughter and other girls in Caraway could experience Girl Scouts just as she did as a young girl.

“I was involved with girl scouts for many years as a child in Marseilles, Illinois,” Candace says. “I was a Brownie, Junior and a Cadette, which was the highest Girl Scout level the offered in the area.  It was "the thing" to be a part of in our school. Really, it was all about friends, and that’s what I loved the most!”

So, when her daughter asked to join Girl Scouts, Candace knew it was something she had tom make happen for her girl as well as other girls in the area.

“I originally wanted my daughter to be involved in Girl Scouts because it was something I enjoyed as a girl,” Candace says. “After being a part of the Girl Scout leadership at the troop level, my perspective has changed.  I now want her in Girl Scouts because of the independence it’s building in her.  She gets to be in charge of her goals, her journeys and her rewards. She gets a say on what, where and when they have trips and activities,” says Candace.  “She is learning in a supportive environment how to be a successful, independent young lady on her own terms.”

Candace and a few other volunteers banded together to start an active troop in the Caraway area.  They passed out fliers at school and hosted a recruitment event at their local community center.  Since the troop’s conception, they have focused on community involvement and sharing the benefits of Girl Scouting in the area.  The troop has participated in two parades, sung carols at senior housing projects and sponsored kid’s activities and a pageant during the town’s fourth of July contest and they’re currently collecting backpacks and pajamas for children in foster care.

“Oddly enough, the same things that I loved about Girl Scouts as a girl, I continue to love as an adult— friends!” Candace says. “But more than that, what keeps me going is things like the look on my daughter’s face when she received her first patch; it’s the pride she had when she went to World Thinking Day; it’s the knowledge of money handling she learned while making change and selling cookies; it’s the huge smile on her face as she bridged from a Daisy to a Brownie. Those are the real things that keep me going,” says Candace.

Aside from leading the way like a true Girl Scout, Candace enjoys playing the piano, singing, and traveling with her family.

Volunteer Spotlight: Juanita Murphy

Meet Juanita Murphy! Leader of Troop 6846 in Searcy, service unit Co-Director for the White/Woodruff Service Unit, dedicated council trainer and most recently, a recipient of the Pat Downs Service Award awarded by the United Way of White County. Talk about a woman on the move!

Juanita has been a member of Girl Scouts for over five years. As a troop leader, Juanita leads a multi-level troop of 30 girls ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade, but more recently she has taken on leadership of her service unit by serving as Co-Director after noticing a decline of Girl Scouts in her area.

“Before her guidance, Girl Scouts was on the decline in the White County area,” Girl Scouts – Diamonds Volunteer Director, Regina Taylor, says.  “Juanita was inspired to reverse that trend, and she and her service unit team planned several events to help engage both girls and adults in the Girl Scouts Movement.”

As a result of these events and activities, the service unit surpassed its membership goals for the year, which means more girls in White County have an opportunity to experience the power of Girl Scouts!

Because of her hard work and commitment to the Girl Scouts mission, Juanita was named the 2018 Pat Downs Service Award Recipient by the United Way of White County.  The award is named after the organization’s former executive director and is intended to honor volunteers who give their time, energy and commitment to the agencies who serve the community. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Marj Bernhardt

Nothing can keep this dedicated volunteer away – not even a move to an entirely different state for work. In fact, that’s what brought her to the Diamonds Council.  Meet Marj Bernhardt, a Girl Scout volunteer of 21 years, former service unit director and adult recognitions coordinator, current head of the Reserve Rangers Program at Camp NOARK, new leader and outdoor trainer, and a member of the property committee.

Marj started volunteering with the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council in Houston, Texas, when her daughter was in the second grade. Though she wasn’t a Girl Scout as a young girl, she knew Girl Scouting was an experience she wanted her girls to have.

“I was not a Girl Scout,” says Marj. “Back then, Girl Scouts was all about camping and my mom was not interested in camping at all, so I was a Camp Fire girl instead. When my daughter Erin was in the third grade I volunteered as the troop’s cookie manager. Soon after, I volunteered to be a troop leader so that my youngest daughter, Maura, could become a Girl Scout too.”

Marj lead her daughters’ troop until they graduated high school. Then she helped co-lead a troop and became involved in the service unit, product sales and adult recognition committees before moving to Arkansas and joining the Diamonds Council.

Since joining the Diamonds Council, Marj has served as service unit director of the Gems of the Ozark Service Unit and recently completed a year as adult recognition coordination. Marj also serves as the Reserve Ranger Coordinator at Camp NOARK.

“Reserve Rangers are dedicated to making sure Camp NOARK stays open and operating as seamlessly as possible,” Marj says. “We’ve helped keep the camp open for the girls, and we’re really proud of that. It looks better than it has in years.”

Marj also serves as an outdoor trainer, helping leaders introduce their girls to the camping and the outdoors, as well as a cookie manager mentor for first-year troops in the Ozark Diamonds Service Unit during the cookie season, and she goes back to San Jacinto Council in Houston annually to help with their Cookie MegaDrops.

When Marj is not busy volunteering with Girl Scouts she enjoys traveling — she has been to all 50 states and has set out to visit all 58 national parks— visiting her daughters, reading, hiking and kayaking.

Volunteer Spotlight: Theresa Holich

Theresa Holich

There’s no job too big or small for a Girl Scout, and thanks to this Girl Scout alum more girls are being empowered in rural areas that once had few Girl Scout opportunities. Meet Theresa Holich, leader of Troop 3298 in Salem, Majestic Hills Service Unit Director and a trainer.

Theresa, an alum of the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana council, began volunteering with the Diamonds Council two years ago when the lack of Girl Scouts in her area hit home.

“My daughter wanted to be a Girl Scout, but there wasn’t a troop in our area, so I signed up to be a troop leader,” Theresa says.

That was in October of 2016. Today, Theresa has taken on even more roles and has been a vital part of membership growth and retention in the area.

“I am the service unit director for our area, which calls for recruiting girls,” Theresa says. “The greatest factors in our recruitment and retention of girls is communication, girl experience and word of mouth. I go out and talk to schools in the area, pass out flyers and talk to parents. I also make sure both the girls and parents enjoy their experience because I think when they have a positive experience and the girls are enjoying themselves, they will recruit others to join.”

Theresa is also a trainer for other leaders in the area and leader of Troop 3298.

“As troop leader my main goal is to make sure the girls are learning and having fun simultaneously,” Theresa says. “They’re learning so much and they always look forward to our meetings, and that’s what keeps me going.”

When Theresa is not busy empowering girls, you can catch her spending time with her children, reading or solving a puzzle.

Volunteer Spotlight: Melanie Terrell-Redd

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 Being a part of a disbanded troop as a young girl didn’t stop this Girl Scout from becoming an adult volunteer! In fact, she let that experience fuel her desire to make memorable experiences for girls for the last 12 years. Meet Melanie Terrell-Redd, troop leader of Troop 6097 of Little Rock and former treasurer for the Chipato Service Unit.

Melanie was introduced to Girl Scouts in grade school in her hometown of Marvell.

“We didn’t do very much,” Melanie says. “We had a meeting once a month and we sold cookies. That’s about it.”

After one year the troop disbanded. Years later, Melanie saw a chance to get involved with Girl Scouts again, so she did.

“My oldest daughter joined a troop, and when the co-leader stepped down, I stepped up to help,” Melanie says. “Twelve years have passed, and I have another daughter in the program, and I’m leading a troop of my own.”

Since she began volunteering, Melanie has dedicated her time to ensure girls have memorable Girl Scout experiences. Her favorite thing about volunteering is doing activities with the girls, especially traveling!

“We love traveling,” Melanie says of herself and her troop. “So far, we’ve been to Branson, Oklahoma City, Chicago, a cruise to Cozumel and we’re heading out to Savannah, Georgia, this week.”

When she’s not busy ensuring memorable experiences for girls, Melanie enjoys spending time with her family and friends. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Amanda Mark

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How do you get a troop to increase their cookie sales, you ask? Well, according to this volunteer, you offer yourself to be pied 80 times! Meet Amanda Mark, leader of Troop 6671, Service Unit Product Manager for Garland Service Unit and a member of Girl Scouts for nearly 20 years.

 “My goal this cookie season was to be one of the top five selling service units. To meet this goal, I challenged all 15 of our troops to increase their sales by 10 percent,” says Amanda. “I told them if they reached their goal, each girl who sold cookies would be able to pie me in the face.”

The girls were up for the challenge! All girls reached their goal, and 8 troops surpassed their goal.  Collectively, the girls of the service unit sold 51,237 boxes of cookies.

Though Amanda is now a cookie boss, as a young girl her favorite part of Girl Scouting was earning her Girl Scouts Silver Award.

“My troop at the time worked together to do a winter encampment for Brownies. I also had the experience of being a GSUSA overseas Girl Scout where my entire family, including my dad, were Girl Scouts,” Amanda says.

When Amanda is not busy pushing her girls to sell more cookies or rewarding them with fun for making their goals, she enjoys reading, swimming, being outdoors and hanging out with family and friends.

Volunteer Spotlight: Amber Mlenar

Amber Breedlove

Have you ever wondered if being in Girl Scouts would really pay off? Well, we have proof, a living testament to the power of the Girl Scouts program.  Meet Amber Breedlove, a member of Girl Scouts for 20 years, troop leader of Cadette Troop 6897, and a small business owner.

“I grew up in Barstow, California in the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council. My mom was a leader, co-leader, trainer, service unit director, and more for that council. She led multiple troops over the years for me and my two sisters, so it was a no-brainer when my daughter started Kindergarten that I was going to be a troop leader,” says Amber

Amber’s passion for Girl Scouts started when she began the program as a Brownie and she attributes much of her success to being a part of the organization.

“I thoroughly enjoyed being a Girl Scout,” notes Amber.  “It has taught me a lot about patience and perseverance.  My confidence has grown because of Girl Scouts, and I know without a shadow of doubt that I opened my own business because of that confidence.”

Our common goal to build girls of courage, confidence and character is one of Amber’s favorite things about volunteering.

“I love watching the girls grow over the years and become more confident. Every year they blossom more and more, their hearts get bigger and they set amazing goals,” says Amber.

When she’s not busy leading her troop, Amber lives out her Girl Scout dreams!

“A dream of mine growing up was to go to Savannah, Georgia someday, and June 2013 my dream came true. My husband and I took our daughters (mine happens to be named Savannah, after the Girl Scouts city of origin) to visit all the Girl Scouts places we could. It was everything I’d ever imagined and then some!”

Amber also enjoys taking pictures and all things Disney.


Volunteer Spotlight: Brian Jones

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If its one thing this self-proclaimed introvert will leave his computer games for, its Girl Scouts! Meet Brian Jones, troop leader of Troop 6035, Saline County Service Unit Public Relations Coordinator and Verizon Volunteer Coordinator. 

Brian first became a member of Girl Scouts when his daughter became a Girl Scout in Kindergarten. Now, in his third year of membership, he has taken on the leadership role of troop leader. 

“My experience has been interesting,” Brian says. “I have been involved with at least six different troops in some form or another and have experienced a variety of leadership styles first hand and have gained some valuable knowledge from listening and visiting with other troop leaders.”

Brian took this acquired knowledge and applied it to lead his own troop which has grown from 8 to 21 girls in just 5 months!

“We started with eight girls. This is definitely a group effort and there is no way I could do this without my co-leaders Tanisha Brown and Christine Baker,” Brian says. “From the beginning we agreed to be truly girl-led (as much as possible) and we let the girls decide what direction we take.  We have also been extremely fortunate to have a great group of parents that are engaged and supportive. Most have gotten involved themselves, getting background checked so they can join their daughters on overnight trips and share in the experience and make memories.”

When asked what motivated him to continue his work with Girl Scouts – Diamonds, Brian said, “I really think this is the key to having a good active troop: that the girls pick what they are doing. Then they get excited about it.  When they get excited about it the parents are more likely to be actively engaged too. I really love seeing the changes take place in their confidence levels when they become a part of something, and they never cease to amaze me on the community service projects that they come up with and the things they want to do in order to make the world a better place.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Maggie Konschak

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Meet Maggie Konschak, a former Girl Scout and current co-leader of Troop 6603 in Cabot.  While Maggie has only volunteered with the organization for three years, she reminisces about being a Girl Scout in Bentonville in the mid-1980s and has dedicated a lot of time starting troops in overseas embassy communities and other foreign communities in which she lived while her husband served in the military.

“I don’t remember much of my Girl Scout experience other than my sister and I selling over 1,000 boxes of cookies” Maggie says, and those fond memories are what encouraged Maggie to return to the organization and even get her own children involved in Girl Scouts. 

“When my family moved back to the United States following multiple tours overseas, we attended a Girl Scout open house.  It brought back fond memories of when I was a Girl Scout, and I knew I wanted my girls to be involved in the Girl Scouts program,” Maggie says. “I wanted them to be exposed to strong women role models.  I also wanted them to understand the importance of volunteer work in communities as a way to strengthen not only their lives, but others in a positive manner.”

Maggie showcased her inner G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader) by taking a risk and stepping up as co-leader of her daughters’ troop in the West Central Florida Council, and when her family moved to Rome, Italy in 2015, she began the process of starting a new Girl Scouts Daisy troop overseas.

In August 2016, Maggie and her family moved to Cabot where they joined a local troop.

“Since settling in Arkansas, I have once again become a co-leader,” Maggie says. “Watching my own girls and the girls in my troop benefit from strong female role models and the exposure to female leaders is what motivates me to continue my service with this organization.  I enjoy serving my community in this way.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Kristen Stevens

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“Being a Girl Scout volunteer has been a nice way to not only connect to girls, but other moms in the community,” says Kristen Stevens. As the VP of merchandising for home and hardlines at Sam’s Club and leader of Troop 5018, Kristin is thankful for the friendships she has made through Girl Scouts, even at work. You could say that Kristen is a giver, and not only donates her time to Girl Scouts, but gives philanthropic contributions as well. She and Sam’s Club were recently presented the Diamonds Partner in Philanthropy Award, which is given to individuals who demonstrate exceptional commitment to the advancement of philanthropy for Girl Scouts – Diamonds. This year, Kristen generously committed a large personal gift to the council that was matched three-fold by Sam’s Club through their executive matching gifts program, and her troop bestowed the gift on a place dear to their hearts when choosing what impact the gift could make.

Although Kristen has been a troop leader for just one year, she has been with Troop 5018 since they were Daisies. One of the biggest impacts she has seen Girl Scouts make on her daughter, Madeline, and her friends is transforming them from shy and timid Daisies to confident and curious Juniors. Kristin attributes much of their growth to the girls’ involvement in cookie sales and participation in a variety of service unit activities, including working toward Journeys. Out of each of their fun activities, the one they can’t get enough of is camping. Over the last few years, Kristen and her troop have grown to love Camp NOARK in northwest Arkansas, so it was only fitting they dedicate Kristen and Sam’s Club’s donation to this camp where they held their first troop campout. She hopes the donation will provide girls across the state more opportunities to learn, grow and make lifetime memories. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Pam Harding

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It’s not every day you get to meet someone with over 60 years of Girl Scouting experience, especially an involved troop leader. Pam Harding isn’t your typical leader, but after celebrating her 70th birthday last week, she doesn’t plan on slowing down as she takes on her 15th year as troop leader of Troop 4097 in Bokoshe, Oklahoma. This veteran Girl Scout has had a lot to celebrate in her lifetime, including the biggest milestones in Girl Scout history. In 1962, she spent the 50th anniversary of Girl Scouting at the Girl Scout Roundup in Vermont, where over 10,000 Girl Scouts from all over the world gathered, and spent the 100th anniversary as a troop leader in 2012. Throughout her time as a troop leader, Pam has had up to 50 registered girls at one time, and currently leads 26 girls, ranging from Daisies to Seniors. The coolest part? All four of her granddaughters have been part of her troop as well.

Pam was raised in Illinois, which is where she started her Girl Scout journey as a Brownie in the Riverbluff Girl Scout Council. Her fondest memories during this time include waterskiing, camping, canoeing, working at summer camp, and even doing activities with Boy Scouts. In 1963, Pam served as the president of their Girl Scout Senior Planning Board, which allowed her the opportunity to plan activities for all Senior troops in her council. Following her senior year when her time as a young Girl Scout came to an end, Pam went on to attend Southern Illinois University, then spent the next 35 years teaching first grade. It wasn’t until later in life that Pam realized her experience as a Girl Scout sparked her interest in working with younger girls, and ultimately influenced her teaching career. “As a teacher and role model, the Girl Scout Law was ingrained in me,” says Pam.

It was in 2003 that Pam began her experience as a troop leader for Troop 97 in Fort Smith for Mount Magazine Council, and she has been hooked ever since. Throughout this time, Pam has proudly served as service unit director and currently serves as treasurer. Leading a multi-level troop of 26 girls is no easy feat, but Pam makes it work with a little help. “The moms are essential to having a good troop and I couldn’t do it without them,” says Pam. Troop 4097 always begins and ends their meetings as a group, and break out into individual levels for activities. It should come as no surprise that Pam works with the Daisies, while the moms volunteer to lead the older girls. This group of G.I.R.L.s have accomplished a lot together and even got asked to do the flag ceremony at every high school home football game this year.

When asked about her future plans with Girl Scouts, Pam didn’t hesitate with her response, saying, “as long as I can, I am going to be a troop leader.” Her comment didn’t come as a surprise, as she continued to share stories about the positive impact this organization has made in her life. It’s volunteers like Pam who have helped make Girl Scouts what it is today, and who will influence the G.I.R.L.s of the next generation.


Volunteer Spotlight: David Tibbits

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David Tibbitts truly is man enough to be a Girl Scout. During the Girl Scouts – Diamonds Annual Leadership Conference last month, David received the Rookie of the Year Award, and for good reason. When his daughter’s troop leader moved away shortly after both he and his daughter, Immy, became members, he stepped up as the leader and gave his all to support Girl Scouting in his area. David has spent countless hours assisting with Juliette Low Service Unit recruitment efforts and helping fellow leaders, and helped repair the Girl Scout meeting house, all within his first year as a Girl Scout volunteer. What started as a temporary position, soon became full-time troop leader of Troop 6787. “I took over as leader until another leader was found, but I got attached to the girls and we became a family,” says David.

What started as a troop of just two leaders and a few Daisies and Brownies, has become a troop of five leaders, 20 Daisies, Brownies and Juniors, with 100 percent parent participation. When he first became a troop leader last year, David experienced a huge learning curve and did the best he could with the resources he had. Since the girls didn’t attend any events last year, David made sure to get ahead of the game this year and has planned an event for their troop once a week, now through January of 2018. One of David’s fondest memories with the girls this last year was teaching them about anti-bullying. When he saw a girl with special needs being bullied one day, David took action by scheduling an anti-bullying class for the troop and spent over a month talking about bullying with the girls. He has even been known to spend an entire troop meeting on the floor with the girls to show them he is on their level.

David’s goal this fall is to help start multiple troops in every school district in his area. He has seen the positive impact Girl Scouts plays in his daughter’s life and wants every girl to have a similar experience. A year ago, he never imagined Girl Scouts would be so prominent in his life, but now, he can’t imagine his life without it.

Volunteer Spotlight: Tonya Ware

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“We try to listen to the girls and do what they want because this is a girl-led organization and we want them to be happy,” Tonya Ware says about her troop. Although Tonya was only a Girl Scout for one year as a Brownie, she knew Girl Scouts was a great organization and wanted her children to be part of it. Fast forward several years later, she is now the troop leader of Troop 5025 in Bentonville and her daughter is a second-year Cadette. During Tonya’s first year as a troop leader, she was selected as Rookie of the Year by their service unit, and her troop has since been recognized as Troop of the Year and one of the most active troops in Northwest Arkansas.

Troop 5025 is made up of Juniors and Cadettes, but in January, they added a new little army of Daisies to the group, totaling 17 girls. This tri-level troop holds a strong bond and isn’t afraid to go where no troop has before. With the goal of traveling to Savannah, GA, in mind, these innovators came up with a creative way to raise money for their trip. To start, the girls came up with a budget, a plan, a tentative itinerary, set aside money, and researched fundraiser ideas to turn the trip into a reality. In order to raise enough money, the Cadettes who are Program Aide certified, plan to teach badge and Journey workshops for Daisies and Brownies in Northwest Arkansas. Hosting these workshops will entail a lot of hard work and practice, but Tonya says, “this will give us the opportunity to give back to Girl Scouts while earning money for our trip.” Throughout this process, Tonya has allowed the girls take charge and she stands close by to support their goals, “as long as they are willing to work for them.”

Tonya and her co-leaders always make their girls first priority and she believes this is how they will stick around. “We know girls start dropping out of Girl Scouts at the Cadette level, but we have eight girls who will be Cadettes and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.” Drive time is no issue for Troop 5025 when it comes to events, seeing as they attend any and every one they can, no matter what side of the state they are located in. Tonya had a hard time getting her daughter to leave Camp Crossed Arrows after the open house and the girls had a blast at the recent Magic Springs event. They event went to Texarkana to attend Fly Girls in Aviation! If there is one thing Tonya wants for her girls, it’s for them to have great experiences, and there is no doubt she is providing that and much more. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Jacilyn Pierce

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“I don’t know who likes Girl Scouts more, me or the girls,” says Jacilyn Pierce. To say that Jacilyn is passionate about Girl Scouts is an understatement. As the leader of Troop 6036, she goes above and beyond to not only engage and encourage the girls in her troop, but every girl in the Saline Service Unit. From organizing events at Verizon Arena to benefit the Saline Service Unit to throwing an ice cream social to celebrate cookie sales, Jacilyn doesn’t miss an opportunity to support Girl Scouts. 

Looking back on her childhood, Jacilyn remembers seeing Girl Scouts around town and they always appeared to be having fun. “I love the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character, and I wanted to have these characteristics when I was a girl,” says Jacilyn. It was always a dream of hers to be part of the Girl Scout sisterhood, so when her daughter, Gracie, came home from school with a Girl Scout flyer in the fall of 2015, Jacilyn’s dream became a reality.  Jacilyn and her sister were so excited about Gracie’s interest in Girl Scouts that they attended volunteer training together the next month. Fast forward two years later, Jacilyn now has a troop of 12 diverse girls, including girls with learning disabilities, that inspire her to be the best she can be. “I love watching them grow, and the fact that I get to be a mentor for 12 girls is amazing,” says Jacilyn. 

Having fun during meetings and events is a priority of Jacilyn’s. She has been known to jump up and down with excitement about camping with her troop, and come up with crazy ideas for troop activities. While incorporating fun is very important to Jacilyn, she says the best part about being a volunteer is making a positive impact on the girls. “A parent called me one day and said her daughter picked up trash around a park during their family vacation,” says Jacilyn. “When they asked their daughter why she decided to do that, she explained that Girl Scouts taught her to leave a place cleaner than you find it.” All of those cleaning lessons following troop meetings have paid off and Jacilyn couldn’t be prouder.

As if Jacilyn couldn’t get any more interesting, her passion in life (besides Girl Scouts) is roller derby. She recently started a league in Hot Springs called Spa City Hot Rollers, and this hobby is a way for her to relieve tension and relax. Her favorite way to practice is racing cars in downtown Hot Springs in her bright blue roller skates. “Roller derby is a female dominant sport and empowering for women,” says Jacilyn. Her dream is to get Girl Scouts started in roller derby and she believes this sport and Girl Scouts would complement each other beautifully.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kristina Smith

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When Kristina Smith’s oldest daughter, Madison, joined Girl Scouts several years ago, she never dreamed she would one day be a full-time Girl Scout volunteer. Kristina dedicates most of her days volunteering in several different roles including leading three different troops, serving as treasurer of the Fayetteville Service Unit, and instructing Venture Out II trainings (VOII), backpacking and archery classes. As a former Girl Scout, Kristina finds each of her roles very rewarding and enjoys the extra time she gets to spend with her daughters.

Girl Scouts has become a family affair for the Smith family. Kristina’s oldest daughter, Madison, is an Ambassador in Troop 5156, and her younger daughter, Karen, is a Cadette in Troop 5114. Madison has earned her Silver Award and Karen has earned her Bronze Award. Kristina’s husband, Jay, is a very involved Girl Scout dad and helped introduce archery to the Fayetteville Service Unit. He has organized events for their service unit, and joins Kristina in teaching VOII, and backpacking and archery courses. When the couple realized how much potential Northwest Arkansas had for outdoor programming, they strategized ways to get more Girl Scouts involved in adventurous activities. Along with taking their girls kayaking, canoeing, and camping, Kristina and Jay have developed an archery and backpacking program for Girl Scouts. To reach their goal of expanding the archery program, they plan on getting an additional archery certification that will permit training other adults to teach the course.

“It has been very rewarding being part of Girl Scouts,” says Kristina. “Jay and I want to create opportunities for girls to learn more about the world and how to feel comfortable in a natural environment.” During the time that isn’t spent with Girl Scouts, Kristina enjoys painting, gardening, and reading.

Volunteer Spotlight: Olivia Whitley

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“I like having the opportunity to expose young women to experiences Girl Scouts can provide, who wouldn’t normally have that option,” says Olivia Whitley. Olivia has been a Girl Scouts Rise program facilitator for Benton and Washington Counties since last October, and works with girls who find themselves in or on the brink of the juvenile court system, ranging from 12-17 years of age. She originally signed up to be a troop leader, but when she heard about the need for facilitators in the Rise program, her interest was sparked even more. Juggling a full-time job, her first semester of grad school, and volunteering for Girl Scouts isn’t an easy feat for Olivia, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The goal of the Girl Scouts Rise program is to get girls back on track in three areas: bolstering self-esteem, post-high school planning and working to correct or rectify past transgressions. Olivia has made tremendous headway in each of these areas and helped create new curriculum for the program that best suits her girls. Olivia meets with each group of girls once a week and has enjoyed seeing their excitement participating in activities and conversation, and opening up as the group spends more time together. Working with these girls has been an eye-opening experience for Olivia and has revealed privileges in her life she never noticed before. “Although we come from different backgrounds, we have things in common and I can use some of the lessons I have learned to help them,” she says. “An extra cheerleader never hurts.”

Olivia’s passion for this work is infectious and it has rubbed off on not only the girls, but other volunteers as well. As a result, the program is experiencing a great deal of success in helping young offenders change their habits, stop participating in dangerous behaviors and begin focusing on their futures. The first group of girls to go through the Rise program in Benton County graduated April 8 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. These girls now have the opportunity to join the Rise Beyond program where they can continue their involvement with Girl Scouts and earn badges. Because of volunteers like Olivia, Girl Scouts - Diamonds can provide girls opportunities they may not find otherwise. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Gilbert

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To say that Jennifer Gilbert is passionate about Scouting is an understatement. As a volunteer for both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, she has donated countless hours the last three years to help each organization and her community. When Jennifer isn’t busy leading Troop 2388, she is mentoring other volunteer leaders, helping girls earn badges, participating in community service events and helping with her son’s Cub Scout Pack.

Jennifer has two daughters in Girl Scouts, including one Ambassador and one Cadette, and a son who is a Cub Scout. Her troop consists of girls in every age group and she treats each girl as her own. “When you join my troop, you don’t just join a join a family,” Jennifer says. In addition to her troop leader responsibilities, she serves on the Four States Scout-O-Rama board. At this year’s event, Jennifer will be sporting an elk costume while running back and forth between her troop and her son’s Cub Scout Pack to make sure things run smoothly. Her girls will have a booth at the event showcasing 16 different countries and their Girl Scout history, and are excited to perform two special skits and a song Friday evening.

Jennifer’s husband started their son’s Cub Scout Pack the same year she started Troop 2388 and the two have collaborated on Scout initiatives ever since. As if Jennifer needs another volunteer position to add to her resume, she also serves as Advancement and Craft Chair for Boy Scouts and uses her ideas to benefit both the boys and her girls. She loves coming up with activities to teach the Scouts, such as creating ornaments and edible crafts. Jennifer’s favorite part about her involvement with Girl Scouts is seeing the girls accomplish something. “I love seeing the girls finally getting a badge after working toward it. Their facial expressions show it all,” she says proudly. 

In memory of her grandparents, Jennifer buys a starter kit every year for one girl. Her commitment to helping others is unwavering and she never wants a girl to miss out on the opportunities Girl Scouts provides. For Jennifer, it’s not work, it’s passion. Jennifer’s mom once said that she was bred to be a leader and we couldn’t agree more.

Volunteer Spotlight: Amy Alexis

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“When I enter the Burnham Woods property, I relax, my stress goes away, and it’s like a little getaway from real life,” says Amy Alexis. Along with being a troop leader, Amy is a wife, mother of three, and a 6th grade school teacher. Since her busy schedule leaves little time for herself, a few minutes at Burnham Woods before troop meetings is her way of unwinding. What started as a Super Troop, became Troop 4293 when Amy volunteered to be a troop leader. Her troop began with 10 girls a year ago, and over last summer, the girls recruited eight more of their friends to join the fun. Amy loves having such a diverse group of girls in her troop and seeing the girls interact and support one another despite their differences. Not only are the girls very involved in Girl Scouts, but their parents and grandparents are as well. Amy considers herself lucky to have 100 percent parent involvement, where moms and dads are registered Girl Scouts, attend troop meetings and provide a great support system.

When Amy’s troop first came together, some of the girls were shy and timid at meetings, but now they have blossomed into social butterflies and run in to greet their friends. The Girl Scout Cookie Program has also taught her troop different skills. “We are some cookie sellers,” Amy exclaims about her troop. “The cookie program is excellent. The girls, including my daughter, have learned outstanding people skills through selling cookies, along with a great work ethic.”

Amy can attest that her girls are learning real life skills, making new friends, and facing their fears through Girl Scouts. She believes they wouldn’t have had the same experiences elsewhere, especially the opportunities to give back to the community. Last year her troop decided to donate cookies to the Air National Guard in Fort Smith and this year they chose to donate 10 percent of their cookie proceeds to the Sebastian County Humane Society. Amy’s troop has sold over 8,000 boxes of cookies this year and they are excited to give back to an organization that does so much for the Fort Smith community.

Volunteer Spotlight: Tawana Butler

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Tawana Butler is a great example of an innovator. As a published author of three books, a mother of two and troop leader, she finds joy in being creative and finding unique ways to help others. Her books "He Never Gave Up" and "I Don't Learn Like You" are inspired by her son and give children who are dealing with adversity a positive way to embrace being different and provide resources for parents. Tawana is always finding ways to get her girls excited about Girl Scout events and her troop has doubled in size over the last year. Her daughter, Ta'Niyah, is an excellent recruiter for Girl Scouts and has already sold more than 1,000 boxes of cookies this year. Themes are a must for Troop 3263 and Tawana comes up with fun themes for everything, even troop meetings! Since several girls in her troop often have basketball games at the same time as troop meetings, Tawana loads the girls up and takes them to the basketball game so they can still be together and support one another. 

This year, Tawana's troop has partnered with several organizations so they can give back to the community. They donated toiletry items in partnership with Tawana's sorority, food items to the local church food pantry, hats and gloves to low-income schools, and supplies to flood victims of Baton Rouge.

"The most exciting part about being a troop leader is watching the girls grow together and express themselves," Tawana says. "They like to be together and learn together, and they are sad if they miss a meeting." For Tawana, it is important to teach the girls how to keep a positive image and mentality through everything they do and maintain a sisterly relationship even outside of Girl Scouts.

Volunteer Spotlight: David Haddock

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David is not your typical Girl Scout volunteer. As a husband and father, he not only encourages his daughter, Mariska, to be a Girl Scout, but is hands-on in her events and activities. He and his wife Lisa are in their third year as Product Sales Managers for the Juliette Low Service Unit in Cabot and enjoy working together as a team. Cookie season is the busiest time for the duo, and this year, David is doing more behind the scenes work with Digital Cookie and inventory management. He is currently doing as much as he can to help out because his job may cut his sweet cookie season short. For the last 29 years, David has proudly served in the Air National Guard and there is a possibility that he will get deployed in the near future. Although this isn’t ideal for his family, David is confident that Lisa will do a fantastic job taking on sole responsibility of cookie duties for the service unit.

 Along with his Girl Scout cookie experience, David tries to attend every dad and daughter event, especially if it involves camp. One of his favorite Girl Scouts – Diamonds camp events is Guys ‘n Gals at Camp Crossed Arrows where cowboys and cowgirls come together to ride horses and play games. Last year, he and another Girl Scout dad even volunteered to take nine girls each whose own dads couldn’t attend.

If you ask David what inspired him to be a Girl Scout volunteer, he would tell you, “Spending more time with my daughter before she is grown up.” The positive impact that Girl Scouts has made on the girls keeps David invested and he is excited to see how much they will grow through their experience over the years.

Volunteer Spotlight: Sandra Ware


Coordinating the activities of 322 girls seems like a difficult job, but Sandra Ware makes it look easy. As service unit director for the Fayetteville Service Unit, Sandra works extra hard to recruit great volunteers for her girls, start new troops, and always keeps the positivity alive. “Sandra is an amazing motivator, and without her leadership and her dedicated team beside her, they would not be where they are now,” says Lindsay Chandler, Girl Scouts – Diamonds Volunteer Specialist.

In addition to her role as service unit director, Sandra teaches Pre-K, is the president of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at Holcomb Elementary in Fayetteville, runs her own troops, and is the mother of three Girl Scouts. For the last ten years, she has led her oldest daughter’s troop and has since become a leader of her other daughter’s troops as well. “I love watching the girls learn and bond together, and unfold friendships throughout the years,” Sandra explains. “Seeing them grow and become independent and confident makes it all worth it.” To say that she stays busy is an understatement, but Sandra has a special place in her heart for Girl Scouts and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jodie Johnson

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Jodie Johnson is a dedicated Girl Scout volunteer and troop leader from Pine Bluff who recently added “Service Unit Director” to her title. When her oldest daughter came home from school with a Girl Scouts flyer one day, she never dreamed she would be a service unit director five years later. When her daughter first became a Girl Scout, Jodie happily volunteered and attended troop meetings, helping in any way she could. She soon became the troop leader for Troop 1264 and just three short months ago, Jodie took on an additional role. She is now the service unit director for Sunshine Forest Service Unit, adding, “I’m a sucker and said sign me up.” The entire service unit is new, making her new position more challenging, but they are continuously growing and are up to 83 girls in the service unit.

Being a former Girl Scout herself, Jodie is thrilled and proud to see both of her daughters follow in her footsteps. You could say that Girl Scouts run in her family’s blood; even her husband can be found at Girl Scout meetings. Her favorite part of Girl Scouts is that it empowers girls, explaining, “It’s important that girls know they are capable of doing anything that they put their minds to.” Jodie has hit the ground running these past few months and it’s looking as though her success will only continue from here.


Staff Spotlight: Julie Brandt

Meet Julie Brandt, our newest staff spotlight feature. Julie is a recruitment coordinator in our Rogers office. She loves the adventures of Girl Scouts from the time she was a Daisy, to Junior, to staff member!

Julie has been with the council for two years. As a recruitment coordinator, she travels all over northwest Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma introducing girls to Girl Scouts and encouraging adults to get involved in the experience. “countless hours are spent visiting schools and giving presentations to girls.  Nights and weekends to recruitment events, interest meetings and community events,” Julie shares with us.

Julie joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy and continued to the Junior level. She was part of Troop 106 in Clarksville, AR.  Julie’s favorite part about Girl Scouts was the fun field trips and adventures they went on and if you’ve ever attended a school time talk you more than likely have heard her talk about this one fond Girl Scout field trip memory.  Her troop attended a Girl Scout lock-in event at the Oklahoma City Science Museum.  She and her Girl Scout sisters made music videos (green screen, video and audio recording to boot) to Guns N Roses’ hit song “Paradise City” and slept in an earthquake simulator. “Let’s just say that between the music videos and earthquakes, we did not get a lot of sleep! The following day we went to the OKC Zoo to continue our exploration of the world around us.”

By joining Girl Scouts, Julie made close, lasting friendships. “Girl Scouts also helped in embedding the love for nature in my life.  Learning to care and clean the world up is still a way that I get out and contribute.” In fact, she and her friends just participated in the yearly Mulberry River clean-up last weekend.

When out of the office, Julie loves spending time with her family, kayaking, flower gardening and being in nature.  If rain isn’t in the forecast, you will soon find Julie on the Mulberry floating down the river in peaceful content.  If the creeks and rivers are too low to float, she will settle for a hike to a scenic point.  If she’s staying close to home, you’ll find her getting dirt under her nails, digging, planting and growing flowers in her garden. Julie has a dog named Cairo and a cat named Kitty, and back at her parents’ home, she has a horse named Abby that she’s had since she was 10 years old.

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: Dana Wolverton

Staff - Dana Wolverton

Meet Dana Wolverton, Girl Scouts — Diamonds senior troop finance liaison. Dana has served the council for more than 10 years and works daily providing resources and training for service unit treasurers and managing collections of annual financial reports as well as debt collection. Though she is not an alum of the Girl Scout Program herself, Dana believes Girl Scouts is for every girl — even those who have already matured to women.

“I was not a Girl Scout growing up,” Dana says. “I’m from a rural area where 4H was more prevalent. I joined Girl Scouts as an adult volunteer in Greene County when my daughter, Mackenzie, started kindergarten.”

“I remember how excited I was to sign her up for Girl Scouts,” Dana recalls. “We bought all of her uniform pieces and the badge book that night, and on our way to her first troop meeting, we both learned the Girl Scout Promise for her to earn the center of her Daisy.”

After a year as a parent volunteer, Dana stepped up to lead the troop, and she also served on the Greene County Service Unit team.

“As an adult volunteer and now a staff member of the council, I’ve seen firsthand how the program impacts girls and adults in a positive way,” Dana says. “Girl Scouts has impacted my life just as much, if not more, as an adult as it does the girls who participate in the program.”

“I’ve witnessed how the courage, confidence and character girls gained in Girl Scouts benefit our communities in more ways than one. All of the girls who were in my troop have grown up to be such strong and confident women, and I am very proud of them all,” says Dana.

Dana is a graduate of Arkansas State University’s school of business with a degree in computer information systems. Before joining the Girl Scouts — Diamonds team, Dana worked as a computer programmer. When she is not busy managing troop financials, Dana enjoys spending time with her husband of 28 years, Scott, their children, granddaughters and great-grandchildren. She also enjoys doing logic puzzles, and as a new empty-nester, she looks forward to traveling more and checking things off her bucket list. 

Staff Spotlight: Tim Beshears

Tim Beshears

Meet Tim Beshears, Girl Scouts — Diamonds vice president of strategic initiatives! Tim, an alum of Arkansas Tech University, has been an employee of the council for nearly four years. He, along with his team, are responsible for the strategic oversite of the Diamonds Council’s physical properties including the council offices and camps of excellence, as well as information technology (IT) and risk management.

It’s not every day you find a man that’s man enough to be a Girl Scout, so we set out to figure out what exactly drew Tim to the organization and what encourages him to continue his work with the council.

“The mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character is a mission that I support 100 percent,” Tim says. “My wife was a Girl Scout in the NOARK legacy council, and I can see how it has positively shaped areas of her life, and I’m encouraged to continue my work knowing I can have that same effect when I interact with girls and volunteers.”

Tim and the property department are constantly in short-term and long-range planning. In fact, they are currently underway on a Camps of Excellence initiative, working with external subject matter experts to ensure Girl Scouts — Diamonds offers the best possible spaces for the continued pursuit of building girls of courage, confidence and character for years to come.

“I enjoy seeing the outcomes of strategic planning and hard labor as it enhances the girl’s experience on all our properties,” says Tim.  “To see a girl at camp smiling and having fun while asking her friend, ‘Isn’t this awesome’, makes my day and propels me to want to provide the safest, most fun character- building experience possible. I also have a 1 year-old daughter and I want her to someday experience the fruits of her dad’s labor at one of our Girl Scout camps.”

When Tim is not busy overseeing the council properties, he enjoys time spent in nature, especially hunting, fishing, hiking and camping.  He also enjoys spending time with his family — his wife, Brittany; their two children, Hayden and Autumn; and their two dogs, Scout and Tag (short for Tagalong). They enjoy spending time together in ministry at Friendship Baptist Church in Sherwood where he serves as a pastor and Brittany on the youth leadership team.

Staff Spotlight: Brenna Stone    

Brenna Stone

It’s almost time for camp and we’re excited to introduce our newest camp staff member — Brenna “Breezy” Stone — horse program coordinator and assistant camp director at Camp Crossed Arrows!

Though she wasn’t a Girl Scout growing up, Brenna has been an outdoor enthusiast for many years – a love that began on her grandparents’ cattle ranch in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. In 2003 she moved to Arkansas with her family and further enjoyed the beauty of the outdoors living near the Ozark Mountains.

Her enthusiasm for the outdoors combined with her love for animals, specifically horses, is what initially drew Brenna to Girl Scouts.

“My first encounter with Girl Scouting was last summer,” Brenna says. “I applied for the barn director position because it involved horses, but as the summer went on and I learned more about the organization and what it stands for, I quickly fell in love,” says Brenna. “I love the empowerment I’m able to give girls through my work with Girl Scouts.”

Brenna has a background in various sciences, humanities and languages and will graduate in May with an associate of arts degree from University of Arkansas – Fort Smith and will be moving closer to camp to fulfill her new role in Girl Scouts. She is excited to empower more girls through the wonders and magic of horseback riding and the outdoors.

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: Misty Ogden

Misty Ogden

If you’ve ever ventured to the northeast regional shop, or if you saw our recent #ThrowbackThursday feature, this may be a familiar face! Meet Misty Ogden, one of Girl Scouts — Diamonds retail specialists. Misty has worked for the council for four years, but she has a much deeper Girl Scout background. Thirty years ago, Misty led the first Daisy troop in Corning, Arkansas!

“I wasn’t a Girl Scout,” Misty says. “Where I grew up, 4H was more prevalent, but I did get to experience the power of Girl Scouts at the volunteer level,” says Misty. “In 1988, I started the first Daisy troop in Corning. The girls earned their Daisy centers and petals while working on the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout law, and we did a lot of arts and crafts. It seems like we did a few outings, but it was Corning — we didn’t get to go very far.”

In our Jonesboro shop, Misty is responsible for aiding in the council’s retail operation ensuring customers a pleasurable Girl Scout shopping experience.

“My favorite part about my job is seeing the joy on a girl’s face when she purchases her first uniform,” Misty says. “I know firsthand how exciting that moment is for a young girl, and I’m glad to be able to offer that experience.”

Aside from her work with Girl Scouts, Misty enjoys advocating on behalf of animals, spending time with her family and friends, being a first-time grandma and going on high adventure trips with her husband of 20 years.

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: Kathy Cole

Meet Kathy Cole, Data Specialist for Girl Scouts — Diamonds! Kathy is no stranger to Girl Scouts. She has worked for the council in various roles for the past 23 years and even participated in the program as a young girl!

“I was a Brownie, Junior and Cadette Girl Scout,” Kathy says. “My mother was my troop leader, and I became an adult Girl Scout in 1989 leading my oldest daughter’s Brownie troop.  Eventually, in true Girl Scouts fashion, I took on many more leadership roles; I became the Fort Smith Day Camp Director, service unit director, product sales manager, service unit treasurer, council trainer and I served on the Adult Development Committee,” says Kathy.

In 1995, Kathy joined the council staff as a part-time cookie sale coordinator.  Since then she has been a customer service specialist, shop manager, property manager, and she is currently the data specialist. In this capacity, Kathy is responsible for keeping the council’s membership database accurate, processing memberships and managing council events and program registration.

An avid supporter of scouting, Kathy credits Girl Scouts as having a significant impact on her life.

“Girl Scouts gave me a purpose in life at a time when I was questioning life,” says Kathy.  “I was a very shy, introverted person before Girl Scouts. I spent most of my time with my children. But, Girl Scouts gave me the courage to do things outside of my comfort zone.”

Kathy is a wife, a mother of three children, one of whom is a Gold Award Girl Scout, and a grandmother of five. When she is not busy contributing to the seamless operation of the Diamonds Council, you can find her at the beach with her toes in the sand enjoying a book or a puzzle.

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: Adrienne Autin

Adrienne Autin

Ever wondered who’s behind the cool Girl Scouts – Diamonds flyers, t-shirt designs and patches? Meet Adrienne Autin, Girl Scouts – Diamonds graphic designer. Adrienne is no stranger to Girl Scouts, growing up in Louisiana she was a member of the Bayou Council’s Troop 473, and just one day before graduating college she accepted her position with the Diamonds Council

“My mom and I (and later, my little sister) got involved with Girl Scouts because my mom had a friend that was a girl scout volunteer and invited us to an informational meeting one day. We went to the meeting, we were having a good time, and at the end they said, “you can join, but we need more troop leaders.” I personally don’t remember this, but my mom says I stood up and shouted, “we’ll do it!” effectively signing my mom up to be my troop leader,” Adrienne says.

Her favorite part of her Girl Scout experience was the adventures she had with her troop.

“I loved being a Girl Scout, but I especially loved camp and traveling with my troop,” she says. “One of my favorite programs that my troop attended was at the Audubon Institute in New Orleans. It was a zoo, aquarium, nature center and planetarium. I remember dissecting owl pellets and learning the valuable lesson that some things are not as gross as they initially seem, and they actually are very interesting. I still remember the people working at the institute saying, ‘It’s not gross, it’s just fur and bones!’ We even got to spend the night in the nature center and planetarium.”

As the graphic designer, Adrienne has a variety of day-to-day tasks, but her favorite is designing patches!

“My favorite part of my job is definitely designing patches! Of course, I love designing cool flyers to help advertise our awesome programs, but the patches are so much fun. My favorite patch is the CEO patch. Dawn, our council’s CEO, tells me her patch story before anyone else and I get to interpret what that looks like. Dawn usually has a very clear idea of what she wants it to look like, so meeting that expectation can be a little intimidating, but I feel so accomplished when she tells me I’ve done a good job or if it looks like she imagined. I love knowing that the patches I design will get to live on the girls vests or sashes long after they keep wearing them. After all, I still have my vest and sash from when I was a Girl Scout! My second favorite part is much more boring. I love creating forms!”

When she’s not designing materials for the council, this Louisiana Tech graduate enjoys reading books. She’s even started a book club with her friends and has set a goal to read 35 books this year.  She also enjoys learning about plants and how to keep them alive.

“I worked with some girls from our community programs to start an office garden that didn’t do too well this year.  Mostly everything died due to overwatering (not the girls’ fault), but I’m excited to give it another shot this year,” she says.


Staff Spotlight: Betony Maringer


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.

Staff Spotlight: Sheila Kelton

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If you’re ever having a bad day, Sheila Kelton would be sure to brighten it up. As a volunteer experience specialist at the Midwest Regional Office, Sheila uses her bubbly personality and positive attitude daily as she works with Girl Scout volunteers in her area. Before 2015, she spent 25 years working in banking, but when she started working for Girl Scouts – Diamonds in April 2016, she knew her new role would be a perfect fit. “As I learned more and more about Girl Scouts, the more excited I got about it. I feel it’s important for every girl to be well-rounded, and that’s what Girl Scouts teaches,” says Sheila.

Sheila will tell you she is definitely a go-getter, and loves to go out in the community to help others. While some may avoid rural areas, Sheila seeks them out because she wants to give people resources and opportunities in places where they aren’t as readily available. Most of her time is spent training new leaders, attending service unit meetings and providing necessary resources for volunteers. As she prepares for the upcoming Service Unit Summit, Sheila is excited about celebrating our volunteers. “We want them to feel special because they dedicate much of their time to helping our girls,” says Sheila.

After spending the last 26 years raising her daughter, Kelsey, Sheila understands the importance of building girls of courage, confidence and character. She is proud of the woman her daughter has become, and hopes to help grow more girls to be strong and prepared to handle any situation they come across. 

Staff Spotlight: April Schneider

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“There is nothing like seeing a girl grow and experience that “aha” moment,” says April Schneider. This lifelong Girl Scout got hooked on the organization at a very young age and her passion has only increased since. “When I was a girl, you couldn’t become a member until the first grade, so until then, I was a tagalong member of my older sister’s troop,” April explains. Once she completed her girl membership and graduated from the University of Missouri with a journalism degree, April had no idea she would one day work for the organization she cared for so much.

April’s experience as a Girl Scout staff member began in 2001 when she started working for the Cotton Boll Girl Scout Council in Missouri, which has since merged into the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland. While there, she served in several different roles, including field director, communications director, camp director, and helped in the program department. In 2015, April started working for Girl Scouts – Diamonds as a program specialist and recently changed her role to volunteer experience specialist. Although working with girls over the last several years has been a joy for April, she is excited about supporting our volunteers and helping create a wonderful Girl Scout experience at a different level.

When it comes to hobbies outside of work, April is a huge fan of geocaching. This interesting hobby is not only a fun adventure for her, but it brought she and her husband together, making him “her best find,” as April would say. But wait, it gets better. April’s husband even proposed to her through a pre-recorded geocaching podcast they listen to on a weekly basis! Whether in their hometown of Jonesboro or traveling the country, the pair are sure to spend their time discovering hidden treasures through the hobby that brought them together. 

Staff Spotlight: Beth Armstrong

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“It’s like camping every day I go to work,” says Beth Armstrong. As an avid camper, Beth appreciates having an office on the beautiful Burnham Woods property in Fort Smith. Beth graduated from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma with a bachelor’s in early childhood education, and recently received a bachelor’s in social work from the University of Phoenix.  This former Girl Scout from Oklahoma has always held a special place in her heart for Girl Scouts, and when a membership position became available for the Diamonds Council three years ago, she couldn’t resist. Beth now works as a customer care coordinator, interacting with volunteers, parents and girls on a daily basis and helps with the new STEM center. The best part about her job? Getting to work alongside her daughter, Layne, who is a product program coordinator and retail specialist.

Beth has a strong allegiance to family, with two kids of her own and two adopted kids. She and her husband have fostered over 30 kids in a two-year time frame, and the last two ended up staying with their family for good. The youngest child is a Girl Scout as well, and will be attending Camp Cahinnio for this summer. During her free time, Beth likes to camp with her family on their 7-acre property and loves spending time outdoors.

Staff Spotlight: Kate Lonberger


“I want to be here in the future to see the success of this organization,” says Kate Lonberger, senior development officer. When Kate attended college at the University of Arkansas, she looked for a way to get involved in the community and became a camp counselor at Camp NOARK. While there, she met Katie Dailey, who was the camp director at the time. Little did she know, Katie would be her co-worker at Girl Scouts – Diamonds just a few years later. After Kate’s wonderful experience as a Girl Scout camp counselor, she decided to register as a Girl Scout volunteer and a position opened at the council right around the same time. Kate has worked for Girl Scouts – Diamonds since 2011 and can’t picture herself doing anything else. “There is no better feeling in the world than getting a grant or donation for our organization”, she says. Kate has two kids, Gwen and Iris, who are five and one years old, and thanks Diamonds CEO, Dawn Prasifka, for helping pick Iris’s middle name, Vail. In her free time, she and her husband enjoy volunteering for the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and Tri Cycle Farms. Something she can’t resist? Double Stuff Oreos.

Staff Spotlight: Sharon Lynch

If you receive Girl Scout cookies this year, you can partially thank Sharon. She has a history of hard work ethic, seeing that she double majored in merchandising and consumer sciences, and family and child studies at Louisiana Tech University. Sharon proudly refers to herself as a nerd and enjoys spending her free time reading presidential biographies. Since beginning work as Director of Product Programs in 2016, she has gone above and beyond to make product sale volunteer involvement easier. Her favorite part about her job is interacting with volunteers when they come to the office and listening to their feedback. She is currently gearing up for over 11,000 cases of cookies coming to regional offices this cookie season and hopes for the best cookie season yet. Oh-and if you’re thinking about throwing Razorbacks stuff in her face, you can expect to find an LSU sticker on your car from this New Orleans native.

Emily currently resides in Texarkana with her husband and one-year-old daughter, and she has been a Program Project Coordinator for Girl Scouts – Diamonds for three years. Her favorite part about her job is working with girls and keeping them engaged in Girl Scouts. To this day, Emily remains close friends with her Michigan Girl Scout troop and hopes to see current Girl Scouts develop similar life-long friendships.

Staff Spotlight: Heather Bounds

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As a former Girl Scout and young cookie boss, Heather never imagined she would one day be a grown-up cookie boss. As Product Program Coordinator for Girl Scouts – Diamonds in the Jonesboro office, she works hard to make fall product and cookie sales a success and enjoys seeing girls’ excitement when they figure out how to spend their fall product and cookie earnings. Most of her free time is spent running her seven-year old daughter around to Girl Scout activities and soccer practice or enjoying the outdoors. Heather is also a HUGE Disney fan and has been known to convince her daughter to go see Disney movie premieres.

Camp Staff

Camp Staff Spotlight: Zorro

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If you’re attending a camp session at Camp Cahinnio this summer, you’ll want to be familiar with this unit counselor, Sarah aka Zorro. Her camp name speaks to the values she hopes to teach her campers.

“My camp name is inspired by the Los Angeles Spanish vigilante, Zorro,” she says, “He strives for justice and service to the poor and oppressed and others in need.  I wish to carry his legacy by teaching these same values to my girls at camp.”

Aside from that, Zorro is also the Spanish word for fox, one of her favorite animals.

As a young girl, Zorro participated in Girl Scouts and attended camp nearly every summer.  She has completed both counselor-in-training sessions and is now starting her second summer as camp staff.  Her favorite part about working at camp is interacting with the girls and helping them during activities.

“I love seeing how much these girls grow,” says Zorro. “You’d be surprised how much of an impact a week or two spent at camp can make.”

Zorro believes camp is important for girls because it not only teaches them survival skills, but life skills as well.

“Girls learn so much at camp,” Zorro says. “They learn how to build a fire for outdoor cooking, how to be environmentally friendly and how to exercise safely outdoors. They also learn independence, how to work with others, including people with different values, and even how to be confident.”

During the camp off season, you can catch Zorro volunteering at a local animal shelter or working at a nearby horse stable. 

Camp Staff Spotlight: Merica

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Meet our Camp Crossed Arrows Eagle’s Nest unit leader Madison! You can just call her Merica.  Why? Well, because she just really loves America.

“I love getting to meet new girls every week and seeing them grow as a Girl Scout,” Merica says.

As a young girl, Merica attended church camp most summers. Last summer, she joined Girl Scouts - Diamonds camp staff as a counselor at Camp Crossed Arrows.

When asked why she believes camp is important for girls, she says, “I think its an outstanding opportunity for young girls to really grow and learn more about the world around them, and in turn, learn more about themselves.”

During the camp off-season, Merica is a student at Lyon College. She is involved in several of the college’s organizations and enjoys being outdoors.

Camp Staff Spotlight: Goose


Camping at Camp Cahinnio this summer? Meet the program director, Grace aka Goose.  That’s right, her camp name is Goose.

“My grandma has always called me Goose for as long as I can remember,” Goose says. “It just felt fitting when I started working at camp.”

Though Goose wasn’t involved in Girl Scouts as a young girl, she’s glad to be involved now and believes it’s an important experience for girls to have.

“I think camp is a great way to get the girls unplugged and away from the television and other things as well as a way for them to build confidence within themselves,” Goose says. “They can escape reality for a little while and really come out of their comfort zone and build character.”

During the camp off season, you can catch Goose studying psychology and criminal justice at Arkansas Tech University. 


Camp Staff Spotlight: Gogh

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It’s almost time for summer days at the pool! Meet Camp Crossed Arrows lifeguard, Rachel aka “Gogh”.

Gogh has been involved in Girl Scouts since the second grade and has attended summer camp for as long as she can remember.  In fact, she’s been volunteering at various Girl Scouts - Diamonds weekend camps lately, which she says have been a blast.

“My favorite part of working at camp is having the opportunity to give the girls the same fun and exciting experience at camp that I was given when I attended,” Gogh says. “I love to see them get excited about things like swimming, hiking or making crafts.”

Gogh is a graduating high school senior and will attend the University of Arkansas at Little Rock this Fall. She plays five different instruments and enjoys reading, writing, traveling and hanging out with friends.


Camp Staff Spotlight: Chip

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Camping at Camp Cahinnio this summer? Meet Chip, a self-proclaimed superhero and Star Wars geek, and your Outpost Unit Leader! Chip has camped at Camp Cahinnio since she was five years old.  In 2016, she decided to join the Girls Scouts – Diamonds camp staff as the Tipi and Outpost Leader.

“The smiles on the camper’s faces is my favorite part of working at camp,” Chip says. 

Having participated in Girl Scouts as a young girl, Chip has experienced the power of Girl Scouts and thinks it’s something all girls should be able to experience.

“I think it’s important that the girls get to meet new people, have new experiences, and have the chance to be leaders and that’s what Girl Scouts does,” she says.

When Chip isn’t working at Camp Cahinnio she’s a full-time college student preparing to become a secondary math teacher.

Camp Staff Spotlight: Clutz


Camping at Camp Crossed Arrows this summer? Meet Myah, also known as Clutz for her clumsy ways. Clutz is back for her second summer at Camp Crossed Arrows as a Unit Counselor. Her favorite part of working at camp is being outdoors.

“I love getting out of my comfort zone,” says Clutz, “I’m definitely a city girl.”

Stepping out of her comfort zone and experiencing camp empowered her to combat a stereotype about girls she had been introduced to at a young age.

“Growing up I remember having an image in my head that girls were supposed to be delicate and dainty, so I believe it’s very important that we break that stereotype and show everyone that girls can do anything boys can do,” she says.

When she’s not empowering herself and other girls at Camp Crossed Arrows, Clutz attends college full time majoring in Hospitality.  She also enjoys participating in theatre as a hobby.

Friends/Donors/Juliette's Circle

Jennifer Wilson Harvey

"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

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

"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

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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: Shane Hunt


As father of an amazing little girl, there is nothing Dr. Shane Hunt believes in more than the mission of Girl Scouts – Diamonds: to build girls of courage, confidence and character.  When his daughter started the Girl Scout program in kindergarten, Dr. Hunt experienced the power of Girl Scouts first hand, helping his daughter’s troop with troop projects and selling cookies.  Inspired by the positive impact on girls in the Northeast Arkansas region, Dr. Hunt joined the Girl Scouts – Diamonds Board of Directors in 2015.

“I have loved my time serving on the board,” Dr. Hunt says. “I am so proud of the leadership team we have and the positive impact we are having on girls…I am thankful I get to be a part of that process.”

Dr. Hunt completed his MBA at the University of Oklahoma and he received his Ph.D in Marketing from Oklahoma State University where he was both an AMA Sheth Foundation and National Conference in Sales Management Doctoral Fellow.

Dr. Hunt, his wife, Jennifer, and their two children live in Jonesboro where he serves as the R.M. “Bob” Wood Endowed Professor in Sales Leadership and Professor of Marketing at Arkansas State University. He’s authored two marketing textbooks, and he recently published another book titled, “RoundTripper: A Father and Son’s Journey to All 30 MLB Stadiums and What They Learned Along the Way” about the nine-year journey he and his son went on to see all 30 Major League Baseball Stadiums before he graduated high school.  He describes his goal with his daughter, Sarah, as more ambitious.

“Our goal is to see all 59 National Parks before she graduates high school,” says Dr. Hunt.  “We have currently been to 22 together and plan to write a book about our journey when we finish.”

When he’s not busy teaching a marketing class, writing books, or setting out on adventures with his kids, Dr. Hunt likes to indulge in the television series, “Dallas” and “King of Queens”.

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. 

Board Member Spotlight: Patricia Robertson

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As a young Girl Scout, Patricia Robertson remembers selling Girl Scout Cookies for 50 cents a box with just four flavors to choose from. Her fondest memories from her Girl Scout days in Tennessee include camping, hiking and eating s’mores with her troop.  Although Girl Scouts was no longer an option for Patricia when she entered the 5th grade, she was thrilled to be part of the organization once again as a Girl Scouts – Diamonds board member in March of 2016.

Ever since Patricia read the book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, she has developed a strong passion for making a difference in young girls’ and womens’ lives. As the Chair of the Department of Economics and Finance at Arkansas State University and Associate Professor of Business Law, Patricia maintains a full work load, but still makes time to pursue her passion. Along with dedicating her time to Girl Scouts, Patricia serves as a faculty advisor for the Arkansas State (A-State) Chapter of Business & Professional Women, and co-advisor for the A-State Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, the college-level affiliate of Future Business Leaders of America.

2016 was a very successful year for Patricia. She was named Woman of the Year by the Jonesboro Business and Professional Women (BPW) organization, and helped establish a new Women’s Business Leadership Center in the A-State College of Business. Patricia says this center has given her “a focus and a passion,” and she is hoping to get Girl Scouts more involved and connected with A-State in the future. 

Board Member Spotlight: Mike Camp

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When Mike Camp isn’t busy working at Walmart as the Director of Global HR, winning leadership awards, mentoring others, or spending time with his family, you can find him attending a Girl Scouts – Diamonds board meeting. Why, you ask? As a father who has a special bond with his 10-year-old daughter, Madelyn, he wants to prove to her that you can do anything you want to do…even if that means being a Girl Scout dad.

Madelyn is a great example of a go-getter: she advanced a grade in school, is part of the gifted and talented program, has read an astounding 72 books since last August, and is determined to be the president one day. It is evident why Mike is so passionate about teaching his kids to embrace who they are, and signing up for Girl Scouts with his daughter was his way of showing her that standing out is something to be proud of. Although he has both a son and daughter, Mike expects the same from each child and teaches them that they are no different from each other.

This is Mike’s third year on the Girl Scouts – Diamonds board and his main goal is to keep girls engaged in Girl Scouts by focusing on STEM programs and providing more opportunities for them. “I not only want to take care of my girl, but make a bigger impact on a broader scale for more girls,” he comments. “Every day I tell Madelyn that she is beautiful and smart, and to embrace being the ‘only’ in the room.” Mike exemplifies a true G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ and hopes to one day be the “First Dad” in the White House.

Board Member Spotlight: Andréa Chewning

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When she's not rescuing dogs and cats in her native Texarkana or participating in other civic volunteer activities, Andréa Chewning serves as chair of the Diamonds Council Board of Directors. Chewning has served in a variety of capacities with Girl Scout councils for years. But, her time working on the governance side is just a small portion of her Girl Scout experience. Chewning is a lifetime Girl Scout, participating from second grade through high school, and was a camp counselor at Camp High Point. Her daughter received her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, and Chewning served a number of jobs with her daughter's troop. Chewning has been board chair for more than two years and is dedicated to the goal of helping girls become confident and productive women.

Destinations Travel

Destinations is the ultimate adventure program for girls ages 11 and older. With a ton of different trips to apply for every year—from surfing camp on the east coast and breathtaking hikes out west, to the crazy-cool wonder of new cultures abroad—there’s something amazing for everyone to experience.

Destinations Travel Spotlight: MadelynnMae 

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  • M - Ropes
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Destinations Trip: North Country Rock 'n Wilderness Destination, Minnesota and Canada, July 22-August 5, 2017

MadeMae, a Girl Scout Senior from Troop 1264 in Redfield, took part in a high adventure trip this summer as part of the Girl Scouts Destinations program. MadeMae and six other Girl Scouts from all over the country hiked, rock-climbed, kayaked and canoed through the Boundary Waters area in Minnesota and Canada, gaining skills, friendships and memories that will last them a lifetime.

Here's a little more about her trip, in her own words:

The Destinations I took part in was North Country Rock N’ Wilderness in Ely MN and the Boundary Waters/Quetico, where I met six new Girl Scouts from all over the country.

When everyone had finally arrived at the airport that first day there was a gaggle of girls from all over America, nervous and fidgety, a long way from home. I don’t think any of us left as the same person we arrived; we’ve all left a piece of ourselves in each other. We set out to a cabin, going from there to kayak and rock climb for two days. The third day, we set out on the adventure of a lifetime. When we returned to the airport fifteen days later, we moved as a single unit.

While I walked to the car, I couldn’t help but compare the ease of carrying the bag to the struggle it was that first day. I am so much stronger now than I was at the start of the summer. Paddling 82 miles in just 10 days, portaging all of our gear, food, and clothes over 2,000 rods (a rod is the length of a canoe, about 16 feet), and doing it all day everyday really makes for a full body workout!

Each afternoon we found an island, unloaded the canoes, set up our tents, started a fire and made dinner. We’d all pitch in with dishes and cleanup, then head in and sleep. Every morning we woke up at the crack of dawn, put on our gear, packed our bags and tents, made breakfast, loaded the canoes, and left to do it all again.

It’s comforting to know that even thousands of miles from home with a group of complete strangers I can survive—thrive even. I learned new skills, new songs, and discovered an even deeper love for Girl Scouts, the community it creates, and canoeing. The way it feels to glide across the water in a canoe and watching the scenery change as you paddle during the day, hearing the loons in the late afternoon, seeing the arms of the galaxy in a sparkling sky, and laying down knowing the next day held a new adventure are what I’ve taken with me.

The night we stayed up to watch the stars, I couldn’t help but think how so few people get to see this. Light pollution constantly decreases the chances of future generations seeing the far reaches of the galaxy with their naked eyes. How much of this is due to me and my actions? How can I help preserve the beauty I’ve seen here, and how can I take action to share it with those around me?

The world no longer seems the same. It’s so much bigger, so much more unpredictable, yet I feel more confident in my ability to navigate it—though maybe it’s me that’s changed.





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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