By: Georgia Gilbert, East Syracuse/Minoa Area Service Unit Manager
As Girl Scout leaders we often go through those periods where we wonder if we are making a difference with our Girl Scout volunteering. It might come when the girls are particularly antsy and you can’t calm them down to focus on what they were working on. It might come when a project just seems to go nowhere or out and out fails. Or when the cookie season feels so overwhelming on top of everything else you are trying to accomplish that you wonder if it’s even worth it.
The accomplishments in Girl Scouts doesn’t always come from the Bronze, Silver or Gold awards. We are proud leaders when our girls achieve these highest awards for girls, no doubt. We feel pride and know we are doing something right when our girls are in the news for service they did in their community. But it is not always the big things. The pride can be just as big and meaningful to hear a girl who was in your troop say this simple phrase – “I learned it in Girl Scouts.”
Like the girl whose father was running a big event and was so strapped for help at the last minute that he asked his young daughter if she would collect the entry fee at the door. He watched her as she interacted with people, giving correct change without a hint of nerves. He asked her how she knew how to do that. She responded, “I learned it in Girl Scouts.” Those booth sales where she and her troop mates took money, made change and did it with a smile. It paid off.
Or the girl whose grandmother had a nasty fall and ended up in a cast. Her granddaughter helped her with her medication, dressing the wounds not in the cast, and was an extra hand for her incapacitated grandmother. Her own mother asked her how she knew to do the things she was doing. Her response, “I learned it in Girl Scouts.” Working on a first aid badge gave her the fundamental knowledge how to help a person in need. Today that girl is a nursing student.
Or flipping through a woman’s magazine and seeing that a byline on an article was one of your former Girl Scouts. The girl had gone on to college to be a photographer. She picked up the skill and love of the camera from working on a photography badge as a Brownie that her leader found from another council because it looked like fun and wasn’t offered in the regular badges. Yes, she learned it in Girl Scouts.
Nothing can touch your heart more when you get a text from a former Girl Scout saying, “Guess what??” You know you made a difference with that one girl when she is excited to tell you that she signed up for a sign language class in college and at the first class she was able to sign the alphabet and her name. Because she learned it in Girl Scouts.
Sometimes it is the little things.