Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Tressa Jukes of Mancos in the Southwestern Colorado region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.
GSCO asked Tressa 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 leader, so that I could provide another age group of girls in our community opportunities through my knowledge and experiences. When we relocated to the area, there was only one troop in our small town with no troops for younger girls. I also like to use the opportunity to be a positive role model and show girls that you can be fearless, dedicated, and determined.
Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.
I’ve been volunteering with Girl Scouts for six years. I started as a troop parent volunteer while my husband was stationed in Juneau, Alaska and added troop cookie manager to my resume while there. After we moved to Mancos, I became a troop co-leader. I have also been TCM for our troop, as well as our service unit cookie cupboard manager for the Mesa Verde Service Unit, and within the past two years I have acquired the title of co-director of Camp Conundrum with my partner in crime/friend/mentor, Frieda Knezek. It is the only volunteer-run Girl Scout Camp in our area, providing our girls with a weekend in July full of of mystery solving shenanigans and fun.
What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?
I have learned many things over the course of the last six or so years, including improvisation; as nothing really goes as planned. My girls have taught me selflessness, and that no matter how small they are, given the chance, they will move mountains. I have also learned that giving these girls the world and encouraging them in a positive way is the best way to help them to reach their dreams and goals.
What do you hope girls have learned from you?
I hope that they take away a lot of things from me, most importantly their conviction to do what is right and to stand up for the people who don’t otherwise have a voice. I hope that they continue to see how important it is to volunteer in their communities, even if it is as simple as doing random acts of kindness and paying things forward. Most important, I hope they have learned that being fearless and determined will help them go far in life and to not back down when they believe strongly in something.
How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
Prior to volunteering, I was happy to sit on the sidelines and follow the crowd, not realizing the impact one person could have. With volunteering, I have learned that if you want something done, the best way to do it is to do it yourself and get the ball moving. Being newer to the area has given me the opportunity to meet and connect with people to enhance my troop’s experiences and pave the way for younger troops to get involved, as well. Organizing activities with other community organizations has opened many doors for our troop and exposes them to many other positive women, whom they wouldn’t probably have otherwise met.
Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.