Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Julie Southern of Arvada in the Metro Denver region currently volunteers with her daughter’s troop and the Outdoor Adventure Club. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.
GSCO asked Julie 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?
When my daughter joined Girl Scouts, I just naturally volunteered to be with her and experience the activities with her. I had not been a Girl Scout, so I was not sure what to expect. I continue to be overly impressed with the entire organization and lovely women in the program. The quality of programming and adventures that are planned for these young women is awesome. I am a middle school teacher and I truly appreciate that my own middle school girl has these opportunities. Therefore, I want to give back to this wonderful group and help out in anyway possible.
Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.
I volunteer with the troop and also with the Outdoor Adventure Club. When I volunteer with the troop, I take on many different roles from leading meetings, to traveling with the troop to Girl Scout properties and being a camp leader, and just being a support for our leaders.
With the Outdoor Adventure Club, I have had the amazing opportunity to support the girls in the countless adventures they have been challenged to accomplish. I have lead small groups, games, night time discussions and recaps, and just been their to support the organization. Anna Danilla has planned such amazing opportunities for these girls. I have been by the Girl Scouts as they encouraged each other through small cave spaces, down the face of a mountain, bouldering up a rock field, biking through the field, dog sledding, swimming, wilderness survival skills, archery, and so much more. To witness the growth, leadership, and encouragement that these girls give to each other is an honor.
What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?
I have learned as a Girl Scout volunteer that being able to be by the sides of these young women is an honor. If I can continue to turn the responsibility of the experience and problem solving on the girls, they will learn and grow. I have to be willing to step aside and let these girl’s thrive. They never cease to amaze me.
What do you hope girls have learned from you?
I hope that the Girl Scouts learn that anything is truly possible if you keep trying. I also hope they learn to set personal goals, to try THEIR best, to do THEIR hardest, and to have FUN! By focusing on doing their own best, then they can achieve their goals.
How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
See answers above. I know that working with Girl Scouts has challenged me as well. Trusting that the girl is going to safely handle a bow and arrow, a kayak, to hold the line as you mountain climb is truly being a risk-taker. Also, the Girl Scouts are so encouraging of each other and of the adults that are choosing to take the challenge by choice. In the cave, we all had to guide each other through the crevices and tunnels because you literally could not see what was up in front of you. This made me be very clear in the directions and questions to the girls around me to help me get through the experience as well.
In nature, you can make plans and be prepared, but sometimes you have to adjust to plan C and plan D. I think that is when the natural innovator in me and the girls comes out. It is so great to have the girls modify and come up with solutions when the first ideas get washed away with the weather. It is such a great experience to be by these girls as well and I continue to learn from them.
Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.