What's in it for me?
Updated: Oct 15, 2022
My Girl Scout volunteer journey started nearly 12 years ago in a coffee shop, seated between two complete strangers in a community I'd moved into only a few short months before. One very active mom who happens to know everyone in this community and had an 'older' (third-grade) daughter in Girl Scouts was connecting me with another mom of a kindergartner, both of us new to the community and both with our first born girls in their early days of elementary school.
That can be an overwhelming time in life, watching your oldest child start their formal education, learning the ins and outs of the dropoff lanes and pick-up lines, navigating the endless requests for crosswalk volunteers, classroom parent, reading helpers, library volunteers. It's a lot. I still had three babies at home and a full-time job, would I really consider leading a troop of 20 Girl Scout Daisies as well?
What's in it for me? I didn't know the answer to that question that day, but I naively signed on because Adrienne said it wouldn't be that hard, she'd be our Troop Cookie Manager, and she'd done this all before - no worries. I agreed because I knew wanted to embrace whatever opportunities came along to help shape my kids' lives. I'm also not good at saying 'no' so I became a troop leader. I also volunteered at the school doing all the things -- while I enjoyed helping kids cross the streets safely, shelving books in the library, getting behind-the-scenes looks and getting to know teachers by being a reading helper or a field trip chaperone, those opportunities didn't come close to what I got from volunteering with Girl Scouts.
Flash forward: My co-leader and I are still at it as our high school seniors write their college essays and contemplate trying to accomplish Gold between their busy school, sports, and work schedules. It's a much smaller group than the 20-or-so we started out with but even those who have not continued on greet us with sweet smiles and warm embraces. We've had the privilege to witness so many things with these girls - first overnights, fear of heights conquered, friend drama, nervousness while speaking to adults to almost being adults, many trips planned and funded, a pandemic, middle school awkwardness giving way to high school confidence, speaking up for what they believe in, believing in things that matter, struggling with health issues and mental wellbeing but standing strong, earning Bronze and Silver and discovering they have the power to change the world.
But, what was in it for me? It's hard to quantify because it's so much. I got to learn and grow right along side them. I gained friends who I know I can count on for life. I had crazy fun experiences pushing myself out of my comfort zone just like the girls. And, so many funny stories and memories of time well-spent with my daughter that I will always treasure.
If you're a Daisy troop leader or contemplating being one (or even a Brownie, Junior or Cadette leader), you might think you're doing it for the girls, which is absolutely true, but you will grow too. Stick with it, I guarantee you won't regret it!