Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Chris Bruun of Englewood in the Metro Denver region has served as a troop leader, troop support volunteer, and cookie dad. He is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.
GSCO asked Chris to answer a few quick questions about his volunteer experience. We hope you find his as inspiring as we did.
Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?
My daughter wanted to be a Girl Scout and there wasn’t a troop at her school, so I started one. She got a couple of other girls from her school, but we drew in most of the rest from the surrounding schools. It was a very active troop. Meeting every other week and field trip every other week. I did my best to make sure the badges were not earned by sitting in a cafeteria but by learning something in the cafeteria and experiencing it on a field trip.
Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.
I started as a troop leader, and was also the cookie dad and field trip planner that first year. I had a blast doing it! This year, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be as active in the troop, so I closed the one I started and moved Emma to another one. This is a huge multi-level troop. I am still a volunteer with this troop and really enjoying watching the girls explore the world through Girl Scouts. I am going to be helping with camping for the troop this summer.
What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?
I have never been in charge of that many young ladies at once or been responsible for pushing knowledge into kids heads. And while I realize it is a very obvious realization, they all needed it presented differently to take it in. I found I really like seeing that light of understanding come on when we were exploring new ideas through the badges!
What do you hope girls have learned from you?
I have done my best to teach the girls that failure is a part of life. The goal is to try, we will all fail once and a while. We have to dust our selves off and try again. We learn more from our failures then we do from our successes. Giving them a safe place to fail and then try again and succeed is truly a great feeling.
How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
I am really amused at this question for obvious reasons. Mostly because I am not a girl. That said the ideals that are encompassed in this motto are obviously applicable to both genders. Being a leader keeps you on your toes. These girls are eager to learn and experience the world and want to learn new things and earn new badges. As a leader, you have to keep at least one step ahead of them and to do that you need to be thinking out of the box. The lessen plans for the badges are a good first stop, but not the be all and end all to leading the girls. Once they get the idea in their head you need to be ready to move beyond the lesson plan to explore even more. Lots of the badges are just a taste of what they as Girl Scouts can go explore.
Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.