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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.

The Community Engagement Team at Girl Scouts River Valleys has developed over 30 community partnerships in 2019. Check out some of our community partners.

Our Mission

We work to increase visibility, build trust, and create long-term investment in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience by families and girls of color.

Our Work

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, a pathway that actively works 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
New 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 2019, Mentored Troops Supported:

  • New Mentored Troops Icon

    38 New Mentored Troops

  • 428 Girls (90% girls of color)

    428 Girls (90% girls of color)

  • 54 Troop Leaders (90% girls of color)

    54 Troop Leaders (90% adults of color)


Community Engagement Team

Karla Benson Rutten

Karla Benson Rutten

Vice President of Community Engagement
800-845-0787 x1258

Karlie Hammes

Karlie Hammes

Community Engagement Coordinator
(North Minneapolis, faith communities)
800-845-0787 x1110

Anastasia Nela

Anastasia Nela

Community Engagement Coordinator
(Greater Southern Minnesota)
800-845-0787 x1313

Bernice Prigge Rodriguez

Bernice Prigge Rodriguez

Community Engagement Coordinator
(South Minneapolis, Richfield)
800-845-0787 x1201

Kia Xiong

Kia Xiong

Community Engagement Coordinator
(Saint Paul)
800-845-0787 x1220

Gina Rios headshot

Gina Rios

Community Engagement Coordinator
for Latinx Partnerships

800-845-0787 x1238

Sierra Napoli

Sierra Napoli

Administrative Assistant
800-845-0787 x1216


Community Partners

We currently partner with over 30 schools and organizations, including:

  • Harvest Preparatory School (Minneapolis)
  • College Prep Elementary (St. Paul)
  • MiNtshis Performing Arts Studio (St. Paul)
  • St. Paul City Schools (St. Paul)
  • Black Hawk Middle School (Eagan)
  • Echo Park Elementary (Burnsville)
  • MY Place (Mankato)
  • Greenvale Park Community School (Northfield)

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.