When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you give her a whole lot more than a license to sell Thin Mints and Trefoils. It is so much more than sleepovers, patches, and crafts.
As she grows through Brownies she will learn invaluable skills, from basic first aid to lighting a campfire to making lasting relationships with other girls and how to communicate what she thinks clearly. She'll go on camping trips that she planned with the other girls in her troop, she'll strengthen her body and mind, and she'll love her Troop Leaders and they will love her even when she drives them crazy. Her leaders will show her how she can be a shining example of what it means to be a woman that contributes to society, they'll show her how to prepare for anything, they'll show her how to be the one to kill the spider, and they show her that she can be brave and stand up for what she thinks is right. When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you give her a sense of fearlessness that can't be found anywhere else.
She'll go to sleep away camp and she'll be ready to go three hours before her mother is even ready to pack up the car. After her mother drops her off at the Mess Hall, she'll struggle with the twin sized bed sheet she has to put on her cot and unrolling her sleeping bag. Her cabin counselor will make sure she's all settled in and she's met her cabin-mates. She'll learn how to sound off, the lyrics to countless campfire songs, that she needs to bring more socks next year, how not to flip a kayak, how not to get leeches after swimming in a lake and the importance of writing letters. She'll leave the campsite with a new group of friends from across the country and know that she could not have done any of that without Girl Scouts. When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you give her a sense of independence that will stick with her throughout her whole life.
As she crosses over into Juniors, she'll have a whole new set of responsibilities to maintain. Try-Its turn into patches, and the brown vest gets traded in for a green one. She'll earn her five-year pin and will be on her way to earning her Bronze Award. To her, those 15 hours of planning and executing her plan for her Bronze will seem like forever, but she's really just beginning the process of planning to change the world. This is the year that the other girls start to drop out because Girl Scouts "isn't cool". Some of her friends will stop coming to meetings because there was something else more important than shaping themselves into the women they could have become. She will only be more determined to be the one that sticks with it. When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you give her the tools to take control of her life.
Her Cadet years will be her favorite. Her troop will have dwindled down to the girls that still care, and her khaki vest is a sign that she has been a great leader and mentor to the girls that are still in elementary school and learning what it means to be a Girl Scout. She'll go to all of the bridging ceremonies to help the Daisies and Brownies cross over to the next stage of womanhood. She'll miss her middle school semi-formal for the Girl Scouts of America 100th Anniversary celebration where she will meet girls from all over the country and all over the world and exchange her swaps with sisters from Alaska to Hawaii. Her world will be wider, and she will realize that she is strong enough to make a change much bigger than herself. When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you teach her that every woman is her sister, and without the women before her, she would not have had the opportunities she has now.
As high school flies by, so will her Senior and Ambassador years. Sometimes she will feel that Girl Scouts is too much of a time commitment and that she has better things to do. But she will always remember that she promised her younger self that she would be one of the few that did it, one of the young women to earn her Gold Award and prove that she is both resilient and committed. The project may take months or even years but she will get it done and she will graduate with her Girl Scout Gold Award. She will make a lasting impact on the middle school girls in her troop who aren't ready to lead but desperately want to. The newspaper will write an article about how her project inspired young women around the state to achieve the highest level of success, and her picture with her new, gold pin will be shown to the troop long after she leaves for college. When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you give her the courage to continue when others do not and to help the younger girls grow into women.
When she goes off to college, she'll be surrounded by men and women that do not understand what it meant to be a Girl Scout. They'll tease her and joke that all a Girl Scout is good for is the cookies, but she'll know those years and years of experiences and leadership are more than that. Not many of her peers can say they are a part of the largest society of women in the world, or that they have achieved the highest level of honor and success in that society. When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you teach her that her values and morals are the most important part of who she is.
When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you teach her to be who she is unapologetically while supporting other women unconditionally. She will foster a love of adventure, advocacy, truth and solidarity with other women. She will know that all women are her sisters, and she will stand by them through it all. When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you give her Troop Leaders that will be her role models for the rest of her life. She will strive to be a leader even when she is not, and she will show that nothing will get in her way. When you give your daughter a Girl Scout vest, you give her the world, whether you realize it or not.