Tag Archives: Volunteer Appreciation

Donations provide seedling trees for post-fire restoration

Submitted by Ryan Lockwood, Colorado State Forest Service

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

With the scars of destructive 2018 wildfires still highly visible throughout Colorado, and affected families still working toward recovery, many in the state want to know what they can do to help. One way to have a positive impact on affected forests and communities is through the replanting of trees, which is the goal of the donor-driven Restoring Colorado’s Forests Fund.

Donations made to the Colorado State Forest Service-administered fund are used to provide seedlings for planting in areas impacted by wildfires, floods or other disasters, with an emphasis on areas critical to water protection, wildlife habitat and public benefit. Every $2 donation to the fund purchases one seedling, at no cost to the landowner. Since the CSFS established the program in 2003, its nursery has used program funds to provide more than 122,000 trees.

“Planting trees provides an important means to help stabilize soils, protect water supplies and restore the landscape as we address the long-term recovery of our communities and forests,” said Mike Lester, state forester and CSFS director.

The CSFS nursery in Fort Collins grows all the seedling trees for the program, to ensure that only those best adapted to local conditions are used for restoration efforts.

This year, the CSFS received an $11,000 donation to the Restoring Colorado’s Forests Fund from the Girl Scouts of Colorado, in honor of the organization’s volunteers. The donation, which represents the second large contribution from GSCO in the last two years, is intended to amplify the organization’s impacts toward reforestation efforts in Colorado.

“In recognition of all the amazing things that our volunteers do, we chose the gift of trees that will also have a lasting and positive impact by helping to restore forested areas in our beautiful state,” said Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie A. Foote.

The CSFS and Girl Scouts of Colorado continue building on a partnership largely intended to help youth gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of trees and forests in Colorado. As part of this effort, in June CSFS staff partnered with GSCO to help educate hundreds of Girl Scouts and their parents about forestry, the environment and related careers at a World Environment Day event at the Meadow Mountain Ranch near Allenspark.

In the past decade, the Restoring Colorado’s Forests Fund has used donations from individuals and organizations like GSCO for replanting efforts, in locations that include the burn scars of the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, the Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs and the Weber Fire near Durango. Following those fires, the loss of trees and other vegetation led to significant runoff and erosion – resulting in damaged hillsides, polluted waterways, highway closures and road damage.

The CSFS has intentionally delayed providing trees from the fund for replanting efforts this year, to allow time to first evaluate natural recovery from the 2018 fires. Over the fall and winter, after seeing how burned areas have recovered, the CSFS will assess applications from affected landowners and provide trees to recipients early in 2020.

To make a donation directly to the Restoring Colorado’s Forests Fund, visit https://advancing.colostate.edu/RestoringColoradosForests.

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The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) provides professional forestry assistance, wildfire mitigation expertise and outreach and education to help landowners and communities achieve their forest management goals. The CSFS is a service and outreach agency of the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and provides staffing for the Division of Forestry within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. For more information, visit csfs.colostate.edu.

Girl Scouts of Colorado is 32,000 strong—more than 22,000 girls and 10,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org.

Volunteer Spotlight: Vicki Tussey

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Vicki Tussey of Colorado Springs in the Pikes Peak region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Vicki 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 in 2013 when my youngest daughter was a Daisy. 

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

I started off as a co-leader for the Daisies in Troop 3893. I would plan the meetings and run the activities for the Daisies. I was a co-leader for two years before changing Girl Scout troops. In 2015, I became a co-leader for Troop 4000. My role within Troop 4000 was to help out with the activities and chaperoning on field trips. Then in 2016, my daughters joined Troop 2821. In that troop, I helped out as one of the cookie managers within our troop. In 2017, I became the service unit manager for Service Unit 22. 

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

As a parent of a Girl Scout, I never knew how much the leaders and the co-leaders did for the girls. It wasn’t until I became a co-leader myself did I realize how important the role was. 

I have learned how important it is to work one-on-one with each of the girls, be there for them, and take the time to listen and answer any questions they have. 

The hardest role I ever had was being one of the cookie managers. I learned how to be patient with the parents and understanding when financial issues came up.

As a service unit manager, I’ve learned it’s important to be available to provide resources and answer any questions a leader or co-leader may have. It’s also important to plan a monthly meeting for our leaders within our service unit. I never realized how important these meetings were until I started to attend them. It gives our leaders the opportunity to talk about experiences they’ve had within their troop and time to ask questions and to request help if a problem arises. 

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

The one thing I hope the girls have learned from me is, it is OK to ask questions.

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

It all started with volunteering with Girl Scouts for me. I have learned that I can be a leader for our Girl Scouts. That it is fun to try new things like, indoor skydiving or sleeping at a zoo. I can make a difference within my community by volunteering with not only the Girl Scouts but with many other organizations.

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

 

Region 3 Volunteer Appreciation

Submitted by Desiree McBride

Pueblo and Southeastern CO

Pueblo

Region 3 volunteers were celebrated April 17, 2019 with a spa day! Girl Scout volunteers were invited to experience a mini-mediation yoga session lead by Nova Stella Yoga and a mini-massage by Majestic Wellness and Massages. They were also invited to create their own bath bombs and face scrubs, something they were all excited to take back to their troops! The event started with the investiture of 12 new volunteers and ended with lots of relaxed volunteers who were ready for bed! One of the volunteers, Sam King, expressed her thanks in an email sent that night, “Thank you so much for tonight! [We] enjoyed ourselves and totally felt appreciated.”

Region 3 staff wants to thank every single volunteer for the hard work and dedication they have shown this year and every year!

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Megan Block

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Megan Block of Colorado Springs in the Pikes Peak region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Megan 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 really enjoyed my Girl Scout years ( 7-8 grade and 10 grade) in northern Maine and Belgium and I wanted to provide others girls with cool opportunities.

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

I began my Girl Scout leadership roles as a resident counselor at Camp Tanasi (Norris Lake in Tennessee) in 1991. I was a commissioned Lieutenant in the Air Force and I was waiting to go on active duty. At my first assignment at Wright-Patterson in Ohio, a fellow Lieutenant and I started a Brownie troop in Fairborn, Ohio and we led together for four years. I met and married my husband and we got stationed in Incirlik AB in Turkey in 1995. I got to lead a Daisy troop for 1.5 years while there. In 1998, we moved to Colorado Springs and we had our first child, Madison. When she entered kindergarten in 2003, I started her Girl Scout troop. After having my fourth child in 2004, my friend led the troop and I took a year off. I returned to leadership for her troop in 2005.  When my second daughter, Mackenzie started kindergarten in 2007, I started her troop as well. During this time, I have also held the nut and cookie mom positions every year, as well as serving as the SU 20 treasurer for two years and the SU 20 manager for six years.  Both of my girls have also earned their Gold Awards. I am also a BS volunteer and I also have an Eagle Scout and future Eagle Scout.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I have learned that you need to put the needs of the girls first and Girl Scouts is only as good as you make it. Try not to complain unless you are willing to step up and make things better. 

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope they have learned to be curious and explore the world around them. I want them to try new things and challenge themselves. The only limits you have are the ones you put on yourself!

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

As a leader, I have overcome many fears (dealing with mice and fears of the dark as a camp counselor; taking on a troop with a fellow 22-year-old and doing all sorts of overnights in Ohio; traveling with girls to MN, SD, CO, KS, MO and this summer CA) and planned countless troop and service unit events (Reach for the Peak, SU encampments, skate nights, thinking days, leader/daughter dinners, swim nights, trampoline events, paint parties, pottery days, etc). I have helped plan many badge weekends and “Journey in a weekend”— fully utilizing Girl Scout properties such as the Pueblo Loft, Hamp Hut, Twisted Pine, Sky High, Meadow Mountain Ranch, and Tomahawk. I always try to lead by example… going first off the 20-foot high dive at Norris Lake, taking the first leap of faith in Buena Vista, holding Rosie the Tarantula first at the Butterfly Pavillion, and leading countless flashlight-free night hikes.  While I love the idea of doing an EF Tour, we pride ourselves with doing summer trips that cost between $250 and $450 each summer. By utilizing Girl Scout and church properties and making our own meals, we still have a great time and make awesome memories! 

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: Carolyn Decker

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Carolyn Decker of Longmont in the Northern & Northeastern CO region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Carolyn 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?

Girl Scouting was a huge part of my life growing up with my mom, my three sisters, and I all all being involved. I had such great experiences as a Girl Scout, camping, backpacking, sailing, traveling, going to a spectacular art camp, being a camp counselor that I wanted to make sure my daughter also had a chance to experience Girl Scouts, so I volunteered to lead a troop when she was old enough.

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

While we lived in Arizona, I led a group of girls from when they Brownies through Cadettes. When we moved to Colorado, I became involved in a huge multi-level troop where I helped lead Daisies through Seniors. I am currently leading an Ambassador troop, or should I say I am guiding an Ambassador troop since the young women are the leaders now. I am also a Girl Scout trainer leading different level 101 classes and Cooking and Camping training.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

That Girl Scouting is just as fun as an adult as a girl! I am amazed by the passion and dedication that all the adult volunteers I have met have for making Girl Scouting happen for girls. I have also learned that Girl Scouting is the most fun when girls are making the decisions.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

That they are each in their own unique way powerful people that can make things happen.

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

I am naturally a solitary “go-getter,” but I have learned through Girl Scouting that working as a team toward a goal is really inspiring. I also have learned that you have incredible experiences when you are a risk-taker. I would never ever have considered learning to scuba dive without my girls and now they want to go on another traveling adventure to explore the world and scuba dive again!

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: 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. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Catherine Bendl

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Catherine Bendl of Golden in the Metro Denver region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Catherine 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 my girls were interested in trying Girl Scouts and I wanted to make sure their experience was a good one. Now that I’m a troop leader, I appreciate those volunteers who help to make events and outings possible because they are willing to help.

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

I am currently troop leader for our Cadette troop. It is such a rewarding experience and I’m so glad I took the leap to start a troop. Watching these older girls connect is so wonderful! Previously, I volunteered as an adult member of troops and helped with overnights, cookie sales, badge work, and meeting prep.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I have learned that volunteering is usually so easy and ends up being so worth it in the end. 

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope the girls have learned that giving time to help others is a vital part of what makes us successful people. I hope that they see that giving of yourself brings joy to others and to self.

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

I started my own business just before we started the new troop last fall. This experience has helped me to pursue my business in going after new clients and taking risks doing tasks I’ve never done before. I hope by making my business successful that the girls will learn that being a leader is a positive thing and will help them in the future. 

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: Aneida Slomski

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Aneida Slomski of Colorado Springs in the Pikes Peak region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Aneida 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 got my daughters into Girl Scouts because I enjoyed being a Girl Scout when I was a girl. It’s a great program and after a couple years, the troop needed a new leader, so I volunteered.

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

I started out as a Brownie Leader, and then we became a multi-level troop and I went up through the levels with my daughters. I work with the Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors now and I’m the treasurer for our troop. I love working with this level because they’re so capable and have such good ideas. I have volunteered at day camps and service units. Now, I’m a service unit co-director. I’m on various committees on the service unit level to help plan our fall campout and World Thinking Day activities. I help coordinate summer activities with our troop, like campouts and trips to go caving (the crawling on your knees kind, not the walking kind) and whitewater rafting. We have camped at three different Girl Scout camps in Colorado through the years. I’ve also helped coordinate many trips to local businesses and organizations, so the girls can learn how things work in our area and the girls can get service project ideas.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I am a homebody. The girls really get me out of my comfort zone and I like it. I started out not even knowing how to start a fire. I had to learn to cook outdoors; I think sometimes I cook better outdoors than indoors! I learned PowerPoint and Excel to help the troop. The first spreadsheet I made added the phone number. I had to learn knots, map and compass, lashing, and other outdoor skills, so I could teach the girls for the Reach for the Peak camping competition. They learned from the leaders, and then they just ran with it. They got so good at it that they reached the point where they told the leaders where to sign and where to drive them and they won the highest award.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope the girls have learned to try new things. If a girl has an idea (and they always have amazing ideas), there are adults who will help them get to where they want to be, cheering them on. I hope the girls learn about the outdoors and how capable they are in that environment. In a multi-level troop, they really get the opportunity to work with girls of different ages and cultural backgrounds. I hope they have learned that our differences are no big deal.

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

Being a leader has taught me to be on the lookout for exciting things to share with the girls and to work with others to make them happen. As an innovator, I’ve learned to create events from scratch like day camps and cultural events. I am not the type to take a lot of risks, but I was a risk-taker and a leader when I organized a townhall meeting to save Sky High Ranch. I have never gotten involved like that before, and it was really amazing to see my adult daughters, the girls from our area, former camp counselors, and so many local leaders coming together to speak up and save our camp. Council listened, they were very supportive, and Sky High Ranch was open for summer camp again. We did it for the girls.

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: Christine Kucera

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 annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org. 

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa Ali

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Lisa Ali of Denver in the Metro Denver region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO askedLisa 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 always wanted to be a Girl Scout. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance growing up as there was not enough volunteers in our neighborhood. I remember thinking as a little girl that I sure wished I could be a Girl Scout and wear an amazing Brownie uniform and go camping with all my girlfriends. I remember thinking that if I ever had a daughter, I would be a leader, so that she would get the chance to dawn the Brownie cap. I didn’t want her to miss out on becoming the best little human she could be and the experiences she would have with her Girl Scout friends would be priceless. So, when my daughter smiled up at me one day and shared that she wanted to be a Girl Scout, (she had a flyer in her Thursday folder from school) I looked into it. There were NO open troops of Daisies in our area. Initially, I felt defeated until council introduced Tiffany Stone to me and we met for coffee one afternoon and the rest is history. Our troop was established and the Daisies who began with the troop are still together as second year Juniors and first year Cadettes.

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

I was terrified to be a Girl Scout leader as I seriously had NO clue on how to run a Girl Scout troop. I was at a loss and I tell you thank goodness for my co-leader as she is creative, motivated, and AMAZING. So amazing that since she runs the Urban Trails Service Unit I had to throw my hat in the ring and I have been the service unit cookie manager finishing my fourth year.  So, I am a Girl Scout mom, leader, and SUCM. I just love the volunteers in Urban Trails as they are an amazing group of people who make having the roles I play worth every moment. 

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

Well, as a volunteer I have learned a variety of things about myself, my daughter, engaging parents, and team work. Being a leader is a lot of work. Helping the girls learn how to be the best humans they can be through kindness, empathy, diversity, and respecting themselves and showing respect to others has been an amazing challenge. It was like herding cats when they were Daisies, all that energy and sparkle it was almost impossible to contain. When they became Brownies and they started to take an active interested in “being girl led,” it was challenging to let them have more of the control and creativity, as they continued to explore who they are as individuals and as a troop. I learned what the term “safe failures” means and how it helps our girls become confident and self sufficient. Teaching them to stand up for themselves and others in a way that is kind and assertive has been such an area of growth.  Watching them support one another as they take on life challenges or they see a fellow Girl Scout sister emotionally hurting and supporting them without prompts, was the most amazing reward for me to experience. I think in regards to what I have learned about being a Girl Scout volunteer regarding my troop has been the girls learning that they don’t always win, an that is okay, taking a loss or a failure for a learning experience and trying harder the next time has been breath taking.  Our girls have always been go-getters, innovators, risk -takers, and are becoming leaders. From the very inception of our troop, we have always had the expectations the girls would give back to their community as part of their yearly activities. Every year they have picked a give back project and paid for it through some of the earnings from the Fall Product or Girl Scout Cookie programs.  Our girls have given cookies and suitcases to kids in foster care, so that they don’t have to move from home to home with their belongings in a plastic bags. They have built and painted a little library for the community where their meetings are held and created a community garden amongst other things.  It has been a joy to watch them grow, not only physically but emotionally and mentally. I know I rambled as I began to write my thoughts got a way from me. I have learned that it takes a village to have an amazing troop. We have that, between the leaders, the girls and the parents and all the support they give our troop is able to thrive. 

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope they have learned to believe in themselves, that making mistakes is just fine, being a team is empowering, and that being accountable for your actions is key to growth as a beautiful human. 

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

Well, this is a loaded question. I am a Puerto Rican, African American, Caucasian adopted woman who struggles with dyslexia and ADHD.  I don’t like being in the spotlight as all my life I have struggled with finding my place of belonging and believing in myself.  You know self esteem issues and all that.  Being an adopted bi-racial person, I was always the square peg that just didn’t quite fit. I wanted something different for my daughter, I wanted her to have a sense of belonging from a very young age. So, I knew that I wanted to create a troop that is diverse in all ways possible. I wanted to have a place where all girls regardless of their ethnic background, socio economic situation, family dynamics, cultural experience, or learning style had a place to feel accepted for who they are as they are. I wanted to create a troop where all girls had a sense of belonging and sisterhood was true.  Becoming a Girl Scout volunteer, I knew as a brand-new troop leader that I was going to make mistakes, grow from them, and become a better person. Definitely not without hard work and some bumps along the way. I believe that I have become a go-getter by exceeding my boundaries and challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone. Hiking in the woods, sleeping in uncomfortable places, and walking in the dark with the fear of bears are just a few of the obstacles I have overcome.  Not to mention placing myself in a role where others depend on me as the person who can support and help them have a successful cookie season.  Managing all the ins and outs of being a SUCM in an organized fashion takes patiences, innovation, and leadership.  The challenge of my dyslexia and ADHD has always been so difficult growing up and not wanting others to see me as flawed I always seemed to shy away from leadership roles which would have me standing out in the crowd. I was much more of a blend into the shadows type of person. I now understand ADHD and dyslexia are part of who I am and that being a risk-taker, go-getter, and innovator has made me a great leader therefore helping me to embrace ALL that I am. I am grateful for the parents in our troop, the girls and especially my co-leader because without all these individuals I may still have been someone who was okay with staying in the shadows.  Volunteering has helped me grow, heal and accept me for me and I now know I am enough.  

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