I’m the Girl Scout Cookie Mom for daughter Emily’s Girl Scout Troop. I was the co-leader for several years, but we merged with another troop, so I was able to step down from that role. I am not sure how much I can say I was a “leader”. My co-leader and one of my best friends, Kelly, was the true leader of the group…organized, always planning and ahead of schedule. I was more like the warm body that was there to say there was enough adult supervision to comply with the ratio of adult to girl requirement. In fact, one time I got my girls in trouble with the lifeguard at camp because I was telling them all about the Nestea Plunge and they were trying it out. Turned out that they were only allowed to go into the pool feet-first, and this was a clearly a violation of that rule. So much for me being a good role model.
For several years I was the main leader for Erin’s troop as well. We were a very laid back group. Yes, we earned badges, did plenty of community service and sold cookies and such, but my co-leader and I made the decision to make our troop meetings fun so that they didn’t feel like they were in a class at school. Sometimes our meetings were chaotic, but I remember laughing a lot at those meetings. Sometimes we’d finish early so we’d just play silly games like the one where you can only speak in questions. This group of girls was hilarious and understood my sense of humor. It was fun while it lasted, but by the time they were entering Middle School in sixth grade it was time to move on. Our troop disbanded and Erin joined another troop, determined to stay in Scouts. I help out now with that troop, too, but basically my role is that of an involved Mom, which I like.
So it’s Girl Scout Cookie time, a time full of selling cookies and holding cookie booths (ugh!), as well as the time when I wonder if my daughters will continue on next year in Scouts. I always say our family would have so much more free time if they quit, but I think a part of me would really be sad. I’ve made wonderful friends and memories through Girl Scouts, and so have my girls. The women who organize the events in our Neighborhood are incredible—very organized, very purposeful and energetic. I wish I could be a little more like they are. They are a compassionate group, too. Amongst them have been those who have lost their homes to fires, recovered from surgeries and served in Afghanistan leaving their family here in the states. I’ve never seen them fail to selflessly reach out and make a difference for those who need a helping hand. I’m blessed to have known them.
No matter if my girls stay in Scouts or not, it has definitely had an impact on their lives, and mine as well, that goes well beyond earning badges and doing community service. We have seen first-hand how communities flourish when there is a group effort and how making a difference can begin with just an idea and a little elbow grease. We’ve learned valuable skills, like first aid and the best way to build a campfire (I still opt for matches instead of the magnesium block!) But most memorable of all to me is the friendships that form when one spends time trying new things together—even if it might get you in trouble with the lifeguard!