Kitty Harris, now in her fourth year as a leader in Burnsville, Minnesota for her daughter’s very “spirited” Cadette troop, knows well the significance of helping girls chart their own course. From seemingly small practices like trying new snacks each meeting to setting larger goals like topping their cookies sales year-to-year and fundraising for a trip abroad to London or Paris, Kitty and the troop’s co-leader encourage the girls to choose their experiences and go for it. “They know that if we come up with [an idea for] something, and we use resources wisely, we’ll be able to do it.”
Now that the girls are in middle school, they help plan and lead their meetings, which gives them a stake in their troop’s path and gets them comfortable speaking in front of others. Through leadership experiences like these, Kitty has seen her daughter Kileyah grow over the years: “She goes for the leadership role, but also understands when its time to back away and let other people have their time. It’s good to see that progression in her and find her voice.”
Kileyah, now in her fifth year as a Girl Scout, recognizes that “[Girl Scouts] has helped me learn that I’m stronger than I think I am. I’ve learned how to do new things.” Kileyah particularly loves camping, canoeing, swimming, and paddle boarding, which she tried for the first time at camp this summer.
Their troop loves the outdoors – ice skating, swimming, archery – but Kitty, on the other hand, never really identified as an “outdoor person” before Girl Scouts encouraged her to give it a try.
“When we go to camp, I have fun with the girls. Being on the water, having the confidence in myself to take someone else’s child on the water, and embracing the outdoor aspect of Girl Scouts – it changed my perspective on things.”
From cookie selling, to world travel, to camp, to service projects, Kileyah, Kitty, and their troop reap the benefits of charting their course and seeing it through.