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Guiding tomorrow’s leaders: Local Girl Scouts troops seeking volunteers

9/6/17

Elizabeth Medora
Staff

CAVE CREEK – “Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader” – this Girl Scouts tagline invites girls around the world to unleash their potential. Locally, thousands of girls have joined Girl Scouts, and many more want to join. Volunteers are needed to help form new Scout troops and give more girls the opportunity to get involved.

Heather Thornton, Communications Manager for the Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, said that Girl Scouting has a long legacy.

“It’s really stood the test of time,” Thornton said, noting the Scouts’ research-based programs, entrepreneurship, STEM, financial literacy, and awareness programs. She added that the focus of the Girls Scouts is “building real life skills that are needed in the future.” With that goal in mind, the Scouts are offering new badges, including STEM work and outdoors-based badges.

“We think that it’s really important for girls to have this opportunity,” Thornton said.

Creating new troops will give more girls the chance to join. Volunteers who would like to help form new troops or work with an existing troop can go online to www.girlscoutsaz.org and click the Volunteer tab for more information.

From the youngest to the oldest Scouts, all the girls have the opportunity to learn and grow in Girl Scouts. Daisy troop leader Vanessa Clifton of Cave Creek said she has watched the K-1 girls in her troop grow and evolve as they progress throughout the year.

“I’ve watched my girls blossom over the last year,” Clifton said.

Clifton’s troop is working on Brownie legacy badges; activities with the younger troops may be stewarded by girls from older troops. Recent activities have included a trip to the Science Center, a horseback riding outing, and a tour of the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Jennifer Smith’s Cave Creek troop includes 8th grade members, and at that age, the Scouts are taking on some of the leadership responsibilities themselves.

“They have chosen what badges they want to work on, and they’ve also chosen what kind of extra activities they want to do,” Smith, said.

“We try to include some badge work on different topics,” Smith continued. Badge work ranges from financial skills to leadership to science, as well as just-for-fun badges, like learning about makeup.

Volunteers are always being sought for various activities and for troop leadership. Smith said there is always “an abundance of girls who want to be Girl Scouts and not enough leaders to lead them.”

Clifton noted that every trip requires a certain number of friends and family volunteers to make the event happen. All volunteers are background checked, Clifton added.

Smith specified that volunteers don’t have to be the troop leader or co-leader to help out. Her troop has multiple volunteers who pitch in with craft supplies, snacks, and other troop needs.

“We tried to spread it out so all the responsibility wasn’t just on the leader,” Smith said.

Clifton noted that her troop is mostly full and that new troops tend to fill up very quickly. Many areas have a waiting list for girls who want to join Girl Scouts, so to accommodate those girls, troops need to have enough volunteers to help with the existing troop or to branch out and create a new troop.

“It’s very dependent on parents stepping up,” Smith said. Smith has two daughters in Girl Scouts, and she said the time they spend together in Scouts is “great quality time.”

“It’s all time I feel is well spent,” Smith said.

For Smith, the Girl Scout experience has been excellent, both as a parent and a troop leader. She noted that the girls have had many opportunities through Girls Scouts that they wouldn’t have had if they hadn’t joined.

“I know that it’s an experience that all of the parents in my troop have been very grateful for,” Smith said.

Clifton called being a part of Girls Scouts “unbelievably rewarding”, noting that this impacts the girls’ lives and empowers them to be leaders.

“Of all of the different volunteer things I have done, it’s been by far the most rewarding experience,” Clifton said.

Learn more about Girl Scouts at www.girlscoutsaz.org.