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Volunteer Leadership Summit

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Creating Your Future: One Adventure at a Time

Volunteer Kick-Off is now Volunteer Leadership Summit (VLS). 

All registered adult Girl Scout members are invited to join us for this one-day volunteer training on Saturday, August 13, at the Hurst Conference Center, to prepare you for an amazing Girl Scout year.

We are proud to announce for 2022, the Volunteer Leadership Summit will be at no cost to the first 250 registered adult Girl Scout members. 

VLS is the leading educational event for current and emerging volunteers for Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains. The summit will provide an opportunity to learn from top-level speakers, trainers, and leaders who are outstanding in their fields. The summit is made possible through partnerships with GSTOP. 

New unforeseen challenges continue to arise as we adjust and reengage volunteers and girls in the Movement. The need of the 21st century girl has evolved and requires us, as adults, to move forward with adaptability and ingenuity. Through this summit, we hope to lead GSTOP volunteers into a world where challenges are reframed into possibilities by leaning into them with courage, confidence, and character.


Two options to stay overnight in the Fort Worth area specifically for Girl Scout volunteers attending the Volunteer Leadership Summit. 

  1. Book August 2 at the Hilton Garden Inn at Hurst Conference Center for a special rate of $94.00 plus applicable taxes. Please call the hotel directly at 817-281-5800 and ask for the “Volunteer Leadership Summit” to reserve and pay for your room. 
  2. Two nights at  Stevens Ranch at no cost to you.  Stay in the air condition Bunkhouse or Health Center.  If you are brave enough to sleep in the Hilltop with no AC, this unit is available.  If you wish to stay at Stevens Ranch, please email Space at Stevens Ranch is limited, so make your request early.
Karuna Thomas

Keynote Speaker: Karuna Thomas (she/her/hers)

Topic: Volunteering Empowers Others while Empowering You!

Keynote Highlights:

Imagine yourself as a changemaker where you can overcome fears, break stereotypes, and remove barriers.

This session is all about generations of inclusive doers, not takers.  It is about people coming together, through curiosity, and achieving more than the sum of their parts because...

  • Volunteers make a difference in creating a more inclusive society, today and tomorrow.
  • Volunteer’s grow as they impact the lives of others.  
  • Volunteers aren't just nice..they are necessary!  

Learn about the workshops and presenters

Conscious Conversations Using Emotional Intelligence
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 Dr. Renea Skelton, PhD, Life Coach, Trainer, & Joy Junkie

Conscious conversations are the important conversations that can truly make a difference.  These are the intentional conversations that help you communicate what’s truly important to you and getting to the heart of the matter so there is understanding and honest expression from all involved, without being resistant or argumentative.

The Emotional Intelligence training focus area(s) are:

  • Conscious conversations using a foundation of Emotional Intelligence
  • Crafting communication around a productive intention supporting learning and problem-solving benefiting everyone.
  • Listening with intent, managing emotions, creating healthy boundaries, and communicating effectively with empathy and insight.
About Dr. Renea Skelton

Dr. Renea Skelton, PhD, is a Life Coach, Trainer, & Joy Junkie. As a coach, she helps women discover their voice, elevate joy and unapologetically live their truth in life, leadership, parenting and& relationships.

As a trainer, she delivers interactive workshops centered on building trust, increasing emotional intelligence, & leveraging effective communication – introducing new concepts and shifting perspectives.

Dr. Renea is the author of an award-winning Emotional Intelligence children's book series: "The Adventures of Henry the Hedgehog" and her greatest joy is with her husband of 25 years & three amazingly-resilient children.

Her motto in life is to love UP, love IN, so you can love OUT!

Dynamics of Human Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation
Laramie Gorbett

Laramie Gorbett

This session will discuss the dynamics of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

Human trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation focus area(s) are:

  • Reviewing vulnerabilities and trafficking indicators.
  • Reporting options and trauma informed resources and services.
About Laramie Gorbett

Laramie Gorbett (B.A. 2002, M.A. 2006) has always fostered a passion for advocacy, activism, and creating systematic change in the anti-violence movement.  She has over 15 years of experience working with survivors of complex trauma and gender-based violence.  She has facilitated hope and healing workshops for survivors of human trafficking, refugees, and other marginalized populations domestically and abroad including, Uganda, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Laramie currently works as Human Trafficking Specialist with the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) and provides specialized training for law enforcement, victim services, and NGOs and is collaborating with Governor’s Office Child Sex Trafficking Team to help implement the Coordinated Care & CSEY Advocacy model across the state.

She is member of the Diversity Task Force, Immigrant Service Network of Austin (ISNA), Central Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking, and the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Taskforce.

Challenging Bias
Karuna Thomas

Karuna Thomas (she/her/hers)

In this session, Diversity Crew goes beyond the buzz phrase of bias and sets the table for participants to unpack the concepts underneath it. Our facilitator will work with participants to process the idea of unconscious bias so they can move past acknowledging bias and into real behavior change.

About Karuna Thomas

Karuna Thomas has worked with teams from around the world, including the six continents, and strongly believes that global organizations with international footprints have been tapping into diversity and inclusion for decades, but the key is recognizing and advancing it locally and bridging the gap within our own four walls, which is the critical work at hand.

​Through a successful career in the foodservice and restaurant industry, Karuna grew a diverse portfolio of specializations in Supply Chain, International Franchising and Business, Training and Development, Distribution, Warehousing, and Logistics

​Her nearly decade long stint in the international arena led to her organic induction into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  She launched and developed sustainable supply chain models to scale in 30+ countries, working across boundaries, breaking down barriers, while working with diverse stakeholders from around the world, in turn furthering the brand’s growth and profitability.  She recognizes the impact of diversity, equity, and inclusion on an organization’s bottom-line firsthand and has been actively championing DEI initiatives since 2017.

​Now as a DEI Consultant and Leadership Coach, she takes her international exposure and experience in advancing Cultural Competency and Cultural Intelligence within organizations.  She also taps into her training and facilitator experience and hosts workshops on various global platforms on topics ranging from women empowerment, mentorship, DEI initiatives, and social impact.

GSLE in STEM, Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Planning for STEM badges

Shane Woods, M.S.Ed.

When planning your Girl Scouts program year, we want our youth to experience all four pillars. However, if planning for STEM badges sends a shiver down your spine, this session is for you.

GSLE in STEM will provide tips and tricks on how to hit the easy button when it comes to having your troop or Juliette earn their STEM badges.


About Shane Woods

Following a comprehensive national search for a visionary new leader, Girlstart, an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit organization in its 25th year, selected Shane Woods as the third executive director in the organization’s history.  Ms. Woods brings twenty years of experience to leading Girlstart’s programming across Texas, as well as California and Massachusetts, continuing and strengthening its work to engage thousands of girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math each year.  Despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and holding as many undergraduate degrees as men overall, women are still vastly underrepresented in the STEM workforce and among STEM degree holders, making nurturing early involvement and interest in STEM a critical need across the United States.

Ms. Woods notes: “I firmly believe in being an active ancestor for our youth and those coming behind them who dare to make this world a better place. As a self-proclaimed ‘social justice architect’ my passion lies in preparing, nurturing, and sustaining spaces that welcome all girls so that they can prepare to take on the role or roles of their life.”

Most recently, Ms. Woods served as the Senior Director of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas STEM Center of Excellence, a 92-acre living laboratory where kids of all ages can explore and develop their competence and confidence in science, technology, engineering, and math – all while cultivating essential skills such as confidence, resilience, leadership, risk taking, and problem solving.  She began her career as a middle school science teacher in the Fort Worth Independent School District.  In her seventeen years with the district, Ms. Woods was able to make her mark in every position she held, from Department Chair to leading the entire district as the K-12 Science Director overseeing curriculum and assessment development while also supporting teachers in honing their skills through professional learning opportunities.

A scientist at heart, Ms. Woods holds a B.S in Biology from Xavier University of New Orleans and an M.S.Ed. in Middle Level Science and Mathematics from Walden University.  She is a nationally recognized and award-winning leader and speaker in science education.  Ms. Woods also holds volunteer leadership positions with the National Science Education Leadership Association, American Camp Association, and the Women Leading Technology Sorority.

Youth and Mental First Aid
Amy Anderson

Amy Anderson, MHFA Grants Director
Teresa Gonzales, MHFA Training Specialist

When you use the skills taught in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), you are the first line of support for a child or youth in need. You are there to help them feel less distressed and be a vital resource in helping them seek further assistance. You can also be an advocate, empower your community, and improve self-care

Teresa Gonzales

Youth Mental Health First Aid focuses on identifying, understanding, and responding to signs of mental illness and substance use challenges in youth.

About Amy Anderson

Amy Anderson has been with Hill Country MHDDC for over six years.  She came to the organization after serving on the "Texans Recovering Together Disaster FEMA Team" helping "three counties" impacted by the "2015 Memorial Day and Halloween floods".

Currently she is the MHFA Grants Director/Coordinator/Training Specialist for Hill Country MHDDC.  Amy is certified in all the MHFA Modules.  She has been named as one of the top 100 MHFA Instructors by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

Amy is also a teen MHFA Instructor and has taught over 400 teens in the course. 

In March of 2021, Amy, and then CEO Ross Robinson of Hill Country MHDDC, submitted a “Request for Resolution in Support of Teen Mental Health First Aid” to State Representative Andrew Murr.  He then submitted this to the Texas Legislature.  On Apri1 9, 2021, the Texas 87th Legislature adopted the House Resolution 474 .

The Hill Country MHDDC MHFA Team was name the #1 producer of the MHFA Program in all of Texas in 2021 in 3 of 4 categories: 1 st in teaching the most school staff, higher education staff, and teens.  They took 2 nd in community trainings.

She has been a guest speaker for the Texas Council, Texas School Safety Conference, and has facilitated numerous webinars.

In addition to MHFA, Amy is also an Instructor in ASIST, AS+K?, Trauma Informed Care, Heartsaver CPR, BLS, and PMAB. 

About Teresa Gonzales

Teresa Gonzales has been with Hill Country MHDDC over nine years.  She has served in multiple roles throughout her tenure including Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (Hays, Blanco Counties), Team Lead Crisis Counseling Program, and Director of Early Childhood Intervention.

Currently Teresa serves as a Training Specialist.  She is certified in all MHFA modules including Spanish. Teresa is certified as a teen Mental Health First Aid instructor and has trained over 400 teens.

In addition to MHFA, Teresa is a certified instructor for ASIST, AS+K?, Seeking Safety, HeartSaver CPR, BLS, and PMAB.

Girl Scout Teens and Tweens do Amazing Things!
Jamie LaMora

Jamie LaMora, Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts

Do you have a Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador? 

Then Girl Scouts considers her an "Older Girl".  Older Girls can help younger girls navigate the Girl Scout Cookie Program, lead community service efforts, participate in exclusive mentoring opportunities, or earn leadership and community problem solving awards. 

Come learn how to help create a girl-led experience for your Older Girl Scout including:

  • Leadership Development
  • Travel
  • Girl Advisory Board
  • Silver and Gold Awards
  • Career and College Readiness
  • Beyond Ambassadors
About Jamie LaMora

Jamie LaMora is a Lifetime member of Girl Scouts from Northeastern NY and has been a volunteer for 15 years.  She leads a multilevel troop of upwards of 40 girls during any given year.  She is her Troop's Cookie Mom and is the manager of her Service Unit.  She has earned such accolades as the Volunteer of Excellence Award and the Diversity Matters Award, to name a few.

She and her husband, Stephen, of 22 years, have three daughters, all who are Girl Scouts or lifetime members, Keirsten (21), Clarissa (19), and Cami (16).

Jamie has also worked at her Council in various departments.  She worked one summer as camp staff as the arts and crafts director followed by working as an afterschool program specialist then moved to the retail side and ending as the assistant retail supervisor.  In her many roles, she was called on both professionally to help with Council projects and separately as an established Troop Leader to help with being the face of the Council. Concluding her career at Council, she was Facebook popular from doing a lot of live videos and media coverage.

Her Troop has taken many trips locally and state-wide, as well as a visit to Historic Savannah, GA, two trips to Canada, and she was the adult lead on a trip overseas to England, France, and Switzerland..

Jamie encourages all girls to stride for higher awards.  She tries to retain membership especially in the older girl levels.  She teaches Girl Scouting  in creative ways to think outside the box to make badge work fun. She teaches hard real truths to older girls including social injustices, understanding gender identities, and healthy relationships.  She demonstrates to all that Girl Scouts is a family that you can count on to lift you up no matter your age. 

Currently,  Jamie works as a Teacher Aide in an integrated preschool.  She is the Vice President of her daughter's high school Booster club and also has been teaching scrapbooking for 20 years.