In Girl Scouts, Dads Fit Right In

By the name alone, you might not think men are welcomed too readily in the Girl Scout organization. But you’d be wrong. Not only are they welcome, they are encouraged. As part of National Recruitment Week (September  30-October 6, 2013), Girl Scout councils throughout the country are turning the spotlight on ways atypical volunteers can help meet the need for more troop leaders.

Nick Leary isn’t your average Girl Scout volunteer. “I’m kind of a guy’s guy,” Leary said, laughing. “I don’t really sing and I’m not good at crafts or things like that.” But Leary is now returning for his second year as a Daisy troop leader. Last year, his daughter wanted to join Girl Scouts, but there was no troop formed and no volunteers lined up, so he decided to take the lead. “It’s been a way more rewarding experience than I expected,” he said. “I just enjoy having fun with the girls and seeing them play and learn and grow.”

Leary’s approach to his Girl Scout troop is somewhat unconventional as well. He and his co-leader split the year into two parts: during the school year, the girls earned their petals, and during the optional summer meetings, they completed a Journey. Girl Scout Journeys are series of themed activities that progress as Girl Scouts grow older. After completing their Daisy Journey last summer, the troop visited a local farm and the girls got to milk cows and visit the other animals. Almost the entire troop opted to participate during the summer. “Dads often bring a different kind of energy to troops. It’s great for the girls to experience different styles of leadership. Each volunteer brings their own strengths,” noted Sarah Kinate, Community Development Coordinator at Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes.

Many people don’t realize that men are welcome to volunteer as troop leaders for Girl Scouts. “We love it when dads step up to the role!” said Ally Clark Peterson, Director of Adult Development at Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. “They are paired with a non-related female co-leaders to comply with GSUSA policies, but these men are definitely rolling up their sleeves and doing the work of a troop leader. They commit!” she continued.

While it’s true that Girl Scout volunteers still tend to be women, Leary noted that he felt welcomed into the group instantly and has really enjoyed his time with his troop. “We’ve had great parent involvement at troop meetings. Most of the parents jumped at the opportunity to help whenever help was needed.”

To get involved with Girl Scouts or to learn more about volunteering, visit www.gsnwgl.org or call 888.747.6945.

ABOUT GSNWGL

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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