As a child, and through my teenage years, we moved many times. My father’s job took us from Kansas to Massachusetts to NJ (several towns) and finally to Pennsylvania. As a child my family was always a constant. But every time I began an new school, I was on my own. The constant I discovered was Girl Scouts. My junior troop in Kansas was the same as my junior troop in Pennsylvania. My future friends were in these troops. We all knew the same songs, were earning the same badges, and did the same ceremonies. It was comfortable to be with these girls. So the first stop in every new location, was a call to the local council to find my new troop. From 6th grade through Senior year of high school, Girl Scouts was my lifeline. I earned badges, went camping, sang songs and finally was able to participate on a Wider Opportunity. This adventure led me to riding horses in Wyoming for two weeks. I met friends, I survived primitive camping in the wilderness of Wyoming and when I came home, the local paper interviewed me. My face, my story were in the local paper. I was a celebrity, at least in my own mind.
Fast forward to adulthood, and resulting motherhood. My second child was a girl. In my head I cheered thinking, “Now I can be a Girl Scout Leader!.” The experience of being a Leader gave me life-long friends to this day. Girl Scouts gave me self-improvement opportunities through council offerings, attending National Council meetings, but most importantly I was able to contribute to the growth of young women. My oldest daughter’s troop existed for 8 years. Then my youngest daughter’s troop began. This troop lasted from kindergarten through senior year in high school. These young women are functioning people in society. This troop produced a lawyer, a registered dietitian, a teacher, high fashion stylist, a social worker, a baker (with her own business) and a full time mother. Each young woman is an outstanding human being.
Fast forward to empty nest. I am now involved in my local council by participating on the Girl Awards Committee. I have the pleasure of interviewing young women who are presenting their Gold Award Proposal. After leaving these interviews I am overwhelmingly confident that the world will be a wonderful place with these young women as our future leaders.
So how has Girl Scouts impacted my life? Because of Girl Scouts, I am a confident public speaker, a professional woman who owns her own consulting firm, a lover of all things in nature, someone who breaks out in a Girl Scout song for absolutely no reason, I have life-long friends whom I would not have met otherwise, but most importantly I am comfortable with me.
My hopes for the future of Girl Scouts is that our community gets back to what made us what we are. Let’s meet each girl where they are and help them go forward on their own path. This path may not be a STEM career, or it may be. What Girl Scouts can do is to provide opportunities for each girl to discover themselves, and be comfortable and proud of that discovery!