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Girl Scouts River Valleys Community Engagement

Engaging Communities

We strive to provide every girl with the opportunity to experience enriching programs that blend critical life skill development with activities that support academic success and leadership.

Our Mission & Work

We work to increase visibility, build trust, and create long-term investment in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience by families and girls of color. We cultivate authentic and holistic relationships with communities of color and community organizations that serve people of color in Minnesota.

We also lead the development and growth of Girl Scouts River Valleys’ Mentored Troops and ConnectZ Program, pathways that actively work toward increasing the ethnic diversity and representation of girls and volunteers of color in Minnesota.

Headshot of new Mentored Troop Leader Lori Cowan

“I am just so proud to be able to lead a mentored troop that is giving girls the opportunity to be Girl Scouts in an environment that I wish I had as a little girl.”

—Lori Cowan
Girl Scout Mentored Troop Leader



Mentored Troops

Mentored Troops are volunteer-led troops that provide girls of color the opportunity to be part of ethnically diverse Girl Scout troops led by volunteer troop leaders of color. Girls in mentored troops develop a sense of belonging and sisterhood in a culturally-relevant environment.

More About Mentored Troops

We know that Girl Scouting has proven to support academic success and life outcomes in alums, and Girl Scouts show increased self confidence in their decision-making abilities and their capacity to become strong leaders in their own lives and communities. At Girl Scouts River Valleys, we also know that not everyone finds Girl Scouting familiar or easily accessible, including girls and families of color within our council area.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are core Girl Scout values, and at Girl Scouts River Valleys, we understand representation matters. Mentored Troops provide girls of color the opportunity to be a part of ethnically diverse Girl Scout troops led by volunteer troop leaders of color.

In 2020, Mentored Troops Supported:

  • New Mentored Troops Icon

    40 New Mentored Troops

  • 428 Girls (90% girls of color)

    507 Girls (90% girls of color)

  • 54 Troop Leaders (90% girls of color)

    54 Troop Leaders (90% adults of color)

Benefits of Mentored Troops

At no cost to your girl in her first troop year:


A paid Girl Scout membership fee for one year and placement into an ethnically diverse Girl Scout troop–Includes a Girl Scout uniform kit and supplies


Trained troop leaders who will lead the troop in earning badges and patches


Troop funds to financially support her troop’s Girl Scout activities



ConnectZ is a staff led program that provides girls of color and girls in underserved communities to be a part of diverse Girl scout troops at no cost to them or their families. Girls in ConnectZ are only eligible to participate at schools and sites we partner with across Minnesota. Girls will learn new skills, build relationships, and develop a sense of belonging in their surrounding community.

More About the ConnectZ Program

ConnectZ meets the needs of girls today—that’s you! As life keeps changing, ConnectZ can provide connection and community through a culturally responsive girl led leadership program. We work to eliminate access barriers to girl scouting by partnering with primarily schools and limited organizations that allow us to meet girls where they are at for girl and family convenience. In Connectz, you will create a sisterhood in a space where you can celebrate and be your true self.

If you feel like this is the pathway is for you, complete the Community Engagement Interest Form and select "Learn More About ConnectZ" to see if it is available at your school.

Benefits of ConnectZ
  • Programming is free for all Connectz participants including, but is not limited to membership, uniform, and out-of-troop experiences like camp.

  • ConnectZ troop leaders are trained staff who lead troops in earning badges and patches through a girl-led program environment.

  • Accessibility - Our program works toward eliminating access barriers by meeting girls where they are at. This is primarily at schools, but can include community and faith based organizations.

By the Numbers (2021)

  • 85% of ConnectZ Girl Scouts report that because of Girl Scouts, they are doing things that they cannot do other places.

  • 84% of ConnectZ Girl Scouts report that because of Girl Scouts, they can make a difference in the world.

  • 90% of ConnectZ Girl Scouts agreed that Girl Scouts helped them feel more connected to other girls and their community during the pandemic.


Headshot of Mentored Troop Leader Wanda Vue

"I feel honored to be able to be a part of Mentored Troops and be present with these Girl Scouts as they grow and mature as young women. It's been inspiring to see them blossom, and it makes me think of what Maya Angelo once told Oprah Winfrey: ‘When you know better, you do better.’ Being able to provide opportunities to help our young women grow allows me to help them know better and do better."

—Wanda Vue
Girl Scout Mentored Troop Leader



Community Engagement Team

Coco Du

Coco Du

Vice President of Community Engagement
800-845-0787 x1258

Jasmine Graves headshot

Jasmine Graves

Director of Girl Experience and Troop Leader Support
800-845-0787 x1119

Keziah Ojika

Keziah Ojika

Director of Community Cultivation & Partnerships
800-845-0787 x1626

Austere Apolo

Austere Apolo

800-845-0787 x1066

Mishereen Ellis

Mishereen Ellis

800-845-0787 x1137

Vilai Khanya

Vilai Khanya

800-845-0787 x7078

Keisha Kidder

Keisha Kidder

800-845-0787 x1703

Khadra Mohamed

Khadra Mohamed

800-845-0787 x4052

Sierra Napoli

Sierra Napoli

800-845-0787 x1216

Sunny Thao

Sunny Thao

800-845-0787 x4102

Mayr Gwen Thompson

Mary Gwen Thompson   

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Samantha Vang

Samantha Vang

800-845-0787 x1217

Kia Xiong

Kia Xiong

800-845-0787 x1220

May Xiong

May Xiong

800-845-0787 x1105


Interested in working with the Community Engagement Team?

Contact any of the Community Engagement team members above, or email us at or give us a call at 800-845-0787 to learn more.