Thank you Girl Scouts for sponsoring this post!
As a child I got in trouble every day at school for talking too much. I was very chatty and preferred to work on my school work while discussing what went down between Steve Urkel and Laura on the tv show “Family Matters” the night before instead of working in stupid silence. I mean come on, I hadn’t seen my friend Jennifer in 17 hours and we just had so much to catch up on! But this just wasn’t cool. My teacher forbade this and I found myself constantly defending the right to work and speak quietly because after all the two could happen at the same time –duhh!
Every evening I would go home with a note from my teacher explaining how “Jenell is constantly talking in class; Jenell is constantly distracting other children in class; Jenell is constantly arguing with me in class.” My mom would beg and plead with me to just go to school and sit quietly. I would defend myself ad nauseum. “Mom, I am doing my work. I finished everything she gave me. Mom I wasn’t talking loudly. Mom I was talking and doing my work at the same time.” But my mom just wanted me to do exactly what the teacher said. I would promise her every evening to be quiet the next day… but I am who I am.
It was evident to my mom that I would benefit greatly from an extracurricular activity where I could be social. After a discussion – wait was it even a discussion? I’m pretty sure I knew I wanted to be a Girl Scout — we agreed to sign me up to join a local Girl Scout troop. I wanted to wear that brown Brownie uniform and sash so badly I just couldn’t contain myself. As a Girl Scout I tried out so many new things that I never would have tried before and through my experience I developed a range of skills and naturally I took on many leadership roles. What I loved the most was that my troop leader allowed me to talk as much as I wanted and played into my strength of talking by assigning me roles where I would have to talk and present. It was here I was first introduced to one of the things I do for a living, “public speaking.” I was highly encouraged to just be myself. I would also like to note that I was the only black girl in my troop and at the time I didn’t realize I was the only black girl in my troop. I always felt like I was with my sisters and never made to feel different when with my troop.
The Girl Scouts program takes the potential of girls, combines it with robust skill-building programming, and adds caring adult mentors and strong female role models. The relationships I’ve had with my leaders and mentors had such a profound effect on me that I was inspired to go on and become a troop leader and let me tell you – I loved every minute of it. I worked with the Brownies weekly teaching them how to dance, how to problem solve, we did arts and crafts, science projects, I taught them how to be risk takers, we laughed at both funny and corny jokes, we’d go on adventures and I taught them how to approach tasks critically. I got to put all that talking I loved to do to great use with these girls. We developed relationships that bonded us and I empowered them to be positive and forward thinking through the way I carried myself along with my positive nature, my positive thinking and my positive language.
I’m now an entrepreneur of a natural hair magazine where I empower women to love their natural selves by educating them on how to care and style their hair without chemicals. I’m a wife to the most supportive husband and I’m a mom to two smart adorable children. I get to pass down so many of my experiences as a Girl Scout and a Girl Scout troop leader down to both of my children. I noticed some time last year that my daughter Elle who is now 3 enjoyed working with me. While in the office, she helps get papers from the printer, she assists with organizing my shelves, she supports with packing shipments and she really likes helping me setup my office when it’s time to film videos for my youtube channel. She and I started a youtube channel for children where I’m teaching her how to produce, direct and create video content. She’s learning so much and her public speaking skills are getting so much stronger. She is very much like me in her ability to take risks and try new things. I’m often motivated by her fearlessness. I know she’d make a fantastic Girl Scout someday if she chooses.
Girl Scouts unleashes the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ in every girl, preparing her for a lifetime of leadership—from taking a night- time hike under the stars to accepting a mission on the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with her troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running her own cookie business today to tackling cybersecurity tomorrow.
Girl Scouts is proven to help girls thrive in five key ways as they:
•Develop a strong sense of self.
•Display positive values.
•Seek challenges and learn from setbacks.
•Form and maintain healthy relationships.
•Identify and solve problems in the community.
Do you believe in the power of G.I.R.L.?