The Girl Scouts organization is one of the unique programs that encourages ongoing membership, regardless of age. Many older females who are active in Girl Scouts have transitioned to leaders in the organization and have experienced the joys of multigenerational activities and giving back to new generations of girls who are on their own paths to becoming scouts.
An article published by Next Avenue highlights the exceptional relationship one woman has had with Girl Scouts of the U.S. and the many benefits she has experienced from the multigenerational activities they offer over the course of nearly 50 years.
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During her time with the program, Kathleen Pearce has worn many hats – first as a scout, then a leader and currently, a program volunteer teaching babysitting, CPR and first aid skills to leaders and girls in other troops.
Pearce credits the organization with instilling a sense of commitment in her and allowing her to play a fundamental role in the lives of so many other girls and women, all while experiencing adventure and having fun.
Girl Scouts and similar programs that have a multigenerational appeal often offer many of the following benefits:
A sense of belonging and solid foundation are two important building blocks for developing a strong identity. Being a member of an organization – and a part of something bigger than just yourself – from an early age helps ground a person and becomes weaved into the fiber of who they become. There is security in being surrounded by other people with the same belief and a sense of safety in a person’s younger years helps them to build resiliency later in life. Pearce describes the concept of being part of something bigger than herself in Girl Scouts: “I have a lifetime membership. My husband has a lifetime membership. Girl Scouting will be around long after I’m gone — that’s my hope.”
One of the greatest benefits of participating in a multigenerational activity is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of — and support — other members. For Pearce, graduating to a leader in the Girl Scouts allowed her to act as a mentor and pass along her knowledge to younger girls. Other youth-focused organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Clubs of America have a similar structure, with many youth members ‘graduating’ to become adult mentors and volunteers. There is no better advocate or spokesperson for an organization than someone who has benefited from the program and in turn, continued as a member in a supportive capacity.
Development and growth are not exclusive to youth – they are built over a lifetime of adversities, experiences and opportunities. Our personal values are formed by who we surround ourselves with and how we spend our time; these values then become the basis for how we define our greatest inner qualities and percieve ourselves. One of the benefits of being a member of an organization that offers multigenerational activities is that no matter the stage of life you are in, there is opportunity to develop and grow as a person.
Sharing family history and tradition is another benefit of participating in multigenerational activities. For example, fraternities and sororities often have a strong familial line with generations of family members joining and identifying as alumnae for the rest of their lives. Pearce can also relate to the family legacy of Girl Scouts, as she grew up “charmed by stories about her mother’s adventures in Girl Scouting.”
She tells Next Avenue that Girl Scouts provided an anchor in her life at a young age that inevitably made her the person she is today: a leader committed to bettering the lives of others through mentoring youth and participating in multigenerational activities.
Are you a member of the Girl Scouts or a similar organization? What other benefits have you experienced from multigenerational activities? We’d like to hear your stories in the comments below.