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Troop Leader Spotlight: Melanie Callahan


Mesa Service Unit

Troops 2195, 3555, 3095 (Brownies – Cadettes)

Years as a Troop Leader: 19

What inspired you to become a Troop Leader?

I loved Girl Scouts as a child and have many fond memories. I was inspired to become a Leader because I have first-hand experienced the benefits of being in Girl Scouts. The skills I learned in my youth have served me well throughout my life. As time went on and I had my daughters, who were also in Girl Scouts, and who then had their daughters, I knew I wanted them to have a Girl Scouting experience. Being their Troop Leader has been rewarding, and I am excited to be in their lives this way.

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

Our troop likes to participate in a plethora of activities. Some of their favorite things involve camping and going on field trips. They also enjoy learning new skills and helping others learn. Our troop has helped host World Thinking Day celebrations for our Service Unit in 2019 and 2020.

Lastly, our troop enjoys giving back. Many of our girls have earned their Summit Awards, two girls earned their Bronze Award, and four have earned their Silver Award. Plus, eight of our girls are currently working on their projects to become Silver or Bronze awards Girl Scouts!

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

Our troop LOVES giving back whenever we can. Here are some of the things we have done to give back to our community that can maybe serve as ideas to other troops:

  • Participated in the Goodwill drives collecting shoes or gently used clothing and other items
  • Collected and donated to local causes and food banks
  • Made blankets during the holiday season
  • Donated cookies to our military troops, frontline workers, teachers, and food banks
  • Donated water to the Mesa’s Hydration campaign
  • Collected books for Mesa United Way’s 12 Book program
  • Collected socks and donated them to a local shelter
  • Volunteered at a memory care unit by leading residents in different activities and performing Christmas songs
  • Volunteered at an Alzheimer’s benefit walk and handed out water to participants
  • Volunteered and cleaned up several community parks and roadways
  • Planted a garden at a local elementary school
  • Crafted and distributed “love rocks,” which are hand-painted rocks with positive messages on them for local teachers
Tell us about a volunteer moment that stands out to you.

Watching my granddaughters be Girl Scouts and have their own experiences has pulled at my heartstrings. As a volunteer, it has also been a privilege to honor my Cadettes as Silver Award Girl Scouts. Seeing them dedicate so much time and work and being the one to acknowledge their success in that way was amazing!

The experience to also see your Girl Scouts grow is an honor. For most of the girls in our troops, I have been their Leader since kindergarten and have been blessed to see them grow into beautiful, kind, and caring young ladies.

What advice would you give other Troop Leaders?

My advice is quite simple, learn and live by the Girl Scout law, share materials and resources, and don't take on more than you can handle.

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

I want all new leaders to continue to be strong and remember as often as possible that they are making a difference in girls' lives. I also recommend new leaders build a support system or have another adult to share the experience with. You’ll always need help, and many people want to lend a hand.

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

The girls make it worth your time and effort - they are AMAZING!

Does your troop sell cookies?

Yes, and it’s a program that we look forward to. Participating in the program helps us fund our activities throughout the year but more importantly, it teaches so many important life and business skills. They learn to set goals, interact with customers, work as a team, and handle money, just to name a few.

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

Our tips to other troops participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program would be to smile, have fun, and compliment people whether or not they buy cookies.

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

One of the most inspiring moments I can think of is when my daughter was a Girl Scout, and I was one of her leaders (25 years ago). We did a troop exchange with a troop in Hawaii and had such a wonderful experience. The other troop and their families were so welcoming and genuinely exemplified the values of Girl Scouting that it made our trip that much more memorable.

To this day, my daughter and I are still close friends with her host family and their daughter. Every year, our Hawaiian Girl Scout Sisters buy a case of cookies from each of my granddaughters - that's a true Girl Scout Sisterhood.