Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ahoy! Jena Recer aka Ladybug

"Hi! My formal camp name is Ladybird aka, Ladybug.  I was an active Girl Scout from first grade through high school graduation. My Silver Award focused on adaptive camping and I gained experience working with physically challenged campers at a Muscular Dystrophy Association camp. There, I gained experience working with intellectually challenged campers at a camp sponsored by the Austin Regional Clinic.  I also served as a CIT and I worked as a counselor at the GS Camp, Peach Creek. 

There are many reasons that I stay involved in the organization.   I believe Girl Scouts empowers girls and helps to build good citizens.  I believe that without Girl Scouts we wouldn't have as many women on corporate boards,  serving in Congress,  etc.. Girl Scouts are changing the world but that isn't the only reason I’m a Girl Scout.   I believe that the Girl Scout laws provide a reliable ethical matrix for all of decisions.  I also love being part of the Girl Scout community and working with others striving to live those laws and pass them on to the next generation.  I love all of those things about Girl Scouts. But the reason I keep coming back is that I am happy to have the opportunity to pass on what was given to me as a young Girl Scout.  This is why I owe Girl Scouts so much and why I plan to always be a part of the program trying to give back all of what was given to me.

When I was 9, my mom passed away after a very long battle with breast cancer.  The next morning the doorbell rang. It was Carol Mireles, my Girl Scout leader.  She had come on her own initiative to get the house ready for all of the company heading our way for the funeral.  Together we vacuumed, dusted, swept and mopped.  At my mom’s memorial service, Mrs. Mireles showed me a flower arrangement that was from the troop.  I was really glad she was there at the service. She had 6 kids, two of whom were my age.  A year after my mom passed, her husband did, too.  I felt closer to her kids knowing we shared the experience of grieving for a parent. Over the years, Mrs. Mireles and other Girl Scout volunteers helped me learn all of the things that most girls learn from their mothers and more.  Many of the Girl Scout volunteers, including Mrs. Mireles, knew my mom and helped make sure I remembered her. I know my teenage years would have been incredibly rough without Girl Scouts. The Girl Scout laws were my guide and continue to be. By the time we were in High School most of our troop members were living with only one parent.  We became an extra family for one another.  In the Spring of 1987, our troop had our final campfire before we went off to college. There, we all committed to give back to Girl Scouts what we had been given.  In the following years, Carol, as we now call her, kept in touch with most of us. In fact, she made wedding dresses with matching cumber buns and bow ties for most of our weddings and of course she attended them.

A couple of years ago Mrs. Mireles turned 70 and her kids threw her a party.  Several members of our troop  were there to wish her a happy birthday. It was a wonderful reunion and it turns out we have all kept our promise to give back to Girl Scouts.   Everyone who was in our troop in HS has gone on to be a Girl Scout leader and most of us have worked or continue to work with Girl Scout camps in some fashion.

This April, I met Carol’s kids for lunch and they brought me the best birthday present I have ever received: a quilt hand-made by my scout leader for use on my bed at camp.

In short I give back to Girl Scouts because the Girl Scout program gave me so much. I made friends that continue to last after all of these years. In fact, a few weeks ago I had the honor of helping one of my troop sister's daughter's Junior Troop work through the requirements for the Backyard Chicken Badge.

I rejoined Girl Scouts three years ago and began working with the Mariner Program. I am a co-leader of the Mariner Cadette troop and this is my 16th year as a registered GS.  Two summers ago I served as the Arts and Crafts Director at Camp Kachina and loved working with all of the girls and seeing their amazing creations!

This year I will be serving as the Program Manager at Camp Kachina. I’m very excited about our summer program.  Each week we have wonderful things planned and I hope to see you there!"

We can't say it enough-- Girl Scouts isn't just about cookies or camp. It becomes another support network and source of confidence for all girls who join. As Jena saw, Girl Scouts became a second family. Volunteers like Jena are irreplaceable and make our organization great.

We can't wait to see you this summer, Jena! 


  1. What an inspiration she has been,as a child,a teen and now a woman. She rocks!