How do you support over 20,000 members in 41 counties with programs, service centers, events, patches, camps, trainings, and more every year? You do it with help from amazing friends.
Meet Linda Foreman, a lifelong Girl Scout and longtime Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines supporter. She is a current board member. An educator and advocate for girls and youth development, Linda believes deeply in the Girl Scout mission. She has served on numerous Girl Scout committees, task groups, and advisory boards locally, nationally, and internationally. Linda recently decided to create an endowment to fund enrichment training opportunities for our camp staff. Two of our Media Girlz, Suhani and Taniya, sat with her to learn more about Linda and her generous gift.
This interview has been edited lightly for length and clarity.
Media Girlz: What’s your favorite memory or activity of being a Girl Scout?
Linda: I joined many, many years ago as a Brownie (in those days, we didn’t have Daisies). It was really important because in my community, there wasn’t a lot for girls to do. I’ve been lucky to progress through Girl Scouting and, after the first ten years or so, have the rest of the time as an adult member.
I got to do a lot of things that I had never been exposed to. For me, a lot of those things were related to the out-of-doors. I went to camp. I got to go backpacking, learn all these outdoor skills. It’s the same kinds of things we hope that our girls have now—the opportunity to try a bunch of different things and how important the out-of-doors is.
Media Girlz: We heard about your recent donation to our Girl Scout council. Thank you so much! Why did you choose to donate to Girl Scouts?
Linda: To me, it’s such a no-brainer because Girl Scouting has had such an impact on me, an impact on my daughter, and now it’s having an impact on my granddaughter. And I believe that Girl Scouting is the best organization for girls.
Because of all the opportunities I’ve had to be involved, I know it takes resources. All the cookies you sell still aren’t enough to support the council and support all the services and opportunities we want to provide for girls and volunteers. I’ve known from the very beginning how important it is that everybody who says they believe in Girl Scouting also invests in Girl Scouting with their resources.
Media Girlz: What do you hope to do with the funds you donated? Do you have any goals for the council?
Linda: My goals are the goals of the mission—about courage, confidence, and character—and of the council around what we’re trying to do to make sure that any girl who wants it has this opportunity.
Media Girlz: Why was it important to you that the funds went to this initiative specifically?
Linda: The council was given a gift on my behalf. I started thinking, “How can I make sure that this continues? That it’s not just a one-year thing?” I started having the conversation with the great folks in our Fund Development department about the notion of an endowment.
I said before how much going to camp meant to me. I got to go to camp for several summers; I got to work at camp and found camp a very formative experience. Being a camp counselor is a fairly heavy-duty responsibility. For that week, you are taking care of a lot of other people’s children. So how can we make sure that camp staff are as well-prepared as possible to do that? This endowment is meant to generate funding for enrichment of camp staff.
Media Girlz: How do you hope the endowment will impact camp staff and the council as a whole?
Linda: I’m hoping that it adds a little extra to what we’re able to bring to camp staff in their training, particularly around issues that are so important to girls and families these days. Our camp staff comes from diverse backgrounds and diverse Girl Scout experience. How can we help them learn about what’s going on in families today? What’s going on in our gender spaces? What’s going on in terms of social issues that are important to girls and their families? Or, it may be specific skills like conflict resolution- how do we help people learn to get along better? Those kinds of things that I’m hoping can add just a little bit of enrichment for anyone who’s working on one of our camp staffs.
Media Girlz: Why do you think it’s important for girls to join Girl Scouts?
Linda: It’s important that girls have an opportunity to be together with other girls, to be in places where they feel safe, and they feel they can be who they are and learn about who they are. Girl Scouting is one of the best places for that. Part of it’s because you get to be with other girls who may be different from you. Part of it is the way our program is structured; you can get exposures to different things. Part of it is the fact that we’re part of a global organization, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, that gives all of us an opportunity to learn and explore that global lens. As an integral part of that are our tremendous volunteers and Girl Scout leaders that you can build strong, supportive relationships with. It’s the best place for girls to get a sense of belonging, self, and what they can become.
Media Girlz: If you could give one piece of advice to all Girl Scouts, what would it be?
Linda: Put the Girl Scout Promise and Law up in the bulletin board of your life. It’s about being your best self and bringing your best self to whatever you’re doing. If we can live by the Promise and Law, we have a better chance of being and becoming our best selves. That’s a constant growth process for me and, I imagine, most people.
Let me reverse the tables on you. What would you say is the best reason girls should join Girl Scouts?
Media Girlz: (Suhani) It’s really fun, and you get to spend time with other Girl Scout sisters doing things like camping, earning your badges, and going on really fun trips. Even selling Girl Scout cookies is also very fun. It’s also a really nice thing to do in life because, with all the volunteering you do and the life skills you learn, it can be really helpful and fun.
(Taniya) It helps you with confidence. I was a little shy in the beginning, but now I’ve brung out my confidence. It’s really fun. It would just make you feel better when you help people, sell Girl Scout cookies, do a lot for helping the community.
Linda: Those are much better answers than I gave. If you’d like to learn more about endowments and how they work at Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines, contact email@example.com for more information.