When I was growing up, my family moved every few years – picking up and flying to a new “home” across the state, country and even world – sometimes with only a couple of weeks notice. This meant that by the time I was eighteen, I had attended twelve different schools on three different continents. While growing up in England and South Africa was a magical and awe-inspiring adventure, it was also scary, lonely and at times, very hard. Transitioning to a new school, new house and new friends every few years was a terrifying experience each time, but I always had my constant – Girl Scouts.
My journey into the world of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides started as a Teddy in South Africa (the South African equivalent to a Daisy) when I was five years old. From there I moved up to Brownie and eventually became a Brownie Sixer, which put me in a leadership role in my troop. During my time in South Africa, I was able to earn every badge the Brownies had to offer, as well as my Silver and Gold Hands (the South African equivalent of the Silver and Gold Awards).
After living in South Africa for five years my family moved back to England, and then on to America where I became a Girl Scout Junior, Cadette, Senior and Ambassador.
Even in different parts of the world we would have sleepovers, create crafts, go to camp and hold service events, but these experiences meant much more to me than just activities. Girl Scouts provided me with a way to instantly make 20 new best friends, no matter how new I was or how funny I talked. It gave me a home regardless of where I was in the world.
Today, I serve as the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator for Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee. My role includes handling resources and other troop needs, as well as all Highest Award communication and approvals (including Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, Adult Awards and Service Awards). After more than 20 years of Girl Scouting, I realize that I have acquired the power and potential to foster change and empower others, and I am so excited to be able to give back to the organization that gave me so much.
It’s always held true for me – Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout.
Poppy Lee is the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator for Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee. She handles our newly developed Packaged Programs as well as Adult, Service, Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.