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You’re her hero – and ours, too!


Leading the Way Feature 530x220

Our fearless volunteers have been pivoting quickly, breaking down barriers, and overcoming obstacles to ensure that Girl Scouts in our region can continue building their courage, confidence, and character. From developing creative ways to sell cookies to pivoting meetings to a virtual format, the unwavering commitment our volunteers have provided makes us proud to be part of this movement. And now it is time to celebrate!

On April 10, 2021, from 10:00-11:00 a.m., volunteers and donors will be recognized for their outstanding work in Girl Scouts! Join us to cheer on the following volunteers.

Thanks Badge

Angela Ventris – Dubuque County

Angela has been an outstanding participant in the High Award Committee for more than five years. As a long-time committee member, Angela attends monthly meetings throughout the year to review, comment, and approve all Gold Award proposals and Final Reports. Throughout the process, Angela keeps in mind the balance between helping girls to develop leadership skills and the requirements of sustainability, measurability, and education which must be maintained for the integrity of the award. During her time on the committee, Angela has faithfully performed her duties on this committee and has overseen the presentation of 34 Gold Awards. Angela’s extensive knowledge of Girl Scouting is an indispensable resource for the committee, the Gold Award candidates, and the council at large.

Barb Wiedenmann – Rock Island County

Barb has spent more than six years serving on the High Award Committee. She has been an important voice in the balance between helping girls to develop leadership skills and the requirements of sustainability, measurability, and education which must be maintained for the integrity of the award. Barb has made herself available to brainstorm with staff and girls who may need that “little something extra” to help them with their project. During her time on the committee, Barb has overseen the presentation of 54 Gold Awards. Besides the monthly review sessions, Barb voluntarily and continually works in ad hoc meetings to advise and assist Gold Award candidates fulfilling the requirements. Barb has been creative and encouraging to every Gold Award candidate and is a valuable resource for girls.

Carl Becker – Service Unit 870 – Rock Island County

Carl Becker is a gifted, caring, and faithful volunteer for Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. He has served on the Board of Directors of this current council and a legacy council and contributed as a finance committee member for more than 15 years. Carl always keeps the needs of the girl and volunteers foremost in his thoughts and actions. He is a dedicated board member who always attends annual meetings, making himself available to the volunteers, listening to their concerns, and bringing those concerns back to the board and the finance committee. Carl has made significant and long-term contributions to the Board of Directors, the Finance Committee, and the Realignment Finance Committee. His presence and dedication enrich the Girl Scout organization.

Kim Jaeger – Service Unit 754 – Dubuque County

Kim has served on the High Award Committee for ten years. Kim consistently participates in monthly meetings and provides objective input for each of the proposals. Along with the monthly sessions, Kim voluntarily and continually works in ad hoc meetings and email dialogues to advise and assist each Gold Award candidate and committee member as they work together to fulfill the requirements. She has assisted in the processing of over 54 Gold Awards. Kim researched and introduced a project management tool. This tool has assisted the committee in more refined tracking progress and real-time chronology of each correspondence amongst the committee members and the Gold Award candidates. Kim is a key element in all discussions on assisting Girl Scouts in achieving their goals and providing for their communities. Kim is a go-getter and an integral member of the committee.

Sarah Beckman – Des Moines County

Sarah has been on the Board of Directors for four years, and she is also the council Treasurer. Sarah's accounting expertise has proven very important in helping our council balance our budget during years of declining membership and revenues. Sarah took the lead in helping us relook at our finances and guided us to ensure we were meeting the needs of our girls, volunteers, and staff. Sarah helped us turn our council finances around from a major deficit to a major increase in our annual budget. Sarah continues to support us in many ways, so our girls get the best experience possible. She is always willing to step up and take the lead. Her dedication, teamwork, and passion for our organization are very much appreciated. She has changed our Girl Scout world for the better.

Scott Illingsworth – Service Unit 870 – Rock Island County

Scott has been an amazing asset, partner, supporter, and friend to Girl Scouts. Scott served on the Board of Directors for six years and could be counted on to engage and share his expertise and insights with any conversation. He and his wife stepped up in 2013 to take on the role of acting chairs of the One Tough Cookie Mud Run fundraiser. They chaired the event to success for six straight years. They spent many personal hours at camp to set up and ensure One Tough Cookie would be a fun and safe experience. Scott also took on a big role as a member of the property committee when the committee recommended the board of directors to renovate Camp Conestoga, now Camp Liberty. He worked closely with council leadership and our board to ensure the new camp surpassed our expectations. He truly believes in Girl Scouts' mission and has given his time, talent, and treasure to keep our council strong and thriving.

Lori Walljasper – Service Unit 855 – Scott County

Lori has been the dedicated registrar, webmaster, and maker of all needed lists for Conestoga Day Camp since 2009. Her work and organization have helped 150 girls and 30 PAs have a camp experience in our council each summer. When camp had to pivot to a virtual experience last spring, Lori’s enthusiasm and imagination took off. She was a major force in bringing day camp from impossible to Mission Possible. Not only did she have great ideas of what could be done virtually to engage campers, but she spearheaded the virtual program with video editing and a Facebook class for campers’ parents. During the inaugural Leader Low Down, Lori jumped in to help, not only co-training thirty leaders in Camp Skills so they could take their girls out to camp, but she also led additional sessions on geocaching and advanced cooking with dutch ovens. Lori Walljasper is a great asset to GSEIWI and Conestoga Day Camp.

Jennifer Nelson – Service Unit 886 – Henry County

Jennifer is an outstanding Girl Scout Leader, Service Unit Director, and volunteer dedicated to the Girl Scout movement. Jennifer organized a Girl Scout program to be offered through Exelon Corporation, Power up – Cordova, and led the event for close to seven years. When she started this event, STEM was not a strong pillar in our organization. She showed what an impact STEM activities have on girls. Jennifer is a forward and inclusive thinker and through her efforts, girls across our council were able to participate in this STEM event. The outstanding service that Jennifer performed resulted in outcomes that benefited the whole council. Jennifer’s innovation and passion for creating opportunities for others have had a lasting impact on GSEIWI.

 

 

Honor Pin

Alyson Anton - Service Unit 867 – Rock Island County

Over the past two years, Alyson Anton has worked with the Gold Award Mentoring Committee to help girls develop projects that fulfill the GSUSA Gold Award requirements. She meets monthly with Senior and Ambassador girls, helping them create a Gold Award proposal. She helped review current practices to develop a new plan for our Gold Award Mentoring program. She was instrumental in creating virtual, council-wide monthly sessions to support a successful mentoring program for our Seniors and Ambassadors. She has made a strong impact on our High Awards program.

Amanda Harris – Black Hawk County

Amanda is a life-long Girl Scout and her many years of experience have benefited campers and staff at Camp Conestoga, Camp Little Cloud, and Camp Liberty. When not working at camp, Amanda spends time volunteering at camp and other outdoor programs. Last year, Amanda spent countless hours recruiting, interviewing, and hiring staff for the 2020 camp season. Amanda was part of the team who met regularly through the winter and spring to plan pre-camp training for the summer camp staff. In addition to meeting every other month, Amanda utilized her educational background to create presentations and materials to ensure that trainings were engaging and interactive for staff. Amanda's high energy and enthusiasm made her the perfect person to plan and lead sessions on team building and songs and games. Amanda's volunteer work put us in a much better position entering 2021.

Amy Wheeler – Service Unit 831 – Jones County

Amy worked diligently as a representative for our council to spread awareness of the 2020 National Council Session, the proposals, and discussion topics. This group was tasked with meeting regularly and committing to a three-year term. Amy worked towards educating all council volunteers by spreading awareness of the proposals to all Service Units. Amy was responsible for listening to any feedback received from volunteers, reporting it back during monthly meetings, and using the feedback received to vote accordingly during the National Session. Amy spent 30 plus hours in front of her computer to represent GSEIWI. Seven proposals were presented over the three days. Amy and the other National Delegates communicated through group text to ensure the voices of eastern Iowa and western Illinois were being represented.

Angelia Mitchell – Service Unit 858 – Scott County

Angelia stepped up this year to represent Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois as an alternate delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. Angelia brings a wealth of knowledge to the Girl Scouts as a girl member and now as a volunteer. Her passion for our mission continues to shine as a volunteer as much as it did as a girl. She is a valued volunteer who represented Girl Scouts with her passion for learning and promoting our mission. This group was tasked with meeting regularly and committing to a three-year term. One of the tasks was to review all the proposals on the slate for the convention, select proposals to focus on and research and then present them to the delegate team. Angelia helped to facilitate these discussions and become the expert on her proposal and continued to research and report back to the team. Angelia represented GSEIWI and the entire Girl Scout organization by participating and representing the true value of Girl Scouts.

Anna Nallie – Service Unit 805 – Linn County

We welcomed Anna into our council recently, and she comes with a vast knowledge of Girl Scouts and years of experience in previous councils. She has become a valued volunteer in multiple capacities as a leader, trainer, and committee member. She stepped up this year to represent Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois as a delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. This role meant that she was the voice of our girls and volunteers. The group was tasked to meet regularly and commit to a three-year term. Anna helped to facilitate discussions and become the expert on her proposal and continued to research and report back to the team. Anna was charged with going to Leader Meetings, virtually and in person, and sharing all of the information regarding the proposals and National Convention. She then brought back the voice of volunteers and shared it with the other delegates.  

Heather Bishop – Service Unit 870 – Rock Island County

Heather stepped up this year to represent Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois as a delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. This role meant that she was the voice of our girls and volunteers and represented GSEIWI. They met with Service Units to talk about the bylaw changes on the docket, either by going to meetings that were happening in person or virtually. Every one of the Delegates and Alternates had a strong role in the process to gather information and keep our council informed. Heather is a valued volunteer who represented Girl Scouts with her passion for learning and promoting our mission and serving as a leader and Service Unit Director. We are truly blessed to have Heather on our Girl Scout team.

Jill Dashner – Black Hawk County

Jill has been an amazing volunteer as a GSEIWI Board member, as well as serving as our Board President. This year she represented Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois as a delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. This role meant that she was once again the voice of our girls and volunteers and represented GSEIWI. As Board Chair, Jill represented GSEIWI as a delegate for the 55th National Convention. This group was tasked with meeting regularly and committing to a three-year term. Throughout the prep leading up to the National Convention and during the debates and conversations around proposals, it was very clear that Jill’s best interest remains for the girls and the Girl Scout mission. Through Jill’s profession, she sees firsthand that Girl Scouts can change a girl's life. GSEIWI is fortunate to have a powerful role model like Jill.

Julie Kirkpatrick – Black Hawk County

Julie has been a member of the Outdoor Program Committee for the last six years. She has also been certified to facilitate zip line, climbing wall and high ropes and has volunteered at many events to run these program areas. By far however the most considerable number of volunteer hours have been spent in the planning and preparation of summer camp. Julie's extensive knowledge and skills in the outdoor program made her a perfect fit for planning outdoor education training for camp staff. Julie was part of the team that met from December on to plan pre-camp training and developed the program curriculum. As the Program Manager in 2019 and 2020, she also spends many hours interviewing and hiring program staff. Julie also used her background in math and computer science to develop programs to help streamline to scheduling process for each week of campers.

Kendra Conforti – Polk County

Kendra is a long-time Girl Scout volunteer and a member of the summer camp staff team. In 2019 and 2020, Kendra was a member of the Camp Leadership Team. She supported the hiring of camp staff, interviewed staff, and maintained paperwork. Kendra researched and developed a new camp staff position known as MESH Manager. She advocated for this after spending time at camp seeing both campers and staff struggle with mental, emotional, and social health issues. Kendra developed a position description and a full curriculum for campers to help them build skills and knowledge to deal with MESH concerns proactively. She developed a presentation to camps and outdoor program staff across the country at a GSUSA Property and Outdoor Program Conference. Kendra’s efforts make it possible for us to achieve our mission at camp.

Laura Torgerud – Service Unit 857 – Scott County

Laura has been a committed volunteer for several years in multiple capacities and recently represented Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois as a delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. She dedicated her time to attend the virtual meetings, discussing the national proposals and sharing her opinions to ensure the voices from GSEIWI were heard. Laura represented GSEIWI and she continues to be very active in Girl Scouts. She agreed to continue meeting with the staff at GSEIWI monthly to help guide them to ensure our girls have a great Girl Scout experience. By spreading awareness of the proposals to all Service Units, Laura worked towards educating all council volunteers. Laura was responsible for listening to any feedback received from volunteers, reporting it back during our monthly meetings and using the feedback received to vote accordingly during the National Session.

LeAnna Smith – Service Unit 603 – Black Hawk County

LeAnna stepped up this year to represent Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois as an alternate delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. She is a valued volunteer and represents Girl Scouts with her passion for learning about and promoting our mission. This role meant that she was the voice of our girls and volunteers and represented GSEIWI. This group was tasked with meeting regularly and committing to a three-year term. LeAnna helped to facilitate discussions on all proposals and become the expert on her proposal and continued to research and report back to the team. LeAnna represented GSEIWI and the entire Girl Scout organization by participating and representing the true value of Girl Scouts.

Mollie Schmelzer – Service Unit 857 – Scott County

Mollie participated in the gsLive and offered her expertise as a health care consultant, and presented on how the COVID-19 crisis has affected mental health. She has been a committed volunteer for several years and served on many volunteer committees and stepped up this year to represent Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois as a delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. This role meant that she was the voice of our girls and volunteers and represented GSEIWI. This group was tasked with meeting regularly and committing to a three-year term.  Mollie was charged with going to Leader Meetings, virtually and in person, and sharing all of the information regarding the proposals and National Convention. She then brought back the voice of volunteers and shared it with the other delegates.

Sandra Mitchell – Service Unit 858 – Scott County

Sandra has been a committed volunteer for several years and served on many volunteer committees but stepped up this year to represent Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois as a delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. This role meant that she was the voice of our girls and volunteers and represented GSEIWI. This group was tasked with meeting regularly and committing to a three-year term. Sandra met with Service Units to talk about the bylaw changes that were on the docket, either by going to meetings that were happening in person or virtually. She had a strong role in the process of gathering information and keep our council informed. Sandra has moved our council ahead with her forward-thinking.

Tammy Dunker – Service Unit 886 – Henry County

Tammy Dunker has served as the Day Camp Registrar for the Geneseo C4: Cool Camp at Cole Cabin for the past ten years. As the years have gone by, she has taken on more and more responsibility within this role, including organizing registrations, processing paperwork and payments, placing girls in balanced units, assigning volunteers, contacting parents for missing forms and money, organizing and sending out confirmation letters before the start of camp, and helping girls from across the council have a camp experience. Tammy’s organization and emphasis on safety have allowed parents to feel confident that their children are in good hands. This past year, Tammy oversaw 25 Program Aides working with them to help them grow. The guidance Tammy provides while supporting their role as leaders brings back so many older girls to volunteer at Cole Cabin Day Camp.

Tanya Price – Service Unit 811 – Linn County

Tanya has been a committed volunteer for several years in multiple capacities as a Troop Leader, Service Unit Director, and committee member. She stepped up this year to represent Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois as a delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. This group was tasked with meeting regularly and committing to a three-year term. Tanya dedicated her time to attend virtual meetings, discuss the national proposals, share her opinions, vote and ensure the voices from GSEIWI were heard. Tanya represented GSEIWI in an utmost supportive way and she continues to be very active in Girl Scouts.

 

 

Appreciation Pin

Colinne McCann

Linda McKnight

Brianna Peterson

Melissa McNally

Stephanie Alto

Kari Susairaj

Courtnee Tomlinson

Alyson Anton

Jaime Gryp

Joelle Michaels

Amanda Overton

Stephanie Hughes

Amanda Adrian

Angela Byers

Audrey Scheider

Brenda Schmidt

Cindy Clementz

Jackie Diekmann

Jacqueline Henry

Maria Hamann

Micki Barbes

Richard Lynch

Sara Vandenberg

Sarah Piquard

Taunya McGee

 

With champions like this great group in their corners, girls will continue to embark on a life-changing journey through our program.