Labor Day was first celebrated in a 19th-century parade in New York City to celebrate the immense contributions of the American worker. Oregon was the first state to officially recognize it as a holiday in 1887. It is a day that also officially ends our summer, and what a summer it was. Between battling the heat, smoke, COVID worries, and making a dent in membership losses, plus the STEM Mobile rolling, it was the hardest working summer in my three years. Last weekend, I traveled with 14 Girl Scouts to the Seattle Museum of Flight, arguably the third-best aviation museum in the nation. The trip was a cookie incentive for Girl Scouts who had over 200 cookies donated for our service members, first responders and our precious health care workers. We appreciate them all. First, for me as a military veteran, it was very poignant that these Girls and their volunteers worked so hard to honor our military on a week where 13 service members were killed overseas. In fact it was not lost on me that as we walked under historical aircraft Sunday that these fallen military patriots were being flown home to meet their families at Dover Air Force Base at precisely the same time. We as individuals can’t do it all but if we work together, we can do a lot. In our own small way, these Girl Scouts, who collectively had over 6,000 cookies donated to our service members, did so much, most recently demonstrated a week ago when we delivered cookies directly to Air Force families at a squadron picnic—the smiles abounded and they know how much the community appreciates them. In a small way, our Council makes America a better place!
How do we do it??? It is a labor of love—simply that. Our volunteers do it and it is not easy work. I love this movement but it is a deeply interconnected movement in all we do...Girls sell cookies to earn camp credit and then they go to camp. If they do not have a good camp experience, it impacts more than camp for next year. It impacts that next cookie season. Conversely, if camp is great, that Girl Scout is motivated to sell more next year. Our movement is not linear…to quote from the famous Lion King movie, we are the Circle of Girl Scout life. And that happens through lots and lots of work. As a troop leader, I can attest to the work required to put together a good camp meeting. It is difficult to tailor a meeting to be Girl led which is fundamental to our movement. Do I need to bring up cookie season? The hours at booths are not for the faint heart. Have you seen some volunteers who convert their garages to Thin Mint storage zones? A labor of love…that is why we do it…which is exactly how our first volunteer Juliette saw it.
Why do we do it??? Because we must…because we must. At the end of our Museum of Flight event, we came across an iconic WWII Women Air Service Pilots display. To see women in WWII who learned to fly and then ferry aircraft overseas to then be flown into combat is so inspiring. Sadly, when aircraft accidents occurred in transit and the women were killed, the US government did not pay to bring them home to be buried. Their families needed to bring them home. Yet, these women still aimed high believing in America and the war effort. They were the original Amelia Earharts and trailblazers for all women pilots who followed. Our Girl Scouts were struck by the display and all took pictures of it. They knew innately how special it was. Our goal in Girl Scouts is quite simply to give the courage, confidence and character for our Girl Scouts to be the trailblazers of tomorrow. That noble and precious goal is why so many volunteers and staff members see this cause of Girl Scouts as a labor of love.
Because we love what Juliette created. So this Labor Day, I pause and remember the strength of the American Worker. I also will pause and remember the strength of our Council’s volunteers—their labor of love is why we succeed! In the words of the most famous woman worker, Rosie the Riveter, We can do it!