The most important day of the year for our movement is Volunteer Appreciation Day, hands down. Every year, our movement is steps ahead only because of you. You never really veer far from your birthplace—it defines you. Our birthplace was Savannah, Georgia, in 1912 by, of course, Juliette Gordon Low. The first volunteer—she not only was not paid for her efforts. Instead, she literally paid to keep the movement afloat. Famously, Juliette pawned off her pearl necklace to raise funds for that first troop. While our volunteers are hopefully not selling precious jewels to keep things afloat for Girl Scouts, they certainly contribute personal treasure. That part has not changed for 111 years, and that is why we can’t thank our volunteers enough for all they do. Cookie revenue did not start for a decade, and it does not support the volunteer. It has always been the centerpiece of support that we cherish most—our Girl Scout.
I watched a nostalgic and fun movie recently, “Air,” with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon recounting the significant effort of Nike to sign Michel Jordan to their shoe account after he graduated college in 1984. This momentous time vaulted Nike from a third-rate company to number one, and they never looked back. It is a fun event, and I enjoyed the nostalgia of the 1980s shown in the movie, my high school and college years. Leadership matters, and Matt Damon’s “gut,” passion, and drive made all the difference in changing Nike’s history for the better.
We have had some significant achievements in the past few years, from membership numbers to an exponential increase in our cookie sales, and our volunteers are the root of our success. That is why I am so grateful for you, the volunteer. There was a famous quote in the movie dealing with Jordan: “A shoe is just a shoe until Michael steps in it.” It reminded me of you in a roundabout way. A uniform is just a uniform until a Girl Scout steps into it, and then she becomes Wonder Woman. I think we would all agree with it—the power of a Girl Scout to make the world a better place, especially when we mass together, is without question. Take any bronze, silver, or Gold award, and you can feel assured about this fact. But who puts Wonder Woman into her uniform? On the famous 1970s show Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter, she becomes Women Woman by spinning around, and there is a crash of thumber and lightning, and she has her uniform on—that is Hollywood. We know that! In real life, our Girl Scout puts on the vest.
Who gets that vest? Our volunteers. You truly are our Wonder Women—been that way since 1912. A uniform is just a uniform until a Girl puts it on. Voila—wonder woman! This April 22, you, our valiant volunteer, are the reason the magic happens for us—your leadership and you have vaulted us to be the #1 Council in America, besting Adidas and Converse! We were #1 adult retention in the country last year, and that is why we are #1—lot of wonder women out there in a Girl Scout uniform. Should I close with a Nike quote? Ok, you asked for it...“Just Do It!” That is what our volunteers do—they just do it, and we are entirely grateful. You will always be our Wonder Women!