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Troop Leader Spotlight: Karen Stevenson

Ocotillo Service Unit

Troop 756, Ambassadors

Years with GS: 18
Years as Troop Leader: 15

Tell us why you invest the time and effort in being a Troop Leader?

Initially it was to spend time with my daughters. I quickly learned that Girl Scouting was so much more than I thought! Watching the girls in my troops grow and learn and develop leadership skills over the years has been amazing. I also found many connections and opportunities for personal growth with Girl Scouts. I grew right alongside the girls in my troops.

What is the most inspiring moment you have experienced as a Troop Leader?

Getting to meet Sylvia Acevedo, GSUSA CEO, while she was here was very special to me. It helped me gain perspective that Girl Scouts is a movement and not just any individual troop. It's girls, troop, Service Unit, Council, and National.

Thinking about your outdoor adventures in Girl Scouts, what is your favorite outdoor experience as a Troop Leader and why?

My favorite experience was taking one of my troops to San Diego and camping at the Balboa Park Program Center. We had all the fun of camping, while enjoying all that San Diego had to offer. We could even hear the elephants from the zoo (near Balboa Park) from our tents in the morning!

What has been your proudest moment as a Troop Leader?

Seeing all the girls bridge to Adults! I had four girls graduate in 2016 and six who graduate this year. It was a great time to showcase their accomplishments and remember all they had learned in their years as Girl Scouts.

How do you balance the demands of being a Troop Leader?

Good time management and organizational skills are key. I have also had fantastic parents and co-leaders over the years. Leading my troops has truly been a team effort.

What goals and projects are you currently working on?

I was able to be trained in Mental Health First Aid last spring and am hoping to raise awareness about anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges that our teens and young adults face every day. I see this all the time professionally as the Registered Nurse at a large high school. Girl Scouts can be a great space for girls to be themselves and find the support they need as they navigate our increasingly complicated world. My goal is to be trained as an Instructor, so I can bring this training to other leaders.

What advice would you give other Troop Leaders?

Use your resources! Get parents on board quickly and engage those in your larger community to help provide for meetings and activities. Also, stick with it when it gets challenging! It is so worth it to see those girls grow from little Daisies to Ambassadors and Adults.

What do you wish someone had told you as a new Troop Leader?

Go to your Service Unit meetings. Those in-person opportunities really are a great way to network and meet other leaders.

If you were a Girl Scout Cookie, what would it be and why?

Samoas! Lots of flavor - and still a little crunchy on the inside.