As the new person in town six years ago, Karen Cady-Davis wanted to get acquainted with her new Rochester community by volunteering. Since she wasn’t sure where to get involved, she inquired at a few organizations to get information, including—thankfully—Girl Scouts River Valleys.
Soon after her inquiry, River Valleys reached out and invited her to a volunteer recruitment event. She says, “I attended my first meeting and was asked if I wanted to co-lead a troop of Daisies with another volunteer, Kelly Christofferson. I was nervous at first, but Kelly and I decided that together we could lead the group of girls.”
Karen and Kelly’s troop has been going strong for five years and typically has around 17 girls. Although Karen doesn’t have a daughter in Girl Scouts, her troop has become very special to her. She spends a great deal of energy staying in contact with the parents and recruiting new members. A tool she loves to use is Shutterfly, where she can privately share pictures and troop updates with the families. She jokes, “I sometimes feel like I over-communicate.”
Karen and Kelly do a lot for their troop, but they get some help along the way from their ready and willing troop parents. “My advice to people is to organize things in a way so you don’t have to do everything yourself,” explains Karen. “There are so many resources available, it is important to realize what parents are good at and what they can commit to, even if it is something small.”
Karen’s favorite Girl Scout memory was two years ago at her wedding. She invited her troop to her special day on Memorial Day weekend. Many of the girls attended with their families, and Kelly’s daughter even walked Karen down the aisle. “I was so surprised at how many girls came since it was over a holiday weekend,” says Karen, “At the reception, they manned the candy table and filled the dance floor. We even did a few Girl Scout dances!”
No longer the new person in town, Karen now has a strong network in the Rochester area. Through her experience as a volunteer, she gained a best friend, her co-leader Kelly, and built a Girl Scout family.