Once a Girl Scout, Now an Intern

By Susana Cardenas-Soto, Marketing Intern at GCNWI

As I sit down to write this, I realize I have been involved in Girl Scouts for over a decade. The Girl Scouts program, from cookie selling to summer camp, was a fundamental part of my upbringing, and fostered skills I continue to use to this day. With Girl Scouts, I gained confidence, work ethic, and a passion for the empowerment of girls and women.

Girl Scouts is also an organization deeply embedded in my own family. My aunt Lidia Soto-Harmon is the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, my cousin Cristina Chapa is a camp counselor in California, and my cousin Nina Harmon recently started in Eastern Pennsylvania’s council as the Signature Events and Development Coordinator. Clearly, we each have a deep commitment to the Girl Scout mission.

Since last summer, I had the very special opportunity to intern with the Marketing Department at the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. I have written blogs, updated the website, edited program guides, translated content into Spanish, and I have had a wonderful time along the way. I have made meaningful connections and relationships, and continued to harness my hard-earned skills.

I feel very lucky indeed to have my Girl Scout journey come full circle.

Heading to the Headquarters

I never pictured working at the Girl Scouts, let alone in the Marketing Department. I have often heard college students find jobs in the fields they least expected–– this much is true for me, a Creative Writing and Psychology major.

As this was my first “real” office job experience, I was quite literally shaking in my sandals for the first week as I learned everything on the fly. However, I quickly acclimated to the environment, which wasn’t difficult at all. I have never worked somewhere so friendly, and it makes sense–– Girl Scouts are of course known for their kindness.

Quickly, I found myself doing things I never thought I’d do: live-editing a website, organizing a video shoot, running around camp interviewing Girl Scouts. I found myself succeeding in areas I didn’t even consider as possibilities.

Come Rain or Shine

I suppose my biggest challenge throughout my internship was believing in myself. Like many, I have struggled with insecurity all my life. Though I have always been intelligent, hard working, and passionate, I have not always seen myself as such. Part of my anxiety starting at the Girl Scouts was linked to something many call “impostor syndrome,” a phenomenon in which people (often people of color) believe they will be “found out” as not-so-great after all.

As I encountered both positive and negative feedback, I realized this much: I am by no means an impostor. Working here at the Girl Scouts has reminded me of my strengths and weaknesses, which I believe is essential to constructing a well-rounded, realistic self-concept.

I would like to share some positive affirmations that helped me get through last summer. These positive affirmations are for everyone, Girl Scouts and beyond.

You are worthy of love and praise.
You are doing your best, and your best is amazing.
Mistakes are proof that you are trying.
You are in charge of making every day the best it can be.

Always a Girl Scout

My experience interning with the Girl Scouts has been, frankly, life changing. I can earnestly say working here has contributed to this summer and year being the best of my life so far. Without a doubt, I am a more confident person than I was back in June.

Thank you so, so much to all in the Marketing Department and at the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana for allowing me to have this life changing experience. I am thrilled to continue my work with GCNWI throughout the year!

The Girl Scouts, as an organization, remains at the forefront of girl empowerment in the United States and abroad. I believe this is because of the countless members of the organization, employees or otherwise, who dedicate long hours to making sure girls have the best programming available. I am incredibly grateful to have been a small part of a group dedicated to such a mission.

If you have been wondering how you can give back to the Girl Scouts in your adulthood, you may want to consider coming on-board as an employee of the organization. You will not only gain incredible hands-on career experience, but a deeper appreciation for the organization and the amazing things girls can do.

Find out how you can join us as an employee at GCNWI.

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