Holly Jordan’s most memorable part of Girl Scouts was chicken seminars.
“The what?”, you might be asking – and you’d be right to do so. There is no badge or formal program by this name. Scan every guide to Girl Scouts available, and you would never once run across the phrase.
This is the name Holly and her troop mates gave to their annual lesson on making silver turtles at camp.
“Every year my troop sold cookies and calendars and went to Camporee at Camp Whispering Cedars for a week,” she said. “Troops took turns cooking lunch for our units. My mother was a co-leader, and each year she would hold her famous “Chicken Seminars”. We would have silver turtle foil packets for our meal, and we would purchase whole chickens so she could teach all of the girls in our units how to cut up chickens. We were so silly, complaining about how gross it was, but it was so much fun!”
And while learning to cook a silver turtle dinner is certainly a useful skill, it was other skills that had the biggest impact on Holly once she became an adult member of Girl Scouts.
“Girl Scouts has given me courage to try new things and the confidence to step up and be a leader in my field. I am a specifications writer at a worldwide architectural firm. I have to coordinate my documents with architects, interior designers, engineers and many other consultants. Working as a member of a team is very important.”
She also credits Girl Scouts to being named a Fellow in the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), one of the highest honors a CSI member can receive, last September.
To qualify for Fellowship, a member must be nominated, submit a dossier of their accomplishments in four major areas and have 10 letters of endorsement. Candidates are also highly encouraged to volunteer in their community.
Of the approximately 425 CSI Fellows in the United States, only 10% are women. But what makes Holly’s award even more exciting is she is the second female CSI Fellow in the state of Texas and the first in her local chapter in Houston.
“My Girl Scout leadership and education weighed heavily in my dossier, and without all of the skills I learned through my years in Girl Scouting, I would not be a Fellow,” she said.
Holly almost didn’t pursue the nomination, but then she thought of the girls in her troop and the example she wanted to set for them.
“I wanted my daughters and the girls in my troop to know that I am more than that crazy woman in the owl hat, day camp shirt and khaki shorts yelling and laughing the skunk song at the top of my lungs. I wanted them to see that I am an accomplished professional who works hard and can proudly stand beside my peers both male and female.”
She did just that and invited her Girl Scouts to attend the ceremony.
“When each recipient was escorted up to the stage a special song was chosen. “Girl Scouts Together” was played while I was escorted up to receive my medal. The best part of the ceremony that moved me more than anything else – even more than receiving my medal – was seeing all of my Girl Scout sisters in the audience singing along. I will never forget that moment, looking out and seeing all of my sisters there singing with me. It was so special.”
Holly joined Girl Scouts in second grade and has been a member for almost 30 years. Her grandmother, mother and aunt were all members, and Holly earned Girl Scouts’ highest award, which is known today as the Gold Award. She is also a troop leader and a day camp director.
“I encourage girls to become Girl Scouts because of all of the opportunities that are available,” she said. “[It gives girls] the valuable friendships, the leadership skills, the opportunity to help others, the ability to learn and grow, to try new things, meet new people and have great experiences that they might otherwise not have.”
Your support of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council makes experiences, like Holly’s, possible whether it’s having the opportunity to spend time at camp or participate in programs that offer the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. You can help make these experiences possible for girls by visiting www.gssjc.org to donate.