October 1, 2013
The Girl Scouts Organization has been around for over 100 years but in the last ten years, the number of active girl scouts has dropped. It's not the girls that aren't interested in joining, it's that there aren't enough volunteers to lead. This week, in hopes of recruiting more volunteers, the national organization has launched a campaign called "I can't wait to".
The Virginia Skyline Girl Scout Council has also seen a major drop in membership numbers. In the last ten years, they have seen a 40% decrease.
Lisa Colton, Daisy Troop 875 Leader, started a troop last year to have something special to do with her daughter. She is one of the newer leaders shaping the lives of girls in Central Virginia.
Colton explained, "The real ethos of girl scouts is about developing leadership skills for these girls, even as early as kindergarten and first grade, which is the daisy troop that I work with."
Meira Colton, first grader and Daisy Troop 875 Girl Scout, said, "It's fun to do it and we could do more stuff if we had more people this year to lead it."
The need for volunteers is nation wide but Colton explained that many girls in Charlottesville are waiting for a troop to be formed.
Colton said, "Here in Charlottesville there is a ridiculous waiting list of girls who want to be in girl scouts troops and there aren't leaders and troop for them to join."
Volunteers can be moms, dads, grandparents, students, or anyone willing to lead a troop. The organization has also made it easier for volunteers to be trained and meetings can occur as often as their schedule allows.
Colton explained, "I think it's important for people who are thinking about being a troop leader to understand that there is a ton of flexibility. While girl scouts gives you a lot of structure and resources to draw upon, there's tremendous flexibility. You could meet on the weekends, in the evenings."
A Girl Scout leader is more than just a volunteer. They become a mentor to a group of little girls by providing them life skills, confidence, and fun.
Colton described the transformation of one of her scouts and said, "The most shy girls from last year are really out going and conversational and have confidence in themselves, as well as, the whole group."
All of the resources and information to become a volunteer can be found on the Virginia Skyline Girl Scout Council website.