Giving back is a journey that can start during one’s childhood and grow along with you. We met with Jennifer Flannery (JF) to go over her Day of Giving experience leading and volunteering with her Girl Scout troop.
AC: For your Day of Giving, what organization did you volunteer for?
JF: I volunteered at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.
AC: Can you tell us a bit about the organization?
JF: At Girl Scouts we combine life skills, STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship with civic engagement to deliver crucial, life-changing, girl-led programming. Our proven approach gives girls the opportunities to unleash their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™, prepare for a lifetime of leadership, and change the world. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
AC: Were you a girl scout growing up?
JF: Yes ma’am. My mom was the leader too.
AC: Are there any requirements for volunteers?
JF: Yes, to become a volunteer the adult mentor needs to be a registered adult member, be approved as a volunteer, including background check, and participate in online training.
AC: What motivated you to volunteer and become a leader in the girl scouts?
JF: I think Girl Scouts is a great organization for girls (and adults alike). It teaches them new skills and, in many cases, helps shy girls find their voice. I knew when my daughter was old enough, I wanted her to join. Troops are run by volunteers, so I stepped up to become Leader of my oldest daughters’ troop, then 2 years later I also started a troop with my youngest daughter and was Leader for hers too. It can be a lot of work at times, but so worth seeing the girls grow, both personally and as a troop.
AC: Sounds very rewarding plus you get to teach the next generation valuable skills. How was your experience while volunteering? What did you do?
JF: It definitely is rewarding. It was a great experience! The girls learned how to camp (set up/break down, cook, clean, start a fire, and do Kapers <chores for all to do their part>), tie knots, shoot a bow and arrow, yoga, sewing, and the list goes on.
The girls also volunteered by helping at school functions (Bobcat Boogie, Spring Carnival, etc.), built a little free library, bat house, recycling program at their school, time with patients at nursing home, flowerpot donations, pet rescues, clean up at meeting location, collection drives (for homeless, foster children, youth, etc.), yearly lake clean up, etc. We also were able to do some really fun activities and visit memorable places such as Ruby Falls, GA Aquarium Sleepover, Tennessee Zoo Sleepover, Medieval Times, among others.
AC: What would you say to encourage others to participate?
JF: There are so many different ways you can volunteer and help. Don’t be scared if you don’t feel you have the experience to teach the girls or are concerned about time commitments. Reach out to your local Girl Scouts (or other organization) and see how you can help. Even if it is just for a couple of hours, your volunteer time could help someone have the best day they have had in days, months, even the year.
AC: Lastly, is there anything you’d like to tell our readers before we go?
JF: Even if you don’t think you have time for volunteering, I encourage you to reach out to your community to see how you can help. Volunteer Match is a great resource.