Seven years. Seven years are how long I have been a Girl Scout troop leader for my oldest daughter. And now, I have two Girl Scouts at home. For those of you who know me, you know I have a love-hate relationship with this commitment. It is a commitment. And a huge commitment if you want to do it right and make a difference in the lives of these girls who show up. But you know what? I love being a Girl Scout leader.
I spend a lot of time preparing for my time with the girls. And I think it’s because I get to watch them grow and learn that I love it so much. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not, nor could I ever be, a teacher. But being a leader is different. These girls start out their journey doing arts and crafts, and the next thing you know, they are making their mark in a much broader way. My older girls just completed their Bronze Award and will be bridging in San Francisco later this spring. I’m sure a lot of them will move on as they get older. But for now, it’s great watching them make their world a better place.
What I’ve learned
- I can build a fire, survivor style.
- I can make a dump cake in a dutch oven over an open fire.
- I know way too much about nuts, magazines, and cookies.
- I’m not too old to sing songs or make new friends.
- I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I was.
- Being a leader has been really good for my soul.
I know there are women (and men) who have dedicated their lives to scouting. I see these women and wonder how they do it. One of my girls asked me how long I’d be their leaders. I told her as long as I still have girls interested. And if I can keep up!
My biggest take away so far is that Girl Scouts is an amazing opportunity for girls. Our city girls love going camping and helping out with our other troops. It’s a time commitment for all of us. But there are times when I feel like I am getting more out of it than they are. Sure, I complain that I’d like to be doing other things at times. And I don’t particularly enjoy making a fool out of myself. But at the end of the day, I know what it means to the girls.
One last thing. Your kids love having you there. I’m not just talking about troop leaders, I’m talking about parents. The girls really get excited when their parents are involved. So if you have an opportunity to go camping, volunteer for the day, or just hang out during a meeting… do it. They love it now. But a time will come when they won’t want you around.
Take advantage of their age now while you still can. And if you’ve been around a while, or just getting started, here are 100 things your troop leader wants you to know.