Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guest post: The Promise Project - Why I'm committed to this project

Editor's note: To learn more about The Promise Project, click here for Elena's first guest post.

By Elena McCreery
Promise Project Steering Committee Chair
GSSJC Volunteer

Since I began my involvement with The Promise Project several months ago, I have had the opportunity to talk with a number of groups throughout our Council. These volunteers have listened to the direction of this work; some have embraced it wholeheartedly with enthusiasm and some with trepidation. But everyone has acknowledged that we need to do something—our current structure is working in very few areas of our council and certainly not thriving.

Why am I committed to this project? I believe in Girl Scouts—it changes lives. As an 18 year volunteer with GSSJC, I have worked with many girls in two troops; on Girl Planning Boards for numerous events, as an advisor for several Silver Awards, and more. This has provided me with a front row seat to the self-confidence and leadership skills our organization can give to our members. All of the girls from my troops are now in college or starting out as young professionals in new jobs. I have watched these girls grow into competent and self-assured young women, and I know their time in Girl Scouts has given them the life skills to be successful. 

I believe we must position our council to be able to offer this opportunity to every girl in our 26 counties so that they can have the courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place. I have also seen firsthand the changing lives of our volunteers over these 18 years. We have so many dedicated women and men who are leading and advising Girl Scout troops, interest groups and other programs, in addition to raising families, working full-time and handling all that life throws in their direction. I see and understand the need for more volunteers to share the burden of a structure that was designed for a very different time.

Life now moves at a very different pace, and it is time for us to be an organization that can fully support our volunteers who are overwhelmed by that “one more thing” we keep asking them to take on. As a movement we have experienced a lot of change in the past few years. I know change, and especially the unknown, can be scary and exciting at the same time.

When the girls in my troop were little, before we embarked on a field trip I would tell them to hold hands with their buddy and stay together so we could have a fun adventure. As the girls got older and were tackling things a bit more challenging, such as boarding a train that was already six hours late for our trip to New Orleans, or as they began a day of program they had planned for the women and children of a homeless shelter, I reminded them that we had prepared well, we were Girl Scouts, and together we could accomplish anything.

As we go through the next 18 months or so, I want you to remember that you can hold hands with a buddy if you need to, but we have prepared well, we are Girl Scouts, and together we can accomplish anything.

Elena McCreery is a member of The Promise Project Steering Committee and a long time volunteer with GSSJC. She believes in the Girl Scout mission and in the opportunity for all girls to have courage, confidence, and character so the world will be a better place.