Iannone: Every Girl Scout has her own journey

Alanna Iannone (submitted photo)

When people hear I’m a Girl Scout Leader, they immediately think of those yummy cookies– but I want the community to know that Girl Scouts is so much more than that.

As a Leader, I’m able to challenge girls in new ways every day. Girl Scouts has helped my daughter and her troop develop the courage to try new things and the confidence to become leaders. As a leader, I partner with girls to help each discover their talents and the things they are passionate about. And as they get older, I love to see how each girl takes her interests and skills and uses them to make our world a better place.

While every minute shared with my troop is valuable and meaningful, there are some memories that leave a lasting impression on my heart.

I will never forget how the older Girl Scouts planned and led many meetings for younger girls, and how both age groups benefited from those interactions. I will always remember when they planned after school holiday activities for kids in a homeless shelter and then coordinated the activities and provided love and friendship to those children.

I watched a girl who was afraid of heights step off a zipline tower while her friends encouraged her from the ground. I have seen them confront a bully and support a grieving friend. I have observed girls discover a love of camping and then figure out a way to protect the environment.

Each Girl Scout has a journey of her own.

One of my daughters found a talent for leading meetings with younger girls. She has since planned and led neighborhood-wide events. My other daughter is a numbers girl. She was responsible for the expense report and profit and loss statement for a dance our troop put on for our neighborhood. She is the treasurer for the troop and takes pride in accounting for every last penny.

As my troop members march closer to womanhood, I am so proud of all they have accomplished and all they have become – it is incredibly special to be part of that.

While there is plenty of research showing Girl Scouts leads to more positive life outcomes, as a Girl Scout Leader I see the difference it has made in my daughter’s life, in my troop’s life–as well as my own. Girl Scouts tap into the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) as they challenge themselves to grow, build competencies for real life and accomplish their goals.

In the supportive all-girl environment that Girl Scouts provides, girls try new things, learn from failure, and take healthy and courageous risks. Girl Scouts enables me to spend more time with my daughter and her best friends as we all learn from each other and demonstrate leadership in our own lives, community, and the world– it’s all part of setting the girls up to serve as tomorrow’s leaders.

Frankly, given the many benefits and impactful programming, I think every girl should be a Girl Scout and every adult should be a Girl Scout volunteer!

Editor’s note: Alanna Iannone is a Scottsdale resident, from Girl Scout troops 00306 and 00297.

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