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How Girls Scouts Have Impacted an OC Family

Michelle and Emil Nishida

“I would love for my daughters to join Girl Scouts. Be a leader, you say?  Well, maybe…”

Little did I know that saying “maybe” to volunteering that day would turn into seven memorable years of Girl Scouting with three of my daughters. And one more kindergartner is just starting this year!

Part of the reason I signed my first daughter up for Girl Scouts was because honestly, I thought she would be glued to my side forever! Girl Scouts offered her chances to take risks and challenge herself, with the support of her troop and leaders – opportunities like going to a horse camp and learning to ride and care for a creature much larger than herself.  Or feeling the pride of earning her Girl Scout Bronze award as she worked with children with cognitive disabilities. These experiences built her self-confidence so much that now she leads groups of younger kids at school, leads the crew for the school musical, and guides younger Brownie troops through their programs. What a change from that timid little girl I once knew!

Leading a troop has been a rewarding experience for me as well. I first signed up because the troop needed leaders to get off the ground and I gained so much more than I expected. As I interacted with a variety of wonderfully caring people, I gained new people skills, learned about my strengths (and things I could work on!), and developed some dear friendships. Leadership in Girl Scouts has brought me much joy and personal development.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of volunteering has been the chance I get to be a champion for these girls as they develop into amazing people. Each and every girl brings something unique and wonderful to our troop, and I am so lucky that I get to be the one who supports them as they learn who they are and what they care about. As the girls have fun spending time with friends, visiting interesting places, and earning badges and awards, I see amazing things happening.

I observe the girl with tons of energy learn to stop, listen, and respect her Girl Scout sisters’ opinions. I notice the quiet girl starting to speak her mind and take risks. I watch our girls gain an awareness and passion for the world around them. I get to see them evolve into young ladies with pride, a sense of belonging, and a fullness of character. We get to help them grow into their best selves.

Joining Girl Scouts has been life changing for my whole family. It is by far the best thing we ever did for our girls.

Girl Scouts is open to all girls from kindergarten through grade 12 and anyone over the age of 18 can become a Girl Scout volunteer. Troops are forming in an area near you! To join Girl Scouts, learn more about volunteering, or find a parent meeting near you, please visit: www.girlscouts.org/join.

Michelle Nishida
Mom and Troop Leader, Irvine, CA

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