Meet community activist and longtime Troop Leader, Janice Coakley. The disciplined Miami Gardens native started Troop 347 in the 1980s with a group of six girls, including her now-grown daughter and has continued to positively impact the lives of hundreds throughout the last three decades. Not only does she instill responsibility and respect as core values throughout her troop, she ensures her girls are well prepared for the eventual challenges they will face in adulthood.
It’s no surprise it’s these same values that have earned Ms. Coakley acclaimed recognition throughout her tenure with the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida. Her girls have earned the opportunity to expand their horizons through travel, enacted positive change throughout Miami-Dade, earned high awards and college scholarships and have become successful leaders in their own right.
To celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month, we sat down with Ms. Coakley to learn a little more about what sparks her passion for Girl Scouts and the impact that her involvement with Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida has had on her own life.
How long have you been a Girl Scout Volunteer?
I first got involved with the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida over 30 years ago
Why did you initially get involved with Girl Scouts?
My oldest daughter was a Girl Scout when she was younger and the impact the organization had on her life inspired me to continue to help.
What's your favorite part about volunteering with the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida?
My favorite part about being a Troop Leader and participating on the GSTF Task Force is twofold – Working with girls and seeing what Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida has to offer them, combined with seeing my girls grow up and flourish to become beautiful young ladies who achieve their goals.
Is there anything you hoped to learn or accomplish through volunteering?
Patience, caring and goal setting.
Do you have a favorite story from volunteering that you would like to share?
Yes, one of my young ladies went away to college and when she came home during a break, she stopped by and gave me this nice picture frame with a woman on it and it state "The Woman I Am". It’s moments like this that show the impact Girl Scouts and our Troop has on girls, long term.
Have you learned anything new about YOURSELF since starting your volunteer journey?
I have learned to change and adapt by the use of technology but also my Girl Scouts journey has helped me realize that I have more to share and give to these girls that will help impact their lives in a meaningful way both today as well as in the future.
If there is one thing you'd like other Girl Scouts or volunteers in our community to know or learn, what would it be?
That Girls Scouts is not just about putting up tents; that we are leaders in the community that are helping develop the female leaders of tomorrow.
Volunteering with the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida has made me better person; to give more of myself to these girls.