July's Volunteer is...
Tammy was a troop leader in Anchorage for 15 years, and is now the First Vice Chair on the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of Alaska.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was a Girl Scout Junior for a couple of years at Gladys Wood Elementary. Flash forward almost 20 years, in 1996 my daughter, who was in kindergarten (at Gladys Wood), came home with a Girl Scout recruitment flyer. She joined a troop with 9 girls and after a couple of months, her leader had to step down so I became a troop leader.
Why did you decide to sit on the board at Girl Scouts?
I wanted to stay involved but I knew I did not have the capacity to be an effective troop leader. I had filled all the positions in the service unit and knew that I wouldn’t be able to do those to the fullest potential either. I did stay connected with another troop as they went on field trips or traveled on destinations since I’m an Emergency Trauma Technician, so that really helped keep me involved with girls in some way.
Becoming a board member was my next step; I met with the CEO a few times before finally applying.
What has been your biggest challenge on the board, and how have you overcome it?
Being a person who is not afraid to voice my concerns or suggestions. It was hard to make any headway with some of the members who had been on the board for a while or those who had so much historical knowledge. Through persistence and consistency, and following through with things I volunteered for, the challenges were minor bumps and eventually became a smoother road. This in some way helped shape the board member I have become.
What is your favorite thing about working with Girl Scouts?
My greatest joy had been working with the girls and providing them with opportunities to find out what they like, what they’re good at, or exposing them to new things…opportunities that they may not have had otherwise if it wasn’t for Girl Scouts. I also really enjoyed mentoring other adults and being a part of building something greater and sustainable for the next generation.
I still speak with and have some sort of relationship with, many of the girls that I mentored during my troop leadership adventure. I see them getting married, having children, and I see what great young women they have become. I hope I may have added a small part to that.
What advice would you give to new Girl Scouts of Alaska board members or volunteers?
Don’t be afraid to be the new person at the table and voice concerns, questions or suggestions; you’re there because you have a skill set and a passion that Girl Scouts will benefit from. When you’re working with girls, think out of the box. It’ll help make it an adventure for them.
How has your involvement grown since it first started?
For 15 years I had multiple troops going on in 2 to 3 different levels; with my first troop of girls, 5 of the 10 girls continued on through their senior year in high school.
During those years, I was very active in the Sand Lake service unit and held many roles besides a troop leader—everything but the treasurer. I was mentored by some really great women such as Betty (Lockard) Conlon, Linda Mattes Golding, Denise DeVille, Jackie Adams and so many more; and in turn, I got to mentor others like Dione White and Susan Berger, just to name a few. Without the relationships I built with these women, I doubt I’d be where I am today in Girl Scouts. They really pushed me out of my comfort areas.
I’ve been on the Girl Scouts of Alaska board for almost a decade now, serving the council in a different way, yet it’s just as rewarding as being a troop leader.
What are you most enthusiastic about in Girl Scouting?
Camp and outdoor activities! These are some of the best ways to build courage and leadership in girls.
What have you gained as a board member?
I’ve learned so much over the last decade! I’ve grown personally and professionally; I’ve built relationships and learned skills that have helped me in my employment at the Alaska Native Justice Center. Personally, I feel like I am making a difference for girls and volunteers who are in Girl Scouts because I know first-hand some of the challenges they face. As a board member, I have an opportunity to make that path a little smoother.
Girl Scouts of Alaska thanks Tammy for her dedication to girls in Alaska!