Did you know that the CEO of Girl Scouts of America was invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to speak about initiatives to combat child obesity? News like this keeps me proud of my girl scout days.
My husband remembers the value of his YMCA Indian Guides scouting days with his father. My girlfriend recalls how challenges in the woods, through church camping, made her a badass. I recall my pride in being a Brownie Scout and the comaraderie I had with Bluebirds and other girl scouts. One man might describe scouting as learning wit and stealth during the camping challenges. A woman might recall the feeling of heroism leading a pack of other girls during a survival exercise. I am convinced that my scouting experiences have formed my perspective about life, my duty was a world citizen and the possibilities of influencing the local community.
I understand that not all young people have scouting experience. Some may be enrolled in sports such as soccer, basketball and football. I’ve noticed that former scouts, now young adults were enrolled in fine arts concurrently with outdoors survival lessons. During a recent date with my husband over sliders and calamari at The Glendon, I asked him to explore how scouting may have given him more agile thinking as a business student. I asked my girlfriend to share one of her most vivid childhood memories of empowerment through camping.
I married Nik because of his sense of responsibility as a citizen, his agile mind, and his pioneering spirit. This makes a formidable entrepreneur with a social conscience as an adult. He respects the ways of indigenous peoples and knows his way around the business world. I am proud of him and if I met him when he was under 11, I would have respected him as a fellow scout.
My girlfriend C, is an actress now. She is confident, spirited and has a whip-smart wit. I perceive her as fearless! Her most vivid memory on an outdoor retreat is through her church but very similar to scouting. This memory was a challenge exercise at night in the woods. All the children were on one team and the adults were another. They were allowed to have flashlights but only the clothes on their backs. The objective was to get from place A to location B without being caught by the adults. The adults, in this scenario, were enemies who could throw you in jail for your beliefs. C cooperated with other girls to hide quietly, camoflague themselves by lying down on wet leaves, and ducking from cover to cover to make it to her destination. Those captured by the enemy stayed emotionally strong by reciting something memorized from scripture. While running for survival, branches scratched C’s face and gave her cuts but she felt even more pride in the struggle by thinking of blood on her face as her battle wounds. She was and is a badass.
Because of my early experiences of girl solidarity, I uplift other women. This means I connect with other women such as CEOs who live by, “Help the next monkey out of the barrel.” I am also reading, Five Aspects of Women by Barbara Mouser, that is in the same vein. Not every woman responds well to my cheerleading. Some flatly find it peculiar if they’ve only experienced competition with other girls in junior high rather than cooperation in elementary school. However, I was taught that empowering others does not diminish myself. I only grow stronger. Girl scouts taught me strength and empathy.
Did scouting teach you that type of resilience and bravery that you apply as an adult? I want to know. Tell me your story and contact me also if scouting did not do this for you. I’m interested in events, experiences and people who influenced you to become the leader you are today.