The legacy of being a Girl Scout.

Written by Brianna Soloski 

Girl-ScoutsThe path to scouting for Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada CEO Liz Ortenburger was non-traditional. She wasn’t involved in scouts as a girl but came to it as an adult after graduating from college in 1997. She responded to an ad in the paper looking for someone to do special events for kids on the weekends. Today, as CEO Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, Liz finds that one of the most important parts of her job is the fall recruitment campaign. “Our big initiatives are to grow Girl Scouts so every girl can be involved and to teach families the value of scouting,” she said.

There are three ways girls can become involved in scouting: a traditional troop, consisting of 6-10 girls, two volunteers, and following traditional Girl Scout programming; Super Troops, which are staff-driven and meet weekly in 14 different locations around Southern Nevada; and the Juliette program, which allows girls to work alongside an adult at their own pace to earn badges.

Girl-Scouts2No matter how girls choose to become involved in scouting, there are many benefits to be reaped from the program. “Scouting provides the girls a complete foundation of things to explore, face-to-face contact, teamwork, all-girl environment, and they can express themselves a little more,” Ortenburger said.

Involvement in scouting also proves beneficial for the troop leaders and volunteers who work with the girls to help them grow into strong, independent young women. For Gina Meredith, who works with her daughter’s troop but wasn’t involved in scouting as a girl, she “hopes to be a positive memory” in the lives of the girls she works with. “I hope my daughter and all girls involved with the Girl Scout program gain confidence, leadership skills, and the courage to try anything they want—even if it means they might fail—because if they don’t try, they will never know if they can succeed,” Meredith said.

Michelle Lusk is in her sixth year as a leader with her daughter’s Daisy troop and has been involved in scouting since she was a first grader herself. She loves the opportunity to spend extra time with her daughters and their friends, helping them grow and learn and showing them how to make the world a better place. “But in the midst of all of that, I get to influence other girls and watch them grow while they are participating in Girl Scouts, learning traditions and new ways of doing Girl Scouts, seeing them realize as they get older that there is something bigger than themselves, and watching them understand they can have an impact on the world,” Lusk said.

Girl-Scouts3One thing Ortenburger would like parents to know about scouting is it can make an impact regardless of how old their daughter is. “[It’s] important for people to know Girl Scouting is important when they’re young, but it’s also important for middle and high school students. It’s important togive back to the community, to do national and international projects. It’s never too late for your daughter to join Girl Scouts.”