Attendees at the 2019 Adult Awards luncheon were treated to a truly inspirational address given by Pat Brasseur. Her words speak to volunteering and the true Girl Scout spirit. So many people remarked upon the talk we wanted to make it available here. Enjoy!
It is my honor to speak to you on this special day when you are being recognized for the wonderful things that you have done for Girl Scouting. I want to first thank you on behalf of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, for all of the time, dedication, and the great care you give to your troops, Girl Scout Areas, and communities, but most of all, the time you have given to the girls whose lives you have touched. In Girl Scouting, we spend a lot of time in group planning, and discussing activities such as service projects, badges, or accomplishments to work toward, taking time out for nature such as camping, or just being together. All of which are opportunities for girls to share their ideas and give input to the best choice for the group.
This time where girls are expressing themselves and sharing their thoughts is the time I feel is the most critical, important opportunity we have to offer. When girls are encouraged to speak openly, freely, in an environment that is accepting, is a true gift of the Girl Scout troop experience that a girl takes with her for a lifetime. The give and take of ideas, along with the discussion of possible difficulties along with solutions, is a wonderful learning tool to have for a lifetime.
This is where I have felt my own growth experience in my 60 years of Girl Scouting. One quick story – well, as quick as I can make it. While at Girl Scout Camp at the Timbers, outside of Traverse City, a couple friends and I attended a two week session highlighted by a 5-day canoe trip on the Manistee River, along with our counselors. At the beginning of our 2nd day of the trop, we put our canoes just down from the dam outside of Mesick. The river was moving smoothly and all was well, for a while. Then, suddenly, the current changed dramatically; the gates of the dam had been opened unexpectedly. It was a very challenging experience to say the least. We had five canoes in our group; by the time two of those canoes could make it to shore safely, the other three had capsized and lost all of the food, equipment, and most of our clothing, but the good news was that everyone was safe, some being brought back to the group by local fisherman.
But what happened next is what will remain with me for the rest of my life. We soon gathered alongside the river, and by now, the camp director was there to meet us. She wanted to speak to just the girls. First, she recognized what our situation was and said it would be very understandable if we wanted to leave and go back to camp where the rest of our personal items were, and we obviously would have food. But then she said, “this is your troop and your decision to make.” She was willing to bring food back to us to finish the trip along with some personal items, and we could complete the trip, or we could go back to camp and enjoy the rest of the week there. “But again, it was our decision to make.” That statement was amazing to me. She suggested that we discuss it and let her know what we decided and she would support our decision. Well, we did discuss it and decided we could do it and were willing to face the hardships. And now, I am here today, sharing this moment with you and labeling it as one of the most influential moments of my life.
Growth moments are what Girl Scouting is all about. Having ideas, sharing a project, making decisions, solving the issues that arise, and experiencing success; this is what can make Girl Scouting a life-changer.
When you as a leader, Girl Scout area member, or board member have great times with the girls, or face issues together, and solve those issues, you then create the net group of leaders for this wonderful organization. And for that, I say thank you, on behalf of each of our girls. Thank you!