Monday, July 2, 2012

Me? A Girl Scout Leader? Now what?

I was not a Girl Scout as a child, in fact I shied away from joining a troop. I never dreamed in a million years I would be a Girl Scout Leader. The title never entered the picture of things I thought I would do. But then one fateful day that many of us have faced, presented itself to me. It was the day I heard my step daughter ask when her troop was going to meet for the first time of the school year. It was her first year of Brownies. She was in 2nd grade. She had joined a troop with some classmates in 1st grade. So, I contacted the leader and she told me she was trying to find someone to take the troop.  She wasn't able to continue and the lady that was going to take over the troop wasn't following through and to be honest, was no where to be found. So, after talking it over with all parties involved (which included my husband, his ex-wife, my mother-in-law, and of course my step-daughter) and after the former leader suggested I would be great at it (something we have all heard, whether it is true or not! Ha!)... I gave it more thought. I talked to my step daughter to see how she would feel about it. If she felt it was a good decision. She squealed with delight and said "Yes, yes! PLEASE!" My fate was sealed with that conversation. How could I not step up to the challenge for the most precious person I have ever met in my life? Thus began the journey to be a Girl Scout Leader. I had no idea I would be entering a world where camping was exciting and teaching leadership was a key responsibility. I'm not a big outdoors person and I had never been tent camping overnight in my life. Wasn't Girl Scouts all about selling cookies and crafts?

Making the decision was the easy part. Then came the hard part... what do I do with the girls? What am I supposed to do at meetings? What are all these terms I hear and have never heard before... flag ceremony? friendship circles? bridging? badges? fun patches? journey books? kapers? council? service unit? service team? I was quickly overwhelmed. I didn't know any other leaders. I had never been to a Girl Scout troop meeting. I was faced with seven little girls who were counting on me to know what I was supposed to be doing... and I did what any good leader would do... I bluffed my way through it and hoped for the best! Thankfully, Girl Scouts is "girl-led". I had a great resource right at my house... my step daughter. I would ask her about this and that and what she thought would be fun. I searched the internet and found plans for first year Brownies. I emailed my representative at Council until I'm sure she was sick of seeing my name. I hoped to find a location we could meet and I worked with my employer to flex my schedule to make that happen. It did all come together. In fact, looking back... it really did all fall in to place quite nicely. While we started late in the year that first year... our first meeting was in November!... it did all come together. The girls were excited and I had books and a plan.

If you can get past the initial fear of "WHAT did I get myself into?", it will truly develop into "WHY did I wait so long to volunteer?". You don't have to be a Mom or Step-mom or Grandma. You don't have to have kids. You have to have a willing heart and mind to step up and make a commitment to volunteer (patience is a nice asset to have, too). I won't lie to you... it IS a commitment. It IS a lot of work. But, the rewards outweigh all else. You WILL change the lives of the girls in your troop and you WILL change the world by your involvement.

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