This week we are spotlighting the amazing work of Girl Scout volunteer Melissa Young-Bridgeforth, who has been a part of the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) community for more than 20 years as a member, a national and council delegate, Democratic Process Task Group chair, a troop leader, service unit manager, and MORE! Melissa’s service has gone above and beyond (and she is a recipient of the Thanks Badge for her volunteer work!), so this week, we are turning the tables and thanking her.
Read on to hear from Melissa about her Girl Scout legacy and relationship with GCNWI.
Volunteer Exemplifies What It Means to Be a Girl Scout
Melissa has been involved with Girl Scouts at almost every level of service. She first volunteered as a troop leader for her daughters, then as a service unit manager, and after voicing her concerns about Girl Scouts in the West Side of Chicago, she became a Council Delegate, “and somewhere in between there became a trainer.” After 10 years as a Council Delegate, Melissa has served as a National Delegate, and also serves as Delegate Chair. “Sprinkled throughout there, I still co-chair for the product programs (volunteer committees supporting both the Girl Scout Cookie and Fall Product Program) and still train if I’m needed.”
“When I started out as a service unit manager, I wasn’t liking how things were being communicated. Somebody [at the council] told me I needed to step up, so I kept stepping up. As my service started to grow, I became a mentor by default, because you have to recruit people if you have no one there to help tell them how to do things!”
Melissa leads by example, and people respect that. Her advice to younger or new volunteers: “Voice your opinion and make sure it’s heard and understood, period. That confidence and rapport with everyone around you will build. I think new leaders need to have that confidence; if you have it in your personal life or your workplace, bring it to Girl Scouts, also.”
As far as the future of Girl Scouts is concerned, Melissa has plenty of hope. “If enough of us are making this day better than the next, the world will become better… We are making baby steps, and baby steps are good because we still have glass ceilings everywhere. Each generation we’re building girls who are more robust, more willing to get up and start talking to people.”
“My personal perk from being a Girl Scout is that it helps me, we, find the skills we already have, period. The best part is being put in situations that constantly challenge me to refine my skills, especially the ones I think are my weakest link.”
Thank you so much to Melissa for sharing her story with us!
Lead Girls Through Our Becoming Me Program Series
Inspired by themes from Michelle Obama’s Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers, this new program series will guide girls of all ages to become their best selves.
Volunteer to guide girls as they explore the truth in their own stories and the power of their voices! You will work with girls during 6-8 fun-filled and inspirational virtual sessions.
Renew by June 30 and Enjoy Exclusive Membership Perks!
When you stick with Girl Scouts, you’re not just giving your girl something to do, you’re giving her someone to be. The bravest, boldest, best version of herself. The version of herself walks with her head a bit higher and acts with confidence.
Renew her membership for 2021-22 today and she’ll receive a FREE “We’ve Got This” patch, plus access to the newest programs for the summer and beyond!