Monday, May 18, 2009

Paying It Forward ...

Imagine, if you will, a party … a birthday party … a party for a 10 year old girl complete with decorations and cake … but a party with no gift wrapped boxes. Why? Because Hayley is a remarkable girl. Better than that, Hayley is a Girl Scout. Oh, certainly, there were gifts! But the gifts were not what you would normally find at a young girls’ party. They were donations for a cause.

You see, Hayley had a life changing moment when she realized there were girls who were not able to attend Girl Scout camp. The thought so impacted her that she was compelled to do something about it. She told her mother what she wanted to do, they contacted the Council to find out how they could make this happen … and instead of just a party invitation, this amazing young girl added a note about what she would rather do. She gave guests the opportunity to send a donation to Girl Scouts instead of bringing a gift so she could help another girl go to Girl Scout camp. She wanted to “pay it forward” so to speak.

Our CEO had the opportunity to meet Hayley to present her with a “Good Deed” patch and asked her why she did this. She looked at her for a moment, as if I should already know the answer, and said, “I’m a Girl Scout!”

Fast forward just a few weeks to a United Way panel gathered at our office. Just as we do each year, we have at least one girl speak to them about her experience in Girl Scouting. Ikera and her mother bravely shared from the podium. As Ikera talked earning her first patch, her eyes lit up. A panelist asked if she had attended Girl Scout camp. She had not been able to yet. But she dearly wanted to go.

In that moment, our CEO thought about Hayley’s gift and Ikera’s desire … and that afternoon we were able to make both of their dreams come true. Ikera was registered for resident camp before she left that day and Hayley’s gift had blossomed.


Imagine now a stack of Girl Scout cookies … actually, cases and cases of Girl Scout cookies. It’s common for Girl Scouts to sell cookies, but it is not common for a Girl Scout to sell them so another girl can receive the benefit. This Girl Scout cannot go to camp this summer, but she had been before and wanted to make sure another girl could have that opportunity. Who is this remarkable girl? It is none other than Ikera. And now Ikera is paying it forward.

Another benevolent birthday party was held by Hayley … another Cookie Sale is around the corner … another idea will be birthed in the heart of another remarkable Girl Scout … for this is what we are all about. Courage. Confidence. Character. Making the world a better place. That sounds like paying it forward to me!
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