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Lessons of 2020

Daisies and Firefighters

The famous 2004 book All I Really Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum simplified things down to life’s finer learning moments. Don’t we need simplicity this 2020 year?  The first rule of life “Share everything.” I learned to share my lunch in kindergarten, I learned to follow directions and stay in a line.  The book ended up selling millions of copies and was the most popular book for its wisdom of the ages; its appeal was its candor and the nostalgia it brought to its readers about simpler times.  After all, as complicated as Kindergarten might seem to us parents…to a child, it really comes down to what is for lunch and clean up your own mess.  The statement to wash your hands has come back in full force this year.

For us adults, 2020 has been anything but simple.  The easiest part is probably remembering to bring our mask from the car when visiting the store; it gets much more complicated with so many other decisions. 10 months of complicated for a way forward and play fair only goes so far. For the 2020 holidays as I reflect on how amazing our Girl Scouts are, I decided to reflect on the lessons I learned this year that really are quite simple.

Need courage.  Find a Girl Scout. We survived the cookie sale because of our Girl Scouts.  While fewer Girl Scouts could be entrepreneurs this year because of health restrictions in certain areas, those that sold exceeded any sale we have ever had.  Per Girl average rose from 326 to 329 boxes per Girl.  Girl Scout Tinley of Spokane, for example, epitomized doing everything safe and right.  When a seller showed up, she checked her mask and used hand sanitizer profusely then helped the customer.  Our Girl Scouts represent the biggest small business in the world.  This year, despite the challenges, they showed yet again that the Girls and volunteers uplift he movement, which was particularly critical as the number of cookies ordered were ordered at a time pre-COVID.  What a disaster we potentially had yet Girl Scouts cleaned up the economic mess.

Need character.  Find a Girl Scout. Within one week of state restrictions, Girl Scouts were sewing masks to help their fellow citizen even before masks were popular. Girl Scouts like Olivia of Wenatchee found a way to sell cookies and help a bowling alley stay open in her COVID ravaged town.  No better example of character in masse than the 35,000 cookie donations they solicited during this difficult cookie season.  In three days, 18,000 cookies were distributed to health care workers, first responders and military servicemembers.  What other nonprofit can deliver that kind of mass of delicious good impacting 65,000 square miles of territory? Need character—find a Girl Scout.

Need confidence.  Find a Girl Scout. The Crookham Girl Scouts met the Coeur d’ Alene Mayor to celebrate the Year of the Girl. They bravely stood up in front of a Council meeting and led the pledge of allegiance. A Girl Scout Ambassador, Caitlyn of Wenatchee, finished her Gold Award despite one of their most important ingredients, school access, being denied.  She would not be daunted.  Our amazing Girl Scout delegates, three of them, led the way setting the tone of resilience for our Council for the National Council Session.  Four Girls did an amazing bakeoff allowing themselves to be filmed in a media high pressure situation. And Girl Scout Ambassador Kaitlin of Spokane emceed the event and was a like a natural Ellen interviewing the Girls.  If you have a high priority task that needs to be accomplished and done right…find a Girl Scout of confidence—there are plenty of them.

So, what is the point in this year in COIVD?  Life is indeed complicated and treacherous but the finer points in life still hold.  Share, listen to directions, smile and do your best.  As Fulghum says: “Live a balanced life—learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”  Oh, I like the take a nap every afternoon too.  All are as relevant today as they were when we went to Kindergarten. 

In 1912, Juliette asked Girls to learn courage, confidence and character.  108 years later, our Girls are still showing that yes, they can, even in a global pandemic.  From young Girls to older Girls, they are still singing Juliette’s notes to make the world a better place.  Take G-Team member and Girl Scout Ambassador Milani of West Plains who even after a canceled convention rallied with her fellow Girl Scouts to provide a great National Council Session.  Or Girl Scout Brownie Ari of Spokane who I got to witness distributing donated cookies to service members.  She was all business and just wanted to personally hand out cookies to service members as a measure of gratitude—chatting and playing with friends were not on her mind that day.  For Ari, a petite Girl Scout, one carton of cookies was not enough.  She would carry two.  Girl Scouts are tough.  Our new lemon cookies, Lemon Ups, have phrases inspired by Girl Scouts carved in them.  One of them says the word “gutsy” and captures our Council in 2020 year.  December 2020 remains a complicated time.  If we need it to be simple, if we need to just make the world a better place, call a Girl Scout.  I didn’t learn that in Kindergarten, but I did learn it in 2020….