Guest Blog: Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Volunteer Part 2

Guest Blog: Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Volunteer Part 2

Behind every Girl Scout is a dedicated and passionate volunteer showing her the way. This month, we’ve asked two of our amazing troop leaders to share why they love Girl Scouts and how you can influence the next generation.

Being a Girl Scout is a tradition in my family. When I was a Brownie, my mom and grandma shared with me pictures and stories from when they were Girl Scouts. My favorite part about being a Girl Scouts was earning rewards during Cookie Season. My sister and I were always BIG cookie sellers in our troops.

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As an adult, I’d forgotten all about this experience until one day I was at a community service project with another organization and saw one of my friends with all these young girls with her. I asked who they were and she told me it was her Girl Scout troop. I immediately wanted to get involved and give back to the organization that’d helped me so much.

That was five years ago in February and by Christmas, I had attended my first meeting as a Girl Scout troop leader. I love volunteering with Girl Scouts because it gives me a chance to interact with kids as I’m not a mom yet. I love talking to the girls to find out what they are thinking and helping to mold them into young ladies.

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Sometimes, the girls enter Girl Scouts very timid, but after a few meetings, they have so much to say! I remember the first year we sold cookies at a local grocery store. The girls were so shy they barely wanted to speak to the customers.

But that all changed by the third weekend when they had their sales pitch in place and we sold so many cookies! Perhaps my favorite moment as a troop leader is passing out the cookie rewards to the girls because they work so hard to sell as many cookies as they can.

Since I’ve become a Girl Scout Daisy troop leader, I’ve met some wonderful women and I’ve also taken on leadership roles within my council as a delegate and product manager for our service unit.

We need more people to volunteer with the Girl Scouts so we can all mentor and mold more young girls into remarkable women. Every day, these girls teach me so much about myself. I love being part of an organization that is more than 100 years old and has helped develop numerous amazing female leaders. I believe it is my honor to serve God and my country and to live by the Girl Scout law.

Dr. Renee WHITE COAT

Dr. Renee Matthews has appeared on television shows such as, The Oprah Winfrey Show and TVOne’s NewsOne Now with Roland Martin where she discussed different health topics. Dr. Renee also hosts The Ask Dr. Renee Show, a weekly show to motivate and inspire viewers to “live the life they deserve.”

She’s been a contributing health writer for numerous websites such as MadameNoire.com, BlackandMarriedwithKids.com and BlackDoctor.org, as well as a sought after speaker for various health organizations and schools. In addition to writing about health, Dr. Renee conducts speaking engagements on social media, branding, motivation, and becoming an entrepreneur.

To read part one of our volunteer guest blog series, click here. To learn more about Girl Scouts or sign up as a volunteer, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Stock photos courtesy of Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Guest Blog: Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Volunteer

Guest Blog: Why I Love Being a Girl Scout Volunteer

Behind every Girl Scout is a dedicated and passionate volunteer showing her the way. This month, we’ve asked two of our amazing troop leaders to share why they love Girl Scouts and how you can influence the next generation.

All of my best stories come from being a Girl Scout leader. I can entertain any audience at parties with tales from my three troops – the adventures of the girl who went to camp with no shoes, the girl who couldn’t wait to ride a horse until she actually had to get on a horse, and the one who never listens to instructions until she is literally inches from falling into a creek.  But the most rewarding thing is hearing the girls tell stories.

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Our Brownies are bright, peppy second and third graders, for whom everything is new and exciting.  “We sold cookies last year, and we get to do it again?!  That’s great!”

Meanwhile, our Cadettes are in junior high and they are constantly on the lookout for new experiences and interesting places. “Chinatown this weekend to learn to make dumplings. And then woodworking, and then chemistry day, and then Ronald McDonald House, and then …”

Our Seniors are high school freshmen and sophomores are busy defining their interests and looking for adventures that appeal to their growing sense of independence. Their desire to do service projects is pretty inspiring.  When they’re all together, though, the giggling may lead you to believe you’re back with the Brownies.

DSC_0172Last year, I took five of the Cadettes along on a Brownie camping trip – girls from four different schools and three different grade levels. I thought the older girls would be helpful and maybe have some fun leading songs or crafts. At every turn, they astonished me.

From kitchen duty and nature hikes to games and badge work, I watched the Cadettes lead the way for the Brownies.  And then they sat around a campfire, which they built, and laughed themselves silly telling stories and sharing memories from their years in Girl Scouts. That is when it occurred to me exactly what it means to be a Girl Scout volunteer.

IMG_0442We give girls the chance to lead, to learn, to make friends, and to know they have an advocate cheering them on along the way. Years from now, these girls are going to find themselves in a position to make a decision, make a change, or make a difference, and they’re going to do it with confidence because they were Girl Scouts and had positive adult role models show them how.

Become a Girl Scout volunteer and mentor young girls. You can lead a troop or share your skills and interests with a troop a few times a year. If you’re like me and you love spreadsheets, you can help out with the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Enjoy being outdoors? Volunteering at a Girl Scout camp may be the perfect option for you. There are flexible opportunities available for everyone. And I promise you’ll have fun along the way and plenty of stories to share.

Alisia (Ally) Eckert has been a Girl Scout troop leader since 2001. She also serves as a regional volunteer for the product team and has been awarded the Leader of the Year, Outstanding Volunteer, Woman of the Century, Honor and Appreciation pins from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.  Ally works as the senior planned giving officer at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation (formerly Children’s Memorial). She loves to travel, dabbles in photography, and is a rabid ice hockey fan.   

Check back on Nov. 11 for part two of our volunteer guest blog series. To learn more about Girl Scouts or sign up as a volunteer, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Photos courtesy of Ally Eckert

A Day in the Life of a Cookie CEO

A Day in the Life of a Cookie CEO

While every Girl Scout is a #CookieBoss, it takes a lot of enthusiasm and determination to become a Cookie CEO. On Monday, Oct. 12, the top five cookie sellers from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) visited the Chicago Gathering Place and were Cookie CEOs for the day.

This year, the Cookie CEOs were Holly Doyle, 12 of Lake Forest; Nina Grotto, 16 of Hinsdale; Morrigan Macho, 14 of Chicago; Taylor Magruder, 18 of Tinley Park; and Mairead Skelton, 16 of Chicago. Together, they sold more than 26,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies.

“It feels rewarding and exciting,” said Nina, who raised nearly $18,000 to send about 4,500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to members of the armed forces through the Gift of Caring program. “I’m excited to give feedback to the actual CEO and help improve Girl Scouts as a whole.”

The Cookie CEOs began their busy day by meeting GCNWI CEO Nancy Wright and giving suggestions for improving the member experience, camping and travel programs, as well as incorporating the arts into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.

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The Cookie CEOs start their morning by meeting with GCNWI CEO Nancy Wright (center) to suggest improvements to the council.

Afterward, the girls enjoyed a light breakfast with the staff where they received special “My CEO Met Me” patches from Wright. “This patch is really about you and what you want to be,” she said while presenting the patches. “We’re all here to empower you and who you want to be. The patch says ‘live your dreams.’ As you go out in the world, we want you all to live your dreams wherever they may take you.”

Following breakfast, the Cookie CEOs toured the Gathering Place, learned about the various Girl Scout artifacts on display throughout the office and met with several teams, such as marketing, retail and programs. Later in the day, the girls addressed everyone during an all-staff conference call.

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Nina, a 16-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, addresses staff during a midday council-wide conference call.

“I love being here,” Holly, a third-year Cookie CEO, said during the meeting. “Each year, it motivates me to sell a lot of cookies.”

In addition to learning important life skills from selling cookies, such as goal setting, decision making and money management skills, several of the Cookie CEOs said the Girl Scout Cookie Program helped develop their confidence.

“I used to be shy and have low self-esteem,” shared Morrigan. “But Girl Scouts helped me build my people skills. I’m more confident in myself and I have Girl Scouts to thank for that.”

Afterward, the Cookie CEOs had lunch at Maggiano’s Little Italy and visited the set of a hit television show being filmed in Chicago.

“I like being a Cookie CEO because everyone is so welcoming and they’re really nice,” said Taylor, a first-time Cookie CEO.

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(From left to right: Morrigan, Holly, Mairead, Taylor and Nina) The Cookie CEOs take a #selfie after meeting with marketing as part of their Twitter takeover. All smiles, here!

Mairead, who returned for a second year as a top cookie seller, agreed.

“It feels good to be a Cookie CEO because you earned it,” she said. “It’s exciting to meet everyone and make new friends.”

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Send your ideas to gsmarketing@girlscoutsgcnwi.org!