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My Return on Investment When It Comes to Girl Scouts

June 29, 2015

Girl Scout Troop

By Kenna C., Girl Scout Volunteer Troop Leader

When my friend, Rachel, wanted to start her own troop she asked me if I would be her co-leader. My split decision answer was, “Heck no!” I remembered when my mom lead our troop, how busy she was, how she always thought about the troop. I didn’t have time for that!

Then I thought about it, researched it, meditated on it, and said YES. I am a feminist, a mother of one son, a bringer of joy, and a human looking for a way to make a difference in the world. I was actually looking for volunteer opportunities at the time and Girl Scouts seemed like a great place to pour my energy. Rachel and I went through the calls, emails, and planning to get to that first parent meeting. We started our first meeting with seven girls and sat in a circle with our palms down. I introduced the game: say your name and age and turn one palm over, and then tell us something special about you and turn the other palm over. My name is Kenna and I’m 38 and I like to take care of my chickens. The first girl to my right said in the sweetest voice: My name is Juliana and I’m five-years-old and there isn’t anything special about me.

Be still, my little heart.

We found out that Juliana really enjoys sports. Around the table we went and met everyone and learned about them. Fast forward a few months and when we play this game, everyone knows that there is something special about them. Perhaps it’s that they are simply growing, developing, and becoming more aware of themselves as people, or that they feel safe and surrounded by their Girl Scout sisters and can share what is in them. Whatever the reason, I am a part of that growth and drink in every moment I have with them. The love I feel when parents tell me that their daughter had a choice between the first night of swim club and their Girl Scout meeting and they picked our meeting overwhelms me. It makes me feel like I am bringing joy to their lives, which is one of the most important and rewarding things any of us can ever do.

This year my Girl Scouts braved the rain to participate in part of the NC Science festival at Blue Jay Point Park on a bird hike and were able to see baby bluebirds in a nest. They bundled against the cold wind in front of Sam’s Club and sold cookies to people on Superbowl weekend. They won the council sponsored scavenger hunt at the Museum of Natural Science. They got to name a puppy at the SPCA and called her Scout; her forever family named her Daisy. I am so proud of these ladies. They bring me joy and make me want to be a better leader for them. They are sponges for learning and are just starting to tap into what makes them amazing. Their parents trust my co-leader and I to be part of that; to be an outside adult they trust to help their daughters find their place in the world is a great honor.

Volunteering as a Girl Scout leader has given me one of the largest Return On Investments of my life. There is no metric for the love I share with these girls – and it’s all because I get to listen to them, think with them, and cheer them on. My Girl Scout troop cheers me on too.  This year I raised funds for St. Baldricks, a group that raises money for childhood cancer research.  My troop families donated, my co-leader and her daughter, Olivia, who is in our troop, came out and cheered me on. My bald head was a great opener for a lot of their questions at the next meeting. We talked about cancer, how researchers and scientists help doctors and nurses help people, and ways we can help others.  I am always floored by their questions and responses and how they can share their own stories with ease. They love me completely and I am ready to keep that circle of friendship going as long as we all walk the planet.

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Meet the Rangers: Don Perry, Camp Mary Atkinson

June 22, 2015
Camp Ranger Don

Camp Ranger Don

By Meridith Orr, Program Executive

Your camp experience is made up of so many different things. Maybe you hiked the trails, made s’mores over a campfire or enjoyed a meal or activity in the dining hall. In all those experiences, there is someone behind the scenes who makes adventures possible for Girl Scouts by ensuring campers have everything they need.

At Camp Mary Atkinson, Don Perry not only maintains the property, he is known as a historian of the community surrounding this beautiful camp. One conversation with Don can reveal all sorts of fun and little-known facts, which makes him a fantastic resource for visiting troops! Recently, Don took a short break from his winter duties to visit with us about his job.

Q: How did you get started being a camp ranger?

A:   By working part time at Camp Graham in 1999. I was there for five years and Camp Mary Atkinson needed a ranger. I thought I’d like to try it, so I did, and got the job. I used to work full-time as a materials manager for a plastics company in Granville County.

Q: How long have you worked with Girl Scouts/and our council?

A: Five years part-time before being full-time ranger at CMA in 20015.

 

 

Q: What’s a fun fact about the camp you manage?

A: The history of the families who lived here: the Richardsons and the Atkinsons.  It surprises everyone that this was the birthplace of the creator of Vicks VapoRub, and that he was living around here when he did that – he had a drugstore in downtown Selma. His name was Lunsford Richardson II.

 

Another fun fact about the camp; it’s like Noah’s ark. I’ve seen at least two of everything out here. There’s a lot turkeys out here, even if you’ve never seen them.

 

 

Q: What do you love best about being a camp ranger?

A: I like so much it’s hard to say! I get a chance to be outside and experience so many different things. My job is so varied.

 

 

Q: What’s the ONE thing you do around camp that no one would expect that you do?

A: They probably don’t know I spend a long time walking the property, especially in the woods, to ensure everything looks how it should.

 

 

Q: If you could teach someone something about your job, what would it be?

A: I’d teach them how rewarding it is to see the kids enjoy learning and having fun from the land. I’ve been around long enough that there are former Girl Scouts who are now mothers bringing their kids here and that’s something to see!

 

 

Q: What do you do in the winter?

A: Forestry work. Landscaping, making improvements or changes for the upcoming year that needs to be done.

 

 

Q: What do you like best about Girl Scouts?

A: I like the opportunity it allows the girls. It’s a great organization because there’s so much there for them to take advantage of.

 

 

Q: Do you have a favorite camping tip/story for Girl Scouts reading this blog?

A: Remember you’re living in the woods and it’s a bit different than being at home. So, be prepared. I like the buddy system, and I think that’s the greatest invention in the world for Girl Scouting.

 

 

Q: What’s your earliest memory of camping as a kid?

A: I camped a whole lot with my family. I grew up camping on Kerr Lake. My fondest memory is the campfires. It seems to make it all special. I like to camp in the mountains when I go on vacation. I still love it. You’d think with a job like this, you’d get tired of it and want to go to a hotel, but I still love to be outside.

 

Girl Scouts visiting Camp Mary Atkinson have a great friend in Ranger Don. Next time you see him, please be sure to thank him for the fun stories, the safety of the property and the firewood! Do you have any questions for our rangers? Leave one in the comments!

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