Volunteer Highlight: Cindy Sanders

With eight years of experience as a Girl Scout under her belt, Cindy Sanders embarked on the journey of leading a group of 24 first- and second-grade Girl Scout Brownies as her first experience as an adult volunteer. She advises new troop leaders to have fun with their girls but know that there’s a lot to learn. “The girls will change even the best made plans, something you think will take 30 minutes will take five, and something you think will take five minutes will take 30,” Sanders said.

Besides being a troop leader, she also serves as a River Valleys volunteer facilitator, service unit product program manager, Fast Start Coach, service unit delegate, and the “question-answerer” in her service unit. Because of her desire to share Girl Scout knowledge with others, Sanders became a facilitator approximately 15 years ago with legacy council Cannon Valley. “Being a facilitator is a rewarding way to be involved and give back to the Girl Scout community, it also gets me out of my ‘little service unit world,’” Sanders said.

She often makes an hour-and-a-half drive to get to the sessions she’s leading from her home in Oronoco. “I’ve led sessions in Prior Lake, Winona … They give me a location, I Mapquest it, and I’m off,” Sanders said. She encourages other facilitators to lead different sessions and challenge themselves to step outside of their comfort zones.

She describes her own facilitation style as fun, detailed, and informative. In the future, Sanders looks forward to connecting with other facilitators that lead the same sessions as her to exchange tips and compare notes. She leads Leadership Essentials, all Beyond the Troop modules, in addition to a variety of enrichment session at adult enrichment events. Sanders said her favorite session to lead is Girls Cook Out because she likes to help volunteers not experienced in outdoor cooking realize that they can cook outdoors.

She particularly likes to teach participants the endless possibilities with a Dutch oven and often prepares lasagna and dessert with them, although she has braved an amaretto cheesecake recipe on her own. Sanders enjoys guiding participants through making a variety of desserts in this session and having everyone come together at the end to discuss the various recipes and processes and of course share their desserts.

Outside of Girl Scouts, Sanders also volunteers with the Boy Scouts along with her husband. She’s also involved with her church and is a member of the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps from Saint Peter.