When Jennice Jackson’s daughter wanted to join Girl Scouts and there was nobody to lead the troop, she volunteered. But not without trepidation. She admits she was intimidated and hesitant to do it, fearing the work might be too much for one. She wanted the girls to have the opportunity to form a troop, however, so she reluctantly agreed. In the spirit of cooperation, two other area volunteers helped her get acquainted with the program. Unaware that troop leadership could be shared, Jackson was thrilled by their offers to assist. “We share tasks to take the pressure off each other, and it has worked really well,” she stated.
As part of the Girl Scout organization’s National Recruitment Week, Girl Scout councils across the country are talking to parents about the different ways they can volunteer. “It doesn’t have to be just one parent facing a bunch of girls alone,” said Ally Clark Peterson, Director of Adult Development at Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Lakes. “We find that some parents feel hesitant to volunteer because they worry about their ability to take on the work on top of their already full lives. Cooperative troops and co-leader arrangements can provide the best of both worlds for the girls and the volunteers.”
Now a second year Brownie leader, Jackson’s volunteer experience is similar to other experiences of those lead with other volunteers in cooperative troops. The volunteers meet before an event or meeting and plan who will do what. This allows them to stay connected and organized. Jackson says they usually have the same goals in mind and work well together. “We love to discuss, which allows new ideas and, in turn, benefits our girls and their families. It feels good to be a part of something where everyone cares about what we do.”
Volunteering can be time-consuming, and the division of responsibilities is something many find helpful. “You want to provide the best experience for young girls, but it can be a lot of work. I’m happy I said yes to becoming a leader. It has been rewarding in many ways. I have seen these girls grow and have bonded with them. I love how they feel important and have a voice. So many kids in our area don’t experience that in their home life. They have touched my heart,” Jackson said.
Reflecting on her experiences, Jackson noted that both she and her daughter have benefited from learning and leaning on others. “Girl Scouts gave my daughter many experiences she wouldn’t otherwise experience. We have learned so much and I’m grateful for Girl Scouts and for the people who have stood beside me. I now have confidence in what I do as a leader and look forward to bringing more joy to others!”
To get involved with Girl Scouts or to learn more about volunteering, visit www.gsnwgl.org or call 888.747.6945.
In partnership with over 6,000 adult volunteers, GSNWGL serves nearly 20,000 girls in 58 counties across northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Girl Scouts is the world’s preeminent leadership development organization for girls, building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. To join, volunteer, reconnect, or donate to Girl Scouts, call 888.747.6945 or visit www.gsnwgl.org. GSNWGL is a proud United Way partner program.
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