By Melinda Murphy

My 10-year-old daughter has developed an incredible sense of self confidence by learning to do some pretty cool stuff in Girl Scouts - from camping to learning bicycle maintenance to horseback riding to making jewelry and so much more. But as her Troop leader, I’ve done it all right alongside her and I’ve come to really care about all the girls in my troop, too. They’ve bonded as a true unit, building each other up in a safe, all female environment. This year, our Troop ran Day Camp and earned a Bronze Award, a major accomplishment.

What I didn’t expect is what I would get out of Girl Scouting as an adult. I’ve done and seen things in Singapore I’d never have experienced if I wasn’t involved in Girl Scouting. I’ve learned so much about my own leadership skills and abilities, and sisterhood. This year, several leaders went to the Philippines on a service trip. We drove north where we stayed in a local Girl Scout house; eating with our hands, sampling the amazing array of food of a boodle fight; dressed up in native garb; shopped our little hearts out, and so much more.

But the real aim of our trip was to give service, helping those devastated by a recent typhoon by dishing out food and distributing toys we brought with us. We also visited a local orphanage, an experience I found simultaneously heart-breaking and rewarding. To see the true and simple joy, wide smile and a cup of food brought will stay with me forever.

People often ask me, “Why are you so involved in Girl Scouting? Isn’t it a lot of work?” It’s because it may, indeed, be the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, from watching the girls grow; to growing myself; to making new friends. And most of all, because what Girl Scouts gives my daughter.