In 1912, 18 girls gathered in the home of Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia and together, formed the first Girl Scout troop in the United States.
Fast forward to the early ‘80’s in the San Francisco Bay Area, when I joined my first Girl Scout troop as a Brownie (no Daisies back then!). Even though the state I serve has changed, my commitment has only increased, as I worked through the ranks as a Girl Scout and applied my leadership skills to join the team behind the scenes. For almost nine years now, I have had the honor of being the CEO of Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma, leading girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.
I am a lifelong Girl Scout, and am following in the footsteps of the generations before me — my mom and my grandma were Girl Scouts. In fact, my grandma earned the Golden Eaglet (now called the Gold Award) when she was a young Girl Scout, and I went on to earn the Gold Award many years later.
The Gold Award is the highest award you can receive in Girl Scouts. Girls who earn this award tackle important issues and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond.
Living in earthquake country right after the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, I knew I could make a difference — my community was not prepared for the disaster, and I wanted to help make sure they would be in the future.
As a teenager living in California, I got the Fire Department, Police Department, PTA and the whole school involved in a disaster preparedness program at a local elementary school. The program was designed to develop processes and procedures to keep students safe, prepare faculty for every scenario and to teach students about the science behind earthquakes and basic First Aid. The project ended with a life-like drill at the school that tested the procedures in place, showcasing what needed to improve and what needed to change.
Teachers, administrators, staff and older students were trained in CPR and First Aid, and walked through the drill as if there had been a real disaster. Some students were assigned injuries, troop mates dressed as flames and large, life-like props blocked off hallways and exits for the ultimate simulation.
I had the opportunity to speak to the faculty a few years ago and while some things have changed over time, the PTA still completes similar drills every other year to ensure everyone is properly prepared in the event of an earthquake.
The skills I learned while working on my Gold Award stay with me to this day, helping me in my work as the CEO of Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma. Now, I help a new generation of girls achieve their Gold Awards. To the girls achieving their Gold Award this spring, congrats to you! You are joining a growing group of Gold Award alum that have accomplished incredible things and I am excited to see you join our ranks.
Girl Scouts make a difference, in the community, in the world, and in the life of each and every girl in the program. I am so honored to serve the next generation of girls in Girl Scouts as their CEO. It is both a joy and a privilege to watch each and every one of them grow and make positive changes around them, knowing the impact the program will have on their lives, just as it has in mine.