By: Lime Green Giraffe Webmaster, Meghan K.

This year, I had two very strange realizations. One, I’ve been in Girl Scouts for 12-years, going on 13. I’ve bridged five times. I’m on my fifth uniform after having had to replace my vest in Seniors because I had too many patches! I’ve earned well over 100 patches since I was a Girl Scout Daisy. I can’t even count the patches on my current vest.  I have badges on my vests that don’t even exist anymore.
I remember the days when Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta was still Girl Scouts of Northwest Georgia. I took part in the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts. I’ve been a Girl Scout for over half my life, and to be honest, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t.
The other realization was I had was that come spring, I’m going to be graduating. Yes, in May 2019, I will have aged out of Girl Scouts, at least the girl portion, after 13-years. I’m not sure what’s weirder, knowing that I’ve been involved in something for almost 13-years or knowing that I’m about to stop doing something that I’ve been part of for 13-years.
With this knowledge rattling around inside my brain, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my adventures in Girl Scouting. I don’t have enough time to try and list them here. And I don’t think you want to sit here for three hours as I try to recount every meeting I’ve gone to and every outing I’ve been on for the past decade. But I do have time to share with you some of the lessons that I’ve learned through Girl Scouts. There have been a lot, and some of them may have been a little bizarre, but I hope that through sharing the things that Girl Scouting has taught me, I can show you how much Girl Scouts could mean to you too.

  • Girl Scout Daisies taught me to find something to shoot for. When I first joined Girl Scout Daisies, there wasn’t much for us to do. We weren’t allowed to sell Girl Scout Cookies. We could only earn petals and do activities with groups that accepted us. Those groups and their activities were limited at best. So I spent most of my time waiting excitedly to bridge up to Girl Scout Brownies and watching the older Girl Scouts exploring things that seemed impossible for me. Older girls were earning their Girl Scout Bronze Award or their Girl Scout Silver or even their Girl Scout Gold Awards. They were earning badges relating to the most fascinating things. They were teaching younger girls like me new things. I couldn’t wait to get there, so I made a lot of promises to myself as a Daisy, promises that I’m still trying to keep.

  • Girl Scout Brownies taught me the joys of discovering new things. Back when I was in Girl Scout Brownies, the badges were still called Try-Its. The name was pretty self-explanatory. We were supposed to try as many different things as possible and our goal was to learn something every single time. Because I absolutely love weird facts, I fell head over heels in love with earning Try-Its, to the point that I actually made it a goal to earn all of them. In the end, I earned over 40 different Try-Its, even some from other councils. I also got into a friendly competition with one of the other girls in my troop to see who could get the most badges. This all in the name of discovery.

  • Girl Scout Juniors taught me how to follow my passions and turn them into something that helps people. Due to some pretty bizarre circumstances, I only had one year to complete my Girl Scout Bronze Award and for most of that year, I had no idea what I was going to do. It took weeks of searching for something that spoke to me as a project. I finally found it. Sewing my way to the Girl Scout Bronze Award.

  • After that it even took longer to find a sewing project that spoke to me. But once I decided on a project, I fell in love with the idea of using my passions to help other people and sharing my skills with my friends so that they could help people too. To this day, every Take Action project I’ve ever done has been something I’m deeply passionate about and I still find myself trying to use my skills and hobbies to help people.
  • Girl Scout Cadettes taught me how to step out of my comfort zone, as well as how nice it is to fall back in love with something again. I was a Girl Scout Cadette around the time new badges were released. Right as I bridged, I was starting to consider quitting. But when the new badges came out, I found myself wanting to earn all of them. This was something that I hadn’t cared about since I was a Girl Scout Brownie. Again, just like in Brownies, one of my friends and I were locked in a competition to see who could earn the most and who could earn them first.

  • Also, most of the more unusual things that I did in Girl Scouts happened in Cadettes. I went to Girl Scout camp for the first time, took a babysitting course, slept over at the Tennessee Aquarium, went to the Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace in Savannah, helped my sister’s Girl Scout Daisy troop earn a Journey, and even gave a speech at bridging one year. These are all things I wouldn’t have gotten to do had I quit after Girl Scout Juniors and wouldn’t have even considered possible if I hadn’t been in Girl Scouts.

  • Girl Scout Seniors taught me how to take charge, get organized, and make things happen. A lot of the activities my troop did as Girl Scout Seniors were planned by us. Although I didn’t like to be in charge, I stepped up to plan a lot of the activities we did as Girl Scout Seniors. I planned a camping trip, coordinated quite a bit of the Journey that I did with my friends, organized an entire meeting, and that’s just what I can remember! And though it was sometimes difficult and uncomfortable, I also got to see firsthand what it’s like to be in a leadership role. I’m not going to deny that leadership is hard. in fact, it’s one of the most challenging roles that I’ve stepped into but there’s something magical about being part of the driving force behind something. It gives you something to be proud of and it motivates you to do the best you can, and I found myself in love with leading.

  • Girl Scout Ambassadors (so far!) has taught me to hold onto the dreams I had when I was younger. Every time I think about Girl Scout Ambassadors and all the things I’m doing, I find myself thinking of the younger me. The five-year-old girl who was so excited to be a Girl Scout. The Girl Scout Daisy who saw an older girl and decided that from that day forward, she was going to make it through every level of Girl Scouts. Remembering her makes me think of all the times I’ve considered quitting (it’s nearly impossible to stay in something so long and not consider leaving it for some reason at least once) and how I could never bring myself to do it because I couldn’t let that “Little Me” down. So much of what I’ve done as a Girl Scout Ambassador has fulfilled dreams I’ve had since I was little. “Little Me” dreamed of making it through every level of Girl Scouts and I’m inches from achieving it.  “Little Me” wanted to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, its something I’m working on this year.  “Little Me” wanted to spread her love of Girl Scouts to others and something I’ve done since being a Girl Scout Cadette.

As I go into my thirteenth year of Girl Scouts, I find myself looking back on the past decade of my life with a strange feeling of nostalgia. Yeah, some things have been hard. I’ve considered quitting Girl Scouts a few times. I’ve put myself in situations I may not necessarily have been totally prepared for, and I’ve found myself wondering why I stayed so long. But ultimately, I’m proud of what Girl Scouts has shaped me into. It’s taught me about persistence and determination and leadership, and I hope that it teaches other girls the same things.

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