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Troop Leader Spotlight: Misty Coulson

Troop Leader Spotlight Misty Coulson (1)

Service Unit 673

Troop 1955 (Seniors and Ambassadors)

Years as a troop leader: 11.5 

What inspired you to become a troop leader?

I became a Girl Scout as soon I could, and continued all throughout high school. Because of the military, my family moved a lot, and everywhere we went, we would find a new Girl Scout troop. During my time as a Girl Scout, I earned the Gold Award, which helped fund my college education, and made friends that have remained a part of my life. I always knew I wanted a daughter so I could share my love for Girl Scouts. My grandmother and mom were Girl Scouts and it’s wonderful to share it with my daughter. 

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

The girls love doing a variety of activities like supporting different community organizations and coming together to learn ways they can continue to make a difference. We all still love camping even though it is challenging to get them all together as they’ve gotten older.  

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

Over the years, our troop has consistently helped the Arizona Humane Society, where three of our girls earned their Silver Award. We also donate cookies to the military every year, as we have several military families in our troop. Additionally, the girls have helped the homeless population over the last couple of years and completed service projects for the Ronald McDonald house. Lastly, our troop enjoys supporting Circle of Peace church, where we met for several years. 

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

There are two volunteer moments that stand out for me. When my daughter was in second grade, we went to  encampment, and I hugged her at nighttime. One of the girls in my troop that I've known since she was born asked if I could hug her too since I was her second mom. I then asked all the girls if they wanted a "mom hug", and they all said yes. Even though they grew into high schoolers, the girls still want a “mom hug” at every overnight trip. My second favorite moment is being able to sit back and provide support when they need it. I love listening to them laugh and enjoy each other's company.

What advice would you give other troop leaders?

Listen to the girls! Our girls have stayed with the troop over the years because we keep them involved in all decisions. Something that has helped us maintain a well-rounded troop is having three leaders, all with different talents and relationships with the girls. It’s important to also engage with your families and encourage parents to get involved and support the troop. 

What do you wish someone had told you as a new troop leader?

I wish someone had told me that everything would continue to change. Before becoming a troop leader, I thought I’d be better prepared since I had gone through it for 12 years, but I was wrong. Girl Scouts is always changing, but don’t stress! Everything you do for your troop and community matters. 

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

I would like others to know that volunteering with the Girl Scouts is so rewarding. I've watched girls do things they wouldn't normally do, and grow into amazing young women, who accomplish big goals. I've enjoyed sharing this experience with my daughter and I hope she continues with future generations because being a Girl Scout is a family experience. For example, when our son turned 18, he became a registered Girl Scout and went to training and encampment to help with the zip line and rock-climbing wall. 

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

Our girls have sold cookies to help fund their service projects and support their community. Participating in the cookie program has given our girls an opportunity to travel and participate in fun activities using their earnings. We've done over nights at the Arizona History Museum, Arizona Science Center, Lake Pleasant Outdoor Center, and Sea World. We've also done escape rooms, troop dinners and visited Knott's Berry Farm and Universal Studios. Currently, our eleventh graders are saving up to go on a cruise after they graduate high school.

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

To sell cookie packages, we recommend lots of color at the booths. When the girls were younger, they used to decorate cute signs and wear costumes, but now that they’ve grown up it’s a bit harder. If you have a troop with older girls, asking them to wear their vests especially during cookie season will let customers know that they’re Girl Scouts. 

What is the most inspiring moment you have experienced as a troop leader?

Most of the girls in our troop have joined our troop because they were friends with a girl in the troop, while some girls left, and then returned. What inspires me the most is their consistency and seeing them stay in the troop this long. We have girls that are playing sports, preparing for college, and doing other extracurricular activities, yet they want to stay in Girl Scouts, and that to me is inspiring.