In honor of 100 years of changing the lives of girls with innovative programming through the Girl Scouts, NWGC LC member Natalie Walker interviewed Lauren Domino, a National Delegate for Girl Scouts of Western Washington.
How did you first get involved with Girl Scouts?
I joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie in first grade (and loved wearing my little brown beanie, sash, and knee-high socks to school!), and I continued on in scouting all the way through 12th grade. Although several girls came and went in Troop 519 over the years, there were a few of us that took the whole journey together – I still keep in touch with these women, as they are like sisters!
How are you currently engaged with Girl Scouts?
I am currently serving a three-year term as a National Delegate for the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, and I also volunteer as a facilitator. As a National Delegate, I traveled to the National Convention this past November and voted on governance issues relating to the future of Girl Scouts USA. This was also the big 100-year anniversary of scouting, so the convention was filled with parties, concerts, renowned guest speakers such as Katie Couric, and more. There were over 10,000 adult and girl members there from across the globe! In my role as a facilitator, I lead workshops for girls and adults, and I specialize in the Gold Award Workshop for girls interested in pursing this award.
Many of us have had experiences with Girl Scouts when we were young that often conjures up memories of mess halls and fireside songs like “kum-ba-yah.” How has Girl Scouts changed and evolved their programming since the days that many of us remember?
What I think is great about Girls Scouts is that the movement has done a fantastic job of keeping many of the cherished traditions like camping and fireside singing, but it has also continued to evolve its programming to remain relevant and engaging for girls today. The core of girl scouting has always been the same – to equip girls with the confidence, courage, and character to make the world a better place. More recently, Girl Scouts has released a series of new leadership “Journeys” that focus on topics like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), the environment, human rights around the globe, and more. Though many people may think girl scouts is about earning badges, it’s really not. The programs today are about providing a safe environment for girls to discover and connect with the world around them. It’s a deep learning experience, and the “patch” on the sash is really just a way to remember the journey – it’s not the end result.
How do you feel your experience with GS helped prepare you for your future?
I think first and foremost, Girl Scouts gave me the skills and confidence to lead. Girl Scouts served as a safe place for me to try new things, and even fail – all with the unyielding support of my fellow scouts and leaders. Girl Scouts also provided me with a set of guiding values that continue to serve as my compass, such as the importance of serving one’s community, respecting others, working as a team, and being honest and kind. Girl Scouts also gave me real-world experience that helped me succeed in my career. For my Gold Award project, I created an after-school theater program for first- and second-graders in partnership with a local elementary school. I had to write a complete project proposal, present it to a review board, develop a budget and track expenses, work with the decision makers at the school, write and lead a 6-week drama curriculum, and submit a final program evaluation – all of this as a Senior in high school. After college, while interviewing for my first job as a teaching artist for the Seattle Children’s Theatre, I was confident that I had the skills and experience needed to be successful!
What’s one fun memory from when you were a GS?
Wow. This is a tough one – there are so many! One fun memory I have as a scout was from 5th grade. Our troop was earning the “Career” badge, researching different professions and thinking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. As part of this badge, we decided to have some fun and host a “career” party. We all dressed up in our mother’s pants suits and blazers and pretended to do interviews and such. If I remember correctly, I wanted to be a newscaster because I was pretty sure they were the smartest people – they always knew everything that was going on! I’ve included an incriminating photo of me in said suit. Pictured with me is my friend Rachel, who I recently visited in Houston while attending the National Convention. It had been 10 years since we had seen one another, but we picked up right were we left off!
What do you see as being an important role for Girl Scouts in the future?
Women today are still incredibly underrepresented in leadership roles in the U.S. According to a 2010 testimony to the U.S. Joint Economic Committee,
Women constitute nearly half the total work force, earn 57% of Bachelor’s degrees, 60% of Master’s degrees, and control or influence 73% of the consumer decisions in America. Yet among Fortune 500 companies, women make up less than three percent of CEOs and hold roughly 15% of board seats.
I think it is important that we continue to encourage and equip young women to succeed as leaders in all sectors, and programs such as Girl Scouts help to do this. Moreover, millions of women across the globe are deprived of their basic human rights for no other reason than that they are women. With ten million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 145 countries across the world, we are working to create awareness of this inequity and inspire girls to stand up for one another.
What can people do to help GS and support the girls in their lives?
Get involved. Of course, I would say sign up your girl for the Girl Scouts, but there are also many other ways to support her growth. I think all girls need a safe environment where they are encouraged to explore and try new things, whether it’s sports, the arts, or scouting. If you want to support Girl Scouts, consider signing up to be a volunteer – both men and women are welcome, and you don’t need to have a child to take part (I don’t!). Another way you can support Girl Scouts is to make a donation to your local council to help provide financial aid for girls in need, fund improvements to the many beautiful camp locations, and offer basic operating support to ensure the delivery of quality programming. And of course, when that special time of year rolls around – buy some delicious Girl Scout cookies!
Thank you Lauren!! And here's another way to get involved with Girl Scouts... and it's a fun event!! Join Girl Scouts in their current efforts to enrich the lives of girls! Come to GirlFest: a day-long celebration this Saturday at CenturyLink Field Event Center from 10am-5pm. What can you expect at GirlFest? "Perhaps you’d like to study cool stuff under a microscope, or learn more about being a news reporter. Maybe you want to climb a rock wall, learn about global cuisines and then go assemble circuitry. Or you want to identify shark species by their teeth, get details on volunteering with homeless youth or share your opinions by tweeting about issues important to you. You can get a henna tattoo, help paint a mural and so much more! If you can dream it, you can do it at GirlFest!"