Tag Archives: Volunteer News

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.

Updated Overnight Trips class available online

Some of the most memorable experiences girls have in Girl Scouts, begin with their first overnight trip! Having that first big adventure with their troop is an exciting time for the girls and for you.

To support your experience as a volunteer, Girl Scouts of Colorado offers training that guides you through the process of working with your troop to help them plan their progressive adventures.

One of those classes is Overnight Trips, newly revised and live on our eLearning site! New resources have been added to the class too. You will find a comprehensive list of best places to go, with links to websites and contact information. You can use it to jumpstart your brainstorm session with the girls in your troop about possible overnight venues or destinations. The class guide includes a sample itinerary and packing lists, along with additional information to support your troop planning process. There are links to Girl Scouts of Colorado properties and camp information, along with links to the forms you will need as well.

Overnight Trips is an essential and required training for volunteers planning a trip of one-two nights with their troop, and it is a prerequisite class for Extended Trips and Cooking and Camping.

To take eLearning classes, go to our online training site, http://training.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/login/index.php. If you need assistance accessing the site, please contact Shannon Weaver, Adult Experience Manager, at 303.607.4897, or email her at Shannon.Weaver@gscolorado.org.

Volunteer Spotlight: Elba Barr

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Elba Barr of Colorado Springs in the Pikes Peak region has been a Girl Scout volunteer for more than a decade, serving in many different 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 Elba 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 have been a volunteer with Girl Scouts in some capacity for nearly 15 years. I became a volunteer because the direct impact my leaders had on me as a kid. I decided to continue volunteering because I understand that I have a generational impact working with these amazing young ladies. ​In these young ladies, I have intense hope and faith in our future, cause they are trailblazers!

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

I have been a Gold Award mentor (in other councils), multi-level troop leader, service unit fall program and cookie program manager.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I have learned that actively trying failing at something is the greatest achievement someone can take​. We as a society focus so much on perfection and not how many chances/failed attempts it takes to get there. I think celebrating and recognizing failure and how to learn from it is the greatest thing I have learned and share with these girls. 

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope my girls have learned from me that the answer to a question will always b​e no if never asked. I want them to ask all the “stupid” or “obvious” questions and continue to learn/grow to be the best versions of themselves they can be.

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

I have started and failed in business adventures. I have learned that being a leader is not the easy option and that taken the “hard left over the easy right” is a constant challenge and that billions of new ideas every day waiting to be discovered you just have to try. But, the most important thing I have learned being a volunteer is that I don’t need to be the best in someone else’s vision, I just need to be the best version of me I can be at this time, because next year or five years from now, I’m going to be different.  

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 Appreciation Month: A tree for every volunteer

Girl Scouts prepares girls for a lifetime of leadership. You – our amazing volunteers – play a big part in their success.

Our appreciation gift to volunteers 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 made a donation to the Restoring Colorado’s Forests Fund, through the Colorado State Forest Service, to purchase a tree in honor of each of our volunteers.

Your time, energy, and dedication to making Girl Scouts a great experience for girls has a lasting and positive impact. In recognition of all the amazing things that you 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.

Thank you for being a Girl Scout volunteer!

Stephanie A. Foote, President and CEO

Girl Scouts of Colorado

Thank You Letter to Girl Scouts of CO From Mike Lester

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Southern

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Julie Southern of Arvada in the Metro Denver region currently volunteers with her daughter’s troop and the Outdoor Adventure Club. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

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

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

When my daughter joined Girl Scouts, I just naturally volunteered to be with her and experience the activities with her. I had not been a Girl Scout, so I was not sure what to expect. I continue to be overly impressed with the entire organization and lovely women in the program. The quality of programming and adventures that are planned for these young women is awesome. I am a middle school teacher and I truly appreciate that my own middle school girl has these opportunities. Therefore, I want to give back to this wonderful group and help out in anyway possible.

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

I volunteer with the troop and also with the Outdoor Adventure Club. When I volunteer with the troop, I take on many different roles from leading meetings, to traveling with the troop to Girl Scout properties and being a camp leader, and just being a support for our leaders.  

With the Outdoor Adventure Club, I have had the amazing opportunity to support the girls in the countless adventures they have been challenged to accomplish. I have lead small groups, games, night time discussions and recaps, and just been their to support the organization. Anna Danilla has planned such amazing opportunities for these girls. I have been by the Girl Scouts as they encouraged each other through small cave spaces, down the face of a mountain, bouldering up a rock field, biking through the field, dog sledding, swimming, wilderness survival skills, archery, and so much more. To witness the growth, leadership, and encouragement that these girls give to each other is an honor.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I have learned as a Girl Scout volunteer that being able to be by the sides of these young women is an honor. If I can continue to turn the responsibility of the experience and problem solving on the girls, they will learn and grow. I have to be willing to step aside and let these girl’s thrive. They never cease to amaze me.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope that the Girl Scouts learn that anything is truly possible if you keep trying. I also hope they learn to set personal goals, to try THEIR best, to do THEIR hardest, and to have FUN! By focusing on doing their own best, then they can achieve their goals.

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

See answers above.  I know that working with Girl Scouts has challenged me as well. Trusting that the girl is going to safely handle a bow and arrow, a kayak, to hold the line as you mountain climb is truly being a risk-taker. Also, the Girl Scouts are so encouraging of each other and of the adults that are choosing to take the challenge by choice. In the cave, we all had to guide each other through the crevices and tunnels because you literally could not see what was up in front of you. This made me be very clear in the directions and questions to the girls around me to help me get through the experience as well.

In nature, you can make plans and be prepared, but sometimes you have to adjust to plan C and plan D.  I think that is when the natural innovator in me and the girls comes out. It is so great to have the girls modify and come up with solutions when the first ideas get washed away with the weather. It is such a great experience to be by these girls as well and I continue to learn from them.

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Ellenberger

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Melissa Ellenberger of Colorado Springs in the Pikes Peak region is both a troop leader and service unit 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 Melissa 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 is a family tradition.  My mother was my troop leader and earned the Curved Bar Award. As a Girl Scout, I earned the Gold Award.  I volunteered to ensure my daughter had a great Girl Scout experience.  

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

At first, I was a leader.  As I got more involved, I became the service unit cookie manager,  trainer, and service unit manager.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

That the Girl Scout experience is just as valid and important today as it was 20, 40, and 60 years ago.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

That following the Girl Scout Law means you can live an amazing life and have a whole lot of fun.

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

I’m a teacher as well as Girl Scout volunteer. The two go hand-in-hand in showing off my G.I.R.L. skills.

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: Toni Rath

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Toni Rath of Berthoud in the Northern & Northeastern CO region is  a troop leader, service unit manager, service unit cookie manager, and member of GSCO’s Membership Connection Committee.  She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Toni 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 husband is retired Air Force so volunteering was just what we do as a family. My girls wanted to join Girl Scouts and the troop needed a leader so I said “Sure, why not!”

The girls were young so they would have no idea that I didn’t know at the time (or anytime we do something new!) what I was doing as long as we had fun.

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

This list keeps getting longer.. troop leader, service unit manager, PA/VIT girl trainer, service unit cookie manager and trainer, day camp unit leader, and I just started on MCC.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

WOW, I have learned A LOT!!  When doing a badge or a patch with the girls, I learn more about them and how much I actually didn’t know about the topic of the badge. I think the girls teach me more than anything. They show me a new perspective and different ways something can be accomplished.  As a service unit manager, I have learned how important each and every volunteer in our area is, no matter how big or small their roll is. Each comes with a  gift or expertise that our girls can really learn from. I have also learned how important it is to know my fellow service unit managers in other areas to get troop ideas, information and support and hopefully able to do the same for them.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope that the girls have learned to ask more questions of each other and of themselves and really listen to better know those around them, and know themselves. Activities really rule their lives these days and it is important to really listen and reflect on what is important to them. I also hope that they have learned how to be encouraging. A kind word and the ability to notice when someone has made the right choice can go a long way! They need to know if I am willing to be patient with them and go down the rabbit hole to learn to recover from a mistake, as they get older, they can do the same for themselves and their peers.

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

Well, those cookies aren’t going to walk to a booth and sell themselves! Ok, maybe they will as long as someone gets them there.. As the girls in our troop get older, it seems the push to get them to go and get gets harder. I have to model that for them.  If I want them to be a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker and a leader, I have to do the same. They push me to at least try something new, make something better, and ask others to join me on my crazy journey. I can’t ask them to do something if I am not willing to do the same.

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: Erin Wogaman

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Erin Wogaman of Canon City in the Pikes Peak region has served as a troop leader and Product Program volunteer for many years. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Erin 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 of my daughter. She is the youngest of three and has two older brothers. I still remember my time as a Brownie, with my mom as my troop leader, making place mats, sit-upons, camping, and so much more. I knew that I wanted my daughter to have those memories to cherish. I did end up bridging to Junior, but we had moved and it wasn’t the same without my mom being involved. I promised my daughter that for as long as she is a Girl Scout, I will be one as well…possibly longer.

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

After the role of parent to an amazing Cadette, I am a troop leader of a multi-level troop. I am in my 9th year as an adult volunteer and have started several troops in New Mexico and Colorado. My troop consists of nine Daisies, twelve Brownies, four Juniors, and five Cadettes. Next year, we will add Seniors to our troop family. I am a service unit manager and service unit product program manager. I love working with the other leaders in my service unit and we have become a second family. We have grown in the last year and have plans to continue that growth. I am also an adult advisory member for our older girl group called SPLAT. We are still in the beginning stages, as this is our first year. The SPLAT girls represent different troops in our service unit. The girls planned and led our Cookie Rally this year and will be planning summer and fall activities. I am a member of the Pikes Peak Region Cookie Committee, an adult trainer, and recruiter for my service unit.  

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

Working with girls of different ages and with different abilities requires patience and the understanding that all girls can do anything they set their minds to. Every girl, in every troop, brings something new to the troop and they need the opportunity to shine and lead to their ability. I have learned that Daisies can start campfires, cook meals, participate in a flag ceremony, and so much more. I have the ability to give girls an amazing experience of leadership, courage, and learning life skills. I have learned that I must provide them with the opportunities to be the girl-led troop that they are.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I want them to learn to take risks, to challenge themselves, and to try out for that sport, solo, or part in the play. I want them to know that Girl Scouts is something they should be proud of. This is their experience and that they each have a voice. I hope they have learned that living the Girl Scout Law every day will take them far and they will make the world a better place.

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

Being a Girl Scout volunteer has pushed me to challenge myself to be a better person and to put others first more often. Getting up in front of strangers has never been something I enjoy, other than with girls. This year, I challenged myself to take on new roles and those roles require me to break those walls, to take risks, to lead with other adults, and to challenge our service unit to grow and offer the best experience for our girls. As a leader, I will never ask my girls to do something that I am not willing to do. I even challenged myself (after much coaxing) to walk across the Royal Gorge Bridge. I have always said that I would be the one crawling down the middle of the bridge. I won’t say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My heart was racing and my legs were shaking, but I did it. I want my girls to know that they have my support to try those scary things in life and I will be here to cheer them on.

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