April 16, 2008

(Troop 981 scouts with Bennie, a Dad who volunteered to go with us to High School Musical on Ice on Friday Night)

For me, volunteering has always been a big part of my life. It was almost a no-brainer that I would end up working for a non-profit organization in one way or another (I chose a church). I especially love organizations that are for children and teenagers and I know that it takes a big heart and lots of patience to work with such organizations.

Scout troops, sports teams, academic teams, after school programs–they all need caring adults who will give of their time, energy, patience, and often finances (there will always be a child whose family can’t afford the uniform or the movie trip) generously in order to provide a place for children to learn and grow.

It seems that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find volunteers to step forward as leaders. I’m especially conscious of this as a Girl Scout leader. I love leading a Brownie troop! Sure, there are times I go home tired or frustrated and often I wish I had brought ear plugs to the meeting, but I love being a leader. But more and more girls are not able to be in Girl Scout troops because there are no leaders. Not even a parent of one of the girls is willing to volunteer to lead a troop. Several of our community schools are without Girl Scout leaders and every year, our service unit has to make phone calls to dozens of parents letting them know that as of right now, there is no leader (and maybe they would like to volunteer????). It’s a sign of the times, really. More single parent households, more parents working more than one job, more families scheduled and busy!

It’s a shame because of all the organizations our children should join, scouting should be at the top of the list! The values and skills that our children learn as scouts are invaluable and will carry them through their lives. I’ve heard many stories of adult Eagle Scouts who were picked for a job because they were an Eagle Scout and the other candidate(s) was not.

I suppose most of us can remember one or two adults who volunteered their time to work with us in our childhood and youth–Sunday School Teachers, coaches, mentors, leaders. It’s important. How do we make up for this lack? I’m still wondering and I’ll be doing a lot more thinking about it in the year to come. I’ve accepted the Service Unit Manager volunteer position for Girl Scouts in Henderson. I’m leaving my beloved Troop 981 behind and in the hands of other leaders in order to accept this position in hopes of recruiting more and better leaders for girls in our community.

Pray for me as I prepare to do this job and pray for our children, that they would always have strong leaders and mentors in our communities!