Five months after an interim chief executive officer took temporary control of a youth organization, the council’s board of directors decided the conditional placement fit.

Joy Wheeler, the former interim CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri, has been announced as the new CEO. Since April, Ms. Wheeler has worked with board members and staff to set priorities and shape the mission of the Girl Scouts in the 47-county territory.

“A friend approached me about the interim job, but I had no idea what Girl Scouting was about, outside of my many decades-ago experience as a Girl Scout,” Ms. Wheeler said. “The opportunity was to go into an organization that needed some assistance, because there were many leadership changes over the years. They were really struggling.”

The largest change came when Ms. Wheeler accepted the position and began to shift the focus of the council. Based out of Kansas City, Ms. Wheeler said one of her main focuses for the large territory will be to designate regions and define natural boundaries for service areas.

“It became pretty obvious to our leadership team to identify the area by different regions, and identify where the population bases are, or where are the most girls for us to focus on,” Ms. Wheeler said.

The Northwest Missouri region will fall into the northern territory, Ms. Wheeler envisioned, where 2,000 girls live out of a 20,000 Scout-age population in the service area. She planned to engage the community in the message of the importance of Girl Scouts and remind parents of much-needed character development in girls’ younger years.

“While women have come a long way, we as girls still have insecurities. We dumb ourselves down, pull back on our abilities, and perceive that we will be outsiders if we are smart or if we are leaders,” Ms. Wheeler said. “It makes so much sense to me to build courage, confidence and character for girls and help them develop those feelings, so they are capable of anything.”

Ms. Wheeler also hoped to recruit more volunteers and hire a director of the north region for further growth of the council.

For more information about the agency, visit http://www.girlscouts.org, or call the local office, located at 3300 Dale Ave., Suite 105, at 279-7438.

Kristin Hoppa can be reached

at kristin.hoppa@newspressnow.com.

Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHoppa.

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