As a Girl Scout volunteer, Jo Ann Messett remembers a specific girl in her troop who lacked self-esteem. The young girl doubted her intelligence and insisted that she would never attend college. Jo Ann mentored her in Girl Scouts over the years and like most volunteers, she enjoyed watching her learn and grow while building up her confidence. When that same girl won homecoming queen and enrolled in college, Jo Ann says there was one word to describe it: PRICELESS.
Jo Ann has been a Girl Scout volunteer for over 16 years and has held positions such as troop leader, troop cookie manager, troop MagNut manager, day camp volunteer, troop treasurer, and Girl Scout champion. She is also certified in archery and CPR and works at Penn State University – Shenango Valley. She became a volunteer because she was a Girl Scout herself and wanted that same experience for her daughters.
One of her favorite Girl Scout memories is the Night at the History Museum council event that was held at the Heinz History Center—the girls explored the History Center after hours and spent the night there. “The girls still talk about it!” she says. Exploring Camp Redwing for the first time is also one of her fondest memories with Girl Scouts.
Her one piece of advice to new volunteers is to stay the course and reach out to more experienced troop leaders. “Don’t try to figure it all out yourself. Being a leader is also a learning progression,” she says.
When asked what she hopes girls have learned from her, Jo Ann says, “to make lemonade out of lemons! Where there is a will, there is a way! AND when you hit a brick wall, there is going to be a way to figure out which direction you can move from there. It’s not always going to be the easiest, but you will have learned from the experience and that will take you far in your life.”
Happy National Volunteer Month!
Check out this video message from the staff at Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania.
Looking for more ways to celebrate our volunteers?
👉 Volunteer Appreciation Resources