When I became a Girl Scout Brownie, I was about six or seven and lived in small, rural community in Western New York. I had no idea at the time that I would be making friends that I have kept in touch with for over 30 years and that I’d become the leader of my own daughter’s Girl Scout troop 33 years later.
In this fast paced, technology driven, social media age we now live in, it has become difficult for adults and kids to form the kind of bonds of lifelong friendship that seemed so easy to do back when I was a six year old Brownie in pig tails and a sash back in my hometown circa 1986-1987.
Starting simple conversations and forming connections without being behind a keyboard or some kind of device has become awkward for a lot of people. This has given way to the premise that young girls and young people today are just another part of the “me” generation and only want to be known best for their individual achievements shared on social media platforms rather than developing leadership skills as members of a larger group.
Becoming reacquainted with Girl Scouts as the leader of my daughter’s troop has given my daughter, my scouts and me a chance to change that narrative. I realized that now I have the chance to show the community we live in and maybe even the world that young girls, in particular, are so much more than superficial kids who have no permanent fixture in society who would rather be reduced to a sound bite, tweet, like or share.
With Girl Scouts, I have a chance to show my daughter and my scouts how to better interact with others and that there is so much more to life than what’s happening in the limited view of social media on their smartphones and tablets. I have a chance to show them there is value in forming lasting bonds, making lifelong friends, having strong ties to their community and leaving an indelible mark on the world. I have a chance to show them that they can achieve their individual goals while working together as a team and that through team work they can achieve so much more than they imagined was possible on their own.
Together our girls can learn to step up and grow in a culture where it is acceptable to be a go-getter, come up with innovative ideas, and be brave enough to try new things, take risks and lead the way for other girls to follow them into the future.