The Grown Up Job is two days in. For the second time in as many days I am ready for a deep deep sleep before 9:30pm. For the millionth time in as many seconds, I am so so sure that I am in the right place.
Yesterday was a whirlwind. I filled out paperwork. I proudly wore my sash from Mindi and Delbert and met all of my co-workers. (I could tell by the reactions who thought it was awesome and who thought I was touched) I filled out more paperwork. I met more people. I made up passwords and got my iPhone 5 and my Windows 8 laptop. One of which I knew how to operate. I ordered business cards and gave out my cell number and got my photo taken for our website. I went to lunch. I met a fellow employee from GS-USA direct from NYC. I got a tiny bit of log-in instruction for our database. I enrolled in insurance, health/vision/dental. I got flowers from Mark. I was given my calendar, chock full of meetings and meetings and meetings. I listened to ideas for my future position. I learned about programming and the things GS-WEST is doing and are going to do. I said yes to a grant-writing program, to some networking organizations and tried once again to remember how Windows worked.
At the end, I was both wiped out and energized. I was assigned to do some programming today with the girls and since that meant a 9:45 arrival time, I ran home, changed clothes, threw more in my bag and headed to Norman. I couldn’t wait to get there.
As we sat on the porch, discussing my day, the plans we have for my position and the things that I would be doing today, Mark replied, “I’m getting the sense that you will be doing great things in the lives of girls. This is more than cookies, camp and badges isn’t it?”
- Oklahoma is #1 in incarceration rates of women in the nation.
- 1 in 4 girls who start high school disappear from graduation rolls.
- Four counties served by GS-West have the highest high school drop out rates in the state.
- Less than 15% of Oklahoma girls finish four or more years of college.
- Oklahoma girls attempt to commit 61% of all teen suicides in the state.
- Oklahoma ranks 17th in childhood obesity rates. By 2018 Oklahoma will be the most obese state in the nation costing the state more than $3.2 billion.
- Two counties served by GS-West have the highest rate of child poverty.
- Oklahoma women earn 75 cents for every dollar a man earns.
What does that have to do with Girl Scouts you ask?
GS-West community programs provide the Girl Scout Leadership Experience for girls who are facing serious challenges in their lives. We have Girl Scouts in detention centers such as COJC and the Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice Center . We work with the Emerson Alternative High School. Today I was on a Dell partnered program with a group of girls from an Oklahoma City public school who were touring the campus of Oklahoma City University, using social media as a tool for education and working in the Dell supported Intergenerational Computer Lab on the campus. A full service lab, laptops, desktops, all free to the community.
These girls, most of them freshmen, some in the 10th grade, this was their first trip to a college campus. The dorm rooms, the cafeteria lunch glazed over their eyes. I heard things like, ” I want to major in acting. But I want to be a nurse too. Maybe I’ll do both.”
And you know what?
Maybe she will.
Our other programs include something called “uniquely ME!” which is sponsored by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund and designed to foster the self esteem in girls ages 8-18. Our “Challenge & Change” program helps girls to envision and start long-term community service projects.
STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Change and encourages girls to pursue the sciences and stay in school
And yes, we camp. The outdoor activities in addition to that stress the importance of physical fitness and health.
There are great things happening here. I write this tonight to mark the beginning. As a touchstone. Because I know that soon enough the shine will dull a bit, and the things that come with change and implementing and enforcing change will mire my spark.
We must remember why we do this.
We must remember what our intention is behind each day.
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.