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How Girl Scouts Changed My Life – 50 Years a Girl Scout

To many, the end of October means Halloween and the beginning of the holiday season, but this time of the year holds a vivid memory for Ellen Zetmeir. As most of Ellen’s friends and family know, she is actively involved with the Girl Scouts. What many may not know, however, is that 2019 marks her 50th Anniversary of being involved with the Girl Scout organization!

Ellen frequently mentions how growing up as a Girl Scout and her ongoing involvement with the organization has made her into the strong, independent woman she is today. We wanted to take the time to interview Ellen to find out more about her Girl Scout passion.

Q: What are your first memories of becoming a Brownie?

Ellen as a Brownie

A: “I became a Brownie in 1969! It was the first time I’d ever worn a uniform and I remember every detail. I had my whole outfit with my little pins and an orange tie that my dad taught me how to correctly tie – it was so special. Girl Scout day was on Tuesdays, so we got to wear our uniforms to school. That was a really big deal as well!

In my hometown, Parsons, Kansas, we had what was called The Girl Scout Little House – a house that had been donated to the Parsons’ Girl Scouts and was used for events and storage. There was a big hill at the house that we used for ingathering. Ingathering was a big city-wide event and sing-along for Girl Scouts in celebration of Juliette Low’s (the founder of the Girl Scouts) birthday on Halloween. At this event, all of the troops would donate money benefiting the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund – funding international travel for Girl Scouts. The coolest part of the event was if someone had been on an international Girl Scout trip, they would bring home ashes from the final fire and add them to the fire at the ingathering. We were a bunch of wide-eyed little girls watching all of this happen – it was so cool!

For me, being a Brownie was a really big deal! In my hometown, that’s just what you did – everyone was a Girl Scout. You went to church on Wednesday nights and Girl Scouts on Tuesday nights.”

Q: What are some of your most memorable experiences as a Girl Scout?

A: “The first really cool thing I remember doing was going primitive camping off horseback in Wyoming for a week or two when I was in 9th grade. We got to ride through the mountains with an elevation map and a compass – no grown-ups around! We would ride our horses, find a place to eat dinner, sleep on the ground and then pack everything back on our horses. It was a truly amazing experience!

Preparing for Her Trip

The following year, I got to be a delegate to a national convention in 1978. This was the year the Girl Scout logo was changed from the original logo with the eagle on the trefoil to the three faces on the envelope – showing girls of all ages and backgrounds. It was a huge deal to be there as a voting delegate!

On the way home from the convention, I began filling out paperwork to go on an International Wider Opportunity. After going through the interview process, I was selected as one of three Girl Scouts from the United States to go to South Africa. This was a game-changer for me! South Africa was in such turmoil at the time that we were even briefed by the State Department prior to our trip to be certain we knew what to expect upon arrival. We were representing the United States as Girl Scouts. It was a once in a lifetime experience.”

South Africa and Her Return Home

Q: How did being a Girl Scout change you? What life lessons did you learn?

A: “Girl Scouts empowered me, gave me confidence and taught me that I could be a smart woman. I also gained leadership skills, how to run a meeting and brainstorming skills. We learned important life skills including how to go to a fancy restaurant, how to tip and make reservations. Because of Girl Scouts, I had no fear and I still have no fear to this day. It was just even more amazing as a young girl. Plus, we didn’t have the distraction of boys at a young age!”

Q: Why should girls join Girl Scouts today?

A: “Girl Scouts has STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and a number of other opportunities that are truly amazing. Girl Scouts has lots of travel available for girls in small and large groups that teach girls life skills they wouldn’t have without travel. It’s an all-girl environment and that’s so important today!”

Ellen’s Halloween Costume

Q: What have you done as an adult with Girl Scouts and what are you currently doing?

A: “For 14 years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I was an advisor for the Youth Leadership Council with GSWISE  (Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast.) It gave me the opportunity to advise over 400 girls and share my skills and confidence, preparing them for

life as an adult. To advise them and lead by example was probably the best work I’ve done with the Girl Scouts, period! It was just amazing and life-changing for not only the girls, but for me as well.

Today, I’m currently involved as an assistant troop leader with a cadet group at St. Peter’s School. I would LOVE to start doing some older girl leadership training here in Kansas City!”

Want to hear even more great stories about Ellen’s Girl Scout history? Stop by her store-front office and ask her anything! Plus, you can find out how to get involved with Girl Scouts yourself. It’s another way to get involved with a special program in the community of Brookside and Waldo.

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5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Fall

The leaves will be changing and the weather will be turning cooler before we know it! Fall is a great time to take care of a few things around the house before winter sets in. Even some of the smallest improvements around the house can make a big difference in your home’s condition and value over time. Take a look at Brookside Real Estate’s 5 tips to getting your home ready for fall:

  1. Remove dead branches from your trees. Dead branches create great spaces for insects to burrow and for disease to spread throughout the entire tree. It’s best to remove them as soon as possible. And when winter sets in and all the leaves are gone, it’s much harder to tell which branches are dead and which are still alive. While your trees still have leaves on them, call a reputable contractor to examine and remove dead branches before the weight of snow or ice brings them down.
  2. Clean your gutters. Tall trees are very common in Kansas City, especially in Brookside! Clogged gutters can cause damage to the exterior of your home and lead to a flooded basement. Before the leaves fall this year, clear your gutters of any leaves and acorns. Once your gutters are cleared, cover them with mesh guards to keep debris from returning.
  3. Check your smoke and CO detectors. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every level of your home. Daylight savings is the perfect time to test all of them! Set all of your clocks forward and replace the batteries in all of your detectors. Then test each detector in your home by pressing the test button. If you don’t have a smoke or CO detector on each floor, now is a great time to get them installed.
  4. Fall is for planting. Even though cold weather is lurking around the corner, fall is a great time to plant some gorgeous spring blooming flowers! The summer heat has passed and the short, bright days help your newly planted greeenery grow their roots. You will love seeing your plants blossoming when the weather warms up!
  5. Inspect your roof. There is nothing worse than trying to find the source of a leak on your roof while navigating through snow and ice. Before the weather turns, use binoculars and inspect your roof from top to bottom. Look for things like damaged or missing shingles. You’ll be glad to get it taken care of before it turns into a disaster.

 

There you have it – some great tips for preparing your home for fall! Most of these tips require a little bit of time but aren’t particularly costly. You will be surprised at how far a little sprucing up will go! Before you know it, your house will be in tip top shape and ready to endure Kansas City’s cold winter months!

If you are looking to buy or sell and would like some professional assistance, contact the team at Brookside Real Estate! We have over 30 years of experience in Kansas City and are experts in Brookside and other surrounding Kansas City neighborhoods. Give us a call at: (816) 333-3330, or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd any time to chat. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Mistakes Not to Make: Homebuyers Edition

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Let’s face it, sometimes the home-buying process can be overwhelming and all you want is to make sure that you aren’t making any terrible mistakes. Brookside Real Estate understands; with that in mind we have put together a list of the most common errors people make when buying a home – and how to avoid them.

  1. Do not shop for a home without an agent.
    Since we are Real Estate Agents, this may sound a bit self-serving – but read along and you’ll see our point. First, remember as a Buyer with Brookside Real Estate Company: You don’t pay for the Realtor’s service!  The Realtor’s compensation comes from the seller. (And unlike some other local brokerages Brookside Real Estate Company charges no transaction fees to buyers.) Buyer’s Agents are solely there to make all your home-owning dreams come true, and guide you through what can be a complex legal process.Brookside Managing Broker Jim Kraus compares the process of home buying to a court case, “Just like you wouldn’t go into a court of law without proper representation, attempting to buy a home without proper professional representation from an experienced Realtor is risky.  And truly, it just makes good sense to use a Realtor to protect your personal interests when making what is generally the largest purchase of your life!”
  1. Don’t hold out for a more perfect house.
    Drive around, gather ideas of what you want, the neighborhoods you like, even make a Pinterest board – all of this is helpful. But do not shop for a home without a trusted Realtor.If you aren’t designing and building your house, then chances are there isn’t going to be one that’s perfect in every way. That’s why it is important to make a list of your “would be nice” features versus your “must haves” features. This helps keep priorities straight and may help you find the home that is truly a great match for your needs – and simplify the decision process.
  1. Don’t forget to budget for Closing Costs.
    Closing Costs are the third-party fees associated with the transactions process of buying your new home. These include appraisals, credit reports, underwriters, inspections, etc. Your Realtor will be able to give you a rough estimate of closing costs once the seller accepts your offer – but you can expect anywhere from 2% to 7% of the cost of the house for closing fees. While the sellers may sometimes contribute funds to cover some of these costs (fees), the majority will be paid by the buyer (and rolled into your total home loan). Brace yourself, and don’t forget to add Closing Costs into your budget.

So, there you have it – now you’re well on your way to avoiding the most common mistakes of the home-buying process. And, especially don’t forget Step #1: Find a great Real Estate Agent you can trust – one who’ll listen to your needs, be an expert on the neighborhood, and look out for your very best interests. Look no further than Brookside Real Estate! Give us a call at 816-333-3330, or stop in and say “Hello” at 9 W 63rd Street – located in the heart of Brookside.

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Moving into 2017 in Style!

Reflecting on the past year, we here at Brookside Real Estate are thankful for the success we’ve experienced in 2016.

Without a doubt, it wouldn’t be possible without our great clients! We are especially grateful for the many great neighbors in Brookside and surrounding areas we’ve come to know. After all, neighbors are what make communities great!

With the New Year upon us, we are excited to announce a few new changes that we know you’ll love! For one (as you already know if you are reading this on a handheld device), our brand new mobile-friendly website is now live with its updated and refreshed design! We encourage you to look around and check back often for new blogs, helpful tips, upcoming neighborhood events, and, as always, the newest property listings in our new, easy to use property search engine.

Equally as exciting, Brookside Real Estate Company reached the notable milestone of 30 years in business this year! Even though a lot has changed in the area over those 30 years, one thing that will stay the same is our commitment to the wonderful neighborhoods of Kansas City. After all, we live here too!

We are thrilled to welcome 2017 and continue to provide you with the same high level of personal service, commitment and dedication. We can’t wait for you to experience the new changes we have in store for 2017. Whether it’s looking around our new website or stopping by our retail office on 63rd St. just to say “Hi” – we love saying hello to old friends and making new ones! We welcome the New Year with open arms and look forward to developing relationships with more wonderful clients, the various lenders and title companies we support, and the 100’s of other real estate agents (too many to name!) that we work with day in and day out in the Kansas City community!

Until we see you again, we hope you and your family enjoyed a very Happy Holiday and have a safe and happy New Year!