For some, Girl Scouts is a brief experience. They proudly wear their Daisy vest or Brownie sash outside supermarkets to sell cookies or they take their daughter to meetings at a local church. However, for Powell resident Rebecca Larocque, the organization and her involvement in it has shaped the last 10 years and changed the lives of many Girl Scouts.
Larocque’s journey started like many other mothers. Her daughter, a kindergarten Daisy, joined Girl Scouts, and Larocque volunteered to be a “cookie mom,” a parent that supervises the grocery store stands and manages the money behind the scenes. When her daughter became a Brownie and aged out of the troop, Larocque started her own group to include other second- and third-graders. Ten years later, those Brownies are college sophomores and one co-leads the troop with Larocque.
“I didn’t think I would be a leader this long, but the girls are the reason I stayed,” Larocque said. “To see a girl you knew as a second-grader grow up to lead other Girl Scouts is really the epitome of what it means to be in this organization. The goal is to build her up so that she can lead and make the world a better place, and Girl Scouts is definitely the place to do that.”
Troop 20693 in Powell includes Daises (grades K-1), Brownies (grades 2-3), a Cadette (6-8 grades) and two Ambassadors (grades 11-12). The girls attend a number of schools in the area as well as homeschool. They meet twice a month and host an optional event monthly.
Larocque, her co-leader and the parents guide the troop, but she says it’s the girls who really lead – and keep things interesting!
“Girl Scouts is 100% girl led,” Larocque said. “They decide what they want out of Girl Scouts and are the ones who make it happen. In a mixed-level troop that’s especially fun because the younger girls remind the older girls to have fun and to be silly, and the older girls demonstrate leadership by teaching the younger girls how to say the Girl Scout promise or how to behave at a cookie booth.”
The long-time troop leader doesn’t see herself retiring anytime soon for a couple of reasons. She also encourages others to get involved.
“Being a Girl Scout troop leader has shown me that volunteering truly makes a lasting impact because we are raising the next generation of girls,” Larocque said. “I also continued leading because I’ve built healthy friendships with other troop leaders and parents. There is a void to be filled so girls can continue to have these experiences and opportunities. Anyone who is passionate about that should support Girl Scouts.”
Learn about volunteering with Girl Scouts at girlscoutcsa.org/volunteer. If you know a girl who could benefit from getting out of her comfort zone, find a nearby troop at girlscoutcsa.org, by texting “JOIN” to 59618 or sending an email to [email protected] Troops always are accepting new Girl Scouts and volunteers!
Gretchen Crawley is VP of communications for Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians.