Girl Scout leader honored for inspirational go-getter attitude
Krista Nunnally on Wednesday, May 13. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
Daily Inter Lake | May 18, 2020 1:00 AM
The mission of Girl Scouts revolves around building girls of courage, confidence and character who will positively impact the world.
Local Kalispell troop leader Krista Nunnally embodies this statement. Over her seven years volunteering in the program, four of those as the Troop 3709 leader, she has influenced countless girls to become confident, innovative trailblazers.
Each year the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming organization formally recognizes volunteers for going above and beyond in various ways, and last month Nunnally received three separate awards for her service. The recognitions included the Girl Scout Appreciation Pin, Outstanding Volunteer and Volunteer of Excellence awards. She was the only one in the group of more than 80 women to receive more than two awards this year.
“I was very surprised and shocked and humbled and thankful,” Nunnally said about receiving the awards. “I mean it’s nice to be recognized. It is fulfilling and I hope that it encourages others.”
Nunnally and Troop 3709 are known for leading the way locally in girls’ involvement with robotics. The troop was among the first, and still one of the only few, all-girl robotics teams in the region.
A few months after attending a Girl Scout-sanctioned sleepover in a children’s museum that aimed to introduce girls to robotics concepts, Nunnally got word that the organization received a grant encouraging interested troops to start teams. Nunnally and her daughter Lexi, a high school sophomore, both had enjoyed the event and thought it would be fun to get more girls involved.
After gathering a few other girls from different troops in the valley, RoboScout Squad was born and the learning process began. Nunnally had no prior experience in robotics, although she works at Kalispell Regional Medical Center in the information technology department so technology was not a barrier.
Under the leadership of Nunnally and her co-coach Sherri Sadino, who had been teaching Lego robotics for Flathead Valley Community College’s Kid’s College for several years, the team developed all the skills necessary to participate in competitions. The squad created three years ago is now composed of five girls, all from Troop 3709, and earlier this year won the Montana state FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League competition.
Nunnally recalled watching the girls at that competition and being truly amazed at the strides of progression they made over the last few years.
“They were really relaxed, it was almost unsettling how easy they made it look,” Nunnally said. “I was like they don’t even need me here. Which is great, I guess that’s a sign that you’ve done your job.”
Her work forming the RoboScout Squad and continually enabling opportunities for the girls to progress in science and technology fields while building valuable life skills surely contributed to her earning awards this year.
“Krista is a leader that inspires girls and adults by her example of being a go-getter, inventor and risk-taker,” a letter of endorsement for the Appreciation Pin reads. “Krista amazes me with her patience with the girls, waiting for them to develop their ideas and conclusions. She celebrates each child’s accomplishments even outside of Girl Scouts.”
Although she is obviously an inspiration for the girls in her troop, Nunnally is equally as moved by the kids’ motivation and growth as leaders. She said the girls are busy; many are involved in sports, drama, choir, music, speech and debate, National Honors Society and much more on top of Girl Scouts and robotics. Nunnally celebrates each girls’ achievements, within Girl Scouts or not, but she is most impressed with their involvement in the community and the outreach they do to support other girls interested in robotics.
“It’s kind of a fine balancing act sometimes because I don’t want to burn them out,” Nunnally said. “But they are all go-getters, they really are phenomenal young ladies.
“Being Girl Scouts all these years has very strongly prepared them to be in a leadership role with younger kids, they really do enjoy that,” she added.
While Nunnally is fulfilled by helping each girl reach her full potential, most of her desire comes from simply wanting to give these girls opportunities that she never had growing up. The now volunteer troop leader was a Girl Scout herself up until sixth grade, but when her parents moved their family back to Kalispell, after her father retired from the U.S. Navy, she was not able to get involved with girl scouts again.
A few years after her daughter began the scouting program in first grade, Nunnally became involved as a service unit manager for local troops. After a full three-year term, she took over Lexi’s troop and became so inspired to help girls achieve their goals Volunteering has become a major part of her life.
“So it’s been a great thing for me to be out of the house and trying to make a difference,” Nunnally said. “There’s a lot of good feelings and personal satisfaction that comes with seeing them do well.”
Nunnally stays busy with volunteering in Girl Scouts and leading the robotics team, however she takes on even more responsibility. She has been working full time at Kalispell Regional Medical Center for nearly 15 years while holding down the fort raising her two children Lexi, 15, and Sammy, 13, alongside her husband Sam. They also have two rescue dogs and Sam is continually involved in serving the community as well.
Recently, she decided to go back to school and is pursuing a degree in data analytics and management. She said, despite starting college courses as a high school sophomore, she never earned a degree and it was something she felt inspired to pursue now.
Nunnally wants to finish her degree to improve her skill set, should anything ever go wrong with her current job, to keep stability in her family’s life. But just as importantly, she is hoping to set an example of perseverance for her children.
As part of that, Nunnally recently had to complete a networking course, which is not among her strong suits. The class created many obstacles for her to navigate, but she made it through and found it rewarding to overcome her struggles. She also showed her children that dedication can pay off.
“And I passed well, I didn’t pass poorly. That’s just part of me, I don’t like to do things halfway,” she added.
Because the multifaceted woman is always on the go, Nunnally said if she manages to get any spare time, she enjoys decompressing with books, movies and bubble baths.
Even as her daughter approaches her final years in high school, Nunnally is excited to see where the Girl Scout Troop will go. As the robotics squad became champions in FIRST Lego League robotics last season, the girls are preparing for an entirely new adventure ahead.
The RoboScout Squad is moving up to the next level of robotics and planning to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge. This no longer involves building with Legos, the kids will now have to engineer their robots out of metal. Nunnally said it was the girls’ decision and they are all excited to take on the whole new challenge.
“For Sherry and I we don’t know anything about this, so we’re going to do what Girl Scout leaders do — we’re going to learn new skills too,” Nunnally said. “And we’re going to bring in other people who know more about different things, everybody’s going to learn something new.”
As Nunnally helps the girls in her troop take on this new challenge, among many others, her desire to help girls progress and be successful in life will continue on. And the lives she continues to touch everyday will be impacted for years to come.
Reporter Whitney England may be reached at 758-4419 or email@example.com.