As we approach back-to-troop, we’re constantly striving to improve ways to engage girls, volunteers, parents, and other supporters in the Girl Scout Movement. One of our favorite ways is the Volunteer Conference, which we previously featured on the blog. Following up on our earlier post, we’re sharing some top moments of the day, courtesy of Service Unit Communications Coordinator and Troop Leader Vala Runolfsson—many of which will resonate with other volunteers:
You can teach an old leader new tricks! I am a Senior troop leader and have been leading for over 10 years—only three years until my girls graduate. How do I keep my troop interested? Motivated for Gold? Prepped to write resumes featuring their many Girl Scout experiences and get them to show up for meetings and events—and still have fun being a Girl Scout? “Volunteer U” gave me some new ideas and reinforced old ones. These were my favorite moments:
- GSGLA CEO Lise Luttgrens beginning the day with a saying: “Volunteers don’t have more time, they have more heart.” Her sincerity was obvious. She choked up and made me feel honored to be a Girl Scout leader.
- Professor Susan Helm (Pepperdine Nutritional Service) sharing her passion for her profession and inspiring us to lead the “Sow What” Journey. As a leader, I can continue to learn and the networking available to me as a Girl Scout is huge!
- Gloria Halfacre’s assistance in navigating the Presidential Volunteer Service Award and instruction on how to sign up our troop as a certifying organization. There is always someone who knows how to do what you want to do. You just have to ask.
- The keynote speech from Girl Scout alumna and rocket scientist Olympia LePoint. I loved her reflections! So many hit home, but the standout for me: her belief that a leader is most effective when they are authentic and true to themselves. I loved her message and it rang true for me!
- Paul Oliver and Jeff Wrigley’s presentation on the Patrol Challenge. Their passion for Scouting led them to create a fun and exciting adventure that teaches teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving. They inspired me to continue to emphasize the fun in Scouting.
But my favorite part was connecting to other leaders and volunteers. We have different interests; different ways of doing things; different ways to motivate and encourage our girls; different paths we’ve all walked that make us who we are. Yet we are all the same: passionate about our girls; excited to see them succeed; humbled and honored by their parents’ trust in us; and above all, proud to be Girl Scout leaders! Thank you, “Volunteer U”—I feel energized and ready to start the year.
Thank you, Vala, for your touching insights. Also, in case you haven’t seen them yet, check out our photo booth pictures from “Volunteer University!”