By JUSTIN YEH
Isabella Villalobos (11)
Why did you become a Girl Scout?
“My mom always talked about how she wanted to become a Girl Scout to help others. The idea of volunteering and giving back to my [community] seem really fun to me. I like to inspire little girls to go out, help their community and make the world a better place.”
What is the most important lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?
“I learned the importance of volunteering, helping others and being kind. But [aside] from those basic [core] values, I also learned [practical] skills, like the basics of camping, how to set up store-bought tents and [hand-constructed] leaf tents and how to tie different kinds of knots.”
How has being a Girl Scout impacted your life?
“Being a Girl Scout has opened my eyes to the fact that there are so many people who [struggle] in life and need help. With all the volunteering I do, I feel good to be able to make a positive change in someone else’s life. I can also apply everything I have learned from being a Girl Scout into my everyday life, like practicing kindness toward everyone I meet and helping strangers when I notice that they are in need of [assistance].”
Ying Yang (12)
Why did you become a Girl Scout?
“Back in fifth grade, my friend was describing how much fun Girl Scouts was. She [talked about] camping at the beach with her troop, attending shootings of Disney Channel shows, [going] to leadership workshops, volunteering and more. Coming from a [conservative] Asian family, this all seemed really exciting for me.”
What is the funniest experience you had in Girl Scouts?
“Six years ago, I went camping and kayaking with my troop at the beach. We were separated into two groups—one group went in the canoes, and the other went in the kayaks. [While] I was in a kayak, I saw all the girls in the canoes flip over, and I could not [stop laughing].”
What is the most memorable thing you have done as a Girl Scout?
“I went to Haiti for a mission trip with my troop two years ago. We taught children first aid at local orphanages, which is important because most, if not all, of those kids did not have access to and could not afford medical care. It made me realize how privileged I was [to have direct access to medical care]. On the third day after all the volunteering, we went to hang out at the beach, and I got stung by a jellyfish. [Overall], it was a unique experience to be in an unfamiliar place.”
What is your typical day like as a troop leader?
“There are two different aspects: the planning part and the activity part. Before the meeting, I have to plan the activities I want to do, which is just like being a teacher, but instead, everything is experience-based [rather than] lecture-based. Then, we do an educational activity, like floating things on water to learn about water tension or going to a nature preservation to learn about wildlife.”
What do you hope Girl Scouts learn from being in your troop?
“We focus on girl empowerment by [teaching] the girls how to take leadership roles, solve problems and become self-sufficient in the world we live in.”
What do you enjoy most about being a Troop Leader?
“I [enjoy] watching the girls grow. With seven-year-olds, the growth is almost [instantaneous], as opposed to the growth with high school students, [which sometimes takes longer]. Within half an hour, you can watch the girls go from not understanding something to completely mastering that same thing.”
How did you become a troop leader?
“My daughter’s [original] troop leader never held any meetings and then admitted that she did not really want be a troop leader. Basically, if I did not step up to the [position], then there would be no troop. I was [interested in becoming] a troop leader, but [since] I am an extremely busy person, I was [initially] hoping that I did not have to become one. However, now that I have been a troop leader for three years, I absolutely love it, and I am glad I made the decision to do so. Plus, I was a girl scout for eleven years, so it just made sense.”