By: Katie Hart Smith | Gwinnett Citizen
Published: 2016-10-19 14:27
Katie Hart Smith

After Mom read my July column, “Be a Great American and ACT,” she called to tell me that I had forgotten to mention a very important organization that I participated in as a young girl. It helped to shape skills, leadership, loyalty, honor, and national patriotism. Which group am I referring to? The Girl Scouts. As usual, Mom was right. 

As a result, I experienced an “ah-ha” moment. I reflected on my time in Brownies when I was in kindergarten and “flew up” (graduated) to become a Girl Scout and a Cadet in elementary school. It was through the Girl Scouts that I was exposed to so many life experiences that ranged from camping, sewing, first-aid, photography, to hiking and philanthropic work. I had a blast earning badges and making friends. While my macramé (hand braided) owl may have looked more like a fuzzy woolly mammoth perched on a stick, I took pride in learning a new skill. I remained focused, ready to take on the next challenge. The Girl Scouts taught me about team work, respect for authority, patience, social awareness and responsibility, and to be self-directed.

On October 31, the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low celebrates her birthday. Born in 1860 in Savannah, Georgia, Low started the Girl Scouts during the Progressive Era 104 years ago. She believed in the “power of every girl,” encouraging young ladies to believe in themselves and that they could do anything in this world. 

The Girl Scouts do more than just sell delicious cookies. They are helping to develop the future leaders of tomorrow.

The Girl Scouts is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) world-wide organization found throughout the United States and in ninety-two countries. It is an organization that helps you discover who you are, to connect to others through the sisterhood, and to take action, meaning to make a positive contribution that makes this world a better place. It also embraces spirituality and faith, finding common values and principles across all religions. 

In an interview with volunteer Assistant Girl Scout Leader, Susan Miller, she shared her four years of experience and insight. How is the Girl Scout organization still relevant to today’s young girls? Miller said, “The Girl Scouts make themselves relevant by evolving badges and special service units and councils. For example, we have robotics teams where the girls can tap into their science, physics, and math talents. Camp CEO is a week-long camp where the girls meet with high ranking female executives who mentor them business and leadership skills.”

What impresses you about the Girl Scouts? “There are a variety of resources at our disposal to include educational videos that help us address a wide array of topics to include the use of social media to bullying. The leadership within the group transitions from being a parent-led program like with the Daisies (K – 1st grade) and Brownies (2nd – 3rd grades), to parent-led meetings with input from the girls when they become Juniors (4th and 5th grades). In Cadets (6th – 8th grades) and Ambassadors (9th – 12th grade), the girls facilitate and develop the ideas for the meetings with parental assistance.” Miller added, “I enjoy being a parent leader with the Girl Scouts. I love watching my two daughters grow and mature. They are taking initiatives in life and coming into their own. It’s fun to stand back and watch the process.”

The empowering mission of the Girl Scouts, states, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream another dream.” – C.S. Lewis

It is never too late to adopt a scouting mentality. Scout out new experiences as an adult that taps into your passions and sense of adventure. Volunteer and serve your community to be a part of the change that makes this world a better place. I can truly say that the most influential person in my life was my Girl Scout leader. She taught me so much about finding my talents as a youth and reconnecting with my creative spirit as an adult. She continues to teach me to be ageless and fearless. Thank you, Mom. I love you.

To learn more about the Girl Scouts, visit: http://www.girlscouts.org.

About Katie Hart Smith
Katie Hart Smith's column, “From the Heart,” touches the heart, inspires, and entertains.  Smith, a published author for over twenty years, believes that words, written or spoken, have power. To learn more, visit www.katiehartsmith.com