Tag Archives: Mancos

Volunteer Spotlight: Tressa Jukes

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 annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org. 

GSCO Photo Challenge: Girl Scout Cookies fuel trip to NASA

Submitted by Frieda Knezek

Southwestern CO

Mancos

“What did you do this weekend?”

“Oh, you know. We went to space and touched the moon. We stirred up dirt on Mars. We strolled through the space shuttle and ate lunch with astronaut Mark “Roman” Polansky, who told us what space smells like (hot metal, in case you’re wondering). We made it snow, built a rocket, and, best of all, made some new friends. (Hi, Frisco Cadettes!)”

A few years ago, after a particularly fun overnight trip to the aquarium and zoo in Denver, our troop decided they were ready for something a little bigger. So, we did some research and narrowed it down to a visit to Disney or NASA. The girls chose NASA, so that they could eat lunch with a real astronaut.

Together, we made a plan, a plan to be go-getters. We figured out how much it would cost, and how we’d earn that money. Then, the girls rolled up their sleeves and got busy. They sold cookies, so many cookies, but also wanted to do something more so they could go on their trip sooner. Innovators that they are, they hosted a Fall Color Run and created a mystery troop camp for Girl Scouts all over Colorado and even from Texas!

Right about now, I’d really like to say how grateful I am for the moms in our troop. They are a powerful force all their own, and they lead this troop every bit as much as I do. I call them the magic. They have helped build an atmosphere, community, and energy in our troop that I didn’t know were possible, and it’s because of them that I feel confident in encouraging the girls to dream as big as they want.

Back to the girls. It took them two years, but they did it. They were risk-takers and hard workers, and they made it happen. They paid for their trip…every cent. Friday, March 1, 2019, they boarded a plane to Houston, Texas, and the adventure began. They spent the day at the Johnson Space Center where they saw Mission Control, the astronaut training facility, the Orion capsule mock-up, rode a simulator into a nebula, and so much more.

That night, they got to stay past closing hours for the Girl Scout Camp In, where they built and launched rockets, solved a mystery box, and slept under an astronaut out on a space walk! (Ok, that was an exhibit, but it was still breathtaking and inspiring and magnificent.) They ate space ice cream, hit the gift shop, and walked away with stars in their eyes. We topped off the trip with a “one-a-cure,” their choice of pedicure or manicure, and a movie.

Everywhere we went, we met Girl Scouts of all ages and people who were thrilled to share in the girls’ adventure. We’re so proud to be a part of this magnificent organization that really throws the doors wide-open for girls and encourages them to dream big, work hard, and realize their visions. Thank you, Girl Scouts. Thank you for the G.I.R.L. Agenda, where they’re taught to be go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders. Here’s to the adventure, to the journey, and to a brighter future because of our girls…

Girl Scouts of Colorado is hosting a photo challenge! Just submit your favorite Girl Scout photo and the story behind it using the Share Your Stories form (www.gscoblog.org/share). Winners will be featured in future GSCO marketing materials, on GSCO’s social media networks, and on the GSCO Blog.

Oldest Girl Scout in Mancos

Submitted by Cindy Francisco

Southwestern CO

Mancos

We wanted to share our experience at Mancos Valley Inn Nursing Home while caroling. There was a sweet old lady named Mac Neely, age 97, who did Girl Scouts for 58 years and had a blanket of all her patches in her room. Her first troop was number 78 at the age of 12. It is amazing how you meet people! If you are ever in Mancos, stop by there and see her. Hear her stories and if you look on the top of the blanket, there is a ghost patch she earned by helping push a Navy ship. We wish we could have stayed longer to hear more stories.

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments, too.