I don’t have time for Girl Scouts …
and it has nothing to do with the cookies or badges.
I’ve been my daughter’s troop leader for the past six years and as much as I wish to say that I’ve been the model troop leader – always on time, organized and wearing the proper uniform – this has not been true.
More often than not over the past 6 years, I have asked myself WHY?
Why do I add one more thing on my “ to do list” when I feel I already have too many days maxed out with work and life demands?
Why do I spend my time planning meetings, Christmas caroling, service projects, trips and more?
Why do I deal with the hassle of cookie sales, cookie orders, delivering cookies (and I am not even the troop Cookie Mom – God bless her)?
The truth is I’m not the picture perfect, gung ho, always organized troop leader. Ask my mother, I kinda drive her cuckoo with my approach. But, there is something about the Girl Scouts program that ignites my passion, and that lies in these two words:
Relationships and Experiences
No matter how tired or overwhelmed I feel, two things remain a priority in my life: my relationships and life experiences. These are things I want to pass along to my girls.
My background – I am the oldest of four and the only girl, which means growing up it was “the boys” and me. My mom, a special education teacher, was my troop’s co-leader from 2nd – 8th grade. Our monthly Girl Scouts meetings and the annual camping trip became “our thing.” The investment my mom made with her time and our troop proved to have a lasting effect for both of us. We both formed relationships and shared experiences that are still cherish.
Fast forward 20+ years and the time arrived to start my Girl Scouts troop. The old nostalgic warm and fuzzy feelings I had from childhood were not my first thoughts, instead it was …
“I don’t have time for this!”
I had just given birth to my second baby, launched a new website, and was working on developing a piece of software … needless to say, starting a troop felt like another thing on my “to do list.”
Then I realized, I don’t have time NOT to do this.
Our first Daisy Troop had over 20 girls. I’d rush from my office, pick up my baby, head to school, put my baby in the sling and lead our meeting. I was filled with self doubt and wondered if I was really cut out for this. But the memories of my Girl Scouts experience and the support my co-leader and the other moms gave me the strength to keep showing up for our troop.
In second grade we moved to a new school. I was torn if I should start another troop, which meant putting myself out there, making new mom friends and learning the personalities of new girls, or do I just sit back and let new relationships form on their own.
Again the thought came to me, I don’t have time NOT to do this.
Over the years I’ve had the privilege to get to know these girls, watch faces light up as we worked on different service projects and witnessed confidence blossom as they stepped out of their comfort zone exploring new territory.
These girls taught me!
These girls also taught me — that at times we over complicate this role of motherhood. More often than not, the simple act of our presence shows we care and that is what they need.
Our troop also united the moms creating new bonds of friendship and levels of respect. Girl Scouts has forced us moms to show up and share a little piece of our busy life with others … and that is something I think we have all are grateful for.
As the girls grew and matured, I began to realize the experiences the Girl Scouts program offers are essential (in my opinion) to growing strong, confident young women who also have a heart to serve.
Being involved in the Girl Scouts program is a lot of work, but isn’t that true with anything in life?
With the start of fourth grade, I shared that this would be my last leadership year. I felt I had given all I could and other things were starting to pull for my attention.
Then a car ride to The Audubon Zoo for a scouts overnighter happened.
I spent two hours with six fourth grade girls talking and laughing in my car and all I could think was … I’m not ready to give this up.
I heard the whisper in my heart … “You don’t have time to NOT do this.”
One thing I do know is I don’t want to look back on the years raising my girls and regret the decisions I made in where I spent my time. There will always be work and housework waiting for me, but the opportunity to expose my daughter to service, entrepreneurship, adventure and outdoors while also nurturing our relationships is a small one that I don’t want to miss out on.
We wrapped up our fourth grade year with an overnight trip funded by their cookie sales to Galveston – 36 total hours – sea turtles, Moody Gardens, retired battleships, flight museum, ferry boat ride. We donated a Kindness Buddy Bench with each of their handprints to the school for the playground. We had fun. We created memories. We nurtured relationships. We all stepped out of our comfort zone and experienced life.
Another mom offered to take over the troop for our fifth grade class. I agreed to be the co-leader. Summer passes and the thoughts start to creep in again … do I really have time for this?
Then a text comes through – “Mrs. Yvette, I know you are not our troop leader anymore but the other girls and I were talking, we really want to work on this service project can you pass this along to Mrs. Beth?”
Are you kidding me?!?! Ten year old girls are talking and scheming about a service project they want to do.
I knew, without a question in my mind, I don’t have time NOT to do this.
In conclusion, know that I share this in the hopes to inspire and nudge you to follow that calling in your heart. It might not involve investing your time and energy in the Girl Scouts program. But I know there is something you want to share and teach your kids. Something more than just how to do well in school, household chores or the details about your work. Maybe it is coaching a sport team, being room mom, exposing them to more community service, or taking more outdoor adventures. Whatever calling you have that continues to get overpowered by the “I don’t have time!” voice, I want to encourage you to SAY YES. Do it. Show up. Show up for yourself. Show up for your children. The one thing I hope you can take away from this is that this motherhood journey is a gift.
That calling you have, it’s not about earning badges or selling cookies, it is about teaching the next generation, nurturing relationships, creating experiences and sharing what you are passionate about, remembering that ultimately this is something we don’t have time not to do.