Isn’t it amazing, through all the stages of one’s life, the ups and the downs, there’s always something that a person holds onto, physically and emotionally, something that makes the person who they are.
For me, it has been scouting. From my first Brownie patch in 1976 to my last patch as a girl in 1987, scouting saw to it that I was never alone. My father died when I was very young, my mother was non-existent, wrapped in a world of her own problems. But I had leaders… Great, caring women – Mrs. Brocone, Betty, Cindy, Joyce – all watching out for me, seeing that I had rides to scouts, had boots for winter camping, had opportunities to be the best I could be.
Then, my first leader patch in 1990, when I had my little Brownie troop, gave me a purpose when my life fell apart and I was homeless. I had nothing, but I mattered to a small group of girls. Once again, scouting was my foundation. And then came my own girls and another chance to make a difference.
My life hasn’t been full of riches or travel or fancy houses, but it has been full of love, full of friendship, and has been rooted in the tradition of scouting since I can remember. To that, I always have had a home to return to, even when I had nothing else. So, to anyone thinking about how you can make a difference, I say be a scout leader. Be someone’s hero, because the life you save may be your own. And there’re patches, lots of patches…
By Nancy Shahan
Girl Scout Troop Leader
Service Unit Delegate
Assistant Day Camp Director
Camp S’more Fun Committee Member
Mother to five strong, young women