'Tis the Season...

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I drove out of my own neighborhood last night long after dark. Clearly I don't do that much, since I was stunned and amazed at the holiday displays throughout the neighborhood where I live.   Clearly, most went to great effort to celebrate the holiday season.

As the year starts to wind to a close, it is good to take stock of what has transpired in the months before.   I'm always struck with the generosity of Girl Scouts, their troop leaders and families.

The spirit of giving was illustrated for me earlier this week when Leslie Lerner, one of our tremendous volunteers, was in asking for some public relations for an event being held at St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile.   The Daisy troop there, whose leader is Michelle Autio, hosted a party for the girls from the Augusta Evans School troop.   The girls at Augusta Evans are developmentally challenged, and the Daisies were paired with the older Augusta Evans girls to make a couple of holiday ornaments and decorate a holiday bag for their belongings.

This Daisy troop girls even went to Build-a-Bear Workshop and made a bear for the girl with whom they were paired.   They gave them the bear that they made at the end of the party.   What a wonderful gesture of generosity.

I heard about another troop that spent last Saturday morning at a home for the elderly in Montgomery.   The Brownie troop caroled for them, and then joined the residents to make ornaments for them to hang in their rooms. At the end of that event, one of the girls told her mother, "We had so much fun making crafts with our new friends! This was the best Girl Scout day ever!" It's wonderful to hear of girls learning to enjoy that special feeling of giving back to their communities.

Last week, I also was privileged to honor Mrs. Grace Leonard of Montgomery as one of "Juliette's Pearls."   Mrs. Leonard is a wonderful woman, who rose to the occasion to serve girls repeatedly, because if she had not, the troop would have disbanded.   Her entire family was there and what a wonderful tribute to hear those who had been in her troop talk about her gifts to them.

In this season of giving, it is good to be reminded that you are giving of yourself to others.  Sometimes we don't recognize or understand the significance of how a seemingly small thing can create a lasting impact on a girl.   Hopefully, during the chaos and excitement of the season, you have time to reflect on the gifts you have given to the girls you work with and the ones they give to you in return.   Thank you.

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