Monday, June 25, 2012

Girl Scout family dedicates more than 150 years to service and leadership

From left: GSUSA National Volunteer Linda Foreman,
Patti Stefek, Myra Stefek, Bonnie Ryan and GSSJC's former
President of the Council and Chair of the Board Ellen DeSanctis at
the Adult Recognition event held April 21 at Camp Agnes Arnold.
One hundred and sixty years. It’s a long time to be a part of any organization. Between Myra Stefek and her two daughters, Patti Stefek and Bonnie Ryan, that’s how long the three women have been a part of the Girl Scout Movement.

All three were recently recognized at Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council’s Adult Recognition event for their long-time service to the Council. Patti received her 50-year Membership Numeral and Bonnie and Myra each received their 55-year Membership Numerals. The award, given in five-year increments, recognizes adults who are registered members of Girl Scouts.

The Stefek family began their journey in Girl Scouting one fateful day when 8-year-old Bonnie came home and told her mother Myra, “Mom, you have to go to this meeting because I want to be a Brownie!” Myra went, Bonnie joined and after seeing how much fun her big sister was having, Patti couldn’t wait to join too. Their Girl Scout journey began.

As a girl member, Bonnie went on to earn the Curved Bar, the highest award in Girl Scouting from 1940-1963. Patti enjoyed spending time in the outdoors and working as a counselor.

Both girls went on to become troop leaders. As a passionate photographer, Bonnie shared her skills and photographed the cover of the Council calendar for several years. She also served as photographer for Wider Ops and the Recognition Luncheon.

Patti’s passion put her focus on the outdoors, leading her to train adults to take their troops camping. She is also a recipient of the prestigious Thanks Badge, an award given to an adult whose outstanding service has benefitted the Council or the entire Girl Scout Movement. Both women have served the Council in several volunteer capacities through their tenure.

As for Myra, after her daughters became adult members she served as a Council facilitator, adult development specialist and was even elected to the Board of Directors as first vice president. In fact, she spent so much time as a busy volunteer with GSSJC – 45 years, to be exact – that she became a Council staff member 10 years ago. In 1999, Myra received GSSJC’s highest adult award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, for her many years of dedicated service to the Council.

It is women like Myra, Patti and Bonnie who have kept the Girl Scout Movement going forward for the past 100 years. As Girl Scouting enters the next century, one can only hope families like the Stefek’s continue to pass on the tradition of service and leadership.