Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida

Because I Was a Girl Scout

Celebrating 100 Years of Girl Scouting

Please enjoy reading these inspirational stories we are sharing on this page. And please continue to submit your Because I Was a Girl Scout stories. Thank you.

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Brooke Caputo

Because I was a Girl Scout, I take pride in teaching my own three daughters to honor God, our Country and be honest and respectful to others, at all times. My fondest memories of Girl Scouting are the bonds I had with the girls in my troop. My weekly troop meetings provide a sense of “normal” during a time when my parents divorced and my home life was tough. When I was a Brownie Girl Scout, I remember selling cookies at a McDonald’s in Port Jefferson, NY. Cookies were only $2 a box and an elderly women came to the booth, handed me $2 and walked away. When I spoke up to get her attention and let her know she forgot her cookies, she turned, winked, and said, “No, Honey, that’s for your troop. Have fun camping.” I was completely SHOCKED. I was only about 6 or 7 at the time, and it wasn’t like it is today, where we ask for donations for Cookies for the Military. Collecting donations at that time was unheard of. I was so touched by her generosity, that to this day, I still share the story time and time again. I donate money whenever I can, especially to unsuspecting recipients. I think it spreads joy, and simply pays it forward. I love to be an example to my three daughters, and was so proud of my 9-year-old daughter’s efforts to raise enough money to send over 150 boxes of cookies to our military troops! My daughters are already learning about giving. Recently, during a meal at a local McDonald’s, my daughter donated her change to the Ronald McDonald House and told me that it felt good to donate it. Needless to say, I was beaming with pride. (Brooke Caputo, Stay at home Mom, Former Girl Scout – Suffolk County, NY, 1983-1989)

Courant, Patricia

Patricia Courant

Because I was a Girl Scout, I have continued to enjoy donating my time but have slowed down a bit at the ripe old age of 81. As a DAR member I assist with many veteran programs. I also support SOS Children’s Village. I see that my good friend gets to chemotherapy, trips to doctors and hospital. I’ll never forget chaperoning a Girl Scout overnight at a former prisoner of war camp near Chicago. We slept on the same uncomfortable cots the prisoners had used – oh what a back ache. I learned from “The promise to serve God and Country and to help other people”. I joined Brownie Scouts at age of 7 in Chicago, Illinois.My older sister was also a Girl Scout so my mother was active in helping the troops. I remember as a teenager selling Savings Stamps to help the war effort. Years later when I had my own family, my 3 daughters became Girl Scouts. After my children left, I became a Guardian Ad-Litem and helped many children who were in the foster children court system. I also taught reading to adults in the Literacy Program. My sister began volunteering in Scouts while living in the New York area. She increased her activity when she relocated to Lee County, Florida with the Gulf Coast Girl Scout Council. She received her 45 year pin and the Green Angel Award. (Patricia Courant, Guardian Ad-Litem, Former Girl Scout – 1937-1977, Chicago, Park Forest, IL and Pompano Beach, FL)


Frances Corgnati

Because I was a Girl Scout, I have the courage to live a life of active service to others and to remain strong in my Faith.Because I was a Girl Scout, I became involved in the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1966-1970 in Springfield, MA and in Memphis, TN. Because I was a Girl Scout, I am firm in my Faith in God and educated my children (and other children) to have Faith in God and to serve others while being the very best of who God created them to be in this world. Because I was a Girl Scout, I continue to search for opportunities to serve others in my communities and to learn and grow in this service. Because I was a Girl Scout, I understand how important it is to recognize and encourage others. Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned how to organize my life so I take actions in many arenas and have them all connecting people as what I call a “grassroots” movement towards World Peace. (Frances Corgnati, educational consultant, academic programs coordinator – Former Girl Scout 20 years – Western Massachusetts)

Perez, Becca

Becca Perez

Because I was a Girl Scout, I have the courage and the confidence to be me no matter where I go, no matter what I do and to stand up for what I believe in. Because I was a Girl Scout, I am who I am today. From my first days as a Brownie Girl Scout, I learned about the Girl Scout Promise and Law and how to incorporate them into my life. If I see someone struggling in the store with a bag, I’ll hold open the door for them, or grab something they may have otherwise dropped. If I pass a bottle or a can on the ground, I’ll pick it up and toss it into the nearest garbage or recycling can. I wasn’t always outgoing, talkative and friendly, but being in Girl Scouts gave me an amazing leader to guide me. It gave me other girls my age who have been at my side through our travels and have become my lifelong friends. (Rebecca Perez, Eckerd College freshman, Former Girl Scout – New York and South Florida, 2000-2011)

Roberts, Valeska

Valeska Roberts

Because I was a Girl Scout, I am strong in spirit, mind and faith. Girl Scouts made me the leader, mother, friend, daughter, wife and employee that I am today. My leader was very influential in my life and I still keep up with her on Facebook an whenever I visit St. Croix. In Girl Scouts, I learned to be proud and strong and how to use my voice to be heard. We wore our uniform to all meetings and our leader checked to make sure that it was clean and tidy. My mother was a single parent but Girl Scout allowed me to have access to so many things that my mother would have never afforded to give me. As a Girl Scout I had the opportunity to meet the governor of the Virgin Islands an several Senators. I was involved in many parades and many wonderful and amazing experiences. I camped for the first time in Girl Scouts when I was in 5th grade. One of my fondest memories was making Hibiscus punch and fried chicken with our leader to earn our Cooking Badge as a Junior Girl Scout. We cooked for all of our parents and we all ate in the front yard. We laughed and danced—it was so much fun. (Valeska Roberts, Former Girl Scout – St. Croix, Virgin Islands, 8 years)

D'Elosua, Christina

Christina D’Elosua

Because I was a Girl Scout, I care about the growth and development of young women as leaders in our community. In Girl Scouting, I learned the importance of speaking up and that girls should be encouraged to speak up and share what they have to say. I also learned the importance of being a role model to other young women. Because of the compassion and leadership of my troop leaders I learned the importance of leading by example, I have planned many educational and motivational seminars to help young women succeed. One of my fondest memories of Girl Scouts was actually when I was still a tag-a-long to my sister’s troop. Taking a bike ride with these girls was always so much fun and they were always so nice, treating me like their own little sister. They made me feel special and I knew I wanted to be a Girl Scout too. (Christina D’Elosua, Executive Director, Leadership Palm Beach County, Former Girl Scout – Brevard County, Florida, 5 years)

Johnson, Kim

Kim Johnson

Because I was a Girl Scout, I know that I can do just about anything. My most vivid memory is hiking with my troop up, down and around Stone Mountain on the outskirts of Atlanta. It was an all-day event and my troop had planned for weeks to do it and to earn the special patch the Council offered for accomplishing this feat. Not even getting stung by a bee could stop me from reaching my goal. I have been a Girl Scout leader for 7 years and have seen the impact it has on girls. They gain confidence from trying something new and learning from it, from helping others and knowing that they truly made a difference, and from making friends and experiencing it all as a team. (Kim Johnson, former Girl Scout – Stone Mountain, Georgia, 3 years)

Giordano, Patty

Patty Giordano

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned morals, values and skills that have lasted a lifetime. I have fond memories of camping in Bronxville, New York where I made crafts, learned to sew and enjoyed my first s’more. I remember feeling so proud marching in my uniform in the Mt. Vernon Day parade – especially as people clapped and called out “Girl Scouts” as we went by. My leader taught me about following through—I remember her rushing in for meetings because she was coming straight from work. She was committed to us and taught us to set goals and accomplish them. My most impactful moment as a Girl Scout was going to a nursing home and talking to the residents. They were so happy to have us there and it made me want to help in my community. As a leader today, I take my Girl Scouts caroling at local senior centers every Christmas. (Patty Giordano, former Girl Scout – New York, 6 years)

Nelson, Sophia

Sophia Nelson

Because I was a Girl Scout, I am able to impact my community with Servant Leadership. As a Girl Scout in Jamaica, my fondest memory was the Brownie line up. This was when Girl Scout troops from across the Island met at the University of the West Indies to sing, share and have a jamboree. This two day event was were I made/met some of my dearest friends. We would sing, play team games and learn new stories about being a brownie. I also had the opportunity to work with children who had polio and who had been orphaned. It taught me a lot about helping others. Perhaps the number one skill I learned was organization—I still like to plan and do logistics. (Sophia Nelson, former Girl Scout – Jamaica, 6 years )

Englert, Rene

Rene Englert

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned to be more outgoing and vocal within a group. Since I am the oldest of 3 girls, this was my first experience interacting with a group of girls older than I was. It gave me more confidence in myself and someone to look up to. The lessons about teamwork and helping others probably formed the basis of my caretaker instincts. When I was helping my niece sell cookies this year, it amazed me how many people we met that said they were Girl Scouts when they were younger too. It seems like an experience no one ever forgets. 40 years later and I still remember the songs! (Rene Englert, former Girl Scout – 1972-1975, Milwaukee, WI)

Eniola, Angela

Angela Eniola

Because I was a Girl Scout, I have the courage, confidence and character to make my individual mark on the world. I was a Girl Scout in the early 1970s when schools had only recently been integrated. Being a Girl Scout provided a wonderful opportunity to learn about other cultures and make friends with lots of other girls. I remember my troop leader encouraging teamwork and integrity—values that I use in my career as a professor. I encourage my students to have integrity,ethics and a spirit of cooperation. Girl Scouting taught me independence and made me believe that one person can make a difference. In addition to being an educator I also have a small non-profit company that emphasize public health for under-served communities I have spent my entire adult life in public service with careers in public health, mental health and education, choices certainly influenced by my Girl Scout experience. (Angela Eniola, professor at Keiser University, former Girl Scout – Dania, Florida, 2 years)

Felker, Joanne

Joanne Felker

Because I was Girl Scout, I met the man of my dreams, I have the best friends for life and raised children to continue those same principles on to the next generation. My best friend Roe Pickhardt H. finally talked me into joining Girl Scouts in 11th grade in 1974 so I could go on the summer trip to the Appalachian Mountains, that changed my life and I am forever grateful to her! I became a leader along with Nancy H. and Vickie N. in 1988 and our troop stayed together for 12 years, with 12 of them getting their Silver Awards and 8 of them receiving their Gold awards. When we had our last meeting to disband, they were sad that we would not be meeting anymore for community service and trips together, so we formed “The Best Friends Club.” We still meet today 25 years later! We are still doing community service and taking trips together but now we have mothers and grandchildren of those Girl Scouts involved! I am so proud of “my girls” and that we were able to keep them together, and through the internet we have kept in touch with our girls that have moved away. One of my girls was in Afghanistan and wanted us to send her Girl Scout cookies for the soldiers, so we collected money and she made sure they got right to the front lines! All 288 boxes, the post office loved us that day! We work with the Jupiter Mason lodge on some of their projects. Every year we adopt local families and Christmas shop for them. I don’t have enough room to list all that we done over the years. I have girls that have gone on to be a lawyer, a social worker, teachers, charity worker for Alex’s Lemonade Stand for Children with Cancer. Two of them have daughters in Girls Scouts now! They are all making a difference and have definitely been impacted positively by the experience we gave them with Girl Scouts.
(Joanne Felker, retired preschool teacher and director, former Girl Scout – Stuart, Florida, 14 years)

Allen, Becky

Becky Allen

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned about goal setting, interpersonal relationships, and appreciation for others talents, which all led to a successful and productive career in Florida Banking. Some of my fondest memories include hiking and camping on the Appalachian Trail with my Mother and her Girl Scouts when I was still a tagalong. I enjoyed earning badges, as it taught me about setting goals and accomplishing them. These leadership activities instilled in me a desire to be a leader, an appreciation for helping others, and the personal reward of feeling good about contributing to something larger than myself. Girl Scouting provided me with many opportunities to help others and was the start of a lifelong commitment to volunteering. (Becky Allen, chairwoman, Indian River Community Foundation, former Girl Scout – Gainesville, Florida, 12 years)

Valz, Krista

Krista Valz

Because I was a Girl Scout, I have become a strong impassioned woman of integrity, hope, and continued growth. In girl scouting I learned the importance of service to one’s community, accountability, the excitement of continuous learning, and how rewarding the sense of accomplishment is when completing my Silver and Gold Award projects. Girl Scouts has helped me become assertive, increased my self esteem, taught me basic living skills, and has shown me that I am very valuable as a woman in my community. The value of helpings others that was instilled in me influenced my career choice as a clinical psychologist. I can continue to help those in need, help effect change in individuals and families, and watch positive change as it happens. My fondest memories of girl scouting involve going to camp Massawamee in both with my troop and as a counselor. I also loved going to Pioneers, Pastimes, and Pals summer camp; attending several years. (Krista Valz, Psychologist, former Girl Scout – I started in Brownies and ended as a Senior Scout and Gold Award recipient. I was an adult Girl Scout for several years after. I participated in Girl Scouts in Virgina)

Anne Marie Taglienti

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned the leadership skills that are the foundation of my success today. I met my best friend in Girl Scouts—we went on to attend the same college and were part of each other’s weddings. The lifelong friendships are among my best memories. I also loved camping and selling cookies—the Thin Mint was the most popular cookie in the 1970s. I also remember winning a patch design contest. I learned in Girl Scouts leadership, courage, strength, teamwork, and friendship. I also learned how to work with other girls and form a strong bond with my sister Girl Scouts. My leader (Patricia Kloiber) had the most impact on me, and her family became a second family to me. I recall a trip to Tallahassee where we visited the Capitol and sat in on a government session. Seeing the female leaders speaking and making decisions made me believe I too could have a career in public policy and public speaking. It shaped my desire to be in public affairs and community service. In Girl Scouts, I gained the mindset to do the best and the most that I can, to make a difference and to make every minute count. (Anne Marie Taglienti, director of corporate affairs for American Express, former Girl Scout – Jupiter, Florida, 12 years)

White, Chris

Chris White

Because I was a Girl Scout, I know I can have an impact on our world. As a sophomore in high school, I was selected to participate in a Girl Scout Wider Opportunity in Washington, DC. Prior to the trip, I received an invitation from the White House—all of the girls on my trip were invited to a ceremony to induct First Lady Barbara Bush as the Honorary Chairwoman of Girl Scouts. Being a guest at the White House was one of the best memories of my life. I had the opportunity to speak with the First Lady and a photo I had taken with her was later used as part of a national Girl Scout television ad. In Girl Scouts, I learned the importance of volunteering and demonstrating leadership—skills I put to use as I earned my Girl Scout Gold Award. I tells girls to believe they can make a difference and they will. (Chris White, former Girl Scout – Connecticut and Palm Beach County, Florida, 1980-1992)

Kettler, Barbara

Barbara Kettler

Because I was a Girl Scout, I am a well-rounded individual who know how important it is to give to others. It was in Girl Scouts that I first felt like I belonged to a group who shared my interests. I started as a Brownie Girl Scout and later became a Mariner. I took on several leadership roles in my Council and had the opportunity to travel to other communities as part of a leadership council. My visits to the Girl Scouts headquarters in New York reaffirmed my belief that I could be a leader, and I look back on Girl Scouting as a journey to the woman I am today. I had many successful career roles before going back to school to become a teacher. Today I give back as a volunteer for several local organizations, including SHARE-A-PET, a pet therapy organization and visiting Assisted Living Facilities. (Barbara Kettler, educator, former Girl Scout – New York City, 9 years)

Hickmon-Carroll, Robin

Robin Hickmon-Carroll

Because I was a Girl Scout, I am a happy, healthy contributing member of my community. My fondest memories of Girl Scouting include a weekly 5-mile hike with my troop. We hiked to a park where we would find ingredients for our lunch. We had to build the fire and cook our mid-day meal, always having a great time. Among the skills I learned in Girl Scout were problem solving, time management and aquatic recreation. These were all helpful as I earned the Girl Scout First Class (now known as the Gold Award). Teamwork proved to be the greatest help in my professional career and my love of water sports, fostered in Girl Scouts, led me to the essence of my soul. My education was focused on health and physical education and I ran the water safety committee for the American Red Cross, training lifeguards and swimming instructors. While I now teach high school science, I am also the coach of the school’s swim team. Although I was never blessed with my own children, I truly enjoy working and shaping the young minds of bodies of my students and swimmers. I enjoy helping them realize they can take and control their own lives and set and obtain their goals. I look back and I had no other experience that built the problem solving and teamwork skills that are so needed in the complicated world we live in today. (Robin Hickmon-Carroll, science teacher, former Girl Scout – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 10 years)


Suzanne Higgins

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned the importance of paying it forward and doing good for others. Sharing of my time, talents and treasures has enabled me to work with some incredible individuals in my community. It is incredibly rewarding to give others a hand up and see them succeed and flourish. Although I was a rather shy young woman (I have been very tall from the time I was 12), I learned important leadership lessons: honesty, integrity, truthfulness, respect and the willingness to help others. I learned the importance of giving of my time, talents and treasures to my community and others less fortunate and have worked in the not for profit field my entire adult career. I continue to strive to help make the community I live in a better place for those who will follow in our footsteps. (Suzanne Higgins, director of development, former Girl Scout – Broward County, FL, 2 years)

Miller, Gail

Gail Miller

Because I was a Girl Scout, I was given life-long friendships. I learned how to be a good friend and make friends. I keep a positive outlook on things. I walk around with a smile on my face at work because I know it will bring a smile back to me. I went into a medical profession. I love that I can think back on my day and know I made a difference in several lives. I learned how important it is to have women friends in my life even though I am a married woman now. I cherish the bond these friendships offer. I earned many badges that required me to do projects for the community. I am now a pharmacist and on a daily basis I take pride in helping others. (Gail Miller, pharmacist, former Girl Scout – West Orange, New Jersey, 3 years)


Morna McGann

Because I was a Girl Scout, I was able to face very difficult life challenges with the mindset and values that I learned in scouting. Prioritizing God, family, education and work as well as service to others. Through a troop service project and visit to the local police department and city jail, we learned about the legal system and helping others in trouble. I distinctly remember my troop leader saying “some of you may be coming back here to help others someday.” Today, I am a faith volunteer and mentor at risk girls in the juvenile justice system. (Morna McGann, former Girl Scout – Jupiter and Fort Lauderdale, FL 4 years)


Ann Inesedy

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned how to be part of a team and contribute my fair share. Cookie sales were a huge part every year and my troop wanted to be on the top of the sales. With courage and determination, I set out each year knocking on doors pre-selling cookies. In the early 80’s customers pre-ordered and then we delivered them several months later. With this courage and determination, my self-esteem grew and my sales ability too. I hope to have my daughter involved in Girl Scouts one day. Who would have known, that 20 years later I would be in sales. I have the Girl Scouts to thank for getting me started early on with the abilities I would use later on in life. I am the mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and colleague I am today because of Girl Scouts. (Ann Inesedy, banker, former Girl Scout – North Tonawanda New York 5 years)

Mayall, Jyl

Jyl Mayall

Because I was a Girl Scout, I developed a sense of self and self respect. I was surrounded by women who recognized the power of “I Can” and have led my life so emulate those people. Tuesday troop meetings offered me a haven from the drama at home and allowed me to meet girls from all different backgrounds. Summers at camp led to Wider Opportunities travel to San Diego, San Francisco and North Carolina. I also participated in a Girl Scout National Council Session in Houston, Texas. (This was the year we voted to add Daisy Girl Scouts to our grade levels). In Girl Scouts I learned that the only person who could keep me from being anything I wanted to be was me. I was able to put my leadership skills to work helping to plan a Girl Scout Day Camp program for girls who might not be able to afford sleepaway camp. I was proud to work with girls who were older than me and share my ideas to make the camp a reality. The skills I learned in Girl Scouts helped me bet a better mom and business person, and I know how important it is be to involved in my community. (Jil Mayall, teacher, former Girl Scout – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1973-1990)

Heather McMahon

Because I was a Girl Scout, I’ve learned to become more sociable, I’m craftier, I make wiser decisions; Because of this I have been able to work for the capital tourism of the world at Walt Disney World for the past 7 years and have been able to branch out and grow from bottom to the top (relatively speaking). I am a better person today. I’m more outgoing, friendlier, courteous, respectful and kind. My fondest memories were camping, meeting girls who would become friends for life and of course the endless supply of cookies! To this day, I still love the great outdoors whether it be camping or hiking or just being outside. I still remember my basic safety and can at least remember how to sew from all those badges going on my vest! I had the opportunity to tutor and volunteer students which helped me decide what my major would be in college and what career I would go into.
(Heather McMahon, Walt Disney World Travel Company associate, Girl Scout – Port St. Lucie, FL 10 years)

Itzler, Ellen

Ellen Itzler

Because I was a Girl Scout, I still love to camp, enjoy a good hike and take pleasure in learning new skills. Because I was a Girl Scout, I know the beauty of the stars at night, the glory of the view from the top of a mountain, the enjoyment of singing around a campfire, the value of traveling, and the worth of seeing new places and experiencing new things. I know now that in Girl Scouting, I was part of something bigger than myself. I learned the meaning of friendship and the importance of diversity. I loved earning badges and, from an early age, understood what it meant to be goal oriented whether it was to earn a badge, to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, or to graduate from law school. In college, I helped lead a troop of Brownie Girl Scouts and continued to learn—responsibility, parenting skills, how to teach, how to multi-task, how to inspire and the trans-formative power of a smile and a kind word. I was a committed cookie seller and learned the importance of fundraising, managing money, being responsible, to introduce myself and speak in public, and how to accept a few failures on the path to success. Girl Scouting has impacted, affected and influenced my life as well as my view of the world, my relationships and my obligation to society. May it live strong and prosper for another 100 years and help to transform many more generations of girls to come. (Ellen Itzler, attorney, former Girl Scout – St. Petersburg, Florida, 9 years)

Denise Fiorelli

Denise Fiorelli

Because I was a Girl Scout, I was fortunate enough to continue a legacy. I’m the oldest of four girls, and as the three eldest girls began their Girl Scout journey, my mother was always there to lead us and work with us. My mother did this because she believed in the organization and its teachings. I was fortunate to have my mother as an example of courage, confidence, and character. She was our Leader in every sense of the word, but she passed away at an early age. Unfortunately, my youngest sibling Suzie was unable to benefit fully from my mother’s guidance. I was on my way to college, when my little sister Suzie, came home from school one day and asked me if I would go to a Girl Scout parent meeting. Of course, I did not have the heart to say no to her so I went and learned that due to my mother’s passing there was a need for a troop leader. My sister looked at me and asked if I would be her leader and the legacy was born. Among many of the skills that I have gained as a Girl Scout, the primary skill I have learned is an increased confidence to interact with people. I now pride myself to be able to treat others in the way I would like to be treated. This skill helped me throughout my personal and professional career and I have passed this knowledge to future generations. Overall, my greatest lesson from my time with the Girl Scouts Organization has been my progression from a Girl Scout member, to a leader and ultimately to my current role as a staff member. I feel fortunate that I am able to work for an organization that does great things. (Denise Fiorelli, Director of Product Sales, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, former Girl Scout, 5 years)

Leslie Steeter

Leslie Streeter

Because I was a Girl Scout, I am able to navigate different groups of people and find myself. The first troop I joined was an inner city troop in Baltimore at my church. I learned that in life I will meet people who may or may not be similar to me; however, it is possible to find a common ground and get along. In addition to that, Girl Scouts taught me the importance of thinking on my feet and that leadership was not solely masculine. Part of our training as Girl Scouts was to lead, make decisions, and to be in control. This is a lesson that I felt was very important and it stays with me today. My fondest memories of Girl Scouts was when I was a young troop leader of Brownies; it was inspiring to see young girls exemplifying leadership by opening their arms to girls who were less fortunate. They came up with ways to include them in all our outings and activities. I realized then how Girl Scouting can impact girls at a very young age, teaching them the importance of community. (Leslie Streeter, Journalist, Palm Beach Post, former Girl Scout – Baltimore, Maryland, 3 years )

Andrea Levenson

Andrea Levenson

Because I was a Girl Scout, I am confident. I can make a contribution in the community where I live and help others utilize the resources available. As a Girl Scout leader I learned about my community and became very community focused. I learned what is out there, who is out there, what’s important, how people can get the help that they need and where people are not getting the help that they need. I became a ‘go-to’ person for others who are looking for resources in the community. I made sure my troops were community service based and we always did projects throughout the community. There are so many memories throughout my Girl Scout journey. One of my favorites was when my Girl Scout troop held a Brownie Camporee at Camp Telogia. Seeing how much my girls had grown, how much they had learned and how they positively influenced others enhanced my belief in the Girl Scout mission. Thanks to the skills I learned as a Girl Scout I became a leader for 12 years and had over 75 girls over the course of those years, and 9 of them graduated high school as a Girl Scout. When my girls graduated I was asked to serve on the GSSEF Board of Directors and proudly did so for six years. (Andrea Levenson, Strategic HR Human Resources Consulting, former Girl Scout)


Marilyn Brown Van Vleet

Because I was a Girl Scout, I’ve known happiness. I started in Girl Scouting 75 years ago as a Brownie in Hamilton, Ohio – about 1938. One of my earliest memories was getting my first uniform. How proud I was! I continued until high school, when I became involved in many activities, like many girls do today. It was band, orchestra, dancing classes, piano lessons, flute lessons, school activities and some school lessons. As soon as I was old enough I went to our Girl Scout camp and the YWCA camp and when in high school was the Water Front Director and taught swimming and diving. After college and marriage, David and I had a daughter, who when old enough for Brownies, we felt it very important to have her join the Girl Scout program and learn the many lessons Scouting had to offer. When she reached Cadette Scout age I took over the troop, but needed help, so the following year my husband, Dave, helped out and then together we led the troop. We continued through Senior Scouts – all in all for 22 years. After some years because of our water activities of water skiing, sailing and canoeing we called ourselves a Mariner Troop with our own special uniform. Our goal all along was to encourage leadership, whether it be in Scouting or some other avenue of volunteering in their communities. It has been a very gratifying experience for us and from what we have heard from many of “our girls” it has also been rewarding in their adult lives. After retiring from our Scouting days, Dave and I did lots of hiking and bicycling in the US and in many countries around the world, but our greatest happiness has been with the time spent with “our girls” in Scouting. (Marilyn Brown Van Vleet, former Girl Scout – Hamilton, Ohio, 1938 )


Goddess Vilmenay

Because I was a Girl Scout, it has impacted my life to stand up for women’s rights and to be able to empower our young girls today. So even long after we’re gone our girls will be movers and shakers. The single most important Girl Scouts has influenced in my life and that is “we are here to serve.” No matter what we do, it should be to be of service and make this world a better place. The skill that I have learned from Girl Scouts was selling the Girl Scout Cookies. With that came responsibility and accountability for the cookies I sold. Girl Scouts also taught me to be a go-getter because I wasn’t afraid to approach people to make sure I reached my goal for selling the most cookies. (Goddess Vilmenay, Author, Speaker former Girl Scout – Brooklyn, NY 4 years )

Nancy Proffitt

Nancy Proffitt

Because I was a Girl Scout, I am a confident LEADER in business and in my personal life. I believe life is about giving back and BIWAGS I feel like a successful HAPPY person. The major impact has been the confidence to take risks and not be afraid of failure. My incredible success as a corporate businesswoman is a direct result of my scouting. Now as a small business owner helping other businesses, I often refer back to the skills I learned in Girl Scouting. My fondest memories if Girl Scouts are hiking the Appalachian Trail in 6 states and Living on the Jospeh Conrad Schooner ship in New England. These trips just solidified the friendships and great memories that have lasted a lifetime. Our leaders, Mr. & Mrs. Vleet provided immeasurable guidance and love throughout my life. To this day, they are still my mentors. The most impact full experience was sitting on top of Grandfather Mountain after a long day of hiking and watching the sunset. That moment is burned in my mind because that is when I realized I am a survivor. The beauty of the moment also confirmed my belief in God and the reminder of how lucky I am and how much I truly love life. (Nancy Proffitt, former Girl Scout – Lake Worth, Florida, 25 years)


Penny Polokoff

Because I was a Girl Scout, I have a set of core values that I learned as a young girl that cannot be challenged, modified, or compromised. My fondest memories of Girl Scouting was my Brownie step-up ceremony. Although I am now 43 years old, the most momentous experience I ever had in developing a meaningful relationship with myself was saying those magical words “Twist me and turn me and show me the elf…I looked in the water and saw “MYSELF”… Now, as a mother, I want my daughter to have a relationship with herself, and develop her own commitment to the world around her. I am STILL a Girl Scout and leave things in better condition than they were in when I arrived, care about people with an open heart, and want the best for everyone who is in need. I believe that Girl Scouts has a proven system for turning out young ladies who care about the world around them, who live without a sense of entitlement, and who know that working hard and smart are the way to achieve life long success. (Penny Polokoff, writer, entrepreneur – former Girl Scout – 1976-1982)


Merana Cadorette

Because I was a Girl Scout, I have met a wide array of interesting people. Saying “I am a Girl Scout” is a great conversation icebreaker, because so many people were/are Girl Scouts or at least like cookies! 27 years ago, a little girl in my daughter’s kindergarten class asked her to join in a new Girl Scout program called “Daisies”. That was the first official troop in CT Trails. The mother of that little girl became my best friend. She has often gone antiquing with me and to Girl Scout Swap meets and events, sharing the experience of “driving Miss Daisy”! Girl Scouting has taken me down many paths; currently I’m a Girl Scout Collector and have shared the items in my collection up and down the East Coast. I was always fascinated with teaching history on a more personal level, and art work. My current volunteer status lets me enjoy all those things. I like sharing the items in my collection as a way for girls to see what life was like for children in the past century via the changes in uniforms, handbooks and toys. (Merana Cadorette, former Girl Scout – Rhode Island, 3 years)

Holly Barton

Hollis Barton

Because I was a Girl Scout, Because I was (AM!) a Girl Scout, I know how to meet a challenge head-on, with confidence and creativity! The Girl Scout Promise and Law has always been a solid guideline for making choices, and I have never regretted the lifelong reminder to Be Prepared. Learning to plan, working cooperatively in a patrol and in a troop, taking turns trying EVERYTHING (even if it was something I was unsure of!), gaining the confidence to assume real responsibility and dealing with both amazing successes and a few total flops. When I graduated from high school, I knew I wanted to work in some area of human services. Girl Scouting inspired that. I worked for 30+ years with elderly, mentally ill, and developmentally disabled folks, and loved it. When I retired I immediately returned to camping, backpacking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and all the other things Girl Scouting introduced into my life a half century ago. (Hollis Barton, former Girl Scout – Pequonnock, Connecticut, Lifetime Member)

Amanda Zerra

Amanda Zerra

Because I was a Girl Scout, I was accepted into college! When applying to colleges my Junior year of High School, I was told on several occasions that I was only considered because I had my Gold Award accomplishment on my resume and applications. Florida Gulf Coast University actually wrote in my acceptance letter that they were impressed with my Gold Award accomplishment. Hard work does pay off! Because of Girl Scouts I am always trying to find ways to volunteer my time to better improve my experience and the experience of others. I am currently an Accountant at Fanatics Inc, in Jacksonville where I am a member of the Employee Engagement Committee. In the EEC we work to better improve the morale and well being of our employees on an extracurricular basis. My several years in Girl Scouts helped shape me into the woman I am today, where I carry many skills with me in my everyday life. (Amanda Zerra, former Girl Scout – Boca Raton, Florida, 13 years)

Marietta Brown

Marietta Brown

Because I was a Girl Scout, I was introduced to more life experiences than I would have otherwise. Selecting and earning badges is the best way to go. My fondest memories of Girl Scouts are the many days we spent camping at the Forest Preserves on the outskirts of Chicago. It was a fun time, cooking Mulligan Stew over a fire then soaping the exterior of the pot to aide in washing it, singing songs like Kum Ba Yah, working on badges. Girl Scouting made me feel like I was a part of something bigger. (Marietta Brown, former Girl Scout – Davie Florida)

Angela Barnard 2

Angela Barnard

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned to love & appreciate the outdoors. I really enjoyed the outdoor activities – hiking, camping, etc. When my daughter was old enough to be a Daisy, we signed up! The following year, I was the troop leader and really enjoyed sharing the same experiences I had as a Girl Scout with my daughter and the rest of my troop. Some of these girls would never have the opportunity to attend a camp-out or be outdoors. Some of our favorite activities were tree-climbing and She & Me weekend at Camp Nocatee. I have 23 girls in my troop and they all want to know when our next camp outing will be. Girl Scouting gave me confidence to try new things. (Angela Barnard , former Girl Scout – Broward and Palm Beach County, Florida)


Sara Barnett

Because I was a Girl Scout, I found myself. This 15 year experience was one giant opportunity for me to explore beyond the world around myself and all it has to offer. I was always looking for that one thing that made me happy, like how an Olympic athlete describes how they feel when running, skating, swimming, or twirling on the uneven bars. What I discovered through Girl Scouts is that I have a passion for new experience. I am never happier then when I’ve encountered something new. I learned that everything can become something else. If it wasn’t for the cookie sale, I would be too scared to speak to strangers. I used to be shy and often didn’t know what to say when put on the spot, but now I am confidant in my people skills. I can strike up a conversation with anyone on any topic, and my customer service skills are top notch. (Sara Barnett, 1 year in NY, 13 years with Citrus Council, and 1 year with Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida,)

Sarah Garcia- gold_award

Sarah Garcia

Because I was a Girl Scout, My viewpoint changed from a narrow personal standpoint to a wide global perspective, helping me to appreciate the various cultures within my immediate community as well as during my travels. Working towards various badges, awards and Wider Opportunities (now known as “destinations”) reinforced my existing skills and taught me new skills that I still use and value. Skills such as setting goals, time management and documenting processes that were honed while working on my Gold Award helped me in my current job as an analyst. In addition to these skills, Girl Scouts offered me the chances to improve my leadership skills in addition to raising my level of self motivation, interpersonal relations and ability to empathize. It has been skills such as these that have helped to make me a better friend and associate. I appreciate the camping skills (reading a compass, building a fire, etc.) and snow survival training that I learned, although I am VERY glad to never have had an emergency that required these skills! The single most impactful experience in Girl Scouts for me would be earning the Gold Award. The Gold Award as an end result is significant in itself. However, it is the process of earning the award that makes it so valuable to the young women in the Girl Scouts. During the process of working to complete my Gold Award challenge, I found that the steps that I took in my personal journey resulted in my living The Girl Scout Law rather than simply reading it. I was able to experience each of the values in our promise and law. Whether it was my God & Country work for the religious recognition medal, honest and fair when working with donations and the public, or considerate and caring while serving meals to seniors or tutoring in the classroom, the Gold Award path presented a world of prospects to me that would have been undiscovered under normal circumstances (Sarah Garcia, Analyst Jr. Payroll, Lifetime Member Piedmont, California & West Palm Beach, Florida)

Terry Gearing

Because I was a Girl Scout,I learned (and I taught my troop) that careful planning, whether it be a meal, a project or an event, would ensure a successful outcome. Singing and teaching Girl Scout songs has brought me personal joy which is then shared by many. I learned the being organized has its rewards! I have so many wonderful memories of Girl Scouts, it’s hard to pick just one. I really loved my Brownie induction ceremony, circling the mirror placed on the grass outside my 2nd grade classroom. And I have many wonderful memories of serving as a leader for my daughter’s Brownie and Junior troops: crafts, field trips, cooking, camping…even with the ‘no-see-ums’ at Welaka. I have the honor of representing our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, in period costume at various Girl Scout events. Girl Scouting has played an important role in my life, and I am delighted to continue to support such a wonderful organization. My fondest memory would have to be representing Juliette Gordon Low at the GSSEF luncheon several years ago. I still have the honor of representing Daisy Low, but this first instance will always be the most memorable.
Terry Gearing, Director, University Relations, FAU Jupiter, 2 years – Clearwater, FL; 6 years – Palm Beach Gardens, FL)


Lindsey Gerzina

Because I was a Girl Scout, I feel more confident in what I do. It has made me a more confident person and taught me to be kind and helpful to everyone I come in contact with on a daily basis. Of the skills I acquired from being a Girl Scout, I learned how to manage my time properly in order to get a job done. While completing my Silver and Gold award I had many things going on. I was an AP student, involved with a church youth group, I played volleyball 6 days a week with my high school team and traveled a lot with my family. With all this going on I was still able to stay determined and get the awards. (Lindsey Gerzina, full time student, University of Central Florida former Girl Scout – Stuart, FL 11 years)

Jane Bloom 1

Jane Bloom

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned the value of friendship. Through scouting and beyond I am still best of friends with a woman named Linda Cunningham. Our lifelong friendship started in kindergarten and in the 2nd grade we joined Girl Scouts together. For seven years we were partners in the Girl Scout journey, a journey that strengthened our bond. To this day, she remains an important figure in my life; a true friend that I can rely on even though she’s thousands of miles away. Girl Scouts also taught me the importance of standing up for myself. My degree is in accounting and back in the 70’s when I was in college; I was usually one of maybe one to three females in the accounting classes. Girl Scouts taught me to stand up for what I believed in and to do anything that I thought I was capable of doing. I felt I could be an accountant, I felt I could do the work. Scouting helped me learn to be strong, independent, and assertive; I learned how to speak to others, to be a good communicator. It also helped me understand the importance of being a volunteer and helping others. There are many skills I learned from scouting, so many that I felt it was imperative for my daughters to enter the scouting world. (Jane Bloom, former Girl Scout – Franklin Square, Long Island NY, 7 years)

Delores Burrel 2l

Delores Burrell

Because I was a Girl Scout, I walked away. I associated with the wrong crowd growing up, and being a Girl Scout, it taught me to walk away from that crowd. The Girl Scout Promise and Law kept me on the straight and narrow. As a Girl Scout leader, I now incorporate the Promise and Law into every meeting. Girl Scouts has also given me the opportunity to socialize with children I would not have normally picked as friends. I believe this built my character; it’s given me the opportunity to be a good leader and teacher when I never thought it was possible for me to excel in those roles. (Delores Burrell, former Girl Scout – Lindenhurst, New York, 10 years)


Christy Fritz

Because I was a Girl Scout, I have learned how to take care of others in my family and my community. I have a strong sense of self and don’t sweat the small stuff. My Girl Scout leaders provided me with so many positive skills (self-esteem, volunteerism, and goal-setting) that have shaped who I am today. I can’t imagine life without the Girl Scouts! Through Girl Scouts, I also experienced a great love of nature and our environment fostered through camping, hiking, beach clean ups, etc. I enjoy being able to share this love with my children and let them find the simple joy of being outdoors within themselves. (Christy Fritz, former Girl Scout – Lake Worth, Florida, 5 years)

Lisa Scott-Founds

Lisa Scott-Founds

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned the importance of helping others. Donating time to charities whether it be serving on a board or chairing/helping with fundraising events for them, connecting dots when you see a chance to create a positive opportunity for individuals or organizations, I try to volunteer when I can. Sometimes I feel like a grownup Girl Scout because everything I did during those special years seems to emulate life as I know it now. My cookies are just more expensive and our events are a little bigger! (Lisa Scott-Founds, former Girl Scout – Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 2 years)

Denise Robinette

Denise Robinette

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned the importance of friendship, respect for others, living with integrity and making the world a better place. The impact of Girl Scouting has woven throughout my personal and professional life.Some of my fondest memories were camping for the first time, setting up tents and singing by the campfire. I shared those experiences with my older sister and my best friend – who is still a friend to this day. Who knew as we sang around the campfire in elementary school we would remain friends decades later? Earning badges was not only fun but taught me the discipline of planning and attaining goals. The laws “do your best” and “respect yourself and others” have carried throughout my life which I later instilled in my three children. In my professional life as an Interior Designer, the law “make the world a better place” took on a personal meaning when two of my children were diagnosed with asthma. This diagnosis led me to create a healthier home and then to specialize in designing healthy and green interiors for my clients. More importantly, I realized that I could make a difference by educating others on how simple life choices can be good for our planet and good for our health. I am proud to be a Girl Scout Program Partner to educate future generations and realize they too can make a difference. Thank you Girl Scouts and Go Forever Green! (Denise Robinette, HealthyLiving Interiors, former Girl Scout – Miami Shores, Florida, 4 years )

Tiffany Rodriguez

Because I was a Girl Scout, it made me who I am today caring, thoughtful, kind, respectful, and most importantly flexible, knowing that things can change. The most impactful experiences that I have had with Girl Scouts would have to be working resident camp summer 2011 but especially summer 2012. Another experience would have been working on my Gold Award Project, which took place at the high school, I just graduated from in May. I decided when I was in high school to join the Early Childhood and Teaching Academy and earned my CDA. I have decided to further my studies the field of education. (Tiffany Rodriguez, full time student Palm Beach State College, 13 years, Palm Beach )

Saunders, Leslie

Leslie Saunders

Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned how to be a better me…I’m continuing to realize my potential…I’m making a daily effort to be the woman my parents, my family and my community believed I could be…and I know how to walk like I talk. Thanks to Girl Scouting, I have 16 years of friendships with people from different racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Together, they helped to transform me from an extremely shy and insecure girl into the leader I’ve become today. Compassion, personal integrity and human kindness are not things that are just talked about in Girl Scouting. They are lived. In the early 1990’s, I was able to pay tribute to my Mom, when “Shine On” – a song I wrote and performed was used by the national organization in a commercial for Girl Scouting. It was about real stars shining when nobody sees them – all the reasons my mother wanted me to be a Girl Scout. (Leslie Saunders, consultant, former Girl Scout – Washington, D.C.; Topeka, KS; Dallas, TX; New York, NY 16 years)

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Carol Johnson

Because I was a Girl Scout, I have learned the responsibility of being involved in an organization for girls and women. Because I was a Girl Scout I also have a sense of duty to my country and to the men and women who fight for our freedom. I started my own troop in Wilton Manors, Florida in 1996 when my daughter started first grade and continued with a troop based out of Wilton Manors Elementary until 2011. Girl Scouting has helped me realize that we do need to save the world and even an individual can make a difference. I wanted the girls in my troop to realize that there are others less fortunate who need our help with food collections, Christmas boxes for the homeless, greeting cards for the soldiers and learning about other countries. We also enjoyed making crafts. My most important moment was when I was awarded Outstanding Leader in 1996 and I also received the Appreciation Pin. I have always been proud to represent such a great organization and will continue to do so.(Carol Johnson, former Girl Scout – Dade County, Florida, 10 years)

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