Imagine you are a thirteen year old girl about to get on her first plane ride, her first trip away from home. Now imagine that plane will be taking you across the country without your mom or any other familiar face. Sounds terrifying, right? Well, that’s the situation I was in the summer before my freshman year of high school.
That summer, I was given an amazing opportunity by the Girl Scouts of the USA. I had recently applied to be a part of an online safety project that would involve the collaborative efforts of Girl Scouts and Microsoft. Amazingly, I was selected as one of twenty girls from Girl Scout councils across the nation to serve as a teen editor for this endeavor. We were flown to Seattle, Washington, where we were able to interact and brainstorm with some of Microsoft’s top executives. We participated in lectures led by one of our country’s most influential and powerful online safety advocates, lawyer Parry Aftab. We worked as a team with the adults to design, plan, and build a website that would become live in only a few months. The feeling of accomplishment from creating something that had the potential to impact so many teen lives was purely incredible. However, a sense of pride wasn’t the only thing I gained that summer.
When I set foot on that plane three years ago, I was a shy, timid, awkward little girl. I returned a completely changed person. Over the course of five days, I had become more outgoing and willing to voice my opinion. I learned how to effectively work with others, both girls and top executives alike, to build something that could change lives. I learned that my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are truly important and of value; I learned I really could make a difference.
The mission of Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character. Because of that one trip, I am a perfect example of how the Girl Scouting program does just that. I am a Girl Scout. I am a young woman of courage, confidence, and character.