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6 Reasons I’m Glad I was a Girl Scout

I was a Girl Scout for a long time (like a really long time). I had all the colorful patches, the uniform, the wagon full of cookies. It was a good part of my childhood, and now, I can’t help but reminisce on that part of my life whenever GS cookie season rolls around. Walking down Bruin Walk is usually torturous for most of us, but, during this time of year, it’s bearable for me. I know that somewhere on that path, there is going to be a group of Girl Scouts with their cookies all lined up on the table, or with a wagon stacked high with boxes, smiling at the world like they’re having the time of their lives. Their happiness is infectious, and it’s not just because of the cookies we get when we walk away from them, I swear! Those little girls represent the future: they’re learning about the world, the arts, science, even about themselves. There are many things I learned in my time as a Girl Scout that have influenced who I am today, and what better time to reflect back on that than when I have an open box of Samoas right next to me?

1. Communication skills

This is a sought-after skill that just about every job agency or business is looking for on our resumes. Communication is such a big part of building relationships and connections within a work environment, and within our personal relationships as well. Girl Scouts learn about this skill and develop it through their troop leaders, through working with organizations and businesses in their local communities for badges and through building relationships with their fellow troop members. Girl Scouts are constantly meeting new people and interacting with them, causing them to learn how to talk to others, as well as listen to them.

2. How to be a team player

Whenever my mom would walk me around to sell cookies, one of my favorite things was to talk to people about what my troop was working on or doing for my community. I still remember my troop number (293!) and all of the girls who were in the troop with me. Many of us are still friends to this very day, and one of them even ended up marrying my brother. Crazy, right? Needless to say, when a group of people spends so much time together with shared goals and passions, strong bonds are made. The Girl Scouts teaches young women how to care about others as much as they care about themselves. It teaches them how to see themselves in other people despite all of the differences that there may be on the surface. A Girl Scout troop is a lot like a friend circle, or what trendy people call their “tribe” these days. They’re the people you run with, work with, laugh with, learn with, discover with, grow with. They’re like friends, or co-workers that are all happy to be apart of the same organization.

3. Finding a love of trying new things

Exposing young kids to new things and experiences at a young age is a good thing. It makes them adventurous or, at least, it made me adventurous. And I love that part of my personality. I’m down to try just about anything once, just to say that I did it. My philosophy around this is that I will never know what I’m interested in, or passionate about, or care about, or like unless I make some attempt at experiencing it first. Girl Scouts allows young girls to try many, many different things through exposure to food and culture, camping, exploring, science, arts, hard work, etc. There was always something new that we were focusing on every week when I was little, and I loved having that chance.

4. Goal setting and working toward them

One thing that has stayed with me to this day and that I think is really relevant in college is goal setting. Like many other people and students, I sometimes experience the occasional desire to procrastinate on something. Whether it’s answering an email, writing a paper or studying for an upcoming test. We all do it sometimes, but I don’t do it very often, and I think the reason for it must stem back to my childhood somehow. Girl Scouts are raised to be driven young women. They teach girls the value of setting expectations for yourself, planning what you want to accomplish in the future and what steps you plan on taking to get there. This style of planning is something that I do today, and it’s why I have a strong passion for writing things down in paper planners.

5. The importance of education

I absolutely love learning. I love going to class, I love being at college, I love the idea of going to grad school and possibly getting a PhD one day. I want to learn as many things as possible and leave almost no stone unturned. Girl Scouts introduces young girls to this feeling. All of the badges are geared toward teaching girls something that they didn’t know beforehand. The organization wants to show young girls how interesting the world is, uncover some of the mysteries of life that surround us. I can’t even begin to sum up all of the badges I had on my uniform as a kid, but trust me, there was A LOT. This unique way of educating girl, without the pressure of grades or percentages, just the pure exposure to something new, is what I think gets us hooked at wanting to learn more. This, for me, has turned into wanting to know as much as my brain can possibly retain.

6. A sense of independence

I definitely remember my mom being with me at every Girl Scout troop meeting and going with me at all of the events, because, you know, I was like 4 feet tall and wasn’t old enough to drive. That being said, I also remember troop leaders letting me experience the trips, badges, volunteer opportunities in whatever way I wanted to take part in them. The education and interactions with people I met made me confident, which made me feel like I could handle things on my own (even if my parents didn’t think that I was ready for it). This is something that very much holds true in my life today. I’m as independent as I ever was, always pushing two steps ahead of whatever sense of the word my parents are ready to give me. It’s exhilarating to know that you can do something on you own, makes you feel powerful. It’s a gift that was given to me at a young age, and I’m glad I’ve kept it.

Bonus: A handful of others skills that are just really cool

These would include: Getting certified in CPR, knowing how to start a fire by hand, memorizing constellations, learning how to sew, making shelter from nature’s elements, learning how to make chemical reactions that double as cool party tricks, taking care of animals, studying marine species, learning how to cook traditional food from around the world, knowing how to count to 10 in a bunch of languages and many more.

Photos courtesy of Flickr.

I'm a small town-raised girl exploring the jungle that is Los Angeles. I'm currently in my third year of studying English Literature and Psychology at UCLA, with hopes of minoring in la lingua di Italiano. Along with being an HC contributor, my works have been published across other magazines, websites, and blogs, including LOCALE Magazine, Healthy UCLA (Mind Well section), and Her Blank Canvas. I am the founder of the non-profit Warm Hearts to Warm Hands, which teaches people the skill of knitting in exchange for an article of clothing made using their new skill, whch is then donated to local homeless shelters. I have an immense love for Pride and Prejudice, hot tea, and the human body.
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