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Troop Leader Spotlight: Stephanie Melvin

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San Tan Skies Service Unit 

Troop 2356, Multi-Level  

Years as a Troop Leader: 13

What inspired you to become a Troop Leader?

I wanted to spend time with my oldest daughter and second daughter, and re-live some of the fun things that I got to do as a Girl Scout in NY. I also wanted to share create new memories with them. 

What kind of activities do you do with your troop? What is their favorite thing to do?

My troop has done axe throwing, archery, sewing, rock wall climbing & zipline! We also traveled to California last summer and we are planning to go to Savannah, GA in 2021 or 2022. Our favorite moments have been spent in the car driving on the way to a program, event or trip. Girls and moms buzz with excitement, laugh, sing and just let loose and have fun. 

What kind of service projects have you done with your troop?

Our troop tries to do at least one service project per year to help our community.  Girls pick something that has meaning for them. There have been times when the troop decides on a service project ideas because of one girl's connection or passion for something. They work hard to support each other and make whatever project they decide on a success. It has even turned out that as a troop they decided on something together. During these instances, the troop comes together to make it successful.  

We have made no-sew blankets, collected pop-tabs, helped with Turkey to Troops for soldiers, collected books for a little library, sold cookies to build a local little library, made recycled travel games for kids that must stay in the hospital for treatment, and many more.

Tell us about a volunteer moment that stands out to you. 

I think the moments that stand out to me are when I am with other leaders, planning and just learning from one another. I also feel blessed to have been nominated for things that I didn't even realize were important. To hear that something I did made a difference in others means a lot to me. I feel like I am making an impact in this world and not just with the girls in my troop.

What advice would you give other Troop Leaders?

Be yourself. Don't try to be what you think a perfect leader should be. Be the perfect leader you can be. It is incredibly valuable for girls to see female leaders in all shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities. If you are an oddball - stay and oddball, if you are studious and love to organize, stay that way. Appreciate the differences and don't be afraid to take risks. Show the girls that success and failure are equally important and learn to roll with the punches. If something isn't going as planned, change it. The most important advice that I can give is to have fun and just be there for them, they don't always need us but when they do – it makes a world of difference. 💚

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

That there isn't a right way to be a leader. With a 100% heart, commitment, and a willingness to grow, you’ll be set. The girls will grow with you and that journey is amazing.

What would you like others to know about volunteer opportunities with the Girl Scouts?

Everyone has a place. Every person has a strength; it is just a matter of finding it and being willing to share it with others.

Does your troop sell cookies? If yes, please tell us in your own words, why it is important to participate in the Cookie Program?  

The cookie program teaches the girls about life and life skills. The program gives girls hands-on practice of on the job skills whether it is counting out money, operating a card reader, or graciously accepting a “no” or “no, thank you.” These skills are taught through experience and can last a lifetime.

The program also highlights the need for community service, allowing girls to use their proceeds to make a difference in their community. I have seen my girls learn that life isn't just about them and what they want, it is about what they can do to help the community and it shows the community, that someone is there willing to help. 

What are your troop's cookie selling tips and tricks? 

We ask every customer, are enthusiastic, and are persistent. For the leaders, the best tip I can give you is to let the girls take the lead and don't save them from every failure. Let them learn and let them grow. As parents and leaders, we want to fix everything, so they don't have the experience of heartache or disappointment but occasionally, it is needed. Let it happen and be there for them to process through it. Amazing things can happen.

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

I can honestly say I have more than just one. I love seeing the girls try new things and love whatever it is. I also enjoy girls finding out who they are and what direction they want to go in life. I watched my own daughter grow in Girl Scouts from Kindergarten as a Daisy, through High School and the experiences I have with her as a leader and her mom are forever with me. Now, I am loving the time I get to spend with my other daughter and can't wait to see what things we do next. My troop has become my family and my girls are like my kids, and I wouldn't trade this experience.