Tania Chavez, an outstanding volunteer from Oceano, got her start in Girl Scouts as a Brownie with her own mom as the troop leader. Her experiences with Girl Scouts stuck with her and when her own daughter entered kindergarten, she wanted her to discover the same kind of special friendships and sisterhood. Since then, most of her troop has stuck together for the last eight and a half years.
“Volunteering for Girl Scouts fills my bucket,” Tania said. “I love being able to expose the girls to something they may never have done if it weren’t for being a Girl Scout. It’s worth the time and effort to plan a trip for the younger girls, or the frustration of getting five eighth-grade girls to agree on a meal while camping just to see how happy they get once they have accomplished something new, like going on a boat or cooking their own hamburgers.”
Throughout their years together with the many trips, programs, and campouts in between, Tania has noticed a significant amount of personal growth among the girls. “In the beginning, I had a Girl Scout that didn’t speak to any adults and barely to the rest of the troop. Since then, she has not only found her voice, but all the girls are able to voice opinions regardless of the audience.”
The Girl Scout program focuses on developing girls of courage, confidence, and character. With the help of amazing volunteers like Tania who provide a positive and encouraging environment, girls are able to discover their full potentials, test their abilities, explore their interests, and step outside of their comfort zones. Girl Scouts helps girls blossom as individuals, but also fosters a collaborative environment where girls are able to develop lifelong friendships, work together to achieve their goals, and make a difference in their communities.
“My daughter came into this world curious and confident,” Tania said. “She is a born leader. Girl Scouts has allowed her to explore this, however, instead of doing all the work, she has learned how to work within a team and allow others to lead as well.”
One of her favorite memories with her troop was from when they were just Brownies. Now Cadettes, she remembers taking them to Morro Bay for a trip in the sea sub in the harbor. “Several of my Scouts at that time had never been on a boat,” she said. “It was really fun to watch the excitement on their faces and see how much they enjoyed something as simple as seal barking on a nearby dock.”
Tania said that to her, Girl Scouts means helping young girls be confident in their own skin. Her own experiences have taught her that, “no matter how many plans and safeguards I put in place, sometimes things just go off the rails and we need to regroup. I cannot control everything, a lesson I am constantly reminded of.”
She hopes that these experiences of rolling with the punches, jumping at the opportunity to try something new, and breaking out of your shell stay with her girls for years to come. If Girl Scouts were able to take one key life lesson from the program, she would want it to be that “We all need to work as a team. You don’t always get to choose who you work with. Sometimes there are differences of opinions, experiences, or skill sets. Whether you are in Girl Scouts, a sports team, a career in public service, or serving coffee at a local shop, we all need to work as a team.
We thank volunteers like Tania for helping create amazing experiences for girls, acting as a support system, guide, and mentor as girls grow into the best versions of themselves they can be.