Submitted by Debbie Swanson
Laura Clark, a Girl Scout alum and current troop leader in the Pikes Peak Region, summited all of Colorado’s 58 peaks over 14,000 ft. solo. She completed them in under 14 months, finishing in September of 2018. Laura is a Lifetime Girl Scout and contributes much of her success to the experiences she had in the Girl Scout program. In Girl Scouts, Laura found a space where she could be herself, unlike at school where she felt pressured to fit in. Laura became a Girl Scout in 1986 and was a member of Girl Scout Troop 1494 and later Troop 1503 in Mission Viejo, CA. Her leadership journey began as troop treasurer, collecting 50-cent meeting dues. Her troop rotated through leadership positions, learning how to run effective meetings, set agendas, keep accurate records, and plan activities. Because of Girl Scouts, Laura was able to try new things. If she was interested in sewing or hiking or camping or cooking or first-aid, there was always a Girl Scout badge where she could learn more. She made lifelong friends in Girl Scouts, of whom with many she’s stayed in contact. Her favorite Girl Scout experience was camp. And, of course, singing Girl Scout songs!
“Girl Scout Camp is where I first learned how to shoot a bow and arrow, start a fire, cook outdoors, use a compass, hike at night, rock climb, swim and canoe in a pond, tack and ride and care for a horse (while backpacking in all types of weather) and successful problem solving and conflict resolution strategies. I was encouraged to lead where I could and to try new things.”
Summitting all 58 of Colorado’s peaks over 14,000 feet usually takes years, if not decades, to complete. Laura credits Girl Scouts for the physical and mental strength, endurance, careful planning, determination, adaptability, high-risk tolerance, willingness to ask questions and research, and love of the outdoors, animals, and all types of weather needed to complete the feat. Laura carefully chose her ‘finisher,’ the last peak a climber needs to summit, to say they have summited them all, and it is usually chosen for a special reason. 14er enthusiasts are known for choosing their finisher well in advance. Laura chose Mt. Sherman in honor of Camp Sherman, the Girl Scout Camp in California that started her on her path towards loving the outdoors, adventure, goal-setting, leadership, and girl power.
Laura currently leads Girl Scout Senior Troop 2393 and the troop’s Outdoor Survival Team and has assisted seven girls in earning the Girl Scout Gold Award (and has several more working towards this goal). Last year, she led the first-ever Girl Scout Rocket Troop 46319. Laura works in marketing and also writes for her blog where she reflects on hiking and Girl Scouts. Laura credits the interpersonal skills, business skills, goal- setting, and marketing she learned from the Girl Scout Cookie Program to helping her in her marketing career.
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