It was almost eight years ago that I first volunteered to be a Girl Scout Leader. I did it for selfish reasons at first--my oldest daughter Brittany wanted to be in Scouts. No one else had volunteered to be a Brownie Leader so, I did my motherly "duty" and stepped up. I could never have realized then, what a gift I had given myself.
My first event was our local parade. One mother (who would later become one of my Co-Leaders) came over to me at the start of the parade with her daughter Paige. I introduced myself and told her Mom that we would meet her at the end of the parade. Paige's Mom looked at me a bit uneasy, asked Paige if she thought she could walk that far and then reluctantly kissed her daughter on he forehead and agreed to meet me at the end of the parade route. During the parade Paige, Brittany and my other girls waved their hands, sang songs, and smiled all along the route. They had a blast. Paige captured my heart that day and, over the last eight years, she and over 50 other girls have continued to touch my heart over and over.
When my youngest daughter Lexi, started in Girl Scouts, I never expected to be her Leader. Lexi has always been outgoing, but I started realizing during her third year that she really wasn't getting as much out of Scouting as Brittany. I realized that I needed to step up and lead her troop as well so now, I am doubly blessed.
My girls are involved in everything! Drama, choir, band, dance, ASB, Student Council, and almost every sport you can think of. They are well-rounded young women and I couldn't be prouder. We have held sleepovers, campouts, various themed parties, retreats and cookie rallies. We have organized community clean-ups, coat drives, and school supply drives. We have traveled to San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco and South Dakota together and next summer, my older girls will embark on a trip to New York City.
We have shared our triumphs and our fears and have laughed all along the way. Every year is a new adventure and every year we get closer--so much so that we are really no longer troop members, we are really a family. The girls all know each others' strengths and weaknesses. Even if they don't hang out with each other at school, as soon as we get to our meetings or an event - they are as thick as thieves. They walk that fine line of being close-knit yet welcoming to new-comers. It is fantastic to watch them interact. Some have moved away but everyone stays in touch. We now have girls in Korea, Japan, Rhode Island, and North Carolina.
This weekend, I had the pleasure of going with Paige and Brittany to get their first Homecoming dresses. As they both took turns trying on dresses, it hit me. I only have four more years with these amazing girls and then they will be off to college or starting their adult lives. As they both picked out dresses, shoes, jewelry and purses, I teared up. In part the emotion was sadness. I was sad that they will be gone in four years but mostly, I was proud. Proud that in some way, I am a part of who they have become.
To the parents that will read this, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your daughter's life. For the girls that will read this, thank you so much for choosing me and blessing me by knowing you. And finally, for the people who will read this who have not yet decided to volunteer your time to enrich the life of a child - do it. It is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Troops 170 & 701
Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio builds girls of courage, character and confidence who help make the world a better place. To find out how you can get involved with Girl Scouts, call 1-800-400-GIRL (4475) or visit us online at http://gssgc.org.
Do you have a great Girl Scout story to share? Send it to us at https://girlscoutsgssgc.wufoo.com/forms/submit-your-stories-photos-to-gssgc/