Submitted by Patty Lowe
Does this sound familiar to you? You sign your daughter up for Daisies. The leaders are friends and have saved a space for your daughter. Then, a couple weeks before everything is supposed to start you get a call from another friend saying, “They’re not going to do it. If you’ll do it with me, I’ll do it.”
That was me 28 years ago. Even though I had been a Girl Scout into 7th grade and my mother was my Brownie leader, I never had any intentions of volunteering. I had enough on my plate. But, I couldn’t leave those little girls without a leader.
For someone who was never planning on getting back into Girl Scouts, my involvement has probably surprised me more than anyone. I realized immediately how much I didn’t know about scouting even after five years in Brownies and less than a year as a Girl Scout. My memory struggled as to what we did. I remember “Twist me and turn me and show me an elf” and having to do a “good turn” before I could turn my pin right-side up. I remember “flying up.” I remember resenting having to tie our yellow scarves with a square knot while the Boy Scouts used sliders on theirs. And, I remember badges for things like sewing and cooking, and areas I wasn’t interested in. Badges! Badges! Badges! I couldn’t understand why we had to do them accept that was what Girl Scouts did. No wonder I found other interests.
That first year as a leader not only taught me the basics of Girl Scouts, but it also made me realize how much freshman leaders don’t know. Because of that I volunteered to be the Daisy coordinator for the service unit the next year and started an orientation program for new Daisy leaders. I have got to admit it worked well. The leaders were more confident because they understood what Thinking Day was; the why and how a court of awards; and the importance of attending service unit meetings. To my pleasure the service unit decided that an orientation was needed at all levels. And, that is how I started training for Girl Scouts.
I do have to admit that the training program for Daisy leaders was not some type of inspiration or revelation. Truth is for a period of time in my previous life before children I was a corporate trainer. That orientation was more innate, but it allowed me to utilize skills I filed away. And, the response the leaders gave me a different kind of feeling of worth. To me, that made it a win-win situation.
I was surprised at the little fire that was burning in me. I liked training. I liked sharing what I knew and had learned with others. With our move here to Colorado, I became very involved with the Louisville service unit, attended trainings, and generally developed a lot of experience in Girl Scouts. Finally, I felt I had the time to volunteer as a trainer. Initially, I was turned away because Mile Hi Council at that time required their trainers to go where the need was. I couldn’t do that. I had two children and a husband that traveled quite a bit. That requirement eventually changed and I volunteered again.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is actually the beginning of the “Ann & Patty Show.” Ann Palius, my service unit leader, friend, and co-coordinator for service unit’s events and I decided to go to Train The Trainer together and, hopefully, team train together. We have a lot of fun training. Why? Because we enjoy meeting the leaders, learning about their Girl Scout experiences, and sharing the knowledge we have developed over the years. We’re called “The Ann & Patty Show” because we try to be entertaining. In many ways, we consider training performance art. We want the leaders to understand they are not alone, Girl Scouts has benefits way beyond the awards received, and that we are their latest resource. We hope for all the very serious conversations we have we also leave leaders with smiles on their faces and an excitement for Girl Scouts because we believe it is fun and exciting.
But, being a trainer isn’t only talking to a group. For both Ann and I it has been beyond that. We have been lucky enough to work with a great number of women in Colorado who have the same passion for sharing and education as we do. We had the opportunity to work through many of the training adjustments that came with the merging of the Colorado councils into Girl Scouts of Colorado, work as a team to develop level specific trainings, expand and enhance programs in place, brainstorm with trainers both statewide and regionally, and even develop programs for GSCO.
Had it not been for that one call, that one moment in time, that simple statement— “If you’ll do it with me, I’ll do it” —I never would have rekindled that fire in me. Training is so much fun. It is work, but it is satisfying. You can’t help but feeling good when you know people in your class have learned something. It is also fun when you talk with someone who has been in your class and used what you’ve taught them.
Curious? Is there a little fire burning in you? Got questions, but not sure where to get the answers? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll answer anything I can or find the person who can help you.
*** Girl Scouts of Colorado is currently seeking energetic volunteers to join the trainer ranks. Experience in education and/or adult learning is a plus but NOT required. The first step to becoming a trainer is to attend Train the Trainer. The next Train the Trainer class is:
August 8th: Arvada
Click here for details and to register