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Inspired to Lead

In May’s Neighborhood Voice, Rechelle Williams read about a soon-to-be leaderless Girl Scouts troop. The 12 girls met at the Sterling Branch Library in Central and needed a new leader. So, as if her hands weren’t full enough, Williams–a government employee and the mother of a five year-old son and two young adult daughters–stepped in.

When she and I recently met over coffee, I asked her why she decided to become a troop leader.

“I wanted to impact others.” Williams said. “It was just calling me.” She’s also a classroom volunteer; so working with young people is nothing new for her, she said.

Williams isn’t new to Girl Scouts leadership either. About ten years ago, when her daughters were in high school and their troop leaders’ pooped out, she “decided to kind of pick it up,” she said. She remained a troop leader until her daughters grew out of scouting.

Members of the Sterling Branch troop, which first met in September, range in age from five to 17. Williams plans for them to work on attaining Girls Scout awards.

“For example,” she said, “there’s one girl for sure that’s interested in achieving the Gold Award, which is the highest award in Girl Scouting.” As far as Williams knows, no girl from the Sterling Branch troop has ever gone for the Girls Scout Gold.

The award isn’t easy to come by, according to Williams. “You really identify a need in the community,” she said. “You develop a plan. You get project team members, stakeholders on. You present your plan to the [Girl Scout] Council. They approve it. Hopefully, you implement. [It should be] some type of project that’s going to help benefit the community. If that’s a success, it’s a big thing.”

It sure is. Williams said winning Girl Scout awards, and taking all the steps to bring a project to life, can lead to college scholarships and helps girls learn valuable skills. These include community service and project planning, project management, and leadership. The Gold Award is for high school students, while the silver and bronze awards are for scouts in middle and elementary school.

Williams not only had her vision for her troop, she asked members what they’d like to do.

“They want to go camping,” she said. “So that’s one thing we’re going to work on, to get prepared to do that.”

Williams hopes to have two camping trips—winter and spring. The girls also expressed the desire to have “an outing where there’s food involved,” said Williams, and “go to the movies.”

Williams plans to make sure the girls do “badge work” when they go on field trips. That’s work that teaches skills and enables troop members to earn Girl Scout badges. For instance, one of the field trip destinations the members requested was the Cleveland Metropolitan Zoo. So when Williams took them to “Boo in the Zoo” the Sunday before Halloween, she used the trip as an opportunity for the scouts to earn badges related to animals.

Williams’s 21 year-old daughter recently signed on as her assistant and two parents volunteer as well. However, according to Williams, the troop still needs support. Experts — such as car mechanics — can share their talents. In addition, supplies for activities like camping, and transportation provided by a car service would be helpful.

The Sterling Branch Library Girl Scout troop meets at the library on Thursdays from 4-6 p.m.

For more information, contact Williams at 216-644-0288  or rechelle.williams@yahoo.com.

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