MJ Dolan is an incredible leader in Iowa. With decades of experience in the corporate world of the Des Moines area, she knows the importance of leadership and problem-solving skills. And the importance of instilling said skills in young girls.
Dolan stepped up to lead her oldest daughter’s Junior Girl Scout Troop with a couple other women over 20 years ago when the Troop needed new leaders.
“Everything my kids were in, I was kind of an active liaison in what they did,” she said.
But she had no idea what this new role would mean for her. Not having any personal Girl Scout experience, Dolan stepped into the role blindly. Soon after becoming troop leader, she had the opportunity to attend a Girl Scout Leader workshop and training where she and other leaders were encouraged to empower the girls themselves have the power. Dolan and her co-leads took adapted that practice whole-heartedly.
“We were the guides on the side, the girls ran the Troop and chose the activities,” she said.
Dolan remembers the girls earning dozens of patches, attending camp, and connecting with other Girl Scouts from across the state.
“We saw the girls take charge and help make decisions…The things we learned and put into action ended up benefiting the girls their whole lives,” she said.
And it wasn’t just the girls’ lives – Dolan says it changed parenting for her and the other leaders, it impacted how she coached her younger daughter’s soccer team, and it solidified her view on Girl Scouting.
“The benefits of Girl Scouting are three-fold: leadership skills, teamwork and tolerance of others, and problem-solving skills,” she said.
Today, Dolan supports Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa financially and through her network, recently securing a large corporate donation for the council.
“What I like about Girl Scouts is that they have an open-door policy; all girls have access as long as someone can help with their [membership] dues. It’s getting across that door and into the wonderful programming of Girl Scouting that is life changing for young girls. I believe Girl Scouts leaves a lasting impact on girls,” she said.
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