Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Jo Anne Busch of Fort Collins 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 Jo Anne 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?
It became apparent at an organizational meeting for Brownies at my daughter’s school, there needed to be a group of mothers to come forward to be leaders. I offered to help. I wanted to share with the girls the values, life skills and unique experiences I had as a Girl Scout.
Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.
My first role as a volunteer was when I was in college. As a requirement for an Outdoor Ed. class I chose to contact the local Girl Scout council to help with a troop hoping to share with them my earlier Girl Scout Camping experiences. My time with them ended with a camp out. I still remember. We cooked chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions as a foil dinner ad then sat on logs around the fire eating.
Most people have heard me say “I am a Jack of all trades, but a master of none” as I have been a volunteer for many years and held a variety of positions in both Mountain Prairie Council, but now in Girl Scouts of Colorado.
I have been fortunate to have been a volunteer at several levels of the Girl Scout organization- local, national, and international.
Having had three daughters, I have been a troop leaders for Brownie, Junior, and Cadette levels. My longest leader experience was at the Cadette level.
Local level positions positions have included trainer, service unit manager, service unit product program coordinator, day camp committee, special events (Guys and Dolls) committee, as well as area delegate to council annual meeting. Most long lasting has been a member of the International Festival Committee and a member of the Holiday Gift Wrap committee both for more than 40 years.
Council level volunteer positions have given me the opportunity to serve on the training operating unit as a trainer and presenter at several training conferences, leader summits, and enrichment trainings. In addition, I have served on council task forces, product program team, recognition committee, outdoor education team and a delegate to Girl Scout National Conventions. Some of the highlights have been as a member of the program operating team where we developed opportunities for girls to travel not only in the United States, but the world. Council-sponsored trips to Our Chalet, Pax Lodge, and Our Cabana, and Wider Opportunities –now Destinations for girls to come to Colorado and explore the wonders of the state. More recently, I spend a good deal of my time with activities of the Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSCO) Global Action Team and with the various opportunities the GSCO History Center in Loveland have on their schedule.
It is always an honor to be involved on the national level. My first experience as a volunteer at the national level was to be chosen as a co-leader for a group of girls from all across the United States to travel to Sangam the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Center in India, and then to the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur). Since then, opportunities have led to being a Liaison for GSUSA for participants attending International events. Becoming a member of the World Foundation of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts- Friends of Sangam – USA Committee has given me the opportunity to attend Girl Scout National Conventions in various Cities to promote the World Center. At present, my volunteer positions include being a GSUSA National Volunteer Partner with the responsibility of working with national on specific projects that have included trainings, review of Young Women of Distinction Scholarship, the Forever Green Initiative, as well as being a Teller at National Conventions. I am also the GSUSA-GSCO’s Global Action Volunteer.
Several of my activities have led me to participate as a volunteer on the International level. I have been able to be a representative from the Friends of Sangam committee – USA to an International Friends of Sangam Triennial meeting at Sangam in India a few years ago. I am currently a member of the WAGGGS volunteer pool and available for opportunities that arise. I enjoy getting the almost daily emails from the World Bureau with invitations for initiatives for young women.
What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?
All of my experiences have enhanced my life and made me appreciative of what the organization offers the girls and young women of today.
I learned there was a challenge in every position I had as a volunteer. The best part of the challenge was that I learned a new skill, had the satisfaction of accomplishment of creating something new and exciting, helping to fulfill a council need, as well as helping girls to make the world a better place.
I have learned there are three qualities that are essential in being a volunteer. They are flexibility and patience and to have fun. I am a reflective person. I need to gather as much information as I can before going forth with a project. I my not have all the answers but hope I have the ability to do research when necessary.
What do you hope girls have learned from you?
I hope girls have learned that Girl Scouts can offer new and exciting experiences throughout their life. As I have shared with them my unique and memorable times as a girl, leader, council committee member and even as Girl Scouts of the USA representative.
The world is out there for them to explore, where they can have new adventures, challenges, travel, meeting new friends, and fun. I have had all these in my many years and levels of Girl Scouting.
How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
My experience as a volunteer has truly helped me to become a G.I.R.L.. As a girl I was a shy, soft-spoken person tending to my own tasks to produce a quality end product. Once I became a troop leader, I learned and perfected my skills
—- as a Listener
—- showing my Enthusiasm for the girls’ ideas and plans,
—- being Adaptable and flexible,
—- being Dependable,
—- being Energetic, creative, with a positive attitude
and —- Responsible for what I say and do
I learned there was no challenge “too big.” Each opportunity I has given me the chance to be that to be that go-getter, innovator, risk taker, and leader. It has been a joy to be able to have these experiences.
Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The nomination deadline for 2020 Volunteer Recognition Awards is April 30. GSCO invites members statewide to take this opportunity to recognize an outstanding volunteer by nominating them for a Volunteer Recognition Award. Nominators are responsible for ensuring enough endorsements are submitted to support their nomination of a volunteer for an award. Your volunteer support specialist can check nomination and endorsement submissions for you. Learn more.