Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Guest Post: Why I love Girl Scouting

Alice and her troop ready to jet off to New York City for a troop trip.

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 Alice Bohlae shares her thoughts on what makes Girl Scouting important to her and multiple generations of her family.

By Alice Bohlae
GSSJC Volunteer

I was destined to be a Girl Scout and a Girl Scout Leader. In 1962, when I was 7 years old and in the second grade, as were the guidelines to become a Brownie in 1962, my mother and I attended a recruitment event. My mother warned me in advance that most likely there would be moms who were far more qualified than she was, so not to be disappointed if she did not get to me my Girl Scout leader…..HA! Soon she and ONE amazing co-leader had a troop of 40 Brownies! Despite its size, our troop rocked along for years.

We camped at Camp Agnes Arnold, Robinwood and, our favorite, Peach Creek Ranch, the home of the equestrian program at that time. The camp had an AMAZING bridge over Peach Creek, along whose sandy banks were held some mighty fine camp fires. Years later I would float wish boats down Peach Creek with one of my own daughters.

Our troop traveled to great destinations like Hemisfair in San Antonio and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, both times taking advantage of my mother’s family’s hospitality, sleeping all over the floors of their homes. We attended Wendy Ward Charm School at Northline Mall (for which I still credit MOST of my extreme charm), cooking classes and countless other amazing events. We had a troop what made girls want to stay in Girl Scouting! I continued through Senior Scouts. My mother actually continued a year after I left the program.

When the first of my three daughters was in first grade, she came home very excited about joining Girl Scouting. She and I joined together and within six months the leader had to drop out, and I became a Girl Scout leader. It soon became one of my favorite roles. I was a leader or co-leader for each of my three daughters throughout most of their Girl Scout years, through one Gold Award and two Silver Awards. It was wonderful to spend one-on-one time with each daughter. And during that time I formed some of the closest friendships of my life with the outstanding women who were also drawn to Girl Scouting.

Alice and her Girl Scout granddaughter Tara
In 1995 we got an amazing gift…a GRANDDAUGHTER…a NEW GIRL SCOUT-our Tara! So in 2000 I recycled myself back into Girl Scouting as a co-leader with her Daisy Troop. Those girls are now Ambassadors, graduating seniors this year. Fortunately, we were graced with yet another granddaughter, Caitlyn, in 2004 and thus began the younger troop. My younger granddaughter moved out of the area, but I stayed on with these wonderful girls who are now Juniors.

My inspiration and the source of much of my Girl Scout joy come from the Ambassador Troop! Twelve of the most AMAZING girls on the planet! We meet EVERY Wednesday and at least eight of the 12 find the time to be at our meetings. Cindy, the other leader, and I believe that the key to the success of our troop is that the girls are finding their passion and acting on it. Their two favorite things are cooking (and eating) and service. They have prepared and served many meals for Holy Ground, a ministry serving primarily the homeless. They have made hundreds of cookies for Star of Hope’s Cookies and Goodnight and participated in the former Twin Oaks Service Unit’s MLK Souper Service event, cooking and delivering food directly to the homeless. The troop has taken two amazing trips. In the seventh grade we traveled to rural Missouri and following tenth grade the troop took a five-day trip to New York City.

I love what the Girl Scout program has offered to these girls and what they have taken away from the program. Recently, one of the girls arrived at our meeting and announced, “I’ve had such a bad week. I had to come to Girl Scouts!” What more can you say about a program if it will fix the bad week of a teenage girl? I love Girl Scouting because it has helped these young women to truly be girls of confidence, courage and character, and I know they will make the world a better place.