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Troop Leader Spotlight: Natasha Neal


Desert Sunset Service Unit 

Troops 6185 & 494 (Brownies-Ambassadors) 

Years as a Troop Leader: 7

What inspired you to become a Troop Leader? 

I enrolled my oldest daughter a few years back as a Girl Scout. After witnessing the wonderful opportunities and experiences she had, I was inspired to learn more about becoming a Troop Leader. I wasn't a Girl Scout growing up, so this was a new experience for the both of us. My daughter's confidence and personal development grew immensely, and the experience opened a whole new world of opportunities for both of us. As a mother of three, I wanted the same for my younger girls too, so I knew I wanted to become a Troop Leader for them as well. 

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

Our troop loves to do anything that involves the outdoors. Some activities we have done with the older girls include camping, encampments, attending Jamboree, overnight trips out of state, horseback riding, hiking, and a ton of other activities. 

We are a troop that values badge earning, completing Journeys, and working towards High Awards – this is the first year my girls will be working towards becoming Gold Award Girl Scouts. 

My Brownie troop also enjoys earning a variety of badges. Before the pandemic, they participated in an overnight camp experience at Parsons Leadership Center and continued to meet virtually to complete badges through February 2021. They really enjoy camping experiences, so this was an exciting activity and something they look forward to doing more of!   

They currently like hands-on activities and recently just completed their Home Scientist Badge. They enjoy connecting and socializing at the park after their meetings. 

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

Community service and giving back is very important to my troops. Here are some of the projects we have completed over the years: 

  • Revitalized a garden at a local community resource center
  • Supported families by providing diapers and food
  • Volunteered at a local food bank
  • Volunteered at Special Olympics events
  • Participated with the Operation Christmas Child
  • Served as flag bearers at an annual 911 memorial
  • Installed lending libraries at preschool centers
  • Volunteered with Feed My Starving Children 
  • Installed a sensory wall at Aimee's Animal Sanctuary

These are only a few of the many community service projects in which we have participated. Through these experiences, I hope the girls have developed a heart of giving and a lifelong commitment to service.

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

One of the many moments that stand out was a couple of years ago when we adopted a family during the Christmas holiday. Our troop family rallied together to provide Christmas decorations, Christmas dinner, gifts, and furniture to a family in need. We delivered everything to their home, and their humbleness and appreciation were immeasurable. What stood out to me most was how the kindness of the family moved our entire troop, leaders, and girls. That experience is something I will always carry in my heart.

What advice would you give other Troop Leaders? 

My best advice for other Troop Leaders is always to remember why you were inspired to be a Girl Scout leader. Stay present, maintain your wellness, and don't beat yourself up by comparing yourself to other leaders. Just like the girls in our troop, we all have unique gifts and talents!

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

Most importantly, don't sweat the small things, and always be flexible in your planning! Remember to enjoy every special moment as the years will go by way too fast!

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

I would want others to know that there are many ways to volunteer with Girls Scouts besides being a Troop Leader. I would recommend that interested volunteers reach out to their Council and ask about service unit opportunities. There is a great need for a variety of skills and talents at all levels of Girl Scouts. Many potential volunteers don't know you don't have to work directly with a troop, that you can provide services that make a large contribution to the Girl Scouts experience through other part-time and flexible volunteer opportunities.

Why is it important to participate in the Cookie Program? 

Yes, we participate every year! It is important to participate because it teaches girls how hard work leads to future rewards. What better way for girls to gain customer service, public speaking, money management, and entrepreneurial skills? Recently my oldest daughter interviewed for her first job, and she specifically used her Girl Scout Cookie-selling experiences to showcase her customer service skills.

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

Our best cookie-selling tip is that there is ALWAYS an opportunity to sell cookies. When selling, always present your best self, wear your uniform, have your best attitude, and most importantly, have fun working with your Girl Scout sisters!

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

Recently I have been inspired by my Brownies' confidence to either share or speak up about subjects and topics that often adults find difficult to discuss. When we started meeting in person again, the girls asked questions on why "God" is in the Promise, why we start meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance, and why it isn't appropriate to describe a person only by their race. At first, I was taken aback because I thought these subjects were beyond their years to understand, much less have an opinion about them. The girls answered these questions on their own and showed such empathy and compassion that truly touched my heart. Given the social environment, the topics that tend to make adults uncomfortable, they answered confidently and easily. I am proud that through Girl Scouts, I have given them a space where they can be comfortable expressing themselves.