Whenever someone asks me how I have had such great opportunities in my life through school or jobs, I always start out by saying “Being a Girl Scout truly made me the person I am today.” I feel I owe a lot to Girl Scouts and the opportunities and experiences I was given throughout my childhood. This is why I am currently a lifetime member and why it makes me proud to say I was a Girl Scout.
I started out in my Girl Scout troop in 1st grade and was lucky to have about ten girls in my troop that all stayed actively involved almost all the way until we all graduated from high school 12 years later. I was also blessed to have a mother as a troop leader who helped push me to be the best young adult I could possibly be, while never deterring my goals. A few of my Girl Scout experiences that really stick out in my mind as impacting me significantly are going to Camp Texlake for five years in a row and attending two Wider Opportunities (now known as destinations).
The first Wider Opportunity I attended was in Michigan sailing for two weeks. It was the first time I had been away from all my family in a different state for that long amount of time. It was an experience that made me so much stronger and made me realize how much I could depend on myself as well as my fellow Girl Scouts.
The second Wider Opportunity I attended was in Joliet, Illinois for two weeks on a college campus participating in learning about TV journalism. I made some of the greatest life long friends on this trip and every time I remember the experience it puts a smile on my face. We were able to see Chicago, tour a TV station and play all the roles that go into producing a TV show, and learn the techniques of putting together our very own 5 minute clips of a production we put together and created all on our own. It was an amazing learning experience and one of the best times of my life. I will always be grateful to Girl Scouts for giving me that opportunity.
I also earned my Silver and Gold Award while in Girl Scouts, which taught me a lot about persistence and striving to meet my goals in a timely and efficient manner, while helping the community too. Both these projects took many hours of my time, but were well worth the feeling of accomplishment I had in the end and the people I was able to help through my assistance in the community.
Since graduating from high school in 2001, I have interned with the Westlake Picayune and the Oak Hill Gazette. After graduating from Texas State, I went on to work for the Texas Workforce Commission, first as an Employment Specialist and eventually in the Communications Department. I wrote press releases, articles for the Web site, articles for the agency newsletter Solutions, and assisted with media calls. After a very educational year with the Texas Workforce Commission, I applied for and was hired as the Executive Assistant to the Communications Director at the Office of the Attorney General. I have been in this position for almost two years and it has been an amazing experience. In my job I assist the Communications Director with various projects, write consumer issue columns for the web site, assist with media calls, perform administrative duties include purchasing, travel forms, property management, and human resources. I also write articles on individuals in our agency for the agency newsletter @Work. Through this job, I have come to know Attorney General Greg Abbot well and learned so much more about government. I am one of the youngest people working on the Executive Administration floor and when people ask me how I got here, I still always say I could not have done it without my experiences through Girl Scouts.
Through Girls Scouts I became a strong, independent woman who is not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. I also became compassionate, understanding and more generous through what I learned during my time as a Girl Scout. I will forever be an advocate of young girls being involved in Girl Scouts, because it was one of the best experiences of my life and it opened up my eyes to so much more that life has the potential to be. It made me realize I could be anything I wanted to be and to never give up on my dreams. I’m still working my way toward my goals, but I feel I have definitely done well thus far. And I believe this can happen for all young women who take advantage of the good things being part of Girl Scouts has to offer them.
-Melinda Monteith, Girl Scout Alumna