Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Marie Williams of Golden in the Metro Denver region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.
GSCO asked Marie 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 in 2016, when my daughter Caley started kindergarten, because it was a great opportunity for us to spend meaningful time together. We have fun, explore new things, and learn important life lessons. I have stayed a volunteer — and gotten more involved — for those same reasons, and also because I have found personal fulfillment in my volunteer work. Working with girls, and seeing them learn and grow, fills me with pride and is one of the ways I am making the world a better place.
Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.
I am currently a troop leader and troop cookie manager for my daughter’s second-grade Brownie troop; the service unit manager and service unit product program manager for Hills and Dales in Golden; and I serve on the Membership Connection Committee. I have been a troop leader since the beginning, along with my fabulous co-leader, Courtney Fox. I took on the service unit manager role in 2017 because our area did not have an operating service unit, and I saw the huge potential in having experienced leaders as a resource for all of our newer leaders. We continue to work on growing our service unit to make it a source of help and inspiration for all. I took on the product program roles in 2017 because I had a vision of how to make them run more smoothly. Most recently, I joined the Membership Connection Committee last fall because it allows me to communicate feedback between GSCO and the Girl Scouts in my area, and also allows me to contribute to the discussion about and development of our Girl Scouting program for the future. (And I also work full-time and have a three-year-old son, if you were wondering!)
What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?
Though not a new lesson, my Girl Scout volunteer work reminds me of the incredible diversity of life experiences and personalities in the world, including in a group of seven-year-olds! I have learned that, although not every girl’s family can contribute as much time as I can, they all have something important to contribute to the girls’ experience. One of the most important jobs I have as a leader is to bring together their diverse talents and experiences for the benefit of all of our daughters. I also have learned that, when you truly love what you are doing, it never feels like a burden. Even during those dark days of cookie booth sales when you can’t figure out where that other case of Thin Mints went, it is merely a task to be completed, and not something that weighs on you. I am passionate about the Girl Scout experience, and committed to seeking out new ways for all girls to benefit from it.
What do you hope girls have learned from you?
I hope the girls are learning a ton! My co-leader and I work hard to provide our girls with a variety of creative opportunities to learn about the world around them. With our girls in second grade, our primary focus is on exposing them to things they might not learn about in school or in daily home life. Whether we’re building roller coasters or race cars for a STEM badge; exploring different arts through pottery, painting, and performing; climbing a rock wall; camping for the first time; learning how to talk to our cookie customers; stocking donated food on the shelves at a food pantry; or visiting a hangar at Centennial Airport and learning about Flight for Life — we’re showing them the vast opportunities available to them in their world. And throughout, we emphasize the specific lines of the Girl Scout Law. More than just something to memorize, we want it to be something they understand and live by.
How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
The biggest change I’ve seen is that my volunteer experience has made me a more confident innovator. In both our troop and our service unit, if I see something that’s not working, I have the freedom to try new things, experiment, and find something that works better. Through these experiences, I have become more confident in my abilities to develop solutions that work for groups of all sizes.
Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.