Girl Scouts from Kansas, Missouri Bringing Sweet Treats to Troops at USO Fort Riley

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Whether they’re stateside or abroad, troops love Girl Scout cookies. The colorful boxes, iconic cookie names and familiar flavors provide service members around the world with a taste of home.

So when the Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri wanted to support troops in their communities via their donation-based Cookie Share Program, they partnered with the local USO at Fort Riley, Kansas.

“This is a really great partner for us — the USO,” said Gina Garvin, Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri’s vice president of brand and marketing.

Sharing is Caring

As the troops’ 2015 Cookie Share partner, USO Fort Riley will receive boxes of cookies sold door-to-door, online and at booths through March 15.

The girls give their customers the option to buy a box of cookies to donate directly to the USO, even if they don’t want to purchase a box to for themselves.

Once the cookies are delivered, USO Fort Riley will distribute the boxes to troops on local bases in the surrounding area.

“I hope that that box of Girl Scout cookies, whether they’re coming home or they’re here working at home, it gives [troops] a sense of … ‘Welcome home,’” Garvin said.

Although this is the first time USO Fort Riley will be the official Cookie Share partner, the troops have donated cookies USO Fort Riley before. In 2014, the local Girl Scout troops raised enough cookies for USO Fort Riley to use at programming events throughout the entire year.

Cookies Close to Home

Garvin said the large local military population was the main reason the troops chose to partner with USO Fort Riley.

In fact, a number of troops supporting this year’s Cookie Share Program, like Fort Riley’s Brownie Troop 5682 and Junior Troop 5683, are entirely composed of military children.

“We know these Girl Scouts. We want to support them,” Garvin said. “We want to put our arms around them and so this is just a really great way to do that.”

Troop 5682 and 5683 co-leaders Crystal Buotte Lary and Christina Glassford said their troops were immediately on-board with the USO connection, especially since they’d just prepared and sent boxes to troops overseas for the holidays.

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“What the USO does for families and especially deployed spouses, soldiers, single soldiers, we wanted our troops to be a part of that, to give back,” Glassford said.

From including the USO in their door-to-door sales pitch to decorating their cookie booths red, white and blue, the girls of Troops 5682 and 5683 took the 2015 Cookie Share cause to heart.

“We’re seeing them all get behind the USO and I think it’s because they can now see the military in their communities,” Garvin said.

USO Opens Its First Center in Kansas!

(L-R) Col. Brown, Fort Riley Garrison commander; Sloan Gibson, USO president & CEO; April Blackmon, USO Fort Riley director; Mrs. Carol Brooks, wife of Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division & Fort Riley; David McIntyre, President & CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance; and Brig. Gen. David Petersen, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley deputy commanding general cut the ribbon at the grand opening on USO Fort Riley on May 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

“USO Fort Riley is a home away from home for our service members and families – a place for them to unwind and feel comfortable. We are extremely grateful for the support of our partners and the Fort Riley community, as well as the dedication of our wonderful volunteers.” – April Blackmon, Center Director at USO Fort Riley.

This week, we opened our first center in Kansas – USO Fort Riley – to serve the more than 23,000 troops and family members stationed on one of the largest U.S. Army installations in the United States. The new center will be open 365 days a year to provide a wide variety of programs for the Fort Riley military community.

With 7,000 square feet of room, this center features a computer lab with nine computer stations and WiFi connectivity; a video gaming area with Xbox®, Sony Playstation 3, and Nintendo® Wii™ consoles; a library and family room; pool, air hockey, foosball, shuffleboard, poker and chess tables; a movie theater with a large DVD and Blu-ray library; nine televisions with DirecTV; a United Through Reading® recording area, outdoor patio, snack bar and fire place lounges.

We’d like to thank the Department of Defense for their cooperation in opening the center, and the generosity of the TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Mark Gelfand, United Renovations and Harbor Group, and donations from the public that make it all possible.  David J. McIntyre, Jr., President and CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance & USO Board Member has this to say: “The USO Center offers Fort Riley-based men and women a place to relax, have fun and meet friends. TriWest is proud to contribute to the construction of this new center as a thank you to Service members and their families who sacrifice so much in defense of our nation.”

We say thank you, too and can’t wait to hear the great stories from USO Fort Riley.  Enjoy more photos below!

Col. Brown, Fort Riley Garrison commander, greets center visitors at the standing-room-only USO Fort Riley grand opening on May 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

USO Fort Riley opened to more than 100 guests on May 25, 2010, providing a "home away from home" to service members and their families. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

USO Fort Riley features a computer lab with WiFi connectivity, a video gaming area, library & family rooms, game tables, movie theater, televisions, a United Through Reading® recording area, patio, snack bar and lounges. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

Service members enjoy the gaming area at the new USO Fort Riley center, the first USO center in Kansas, during a grand opening celebration on May 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

USO Fort Riley volunteers help serve dozens of troops outside of the USO Mobile Canteen during the grand opening of USO Fort Riley on May 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)