Growing up I was a Girl Scout. I started as a Brownie in First grade and my mom was a volunteer leader. We didn’t have Daisies back then. By the time I was a Junior, my leader was a neighborhood mom living just down the street in our sub-division. Each Wednesday she would swing by and pick me up for the meeting to help out my mom who worked second shift. I was greatly inspired by my leader and her family life. She was a parent to not only a biological son, but also two adopted children, and extremely active in the community. Years later my leader even went on to be one of the heads of the school district to make sure the education in our community stayed top notch. I wanted to be like her when I grew up. I wanted to influence young women and support them to be all they wanted to be when they grew up. I wanted to be a Girl Scout leader too. I couldn’t wait to grow up to be a leader.
Guess what? Last year Baby wanted to join Girl Scouts, and guess who volunteered to be a leader? Yep. This mom! At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to fit it into my schedule, but I knew I needed to make it work. Girl Scouts were so important to me growing up, I wanted to make sure my daughter experienced the same. Girl Scout volunteers are critical in order to help foster a safe and supportive environment in which girls can be themselves, have fun and experience new things – especially during their elementary years of development. Volunteers are also needed to help counteract some of the personal and external societal barriers, which still exist for girls and young women pursuing their full potential.
I couldn’t wait to start sharing new adventures with my daughter and her newly formed troop. We went on our first overnight in August and it was all the fun that I thought it would be. My daughter loved sleeping in a top bunk bed and in the afternoon she tackled paddling a kijak and swimming in the lake without the least bit of hesitation. That weekend, Baby also learned a lesson I wasn’t expecting or prepared to face. Fear with touch of mob-like hysteria.
We were sitting in the lodge lobby after dinner in the mess hall killing some time before the start of a dance party. The girls chatted and shared their favorite SWAPs they just traded. Suddenly, a large group of screaming and crying girls came flooding into the main room. A Junior troop was playing down at one of the playgrounds and encountered a wasp nest. Some were stung once, and I heard shouting that one girl was stung multiple times. I quickly spotted the leader carrying the girl with multiple stings into a small back room.
I asked my co-leader to stay with our girls while I quickly grabbed the first aid kit in my backpack and headed to the back room. I offered my assistance for whatever the other leader needed. Luckily I am a little OCD and an over-preparer, if there is such a thing. I offered up my antibiotic cream with pain reliever, liquid children’s pain reliever, while I went back out to ask the camp volunteers for ice. As I was going back and forth between rooms, I could hear the hysteria escalating. Older girls were saying the girl in the back was stung so many times, and the number kept increasing. My Brownie troop sat their with wide eyes and I could see their little minds starting to turn. This had to stop now. Since I already been in the back, I knew the facts. I had to reign the older girls in before the craziness got out of control and all the younger troops were in tears.
I held up my hand and called for the attention of the room. I calmly explained that the Junior in the back was ok, and we were helping her feel better. She was not stung seven times, only four, and even though that’s pretty rough, she is being strong and handling it like a trooper. She would be fine. I made sure to make direct eye contact with my daughter, and many of the girls, to reassure them that everything was under control. I needed them to understand what they were doing was not helping their friend in the back room. The more I explained, the more the girls calmed down. After I was done speaking, and it was much quieter, my daughter raised her hand to asked for more detail on how we were helping the injured camper. I explained all that we were doing, and I could see the relief in her face. I was so proud of her for sharing her concern over the other camper. That is what Girl Scouts is all about to me. The confidence to know when to ask questions when you don’t understand something. Also knowing everyone is in the situation together. We are a troop and a family to be here for each other.
I was so proud of my daughter for openly expressing her empathy and concern for her fellow camper. At eight years old, I think she was a wonderful example to all the young girls in that room. Research proves that Girl Scouts works! In fact, in a 2012 study of more than 3,750 women by the Girl Scout Research Institute, titled Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Study, women who were Girl Scouts as girls display positive life outcomes, higher incomes and education levels, and make more money to a greater degree than women who were not Girl Scouts. All of this can relate back to simply building strong and confident young girls as they mature, and this is possible just by enrolling girls in Girl Scouts. You too can join in the fun with Girl Scouts. If you’re not already a volunteer, I encourage you to sign up and be a volunteer! If you are concerned you don’t have enough time to be a leader, that’s ok too. There are plenty of other ways to volunteer and help another troop in your community. Don’t hesitate. Our girls need all the support they can get to face the every day obstacles that may hinder their full potential. Every girl deserves to be the best they can.
I can’t wait to see my daughter grow into the strong and beautiful young woman I know she is capable of becoming.
What is something that you Can’t Wait To?