1. Can you tell us about your experience with Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ?
When I was a young girl, I always wanted to be a Girl Scout, but never had the opportunity. When my daughter was little, there was a Daisy troop at school and that’s when I was able to became involved with Girl Scouts. Seeing all the girls together was so exciting and tremendous to experience. I started off as a volunteer mom, a little uneasy about taking on something as big as the Leader position. That being said, I was a volunteer mom that went to everything, every meeting, cookie booth, and event. Despite moving to a different troop at a different school, our troop has stayed together from 1st – 7th grade, but we did hit a bit of a rocky patch. Everyone was losing steam to continue with Girl Scouts between school and other activities. That’s when I asked my daughter what she wanted to do and she suggested that I become a Leader for her troop. With that suggestion from my daughter and the encouragement from other Girl Scouts, I stepped into the Leader position and worked with my fantastic co-leader and the girls to keep them motivated and invested in Girl Scouts. By asking the girls what they wanted and staying flexible, we agreed to meet once a month and the troop’s Girl Scout spirit returned! The girls were able to see the value of Girl Scouts and were inspired to continue without being pressured to be involved, which just showed me you can always find a way to make it work!
One of the biggest supports I have, aside from my co-leader, is my Service Unit. Going to the Service Unit meetings is where I meet amazingly supportive and inspirational ladies. We share experiences and successes so that all of our girls have the potential to take part in amazing programs. Seeing women and girls championing each other is incredible. Motivating, celebrating, and acknowledging each other’s success is a tremendous experience that I am grateful to have!
2. Why do you choose to invest your time in Girl Scouts?
This shocks my troop, but when I was a kid, there were certain things that girls were not allowed to do. Only boys were allowed to play baseball or sing in the church choir, and I felt that it was very unfair. Girl Scouts empowers woman and girls, teaching them that they can do whatever boys can do… and maybe even better! I’m very passionate and supportive of the single-sex environment that Girl Scouts provides. Research shows that this environment is crucial for girls to help empower them as they grow. As a college professor, I see college age girls lacking the confidence to even raise their hands to answer questions in class, but I don’t see that lack of confidence in my Girl Scouts. They participate! This environment of no pressure and no needless competition provides girls with the courage to speak up and, even more importantly, provides the girls with the power to be who they are. As a young girl and as an adult today, Girl Scouts has inspired me and I’m proud to finally be a part of the Girl Scout Movement.
3. What impact does volunteering with Girl Scouts have on your life?
The relationship that I have with my daughter today has been deeply enhanced by our life with the Girl Scouts. You don’t have to be a leader to feel this connection to your daughter, as a volunteer mom I would come to the meetings and see a whole different level to my daughter that I didn’t get to see at home. Although I participated in almost everything that I could, becoming a leader was a form of empowerment that I only could have gotten from being a Girl Scout volunteer. I am now much more likely to say “Ok, yes!” to opportunities that are presented to me. Girl Scouts has enabled me to take the first step, even if I don’t know the whole path that I’ll be taking. Because of this attitude, I’ve achieved quite a bit of success, in my career and within the Girl Scout organization, where I can continue to promote this empowerment and take a stand for women and girls. Girl Scouts really takes over your entire spirit. It gets into your blood and becomes part of your DNA and that is amazing!
4. Can you share your most memorable Girl Scout story with us?
There are so many memories from Girl Scouts that have stayed with me, from planting a tree in our local community park to watching the girls be so inspired by their Bronze Award that they continued to donate to the animal shelter they worked with. One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had was when my troop saved their cookie money for several years and went to an all-Girl Scout weekend at Rocking Horse Ranch. There was something about being at a place with only girls and woman that shared your passion for Girl Scouts that was inspiring. I watched my troop bond together, creating a team that supported and encouraged one another. The girls were able to see how big Girl Scouts really is. That it’s more than just our one troop from New Jersey! We met people from multiple different states, playing games, sharing stories, and having fun all weekend long. I watched my Girl Scouts realize that we are all likeminded individuals, coming together to make the world a better place. I’m truly grateful and thrilled that I get to be a part of this Movement.