October | Jessica Voss
Jessica is a mom of 3 with 2 daughters in Girl Scouts. Jessica loves to read, write, draw, paint, and hopes to self-publish a children's book this year. She has been a Girl Scout leader since 2010 starting in New Jersey.
Jessica and her family moved to Alaska last year after Jessica accepted a teaching position in Emmonak. There was no Girl Scout troop in Emmonak at the time, so Jessica decided to start one. With the help of her co-leader, Kristi and the support of many parents, Troop 51 was born!
Q: Were you a Girl Scout? Where at?
I was a Daisy in Jackson, NJ. Unfortunately, my parent's work schedule didn't allow me to continue with Girl Scouts but I always wanted to.
Q: Why do you volunteer with Girl Scouts?
I've looked forward to being a leader since my oldest daugher was born. I knew it would give me the opportunity to do something fun with her even when she got into her teens. I love working with the girls in Emmonak and hearing all of their great ideas for improving village life. They would be suprised to see how similar they are to my troop back in New Jersey.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge in leading a Girl Scout troop? How did you overcome it?
It can be difficult to get parent volunteers. People are busy! Especially during times like cookie season. Having a great co-leader makes all the difference!
Q: What's your favorite thing about volunteering with Girl Scouts?
I like that it's girl-focused. Girl Scouts accepts any girls from anywhere in a society that is still oppressive to girls. Empowering this generation of girls to take action and raise each other up is what we need for the future.
Q: What advice would you give to new leaders? Especially new leaders in rural communities of Alaska?
Don't worry, plan, make clear rules, and have snacks. In rural Alaska we may not have girls come to every meeting. Don't worry about it being Pinterest perfect - just do your best! Using the Volunteer Toolkit has changed my leader life! I feel more confident in my leadership since using it. Multi-level troops can be difficult to plan for, but VTK makes meeting planning simplier. Make sure you devise clear rules - especially for cell phones. We ask our girls to keep them away during meetings. And the girls in our troop are always hungry so having a snack helps them refocus.
Q: How has your troop grown since it first started last year?
We started a little late in the year, but I do expect some growth in our troop. The girls are having a great time and we're getting positive feedback from parents.
Q: What are the girls in your troop most enthusiastic about in Girl Scouting?
Our girls want to improve village life and help animals. We will be researching alternative heating fuel sources this year. A major focus will be a recyclable paper/cardboard mix that is used in some similar areas as a clean burning fuel source.