Recently we sat down with new Girl Scout volunteer, Tara Smith to talk about her inspiration for starting a troop, how Girl Scouts is shaping girls to grow into the future leaders within our community and how Girl Scouts helps her find balance.
And balance is key. In addition to volunteering with Girl Scouts, she also serves as the Director of Internal Services Department at Miami-Dade County, where she oversees 953 full-time employees with an operational budget of $313,000,000. Tara also volunteers as an Executive Council member of United Way Miami-Dade’s WomenUnited leadership group.
What was your experience with Girl Scouts as a child, and how does that shape your approach as a volunteer today?
I was a Brownie as a little girl, and I have a lot of fun memories of camping and s’mores, and have been a big fan of s’mores ever since - even though I’m still working on my marshmallow roasting skills!
Honestly, one of my most vivid memories is of another Brownie who told me I was fat on one of those camping trips. It has stuck with me, and motivates me now as I think about becoming a Girl Scout Troop Leader. I want to inspire my troop to embody the Girl Scout Law to be respectful, considerate, caring, and responsible.
What inspired you to join Girl Scouts as an adult?
I just joined the Girl Scouts again in November after hearing CEO, Chelsea Wilkerson talk about how United Way of Miami-Dade is supporting Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida to empower girls. She spoke so passionately about this work, and how girls are being taught about cybersecurity, protecting the environment, and giving back to their community.
I’ve spent much of my career mentoring women and believe strongly in the power of women who come together to support and build each other up, and I want to be a part of this organization that is doing the same thing for our young girls.
I also volunteer as an Executive Council member of United Way Miami-Dade’s WomenUnited leadership group. I love to see this connection of growing Girl Scouts to become the future WOMEN leaders of our community!
What is your favorite thing about being a Leader so far?
I love the very idea that there is so much potential to change a girl’s life by becoming a Girl Scout Troop Leader. I take the role seriously and will do my very best for these girls and their parents.
What’s your advice for women considering becoming a Girl Scout volunteer?
You can do it! It occurred to me early on that I was crazy for thinking I could do this, I’m way too busy and stressed out at work, among a dozen other excuses. Then I saw that there is a new troop forming right near my work, and after an investment of time over the holidays to get up to speed on the policies and requirements of being a leader, I realized this will be one of the ways that I begin to improve my work-life balance.