Forever Green Honorees
Forever Greens are alumnae who have demonstrated outstanding commitment, exceptional service and extraordinary dedication to the Girl Scout Movement. They are alumnae whose leadership, initiative and energy have strengthened Girl Scouting and made a significant contribution to the mission. They exemplify the true spirit of Girl Scouts.
Karen L. Brinkman, L.P., L.P.C.C.
Licensed Psychologist and Chief Executive Officer; Rainbow Behavioral Health Services Chartered
Karen Brinkman has been a champion for Girl Scouting in Minnesota for many years. In 1978, she was instrumental in re-establishing Girl Scouts in Little Falls after a 25-year absence. Although there was not much community support initially, Brinkman persevered because she knew from her own experience as a Girl Scout in Minneapolis that the girls from her community would benefit. In less than a year, there were 165 girls registered and she had leaders in place for every troop. It is one of Brinkman’s proudest accomplishments that Girl Scouting in Little Falls is still going strong today.
She also served as an adult Girl Scout volunteer including serving as board president of the legacy Peacepipe Council, chair of the CEO Search Committee for River Valleys, and the new council’s first Board Development Committee chair. Additionally, she served as governance communication volunteer for Girl Scouts of the USA for three years.
Brinkman is active in her community as a board member of MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities). She has also served on the City of Windom Community Center Commission, Windom National Guard Auxiliary, Heartland Co-Op and Little Falls Title 1 Advisory Council. She is a practicing psychologist with a Bachelor’s degree from Concordia College–Moorhead and a Master’s degree in Counseling from Minnesota State University–Mankato.
At the age of 49, Karen Brinkman courageously decided to attend graduate school, even though she had to juggle her studies with working a full-time job. She credits her Girl Scout training and volunteer service with building the problem-solving and management skills she needed to obtain an advanced degree and succeed in her own business.
Dorothea J. Burns
Retired Assistant Director and Building Coordinator; Hallie Q. Brown/Martin Luther King Multi-Service Center
For five decades, Dorothea Burns has given countless hours of service to civic and nonprofit organizations throughout the Twin Cities. She began working at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in 1958 as a volunteer Girl Scout leader, was later hired as a secretary and retired as the interim executive director.
Burns wanted to get girls from her community involved in a positive organization that would enable them to see the possibilities for becoming contributing members of society. In her 10 years as a troop leader, Burns saw her girls develop into confident young women with a strong sense of responsibility to the broader community. She later served on the board of the legacy St. Croix Valley Council, where she became the first African-American board president, a position she held for six years. In that role, Burns was a champion for diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization.
She is a board member of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Living at Home Network Block Nurse Program. Her volunteerism and leadership have been recognized by the Girl Scouts, Ann Bancroft Foundation, National Council of Churches, Saint Paul Urban League, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Boy Scouts. In 2006, the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County proclaimed a day in her honor.
Dorothea Burns states that Girl Scouting has been a very positive force in her life, and believes that the training she received as an adult volunteer was a key factor in developing her leadership abilities.
Office Administrator; Fraser
Karen Carlson is a lifelong Girl Scout. Beginning as a girl member in Wisconsin and Minnesota, she went on to become a troop leader and hold almost every service team position, including service unit manager. Carlson has also been a National Delegate, served on various Girl Scout committees and task forces, was a key player in many older girl encampments, and was a member of the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council’s Board of Directors. She continues to stay involved through Everything Girl Scouts!! and Second Winds alumni group, which supports outdoor program opportunities for girls. Carlson has received numerous honors for her contributions to Girl Scouting including Heart in Hand, Valued Volunteer, Valued Leader, Appreciation Pin, Honor Pin, Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II awards.
She is also a volunteer with The Optimist Club of Richfield, and has coordinated the group’s annual “No Kids Left Indoors” event which has raised $38,000 over the past two years — all of which has been donated back to the youth of the community for the purpose of getting children outdoors into nature.
Carlson is a graduate of Minnesota State University–Mankato and the Minnesota School of Business.
Karen Carlson credits Girl Scouting with helping her overcome childhood shyness by learning new skills and how to build friendships. As an adult, she built her own confidence and leadership skills through her work with girls and other volunteers. Ultimately, Carlson has been able to apply these skills in other aspects of her life and work.
Community Volunteer, St. Michael, MN
Although her own experience as a girl member in Oxnard, CA, was relatively brief, Sandra Clair developed a strong passion for Girl Scouting that has been sustained for more than 35 years. In her communities of Maple Grove and St. Michael, MN, Clair has served as her daughter’s troop leader, service team member, service unit manager and day camp director. She also served the council as a delegate and trainer, task force member, chair of the Financial Aid and Awards Committees, board member of the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council, and on a variety of other committees.
Clair’s signature accomplishments in Girl Scouting are related to large encampments that bring girls together to expand their horizons. In 1982, she initiated the Prairie Flower regional encampment and was instrumental in organizing the Minnesota Dreams Jamboree 2007, a five-day event that attracted 2,000 Girl Scouts from across the country. Clair has been a tremendous resource to other volunteers planning encampments, generously sharing her wisdom and experience. For her contributions, Clair received the Valued Volunteer, Appreciation Pin, Honor Pin, Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II awards.
She is currently an active member of Second Winds alumni group, which supports outdoor program opportunities for girls and also volunteers at her church. Holding a Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College, she is a retired special education teacher.
Identifying an unmet need and developing a plan to fill it are core skills Sandra Clair learned in Girl Scouting. As a relatively new volunteer in 1982, she determined that girls needed to have experiences outside their service units and courageously initiated and led a large regional encampment. Thirty years later, more than 1,200 troops have participated in the Prairie Flower Encampment, which Clair still directs.
Sandra ‘Sandy’ Craighead
Community Philanthropist and Volunteer; North Oaks, MN
For most of Sandy Craighead’s adult life, she has been a community volunteer striving to serve others and make the world a better place. She has held leadership positions on many boards throughout the years; however, her favorite long-term volunteer experience has been with Girl Scouts. Craighead learned self-confidence and leadership skills through her many experiences as a girl member, camp counselor, adult volunteer, task force and committee member, board member and president of the legacy St. Croix Valley Council. She has attended almost every national convention and has been a delegate multiple times. For her contributions, Craighead received the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II awards.
She currently serves as a board member of the North Star Museum of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting, Minnesota State Fair Foundation, Emma Norton Services and St. Paul Winter Carnival Ambassadors. Past board positions include St. Paul YWCA, United Way, Friends of Gillette and North Oaks Homeowners’ Association. She has been recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and was named “Ambassador of the Year” by the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Craighead holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Minnesota.
Sandy Craighead is enthusiastic about the impact Girl Scouting has had on her personal development, as well as the deep friendships she has made through her participation. She has made it a priority to support the organization’s philanthropic goals as a donor and chair of the Juliette Gordon Low Society so that all girls can have the same opportunity.
Jean M. Dehning
Chief Financial Officer; Detex Co., Inc.
Jean M. Dehning’s Girl Scout history spans more than 50 years, including time spent as a girl member, camp counselor, staff member, adult volunteer, National Delegate and member of the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council’s Board of Directors. She began as a troop leader 10 years before she had daughters in Girl Scouts, and went on to serve in that capacity for nearly 25 years. One of her proudest accomplishments is mentoring 13 girls to their Gold Awards, including her two daughters. Dehning is a member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society and has also served for many years on the Heritage Committee, an alumnae group that works to preserve and share Girl Scout memorabilia and stories with future generations. Her Girl Scout honors include: Curved Bar, Honor Pin, Appreciation Pin, Leader Program Power Award, Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II awards.
She was an active volunteer in the Minneapolis Public Schools, holding many positions, including PTA board chair and producer of the annual talent show at Jefferson Elementary. She has also been involved with her church’s music department and has served on several boards. Dehning holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota, respectively.
Jean M. Dehning has often had to travel abroad on business trips to countries where women are not respected as equals. She attributes her ability to handle these situations with confidence to the “Girls can do anything!” spirit that she learned in Girl Scouting.
Community Volunteer, Bird Island, MN
Bonnie Elfering has been a member of Girl Scouts for 39 years. She began her journey as a girl member and went on to bettering the lives of girls in her community of Bird Island, MN, as a troop leader, council trainer, day camp volunteer and service unit manager. She later became a board member, nominating committee chair and board president of the legacy Peacepipe Council. Under her administration, the council grew membership and increased fund development efforts. Additionally, a number of improvements were made at Camp Sanderson to enhance the girl and volunteer experience.
Elfering was one of the original members of the legacy Peacepipe Council’s Archives Committee, which was founded to ensure that the history of Girl Scouting in the region was preserved. Since council realignment in 2004, she has served on River Valleys’ Heritage Committee, working hard to develop new ways for members to experience the council’s collection of Girl Scout memorabilia. Recently, the committee has been very involved in developing displays for the Centennial celebrations, including the display cases at Mall of America® during the Great Girl Gathering @ MOA®, a major event commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts. For her contributions to Girl Scouting, Elfering has been awarded the Thanks Badge.
She is also very involved in her church and has served as president and treasurer of St. Mary’s Council of Catholic Women.
While on a church mission trip to Guatemala, Bonnie Elfering gained a new appreciation for all of the amenities that are taken for granted in this country. Her experience became a springboard to the actions she takes to give back in her own community.
Former First Lady of Minnesota; Past National President, Girl Scouts of the USA
Former First Lady of Minnesota Jane Freeman is a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts who has served the organization with distinction over many years. As a girl member in Winston-Salem, NC, Freeman earned Curved Bar honors. She went on to be an adult volunteer and board member with both the Washington, DC, and legacy Greater Minneapolis Councils, a board member of Girl Scouts of the USA (serving as president for six years), and a World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts board alternate. Since 1984, Freeman has been an advisor to the organization as a national board emeritus.A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Freeman began her career in the early 1940s as an employee relations counselor with the U.S. War Relocation Authority and War Department. She later pursued graduate studies in Public Administration, and has served on the advisory council of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs for the past 11 years. Freeman was awarded the University of Minnesota’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. She has also served on the boards of the Woman’s National Democratic Club, CARE, UNICEF and the Board of Regents of Susquehanna University.
Freeman has received the Woman of Distinction award from the Minnesota DFL party, Butler Award from Marymount Manhattan College, Women in Leadership Connections Award from Augsburg College, and honorary degrees from Susquehanna University and Marymount Manhattan College.
Jane Freeman believes deeply in the importance of Girl Scouting as it helps teach girls the principles of fairness and justice, and provides an understanding that every person has strengths. She has relied on these skills throughout her career in public service.
Community Volunteer, Roseville, MN
Lifetime Member Doree Gamble has distinguished herself as a trainer who has mentored thousands of Girl Scouts during her more than 50 years as an adult volunteer. Gamble has developed valuable programs that help girls build self-esteem through friendship, acceptance of differences and positive affirmation. As a facilitator of the Lakamaga Adult Education Conference for more than 25 years, she has had a lasting impact on Girl Scouting in our region.In addition to her training role, Gamble has served the council as a troop leader, service team member, council and National Delegate, and board member of the legacy St. Croix Valley Council. Her enthusiasm, broad interests, organizational ability, objectivity, perceptiveness and sense of humor enlivened meetings and helped make them more effective. Gamble is a founding member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society and The Good Turn Club, and also serves on the Planned Giving Committee — evidence of her strong commitment to the long-term financial well-being of the council. For her contributions, Gamble was awarded the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II.
She was also a member of Citizens Concerned for Greater Roseville, Values Institute and Pilgrim House UUA Fellowship. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota.
In her lifetime, Doree Gamble has repeatedly taken on extensive roles of leadership and challenge, and emerged with the respect and admiration of those who served with her. The secret that weaves through all of Gamble’s life is that her stable, loving and firm kindness demands we uphold these same qualities in ourselves.
Mary Hague Gates
Retired Admissions Counselor, Metropolitan State University; Community Volunteer, Minneapolis, MN
Although she had a rewarding career, Mary Hague Gates has received the greatest joy in life from volunteer work. A Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts, Gates been a troop leader, service unit team member, board member and president of the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council, Girl Scouts of the USA National Operational Volunteer and committed benefactor. Gates co-chaired the program portion of the Girl Scouts’ 75th Anniversary celebration, served on many council-wide task forces and committees, and received the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II awards for her service to Girl Scouts.
She also served on the boards of the Women’s Division and Global Ministries for the United Methodist Church. These experiences inspired her to attend the third and fourth U.N. World Conferences on Women and five assemblies of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women. During her travels, Gates visited women in slums as well as affluent areas. With each of her encounters, she came to realize that all around the world, women share a common bond.
Gates is a current board member of Emma Norton Services and Communities of Shalom–National Committee, and has been honored for her volunteer work by Emma Norton Services, Mpls.St. Paul Magazine and United Methodist Women. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota.
Mary Gates credits her volunteer experiences with improving her skills in public speaking, group facilitation, policy development, long-range planning and fund development — which have been helpful in pursuing her interest in justice issues, equality for women and girls, and working towards peace.
Office Manager; Legacy Professionals LLP
In her role as manager of the Eagan service unit, Doreen Gloede is a tireless promoter of Girl Scouting in her community. She is described as “enthusiastic, tireless, motivating, caring, empowering, hardworking, considerate, dedicated and a role model” by the troop leaders and volunteers she supports. Gloede is credited with bringing innovative programming and fundraising ideas to her service unit, as well as building relationships with community organizations, like Rotary, that benefit girl programs.
She has exhibited strong leadership and a positive attitude during times of change, including realignment and the merger with another service unit. She encourages girls to broaden their horizons by participating in Girl Scout activities outside their communities, and getting involved as council delegates to have “voices” in policy decisions. Gloede has been particularly committed to creating opportunities that encourage older girls to remain in Girl Scouts. For her contributions, she received the Adult Gold Award from the legacy St. Croix Valley Council.
Gloede also served as a den leader and pack committee member for her son’s Boy Scout activities. She attended Eden Prairie High School and is a graduate of St. Cloud State University.
Doreen Gloede is inspired by the Helen Keller quote, “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do something I can do.” This attitude is evident in the work she does with Girl Scouts, as well as in fundraising for breast cancer research — a disease that has touched her family.
Barbara A. Johnson
Community Volunteer, Plymouth, MN
Barbara Johnson’s Girl Scout career began as a girl member in Dayton, OH. Her involvement continued when she was recruited as a leader for her daughter’s Brownie troop and led to 43 years of volunteer service. Johnson later became an active service team member and ultimately rose to service unit manager. While in that role, she served as a Brownie consultant and organized Brownie Field Days that had over 1,000 girls and adults in attendance. She also served on the Awards Committee for the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council.
When challenged by a good friend to get more involved, Johnson became a caddie trainer, outdoor trainer and day camp director. She participated in a number of regional encampments, including City Camper Sampler, Prairie Flower, Piper Valley, Whispering Prairie, older girl events at Lake Rebecca and Ruby Romance. She was the first director of Western Skies, serving in that role for 15 years.
Johnson has previously been involved with her church choir and was also a Sunday School teacher. For her volunteer service, she has been awarded the Girl Scouts Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II and WCCO’s Good Neighbor Award.
Barbara Johnson is a strong proponent of girl leadership, which she put into practice as a trainer. In working with older girls, she allowed them to take on increasing levels of responsibility for program planning and management of younger campers as their skills evolved. She finds it rewarding to see so many of “her” girls still active in Girl Scouting.
Judith Myers Kinsey
Retired Software Development Manager; IBM Corporation
In 2006, Judith Myers Kinsey embarked on a “second career” in Girl Scouting as co-leader of her granddaughter’s Daisy/Brownie troop. Today, she is co-leader of another granddaughter’s troop and brings to the role a wealth of knowledge and experience. Kinsey previously spent 15 years as a troop leader, service unit chair, National Convention Delegate, board member and president in the legacy Cannon Valley Council. One of her proudest accomplishments is mentoring 10 girls to their Silver Award and three girls to their Gold Award. For her volunteer service, Kinsey was awarded the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II.
Kinsey is proud of her roles in both the 20th century technology revolution and the women’s movement. In 1962, armed with a Wellesley College Bachelor of Arts degree in Music History/Theory, she was employed as an IBM systems engineer. Computer Science majors did not exist, so an aptitude test plus success in an IBM programming systems curriculum were the entry requirements for the job. Although women performed the same tasks as men, they were paid less and leadership jobs were closed to them. Slowly things changed, doors opened, and challenging technical assignments led to Kinsey’s first management opportunity in 1980. Eventually, she became one of the first women at IBM to manage large software development projects across multiple locations.
Judith Kinsey salutes the Girl Scout organization for adapting and changing to meet the needs of today’s girls, while staying true to the Promise and Law. She applauds the focus on leadership development, and is excited about the new national Girl Scout initiative “ToGetHerThere.”
Nancy Klemek, J.D.
Community Volunteer, Fairmont, MN
A Girl Scout for more than 30 years — including seven as a girl member earning First Class honors — Nancy Klemek has tried to live by the values of the Girl Scout Movement. She began her adult involvement as a troop organizer and then later took on the leadership of her daughter’s Daisy troop, which then led to taking on additional responsibilities in the Martin County-Fairmont service unit, including service unit manager, trainer, day camp director, delegate, Gold Award advisor and member of numerous committees in the legacy Peacepipe Council.Currently, she serves as chair of the River Valleys’ Heritage Committee, is a member of the Product Sales Advisory Committee and served on the 2011 Bylaws Task Group. She is also a recipient of the Thanks Badge.
Klemek is a board member of the Partners in Education and the American Association of University Women (Fairmont branch), and a past member of the Martin County Historical Society Board of Directors and the Fairmont Safety Council. She has received the Friend of Education Award from the Fairmont Education Association.
Klemek holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota–Morris and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law.
When Nancy Klemek served on the Council Realignment Committee charged with planning the merger of the five legacy councils into what is now River Valleys, she was called upon to display courage and character as she advocated for the issues that were important to her legacy council, yet had to make decisions based on creating the best organization possible for all girls of the new council.
Joan Krikava, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Physician and Medical Director; New Ulm Medical Center
Joan Krikava is a caring and compassionate physician whose leadership has facilitated continued improvement in the health care services provided by New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC). In her work, she must inspire nurses, therapists and other staff to do their very best for each patient and counsel families through difficult health situations. She has also been instrumental in implementing cutting-edge medical programs that prepare NUMC to be an industry leader well into the future.
Krikava has been an active Girl Scout volunteer for more than two decades. After 12 years of guiding a troop to their Silver and Gold Awards, Krikava took on another group of younger girls. She also served as the New Ulm service unit manager and over the years, dedicated a lot of energy to planning activities to keep older girls involved in Scouting. Krikava currently serves as secretary of the River Valleys Board of Directors and is a recipient of the Thanks Badge.
She is also a member of the Allina Physician’s Governance Committee, a past board member of the New Ulm Historic Preservation Commission and NUMC, and a foreign exchange host for AFS and Rotary. Additionally, she is a member of the AOA Medical Honor Society and a recipient of the ATHENA International Leadership Award. Krikava is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Dr. Joan Krikava considers helping girls develop into strong, confident women with the skills to pursue careers, achieve goals and fully experience life to be one of her greatest accomplishments and a source of much personal satisfaction.
Florence ‘Moxie’ Moxham
Community Volunteer, Minneapolis, MN
Moxie Moxham has been a registered Girl Scout for 65 years and is a legend in the Minneapolis Girl Scouting community. Known for her great spirit and positive outlook, Moxham is a relationship-builder and over the years has convened groups of Girl Scouts to gather and share their stories, reminisce and assist in volunteer service efforts for the council.
She loved working directly with girls. As a Cadette troop leader for 28 years, she kept her girls involved in Scouting year-round. Moxham served as a camp staff member, volunteered for the Elk River Encampment for over 25 years, directed Senior Primitive at Elk River and was a troop leader at the 1965 Roundup in Idaho. Moxham served on the Fund Development Committee for the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council, was a delegate to national conventions and program chair for Alumnae Friends for six years. She is a member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society and a recipient of the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II.
Moxham is an ordained elder and deacon in the Presbyterian Church, a 65-year choir member, Sunday School teacher for 45 years, and served on all boards and committees. She has also served as a board member of the Loring Nicollet Community Center and St. Louis Park Emergency Program.
For over 20 years, Moxie Moxham worked with Homework ‘n’ Hoops, an after-school educational program based at her church that helps inner-city youth develop, improve their study habits and become better, respectful citizens. She credits her long-term involvement with Girl Scouts for persevering in initiatives that help improve lives.
Manager, Teaching and Learning Technologies; University of Wisconsin–River Falls
Mary-Alice Muraski’s involvement in Girl Scouts began as a girl while growing up in Rockford, IL, where, as an adult, she also served as an assistant troop leader. Upon arriving in River Falls, WI, she volunteered to be a co-leader for a troop and then took on the leadership of her own daughter’s troop for many years, encouraging the girls to get involved in community service and helping others. When the University of Wisconsin–River Falls had a Campus Girl Scouts group, Muraski served as faculty advisor, helping students achieve their goals and participate actively in campus life. She also facilitated a relationship between her school district and Girl Scouts so that girls attending a Career Choices workshop would fulfill a leadership requirement.
Muraski also facilitated trainings and enrichment for Girl Scout leaders. She was particularly good at teaching the fun of science and shared activities that volunteers could bring back to their troops. Muraski served for eight years on the board of the legacy St. Croix Valley Council and promoted greater involvement in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programming. Currently, she is a trainer for River Valleys. For her contributions, Muraski received Girl Scouts’ Honor Pin, Appreciation Pin, Adult Gold Award and Thanks Badge.
She is a member of the River Falls School District Online Learning Committee and a past member of multiple community boards. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Math and Secondary Education from Bradley University and a Master’s degree in Mathematical Systems from the University of Illinois–Springfield.
Although Mary-Alice Muraski excelled at math and science in school, she was encouraged to become a teacher or a nurse instead of pursuing more lucrative career opportunities in STEM fields. Because of this experience, she is motivated to help girls understand that no career is beyond their grasp.
Former Coordinator; Healthy Community/Healthy Youth of Maple Grove
In the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council, Lisa Nachbor was a girl member and leader for her daughter’s troop, mentoring all 15 girls to their Gold Awards. She held every service team position, was on the core staff for day camp, served on the steering committee for the Minnesota Dreams Jamboree (a five-day encampment for older girls that attracted nationwide participation), developed a Jamboree patch program for girls, and contributed to various committees and task groups. She also served as a board member as well as Nominating Committee chair.
During council realignment, Nachbor served on the Program Task Group, helping to align program services of the five legacy councils, as well as the Transition Nominating Committee. She later served on River Valleys’ first Board Development Committee, including a year as co-chair. Nachbor currently serves as secretary of the Second Winds alumni group. For her contributions, she received Valued Volunteer, Appreciation Pin, Outstanding Leader, Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II awards.
In her community, Nachbor served as coordinator for Healthy Community/Healthy Youth of Maple Grove.
As a leader, Lisa Nachbor strove to take her girls beyond what they knew by providing opportunities for them to stretch and grow — cross-country skiing, climbing a rock wall in sixth grade, camping in the worst of weather and traveling to Savannah, GA, the birthplace of Girl Scouts. In the end, they all turned into fine, strong women of courage, confidence and character, thanks, in part, to her efforts.
Volunteering as an adult in multiple roles within the Girl Scouts organization helped Susan Navratil develop the leadership skills, business acumen and financial know-how to successfully start and operate her own consulting business. Now, as she has simplified her life, she continues to give back to the organization by volunteering and supporting programs that will continue to provide leadership opportunities for future business leaders.
Credit Analyst Manager; Provincial Bank
Susan Odenthal’s Girl Scout journey started as a Brownie in Clearwater, FL, and continued after she moved to Minnetonka, MN. She was inspired by her Cadette leader, a Canadian woman who loved the outdoors and took the troop on many camping adventures where they pitched tents, dug latrines, cooked their own meals and learned self-sufficiency skills. Odenthal was excited to return to Scouting as a co-leader when her oldest daughter wanted to become a Girl Scout, and later took over as Brownie leader for her youngest daughter, working with that group of girls until their high school graduation. She was also a troop and service unit cookie manager for 10 years.<?
Odenthal served on the legacy Cannon Valley Council’s Fund Development and Product Sales Advisory Committees, and was also a council delegate. She has been awarded Outstanding Volunteer and Outstanding Leader honors as well as the Thanks Badge.
In her community, Odenthal has been a member of her church board, and served as PTO treasurer for Holy Redeemer School and chair of the Post-Prom Games Committee at Montgomery-Lonsdale High School. She is a graduate of Mankato State University with a degree in Business Administration, Finance, Real Estate and Insurance.
As a troop leader, Susan Odenthal drew from lessons learned from her own Girl Scout Cadette leader, Deidre Dean, and helped the girls build character and confidence by learning to camp, working as a team, helping others and having good times together. She is gratified to have had the opportunity to guide this group to adulthood.
Senior Project Manager, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology; Mayo Clinic
Barbara Payne grew up with a father who taught his daughters how to fix things, hunt, fish and view new experiences as adventures. This was supported by her troop-leader mother, who stressed the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community. During her 25 years as an adult member, Payne has been a troop leader, service unit manger, National Delegate, board member and president of the legacy River Trails Council. Following realignment, Payne became a River Valleys board member, serving on the Finance and Fund Development Committees. She is a Girl Scout Lifetime Member and is planning to be a chaperone for a trip to World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts World Center in India. For her contributions, Payne has received the President’s Volunteer of the Year Award from the legacy River Trails Council.She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hamline University and Clinical Lab Scientist Certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. In her profession, she enjoys being part of a team that helps heal people as well as the opportunity to educate and mentor future laboratorians.
Payne is an active member of the Stewartville United Methodist Church, Stewartville Sportsman’s Club, Pheasant Habitat Unlimited and the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She formerly served on boards of the Stewartville Library and United Way of Olmsted County.
Serving as a relief worker in Kuwait in the aftermath of Desert Storm, Barbara Payne survived hazardous circumstances and was able to provide critical information about the conditions of hospital laboratories that was helpful in the recovery effort. The adversity of the trip translated into problem solving — which she drew from her Girl Scout roots.
Finance Manager for Housing & Residential Life; University of Minnesota
“Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout” perfectly describes Donna Pietsch. A Lifetime Member from Lino Lakes, MN, she has remained connected to the organization her entire life. Although Pietsch has no children of her own, she has been the leader of three different troops, beginning after she was in college. In her 26 years as a volunteer, Pietsch has been a trainer, day camp co-director, service team member, service unit manager, family fundraising coordinator, council delegate, Lakamaga Conference Committee member and co-chair, and served on many council-level committees. She continues to be a troop leader, trainer, service team member and council delegate, and currently serves on River Valleys’ St. Croix Valley Camps board.
Pietsch is a role model for both girls and adult volunteers. She really enjoys providing opportunities for Girl Scout members to discover, connect and take action. Pietsch is committed to assisting with older girl retention by organizing older girl winter campshare weekends at Camp Northwoods for more than 20 years. For her service, Pietsch has received the Honor Pin, Outstanding Volunteer and Outstanding Troop Leader Awards.
Pietsch earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. As a customer-focused employee at the University of Minnesota, she was awarded the Auxiliary Services Exceptional Services Award in 2006.
Girl Scouts gave Donna Pietsch opportunities to grow her leadership skills and share her talents with girls and adult volunteers. Working together with Girl Scout members, their creative ideas continue to provide unique learning experiences and a lifetime of great memories.
Contractor Analyst; Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Kris Pope earned First Class rank as a girl member, and later became a leader for her daughter’s troop to continue the tradition. This began an 18-year career as a volunteer, which included troop and service unit cookie manager, numerous service team positions, service unit manager, day camp director, service unit delegate and National Delegate, as well as service on a number of council-level committees and task groups. Pope is currently a member of River Valleys’ CEO-COO Advisory Committee.
Her “can do” attitude is appreciated by the volunteers and staff members with whom she works. She is incredibly organized and is able to keep members of her service unit up-to-date on information they need to carry out their duties and provide a quality experience for girls. Pope is highly collaborative and always interested in contributing ideas to improve our ways of work in Girl Scouting.
She has received the Outstanding Leader, Valued Volunteer, Appreciation Pin, Encore Award, Community Quarterback Award, Volunteers are Stars Award, Honor Pin and Thanks Badge for her volunteer contributions.
Through Girl Scouting, Kris Pope has gained the courage and confidence to assume a variety of leadership roles. She knows there are many girls like her who started out very shy and will one day lead the way in business, politics, education, science and sports because they benefited similarly from the program. Pope continued to stay involved after her daughter graduated high school because she believes she has more to contribute to the Girl Scout experience.
A measure of Sharon Reece’s devotion to Girl Scouting is the work she is currently doing as co-leader of a Muslim Brownie troop at Higher Ground Academy in St. Paul. She is truly committed to the ideal of ensuring that girls of all backgrounds have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts.
Carolyn Sandberg, J.D.
Adjunct Professor; Hamline University School of Law
While growing up in a military family that moved frequently, Carolyn Sandberg found Girl Scouting to be a great way for her to make connections in new locations. Over 50 years, Sandberg earned First Class honors and served as a troop leader, service unit manager, council-wide cookie sales chair, trainer, National Convention Delegate and board member of the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council.
Sandberg has served as vice chair of the River Valleys Board Development Committee and a National Delegate. She is an active benefactor, member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society and a real champion for Girl Scouting in the community. For her contributions, Sandberg has received the Valued Volunteer award, Appreciation Pin, Honor Pin, Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II.
Sandberg is a governing section council member for the Minnesota State Bar Association Computer and Technology Law Section, and her past board positions include MAP for Nonprofits, the Japanese-American Citizens League, Minnesota Black Women Lawyers Network and an assistant leader of the Boy Scouts Viking Council. She has been repeatedly recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Minnesota Law and Politics magazine, and received a Community Service Lifetime Award from Honeywell. Sandberg holds a Bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and a Juris Doctor degree from Hamline University School of Law.
Carolyn Sandberg’s experience as a Girl Scout gave her the courage and confidence to face the challenges of attending eight different schools by seventh grade. She also credits Girl Scouts with helping her develop the interpersonal and group skills to be an effective leader.
Program Director, Regulatory, Compliance and Performance Systems; University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview
Linda Schroepfer believes in living her philosophy of giving back to the community with her time, talent and treasure. For more than 20 years, she has supported Girl Scouting as a troop volunteer, mother of two Gold Award recipients and member of the legacy St. Croix Valley Council Board of Directors. Schroepfer has worked diligently to ensure the organization’s financial health, both as chair of the Family Partnership Campaign and chair of the Fund Development Committee. For her contributions to Girl Scouting, Schroepfer has earned the Outstanding Volunteer award, Honor Pin and Appreciation Pin.
Her other significant volunteer commitment is as a member of the United Hospital Foundation. For the past several years she has been instrumental as one of the coordinators for the hospital foundation’s annual Services to Humanity Gala’s silent auctions, and last year co-chaired the event with her husband.
In her professional life, Schroepfer has been an advocate for individuals with mental health and chemical dependency issues. She has petitioned for adequate funding for resources, staff and environment of care improvements with hospital leadership and state legislators. Schroepfer earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the College of St. Theresa, Winona, MN.
Linda Schroepfer has a strong philosophical belief that when you’ve been given skills, talents and abilities, you use them to benefit your community as well as yourself. She feels blessed to have had the opportunity to give back to institutions — like Girl Scouts and United Hospital — that have benefited herself and her family.
Retired President; RVI, Inc.
During her 50 years in Girl Scouting, Robin Stegner achieved First Class rank, was employed by three different Girl Scout councils, and served in a wide range of volunteer positions including board member of the legacy Peacepipe Council. Following council realignment, Stegner served on River Valleys’ Property Committee and has been a valued advisor regarding the needs of girls and volunteers in rural Minnesota.
She is actively involved in her community, serving on the boards of Minnwest Bank MV, the Woman’s Club of Redwood Falls, and the Rotary Club of Redwood Falls where she has held a number of offices and served on numerous committees. Stegner has also worked to preserve jobs by developing a business plan for a spinoff of a division of the company that employed her when that company was sold to a multinational corporation. The new company was named RVI (Rural Values and Integrity) and Stegner served as its first president. For her accomplishments, she was named to the Redwood Area Hall of Fame and had a day proclaimed in her honor by the City of Redwood Falls.
Stegner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Robin Stegner believes every team needs a thoughtful, caring prepared leader who can gain commitment to common objectives, plan effectively and move an organization to accomplish its goals. She feels personally indebted to Juliette Gordon Low for founding an organization that has given her the skills and confidence to enjoy a successful business career.
Beth Voermans, A.S.A.
Manager, Client Reporting and Financial Technology; Securian
Beth Voermans began her Girl Scout career while growing up in Wausau, WI, participating throughout high school. She later became involved as a troop leader for her daughter, supporting the girls through their Silver and Gold Awards. Voermans has held many different service team positions, was a day camp co-director, committee member, trainer, National Delegate and co-chair of the Lakamaga Adult Education Conference Planning Committee.
Since council realignment, she has been a trainer and member of the River Valleys Women of Distinction Planning Committee. In 2011, Voermans was instrumental in the formation of River Valleys Alumnae Association, and currently serves as its volunteer chair. She has also been actively involved in planning the alumnae activities for the 100th Anniversary year of celebration. For her contributions, she has received the Honor Pin, Outstanding Volunteer and Outstanding Leader awards.
Voermans is also involved in her community as a board member of the Roseville Area Schools Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Chemistry in Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. Voermans is a member of the Society of Actuaries and has worked at Securian for nearly 30 years.
Beth Voermans credits her Girl Scout camping experiences for helping develop her courage, confidence and character. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with many talented, energetic and dedicated volunteers to provide great opportunities for girls.