Volunteer Highlight: Karen Peed

Karen Peed likes to tell new Girl Scout volunteers at recruitment meetings, “This is not that hard. The girls will help you more than you can believe. They want you to be here so they can have fun.” Her first Girl Scout experience began approximately 14 years ago when her daughter became a Girl Scout and she became her troop leader.

“My daughter watched her brother in Boy Scouts and my husband and I decided that Girls Scouts was the right thing, I wasn’t a Girl Scout myself, but had heard fond memories from other adults I ran into,” Peed said.

Today she volunteers as a River Valleys facilitator and as the Caddie coordinator in the Rum River Service Unit, where she also helps plan day camp. In the past, she has served as a co-service unit manager and service unit cookie manager. As a facilitator, Peed enjoys listening to the experiences of participants in her training sessions and the willingness of other participants to offer their support by problem-solving and sharing what has worked for them.

“I’m always happy when people are exchanging e-mails and numbers at the end of a session,” she said.

Peed describes her facilitation style as low-key and likes to share her own Girl Scout stories that relate to portions of the training plan she’s following. “In Leadership Essentials, when we talk about forming a group agreement and the rule of respecting others comes up, I like to highlight when my seventh grade Girl Scouts were ragging on the very boring history teacher at school. It was getting to the point where we would have to step in and say something when one girl said, ‘He can’t help it if he’s a dork, if we listen, he has a lot of interesting stories to tell.’ My co-leader and I looked at each other and said, ‘Yes.’”

Being a facilitator has given Peed an opportunity to step back and reflect on how she interacted with her own troop. One revelation she’s had is that fourth grade girls can do anything if you stand by and coach them.

“At day camp, a girl squeezed her Kool-Aid onto the ground, in seconds there was a swarm of yellow-jackets on the spot. We asked the girls what we should do because we had a girl who was allergic to bee stings … At first they suggested that girl had to move away, then they decided they could clean the spot up with water, and then they were thinking about how they could get rid of their drinks better next time,” Peed said.

Peed likes to stress that the focus is always the girls; they are at the front of everything you’re doing in Girl Scouts. Outside of Girl Scouting, Peed is learning to play harp and make sourdough bread. She also enjoys weaving and knitting.