My journey with Girl Scouts started in Kindergarten at Callaway Elementary School in Panama City, Florida. I was in after-school care waiting for my parents to pick me up when two Girl Scout Leaders walked in with some arts and crafts for all the girls to do. While I made the bookmark, they told me all the fun and unique things Girl Scouts do. They left for the day, but I was so excited to tell my mom all about Girl Scouts and asked to join. Each year for the next few years I took the Girl Scout flier home to mom and each year, there was no troop available for me. It wasn’t until I was in third grade when I finally heard the fabulous news: “You're going to be a Girl Scout!” I was so excited I didn't even hear the rest of the words my mom was saying. My mom had decided to start a Girl Scout troop. I finally had the chance to have a Girl Scout experience, and everything changed. I realized some of the changes at the time – I had nine new friends and a troop meeting every week – but I wouldn’t realize until later that the trajectory of my life had changed.
My name is Abigail, and I am a junior at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I am double majoring in legal studies and criminal justice, and Girl Scouts shaped me into who I am today.
Throughout my time in Girl Scouts, I had opportunities to help my community and gain service hours for my high school. It helped me feel confident when taking on leadership positions and to live the promise and law.
One of the most significant ways Girl Scouting helped me was during and after Hurricane Michael, a category-five hurricane that flattened and flooded my hometown in October 2018. If my family and I would have left, we would have lost our house and by staying we were extremely fortunate to come out of the storm with our lives. I lost everything when my ceiling fell and destroyed my room and all my belongings. I was devastated, as any teenager would be, and to help me my mom sent me out into the neighborhood to help our neighbors. Being “friendly and helpful” and “considerate and caring” to others helped me deal with the loss of my belongings and my safe space. My family used all our outdoor skills learned in Girl Scout to survive for 2-3 weeks without running water or electricity. It took courage to sleep that first night not knowing if we would be able to leave our neighborhood and the next day watching as neighbors were airlifted out by the Coast Guard. Strength was climbing on a roof to cover it with a tarp so rain wouldn’t ruin what was left of the house. It was a learning experience and one I wouldn’t change.
Now, I show that I’m “courageous and strong” by seizing opportunities when they arise. If I hadn’t been courageous and strong enough to take a chance to join several legal and sorority organizations, I would not have met some of my best friends or fortified my resume with leadership positions in those organizations.
Honestly, one of the most important ways Girl Scouts has shaped me into who I am today is by showing me how to be a leader. I have taken on the task of running for or volunteering to be on the executive boards of different organizations including the Recruitment Chair for Phi Alpha Delta - a Pre-Law fraternity, PR Chair for Legal Society, and a member of the nominating committee for Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority. If Girl Scouts had not taught me how to be a leader or shown me how to take charge of a situation, I would not have the people I know and love today in my life or the leadership positions that I have worked hard for.
The Girl Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” Many people interpret that literally, meaning you have a physical item to solve a problem. To me, it means being ready for all kinds of problems and situations that can happen in everyday life, such as helping your best friend cope after being rejected by their top graduate school or having the confidence to take on leadership roles. Being prepared doesn't mean I always have the right tools for everything coming at me, but that I’m ready and open to learning how to handle anything. It’s a lesson a lifetime in the making.
Girl Scouts is who I am as a person. The Girl Scout promise and laws lead me in how I treat others and how I achieve my goals.
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