Friday, October 9, 2009

Trying To Lead

I was a Girl Scout for a short time as a child.  My leaders, while they tried and their hearts were in the right place, didn't create much opportunity. 

My first leader was a nice lady, our meetings were afterschool at her house.  She had a special needs son who was there and no one to help her manage him or her other daughter during our meetings.  We did a lot of coloring.  That's really all I remember. 

My second leader was a single mom who kept missing meetings because of her work schedule.  Eventually, she had meetings on Saturday mornings, but I could only meet every OTHER weekend because I went to my dads on alternating weekends.  So, I dropped out.

It was quite a disappointment.  I did a lot of the stuff to get badges (on my own), and I wanted to be a good little Girl Scout.

Committed to making sure my daughter had a better experience, when Rachael entered Kindergarten, I stepped up and offered to be a co-leader.  I had no idea what I was in for!  OH, THE FORMS!.... It's a paperwork blizzard!... and they refer to things like A130, B240... huh?  What's that?  They didn't tell us exactly what to do and the program for earning "petals" was not very structured. ("Daisies" are the K & 1st grade level of Girl Scouts, and they earn petals to complete a flower as they complete the main goals.) As I tried to learn things, the rules were changing.  It seemed "Daisies" were an exception to everything.  It was so frustrating.

One of my closest friends is a leader, and has been for a long time.  I asked her how she could stand it.  She said she does it because she loved it, not for her daughter.  I just didn't get that at all.  I was doing it for my daughter.

But, then, something amazing happened.  I was in the grocery store and one of my girls saw me.  She was so excited.... and came running to me, yelling, hugging, bragging to the entire store.  Then it happened again when I was at school for something, and then it kept happening.  One day I came home and there was a banner on my lawn that said "The Best Girl Scout Leader Lives Here".  Then, they started giving me presents - pictures, trinkets, homemade poppyseed bread.  Let me tell you.... it's all worth it.  Every single silly GS rule, every lettered and numbered form. 

Being a leader is a heart melting feeling.  Who needs drugs with a high like that?

I admit, there was so much to learn, last year I felt like I was just following along.  This year, I'm (at least trying) to really lead.  We're off to a great start.

We had our registration meeting as a potluck dinner at a local park.  We have an agenda; a strategy; and a great group.  I lost a few girls who moved, but most of my troop returned (maybe I did do something right last year?).  And, we're adding a couple new girls.

In October, we have 2 troop meetings, a SHARE fundraiser (to provide scholarships for those that need it), a leader meeting, and an outing to a Pumpkin Patch/Petting Zoo.  Most month's have a calendar that looks pretty much like that.... and there is paperwork to do for everything... and emails, and calls... and my girls will squeal when they feed the animals, and giggle while they decorate their pumpkins, and hug me at least twice each time I see them.

If you're ready to volunteer, as a leader or even in a lesser capacity, go to the national web site, to find opportunities in your area.

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  1. Leader now in MissouriOctober 12, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    I love this! I have been a Leader for 11 years - my oldest is a HS junior and my youngest is in 4th grade (my son is in the middle in 7th). I wouldn't trade the experience for anything! The best part is watching them grow and mature from Brownies to Seniors (now Ambassadors).

  2. That's great! I'm looking forward to getting past all the paperwork and training to get to the fun of activities and meetings with my girls and their moms.

  3. I just ran upon your blog! I too love being a girl scout leader! I am getting ready for World Thinking Day and your volksmarching picture came up...we are representing Germany! I hope your are still girl scouting! anyway thanks for your inspiration.