The start of a new Girl Scout troop! It probably goes without saying that few things get us more excited. And we certainly hope you share in that excitement!

But let’s be real: with your excitement might come a few nerves (maybe more than a few). You’ve said yes to an adventure. And it wouldn’t be an adventure without some unknowns. What will the year hold?

Melissa Clevenger can relate. Last year, she said yes to forming Girl Scout Troop 1046 with her daughter. She was eager and hopeful about what this experience could be for everyone.

“I just wanted everyone to have fun and have somewhere they felt like they belonged,” she reflects.

That said, she wasn’t immune to the “new leader nerves.”

“I felt lost. I didn’t know where to begin, or what to do, or even who to ask. And I didn’t want the girls to miss something because I didn’t know.”

By showing up for her troop, though, Melissa and her team found their groove. She says each meeting got better and better, as she learned more about what her girls were interested in doing (plenty of crafts!). She also found extra advice and friendship by connecting with fellow troop leaders at service unit meetings. Her troop partnered with another to go camping, and Melissa refers to it as a highlight of the year.

“They were an older troop, who came with us and taught us so much,” she remembers. “Fire safety, knife safety, tie-dye, hiking safety, camp songs, skits, Dutch-oven cooking, wood burning…It was busy but fun!”

Her list of other top memories is wonderfully lengthy and full of joy– making cookies for their Juliette Gordon Low birthday party, participating in their town’s Christmas parade, and making first aid kits with the help of first responders, to name just a few.

Most Girl Scout volunteers have their “This is why we do this” moment. The one that trumps the nerves, the fear, the garage packed with 200 cookie boxes. For Melissa:

“I heard a girl tell her mom ‘I’m having so much fun.’ Then one told me ‘You’re really good at Girl Scouting.‘”

(Anyone have a tissue??)

The decision to return came easily, and Troop 1046 is ready. Melissa says now that they are more established, they also hope to get involved with community projects.

“There have been other troops in our area and they left such an impact on everyone. That’s what I want for our troop. Have fun, make memories, meet new friends, and serve the community.”


Thank you, Melissa, for saying yes, for leading your troop with a genuine heart, and for sharing your story with us.