Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Christine Kucera of Steamboat Springs in the Mountain Communities region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.
GSCO asked Christine 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’ve become a Girl Scout volunteer for many reasons. First, I volunteered to become a troop leader while in college at Illinois State University. I missed all of the fun activities and my connection to younger girls. I felt that I had a lot to share with a group of Brownies. I had a wonderful time taking them camping and teaching them what I remembered as most special to me.
After I got married and moved to California, I volunteered again. I wasn’t ready to have children of my own yet, but again missed my connection with girls. I became very involved with a troop of girls through Juniors and Cadettes. We taught them life skills, took them canoeing, camping, and skiing. One of them had never seen snow and now takes her family skiing.
We moved to Colorado and took a break from volunteering to spend more time on the slopes and raising children. I resisted volunteering for a while because I felt that I was too busy with my two children. My kids went to a small local charter school north of Steamboat Springs and I realized that my daughter needs to get to know more town kids to help ease her eventual integration into the high school. I was able to find a Girl Scout troop that would hold off starting the meeting after school until we could arrive. This was a nice sized troop that had lots of fun playing games and singing songs, but was not doing any badges. I was hoping to have my daughter enjoy Girl Scouts without her mom as the leader, but I stepped in and helped. I led this troop through Bronze and Silver awards, trained them to win Reach for the Peak, and am guiding them down their paths to the Gold Award. Girl Scouts has become an important part of my soul.
Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.
I now have many roles in Girl Scouts. I am a Senior/Ambassador troop leader, member of the local Girl Scout grant committee, Mountain Communities region volunteer trainer, local troop camp director, and 2018 National Delegate. My troop and I lead many local events each year, ranging from bridging, World Thinking Day, cookie rallies, monthly multiage group meetings, and annual troop camp. I am a trainer for adults, especially 101 and Camping and Cooking. I am the trainer for Program Aides and soon Volunteer in Training. I plan and implement PA-run troop camp for Juniors and older each summer. I was honored to be selected as a National Delegate and want to take my troop to the National Convention in Florida in October 2020.
What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?
I have learned that when girls are challenged, they step up and can accomplish anything. I have seen Daisies learn how to use a compass, tie lashing, and do dishes for all of camp with more maturity than the average middle schooler. I have seen girls struggle with the stress of the Reach for the Peak Competition, immediately start planning their next year’s theme and come back two years later to win the Peak Award. My troop ran a local older girl super troop, teaching outdoor skills, Girl Scout ceremonies, songs and games, and had girls repeatedly ask me when I will be healthy enough to start it up again this year until I got it scheduled. I have watched my daughter work diligently for a year and a half on her Gold Award, only to say “I know I could be done at this point, but I want to go bigger and make a real difference.” I have girls from my California troop who contacted me over Facebook and reminisce with me about the things we did and how they are sharing those things with their families. I have learned that everything I do with Girl Scouts makes a lasting impact on young women and it makes me feel inspired every time I see an unspoken thank you.
What do you hope girls have learned from you?
I hope that girls learn to pass on their strengths while improving their weaknesses. My greatest hope is they realize that they are role models for people younger and older than themselves and they can make as big of an impact as they desire.
How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
My greatest desire is to give my daughter amazing experiences that help her through her life journey. While trying to accomplish this, I have stepped up and become a go-getter. I have had to come up with innovative ways to share everything I know and teach her things I am learning for the first time. I have taken risks that I would not have dreamed of before that have made me a stronger person. Have I become a better leader than before? I think that goes without saying. Even more importantly than my personal growth, I have watched all the girls I’ve interacted with turn in a G.I.R.L. by following my example. Girl Scouts makes all of us better women.
Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at email@example.com.