Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana Looking for Adult Volunteers
The Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana serves thousands of girls in the region, providing opportunities to gain leadership skills, confidence, and character. But a severe shortage of adult volunteers might jeopardize those opportunities.
Kris Adams, Claydean McCallon, and Jenni Todd speak to Tracy Ross about the need for adult volunteers and how to get started.
“We have probably about 1500 volunteers right now, and that is not enough,” Adams begins. “We always need volunteers to help these girls grow, encourage confidence and character.”
“A lot of times, we’ll go into communities, and we’ll have girls who want to participate in Girl Scouts. But we won’t have enough volunteers to support them,” Adams continues.
The three Girl Scout leaders explain that becoming a troop leader is not as daunting as one might think. “I hear from volunteers, ‘I don’t have time, I don’t know how, I’ve never been a Girl Scout.’ We have such good support,” Adam says. “Not just on staff, but local volunteers who are there to help.”
In addition, Todd says there are plenty of online resources. “Anyone can do it. There’s a Girl Scout toolkit online, and it gives you step-by-step ways of how to run a troop meeting. It’s not as bad as it seems."
Todd explains that there are some background checks required, as well as optional online trainings. The entire process takes about two weeks, “but then you’re free to go,” she says. “The folks at Girl Scouts will help you create a troop and get the girls into the troop and get you started having a meeting.”
“They include great traditions like the Girl Scout promise and the flag ceremonies. Just learning how to be a good citizen in the world,” Todd continues.
“For girls especially, it’s really good because it teaches them confidence and character and to raise your hand when you have a question. Not to shrink back and be that shrinking violent. It takes time for these young people to learn these skills, but it’s so important. And we have so much fun, so why not join?"
Todd and McCallon both became troop leaders for their daughters’ troops, which they say has been an invaluable experience. “Leading my daughter’s troop was one of the best things I ever did,” McCallon says. “I got to be with her; she got to learn new things. I got to see her [and the other girls] grow up and mature.”
“My main thing is to introduce to girls what they’ve never done before,” McCallon says. “Living in a small community, you would be amazed how many girls have not been out of the county.”
McCallon says she has taken her Girl Scout troops to the Memphis Zoo, the ocean in Savannah, Georgia, and even smaller experiences, like new restaurants.
Girl Scouts also provides girls with important social skills often lost with the rise of smart devices and virtual communication. Todd says that her troop recently worked on their Social Butterfly patch. “It was all about two girls getting face-to-face conversations,” Todd says. “What makes a good conversation? How do you be a good listener? These are the skills we work on when we work on badge work.”
Todd adds, “this is not an exclusive club. Girl Scouts really is for everyone. We have Girl Scout dads that help. Men and women can volunteer to help these girls. You don’t have to have a lick of an idea of what Girl Scouts is. You can be a leader, a volunteer, and a part of these troops right now.”
Every single volunteer makes a difference, too. McCallon says that 30 to 40 girls haven’t been able to join Girl Scouts over the last four or five years due to a lack of adult leadership. “The existing troops that we have now are so large that they can’t take more girls comfortably.”
“If I can do it, anybody can do it,” she says. “You don’t have to have had Girl Scouts experience. We’re there to help you, to teach you. You just can’t imagine what kind of fun you’re going to have dealing with these girls."
For more information on the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, including how to become an adult volunteer, visit their website or call their Volunteer Care Line at 888-771-5170.