By: Joy Chafin, Girl Scout Member
As we enter the holiday months and take time to reflect on what we’re thankful for, we’d like to share a special story from Girl Scout member Joy Chafin and how her experience with Girl Scouts made a huge positive impact on her life.
When I was six years old, I wanted to be a Girl Scout because I wanted to wear a Brownie uniform and sell cookies. Now, I am 41 years old and still a Girl Scout…but for many other reasons…reasons that make me so grateful for the impact of Girl Scouting in my life. At age six, I had no idea how beneficial my involvement would be – to my community and to me. As I have gotten older, I have understood more and appreciated more, the lessons I have learned throughout my membership.
I have served in leadership capacities at the troop, council, national, and international levels. I have served three terms on the former Pines of Carolina Girl Scout Council Board of Directors. I have attended a national meeting as a delegate, helped rebuild a school in rural Mexico, and I have visited Girl Scout Centers in Switzerland and England. I received my Gold Award, the highest award a girl can receive, after three years of volunteering and intensive work. Collectively, my Girl Scouting experiences taught me about dedication to a cause in which I believe. Goal setting, perseverance, and decision making, all taught in Girl Scouts, have served me well over the past 35 years, and for that I am thankful. In recognition of past community contributions and perceived future ones, I was presented the 1996 Women of Tomorrow Award.
The “tomorrow” of 1996 is here, and I am now leading my four daughters who are old enough to participate in Girl Scouting, in their respective scouting endeavors. I currently have a Daisy, Brownie, Junior, and Cadette. (My three year old likes to pretend that she is already a Girl Scout.) Isn’t that really the test of whether something we have participated in made a significant enough impact in our lives, that we want to volunteer our time and energy to make sure our children have that same experience? My two oldest daughters worked together to receive their Bronze Award last year, conducting a book drive for their newly formed school which resulted in the donation of over 500 books, plus additional resources needed by the school library.
Prior to having my own children and while a graduate student at East Carolina University, I was a troop leader focused on girls who might not be approached about Girl Scouts traditionally. We met at an outreach center of Greenville Housing Authority where most of the girls could not afford the then $7 annual dues. I am thankful for that experience and thankful that we continue to try and ensure that there are no barriers to girls who want to join Girl Scouts.
Girl Scouts is an asset to every community in North Carolina and the United States. It is the largest voluntary organization for girls in the world and offers much to young women. “I will do my best,” the first line of the Girl Scout Law, is an achievable goal for all girls. I have learned to do my best…and they will too.