Daisy, Give me your answer do! Im half crazy, All for the love
by lisa horak
am not a born leader. Id even go so far as to say Im a card-carrying,
Give me a task and Ill do it. But ask me to speak in front of
a group or teach a class and I go into a panic
on the inside, anyhow.
Its not that I cant be authoritative; its more that
Im not a natural organizer. It just makes me feel queasy. Gives
me butterflies in my stomach. Keeps me up at night. All of the above.
But as we all know, love makes you do some pretty unexpected things.
My six-year-old daughter Molly wanted to join Daisy Scouts. (Daisy Scouts,
if you are not familiar, is the first level of Girl Scouts, even before
Brownies.) So last summer we filled out forms, gave them to the powers
that be, and waited to hear about our troop. No calls came. School started.
We waited some more and made some calls. Apparently there was no troop
to join just then, but theyd call us when one formed. Weeks went
by. And then finally, we heard. A troop would form to include the lost
girls like Mollythose in need of a group to join.
Apparently this lack of a troop wasnt due to lack of interest,
only to a lack of willing leadership. Hmmm, I thought to
myself, you mean there arent tons of caring, kind adults
chomping at the bit to spend their precious free time with a gaggle
Now let me remind you, I am not a leader type. Im really not.
But this was my daughter, and what is one to do? I mean the uniforms
are just so darned cutelittle blue aprons and the Daisies earn
different colored petals for doing educational, civic-minded activities?
And scouting is touted as a wonderful way to encourage girls to be all
those things we want them to be, like honest and fair, friendly and
helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, responsible
for what they say and do, respectful of themselves and others, respectful
of authority. We want them to use resources wisely, make the world a
better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout. (These are the ten
components of the Girl Scout Law.) We all want the next generation to
be at least as competent as ourselves, and hopefully more so. I want
Molly to be the leader type.
Unlike me. Because when we go camping I am not the Fire Starter. I grew
up in a non-camping family and never really learned how to make a fire.
I mean, I know in theory what to do, but frankly, when we get to the
woods my husbands hunter/gatherer instincts come out and well,
he starts the fire. I put the marshmallows on the sticks (yes, I know,
green sticks, so they dont burn!)
So with the fate of the troop in jeopardy, I agreed to be a leader with
one caveat: someone else had to do it too, for I am a firm believer
that there is safety in numbers. I scanned the room for an interested
face. All eyes were averted, because like me, none of the parents wanted
to be the leader! We all just wanted to spend some quality time with
our girls. We wanted the fun of badges and songs and crafts but none
of the responsibility of leadership.
Finally, the woman sitting next to me gave in
agreed to be a co-leader if and only if absolutely no one else would
step up to the plate and it was the only way our girls could be Daisies.
I, of course, was overjoyed, for surely this woman was a kindred spirit.
After all, we had both made cynical comments during the information
We decided that we would make this fun. We quickly divided up the required
training sessions, for the Girl Scouts are nothing if not safe, thorough,
and by the books. Then we set up ground rules. Number one: we would
plan our meetings only where we could drink good coffee. Number two:
we would avoid any non-essential meetings. Number three: We would eliminate
dues so to avoid complicated stuff like opening a troop bank account.
Number four: our troop would meet once a month. More often would be
too much work. And number five, my personal favorite: we would meet
in the Fire Departments conference room, so that real professionals
would be on hand should someone urgently need medical care.
If my co-leader and I were worried that we werent up for this
task, our fears were quickly put to rest. At the last meeting before
we were to take over as leaders, the woman temporarily in charge had
our eager little angels earn a petal about being helpful by cleaning
the buildings baseboards. I kid you not. With paper towels and
a jug of Fantastik, our little scouts got busy and scrubbed. Never mind
dust allergies and asthmawe dont even clean our own baseboards
at home! The girls didnt even complain, bless their hearts, but
my co-leader and I looked at each other with incredulity and dismay.
Surely we could do better than that.
And so we are. We talk about the core values and beliefs that the Girl
Scouts wisely made into their law. Our Daisies are making new friends.
They know who founded the Girl Scouts and they know the Girl Scout Promise.
Their aprons get more colorful each time we meet, as more and more petals
are added. We make bird feeders out of pine cones and decorations for
nursing homes. We even sing Taps as we conclude our meetings with a
Perhaps most important, my co-leader and I pat each other on the back
after each meeting and remind ourselves that we have done well. Maybe
its never to late to teach this old scout new tricks.
The Girl Scouts are always looking for volunteers. If you are interested
please call the Girl Scouts of Western North Carolina Pisgah Council
Service Center at (828) 252-4442.
Lisa Horak lives in Asheville with her husband
and two daughters.
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