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The Sisterhood of Scouting: Spanning Generations

by Katri Mullaly

How many women can say that their stepdaughter is the reason they got the job of their dreams?

I’m grateful to say I can. My stepdaughter, Christa, joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie. At the same time, I registered as a volunteer. Being a Girl Scout was a great experience for me as a child, and I wanted to give back to the organization that helped me become the confident and positive woman I am today.

Thus our journey in Girl Scouts began. The first year was certainly a learning year for me, but the overall experience of being a volunteer was second to none. It’s been satisfying to see the girls grow and mature through the years.

About five years into my volunteer experience, I was approached by our local Girl Scout Council and asked if I’d like a job in Membership. To this day, Christa tells everyone she’s the reason I now have a job with Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEM).

Cookies are still an integral component of being a Girl Scout. Right now, from December through February, Girl Scout troops in every Cape Cod town are selling and taking orders for cookies. The cookie sale is more than a money earning activity. Girls learn teamwork, planning skills, marketing techniques, goal setting, financial literacy and responsibility.

Just as the cookie sale is about more than just cookies, I’ve found scouting is about much more than cookies, crafts, and camping.

The mission of Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world better place. The Girl Scout Law provides the fundamentals of basically being a good, well-rounded person (see sidebar box).

When a girl becomes a Girl Scout, she can participate in the way that’s most fun and comfortable for her. When I was a Girl Scout, I belonged to a troop and earned patches and badges to symbolize the components of the Girl Scout Law as well as expand my knowledge and build new skills.

Today, the troop is still the most traditional way to participate, but the world of Girl Scouting has transformed to include a wide array of innovative programs and greater opportunities that are relevant for this generation of girls.

There are currently six pathways by which a girl can experience the Girl Scout journey: Troop, Camp, Special Events, Series Programs, Travel, and Virtual. Being a part of this transformation has been exciting and refreshing for me. Families are pleasantly surprised when I tell them about the different pathways by which their daughter can be a Girl Scout.

To keep girls engaged, it’s critical that the Girl Scout organization remain flexible and attentive to the changing needs of girls. GSEM is in the forefront of implementing these pathways. For example, we’re excited to begin a Virtual Online Book Club this winter.

Adults can also participate in various ways as a volunteer. GSEM welcomes all adults to become engaged with their daughter’s troop in the manner that fits their schedule, sharing their strengths and talents with the girls.

The responsibilities are shared among volunteers, thus making for a more rewarding and less stressful experience for the adults. It in turn provides a diverse experience for the girls as they interact with many different adults.

We also have adults who no longer have children in Girl Scouts, but who remain active as volunteers. The opportunities to volunteer within our Council range from administrative support and training, to fund development, cookie sale support, and community networking. (Per Girl Scouts of the USA safety standards, adults who wish to volunteer must register as a member of Girl Scouts and undergo a CORI check per Massachusetts State Law.)

Girl Scouts
Cape Cod Brownies selling Girl Scout cookies

In my position as Membership Manager, I supervise Membership Specialists and handle various types of questions. Each workday is different from the next. I feel fortunate to still have the opportunity to interact with girls as well.

Every day comes filled with rewards and challenges – some days are longer than others, but I’m happy to say I look forward to going to work each and every morning!

As working mothers know, the balance of work and home life can be frustrating, demanding and sometimes impossible. Because Girl Scouts is a family-oriented organization, the work environment is pleasant and allows flexibility for staff to be available to their families. Fortunately, I’m still able to volunteer with Christa’s Girl Scout troop and participate in many of the troop’s activities.

Christa is an active member of Cadette Troop 81142 with many of the same girls who were in her Brownie troop. As a direct result of Girl Scout, I’ve seen her grow and mature tremendously throughout her scouting experiences.

She’s a confident young woman who goes to Girl Scout summer camp each year as a camper and also as a program aide, assisting younger scouts at day camp. Recently, Christa spoke at our Annual Leading Women’s Breakfast and introduced one of the honorees.

She has many sister Girl Scouts across eastern Massachusetts and keeps in touch with them regularly. The life experience she’s gained from scouting has had a positive effect on her values and social behavior.

She’s an honor student in the eighth grade, an avid figure skater and bowler, and a member of several extracurricular activities. Through Girl Scouts, she’s participated in many activities that would otherwise not be available to her or to us as a family.

Girl Scouts changed my life as a young girl. As an adult, it continues to impact me every day. I encourage everyone to look at Girl Scouts in a new light. It’s an organization that truly cares about girls and the women they will become. GSEM aims to meet girls’ needs today to prepare them to become the leaders of tomorrow.

To learn more, please visit our website at Check out the links to “About Us”, “Volunteer” and “Programs and Camps” which provide a good overview of the many facets of Girl Scouts here in eastern Massachusetts.

Girl Scout cookies

Find out where to get cookies in your town

Katri Mullaly is the Membership Manager for Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.

When not traveling around the state speaking with Girl Scout volunteers, she lives in Barnstable with her family. And yes, she likes Girl Scout cookies.

Her favorites are the Peanut Butter Patties!

Girl Scouts

Girl Scout Promise and Law

The Girl Scout Promise and Law are
shared by every member of Girl
Scouting. The Girl Scout Promise is the
way Girl Scouts agree to act every day
toward one another and other people,
and the Law outlines a way to act towards one another and the world.

The Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be:
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.