Why We Love Our Volunteers

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liz_brent.jpgThe following, which was sent to a staff member last week, reminds us why we LOVE our volunteers.  I listen to lots of volunteers who talk about how their jobs are sometimes frustrating due to things like chasing parents, dealing with transportation issues or waiting for a girl to be picked up.  But I think Marcy Perdue articulates beautifully why each and every one of you is an important, wonderful human being.

 

A few days ago I was asked why I continued to be a Girl Scout leader. Yes, it is quite a task to undertake, I thought. Yes, sometimes the paperwork and the daunting task of keeping track of cookie money (and all the other money) is enough to make me want to run for the hills. Organization is not my strongest suit. Nor is checkbook balancing, because it involves math. I work full time at a job I love, so, at times, there are not enough hours in my day to do what needs to be done at work and at home, much less planning for a meeting or arranging a trip. Some months, it seems like every weekend the troop has something to do! It might be easier to step back. To say I have had enough. To go Juliette and take my daughter with me.

I thought to myself -- I stay because I want my daughter to get all that she wants out of Girl Scouting. I see myself being a leader until she no longer wants to participate, which, I hope, is never. You see, I was a Girl Scout, too. And my mother was my leader most of the time. And, at the end, it was me and her. My troop of one. But what I did and where I went! I participated in service projects at the nursing home. I made wreaths for the ceremony at the Confederate Memorial. I made commercials for Girl Scout cookies. I gave speeches. I learned about public relations and the media as a Spotlight Girl. I flew across the country to attend a Wider Opportunity at National Center West in Wyoming. I earned the Gold Award. Perhaps that is why I do it. Because I had an excellent example in my mother, and I want to be the same supportive mother and leader for my own daughter.

But a little later that same day, I passed one of my Girl Scouts in the Middle School hallway. She expressed regret that we were about to have our last "official" meeting of the Girl Scout year. Not that I don't make sure we meet a couple of times for fun in the summer, mind you, but there it was. The answer I hear in my head every single time I think of stepping down to simplify my life: being a Girl Scout leader matters. It matters to me. It matters to the parents, most of whom help me in all sorts of ways. And, most importantly, it matters to the members of my troop, who come back for the enriching experiences Girl Scouting offers every year.

Is it a challenge? Absolutely. As they grow into young women, I am certain that keeping them engaged will be harder and harder. But I hope that it becomes more and more of a partnership, as it should -- a partnership in which I serve as a mentor and guide, to help them accomplish what it is they want from Girl Scouting. I want for them whatever it is they want. Do they want to focus more on trips? Would they like to earn a Silver or Gold Award?

I watch and wait for the leadership skills I see just bubbling under the surface. I know that for these girls, the experiences that they have over the next few years are going to be what shapes them into who they become, what they do, and where they go. I do not see my role as one exerting power over them; I see it as facilitating their learning that they have the power to make the choices that will impact them now and forever. The choices that matter.

Which is why I will remain a Girl Scout leader: to do something that matters.

 

 

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