Tag Archives: Volunteer Appreciation

Volunteer Spotlight: Nicole Niles


Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state. Nicole Niles in the Pikes Peak region was recently recognized for her outstanding work as a GSCO 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 Nicole 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 of course! I didn’t get to go far on my Girl Scout journey due to an out-of-state move and family issues when I was young. When I became a mom to my beautiful girl, I knew I wanted to get her involved when she was old enough. 10 years later here I still am volunteering.

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

The many roles I play just like the most of us 🙂 I am a troop leader and fall and cookie sale manager. I serve on our service unit’s board as secretary and I am a GPS advisor. GPS is “girl planning system, ” a group of girls who help plan various events around the Pikes Peak region. I help on the cookie committee and most importantly, I am the mother of a Girl Scout, so helping her on her journey to achieve her goals is my biggest role.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

What have I learned ? Well, I have learned a lot. Peer pressure is a big issue these girls face, along with the image factor. I have seen a lot of girls quit Girl Scouts because friends did not think it was cool and these girls wanted to protect their image and not be associated with the group. I have also learned that aside from the girls who give up, there are also those that stand taller because of being a Girl Scout and they are not bothered with the image and they want to go farther in their journey and help fellow girls around them succeed and reach their goals.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

If the girls I encounter during Girl Scouts can take anything away from me, I hope that they take away the hard work and perseverance of their journey. I see and encounter such a strong group of girls, who aside from sports, school, work, social life, and family,  give just as much effort to Girl Scouts and I hope that they know how proud I am of their hard work and determination and know they will go far in life and can achieve anything they set their mind too!

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory?

I have so many over the last years, but the one that touched me the most was during the cookie sale two years ago. My entire troop sold for each other. I know all leaders divide cookies differently and we all have our own way. The way my troop divides puts it as what you sell is what you earn to include booths. Two years ago not a single girl in my troop just sold for herself. One sold for so and so trying to get the Build-A-Bear experience.  One sold for a girl to go to a Top Seller event and on and on the cycle went. I spent cookie: season in tears, amazed at the lessons my troop/girls have learned: Be a sister to every Girl Scout, friendly, and helpful. That has to be my most memorable memory that touched me in my Girl Scout journey.

What words of advice do you have for other volunteers?

Reach out for help. Take advantage of the trainings offered both online and in office. Seek out help from your service unit. Don’t be afraid to ask even if you are asking a girl 🙂 There are several girls who actually seek out to help and mentor new troops. Girl Scouts is thousands strong. Use your resources and use them wisely!

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: Theresa Szczurek


Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state. Lifetime Girl Scout Theresa Szczurek of Boulder recently received the Volunteer Service Award from GSCO for decades of service. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

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

How long have you been a Girl Scout?

I joined Girl Scouts as a 4th grader in Cicero, IL and participated through high school.  Now, I am a Lifetime Girl Scout.

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

I love being a Girl Scout. Girl Scouts builds girls with courage, character, and confidence and prepares girls to be leaders. Over 64% percent of today’s women leaders in the United States in civic, corporate, political, and entrepreneurial arenas were once Girl Scouts including Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and many others.

At first in New Jersey in the late 1980’s even before I had children, I was a Girl Scout Cadette leader for a few years to help build strong girls. After returning to Colorado and when my daughter entered first grade, I helped organize her Brownie troop at her elementary school. I wanted my daughter to grow strong, make friends, learn new skills, build her confidence and courage, strengthen her core values and character, and see the world through the experience of this powerful, world-wide organization.  Being a Girl Scout volunteer is for me a pursuit of passionate purpose — it is in line with my values and gifts (or passion), helps me work toward the purpose of growing girls with courage, confidence, an character, presents many opportunities to pursue this purpose and assess progress along the way.

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

I have been a Brownie, Junior, and Cadette leader in Boulder. I currently am and have been since 2010 a Senior and Ambassador Girl Scout troop co-advisor for super Troop 70007, which has Girl Scouts from throughout Boulder County.  I enjoy being the Gold Advisor, among other things, helping our Girl Scouts earn the highest award.

I have been a member of the Zephyr Service Unit leadership team since 2013. It supports Girl Scout troops throughout Boulder and beyond. I help coordinate the program and calendar and serve as the Highest Award advisor to the SU. 

I was the Keynote speaker at the Leadership Summit in Boulder in Fall 2016.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer? What do you hope girls have learned from you?

One of the most important lessons for me to learn, was to let go of being the Troop Leader and instead become the Troop Advisor by letting the Girl Scouts lead.  This role as an adult volunteer evolves as a troop moves from Brownies to Ambassadors and the Girl Scouts grow in their abilities.  It means that sometimes the girls will do things differently then I envision.  I recall when our troop was running Outdoor Skills Day Camps. My daughter Annie was the overall Camp Coordinator that year.  A big snowstorm was forecast for the Saturday of one of our camps. GSCO decided to cancel all activities that day, but let our troop make its own decision on running our camp or not. While I would have decided to go along with GSCO and cancel the camp, Annie made the courageous decision to run the camp. It was a huge learning and leadership experience for her. The storm was not as bad as forecast and 70 younger pre-registered Girl Scouts had a fabulous time rather than being stuck at home.  Annie also decided to give parents an option to pull their girl out and get a refund.

It means letting them fail and learn from it, if they don’t step up to lead.  One year our Senior / Ambassador troop decided it wanted to go on a Caribbean cruise leaving from Florida. The girls did not step up to do the research and make the decision in time. That trip did not happen, but instead they were able to get organized and go on a Colorado camping trip. Here are a few other lessons learned:

Four Practical Pointers from Girl Scout Travel.  

  1. Open and Be Flexible. Annie had been raising money for two years to go to the India Centre, Sangam. She sold 1000’s of packages of Girl Scout Cookies and wrapping paper, led outdoor skills day camps as fundraisers, and even applied for (and won) a Look Wider International Travel Scholarship from Girl Scouts of Colorado. This council-wide trip to Sangam, for high school age Girl Scouts from across the State of Colorado, did not come together as it should have.  So in February, Annie and I regrouped, assessed the situation, and concluded – Why not go as a mother / daughter team to Our Chalet, the oldest WAGGGS Centre located in Switzerland, and Pax Lodge in UK?  By being flexible with a broader vision, we pivoted and took action to go to Europe.  We are glad we did! 

Here was the Attraction Strategy at work –hold a broad intention and open to opportunities that are everywhere, while thinking, feeling passionately, and taking action to get what you want.  How can you attract an alternative solution when you are stuck?

  1. Pack Lightly. Note, packing includes your attitude as well as your bag. Once you have packed your bag, evaluate if you really need each item, and reduce by at least one third. Pack even lighter. Oh how we wish we would have done this on our Europe trip. 

We arrived at 7 p.m. by train into Bern, Switzerland, the lovely capital, after a long traveling day that started in Iceland at 6 a.m. We could not find the information booth to get a map.  With the hotel address in hand, we started walking burdened with our backpacks – it is not far, people  said.  45 minutes later, tired and hungry, we searched for a taxi.  Finally, we found one.  As we were about to put our heavy bags into the cab, the driver pointed,  “Just walk that way 100 meters.” Finally 300 meters later, as despair was about to set in, we saw our hotel.  While indeed we had packed many positive items, next time we will come without as much gear. 

Here was the Pack Strategy – when embarking on a path of passionate purpose, pack energizers that encourage you along the way and unpack hindrances that discourage you.  How can you lighten your personal or professional load? 

  1. Are You Ready? Are You Prepared?  Finnish Girl Guides respond to these questions, “Born ready!  Always prepared!”  Part of our adventure included reaching the summit of three peaks.  Our goal was to summit Bunderspitz.  We prepared through the week with increasingly longer hikes day by day.  Using the divide-and-conquer strategy, we started hiking around 7:30 p.m. on the first segment and arrived at the Cheesemaker’s Hut at 9:30 p.m. where we got a few hours sleep.  At 2:30 a.m. in total darkness and silence, we were ready for the assault.  We accomplished the overall goal piece by piece – first to the highest barn on the mountain where we ate an early breakfast, then through the fog to the saddle, and then on through the final stretch to the summit for sunrise at 5:35 a.m.  While the clear, panoramic view we yearned for never appeared, we did catch glimpses of the majestic mountains.  Then slowly we descended five hours back to Our Chalet feeling exhilarated. 

Here was the Persistence Strategy in action:  mindfully persevere with focused determination using a divide-and-conquer tactic. Try tackling your next big project using the divide and conquer approach of the Persistence Strategy.  

  1. Make New Friends, But Keep the Old. With ten million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 145 countries across the world, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world.  We share common values of building girls with courage, character, and confidence and taking action.  Recently WAGGGS launched a Global Action Theme whereby girls worldwide say “together we can change our world.” This awareness raising programme is directly linked to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (https://www.wagggs.org/en/what-we-do/sustainable-development-goals-and-global-action-theme/).  One SDG is:  promote gender equality and empower women. 70 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion people living in poverty are women, and 45 million girls around the world are being denied an education. WAGGGS believes that ‘empowering girls will change our world.’

At Our Chalet and Pax Lodge we made new international friends, reaffirmed our values, had fun singing songs, challenged ourselves physically and mentally, built a new skill by taking lots of photos, rejuvenated, and much more.  In addition to precious mother / daughter together time before Annie left for college, we even met the WAGGGS commissioner from Taiwan. 

Here was the Connections Strategy at work – build relationships with and bring along on life’s journey the proper people and support network and lessen the impact of improper ones.    Who is or should be part of your support network?

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory?

There are so many memories from seeing two Girl Scouts helping each other in a magical moment learn to fish, recognizing the scouts grow in their abilities to run their own cookie business,  the younger girls progress in outdoor skills from short hike to backyard camping to lodge overnights to tent camping to backpacking, working with other leaders and parents, traveling domestically such as canoeing on the Buffalo River in Arkansas and internationally such as a 10-day adventure and service trip to Costa Rica, and helping scouts establish a plan and execute on it to earn their Highest Awards.   I have been so honored to be the troop advisor to nine (9) scouts who have earned their Gold Award with three more now at the Gold Candidate stage — WOW! 

My favorite memory, if I had to choose just one, is the mother / daughter trip to Our Chalet, the oldest WAGGGS Centre located in Switzerland, and Pax Lodge in UK.  I highly recommend going to the international centres. 


What words of advice do you have for other volunteers?

Being a Girl Scout volunteer is for me a pursuit of passionate purpose — it is in line with my values and gifts (or passion), helps me work toward the purpose of growing strong leaders, presents many opportunities to pursue this purpose, and give a chance to assess progress and learn along the way. 

Volunteers, recognize the important work you are doing in helping girls pursue their passions and grow with courage, confidence, and character.  I hope you agree, there is nothing more meaningful and important.  That is why I love being a Girl Scout!

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: Lorrie Marzulla


In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state. Lorrie Marzulla in the Pikes Peak region was nominated as a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community. She has several GSCO volunteer roles, including:

  • Longtime Service Unit Product Sales Manager for Service Units 412 and 406
  • Member of the Gold Award Committee for the Pikes Peak region and mentor to Gold Award candidates
  • Active member of the Pikes Peak region’s Cookie Committee

We asked Lorrie to answer a few questions about her experiences as a Girl Scout volunteer. We hope you find her story as inspiring as we did!

How long have you been a Girl Scout?

I was a Girl Scout as a Brownie, Junior, and two years as a Cadette. Our troop’s leader could no longer be a leader for our troop and we could not find another leader or troop to join, so we had to disband. It was a big disappointment for all of us.

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

Due to my Girl Scout experience, I felt that there would be dedicated adult leadership for my daughter’s troop. I felt that the Girl Scout legacy would be different for the girls in my troop. I wanted them to experience all of the wonderful skills and leadership opportunities that Girl Scouts had to offer.

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

I was always the Troop Cookie Mom for our troop and enjoyed helping the girls to achieve their goals in selling. Selling cookies was a necessary part of our agenda – raising funds to support lofty goals that were decided by the girls. We had a girl run troop from their first day of Juniors. It was expected and well-received.

I also am a judge for Reach for the Peak. I find it fascinating to watch these teams compete using their camping skills, but love to watch the teams figure out how to actually perform as a team. I feel anyone can learn the correct way to tie a knot, but working as a high performance team is a skill you learn with practice and with others to be successful.

I also volunteer as a mentor on the Gold Award Committee. I love helping these high achieving ladies develop wonderful projects that enhance our community and turn their ideas into a program that continues long after they graduate from high school. It is fun to watch their confidence and leadership grow as they establish their goals and then achieve them. It still amazes me how they achieve and close out a Gold Award project and still keep up their academics, sports, jobs, and everything else they are committed to in life. The girls really learn how to juggle priorities and learn how to put 10 lbs. of stuff in a 5 lb. can.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer? What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope they learn that if they set their mind to a goal, they can achieve it with proper planning. I hope girls learn how to work with others to achieve their goals and how to reach out to other women to gain support in all areas of life. Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork!

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory?

My favorite memory was camping as a troop when I was a Junior. I was a Girl Scout in Michigan and the camping experience was diverse and varied from the shores of the Great Lakes to canoeing and camping at the Girl Scout camps in Michigan. We loved to sled and winter camp at Camp Holly and loved sleeping in the cabin’s loft full of bunk beds. We used to make ‘spider webs’ out of string throughout the loft and then try to get from one end to the other without touching the string— very difficult and a lot of fun.

What words of advice do you have for other volunteers?

Every volunteer will encounter tough situations be it tough troop dynamics, parents who choose to not get involved or provide support, or well-intentioned plans going south. Just know that you are being observed by the girls in your troop and you are their role model. Solve dynamics and tough outcomes with a smile on your face. Use the words “oh well – what change can I make to have a better outcome next time.”   I also believe that “girl-led” troops have the best outcomes. Start the girls early in learning how to run their own show. These troops are the most successful and stay together. Everyone likes making their own choices and this is very true in Girl Scouting. Keep it fun!

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

Denver celebrates key volunteers


What did you do for throwback Thursday?  Girl Scouts of Colorado staff sported vintage Girl Scout leader uniforms ranging from the 1940s through the 1980s as they honored Denver Metro key volunteers at the GSCO Appreciation Event on Thursday, May 19th.  Not to be outdone, many of the volunteers showed up wearing components from their own vintage Girl Scout uniforms or clothing representing the period in which they were Girl Scouts.

The volunteer appreciation event was held to recognize volunteers who go above and beyond in demonstrating their dedication to the Girl Scout movement at both the local and council levels.  Among these stellar volunteers were service unit team members and service unit managers, service unit product sales managers, trainers, mentors serving on the Gold Award Committee and members of the GSCO Membership Connection Committee.  Most of these volunteers hold multiple roles beyond the troop level while continuing to serve girls on their troop leadership teams.

Seven phenomenal volunteers attending the event were recognized by GSCO President and CEO, Stephanie Foote, for receiving Girl Scouts of Colorado and Girl Scouts of the USA Volunteer Appreciation Awards.  The honorees included:

GSCO Outstanding Volunteer

  • Kim Foster

GSUSA Volunteer of Excellence

  • Tammy Bowen
  • Laurie Nieb
  • Mary Scruggs
  • Becky Smith

GSUSA Appreciation Pin

  • MJ Bishop
  • Caroline Cornell

Congratulations to all these extraordinary volunteers who have demonstrated their commitment and passion for the success of Girl Scouting.

The uniforms staff were wearing and displays of Girl Scout memorabilia were made possible by the GSCO History Committee, a group of outstanding volunteers who collect and maintain these items.

Volunteer appreciation green carpet event

Submitted by Julie Gallagher

Northern and Northeastern CO


On Friday April 15th, the Northern/Northeastern Colorado regional team held their 3rd Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event for all their wonderful volunteers. The theme was a green carpet event, complete with paparazzi waiting to take pictures as the guests entered.

Volunteers such as Service Unit Managers, trainers and mentors were presented with the coveted Golden Girl Scout award. All volunteers got to make a fun wine charm to put on the Trefoil wine glasses that they all received. Many selfies were taken at the photo booth and all enjoyed the yummy treats that the regional team made for the event. These treats included Girl Scout cookie Trefoils, cake pops, mini quiches, and NLT bites. Yum yum! GSCO President and CEO, Stephanie Foote, and COO, Jacky Noden, were in attendance, and Stephanie spoke to the volunteers, thanking them for all their hard work and dedication.

Much fun was had by all and the team is already starting to plan for next year’s event.

Girl Scouts in Pueblo sponsor “Daisy Diner” volunteer appreciation


Submitted by Carmen Valdez


Pueblo and Southeastern Colorado

Save the Date:
Volunteer Appreciation
Date: Tuesday, April 5th
Time: 6:30-8:00 pm
Location: Rawlings Library, 100 E. Abriendo Ave,
Ryals Room

We will be rocking and rolling with games, food, and fun to celebrate our amazing volunteers!

Registration through Sign Up Genius coming soon.

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

Why do you love your leader?

Leaders are the extraordinary force that make Girl Scouting possible every day—and that is truly amazing. They give their time, spark, and hearts to make a difference in the lives of girls who in turn help make the world a better place.

Volunteer Appreciation Day is April 22, 2015 and we want girls to help us honor outstanding leaders. Girls should write a short essay about why they love their leader. Girls 12-years-old and younger can have a parent help them. Girls 13-years-old and older should write their essay themselves. Submit your essay through Share Your Stories on the Girl Scouts of Colorado web-site and be sure to include a photo of your leader, preferably involved in a Girl Scout-related activity. However, any photo will do. You may also submit a link to a YouTube or Vimeo video. All submissions must be received by Thursday April 23, 2015.

The best stories will be shared on the Girl Scouts of Colorado blog and social media networks. We also have a special prize for the best submissions to show our leaders just how much we appreciate them.

If you have questions, please email Girl Scouts of Colorado Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper.


Two awarded Appreciation pins

Submitted by Marilyn Calhoun
Western Slope

Girl Scouts of Colorado, Mesa County, recently held a Volunteer Appreciation event. Volunteers were honored for their years of service, and many received the Girl Scout 100th Anniversary Honor certificate.

Two troop leaders received National Girl Scout awards. Melinda Goertz and Wendy Jones spent many hours during the summer guiding 30 girls through the requirements and helping them develop leadership skills that resulted in 15 Junior Girl Scouts receiving the Bronze Award, the highest award that can be earned by that age level. Fifteen Girl Scout Cadettes earned the Silver Award, the highest award that the Cadette level can earn.

Melinda and Wendy were recipients of the Girl Scout Appreciation Pin, one of three National Awards that recognize adult volunteers for their work. Congratulations to both women for the fine job that they do to help girls become women of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

Photo: left-Melinda Goertz, right- Wendy Jones