Are You "Just There" or Really Paying Attention?

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I frequently have volunteers say to me that it must be really fun working for Girl Scouts, and frankly, most of the time it is.   But there are pieces and parts of the job, like any work, that is difficult.   Sometimes that occurs on Monday morning after a weekend program, other Mondays our telephones are ringing with complaints from parents about other volunteers;this is no fun.  

The topic usually focuses on the volunteer taking responsibility for a child, then not paying attention, resulting in something happening that might not have, had the volunteer been paying attention.   I was recently at a large event where the leaders were talking to one another, while the girls were doing all sorts of things they should not have been on someone else's property.   We have had girls lost at events, in a group outing with insufficient numbers of adults with them, wandering away, or asking to participate in activities for an older age girl.  The majority of the guidelines for the Safety Activity Checkpoints are based on experience across Girl Scout councils across the U.S., meant to maintain the safety of all the girls involved.

After a Monday morning, with a few of these phone calls from irate parents, I always wonder, what is better  -- another volunteer stepping up keep girls safe, or these close calls and near misses where their troop leader isn't paying attention.   I want to applaud those of you, and there are many of you, who see what needs to be done and do it, whether it is your girls or someone else's.   Thanks for taking responsibility.  It happens frequently, often gently, and with the girls' best interest in mind.

Please don't misunderstand:  I certainly recognize you are working with girls and attending events on your time off. You need some down time, and you have taken on the responsibility of not only your own child, but also many others.   Some adult conversation during these two-day events is welcome, but I encourage you to pay attention. If your attention is drawn elsewhere, have a co-leader or parent monitor the girls while you are busy.

 Often Girl Scout activities are in locations where girls can be hurt, even if you are paying attention.   But if you aren't, the likelihood of something going wrong increases geometrically.  If you are at a large event and have parents attending, it might help to assign each parent a small group of girls to keep track of. Thanks for all you do to shape the lives of those you pay attention to and care for.

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