Navajo Nation Service Unit
Troop 1430 (Daisies-Ambassadors)
Years as a Troop Leader: 9
What inspired you to become a Troop Leader?
I feel strongly about the role we, as trusted adults, play in girls' lives, helping create a safe and fun place for them to support each other.
When my daughter entered kindergarten, her teacher started a Girl Scouts troop. I immediately got involved and volunteered as a cookie mom and led activities. When her teacher left the district, I decided to take over as their Troop Leader! I thought that if I was starting a troop for one grade, I might as well expand to all grades! We do not have many resources here in the Navajo Nation, so I knew I would need to take it on if I wanted Girl Scouts to continue in our community. I received a grant and partnered with the local school district to offer Girl Scouts to all elementary grades, and over the years, we went from six to over a hundred girls!
What kind of activities do you do with your troop? What is their favorite thing to do?
Our troop loves earning badges and planning group trips. Our goal is to have weekly meetings as part of the after-school program and participate in summer trips together. Recently, however, our school has been entirely virtual since March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We decided to keep running our program weekly on Zoom for the 20-21 school year. And while it has been a challenge, we still could earn badges and connect with other Girl Scout troops across the country! We like using Google JamBoard and having fun online to stay connected. It's challenged us to be creative in this new space – for example, we even had a Zoom sleepover where we watched a movie together and shared fun TikTok videos!
What kind of service projects have you done with your troop?
We've supported local community efforts with coat drives, community clean-ups and worked with our elders. During the pandemic, Troop 1430 collected and distributed pet food, PPE, and cleaning products. We gave a mini-PPE kit with gloves and masks to all 1,400 post office box holders in our community!
Tell us about a volunteer moment that stands out to you.
I love taking my Girl Scouts to the GSACPC Annual Meeting because it is a great place to experience the Movement from an overarching and more formal lens. It also allows me to take the 5th grade girls in our troop to see the fantastic girl-led activities - especially since they will be transitioning into middle school. This event is important because I want them to know the leadership skills that Girl Scouts can offer them.
Another moment that stands out to me was when we participated in the Parsons Leadership Center dedication. I felt so honored. Here, our girls had the opportunity to recite the Girl Scout Promise and Law in the Navajo Language!
What advice would you give other Troop Leaders?
There are so many resources available to Troop Leaders and so many ideas and paths that you can do with your troop. Every year I feel like we accomplished so much yet, there was much more that we could have done. It can be hard to do everything offered and provide all the experiences; it is overwhelming. Just focus on what your girls want to do and know that being there for them is what’s important.
What do you wish someone had told you as a new Troop Leader?
I wish someone had told me to get parents on board and involved early – be sure to connect and engage them! Also, don't be afraid to accept help and delegate – I am still working on that one.
What would you like others to know about volunteer opportunities with the Girl Scouts?
Any help is appreciated! Leading a troop is a big commitment, but there are so many other jobs and positions where you can offer support. The opportunities are flexible with time and welcome many special skills and talents as well!
Why is it important to participate in the cookie program?
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a great way to connect with your girls' family members. Especially with our program offered after school, we send the girls home on the bus and do not connect with the parents as often. During the cookie season and Fall Product Program, I get to build relationships with the families. It is also a fun project where our troops can work together to host a cookie booth across all ages. I also feel that learning to communicate and work on people skills is a HUGE benefit for our girls, and that is something girls can learn in both product programs.
What are your troop's cookie-selling tips and tricks?
The good and the bad part about being in a small community is that there are not too many other troops selling cookies. Everyone gets very excited about buying early, but then everyone gets "cookie’d out"! We try to schedule a trip to set up a booth in the Phoenix area along with a badge earning activity or camp to make the most of it and provide more boothing opportunities for our cookie entrepreneurs.
What is the most inspiring moment you have experienced as a Troop Leader?
I am so proud of all the youth I work with. I always tell girls the famous phrase, "Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout!" Even if a girl takes time off and is not active, she still thinks of me as her Troop Leader, and I think of her as one of my girls. Even if I only have a hundred active Girl Scouts, there are many more girls I have worked with over the last ten years, and they are all special and forever part of our sisterhood.
Each moment spent helping them succeed, witnessing them achieve their goals, and growing their confidence is what inspires me.