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Troop Leader Spotlight: Sarah O'Connell


Coyote Plains Service Unit 

Troop 6455 (Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors)

Years as a Troop Leader:

What inspired you to become a Troop Leader?

My Troop Leader story started with a love of Girl Scout Cookies! My husband is a huge fan, and during cookie season, he would sometimes struggle to find a booth. Those cookie hunts sparked an interest in Girl Scouts as a whole. 

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

My troop loves spending time together and being their genuine selves. However, our community service events and summer camp are the two areas that really excite us! 

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

Some of the projects my troop has completed include: 

  • Trash pick-ups 
  • Animal supply drive 
  • Community food drive 
  • Crafted holiday cards for a local nursing home 
  • Collected and donated books 
  • Made water conservation bookmarks for a library
  • Donated computers to schools 
  • Packing food for Feed My Starving Children 
Tell us about a volunteer moment that stands out to you.

I attended the end-of-the-year meeting and was able to see how successful our Council is; it was inspiring. The commitment displayed by each employee, volunteer, partner, and board member has allowed GSACPC to expand the opportunities available to girls with each passing year. Our Council's success really makes the difference, and in my opinion, we are doing a great job in securing a future for many generations of Girl Scouts to come. 

What advice would you give other Troop Leaders?

Communication is the key to everything, especially in Girl Scouts. Don't be afraid to connect with other leaders in your Service Unit to get advice, suggestions for fun activities, and most of all – perspective. Ask yourself, "what do the girls want?" Their voices and opinions matter. 

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

I wish someone had told me that every troop is different, and the dynamic can change over time. There is no template for what a troop should look or act like; the girls will ultimately decide how the troop will be run and how they interact. Every possibility is the right possibility. 

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

Volunteering with Girl Scouts is an excellent opportunity for someone to grow their professional skills. Pull any job posting, and you'll see how being a part of Girl Scouts aligns! Team building, creating a growth strategy, networking, financial bookkeeping, and so much more. Whatever area in which a person is looking to grow, a volunteer opportunity within Girl Scouts can fit their personal and professional goals. 

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

My troop always participates in any fundraising opportunities, especially cookies. With each year that the girls get older, they gain more independence in handling the details of the cookie program. The program is a highly engaging experience for all troop members as they experience the value of running a business in real-time. They can see how vital product, timing, location, and commitment are to making their goals. Fall Product Program is a great entrepreneurial tool for preparing the girls for cookie season. I highly recommend not passing up either of these opportunities with your troop. 

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

My tips for cookie season are as follows: 

  1. Keep calm, it's only cookies. Things can get stressful around this time of year, but it is essential to stay grounded and remember to have fun! 
  2. Support is a plus – getting parents to sign on as volunteers are the key.
  3. Timing is essential when it comes to sales. Think about the dates and times when choosing your cookie booths. 
  4. A good partnership with a local business for self-scheduled booths is priceless. 
What is the most inspiring moment you have experienced as a Troop Leader?

Camping with my troop is the absolute best! Watching how independent they are is so inspiring as both a volunteer and a parent. The way they engage during camp activities and how their eyes light up as they take in nature's beauty warms my heart.