Nancy Cooper has had a long history with Girl Scouts. After her own experience as a Scout, she wanted the same for her daughter and happily volunteered with her troop. She became an assistant Troop Leader in 1994, a primary Troop Leader from 1995-2006, Service Unit manager for several years, Cookie Rally Coordinator for three years, Day Camp Leader from 1995-2005, and Day Camp Director for the past 15 years.
To Nancy, Girl Scouts means, “friends, working together, goals and accomplishments, fun, honor, sharing, service, and happiness.” Throughout her extensive volunteering history, she’s created friendships, memories, and a legacy that will last a lifetime. “I love to see the joy in the girl’s faces,” she said. “I love seeing the responsibility and leadership that the older girls take on to help the younger girls. I feel that the girls learn so much given the opportunities that Girl Scouts provide.”
When asked how she uses her involvement with Girl Scouts to empower young females, she said, “At Henry Cowell Day Camp [in Santa Cruz], the program aides are given the opportunity to be leaders. The adults are there to supervise, but the PAs are there to run the show as much as they can. I see them take responsibility and excel. The younger girls adore them and they learn so many leadership qualities.” Nancy actively takes the lessons she’s learned during her time with the organization and passes them onto the younger generations.
This is exemplified in her own daughter’s Girl Scout experience. “My daughter earned her Gold Award and is very proud of this accomplishment,” Nancy said. “She is a confident, hardworking, trustworthy member of society that continues to volunteer and help others. She structures her life by the Girl Scout laws.”
Nancy said that if anything, Girl Scouts has taught her that she has a hard time saying no to volunteering! She consciously shares her passion for giving back, which is apparent in all the lives of Girl Scouts she’s impacted throughout the years.
One of her favorite memories with Girl Scouts was when her Cadette troop earned their Silver Award. The girls planned and carried out a Service Unit camp-out, where they taught all of the skills for Brownies and Juniors to earn specific badges. They also incorporated a service project with the camp-out, which resulted in donations to their local food bank. “The girls did all of the work. I was so proud of their accomplishments,” Nancy said. “As a leader, I was there to assist as needed, which was very little. They even thought to read bedtime stories to campers in their tents before lights out. Of course, there are many, many more memories of times when I’ve been so proud of the girls.”
If Girl Scouts were to take one key life lesson from the program, Nancy said she would want it to be, “That they are capable of doing what they choose to do. Working hard, working with others, and taking responsibility will pay off.” This also applies to her perspective of volunteering, to which she said, “The parents will realize that they are needed to keep the program running. Many hands make light work.”
Without the incredible work of volunteers like Nancy, Girl Scouts would be far from possible. We continue to pay homage to these outstanding individuals at the heart of our organization. For without them, we wouldn’t be able to create the amazing experiences for girls that expand their comfort zones, connect them to their communities, and encourage them to be the best that they can be.
Interested in joining our incredible network of over 5,600 adult volunteers? Find like-minded individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of girls. Volunteer today!