Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Volunteer Spotlight: Volunteering Doesn't Just Benefit Girls

As Girl Scouts staff members we don’t always see the impact Girl Scouting has on an adult volunteer – at least not as it happens. So, I felt privileged to see this happening with one volunteer.  

She joined Girl Scouts to help with her daughter’s troop, but wasn't sure she was quite up for the challenge of taking on the role of leader.  She is an introvert by nature; could hardly talk to other adults sometimes.  However, she understood the importance of her responsibilities  and took them on in order to become a better leader. 

She attended the council’s leadership training, sat in the back, and took it all in.  During a break, several experienced volunteers were talking and joking with the staff members that were there.  She stood on the other end of the porch – listening quietly.   When something funny was said, she would just smile, but she never quite joined in.

The next encounter with volunteers and staff members, she continued learning.  However, this time during the break she took a position a little closer to the action.  It took her four or five training sessions and a couple of years, but now she had mustered up enough courage to walk her way across that porch!  She began to talk and to share with others. 

Eventually, she joined the Service Unit team. Then, she undertook the role of a volunteer trainer.  She went on to became a Master Trainer and then a member of the council’s staff.  She insisted on working for free and had to be persuaded to take a paycheck.
Today, she is a lifetime Girl Scout and has worked for two councils for approximately ten years!

Sometimes, we forget that Girl Scouting can make a huge impact on adults as well!  We assume that all adult volunteers just have “what it takes.”  They do have the drive and the understanding that what they do is crucial, but there is also a lot of growth to take place when adults are in the picture.  

I know that Girl Scouting has impacted my life in a way that few people would realize. 

Let this be a reminder to slow down and spend time with volunteers!  You may be surprised at what you learn.  By all means, don’t be too quick to judge that shy lady in the back; she may surprise you!

-Lana Turner

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