Citrus Stories: A Letter of Thanks

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To whom it may concern,

Girl Scouts runs in my blood. My mother, a Pine Castle Scout and now lifetime member, registered me the minute I was able to join. I was a member of the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council where I started as a Daisy, and continued all the way through Ambassador.

Let me tell you something, Girl Scouts is more than camping, selling cookies, and earning badges. It is a place where all girls, from all backgrounds, are encouraged grow. It joins girls together and shows them how to be agents of change. Girl Scouts, without a doubt, is the organization that will create the next wave of female leaders.

More importantly, Girl Scouts gave me the ability to conquer my dreams.

The very principle of Girl Scouts is to create strong, confident, women who are empowered to do whatever they set their minds to. For me, though I aged out of scouting some 5 years ago, I am just now seeing the full extent to which this organization allowed me to grow.

In school I was always the quiet one, focused on my studies and making it to the next step in my life. I was never confident in myself, or my abilities. I spent most of my time trying to conform to the norm, because I did not want to stick out, I just wanted to be accepted. However, the longer I spent with Girl Scouts the more I saw my life changing. I became empowered and realized that conforming to norms was not the path I wanted to head down.

By the time I reached high school I started to see the world beyond my life, I found passion in humanitarian work.  While attending William R Boone High School, and being a proud member of the Sound of the Braves, I spent most of my weekends volunteering and giving back to my community. I had no mission or underlying goal, I just wanted to help. In fact, while I was still in high school I was awarded the Presidential Gold Award for Service on two separate occasions. But like most humanitarians, I never said anything about my achievements. I did not want to be known for awards, I wanted to be known for my actions and the kindness of my heart.

When I was attending college at Florida Gulf Coast University, I continued to spend my free time volunteering at hospitals and with school clubs. I worked part time as a Resident Assistant and Resident Life Team Assistant being a confidant to both residents and student leaders during the sometimes difficult transition period in life. Somehow, I even managed to be the President of FGCU’s National Honor Society for a year.

But with all that I had done there was still something missing in my life. Girl Scouts taught me the importance of being a global citizen and I knew I wanted to make an even bigger impact; I wanted to do something that was greater than me.

Or as us Scouters refer to it as: I want to make the world a better place.

I spent years and years learning life skills from Girl Scouts, and at 22 years of age I finally felt as if it was my time to accomplish my dreams.

Less than a month after my college graduation, I packed 3 bags and left the United States. I had one goal in mind, and that was to finally make the world a better place. Where was I going you may ask?

I was being routed to Uganda; I was starting my 27 month long service as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Though I am a health volunteer, I happen to be stationed in a Let Girls Learn initiative focused country. Just as Girl Scouts helped me to become the person I am today, I use the same guiding principles and teachings to help impact the lives of adolescent girls here.

More than anything else, Girl Scouts gave me the confidence to make the world a better place. It taught me that though I may not be able to change the world, I can make a difference trying.

So to every troop leader, mother, father, and person of support to Girl Scouts, I want to thank you. Because of you, new generations of empowered, strong, and determined, female leaders are born.

With much love,

Kelly Sizemore