by Lily Jaremski

With a new Girl Scout year upon us and registration well underway, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Girl Scout mission, and what it means in practice. Cookies and campouts aside, what is the value of the Girl Scout experience? Who are “girls of courage, confidence, and character?”

I started Girl Scouts as a Daisy in 2005. I was the new kid in town and didn’t know anyone yet. As I earned my petals, I became fast friends with my fellow Daisies. Through Brownies and Juniors, we bonded at meetings, sleepovers, World Thinking Days, and more.

When I was 10, I was moved from fourth grade directly to middle school, taking me away from the only friends I had known for the last five years. The transition was difficult, as the transition to middle school always is, and I felt like I was starting all over again. Many of my old friends drifted away, but week after week, my Girl Scout friends were there to support me.

It’s difficult for Girl Scout troops to make it through middle school. With so many interests pulling young women in different directions, it can be difficult to meet regularly. High school adds another level of stress. Yet, when I walked across the stage at my high school graduation, my Girl Scout troop was there to support me. Somehow, we had made it from Daisies all the way to Ambassador Girl Scouts.

A few weeks ago, I traveled back to my hometown to stand in the wedding of my friend Alyssa, one of the first friends I made all the way back in 2005. So many of the memories we’ve shared in the intervening years were due to Girl Scouts. Even more special, I was able to enjoy the reception at a table of my Girl Scout sisters, pictured here.

Looking at this picture fills me with so much joy. These women are some of the brightest, funniest, kindest, most determined people I’ve known in my life. No matter how long it is between meetings, we can catch up and celebrate each other like nobody’s business.

And that’s the purpose, and value, of our mission to me. There are of course individual benefits – leadership skills, confidence, conviction. But the most valuable part of the Girl Scout experience to me is the lifelong fellowship of friends (nay, sisters) that you cultivate on your journey.

What does Girl Scouts mean to you? Let us know YOUR story!

Lily Jaremski serves as Program and Curriculum Specialist for Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, where she creates and plans the new Council Quest programs. Following 13 years of Scouting with Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, she earned her Gold Award in 2017 and is now a lifetime member.