There is a certain joy that comes over me every time I get the opportunity to meet a new troop of girls. I especially love the opportunity to meet a troop of young women that are of high school age. It means that they have stood through the tests of time and found themselves still in or returning to a chair at a Girl Scout meeting.
The dynamic of each group is so different – so unique—in the smiles, laughter, inside jokes and friendships that are formed. There is always a sense of camaraderie, support and respect that weaves its way through the shared understanding of how each girl has grown and come to be the woman sitting before them.
This week, I had the pleasure and privilege to be invited to a meeting with Troop 84205. The participants in the troop decided to help make dog treats for the Nebraska Humane Society. As they made the treats they discussed how their parents worry, Facebook, clothing – we even talked about how they occupied their time when they were bored: dancing, basketball, talking, volleyball and generally keeping their mind and hands busy. This was beneficial for me, since they taught me how to make rubber band bracelets (though they used smaller rubber bands so their bands were much tighter than the ones shown on the site).
What I enjoyed most about this troop was their willingness to accept me into their private meeting time. They allowed me in to listen and share. I felt their respect. Their graciousness and politeness was something that I have realized over the years, is not something I can expect from all teens – but I know I can always expect it from teen Girl Scouts. My heart was warmed by this group of young women – fiercely loyal, strong-willed, fighters – wading through this confusing world – but doing it hand-in-hand.
I sometimes wonder if people outside of Girl Scouts – or even all the participants within Girl Scouts realize how far into our communities we reach; how many ways Girl Scouts extends its hands, wide open to every girl in every situation.
I know this because I work for Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska and Troop 84205 takes place every week, behind bars, at the Douglas County Youth Center, Units 1 and 2.