We sat down with Amanda Dempsey, Senior Manager of Outdoor Program and Property, to talk about her Girl Scout experience and her role with council.
Favorite Camp Song?
I have a ton, but my go-to and favorite to teach the girls is Yogi Bear. I like to have the girls incorporate all the motions for it. I love to see them get creative with it and pick their own poses and pretend to be Cindy Bear in that moment. It’s always so fun. They jump and sing and it’s great.
I have a very vivid memory of sitting under a beach pavilion with my troop, singing a camp song (“great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts”) and hearing the crash of the waves in the background. Anytime we start talking about camp songs, I’m taken right back to that pavilion with my troop. I can picture the pavilion; I can remember sitting cross-legged and just laughing at that song. I specifically remember hearing the waves crash. I think that’s the real reason why I took this position.
Tell me something about yourself.
Girl Scouts is a huge part of my life and my relationship with my oldest daughter. My mom always worked, so I was very close to my troop leader. She became very important to me. There was an event at my school where I was going to receive an award, and my mom couldn’t attend because of work. My troop leader took the day off work and came to my school to support me because I mentioned in the meeting that I was sad that my mom couldn’t come.
My troop leader recently passed, but before she passed, I was still in touch with her. I fell out of touch with her daughter, but I kept in touch with her. I would call around the various holidays and send her pictures of my kids throughout the year. Eventually, she got to the point where she didn’t remember who anybody was, but she was always so excited to hear from me.
When my daughter was young and we had just moved to the Baldwin area, I recognized that she wasn’t going to know anybody. I was unpacking and found my Brownie photo, remembered how important my experience was to me, and thought, “Huh. I wonder if they have Girl Scouts out here.” While, I was close to my troop leader, she wasn’t my mom. I was always a little bit jealous of the leader’s daughter because she got to spend so much time with her mom. I wanted that for my daughter, so I became a leader.
Girl Scouts became an extension of my family. As a stay-at-home mom with three kids under four, your world becomes about the kids. The other moms in my troop became my support system.
The trips I’ve taken with my daughter, the times we’ve spent together in the outdoors, away from the day-to-day distractions has really solidified our closeness and strengthened the bond that we have. I contribute a lot of that to Girl Scouts.
That’s why I’ve done this for 14 years as a volunteer, and why when the opportunity presented itself to go into the outdoors, I took it.
What do you do in your role with council?
While I wear many hats, members will mostly see me at outdoor trainings for girls and adults. I’m able to build relationships with the volunteers when they do their camp training, kayak training, and things like that. That’s my favorite part of the job, because I can’t do what I do without them. When they take the time to come out to those trainings, I know that they’re as passionate about passing on the love of the outdoors as I am. We have that common ground right from the beginning.
Girls are able to take camp training, lifeguard training, kayak training, and more. In that way I’m able to help them further their love for the outdoors and really focus on what skills they want to cultivate and foster their leadership abilities. Around the age the can start taking trainings (15 or 16 years old), is about the age that they transition to really being active leaders in their Girl Scout experience, and I get to help with that. I enjoy helping girls develop skills that will help them outside of Girl Scouts.
What is your why?
I believe in the mission of Girl Scouts. We are here to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, and I believe that all three of those outcomes can be met in the outdoors. Asking girls to step outside of their comfort zones is the courage part of that. Then when they succeed at that, it builds their confidence and self-esteem. Those two things in turn develop in to their character, who they are and how they view themselves. The courage to try new things, confidence in themselves, and their character is going to help them in their adult lives.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Get outside. Disconnect to reconnect, with you, with others. It’s what I tell girls all the time. It’s important, and you’ll never find a faster friend than at camp. I can’t wait to see everybody at camp. Register for Summer Camp!