Rachael became a Girl Scout in kindergarten. We found a Daisy troop and she loved it (especially since one of her friends was already in the troop.) She was such a doll in her little blue tunic, and was so excited about the things she was learning and doing - and the things we learned that she'd be able to do in the future.
After two years of Daisies, though, I was tired of driving to the other side of the county for troop meetings. Why was there no troop closer to home? Why hadn't someone started one?
So of course, I decided that I was the person for the job. I was quickly paired up with another local lady who had daughters in Scouts and was interested in starting a troop, so we started making plans. We saw eye to eye on nearly everything troop-related, and couldn't wait to get started.
Then she decided, very close to time for us to begin, that she had too much on her plate already. Homeschooling her kids, a baby on the way. Her commitment to Scouts would have to wait.
I understood, but I was so upset. She was going to be the perfect co-leader for me! No one else would be as good a match. How was I going to start a troop now?! I assumed I'd just have to do it all myself.
Then I got a phone call...there was another lady nearby that was also interested in leading a troop. Would I be interested in having her as my co-leader? Well, no. I wouldn't. Because I was still pouting over the loss of my former co-leader-to-be. But I said that I'd meet her and talk with her anyway. But if she wanted in, she was gonna do things my way, goshdarnit.
Yes, a bit of disappointment really created a bad attitude in me. Things were going wrong before they had even gotten started, and I was already wondering what on earth I'd signed up for.
Then I met her...and if the last person would have been the perfect co-leader for me, then Traci was SUPER MEGA PERFECT. Not only did we agree on absolutely every single aspect of how a troop should be run, what it should do, etc...but she even shared my somewhat warped sense of humor. They say that God never closes a door without opening a window, and I'm still thanking Him for this particular window! I can't imagine my life now without her as my friend, and I might not have met her if not for Girl Scouts.
So we started our troop in September 2010 with a handful of girls - and then watched, astonished, as more and more and more girls came our way. We decided that we'd only take 15 girls...then it was 20... Pretty soon, we were texting each other quite often to say, "there's just ONE MORE GIRL, and that's IT!" We both knew it was a lie - you can't have "just one more." If there was a girl that needed a troop, chances were excellent that we could squeeze her in.
That first year was certainly a learning experience. We did a few things the hard way, made a few mistakes, smiled and faked it quite often. The girls didn't seem to notice, which was a good thing. I quizzed Rachael after every meeting - did you have fun? what was the best part? what didn't you like? She was a great little adviser and cheerleader. And we were blessed with a fantastic group of moms that were helpful and supportive of our efforts as the troop grew and grew.
Now we're into our second year, and we have 29 girls in our troop. There is, of course, room for just ONE more!
We've had to make some adjustments as to how the meetings are run, now that there are so many girls. We've added a third co-leader, who also could not be more perfect for the "job." Chaos is usually kept to a minimum, and I'm pretty sure the girls are having fun. We've been to the pumpkin patch and in the Christmas parade already this year, we're planning a spring dance, and we'll be traveling to Washington, D.C., next summer to celebrate the 100th "birthday" of Girl Scouts. That is, of course, assuming that we survive another cookie season.
Helping to lead a troop isn't always a walk in the park...there's paperwork like you would not believe, hoops to jump through, meetings to plan, money to raise, accounts to balance, and far too many people to coordinate without lots and lots of planning ahead.
But I love it. The girls are fantastic, and so much fun to be around. I am so grateful for the time I get to spend with them. I'm grateful for their moms - several of whom were friends before they ever joined our troop, and even more that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to know (or know as well) if not for the troop. I'm grateful for the other Girl Scouts I've met because of our troop, and for being part of a world-wide sisterhood of Scouts.
And I can't wait to see what's coming next.