There are some key responses you can expect when you tell people you've taken a job at Girl Scouts; most of them are cookie-centric. To tell you the truth, I didn't know a whole lot about Girl Scouts when I applied. I couldn't even tell you with complete confidence whether or not I was part of a troop growing up. I vaguely remember something about a uniform and a trip to the movie theater. Between you and me, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. After four weeks, though, the picture couldn't be clearer.
When I say, “I work at Girl Scouts,” what I actually mean is this: every day I have the opportunity to change the world by empowering girls to challenge and believe in themselves. Unfortunately, that doesn't fit on business cards. Talk to anyone who works for Girl Scouts and they’ll tell you that our organization is about so much more than cookies. It’s true. If Thin Mints suddenly vanished from the face of the earth, (God forbid),Girl Scouts would still be here.
Do Cookies Come with Clout?
Before I came to Girl Scouts, I was a news producer. While most people don’t actually know what a producer does, it sounds important. Subsequently, the ability to impress people with my job title made me important. I’m not proud to admit it, but I struggled a little bit with losing that clout. Most people still don’t understand exactly what I do and some days I’m right there with them. But now I can justify all the pride I have in my job with purpose, not a title.
There are late nights, frustrations, weekend events and all the other hallmarks of any gig. What you won’t find –and perhaps what amazed me the most my first couple of days—is lots of complaining the workload. After all, it’s for the girls. I hear a lot of that. When no one can come to an agreement on a presentation, someone inevitably says something to the effect of “Well, we should be trying to showcase the girls and what they’re doing,” and just like that, the entire team gels around that concept.
There’s a surplus of opinions right now about who and what women and girls should be. Log on to Facebook and there’s a Huffington Post piece about the wage gap or gender equality complete with a full debate in the comments section. Sure, there’s a lot of talk about what’s best for girls, but at Girl Scouts we are proactively working to meet girls where they are and give them the tools they need to be leaders---whether or not the world around them agrees. It’s what we've done for more than a century and what we’ll continue doing long after the topic has cooled. Girls ---not what they look like or their parents’ income—but girls, and every magnificent thing they have to offer the world, matter here.
On My Honor
So, here’s the big reveal: working at Girl Scouts does not mean access to all the cookies you want. It means being a part of something bigger than yourself, working earnestly to encourage girls and affect meaningful change. It means continuing the legacy of cultivating courage, confidence and character in every girl. That’s a pretty cool job.
Yours in Girl Scouting ,
Taji C. Senior