This blog is written by Girl Scout Volunteer, Troop Leader, and Authentic Leadership Community (ALC) member Bobbie Legg. ALC is centered around the principles of Authentic Girl Scout Leadership, formerly known as Leadership from the Inside Out. "We are committed to helping you discover, unlock and develop your leadership superpowers so that you can guide and empower your girls as they grow into leaders themselves.”
“So do Girl Scouts only do crafts and sell cookies?” Some version of this question is the most common inquiry I get when someone hears I was, and am, a Girl Scout. It falls on my ears with the same ease as putting your foot in a hand glove.
I started Girl Scouts later than other girls in my elementary school—I desperately wanted to join as a first grader but was told that I couldn’t participate if my parents couldn’t volunteer some hours. I waited patiently.
It was finally here. In grade 4, Girl Scouts started for me at Camp May Flather in Mount Solon, Virginia. To support my membership, my mom required me to save up money to pay for my fees. I was nine. I was scared.
I didn’t know a soul. But in a moment, there, my life changed. One vibrant and confident camp counselor heard my feisty, fearless humor and quickly took me under her wing and gave me the camp name Spunkie. My strengths were seen, and I felt like I belonged.
In the years to come, I paddled down rivers, climbed, rappelled, spelunked, and backpacked at camp. Then I found a troop that was open to new members. I was twelve years old, and they were saving up money to go to Our Chalet.
Our Chalet is an international Girl Scout / Girl Guide centre and one of five Wold Centres of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, located in Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. You can imagine how thrilled I was!
I’d never been on a plane and scarcely even been in a motel. But the idea of traveling abroad lit me up with excitement. Eighteen months later, we arrived in Switzerland. Within the picturesque Alps, sleeping on the attic floor at Our Chalet, I found the magic of international friendships through Girl Scouting.
During the next four years of Girl Scouting, I built up skills and confidence and found myself working in the halls of Congress. I greeted dignitaries at the Presidential Inaugural Ball. I traveled as part of the GSUSA delegation to Austria and Hungary to witness scouts from eastern block countries join troops that had been closed off to them for decades. In Girl Scouting, I learned about myself, what I valued in life, and what career I wanted to pursue. I earned scholarships to college—directly from Girl Scouting.
I double-majored in social work and camping & recreation (yes, that is an actual degree!), then I went back to Switzerland and served as part of the summer staff at Our Chalet. It was a full-circle moment for me.
Due to Girl Scouts, I found my voice. I discovered my strengths, and I found my path. I work in international humanitarian care in Africa and South Asia and am passionate about serving children and adolescents who lack needed resources.
When I moved to Phoenix, I found a Girl Scouting home in the GSACPC Authentic Leadership Community. Much like Juliette Gordon Low said, I found lifelong sisterhood in this circle of friendship united by our ideals. The Authentic Leadership Community offers resources, support, and transformative experiences for YOU to learn, grow, thrive, and be true to your authentic self.
Girl Scouts, it’s so much more than crafts and cookies.
Girl Scouts love to travel—from the field trips they take as Brownies to the global adventures they go on as teens. If you love exploring different places and cultures, then Girl Scouts is the place for you.
Check out Girl Scout Destinations, the ultimate adventure program for girls ages 11 and older. With a ton of different trips to apply for every year—from surfing camp on the east coast and breathtaking hikes out west to the crazy-cool wonder of new cultures abroad—there’s something amazing for everyone to experience, just like I did.
Traveling builds life skills and allows you to make friends with people all over the country, see and learn new things, and pack your bags full of inspiring life-changing experiences and memories, which I hope you too get to experience.