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Girl Scouts announce 2009 Women of Excellence

Kristal Odden, Ruth Plaster, Laura Backes and KrisAnn Carlsen were named 2009 Women of Excellence.

The 14th annual Women of Excellence Awards banquet will be held Tuesday, June 16 at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria at 5 p.m.

The public is welcome to attend. Attendees are encouraged to bring their daughter, granddaughter, niece or other young lady who is important in their life.

The awards, given in four categories, publicly recognize women who have excelled in their chosen commitments and through their efforts have been contemporary role models to Girl Scouts in West Central Minnesota.

This year's honoree's are:

Kristal Odden

Women Promoting


In recognition of our global society and the need to prepare young people to live together in harmony, this category recognizes a woman who has made significant community contributions to inclusiveness, awareness and understanding; strengthening human relations; promoting gender equity and inclusion of the physically challenged.

Odden is an active volunteer in her faith community and also a three-year Girl Scout leader.

She believes young women can accomplish anything they want through planning, hard work and team building.

Laura Backes

Women Preparing Young Women Today

This category honors a woman who has made a significant contribution to girls' and young women's preparations for the future.

This may be through her work in gender equity, the development of girls, or her work as a role model or mentor.

Backes is an active community member, serving on many committees. She has served as a chamber board member and Girl Scout co-leader. She would most like to instill that young girls "stay true to themselves and stick to what they believe in."

Ruth Plaster

Women Strengthening Our Communities for Tomorrow

This category honors a woman who has made a significant impact on the quality of life in our communities. This may include individuals who have worked to alleviate community problems, supported quality of life projects or have contributed to the economic growth and stability of communities.

From establishing a system for welcoming new community members to developing activities for youth in the community, Plaster exhibits creativity in leadership. She has been involved in many community events and on several committees including the Early Childhood Coalition in Brandon.

KrisAnn Carlsen

Women Dedicated to the Girl Scout Way

This category honors a woman who is significantly involved in Girl Scouting. This may include individuals who are current Girl Scouts, troop or service unit volunteers, or others who make a significant investment in Girl Scouting.

Carlsen encourages teamwork and good sportsmanship, making sure everything is organized and that girls are the focus of their activities.

Her organization ensures that she can balance a busy family schedule without sacrificing quality time and relationships.

Ticket information

Tickets for the Women of Excellence banquet are $15 for adults and $10 for youth. They can be purchased at the Girl Scout office or Bremer Bank.

For information, contact Linda Bear at (320) 759-1196 or e-mail

About the Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines serves 11,000 members in the northern half of Minnesota and northwest corner of Wisconsin. For more information, visit the website

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership experience for girls and is the leading authority on girls' healthy development.

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character.