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Troop Leader Spotlight: JoDee Turner

Service Unit: South Phoenix

Troop 4009, Multi-Level, K-12

  • Years as a GS: 14
  • Years as Troop Leader: 12

What inspired you to become a Troop Leader?

I was a parent volunteer with my stepdaughter's troop, and I helped out here and there. Then the leader approached me when she was retiring to see if I wanted to lead the troop. I have always loved kids and love to help, plus I always wanted to be a Girl Scout.

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

We let the girls choose badges and outings. We have visited attractions all over the state, including Tombstone, Bearizona, the MIM, Kartchner Caverns, Biosphere, and so many more. The girls love to try new things; see things they've never seen. One of their favorite trips was Bearizona, where they saw snow for the first time. We also like to teach them life skills. One of their favorite activities is when we make pancakes. Every level in the troop gets to participate - staging, measuring, mixing, making the pancakes, and setting the table.

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

We have participated in a few service projects like graffiti cleanup, trash clean up in a park, helping at the annual Laveen Pit BBQ, Feed Your Starving Children, collecting blankets and socks for the homeless, and donating bags for the homeless containing essentials.

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

This is difficult after twelve years and countless memories with my troop. Seeing one of the shyest girls talk in front of a crowd of people, seeing how excited a girl gets at a cookie booth, watching the girls blossom as they grow.

One recent memory that stands out is when I saw Girl Scout Senior Lina get up on stage during a sister-troop encampment. When Lina joined Troop 4009 as a kindergartner, she was so shy – she didn't talk to me for the first year. Fast-forward 10 years – she was on stage with another girl performing during a lip sync battle, and was so animated, not shy! I teared up. Lina is also on an Academic Decathlon team, and we (Lina, her mom, and me) all agree that Girl Scouts played a considerable role in helping to build her confidence to stand in front of hundreds of people and give speeches during competitions.

What advice would you give other Troop Leaders?

Be open – learn from the girls, learn from others, embrace the moment, ask for help, have fun. I encourage leaders to be involved in their Service Units – to attend meetings, participate in neighborhood functions, etc.

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

Don't try to do it all yourself! Start slow and build; you don't have to try to do a million activities all at once.

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

People have misconceptions about volunteering – that you had to be a Girl Scout as a kid, or you must have a biological child participating to volunteer. I would encourage people to find where they fit in. Maybe a leader isn't the fit for you, but there are so many other avenues to take as a volunteer. Find your passion and see where it fits with Girl Scouts.

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

Yes, we do sell cookies. I encourage parents to have their girls participate primarily because of the five skills the program helps develop in girls. I tell them that working a cookie booth helps the girls with confidence, teaches them essential life skills (e.g., math, communication), and teamwork. Participating in the program also affords our troop all the experiences we have.

What are your troop’s cookie-selling tips and tricks? 

Greeting everyone who walks by the booth. Being kind to every potential customer, even if they don't buy. And simply thanking people.

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

Not sure I can pin it down to one moment. Being part of my troop members’ lives inspires me. I am invited to high school graduations, college graduations, baby showers for girls who bridged to alums, weddings of parents. I am part of their family, and they are part of mine. I was at a wedding on Leap Day for one of my troop moms. At this wedding, I sat at a table with a group of women that I met through Girl Scouts. None of us would be friends if it weren't for Girl Scouts. My friends (now family) are all possible because I decided to become a Leader. The friendships I have made, and deeply treasure, are what inspire me every day. The bonds I have made with these families is heartwarming. We have seen each other through celebrations, birthdays, weddings, divorces, death, and everyday life. Having this support system inspires me.