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


           As I enter my 50th year as a registered Girl Scout, I can definitely say Girl Scouts has benefited not only me, but also my family.  My experiences as a girl member were minimal at best, but I did make some wonderful friends with whom I am still in contact.  It has been as an adult that I have benefited the most.

            My husband was a career Army officer and that meant we were constantly moving around the world.  In each new location for his entire Army career, I was involved with the local Girl Scout council, either as a leader, Service Unit Chairman, or trainer.  I would actually contact my husband's new post before we arrived to arrange to have a Girl Scout troop.  After ten years, we had a daughter who became a Daisy Girl Scout and continued all the way through Seniors, earning the Girl Scout Gold Award.  Her father was a registered Girl Scout and would accompany us on all of our camping trips and field trips, both in the United States and abroad.  Girl Scouts was a family affair for us.  We would even plan our vacations so that we could attend Scouting events or work on badges with our daughter.

            It was my training as an elementary school teacher which made it an easy transition into troop leadership.  I easily put as much time into our troop plans as I had done for my classroom lesson plans.  It became a creative outlet for me.  Even more important, working with Girl Scouts gave me an opportunity to make friends in our new living environment.   Since finding leaders is hard, a woman who volunteers to take a troop is welcomed into the group and I found many lasting friends from these ladies.

            I have been fortunate to attend trainings at Our Chalet, stay at Olave House, and attend an international event at Our Cabana.  My husband and daughter were also able to visit the world centers in London and Adelboden.  The three of us were at Olave Centre before it was officially open and had a chance to see what it was going to be upon completition.  I still correspond with some of the women I met in Adelboden.

            We lived in Belgium for six years and I enjoyed the opportunities open to Girl Scouts Overseas.  My Brownie Girl Scouts had many combined meetings with the British Brownies and Guides.  We learned about WAGGGS up close and personal.  It was, however, living in Morocco which was the most challenging.  I had girls from seven countries in my Brownie Girl Scout troop.  We used American materials, but having a flag ceremony required some adaptations to include flags for all of the girls represented.

            When we moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, I became involved in the Girl Scout Council of the Pacific, leading a Daisy and a Cadette Girl Scout troop, serving as Service Unit Chairman, and a council trainer.  It was here that I was awarded the Thanks Badge, and what an honor and surprise that was.

            As an adult volunteer I've marched in Veterans Day parades, attended theatrical productions, attended events at Macy, visited the Juliette Lowe House in Savannah, gone whitewater rafting and ice skating, had a living room filled with cookies from floor to ceiling, visited many unusual places, learned much Girl Scout history and many traditions, and participated in international events.  My daughter and I enjoyed sharing Girl Scouting together and having my husband along made it a wonderful family experience.  I definitely benefited from the Girl Scout organization on all levels and have received more from it than I could possibly ever give.  I'm definitely a better person because of my Girl Scout experiences and the love I have for the organization.

 -- Nancy Karrick

            I began my Girl Scouting Career in the year 1975 at the age of 5.  I entered as a Brownie Girl Scout and my mother was my troop leader.  Girl Scouts mean many things to me, but can be grouped into my three major rolls in Girl Scouts as a Girl Scout, a leader, and a Girl Scout camp counselor.  These three major stages of my Girl Scout career each hold special meanings in their own right.

            As a young child, I was not very athletic and could not join dancing.  I had many interest and Girl Scouts introduced a way for me to experience my many interest and belong somewhere among my peers.  I made some very special friends that first year in Brownies and between Lydia's mother, Sandy's mother, and my own mother, we always had a troop leader.  We stayed friends for years.  Sandy even stood in my wedding in 1996 some 21 years after our first Brownie meeting.  We learned about camping, cook outs, compass skills, hiking, canoeing, singing and friendship.  We even took part in our own cookie sales growing up, selling our share to help earn money for our troop and council.  Girl Scouts as a child made me a very strong, independent, girl.  The comments and teasing from other girls as I was growing up held no meaning as the family I had in my Girl Scout Troop was more important.  Holding a Girl Scout membership was important to who I was to become as an adult.  My best childhood memories all stem from Girl Scout activities.

            I think the saddest day would have been when I aged out of Girl Scouts.  I still wanted to participate as an adult, so I become the Girl Scout Unit Cookie director in 1988.  I will never forget the look on my father's face when the big truck backed up in the driveway and delivered 1000 cases of cookies.  My mother and I had decided he was on a need to know basis and he did not need to know about the delivery until it was already being delivered.  I will never forget the overwhelming peanut butter smell that enveloped the house for weeks.  I felt a great sense of accomplishment with that first cookie sale as an adult Girl Scout.  Exactly 22 years later, I began assisting my daughter with her first cookie sale and am amazed at the skills she has learned while selling cookies.  Each year that passes our troop sells a few more boxes and learns a little more about the business of cookies.  Again I find myself as the Unit Cookie Director and housing the cookie pantry at my house.  The smell of peanut butter when the pantry is fully stocked for the first weekend of cookie sales brings back the feelings from my very first cookie sale as an adult Girl Scout.  I think watching my Brownies and Juniors this year develop some business sales techniques and sell their cookies instilled a sense of pride in the life lessons I am able to guide these young girls through. Girl Scout Cookies and the sale of those cookies will always be an important part of what Girl Scouts means to me.

            I stayed active in Girl Scouts with my unit until I went away to college and this is when I switched to being a camp counselor at Camp Whispering Pines.  I was the Unit director for the farming sessions of camp.  I was not only in charge of 24 girls every week but also 7 cages of animals.  Those summers I learned how to care for not only the rabbits I was used to raising but also chicks, ducks, goats, pigs, and cows.  We took our ducks canoeing with us and walked our goat and cow on a leash around camp with us.  We began each camp session singing a rewritten version of the "Green Acres" theme song as "Pine Hollow" and showing off our animals.  I met so many wonderful young girls and had the opportunity to affect change in their life.  I worked with a diverse camp staff and took away many memories of some great summers.  Camp allowed me the opportunity to teach these young girls many of the Scouting skills I had learned as a Girl Scout.  We cooked out once each session, anything from a Hobo lunch to Solar Oven Lasagna, we cooked whole chickens over hot coals and we roasted s'mores. One very rainy s'mores night, we had a competition with another counselor to see who could light a fire even in the rain.  Needless to say my little farm girls had a fire floating on a garbage can lid with a tarp held over the top to keep the rain from putting out the fire.  We learned a lot about perseverance that night but we had our opening night campfire while no other unit was able to start their fire.  My girls were very proud of their unit that week.

            I began as a Girl Scout Leader the same time I became Cookie Unit Director.  I was one of the first Daisy Girl Scout leaders in 1998.  At the time Daisy Girls were not allowed to earn badges, they just completed a scrap book.  My girls marched in a Cub Scout parade to earn their first fun patch.  Daisy Girl Scouts was also only a one year program for Kindergarten girls before they entered Brownies in First Grade.  I stayed as a Daisy leader and would pass off my Daisies to another Brownie leader and then take more girls as Daisies the next year.  This only lasted two years until I went away to college, but I enjoyed both years and learned plenty from my Daisies.  In 2008, I started another Daisy troop with my oldest daughter and have been her and her sister's leader for the past 5 years.  Our troop has evolved over the years and is in for many changes as I release the girls to run their own meetings as they grow up and become leaders themselves.  I am proud to be a part of each of these girl's lives and hope I have made some impact on their life for the better.

            Girl Scouts is an organization that can help shape tomorrow one girl at a time.  I am a very proud Girl Scout both as a girl and an adult.  I am passing the love of Girl Scouting on to both my daughters and all of their friends.  Girl scouting to me shapes young girls to be successful in the future.  The experiences gained through the Girl Scouting program will help these young girls change the world.

-- Tammy "Panther" Ortego    
Girl Scout Troop 9195


As a teenager, one of my favorite memories of Girl Scouts is summer camp.  During a two week camp I did a ropes course, spelunking, canoeing with an overnight stay on the bank, and a backpacking hike with an overnight stay.  I had a great time making new friends.  Camp adventures were demanding, scary and at the same time- thrilling! The counselors urged me to engage in new experiences and encouraged me when I was unsure. For example, I found out that I like horses, but not horseback riding. Girl Scouts provided a way for me to expand my horizons in a safe environment. 


Now as a Girl Scout Leader, I try to give my girls the same opportunities and a variety of experiences.  I'm offering support during their first canoe ride, making camp dinner or just sleeping in the tent for the first time. When one of my girls was too afraid of the zip line, I set the example and went before her even though I was scared too.  Despite the fact that I hit the tree stump at the end of the line, I laughed and my girls laughed too.   I'm proud to say that she went down the zip line after me.   The shout, "I did it!" was music to my ears and helped soothe the big bruise forming on my behind! Watching sister Girl Scouts supporting each other and and having a great time are moments that I treasure. 


When I see the girls slowly break out of their shell by leading presentations on World Thinking Day and I watch the older girls in the troop help the youngsters finish their craft, my heart warms.  I know that they are learning to make their own decisions and will become great confident women of the future.

-- Kim Manley

When our oldest girl reached Girl Scout age, we searched for a troop. Finding none, I decided to be a leader myself and took the training and was approved.

Problem: what to do with our younger daughter during meetings. Deciding that rules are for when you run out of brains, I took her to meetings with me and she became a regular part of the troop.

The matter did not end there. Among my troop members were five other scouts with sisters both older and younger. They all became members of our troop! Soon we became known as the "Sisters Troop" and amazing things happened. Siblings who had not ever gotten along well at home became close and also related to the other "sisters". Parents reported that the good relationships carried home from troop meetings and everyone was happier.

The wide range of ages did not hinder our troop from being one of the closest and most achieving groups in the area. We are forever thankful that Girl Scouting brings out true sisterhood in every way and remember fondly the beginning of such companionship in our Girl Scout Troop.

-- Margaret B Ellis


I was a Girl Scout. For many years, my own mother was my leader. Naturally, that motivated my choice to be a leader for my own daughter. And many times I compare my leadership experience with hers. She took us to Kiwanis for Camporees. She even served as Service Unit manager a few years. We did service projects and fun things. I participated in the council's Spotlight Girl program, and I did radio spots to promote Girl Scout Cookies. When I was a Cadette, I got on a plane and flew to National Center West for a Wider Opportunity. I earned my Gold Award. When I graduated from high school and went on to college, those experiences went with me. I like to think that my Girl Scout experiences, along with others, helped me earn the scholarships that sent me to college.

Fast forward quite a few years, and I became a Girl Scout again. My own daughter wanted to be a Girl Scout, and we joined a troop here in our hometown. I assisted with the few Juniors in the troop, while the leaders focused on the Brownie activities. My daughter is now a Girl Scout Senior, and I have been involved in her troop from the beginning. I have served with my service unit as Secretary and even helped plan service unit events.

My troop loves to go to new places and experience new things. Badges are okay, but plan a trip and they are all in. At times I have struggled with whether my troop is being done "right." But it is girl-led -- we do what they want to do. We have spent the night at the Georgia Aquarium, at the McWane Center (three times!), in the Battleship, and at Fort Gaines. We have been on Mini-Destinations at Dauphin Island Sea Lab (twice!) and at Space Camp. They have learned how to make tasty goodies and decorate cakes, they have gone on hikes, and they swam with dolphins this summer. We collect food for our sponsoring church's Christmas boxes each November, we donate to the church clothes closet, and we participate in the church-sponsored Slapout Clean-Up each spring. We hope to learn about falconry next year, and we are signing up to participate in the council's Dozing with Dolphins event. If I can get them there and we can afford it, we go.

So, you may be asking, how has this journey benefitted my family or changed my life for the better? I can truly say that Girl Scouts has enriched my life. I have had opportunities that I would not otherwise have had. I have done things I probably never would have if I had not been a Girl Scout or a Girl Scout leader. And, now, as a leader, I am truly blessed to be able to share these opportunities and experiences with my own daughter and a few girls I have watched blossom into amazing young ladies over the years. I hope every day that my leading them enriches their lives. I want them to see amazing things, experience amazing things, and to do amazing things. Watching girls grow into young women of courage, confidence, and character is beyond enriching. Seeing it happen touches the soul. I cannot speak for other leaders, but I suspect that they feel similarly. That feeling is why we come back year after year. Because it truly matters.

     -- Marcy Perdue


As the council's COO, it's not my job to play favorites when it comes to troops. I have to admit, though, that there are several that are near and dear to my heart. My own daughter's troop is a source of great joy for her, and as such, it certainly makes me happy, too. I love watching this precious group of girls learn new things, develop skills and simply have fun.

There's another troop that never fails to make me smile, as well, and it involves a special group of girls in Ozark. For several years, we have had a troop at the Vivian B. Adams School, which provides educational opportunities for mentally and physically disabled individuals.

While nonetheless faithful in their love for Girl Scouts, the girls at Vivian B. Adams are a little different in some ways than the ones in my daughter's troop. For starters, they range in age from about eight years old to more than 50. They may walk a little slower and sometimes have difficulty communicating, but they smile just as brightly and sing just as sweetly as all the other Daisies and Brownies I know.

Over the years I've visited Troop 9230, I've watched them receive their Daisy petals, sing lots of songs and talk about what they love about Girl Scouting. Attending their celebrations and presenting them with their certificates is one of my favorite things to do each year. I love seeing the mothers of these girls cheer for them as they receive their patches, and watching the troop repeat the Girl Scout Promise always touches my heart.

Now Troop 9230 needs our help. Because this group is typically led by a volunteer and grant funding has diminished, we are in need of a new volunteer. These girls currently do not have a leader, and we fear they may no longer be able to be participate in Girl Scouting without the right person stepping up to help. If you or someone you know in the Ozark area might be interested in leading these girls or your troop might be willing to "adopt" them, please contact Cheryl Miller, our volunteer liaison.

The girls of Troop 9230 already make the world a better place, now they just need a special person to lead them. Is that special person you?

liz_brent.jpgI was out with some Daisy Girl Scouts last weekend who were selling cookies.   They were squealing with delight, surrounded by a group of people eager to purchase cookies, while I spent some time chatting with the leader, discussing where our cookie funds go.  


As a reminder, your Girl Scout registration of $12 each year goes directly to GSUSA to fund their operations.   That means that almost all of our council's funds are derived from the cookie program, which accounts for 75% of our council budget.   It covers camp properties, staff salaries, utility bills, insurance and other operational expenses.   Approximately 23% of the council budget is derived from United Way agencies within our council boundaries.  


A Girl Scouts of the USA All Abouts cookie wit...

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So, as you are standing outside the Wal-Mart, wondering where the money goes, know that the cookie program funds most of what we do.   And it is making a difference.  For example, as we looked at the data, so far this year, the program team has provided 55% more council-wide programs than last year.   Hopefully, it all feels worthwhile as you watch girls learn to be entrepreneurs, which is what I saw a group of Daisy Girl Scouts do.   Thank you for your hard work.
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Our staff has been out at council programs, service unit programs, camporees and girl events lately.   As we attend these events, we are always stunned and amazed at what our volunteers can do.    In more than one case, we saw the same volunteers with a different troop one weekend after the next.    They were sharing their insights, gifts and patience.

In a different situation, a staff member was working with a leader to plan a camporee for her service unit.   It is unbelievable the amount of time and work that goes into such an endeavor, but what fun the girls will have.   It was such a pleasure to hear the girls discussing what the events of the camporee will be and how to make it a special weekend for their friends.   Girls learning to share their gifts with other girls, as they are shaping the leaders to come, is truly a special thing.

As Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama looks toward the upcoming 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting, we ask that all Girl Scouts, past and present, join in the celebration. If you were once involved with Girl Scouts or would like to learn more about this extraordinary organization, now is a great time to reconnect!  Just send us a note at  

On this National Girl Scout Leader Day, and everyday, the staff would like to thank you for all you do to shape the future leaders you work with.   We appreciate all the frustration, heartache, effort, time and resources you give to make our world a better place. Our work would not be possible without you!



GSSA Staff

If any of your older girls are interested in getting their Silver or Gold award, then you need to attend the training for leaders and advisors. This is open to all leaders and advisors of Cadette, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. During the training you will receive a step-by-step explanation of the tools you need to assist your girls and ensure their success. This training will also provide useful tips and pointers.


This will be the last training session on the 2006 Studio 2B standings; training for awards using the Journeys will begin this summer. There will be two simultaneous trainings on Tuesday, Feb. 23. One training will be at the Montgomery Service Center at 6 p.m. and the other at the Auburn Scout Hut at 6:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending please contact Mary Anne Brutkiewicz by email or by phone at ext. 1202.

Girl Scouting is now officially recognizing two special weeks in the calendar year to commemorate volunteer service--"Make a Difference Week" and "Volunteer Appreciation Week."


Many people around the nation celebrate Make a Difference Day--"America's largest day of doing good." Held on the fourth Saturday in October, the day highlights how people engaged in public service have the power to transform their communities and our world. Girl Scouting is now instituting it as a week-long event.


In addition, several countries around the world participate in National Volunteer Week celebrations--and Girl Scouting will continue to join in on the fun.  During National Volunteer Week, which includes National Girl Scout Leaders Day (April 22), Girl Scouts of the USA pays tribute to innovative volunteers for making a difference. For 2010, National Volunteer Week will be celebrated Sunday, April 20 through Friday, April 25.


For more information on special dates in Girl Scouting, visit: And, to learn about products you can purchase in support of Girl Scouting, check out your local Girl Scout council store or visit the GSSA Shop on-line:

Join other older girl leaders during Purple Pearls Sunday, October 11 from 2 - 5 p.m. at the University of South Alabama. While the girls enjoy the activities, we will discuss all of the programs and opportunities available to older girls and brainstorm some new ideas!  RSVP if you would like to do an Older Girl Award training by October 8, or if you would like to just brainstorm, we'll see you there!

For more information, contact Mary Anne Brutkiewicz at extension 1202.

Girl Scouts honor their leaders on Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day, April 22 (during National Volunteer Week). These devoted leaders unselfishly

donate their time and energy to plan and lead fun and educational troop meetings and outings for the members of their troops. Girl Scout leaders

possess caring hearts and creative minds, doing everything within their power to help expand the girls' horizons, giving them countless

opportunities they normally would not come across. These experiences can range anywhere from organizing programs for special needs

individuals to community services to learning about various cultures of the world at an international fair to grooming horses on a farm. These

seemingly tireless leaders dedicate themselves year round to helping girls develop into self-assured, resourceful young women.


For those of you who have a daughter in Girl Scouting, please take a moment to think about their leader (or leaders). Think about how at each

troop meeting the leader is prepared to have your daughter experience new challenges and gain positive skills for the future. Think about the

amount of time the leader devotes to preparing for meetings and field trips while balancing her own family, career and other time constraints.

These women make such a difference in the lives of girls. They are essential to making Girl Scouting the outstanding and successful program

it is known to be. There can never be enough of these amazing women.


We invite you to comment below and recognize your Leader and Co-Leaders, and let them know how much you appreciate all that they do.

Q.  I am the Service Area Manager and I can't get any of the other leaders to help!


A.   To keep from burning out, a Service Area Manager needs to build a good Service Team.  Here are a few tips that come from some of our most successful Service Teams:


????         Be willing to delegate.  When someone offers to do a job, explain what you want them to do, give them a little guidance, and then step back and let that person do the job the way they want to do it. 


????         Don't ask for help, offer opportunities! Look beyond the Troop Leaders: talk to assistant leaders, parent volunteers, former troop leaders, new teachers, and people you meet other places every day (bank tellers, librarians, nurses, etc.)  Many people, who don't even have children, love the opportunity to get involved in small ways.


????         Be specific about what you want someone to do, and, if possible, indicate the time commitment.  Break big jobs into several smaller jobs.  We have five people who work together to handle the cookie sale.  One coordinates the team and handles paperwork that troops turn in, one does cookie training for the Troop Cookie Chairs, one schedules booth sales, one is in charge of the cookie drop, one handles all requests for additional cookies.  


????         Be willing to let certain things go undone if no one volunteers to do them.  A year without a fall camporee or a day camp will help people realize that without their involvement, things may not happen.


-- Cheryl Miller, Learning & Volunteer Services Manager 

While you're getting things together and getting organized for this new Girl Scout year, you will find all the forms you need, on the Council web site.

From the main page, if you click on Forms and Resources, you will find lots of forms and publications under a number of sub-headings.  Under "Programs & Events Forms", there are Single and Multi-event Permission forms, Girl and Adult Health History forms, Overnight Trip forms, etc.  Take a look at the Multi-event Permission form; that's  a very handy organizer that also serves as a record of events that each girl attends throughout the year.  If you already know that your girls will be participating in certain Council or local events like the Christmas Parade, Thinking Day, etc., you can go ahead and type the information onto that form, print a copy for each girl, and have that ready for the parents to sign at your troop parents' meeting this fall. 

Many troop leaders create a folder for each girl, where they place the information that the parents need to sign or pick-up when they arrive at the meeting with their daughters.  That's a great place to keep this form throughout the year.  

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