It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that I was a Girl Scout. I started out as a Brownie and ended up working as a counselor at Girl Scout camps in the mountains of Idaho and Colorado as a young adult. I recently reconnected with some camp friends who reminded me how valuable the skills were that we learned through scouting. Yes, we learned how to make one-match campfires, and how to pack a backpack without forgetting anything essential (or ending up with too much to carry). But we also learned to teach these skills to others.
Happy Birthday, Girl Scouts!
It’s no wonder the Girl Scouts are celebrating their 100th birthday this year (2012)! I’ve taken scouting so much for granted that I’ve never thought to give it credit for many of my organizing and project management skills. The closest I’ve come is that whenever someone is surprised or impressed that I am prepared — with sunscreen, an extra pen, or a back-up plan — I say, ”Well, I was a Girl Scout!”
From an article by Angela Woods, 100 Years Later, Girl Scouts Still Relevant:
Girl Scouts serve their communities. The willingness to help others is an attribute our individualistic society can sometimes overlook….
Girl Scouts learn valuable skills. Our Girl Scout Cookie Program is at its heart a business program in which girls have the chance to learn and put into play skills like goal-setting, decision-making, budgeting, people skills and business ethics.
Girl Scouts gain independence and self-esteem. Programs such as our Summer Resident Camps offer girls practical skills like canoeing, fire-building and archery; but they also offer life skills like being self-sufficient and responsible, building relationships, having respect for the camp and everyone involved, and most of all, having fun.
Indeed, we even learned to enjoy performing mundane chores by taking turns and singing together as we worked. We called them “kapers”, which sounds so much more fun than “chores”, doesn’t it? And we made “kaper charts” to keep us organized!
The very scouting motto, “Be Prepared”, is an integral part of being Organized for Life. At camp we were prepared with first aid kits and a change of clothing. And we planned for successful outings, crafts, and other projects. As one of my scouting pals observed, “Planning out family meals, quantities, and shopping lists is just like those overnight/cookout meal requisitions.” Yep, I guess I’m just a grown up Girl Scout after all!
Here are some examples of being prepared for everyday life:
- Be prepared for using something frequently by storing it close at hand.
- Be prepared for the flow of paper and flow of things into and out of your home, so they don’t pile up and become clutter.
- Be prepared for unexpected opportunities by not cramming your schedule too full.
- Be prepared for traffic delays by leaving the house early.
- Be prepared for tasks you do infrequently by creating a checklist to make them easier.
- Be prepared for tomorrow by making a plan today.
- Be prepared for emergencies and natural disasters by stocking extra food, water, and supplies.
- Be prepared for the inevitable by making a will and organizing your important papers.
- Be prepared for unexpected visitors by tidying up just a few minutes every day.
- Be prepared for a happier, less stressful life by getting Organized for Life!
Were you a Scout (Boy or Girl)? What lessons did you learn?
What are you prepared for now? What else do you need to be prepared for?
Copyright 2012-2018 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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