Tag Archives: Volunteer Appreciation Month

Volunteer Spotlight: Rachel Van

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Rachel Van of Alamosa in the Pueblo & Southeastern CO region started out as a troop co-leader, but quickly took on more volunteer roles. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Rachel 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 when my oldest daughter, Amelia, was in first grade in 2011-12. The previous school year she had joined a Girl Scout troop at the end of cookie season and that troop was in need of another volunteer to help lead the Daisies as the troop grew to over 40 girls in both Brownies and Daisies. I had been a Brownie for a couple of years as a child and had such fond memories of that time so I wanted to make sure that my three daughters had the opportunity to experience Girl Scouts as well and that is why I chose to volunteer.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

I started as a troop co-Leader in Monte Vista in 2011 and was a troop cookie manager for the first time in 2012. I have continued in these roles since then. Since we live in a small rural area that is some distance from the bigger cities and we have fewer volunteers, I am currently in the roles of troop leader and TCM, volunteer trainer, cookie cupboard manager, and service unit manager/SUCM and I love getting to volunteer in so many different ways with such a great organization and getting to work with our wonderful troop of 16 girls in grades kindergarten through 7th grade. I also enjoy getting to work with the other volunteers and troops in the San Luis Valley when we have service unit events.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

As a volunteer, I have learned many things over the years. First and foremost, I have learned how to be a better leader in all aspects of my life. As I have taken my troop on their journey to be the future leaders of our country and even the world, I have learned to be more patient and kind as well as a good example for them. I have also increased my ability to handle things on the fly and go with the flow. As many other Girl Scout volunteers can probably attest, we really have to be able to roll with the punches because you never know what might come your way at a troop meeting. The best instance of this for me was one particular troop meeting we had where we were trying to make silly putty and something went wrong with the mixture and we ended up with slime instead. It was a great example to the girls to make the best of a bad situation and find another use for what you have instead of just throwing it out and starting over. They still had a blast and I honestly think they enjoyed the slime more since it was a mistake. We all had a great laugh that night.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope the girls I have worked with have learned to be confident in themselves and to take on any challenges that the world might throw at them. I also hope that the Girl Scout Promise and Law stick with them as they grow and they keep them as solid tenants in their life. The world would be a much better place if everyone knew and followed the Girl Scout Law!

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

 I would say that my experience as a volunteer has helped me become a G.I.R.L. in too many ways for me to name them all. Seven years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be this involved in Girl Scouts, but here I am and I love it! Working with my troop and the other wonderful volunteers in the San Luis Valley as well as the staff in the council offices I have learned so much. I have developed friendships and connections in my community that I never would have had without Girl Scout in my life and I am so grateful for the opportunities it has created for me. I have had the confidence to take on risks and believe in myself within my own career so that I can develop professionally as well. I don’t know that I would have taken the same risks or believed in myself without all the great things I have learned from being involved in Girl Scouts.

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.

Volunteer View: April 2018

In April, we celebrate our volunteers and all the amazing things you do for girls here in Colorado. Our appreciation gift this year is to have thousands of trees planted in areas around the state of Colorado that have been devastated by wildfires and floods. We believe that these trees will have a lasting impact in our state, just like your impact on girls.

Thank you for being a Girl Scout volunteer!

Watch a video message from Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote and read a letter from the Colorado State Forest Service about this donation.

Read it on the blog

Save the date: Early Bird renewal promotion May 1 – June 15

As we head toward the finish line of a successful and memorable Girl Scout year, remember that your girls’ journeys have just begun. Come back next year for what promises to be another season full of unmatchable adventure at a place where girls can always take the lead, not stand in the background.

Any girl renewed between May 1 and June 15 will receive a free Early Bird patch . Any troop that has completed the Annual Troop Report for this membership year and has two, unrelated Troop Leadership Team members renewed by June 15 will receive a $25 credit to the Girl Scouts of Colorado Shop.

Mark your calendars and get ready to renew on May 1!

Outdoor Adventure Club is back

OAC 2018-2019 event information is here! Passport fees are $375 for OAC Explorers (grade 6) and $465 for OAC Trailblazers (grades 7-12). Find out about upcoming events, single event passes, registration information, and more on our website.

Get ready for adventure »

Lock in Early Bird pricing for Summer Camp by paying all balances by April 30. Still haven’t picked your session? Visit our session list to see the fun new options.

Lock in my EB pricing »

Riley Morgenthaler awarded Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award Excellence

Riley Morgenthaler from Morrison was selected to receive the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award excellence for the 2017-18 awards year. Riley realized students from low-resource schools participating in the STEM-based competition Destination Imagination were at a disadvantage because they didn’t have the same kinds of materials and support systems. To help close the gap for these students, Riley put together Creativity Tool Tubs containing various tools to help them successfully complete a Destination Imagination solution.

The Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize selection committee also chose Marieke van Erven from Brighton as Honorable Mention. Marieke partnered with the Adams County Elections Department to create VOTE (Voter Outreach Through Education), which takes education about the elections department into high school government classes.

Gold Award Day at the Capitol

Older Girl Advisory Board applications are now open

We are seeking Seniors or Ambassadors who are interested in joining the Older Girl Advisory Board for the 2018-2019 membership year. OGAB members have the opportunity to provide direct feedback of current and future programming, participate in leadership and development workshops and serve as the voice for Girl Scouts across Colorado. Questions? Contact Emily Speck.

Apply now »

New e-learning classes

Overnight Trips is newly revised and available on our e-learning site. New resources have been added to the class, including: a comprehensive list of recommended places to go, a class guide with a sample itinerary and packing lists, information to support your troop planning process, and more.

Our new and improved Program Aide (PA) facilitator training is also available now on e-learning. This training will prepare volunteers to facilitate Program Aide training to Cadette Girl Scouts as well as provide an overview of requirements and tips to make sure your training is fun and engaging for girls.

If you need assistance accessing the site, please contact Shannon Weaver, adult experience manager.

Start e-learning 

April 21: STEM Magic with the Theater of Mystery, Pueblo
Come learn about STEM with this fun magic show. Space is limited to 30 girls, so please register early for a spot!

April 28: Girl Scout Day at the Summit Interquest, Colorado Springs 
Come to our annual tree lighting and brunch family/community event. We’ll have a scrumptious buffet, family photo opportunities, crafts, sweets, and hot drinks.

May 5: Daisy Flower Garden Journey at the Denver Botanic Gardens
Daisies can complete this journey in the beautiful setting of the botanic garden. Choose between a morning and afternoon session and plan extra time to enjoy the gardens. This event has sold out the past two years, so spaces may fill quickly! Interested in volunteering? Sign up now.

May 5-6: Athlete Badge and Golf Workshops with Colorado Golf Association, Aurora
Join experts from CGA in this morning workshop to learn the basics of golf and earn the Brownie Fair Play badge or Junior Practice with Purpose badge. Daisies  will have a workshop geared specifically to their age group. Space is limited to 20 girls per session.

Want event details delivered to your inbox weekly? Sign up for the Events email at gscoblog.org.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Jenni Esser

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Jenni Esser of Peyton in the Pikes Peak region has had many different volunteer positions at both the troop and service unit levels. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Jenni 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 was pretty much “volun-told.” Haha. I took my oldest to the first Girl Scout meeting of the year in Peyton and told them, while holding my three-month old second daughter, that I’d help where I could but that I had the little one. At the end of the meeting, I was introduced as the new Daisy leader.  Lol.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

I know how important and influential Girl Scouts was to me. When I was 12 or 13, my Girl Scout troop traveled from Ohio to Rocky Mountain National Park via the Badlands and Cheyenne, WY. It was the trip of a lifetime to me. I knew from that trip that I wanted to be a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and live in Colorado. I made that goal happen at age 22. I want to make sure my girls (and others too!) have a great experience through Girl Scouts so they too can experience and explore new places and things and find their goals and have them become reality. 

And that role has expanded. I started out as a Daisy Leader and have moved up with my oldest daughter through Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes. I will soon be her Senior leader when she bridges this summer. I am also the Service Unit Manager for SU 10 (both before the merge and after the split from SU 13).

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I have learned that my Girl Scouts leaders were saints. It is a lot of work leading girls, but it is also an enriching experience. I love seeing the girls explore something new. I love their excitement and energy. It’s contagious.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope the girls have learned how to lead and to be great women by living the Girl Scout Law. I hope they continue to learn and explore throughout their lives and that they also become leaders and role-models to younger and future Girl Scouts.

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

Being a leader hasn’t helped me become a G.I.R.L. I have been one because I grew up a Girl Scout. Being a leader has given me the opportunity to help girls become a G.I.R.L.

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.

Volunteer Spotlight: Carrie Harding

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Carrie Harding of Parker in the Metro Denver region is both a troop volunteer and a product program volunteer. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Carrie 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 because I wanted to be sure my daughter and other girls had the opportunity to experience Girl Scouts. I was a Girl Scout while in elementary school and have some very fond memories of those experiences. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about myself, other people, and how people do things differently.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

I have served in several volunteer roles over the years, including co-leader, troop fall program manager, troop cookie manager, service unit fall program manager, service unit cookie manager, service unit manager, trainer, school coordinator, and as a member of the GSCO Cookie Committee and the Membership Connection Committee (MCC).

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

As a Girl Scout volunteer, I have learned more about the importance of flexibility, structure, being honest and upfront with others, patience, and consequences. My most rewarding experiences have been those where girls have demonstrated they have confidence in an area.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope girls have learned that they can do anything they set their mind to. I also hope they’ve learned the importance of having fun, that it’s ‘”okay” to not do what everyone else is doing, being authentic, and the importance of planning and preparation.

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

My experience as a volunteer has helped me further appreciate the power of girls! It has also encouraged me to continue my own entrepreneurial pursuits all of which involve being a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader.

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.

Volunteer Spotlight: Carol Lucero

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Carol Lucero of Thornton in the Metro Denver region leads an older girl troop in the Sunset Hills service unit. She and her troop do a very cool service project to send stars from retired flags to retiring service members and families of fallen service members. Carol is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Carol 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 was a Girl Scout for a few years growing up. I remember selling cookies for $1/package, going to Girl Scout Camp, and walking to troop meetings after school. But, I more distinctly remember all the fun and events my three brothers did with Boy Scouts- long camping and hiking trips, service projects, their Eagle Awards. Both of my parents were heavily involved in Boy Scout Leadership roles and it shaped much of the family calendar. Girl Scouts kind of fell by the wayside once I switched schools and was no longer going to school with any of the girls in my troop. To be honest, I signed my daughter up for Girl Scouts in kindergarten, so I would have a cookie hook-up. After six years serving as cookie mom, our troop leader and her daughters quit. Over the years, I had come to know and love the Girl Scouts as my own girls and wanted them to continue growing in scouting and working towards their Gold Awards. So, four years ago, I volunteered to take over as troop leader, so I could continue sharing in Girl Scouts with my daughter and the other girls in the troop. Our Daisy Troop of 27 was six Cadettes with attrition. We’re now at three Seniors and one Cadette. Working with the four girls left in this troop has provided me an opportunity to double-down on efforts to find activities these ‘older girls’ will enjoy, that will keep their attention, that provide learning opportunities and most importantly, inspire selflessness and personal growth.  I’ve pushed my daughter for 10 years to continue in Girl Scouts until she earns the Gold Award. I’ll continue to volunteer, and support her, until she reaches that lofty status.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

I served as cookie mom for six years. For the past four years, I have been the troop leader, fall product program coordinator, and troop cookie manager for Troop 63979.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

The biggest lesson I have learned from volunteering with Girl Scouts is it truly takes a village to raise and shape and inspire these girls to be leaders. I’m thankful for my small troop of four girls (sisters, plus two more) because I have their two amazing families supporting our efforts. The parents of our girls coordinate transportation, meeting times, badge curriculum, events, and every other “thing” that comes up. Our troop would not be successful if the parents didn’t help! I can always count on them to step up whenever I need another hand- driving down to the GSCO Shop for supplies, taking a CPR class to attend Cookie Camp, driving the event carpool, etc. Our three families are really one big family, having worked together for the past 10 years to support our girl’s efforts to earn the Gold Award. As troop leader, I’ve found I rely a great deal on the other troop leaders in my Service unit. For ideas, inspiration, encouragement, friendship, and even a kind ear when I need to unload about some trivial frustration. The women in Sunset Hills service unit are like my sisters- given I grew up with only brothers, I appreciate having relationships with women in my shoes. We all work in different career fields, come from varied backgrounds, and wide ranging experience, yet we work together to provide our girls opportunities to explore and wonder.  I appreciate that when I need help, or am hosting an event, or put out a call to support a community service effort- the troop leaders in Sunset Hills respond. We are all vested in the success of each of our troops.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

This is a loaded question. My greatest hope is that I have inspired my girls to push boundaries (appropriately), strive for personal excellence (in whatever path their heart chooses), to treat each other with love and kindness, and to never stop learning. In the past four years, we have done a great deal of badge work. The girls earned 21 Cadette badges and are working on Senior badge number six. Doing so has provided opportunities for them to step outside their comfort zones, respond to community issues by providing solutions, and explore topics they otherwise would not choose for themselves. The girls have planned and carried out three weekend camping trips with monies they’ve earned from selling thousands of packages of cookies. They’ve found common ground in their different hobbies and interests. They’ve asked hard questions of friends, parents, community members, and others. They’ve worked countless hours themselves to create a better world for themselves, their friends, their communities, and others.  For example, we volunteered with the Rocky Mountain National Parks’ Road Hogs, a group of retired volunteers who work year round to keep RMNP going. Our girls worked side by side with the Hogs, shovels, backhoes, tractors, and all, to clear debris from Bear Lake Road one hot day in July.

Our troop founded Stars for Heroes in July 2016 in response to the murder of five Police Officers in Dallas, Texas. We collect retired American flags and repurpose the embroidered stars into pocket sized momentos to thank first responders and veterans for their service. In nearly two years, we have distributed more than 30,000 stars from more than 600 flags. This includes 50 stars each that we have mailed to the agencies of the 429 fallen heroes since Dallas. We meet monthly for our troop meeting, but also usually monthly to process stars.

Additionally, the girls have submitted an entry to the City of Thornton Outside the Box Traffic Mural project based on their work with the Senior Journey, Girltopia. This Journey called upon the girls to imagine, inspire, and create a world perfect for girls and to share that Girltopia with others. We’re on the edge of our seats as we won’t know until the end of the month if their submission was selected. This is just another example of young women creating change and inspiring hope.

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L.?

As a classic Type-A extrovert, I’ve always had a tendency to push the limits, speak up for myself, chase dreams and try new things. Being a troop leader has allowed me to model this same thirst for life to the girls in my troop. Being a go-getter means encouraging my girls to pursue their passions, to find their niche and develop it. Two of my girls have their black belt in karate. One of my girls is an accomplished artist. The other a talented dancer. They all do well academically. They get up, and they go. Being the troop leader for Girl Scout Seniors is the biggest challenge to being an innovator. How do I keep their attention? How do I meld their varied interests and talents? How do I keep them engaged in Girl Scouting? By working with the other moms, we brainstorm and then provide outside the box chances for our girls to keep growing, learning, and sharing.  We give the girls a great deal of choice to decide what badges to earn, what SU events to participate in, and what programs to get involved in with the community to make a difference. I believe being a risk-taker and a leader go hand in hand, you can’t really be one and not the other. I have to demonstrate to my girls what it looks like to make hard choices, volunteer my talents, and have a positive work ethic, so they witness first hand that women really can have it all, and cake too. I work full time, I volunteer full time, I drive the carpool and chaperone to activities five nights per week. I think its important to demonstrate to these girls, our future leaders, that everything is possible. I’m excited to watch their talents blossom, their passions cement and their personalities come to life. They are each so unique and different, but have come to love and respect each other through the years. Not only are we building future leaders, we’re solidifying lifelong friendships. I may be super busy, but being a troop leader for these girls means I make them and their best interests a priority.

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.

Volunteer Spotlight: Brenda Fry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Brenda Fry of Severance in the Northern & Northeastern CO region is a retired troop leader, current service unit manager, service unit cookie manager, and service unit recruitment manager. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Brenda 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 volunteer to be involved in my daughter’s troop and to help fill the need for volunteers, as I know how important Girl Scouting is for our younger generation being a Girl Scout myself.  

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

I originally started as a support volunteer for the troop and assisting at a couple of day camps that our service unit sponsored. I then became a troop co-leader onto a troop leader and then as I saw our service unit struggle with structure, I accepted the position of service unit manager not only for 726 Windsor/Severance, but also 704 Eaton/Ault/Nunn/Pierce. I also had accepted the positions of service unit fall program manager and service unit cookie manager for both service units.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

As a volunteer, you have some many contacts not only with each troop but also within your region. You as a volunteer can assist with the success of the troops in your area. I also try to be supportive of not only the troops I work with, but also GSCO as we try to pass along the information to our troop leaders or leadership team to share with their parents/girls. Volunteers can also be key resources in assisting girls in obtaining their Gold Awards, which is the highest award in Girl Scouts.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I feel it is important to the girls build their confidence, character, and courage. These are some of the core elements that Girl Scouts want to help teach girls. By the girls participating in product programs, it helps them to build their confidence and find the courage to talk to adults and have a meaningful conversation about their goals and what they are doing to achieve those goals. I also enjoy watching the girls grow and become their own person with great ideas and want to be a role model to younger Girl Scouts.

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

By being a volunteer with Girl Scouts, it has helped me step out of my comfort zone and find ways to get the troop leaders or troop leadership team on board to participate in the product programs and to want to expand our girl membership in both service units that I work with. I am working with council on ways to not only retain our current volunteers, but to also find ways to recruit new girls. While recruiting new girls we don’t necessarily increase numbers in existing troops, but to start new troops with the support to be successful. We are looking at possibly partnering new troops with existing troops in a mentor type way so they would be able to have a direct contact of someone who probably has gone through some of the same challenges they are facing and find answers that could work.  

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jenni Grossman

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Jenni Grossman of Grand Junction in the Western Slope region started out as a troop support volunteer, but quickly took on more volunteer roles, including troop cookie manager. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Jenni 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 first became a Girl Scout volunteer to allow my own girls to get involved in Girl Scouts. We were living in Denver and they needed another adult body to help the troop. I agreed and mostly observed. The girls liked the activities they were participating in and I liked the idea of girls becoming leaders. Then, we moved to Grand Junction. My two daughters wanted to continue Girl Scouts. So, we got them signed up to find out that they needed a leader for them to participate. I was hesitant to jump in, so I agreed to co-leading and have never looked back. I now have four girls participating in Girl Scouts (Daisies- Cadettes).  I lead the Cadettes group and have been the troop cookie manager for the last three years. I learn as much from the girls as I hope they learn from me. Girls need positive adults in their lives, especially as they get older and I want to give them one more adult they can trust, laugh with, talk to, and learn from. I never have a day where I don’t feel like going to our troop meetings- being met with hugs from the girls makes it all worth it.  I also get to spend time with my own girls, letting them blossom, and learn things in the Girl Scout program. 

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

Right now, I help with part of a constantly growing troop of 34 girls.  We have girls in our troop from the Daisy level through Cadette.  I currently am the Cadette leader.  This role has helped me turn things over to be girl-led. My Cadettes pick the badges they want to teach and they teach their sister scouts. It is incredible to watch them become teachers, gaining confidence, courage, and life skills along the way! 

I have lead at the Brownie and Junior levels as well. I also have been the troop cookie manager for the last three years. I have helped support some of our newer leaders and helped them become more comfortable at the Girl Scout level they are guiding. 

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

As a Girl Scout volunteer, I have learned that girls are powerful! They can do anything they put their minds out to accomplish. One of my proudest moments so far was seeing my oldest daughter earn her Bronze Award last year and I was one of the leaders who helped facilitate the girls pursuing the award. She earned that award and immediately thought of what she might like to do to earn her Silver Award. If we as leaders guide the girls into reaching and dreaming for their potential, we have accomplished so much. I have also learned that no matter where girls come from, even though some may come from hard places, if they have leaders cheering them on and supporting them, they will grow. 

My Brownie daughter did not enjoy selling cookies last year as she too was scared. This year, she lead the way to decorate the wagon for door-to-door sales, wore a cookie costume with excitement at booth sales, and sold cookies nightly at her own stand in front of our house.  Girl Scout volunteers help change lives for Girl Scouts!

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope the girls see that the world is a bigger place than just their family and their school. I am also a foster mom and I have brought this aspect of my life into Girl Scouts as well. We had a little boy with Autism come into our family and I shared Girl Scouts with him. He also helped teach our Girl Scouts about differences and disabilities. This experience made our Girl Scouts so much more patient, understanding, and opened their eyes to how they treat others. His brain did not work the same way and the girls learned so much from him.  We extended it and earned an Autism patch. The girls learned that just because others might act different, say things that might be unusual, or use their bodies differently, they are still humans just like the girls and need love and understanding. This lesson for Girl Scouts in my troop was powerful!  

I also hope the girls have gained confidence from being in my troop. My kindergarten Daisy daughter did not have positive experiences with adults. She went into cookie season terrified to talk to adults. Her sisters  challenged her to sell cookies and I encouraged her. We went to our school and she was supposed to go to every staff member in the building to sell cookies. She was terrified to do the first couple. She looked at the ground when she asked them to buy cookies. When she was asked how much cookies cost, she would shrug her shoulders. We practiced and role played at home. After a few more sales, she began to look customers in the eye, stood taller with confidence when she talked, and sold almost 100 packages of cookies. She learned to count on her fingers how much more than one package of cookies would cost. She learned to look others in the eyes and make eye contact when you talk instead of looking at the ground. She learned that adults do not have to be scary but can be your customers, and her self-confidence and positive self-image blossomed!

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

My Girl Scout Cadettes have challenged me recently. We have done a troop camp for a couple years. The girls said that this year, that is not good enough. They want to dig deeper into camping and hiking by going backpacking to earn their Trailblazer and Primitive Camper badges. This is totally out of my comfort zone. I am learning things about backpacking right alongside the girls and am taking a risk. I am fearful for this backpacking trip, but I told myself that I can’t expect the girls to try new things if I don’t expect the same of myself!

 

 

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Bruun

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Chris Bruun of Englewood in the Metro Denver region has served as a troop leader, troop support volunteer, and cookie dad. He is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Chris to answer a few quick questions about his volunteer experience. We hope you find his as inspiring as we did.

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

My daughter wanted to be a Girl Scout and there wasn’t a troop at her school, so I started one. She got a couple of other girls from her school, but we drew in most of the rest from the surrounding schools. It was a very active troop. Meeting every other week and field trip every other week. I did my best to make sure the badges were not earned by sitting in a cafeteria but by learning something in the cafeteria and experiencing it on a field trip.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

I started as a troop leader, and was also the cookie dad and field trip planner that first year.  I had a blast doing it! This year, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be as active in the troop, so I closed the one I started and moved Emma to another one. This is a huge multi-level troop. I am still a volunteer with this troop and really enjoying watching the girls explore the world through Girl Scouts. I am going to be helping with camping for the troop this summer.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I have never been in charge of that many young ladies at once or been responsible for pushing knowledge into kids heads. And while I realize it is a very obvious realization, they all needed it presented differently to take it in. I found I really like seeing that light of understanding come on when we were exploring new ideas through the badges!

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I have done my best to teach the girls that failure is a part of life. The goal is to try, we will all fail once and a while. We have to dust our selves off and try again. We learn more from our failures then we do from our successes. Giving them a safe place to fail and then try again and succeed is truly a great feeling.

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

I am really amused at this question for obvious reasons.  Mostly because I am not a girl. That said the ideals that are encompassed in this motto are obviously applicable to both genders. Being a leader keeps you on your toes. These girls are eager to learn and experience the world and want to learn new things and earn new badges. As a leader, you have to keep at least one step ahead of them and to do that you need to be thinking out of the box. The lessen plans for the badges are a good first stop, but not the be all and end all to leading the girls. Once they get the idea in their head you need to be ready to move beyond the lesson plan to explore even more. Lots of the badges are just a taste of what they as Girl Scouts can go explore.  

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.

Leaders really make a difference

Submitted by Chris Kucera

Mountain Communities

Steamboat Springs

When you are feeling overworked and under-appreciated while putting your all into running your troop, remember that you are impacting girls for their whole lives. Today, I got one of the best kinds of thank you’s…

When I was in college and freshly married, I started a Girl Scout Junior troop in California. I was blessed with a wonderful group of girls long before I ever had a daughter of my own. A few months ago and again today, two of these beloved young women searched me out and friended me on Facebook. I just want to reach out and hug both of them. Over 20 years later, those girls remember me and want to reconnect with me.

When you need a Girl Scout pick-me-up, just think about the long term impact you are having. It certainly lifted my spirits and makes me want to go that extra mile!

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Jen Rotar

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Jen Rotar of Berthoud in the Northern & Northeastern CO region is a troop leader and for the past four years has coordinated the Scouting for Food event. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Jen 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? 

My daughter wanted her Girl Scout experience to include hiking, camping, and outdoor adventures – all stuff that I love to do. We decided the best way to make that happen was to start our own troop and recruit some friends. We quickly grew from one to six girls in the first year, and are now up to 13, and I have loved every minute of it.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout. 

I’m started as a clueless co-leader when my daughter was a Daisy – basically a warm body to meet the adult-to-girl ration. From there, I’ve grown to troop leader for Troop 70700 with 11 Cadettes and two Juniors.  I’m the note-taker for the Berthoud Service Unit’s monthly meetings. I’ve been a Kiwa Day Camp unit leader for the past two years and helped out with their website. I also organize Scouting for Food in Berthoud, a huge joint effort between all the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts in our town. I enjoy helping out with other service unit fun stuff as needed. And, I’m looking forward to becoming a Girl Scout trainer for other leaders at some point.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer? 

Patience, for sure. You can’t survive cookie season without it.

Humor. My sense of humor has increased proportionately with each new girl added to my troop. 

Communication. You can’t over-communicate with parents, emails, texts, Facebook, phone calls – the key to our successful events is making sure the parents get the message! 

But, my biggest lesson has been to embrace the “girl-led” philosophy. I’ve learned that being a troop leader is not about my vision for what the troop is doing. It’s all about the girls’ vision. As an adult, it’s easy for me to plan things, but it’s harder to step back and let the girls plan, especially when I have doubts about how their plans are going to work. I definitely give them suggestions and guidance, but I’ve learned that letting the girls succeed, or fail and learn from their experience, with their own ideas, is much more exciting and fun than mapping out every step for them.  

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope that they have learned to TRY ANYTHING and to not fear new experiences or failure. I hope they have learned some camping skills, and that “leave it better” is ingrained in their brains whether they are in a park, campground, on a hiking trail, or even a meeting room. I hope they have all built confidence in themselves with every new adventure they take with our troop.

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

I’m a go-getter in that I’m always on the lookout for ideas that my girls might like to try, and I’m willing to spend the time and make the effort it its something the girls are passionate about. I’m an innovator in that I’m not afraid to “wing it” when it comes to creative and spontaneous ideas from the girls. Starting a new troop was a big risk, but it has worked out great and I’m so glad to be here. And being a leader for these girls (guiding them, facilitating their ideas, following along on their adventures, and making sure no one is injured) has been a wonderful experience. 

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.