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Troop Leader Spotlight: Tonya Zavala

Service Unit: Cotton Blossom 

Troop: 2174, Multi-Level

  • Years as Troop Leader: 8

What inspired you to become a Troop Leader?

Both of my daughters were my inspiration to become –and to continue– on my journey as a Troop Leader. I love the lessons that I have been able to share with them. 

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

We are a multi-level troop and I try to find activities that all our girls can participate in together. We have participated in horseback riding, gone on encampments, As You Wish pottery painting activities, been to Christmas parades, World Thinking Day, volunteered with Feed My Starving Children, gone hiking, camped under the stars – so much!

My favorite activity is Encampment. At Encampments, I get to see the problem-solving skills that the girls in my troop possess. Encampment is where I find and believe their true independence shines through. 

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

We have volunteered with Feed My Starving Children every year. We have also put together backpacks for children living in domestic violence shelters and we have built a food pantry at a local church for donations to be collected.

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

My favorite moments happen during a Bridging Ceremony. I love being able to honor the girls with all their accomplishments from the year. I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they walk across the bridge and put on their new uniform. They feel so confident and so proud of themselves, and I do too. 

What advice would you give other Troop Leaders?

Advice I would give to other Troop Leaders is, “Everything is going to be alright!” 

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

I wish someone had said to me that everything was going to be alright (LOL). I was nervous and scared being a new Troop Leader not really knowing anything about Girl Scouts. I was worried that I was letting the girls in my troop down, their families down, and myself down. Only when the girls in my troop would return every year did I finally embrace my role as a Troop Leader and have the confidence that I was a part of something great!

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

Girl Scouts offers many opportunities to our girls to become future leaders in their schools, church, and communities. As well as scholarship opportunities.

Tell us in your own words, why is it important to participate in the Cookie Program? 

The five skills the girls learn during cookie season help the girls internalize what it takes to run their own business, how to speak up, manage money, set goals and so much more.

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

We are a full uniform troop. We have always felt that to run your business you need to look like you own the business. We have always inspired our girls to dress in a full uniform. They love every cookie season when they receive compliments from customers on how professional they look.

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

There are so many to choose from since I have been a leader for almost 8 years. My inspiring moments are watching each of the girls in my troop grow and overcome their own hurdles in life and do it with grace and style! Every girl in my troop has become like one of my own and we have become one big Girl Scout family.