Illinois’ first all-women veteran honor flight to Washington, D.C. took off from Chicago Midway International Airport last week, and Council Delegate, volunteer trainer, and Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Historian and alum Carol Macola was among the 93 honored veterans who participated. Carol’s service to Girl Scouts GCNWI has spanned over 40 years, and we are incredibly proud to share her story about her military service and Operation Herstory with you, in her own words.
I was a Girl Scout for 10 years (Brownie through Senior Girl Scout), and after my military service, I became a leader for the different age levels over the years, as well as Service Unit Manager. I have been an adult volunteer and Liftetime Member now for over 40 years.
I learned many things as a Girl Scout: how to cope with changing conditions at camp, how to make new friends, how to work as a team, and how to turn a disaster into a learning experience. Most of all, I learned how to put on my “Brownie smile” when grumpiness would have been easier.
I was a Second Lieutenant Military Police Officer in the U.S. Army, and as a female at that time, with a platoon of 42 men, I was challenged. I led by example. I had to know each person in my platoon. I had to put my best foot forward — usually in a spit-shined boot rather than polished pumps (ladies small heeled shoe).
The same is true for every Girl Scout. As a Girl Scout, one moves through levels, always mindful of being a model for those younger, and always building leadership skills. As a Girl Scout, one knows what is right and what is wrong, what will help another girl, and what could damage a girl’s self-esteem. Every person counts and is valuable. This translates into a team spirit that can improve the world around us—be it at home, at school, in our community, or beyond.
I laughed when I returned to Chicago after my military commitment and referred to Girl Scouts as the “mini-militia.” Like the military, Girl Scouts serve in so many ways and Girl Scouting sets values that are forever.
That courage, confidence, and character from my Girl Scouting years led me to my service in the U.S. Army, and still guide my life today.
Thank you, Carol, for your service to Girl Scouts, our council, and for being a shining example of courage and strength for all of us.
Our volunteers are clearly incredible — you can be a part of an organization that works to develop girls’ dreams, from the time they’re starting their first cookie business to the time they’re getting their first diploma. Whatever they want to do, you can support them. Learn more about volunteering with Girl Scouts today.