Some of my favorite childhood memories come from Girl Scouts.
I was in the program for a few years, through Brownies, I think, and my mom was one of our leaders. We’d meet right after school in the cafeteria to play games, do crafts, sing songs – the usual scouting stuff. We also went camping, which was something totally new to me, and spent a weekend at an official Girl Scout camp.
It was pretty cool.
So when my daughters were old enough to enroll in the scouts, I remembered the times I had with my mom, and I knew it was my turn to become a leader, which I did for about a year and a half.
It was challenging and fun, and something I hope my girls remember – and maybe even a tradition they carry on when they’re adults.
Now, it could be your turn: The local Girl Scout chapter is looking for a few good volunteers.
History lessonThe Girl Scout organization was founded in 1912 – before women in the U.S. could even vote – by Juliette Gordon Low, a woman who, according to GirlScouts.org, gathered 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia, to share what she had learned abroad about a new outdoor and educational program for young people. A movement was born.
Today, the program boasts nearly 3 million members across the globe in 92 countries. And Colorado scouts are celebrating their centennial anniversary this year.
Why volunteer?In the Durango area, more volunteers means more troop opportunities for girls, said Jen Raymond, volunteer support and recruitment specialist with the Girl Scouts.
Troop leaders have the freedom to choose their meeting times and activities.
“You get to plan your own troop meeting days and times,” she said. “I think oftentimes people just kind of assume that they have to do it weekly. If they’re volunteering, and they’re willing to be the troop leader, then it’s definitely based on their availability.”
Raymond said that opportunities also exist for volunteers who may not want to run their own troop, but rather help those who do. All that is required for anyone willing is to submit to a background check.
“We look for volunteers with a bunch of different skill sets; we have more volunteering opportunities than just being a troop leader,” she said. “We need volunteers that can train other volunteers, and so they only work with adults. I think sometimes that kind of gets forgotten, that we do have other volunteer opportunities. We have other volunteer opportunities for people willing to help be at community events and spread the word about Girl Scouts.”
For those who do take on their own troop, Raymond said the benefits can be huge.
“I think a benefit to being a volunteer is making memories with your child, having the flexibility of being able to choose your meeting times and commitment level,” she said. “Besides that, I think a lot of our troop leaders gain – from not only participating with their daughters, but other people’s – really being a mentor. And it’s a different place to be, to find yourself in a grocery store and having little girls run up to you and telling their mom that you help them; it’s a really special opportunity.”
It’s also not too late for girls to join a troop, either.
“We’re definitely still looking for girls,” Raymond said. “We always advocate for more troop opportunities.”