Thursday, April 16, 2015

Volunteer Spotlight: A Cape Full of Patches and a Heart Full of Girl Scout Love



Lois Harris of Cape May, New Jersey, is a Girl Scout through and through. With more patches than she can count, tons of stories, and a love of Girl Scouting that has filled her life and those of girls across five states for decades, Lois is not only a Girl Scout alumna but a dedicated volunteer with 68 years of experience! Today, we celebrate you, Lois, for your passion, your dedication, and all the amazing ways you have made a difference throughout your life.


Girl Scout volunteers around the country like Lois really do make a difference for so many girls. These individuals, through their giving spirits, provide girls with an opportunity to take part in the adventure of a lifetime. Often, volunteers—true mentors—make a lifelong impression on girls, sparking in them a desire to pay it forward, introducing them to new hobbies and even future careers, and fueling our Movement with strength and passion.


“I was an only child and suddenly I had all those sisters!” Lois shared with a laugh. “Plus, I had the greatest mentor as a Girl Scout that you could ever have, and I have been trying to pay her back ever since.”


As did the Girl Scout leader who inspired her into action, Lois has contributed so much to Girl Scouting—from leading troops, to mentoring hundreds of girls and holding a variety of volunteer leadership positions at various councils, to serving as a Girl Scout summer camp director. She even spent 20 years as a docent (guide) at the Girl Scout Museum at G.S. Cedar Hill Program Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she gave tours, told stories about her many patches, and hosted tea parties!

“I have a cape with all my patches on it that hangs down as far as my knees, and it’s made of the same material Girl Scout uniforms were made of in the seventies,” Lois shared proudly. “And I don’t just collect patches; I’ve earned every single one. Everything on that cape represents the places I’ve gone and the things I’ve done in scouting.”


During her tours at the museum, Lois would place her incredible cape on the floor and tell visiting Girl Scouts all about the places she’d been and the amazing things she had done because of Girl Scouts. “I’d say to them, ‘If you stay in Girl Scouts long enough, you’ll get to do these things too!’”


Lois talks about her experiences as a Girl Scout and Girl Scout volunteer with great fondness, highlighting all the fun and adventures she’s had, as well as the amazing things she and the hundreds of girls she’s mentored over the years have learned along the way.


“I think my favorite part of being a Girl Scout volunteer is seeing girls develop from innocent young children to taking responsibility and learning leadership skills, especially at the Cadette level,” Lois said. “I learned leadership skills, too—the more you [volunteer], the better you get at it. You get very good at dealing with other women at leader meetings. [Girl Scouts] really is a great character and leadership building organization.”


Take it from Lois: being a Girl Scout volunteer rocks! Let’s give a cheer for Lois and thousands like her, who make Girl Scouting possible every day, bringing so much passion enthusiasm to an already incredible adventure!


Looking for a way to thank your own Girl Scout volunteer? Download a shareable thank-you card. You can also tag your volunteer in a quick thank-you message on Facebook or Twitter today!