Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Teri Shafer of Westminster in the Metro Denver region is both a troop leader and a Product Program volunteer. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.
GSCO asked Teri 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?
My oldest daughter joined Girl Scouts in kindergarten. When my younger daughter entered kindergarten, she too wanted to be a Girl Scout. At back to school, I filled out an interest form and, knowing someone needs to start a troop, decided to check the box that I was willing to volunteer. Eight years later, I never once regretted checking that box!
Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.
I was almost immediately contacted and asked if I wanted to start a troop so I very quickly became a troop leader. Along the way, I’ve enjoyed mentoring other troops and new leaders. I have participated in recruiting events. I also have volunteered as a SUFSM for our service unit and this year took on the role of SUCM. I annually take on the jobs of FSM and TCM for our troop which readily prepared me for stepping into the SU roles.
What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?
I would have a hard time listing all the things I’ve learned as a Girl Scout volunteer! I have learned to allow the girls more and more control of everything about the troop as they have grown and matured. They now run all meetings and plan out everything they are going to do. I’ve really loved watching this progression and they have all stepped up to be amazing leaders. Not only CAN they take charge, but they love doing it and it has been very empowering for each of the girls. I’ve also learned that I enjoy working with kids and it encouraged me to start a new career as a substitute teacher. I doubt I would have started on this path without my experience in Girl Scouts!
What do you hope girls have learned from you?
I hope the girls have learned from me to not be afraid to step up and take on a new challenge. They were so nervous when they first started leading meetings and I just kept encouraging them to have fun with it and not worry so much about fitting everything in or doing everything perfectly. They really seem to have embraced this and are absolute pros at it! I also hope they’ve learned a lot (and I’m pretty sure they have!) about running a business from selling cookies. I have always expected them to take it seriously and although they can have fun while selling cookies they do have a job to perform. They are all so amazing at it and have enjoyed running cookie rallies to share their talents and knowledge with younger girls. Any one of the girls in my troop could get a job today with what they have learned from selling cookies!
How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
My experience with Girl Scouts has definitely encouraged me to take on additional leadership roles in my life such as joining the PTO or stepping into service unit leadership roles. It also led to my career as a substitute teacher. I hope that taking on new challenges shows the girls in my troop and my own daughters that it can be rewarding and they shouldn’t be afraid of new challenges.
Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at email@example.com.