Results tagged “Karlyn” from GSSA Leader Blog: The Virtual Volunteer

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Here's my true confession for the week. This Girl Scout is no camper, and after nearly 10 years working for Girl Scouts, I had never actually spent the night at one of our camp properties until just last week. Oh, I've spent many days at our camps working at events (I'm always up to lead a craft or a hike), checking on things at resident camp and having meetings. I'm even certified in small craft safety and troop camping. I love my creature comforts, though, and like to head home once the sun goes down.

I really thought I'd dodged a bullet on this one, and I did ... until I got the email from my own Daisy daughter's troop leader detailing plans for a troop camporee. As soon as she heard she'd be spending the night at Kamp Kiwanis, one of her very favorite places, my little one was ready to go. She started packing her bags a full week before our trip and talked of little else to her friends and even her first grade teacher. And, of course, this mom had no choice. I had to go.

Somewhat more reluctantly than my daughter, I packed my bags and headed to camp. The weather was beautiful, which was perfect because our busy girls had a day chockfull of great activities. They canoed, went swimming, made some seriously cute stick animals, hiked, earned a "bugs" badge, cooked their own lasagna in a Dutch oven over the fire and had an investiture/rededication ceremony, among other activities (are you tired yet?!). It was great fun to watch the girls trying new things, learning skills and discovering the joy you can only find in the outdoors.

By the time we took a final hike and packed up the next morning, the girls were looking a little tired, and the moms were feeling really tired, but I heard more than one child say that this was the best weekend ever and others ask why we had to leave so soon. The girls were hugging each other before they got into their cars and asking when they could pleeeese do this again soon. They had certainly learned a few lessons over the weekend, and interestingly, so did I.

Here are some things I took away from the experience:

* There is nothing to compare with the joyful sounds of 13 Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts when they are canoeing for the first time.

* Taking a night hike without checking the trail for spider webs first is probably not a good idea. Sorry about that, girls!

* The night noises at camp are beautiful, as is the sunrise over Lake Martin. You should definitely try it.

* Much to my surprise, you really can cook a tasty dinner in a Dutch oven. I won't doubt Cheryl Miller (our council's volunteer liaison and camper extraordinaire) on that topic again.

* Who needs crème brulee when you can have a dessert of campfire cones (see recipe below) while sitting around the fire? These babies are so tasty I'll definitely be making them by our fireside at home this winter.

* Spending the weekend in the woods reminds you of all the things you love about your child and helps you discover some new qualities to enjoy, as well.

The moral of this non-camper's story is this. You may not ever be a "real" camper, and it's ok if you don't love spending the night in the woods. It's a great experience, though, and definitely worth a try. You'll learn a lot about your daughter and maybe a little about yourself, too. Happy camping!

Campfire Cones

What you need: 1 waffle cone per girl and adult (younger girls might prefer a smaller sugar cone), chocolate chips, white chocolate morsels, toffee pieces, peanuts, mini marshmallows, peanut butter morsels, etc. (whatever might be good melted together), aluminum foil, and small bowls and spoons for add-ins

Girls choose their own flavor combinations to fill their cone. Cone is then wrapped in aluminum foil and allowed to warm by campfire. Unwrap and enjoy!

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September is always an exciting time here at the office.  It's fun to see girls and volunteers ready to start a new year of Girl Scouting.  We love catching up on what everyone has been doing over the summer and hearing about all the fun activities they have planned for the year.  It's also the time of year when we are busily recruiting new girls and volunteers.

Our membership staff spends these first few months of every school year visiting hundreds of schools across our 30-county jurisdiction to spread the word about the many benefits of the Girl Scout program. I've heard them say that recruiting the girls is one of the easiest parts of their job because once they hear about the many fun activities in which they can participate, the girls eagerly say "sign me up!"  However, convincing the right person to volunteer as leader to a new group of girls is one of the most challenging things we do. Because of this, we almost always have a list of girls on the waiting list to become a Girl Scout.  Some of these girls are lucky and find a troop within a few weeks, while other girls will remain on the waiting list for many months or may never find the right spot.

 As you know, being a Girl Scout volunteer is a special job.  It requires a lot of hard work and dedication (not to mention patience and organization), but the rewards are priceless.  There's nothing like having a little Daisy tell you that she just had the best day ever, or an Ambassador say that you have helped her become a strong, courageous young woman.  These are the things that keep you volunteering and really do make the world a better place for the girls you serve.

As you go about your travels this fall, please share the message of Girl Scouting with others.  Let them know that the experiences your girls have had and the lessons they have learned will serve them for a lifetime.  Spread the message that being a Girl Scout volunteer has changed your life, and encourage others to volunteer and do the same.

-- Karlyn Edmonds
   Chief Operating Officer

 

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