Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Erin Wogaman of Canon City in the Pikes Peak region has served as a troop leader and Product Program volunteer for many years. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.
GSCO asked Erin to answer a few quick questions about her volunteer experience. We hope you find her as inspiring as we did.
Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?
I became a Girl Scout volunteer because of my daughter. She is the youngest of three and has two older brothers. I still remember my time as a Brownie, with my mom as my troop leader, making place mats, sit-upons, camping, and so much more. I knew that I wanted my daughter to have those memories to cherish. I did end up bridging to Junior, but we had moved and it wasn’t the same without my mom being involved. I promised my daughter that for as long as she is a Girl Scout, I will be one as well…possibly longer.
Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.
After the role of parent to an amazing Cadette, I am a troop leader of a multi-level troop. I am in my 9th year as an adult volunteer and have started several troops in New Mexico and Colorado. My troop consists of nine Daisies, twelve Brownies, four Juniors, and five Cadettes. Next year, we will add Seniors to our troop family. I am a service unit manager and service unit product program manager. I love working with the other leaders in my service unit and we have become a second family. We have grown in the last year and have plans to continue that growth. I am also an adult advisory member for our older girl group called SPLAT. We are still in the beginning stages, as this is our first year. The SPLAT girls represent different troops in our service unit. The girls planned and led our Cookie Rally this year and will be planning summer and fall activities. I am a member of the Pikes Peak Region Cookie Committee, an adult trainer, and recruiter for my service unit.
What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?
Working with girls of different ages and with different abilities requires patience and the understanding that all girls can do anything they set their minds to. Every girl, in every troop, brings something new to the troop and they need the opportunity to shine and lead to their ability. I have learned that Daisies can start campfires, cook meals, participate in a flag ceremony, and so much more. I have the ability to give girls an amazing experience of leadership, courage, and learning life skills. I have learned that I must provide them with the opportunities to be the girl-led troop that they are.
What do you hope girls have learned from you?
I want them to learn to take risks, to challenge themselves, and to try out for that sport, solo, or part in the play. I want them to know that Girl Scouts is something they should be proud of. This is their experience and that they each have a voice. I hope they have learned that living the Girl Scout Law every day will take them far and they will make the world a better place.
How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
Being a Girl Scout volunteer has pushed me to challenge myself to be a better person and to put others first more often. Getting up in front of strangers has never been something I enjoy, other than with girls. This year, I challenged myself to take on new roles and those roles require me to break those walls, to take risks, to lead with other adults, and to challenge our service unit to grow and offer the best experience for our girls. As a leader, I will never ask my girls to do something that I am not willing to do. I even challenged myself (after much coaxing) to walk across the Royal Gorge Bridge. I have always said that I would be the one crawling down the middle of the bridge. I won’t say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My heart was racing and my legs were shaking, but I did it. I want my girls to know that they have my support to try those scary things in life and I will be here to cheer them on.
Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.