Monday, March 20, 2017

GSSI Alumna Nicolle Patton: How Girl Scouts Has Shaped Me

I have been shaped by many factors that have surrounded my life and Girl Scouts has been one of those. For 18 long years I was part of a sisterhood that has taught me skills to succeed in this world, has helped me discover some phenomenal things about myself, and best of all, let me share the amazing power of “Courage, Confidence and Character” and continue to spread the word of the Girl Scout Law, The Girl Scout Promise and everything in between. 

Growing up, I was always a very shy, introverted child, always wanting to be by myself and being the quiet one of the bunch, opting out of large group activities and just being the lone girl that I was. I was fine with that. It was something I was used to until I got convinced to join Girl Scouts.

There I was. Little five year old Nicolle. Clad in her bright blue Daisy vest with a few colorful petals, still considered the shy one of the bunch, but the difference was her Girl Scout sisters didn’t forget her. They pulled her along during troop games and always remembered to include her no matter what. That was a turning point for me.

Through their simple act of kindness, I started to shape myself more through the years. Even as more of my friends dropped Girl Scouts, I stuck to it. I felt like I needed to continue with it, not because of the awards I was receiving, but because of the knowledge and self-growth I was getting from it.

I felt myself growing to be a better person, a better-rounded person. Not to mention a more outspoken person. Those who knew me when I was younger were surprised to see “the new and improved me” you could say. I wasn’t afraid to say what was on my mind.

If I had an opinion, I was going to say it loud and proud. I enjoyed doing things I liked even though others might’ve thought it was ‘weird’ or ‘childish’ and I always stood up for what I thought was right, even if others thought it was wrong. I was my own person - Girl Scouts taught me it was okay to be and I will always express that wholeheartedly.

As I continued to grow up with Girl Scouts basically by my side, I learned so many things, starting with the many skills I learned from earning Brownie Try-Its. Putting activities I’d never done before into action and actually learning something and getting firsthand experience was amazing for me. It made me want to do more.

So I did. I went on and put all of these wonderful skills I learned to the test and started earning my Girl Scout Awards. Girl Scouts have three high awards: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each one has its obstacles and personal rewards whenthe project is done. For me, each of my projects have been near and dear to me and I’ve put in countless hours of community service, time and money to make my projects come to life. It’s paid off and when I look back at my scrapbooks, I can’t help but to smile at all the fond memories I have for each one.

I know a lot of people look up to me including my sister, Danielle, who’s also a fellow Girl Scout. I’m not going to lie, it’s rough, but even if the worst seems near, don’t fear. Keep going, keep persevering and keep going. You’re a Girl Scout. You’re supposed to be prepared for anything, right? Just take it in stride and keep moving forward because the best days are just straight ahead.

So, from one Girl Scout to another, the lessons you learn in this wonderful organization will continue to stay with you for the rest of your life and you’ll learn new things each and every day, no matter what age you are. So, don’t be afraid to try new things, say what’s on your mind, do what you want to do, because it’s your life and you’re in charge. It’s taken me awhile to figure that notion out, but I’m glad I did.

My name is Nicolle and what I’ve learned in my years in Girl Scouts is no matter what, the eternal sisterhood of Girl Scouts will be instilled in each and every girl and what they get out of it is entirely up to them, but what I got out of it was a whole new development. I became stronger, more vocal, more independent and most of all, more me.