Well…here is one of those post I promised I’d write when I started talking about those Girl Scouts that I have come to adore!
Tonight was the first of many “last” events I will be attending during the month of May. Tonight was the last “end of year bridging ceremony” that my troop of girl scouts will attend at our school. The 18 girls that I currently lead – some of which have been members of this troop since Kindergarten – will all move on to Junior High next year and leave the girl scout troop behind as well. The idea of not having more work to do planning events and meetings will not be missed by me, that is for sure, but I have come to realize that I will miss those darn girls.
Granted, I know I will see many of them grow up to be wonderful adults over the years ahead…but the idea of the “end” has certainly proven to be somewhat emotional for me. (And yes…for those of you who were not there today…I did shed a few tears publicly when those emotions came to the surface.)
I have been working on a letter that I plan to write to them all and I trust that each of you reading this will keep it from them until I find the time to give them my “words of wisdom” as they move on..it goes something like this (granted, keep in mind that I will likely tweak it before I actually give it to them all…but this is a start, I guess!):
This is it…your 6th grade year has come to an end, which in turn brings our troop to a close as well. What a ride it has been, huh? I know I can only speak for myself, but as your troop leader I feel I have been truly blessed to have come to know each of you over the last 7 years. You will never realize how you have each touched my own life during that time. I honestly thought that our troop ending would be a pretty easy for me, but it has been a very hard thing for me to swallow as we near the end of our years together.
When I started as the leader of this troop in 2005 I had no idea I would come to love it so much. (let alone that I would be doing this 7 years later!). But when I realized that is wasn’t about me at all…it was about each of you…it took on an entirely different light for me. Seeing your sheer joy at an event or your laughter at a meeting was what made me keep coming back year after year.
I have no doubt that each of you will grow up to be lovely young women who will truly make a difference in the world we live in. I believe that any one of you could be the next female engineer to create something amazing, a future teacher of the year, an architect, an award-winning actress, a lawyer, a doctor, a famous fashion designer or even the President of the United States! And whatever you chose to do, I know you each have the courage to do what you love, the ability to make changes to the things you don’t love, the confidence to do anything you want and do it well….and the character to know that you are always doing the right thing. You have proven to me, your school and your community that you are here to really make a difference.
You have done some truly amazing things in the last 7 years and whether you were part of all of them or one of them…you did make a difference. You may have fed the hungry, donated a coat to a coat drive, made a card for a soldier or sang a holiday song at a retirement home…but whatever it was you did, know that it made someone else smile. You touched someone’s heart. You made a difference.
I know that I will never forget the many events we attended and the things we learned. (and yes, I even learned a lot about some things I didn’t already know!!!) Whether we were at the roller skating rink, the theater, taking an overnight trip, decorating trees at the zoo, learning about architecture, attending an event celebrating women in engineering or baking cookies for ourselves…we almost always had fun! Watching you all engage yourselves in these activities was a true joy that I would not have known had I not been coaxed into leading your troop 7 years ago – so I should really be thanking those other leaders that convinced me I could do the job in 2005!
So..as you move on to 7th grade I have only a few words of advice…please take them or leave them as you chose – but in my true troop leader fashion I will say them either way:
Please remember to be kind to everyone – you never know what the other person is going through – and you wouldn’t want to be on the other side yourself. (But you already showed me how important this was to you when you decided to host “Finding Kind” in our hometown.) Stand up for those that can’t stand up for themselves. (But again, you all proved to be excellent bullying advocates when you started to stand up to bullying while you were in 2nd grade!) Always work hard. (But again, watching you tackle any task I gave you, as a troop, proves you are some of the hardest working girls I know!) Most of all, be who YOU want to be and be true to YOU. (Our troop was always made up of a diverse group of girls…and somehow you all seemed to find that common bond that allowed you to work so great together, and still be YOU. Your uniqueness is a gift and sharing that, and accepting that others are unique as well, will serve you good down the road).
Honestly, I have so much I could say to each of you as we head down a different path…but know that I am no more than a phone call, email or text away if you ever found yourself in a spot where you need anything. So, until we cross paths again, I will just say thank you for making the last 7 years so memorable for me and I hope you can remember your days in scouts when you grow up and say proudly “I was a Girl Scout and it was great!”. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making the last 7 years amazing – Madisyn, Caroline K, Emma, Sophia K, Sarah, Bridget, Jenny, Alyssa, Aine, Danielle, Megan, Elena, Alex, Kayla, Reba, Grace, Leslie Ann, Sophia M, Katrina, Aylin, Jillian, Madison M, Katrina, Neha, Grace S, Caroline S, Lakitha and Bella – whether you spent one year or 7 years in the troop…you contributed to my experience as a leader, and for that, I thank you all!