Submitted by GSCO Board Chair-Elect Rae Ann Dougherty
The 2017 Leadership Summits have begun! The first was in Colorado Springs and a wonderful opportunity to obtain training, updates, as well as build our Girl Scout networks. All are important as we begin a new Girl Scout year. While in training, I reflected on some of my past experiences as a Girl Scout Cadette troop leader…
Back in the 1980’s, I served as a Cadette troop leader. While the traditions of Girl Scouts were the same then as they are today, as leaders we did not use the phrase “girl-led” as much as we do today. None-the-less the way troops were run were similar and the results were similar.
One spring, although not asked, the girls in my troop announced they wanted to go on an overnight trip that was NOT camping. Fine. As their leader, I immediately began to facilitate the process by asking the questions associated with planning such an event. After discussion, we considered going to a theme park and staying in a hotel. That started the girl’s minds going. Lo and behold, while I had not suggested that they do any between-meeting research, the next meeting they came prepared! Girls had, unbeknownst to me, obtained hotel options, knew ticket prices, knew the distance and how many cars/adults would be required, set up a budget, and more. Mind you as this was decades before the convenience of the internet, cell phones, Google maps, or other technology to which we have become accustomed. As such, the research was significantly more involved than it would be today. No worries, they quickly figured out how to use 1-800 phone numbers for the various hotel chains, how to read a map, etc.! Needless to say I was blown away, but so proud of them!
We continued to plan and ultimately went on the trip. Since they had lead the process so well, while at the theme park I followed their lead making sure that they were safe, but doing what they wanted and joining with them on the rides that they wanted to go on. Since we were following their lead, my co-leaders and I did not pay much attention … until I ended up on one of those roller coasters that did TWO upside down loop-deloops! (This is NOT the type of ride I seek.) After I recovered from that experience, I continued to follow them, but suggested that I wait for them whenever they then decided to go on any more thrill rides. I guess they were fine as long as I went with them. Ultimately, they enjoyed the rest of the day without more thrill rides. (I have yet to go on another roller coaster like that!)
Along the way we added a few activities so they were able to earn the “Travel” Interest Project as well.
The non-formal learning the Girl Scout program offers continues to impress me. This was a memorable experience for me and one that I remain proud of all that those girls accomplished. Although this was not intentionally a “girl-led” experience, it certainly became one. Why? Because that is the way Girl Scouts is, it just naturally flows for the girls to grow and develop their leadership.
Do you have a “girl-led” story to share? Use the Share Your Stories form.
Leadership Summits are here and coming to your area in the coming weeks (Metro Denver, September 16, 2017; Northern Colorado, September 23; Grand Junction, September 20; Pueblo, October 14). My experience at the Colorado Springs event on Saturday, August 26 was fabulous. I was even asked for feedback and insight to enhance the service unit experience. To register or find one in your area, use this link: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/events/training-events.html