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Giving Light to Those Who Give Their Heart & Time

Christine Cook 2

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa (GSGI) is highlighting some of the many volunteers who are making a difference in the lives of girls in their local communities. GSGI proudly serves nearly 10,000 girls with help from nearly 3,000 volunteers. Volunteers are the backbone of our organization, helping to ensure that the mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character – who make the world a better place – lives on. GSGI would like to thank all of the volunteers for their hard work and dedication. This thank you is extended to troop leaders, troop support volunteers, board and associate board members, event support and other community or corporate volunteers. Thank you!

Meet OnaLee

Number of years as a volunteer: 15 years

Initial reason for volunteering: I decided to step up and help co-lead my cousin’s troop after the troop’s original leader stepped down.

Were you a Girl Scout growing up? Yes, and I loved the variety of different events, camps and place me and my troop visited.

What is your favorite memory as a troop leader? My favorite memories are the times when I see the older girls doing something to help the younger girls or when she sees the young girls run up and hug the older girls as patiently waits to pick the girls up for their meetings.

What advice would you give to new troop leaders? I would encourage them to switch things up and have fun. Not everything works, and you learn and move on to what does. But make sure to find that joy in it as a leader. Leaders start to fail when they stop having fun with it. My girls have helped me grow sometimes more than I think I’ve helped them.

In your opinion, what makes a good troop leader? A good leader follows the Girl Scout Law, guides girls to new experiences and helps encourage them to do good.

Up next is Marquee Jackson

How long have you been volunteering with Girl Scouts? I’ve been volunteering since 2016, so for 6 years.

Why did you decide to start volunteering? Shortly after my daughter joined Girl Scouts, her troop leader decided to step down. After no one else step up, I decided that I would step forward and be their leader.

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory? Every year we go to the Mud Run. We’ve gone twice now as a troop. I would say that’s the funniest part because the girls like to do cannon balls in the mud.

What’s one thing that you think is important to teach Girl Scouts? Being a leader, I teach my girls – especially during cookie season – proper customer service. I think that in the long run it will help them be successful in a job, which in return will help them be successful in a career and in their life.

Now get to know Christine Cook

How long have you been volunteering with Girl Scouts? I started my first troop 9 years ago and my second troop 7 years ago.

Why did you decide to start volunteering? My daughters mean the world to me, and I knew this would be a great experience for them and the other girls.

What is your favorite memory with your troops? I love watching the girls encourage each other and help overcome their fears doing the Mud Run. 

In your opinion, what makes a good troop leader? Lead by example. Be brave and try new things with the girls, be a good listener, encourage all girls to voice their opinion, be a sister to other women & leaders, cheer others on, be organized, communication is key—both with girls and their parents.

What impact can a good troop leader have on Girl Scouts? I have seen my really shy girls become more confident, looking people in the eye when talking and selling cookies, girls try new things they never would have otherwise, have a heart for others and love helping their community through volunteering and donating. We are building girls of courage & confidence who are making the world a better place!

Do you have any advice for new troop leaders? Set healthy boundaries with your troop. Having a planning meeting at the beginning of the year to set up dates so everyone can mark their calendars helps a lot. Being a leader does not mean you should do all the work. If we do everything for the girls, we rob them of the opportunity to learn and grow and practice being good leaders themselves. Have fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously and get in there and dance or play with the girls.

And last, but certainly not least, is Glenda Remick

How many years have you been volunteering with Girl Scouts? I started volunteering back in ’96 or ’97 when I became the troop leader for my daughter’s troop. Our troop lasted until the girls entered sixth grade. But this past year, I became the troop support for my granddaughter’s Daisy Troop.

Favorite memories with your troops: While leading my daughter’s troop, we did a lot of things and made a ton of memories. We went to Adventureland, hosted a Service Unit sleepover, attended day camps at Camp Sacajawea, made s’more by the campfire and cooked Dutch oven meals, sang Christmas carols at local nursing homes, participated in Cookies Season, walked in local parades and so much more.

So far with my granddaughter’s troop when done things like ice skating, make a Candy Land trail with glow sticks and successfully completed our first cookie season – by surpassing our 3,000-package goal.

Do you have any plans for your troop now that Cookie Season is over? When the weather is warmer, I plan to take the girls to my friend’s house who has a fairy garden in her woods. She’s going to let the girls take home flowers and provide seeds so they can grow their own. Also, some of the girls have never roasted their own marshmallows before, so we are going to do that as well.

What do you hope the girls take away from the end of their first Girl Scouting year? I know they will have gained a better understanding of cookie season and how to improve for next year. But the most important thing, I hope they gain is friendship.