Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Guest post: Why I LOVE Girl Scouts

Once a month, we are inviting a girl, a volunteer or a staff member to share with you what makes Girl Scouting so important to him or her. This month Volunteer Jennifer Mahan shares her thoughts on what makes Girl Scouting important to her - and a few photos of her Girl Scout family!

By Jennifer Mahan
GSSJC Volunteer

Anyone who knows me, or has been to one of my trainings, knows I LOVE Girl Scouting and I LOVE to teach others about how great it is to be a leader or just to help in any capacity in which they are willing.
So why exactly do I love it so much? It goes back to how I actually became a leader. My family and I went to a “Daisy To Be” event when my oldest was in Pre-K. I really was not impressed and wanted NOTHING to do with it (partially because I had a boring year as a Girl Scout in first grade), but my daughter insisted, so my husband signed her up. Much to my surprise, he signed himself up to be her leader. When he asked me about helping, I said, “If I am going to do it, I am going to do it all in.”

Jennifer and her husband both enjoy volunteering
for Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council.
So, here I am – all in. I am in my fifth year as a volunteer. I am a Council Facilitator – facilitating at both Council and Community events; Community Mentor Lead; Troop Leader to Troop #13514 and helper for Troop #13002. I have served as a Service Unit Manager, Registrar and Placement Coordinator and organized and hosted my fair share of successful rallies and events.

Great, I am here, all in, now what? The reason I stay, and encourage everyone else I know to get involved and stay, is for the girls.

Yes, I know, everyone says, “I am here for the girls,” but I am.  I have been given an opportunity to impact 10 girls’ lives in ways they would very likely never get to experience, and I am never going to let this opportunity slip away. I challenge my girls to reach outside their comfort zone and they succeed, even when I had great doubts. They constantly surprise me with the goals they set for themselves and their abilities and willingness to help others in their troop, school and their community.

My girls are leaders, even as fourth graders. They earned their Bronze Award within six months of Flying Up to Juniors; six girls (between the two troops) are members of the 1000+ Club, and  they each choose a skill building badge that is their favorite to teach the other girls. They are working on adopting a troop to take camping and working to host a “Journey in a Day” event to earn their Junior Aide badge. All this is in addition to their yearly service – Wreaths Across America, Cookies2Soldiers and Memorial Day Flag Raising. Keep in mind – I did not force these girls to do these things; I merely showed them the opportunity (or they showed me) and they took it upon themselves to own it and develop it. I am here for the girls.

Girl Scouting truly does create girls of courage, confidence and character. It is not just a catch phrase – it is the truth.