Volunteer Spotlight: Toni Rath

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Toni Rath of Berthoud in the Northern & Northeastern CO region is  a troop leader, service unit manager, service unit cookie manager, and member of GSCO’s Membership Connection Committee.  She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Toni 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 husband is retired Air Force so volunteering was just what we do as a family. My girls wanted to join Girl Scouts and the troop needed a leader so I said “Sure, why not!”

The girls were young so they would have no idea that I didn’t know at the time (or anytime we do something new!) what I was doing as long as we had fun.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

This list keeps getting longer.. troop leader, service unit manager, PA/VIT girl trainer, service unit cookie manager and trainer, day camp unit leader, and I just started on MCC.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

WOW, I have learned A LOT!!  When doing a badge or a patch with the girls, I learn more about them and how much I actually didn’t know about the topic of the badge. I think the girls teach me more than anything. They show me a new perspective and different ways something can be accomplished.  As a service unit manager, I have learned how important each and every volunteer in our area is, no matter how big or small their roll is. Each comes with a  gift or expertise that our girls can really learn from. I have also learned how important it is to know my fellow service unit managers in other areas to get troop ideas, information and support and hopefully able to do the same for them.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope that the girls have learned to ask more questions of each other and of themselves and really listen to better know those around them, and know themselves. Activities really rule their lives these days and it is important to really listen and reflect on what is important to them. I also hope that they have learned how to be encouraging. A kind word and the ability to notice when someone has made the right choice can go a long way! They need to know if I am willing to be patient with them and go down the rabbit hole to learn to recover from a mistake, as they get older, they can do the same for themselves and their peers.

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

Well, those cookies aren’t going to walk to a booth and sell themselves! Ok, maybe they will as long as someone gets them there.. As the girls in our troop get older, it seems the push to get them to go and get gets harder. I have to model that for them.  If I want them to be a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker and a leader, I have to do the same. They push me to at least try something new, make something better, and ask others to join me on my crazy journey. I can’t ask them to do something if I am not willing to do the same.

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.