How often have we been moved, given gifts, or good advice from a great teacher and not really thanked them? As we grow older and reflect on the gifts we have been given, we regret not thanking some of those individuals.
Volunteers are a wonderful! Our girls and staff have the privilege of working with a tremendous group of individuals on a daily basis. We have volunteers who have worked with girls for more than 30 years and others who are just getting started. We have individuals who teach girls about horses, how to swim, how not to be afraid of bugs and spiders, and how to become a women of courage, confidence, and character. It is a gift.
I always stand in wonder as I watch what some girls can do with the encouragement and support of those adults around them who care. These girls try things they would never want to try. They learn they can do anything they set their mind to. But this is because one of you has given them that slight nudge, or word of support that empowers them to try something new. I have seen girls put their face in the murky lake, ride a zip line, look at a snake and a variety of things because a busy adult gave back to a girl.
As life is increasingly busy and people are reluctant to volunteer, they want the quick easy tasks, not the ones that require some training, negotiation, planning, and lots of patience. But at the other end, being a Girl Scout volunteer is the gift that doesn't go away. We have troops in this council that met as girls and continue to meet today, more than 40 years later. Last summer I attended the funeral of a Girl Scout leader whose entire troop attended, and those women were in their late 50s. They met every year for a reunion. When this troop leader's daughter passed away, they moved in to fill the void. They visited with her, called her, took her places, and made sure she was taken care of. It was a testament to what a caring group this leader shaped by the actions of these women, years later. And when they visited her, they laughed like they were young again, telling stories of when they were in Girl Scouts together, stories of how their lives had changed.
Know that every day you are giving back and investing in the future by your actions as a Girl Scout volunteer. The thanks might be brief or not well formed. But we are all guilty of not thanking those who give to us the way we should. And years later, when you think the girls are long gone, know that they will be using the skills you taught them, summoning the courage you showed them they had, and have become the confident women you meant for them to be.