I was driving between service centers last week, pondering the differences between a volunteer who was especially frustrating and another who isn't. Most of my musing was on the latter volunteer, whom I won't name because she would be embarrassed by the attention.
I don't always agree with this volunteer, but she is always working hard to communicate. She talks to everyone in the service center. About once a month, she calls one of the camp rangers, just to see how he is doing. If she has time on a Saturday and knows there are girls at camp, she will drive up to talk to the troop leaders and meet the girls. This individual's daughter aged out of Girl Scouts many years ago, yet she has remained involved and engaged.
Over time, this volunteer and I have talked about the realignment that occurred eight years ago, a discussion that was very hard on volunteers, benefactors and girls in the Movement. We have talked about staff members. She always reports those who are helpful vs. those who could use a reminder about customer service. I don't always agree with her, and she certainly doesn't always agree with me. We have different perspectives, and that's just fine. We view the organization from different perspectives, but I value what she has to say, even if I don't agree. I've been mad at her, she's been mad at me, but we have continued to talk to one another. We communicate through thick and thin, which I appreciate.
I have an abiding respect for this person. I appreciate the value she brings to me and my work, but my respect comes from the fact that she has done this hard work for years, and she continues to be focused on what is best for girls. She would say, in a self-effacing way, that her work is mostly with troop leaders. Really, though, her work is central to what all of you do for girls. It is through women like this one that the organization has changed the world through girls for many years. And we don't thank this individual as often as she deserves. As I said, she would find this embarrassing. She is one of many, but she is very special.
This is but one individual in this organization who changes the world everyday because of what she does for others. Each of you do this often and change the world this way. I am around girls who talk about their Girl Scout experience. They talk about the fun they have. They talk about the activities they participate in. This would not be possible without you. This organization would not continue to grow and thrive without you. As we take the time to examine what we are thankful for, it is for each of you. Thankful that you are kind and generous enough to use your time to invest in the girls you care about.