Mark Stephenson served 36 years in the military before beginning his Girl Scout journey. He stepped up to the plate when the original leader for his daughter’s Girl Scout troop was ready for someone else to take over. After shadowing her for a year, he and his wife took over the troop. Two years later when the local Ventura Service Unit Manager was looking to step down, he took the leap once again and has been serving in that role for the past five years.
Today, Mark is a stay at home dad who enjoys exploring the outdoors, reading, sporting activities, and spending time with his friends and family. “I am busier now than I’ve ever been working at various jobs,” he says. With both his son and daughter in sports, scouting, and various other activities, his schedule stays packed with his both family and Girl Scouts.
When asked why he continues to volunteer, he said, “If you believe in the program you need to step up, because if you don’t who will?” Some of his favorite activities to do with his troop are camping and group outings.
One of his favorite memories working with Girl Scouts has been watching the girls in his troop grow as individuals over the years. “My wife and I let the girls plan the different activities (camping at Tahoe, sledding at local hills, camporees, a Disney trip), so it is nice to see them mature from third graders to seniors in High School using the decision making processes that we tried to teach them as they go about their lives,” he says. He’s noticed the same type of growth with his own daughter.
He recalls a funny memory during their Tahoe trip where the campers at the site next to theirs began singing “Let it Go” from the movie “Frozen.” “We started chiming in and it went on for a good 25 minutes with each campsite picking another song,” he says.
To Mark, Girl Scouts means “opportunities to explore different things, adventures beyond your normal situation, meeting new people, and learning how to interact with different cultures.” If he could have girls take one key life lesson from the program it would be “don’t be afraid to try new stuff!”
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