This past fall, I signed both of the girls up for Girl Scouts. I was a scout for about five years as a girl, and loved it. I learned a lot of fun skills, made some friends, got a lot of outdoor hiking, camping and survival skill experiences, and got to go to summer camp each year. And, of course, I sold cookies. In my opinion, Girl Scouts can be a great way to help girls learn valuable life skills and gain confidence. It’s definitely an organization I am happy to support (unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Boy Scouts).
When the girls first started attending meetings, Zoey was her usual charismatic, outgoing self, while Ellie held true to form and refused to utter a peep. She would whisper in Zoey’s ear and have Zoey answer for her if absolutely necessary that she contribute. My, though, how things have changed. Scouts has helped Eleanor to positively blossom. The transformation is actually quite amazing.
We recently completed cookie sales, which included going door-to-door to our neighbors hawking the tasty wares and standing at a booth outside hardware and grocery stores. This June is “Jubilation,” a once-every-three-years camping weekend for all the Southern Idaho Girl Scouts, and our whole troop is going. The girls were made aware that if they wanted to go they would have to sell enough cookies to pay for their registration fees (or at least part of them) and show they could be confident enough to go halfway across the state without mom or dad (since I will be here at home with a newborn).
You should have seen Eleanor, confidently walking up to houses and asking “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” At booth sales, she spoke up with a loud clear voice and practically chased down every customer coming out of the doors. No one was allowed to get away without at least acknowledging her. And boy, did people have trouble saying “no” to that little pipsqueak in pigtails! The girls sold enough cookies combined to earn their way to Jubilation, and have really taken to heart the message that they need to show us they can be independent enough to go.
This new-found confidence in Eleanor has translated into other areas of her life as well. Her stutter has noticeably reduced. At school she is speaking up in class now and then, and even approaching other kids to initiate play. Her IRI reading scores have nearly doubled, not because she has necessarily learned more (she already knew the answers) but because she isn’t afraid to speak up and give the answers for the timed oral test now. She no longer has to go to reading resource room four times a week, and has been reassigned to a new reading group in class. I’m so incredibly proud of my little Daisy Scout and how far she has come!