Now that's being a sister to every Girl Scout!
Volunteers are the heart and soul of Girl Scouts River Valleys. Without volunteers, the girls in our community wouldn’t have access to all the wonderful opportunities Girl Scouts provides. Troop leader Julie is no exception ( *in order to protect the identities of the girls in this story, the troop leader’s name and the troop photo have been changed).
Julie’s troop consists of 12 girls in grades 5-7 from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Two of the girls in her troop are homeless; many of the girls live in households with no car or only one car to transport more than one working adult. “If their parents had to drive them to Girl Scouts, they probably wouldn’t participate. So I always offer transportation to and from meetings because I want them to be able to stay in Girl Scouts.”
Getting girls to meetings and back home is so important to Julie that when it came time to buy a new car this year, she and her husband decided to buy a minivan in order to more easily transport the girls in her troop, even though their youngest child is 22 years old.
While transportation is one barrier for these girls’ participation in Girl Scouts, money is certainly another. “I tell parents all the time that I don’t ever want a girl to not participate because of finances—we’ll find a way around it.” Girls in Julie’s troop apply for and receive financial assistance from River Valleys so that they can participate in the same activities and programs with the rest of their troop. Also, in true Girl Scout fashion, whenever families in Julie’s troop are able, they will pay double for a field trip or activity so that another girl can participate. Now that’s being a sister to every Girl Scout!
It is important to Julie that she provides stability for the girls in her troop so that they can have a safe place to learn, grow and be themselves. “One of the girls who is homeless always sleeps like a log when we are at camp. I think that’s because she feels safe with us, and that isn’t always true of the places where she spends the night.”
Without Julie’s dedication, the girls in her troop would not be a part of the sisterhood of Girl Scouts where they have opportunities to try new things, build courage, learn leadership skills, and become confident women who shape a positive future for themselves and their communities. “I continue to be a Girl Scout leader because it is fun and I like being with the girls. I think Girl Scouts is incredibly important and I want to pay it forward.”
The Girl Scout mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character is represented in Julie’s troop: “This is a widely different group of girls, but they work together really well and are making connections and learning skills they wouldn’t be able to without Girl Scouts.” Making a gift to Girl Scouts River Valleys not only supports volunteers like Julie who provide a safe place for girls in our community, but will also provide grants to girls like those in Julie’s troop so they are able to fully participate in the Girl Scout experience.