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