I took the photo above of a couple of the girls in my Girl Scout troop last May. We were planting some bushes at Peralta Elementary School, where we met last year, as a service project to the school. Every time I see it, it reminds me so much of why I volunteer.
I often tell people that I grew up in Girl Scouting, and I did. My mom first put me in Girl Scouting when I was six years old. I've yet to leave. I became a Troop Leader at 13, when my friend Christina and I started a Daisy Troop as her Silver Award project. We played with those girls, teaching them skills, songs, and games, doing arts and crafts projects, and just having fun. Admittedly, we learned a lot ourselves.
I kept volunteering after I graduated and left for college, eventually returning to lead the same troop I started all those years ago. I'm proud to say that I still keep in touch with a few of those original girls, and that I'm amazed at what bright, kind, caring, accomplished young women they've become. The world is definitely a better place with them in it.
I'm currently at the beginning of my 22nd (yep, you read that right) Cookie Sale. This year, I'm managing two troops' sales. It's crazy, stressful, confusing, and a ton of fun. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
We all see those slogans on the cookie boxes, and the memes that go around this time of year, about how buying a box of cookies can teach a girl math skills, financial skills, customer service skills, business management skills, interpersonal skills, team work skills, and so on. I'm here to tell you that it actually does teach the girls those skills. I'm living proof. Almost all of the skills that I use to manage Nicole Bradshaw Photography, I learned from selling Girl Scout cookies.
I volunteer because I want to continue to give my girls (no, they're not actually my children, but I care about them) the same opportunities to learn and grow that I received. I want them to have every chance in the world, so that they can decide what they want, and have the confidence to achieve it.
I volunteer because it just makes the world a better place. I get to do something for someone else, and make their day a little brighter- put a smile on their face.
I volunteer because some jobs just need to be done, even if they don't- or cant- come with a paycheck.
I volunteer because it helps me to feel like I'm part of a bigger picture, rather than just my small family and group of friends. Yes, this is a selfish reason, but because someone else benefits, is it really that selfish?
This year, in addition to volunteering with Girl Scouts, I'm excited and proud to announce that I will be volunteering with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life- Los Lunas Chapter to photograph their kickoff event, and their final event this summer.
I'm excited for this opportunity, and I hope that y'all will come out and help them raise money to support cancer research! Their kickoff event will be held on March 7th at Los Lunas Middle School, and the whole community is invited! They're going to have a variety of food trucks, and a whole bunch of other stuff, so it should be fun time!
I've volunteered with this group before, and I'm so excited to be doing it again- this time with camera in hand!
I hope that this blog post has inspired you to do some of your own volunteering, and if you'd like to get involved with either of these organizations, just let me know. I'll put you in touch with the right people.