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Troop Leader Spotlight: Malinda Aftanski


Service Unit: Lakota Blossom

Troop 4929 (Daisies – Juniors)

Years as a troop leader: 6 

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

You name it, and we do it! My troop does everything from badge work, field trips, encampment, parades, hiking, tent camping and more - the girls love it all! One of the events they look forward to all year is our annual Christmas caroling party, where we host a big bash with a potluck, decorate gingerbread houses, drink hot cocoa, and partake in other holiday activities. We even have matching hats, scarves, and gloves! Our neighborhood looks forward to the girls singing door to door every year, and we've even had neighbors gift the girls handmade Christmas ornaments.

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

Our troop loves giving back to the community! We've read to dogs, created cat scratch mats for the AZ Animal Welfare League, and hosted food drives for families in need at our local school. We've also volunteered to pack meals at Feed My Starving Children and donated cookie packages to the Phoenix Children's Hospital. Above all, the girls’ favorite service project is helping out at A Mighty Change of Heart (AMCHAZ), a foster care organization in Surprise, Arizona, to which they have donated cookie packages for the past 3 years. They also volunteer by taking inventory, sorting donations, and packing duffel bags for foster kids. It's an amazing experience, and the girls love being able to help other kids just like them.

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

I would like others to know that volunteering is rewarding and fulfilling, and you really do get out what you put in! There are dozens of ways to jump in and help if you haven't already. There are volunteer positions for everyone and every skill set! I've met amazing ladies through being a Girl Scout Volunteer and have created wonderful friendships.

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

There are so many inspiring moments that have happened over the past 5 years, but there are two that stand out to me. In January, I had a family emergency right in the middle of cookie season, and other volunteers and parents in our troop stepped in to help get us through! I will be forever grateful to them, and I love how much of a family our troop has become. The girls are sisters, and I love seeing them work together to meet their goals and cheer each other on. We recently had a new girl visit our troop, and I was inspired by how the troop welcomed her with open arms. With no hesitations, they saw her as part of the crew.