By Caraline Malloy, Girl Scout Ambassador, former Girl Director, and Media Girl
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been really shy! Because I was home schooled, being a Girl Scout and spending time with my troop sisters were really the only times I socialized with others my age. Participating in troop activities and making new friends greatly helped me to come out of my shell. However, to this day, I am still a bit shy and reserved when I meet new people.
So far, my journey with tackling my shyness has been difficult and tedious, but I truly have made significant progress. After serving on the Girl Scouts— North Carolina Coastal Pines Board of Directors, I learned a great deal about myself; including why I have certain fears and how to overcome them.
Being a Girl Director has transformed me into a girl that isn’t afraid to let her voice be heard. Of course, talking to someone you don’t know or presenting in front of an audience can be nerve-racking! But, taking the initiative to experience new things can broaden your horizons and make your fears seem less daunting.
Taking the Initiative
It was around October of 2017 when I saw the application for Girl Members on the Girl Scouts Board of Directors. As a Girl Scout Senior, I had spent many years of my life trying new things and growing along the way. I had visited the White House, learned how to cook some fantastic dishes from a chef at a local bed and breakfast, and created my own service projects. However, the remnants of my shyness still lingered. So, being the go-getting perfectionist that I am, I brainstormed ideas of what I could do to become less shy. That’s when I had the awesome idea to apply to become a Girl Director! Yet, it took a lot of encouraging words from my family to actually follow through with my plan of applying.
Facing My Fears
I was very anxious the next couple of months after submitting my application. So, it was a very joyful moment when I found out I got the position! Shortly thereafter, I was asked to speak at Girl Scouts’ Annual Business Meeting that year in the beautiful city of Wilmington. I was immensely flattered to be considered to share my story with the audience, but I was also terrified! Standing on a stage and speaking in front of almost 300 people didn’t really sound appealing to me. However, I knew that was the perfect opportunity to face one of my biggest fears – speaking in front of an audience.
By the day the Annual Meeting arrived, I was still really nervous to speak. Looking at all the people in the audience made me even more nervous. However, I persevered through my fear and shared my story with the audience.
In retrospect, that was one of the most monumental moments of my life. Not only did I overcome a great fear of mine, but I also discovered a strength I was not aware I had; the strength to withstand the challenge presented in a frightening moment.
New Experiences, New Perspective
I was a lot more confident after speaking at the Annual Meeting! From that meeting onward things like speaking in front of an audience or meeting new people seemed a lot less intimidating. But, I was still really anxious about trying new things.
The next “new thing” on the horizon for me was camping. Believe it or not, in my almost-10 years as a Girl Scout, I had only being camping once. So, I don’t think it’s any surprise how nervous I was to be spending our overnight board retreat at Camp Mary Atkinson. I was excited to try camping again, but I was unsure of what to expect.
However, all those nerves and anxious feelings made the fun I had even better! Based off my first experience with camping around 7 years prior, I wasn’t sure how big of a fan I would be of trekking around in the heat; but, girl was I wrong! From the archery lessons, to the countless songs that always had a story to tell, I enjoyed every moment of my overnight camping trip.
The activities and the amazing new friendships that bloomed from that trip will never be forgotten. Yet, I feel the most amazing thing was all the lessons I learned. From my short trip to CMA, I discovered that camping is more than fireside stories and s’mores. Camping gives you the perfect opportunity to meet new friends and presents you with a chance to realize some new things about yourself.
Of course, with being a Girl Director comes the obligation to attend board meetings; that was one of my favorite parts about serving on the board! It was really interesting to see how the decisions behind property purchases and marketing efforts were made. But to be honest, attending my first meeting was a bit intimidating considering I was in a room of trailblazing lawyers, accountants, and other women from the business world with a slew of accomplishments.
However, I shortly learned there was nothing to worry about! Each and every person on the board was so encouraging and always made sure I had the opportunity to share my ideas and thoughts during the meetings. It was from those board meetings I gained the courage to share my opinions and ideas with anyone, not just my family and close friends.
A Whole New World
In retrospect, being a Girl Director wasn’t just a fun experience, it was also a unique time in my life where I learned so much about myself and the people around me — even the world around me.
Applying to become a Girl Director was purely off a spark of courage I had to try and better my public speaking skills. I never thought I would create long-lasting friendships with my fellow Girl Board Members or develop a new perspective towards social interactions and my capabilities.
Being a Girl Director showed me my prior fears could be conquered, and that has ultimately encouraged me challenge other fears I have — for I now know I am capable of defeating them.
It’s funny to think just a year ago I was so nervous to speak at the Annual Meeting, while this year I asked if I could speak at the meeting. My journey as a Girl Director gave me a whole new perspective, and I now see a whole new world.
Girl Scouts gives girls like Caraline the opportunity to take risks and step outside their comfort zone in a safe and supportive environment. Join today to discover your potential!