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.