Friday, June 14, 2013

Not Your Ordinary Girl Scout Troop ‘Moms’

Involvement of Girl Scout Dads Growing by Leaps and Bounds.

The Girl Scouts of Nassau County (GSNC) are gearing up for Father’s Day by reminding the community that ‘Girl Scouting’ is not just for girls. In recent years, the Girl Scouts have seen an explosion of involvement from the girls’ fathers. Their participation in their daughters’ lives through the Girl Scouts gives fathers the opportunity to share significant quality time with their daughters and watch them grow into young women with bright futures. Active fathers gain added benefit of building relationships and a community with other Girl Scout Fathers.

“The greatest thing about being a part of my daughters’ Girl Scout Troops is seeing my daughters develop wonderful leadership skills and a sense of caring for other people that Girl Scouting fosters,” said Hal Crawford, a father of two Nassau County Girl Scouts. He explains his experiences as a Boy Scout and Eagle Scout have driven his involvement with the Girl Scouting of Catherine, 12 years old and 9 year old Julianne. Crawford along with his wife Dawn, directly participates in helping his girls with projects including knot tying and also reinforces the sense of character the girls learn through their Girl Scouting. 

Dominic Sabino found himself getting involved with the Girl Scouts as a favor to his wife, who is the Troop leader for his three girls. “I would step in if my wife needed help driving the girls to events and eventually started stepping in when assistant troop leaders couldn’t be there,” he stated. When his youngest daughter Olivia, 9, joined her Troop, Sabino made the plunge and officially registered to become a part of the GSNC. “I attend meetings every week and work with the girls on earning their badges. I love that I am able to be a part of something positive that they will carry for the rest of their lives.” 

The fathers who are active in their daughter’s Girl Scout Troops find a reward beyond bonding their daughters. Girl Scout fathers build lasting friendships and a strong sense of community with each other. “Scouting with my daughters allows me to reinforce bonds with my children while also creating new bond and friendships with the other fathers,” said Crawford. 

Anthony Edelman, a Girl Scout father of 15 years to his 20 year old daughter Margaret Anne (who is now an adult Girl Scout) and a member of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Board of Directors, states, “I have seen an increase in male involvement over the past 15 years. One father I know started a robotics team, which ties into our STEM initiatives and I’ve witnessed other fathers’ involvement from cookies to washing cars, digging in the dirt or helping with our powder puff derby.” He added, “ As much as the girls love having their fathers involved, I think the fathers enjoy it just as much, if not more than their daughters.”

Steve Kitchener began his involvement with the Girl Scouts over 10 years ago after his daughter Brianna, 17, asked him to go camping with her troop. Seven years ago Brianna asked him to coach a robotics team through Girl Scouts. “The robotics team was just the tip of the iceberg for me. I am now camp trained, trip trained and CPR trained.” Kitchener, whose wife Diane is a Scout Leader and Co-Coach of the robotics team, was always an involved father as coach of his children’s sports teams, but his involvement with the GSNC holds a special place in his heart. “You are really missing out if you aren’t involved. Being a part of the Girl Scouts opens doors for you to bond with your daughter on so many levels, even more so than simply coaching a sport.” Steve Kitchener is also serving as a Member-at-Large of the Board of Directors for GSNC.

Edelman puts out a call for all fathers to be active participants in their daughters’ Girl Scout endeavors. “If a father doesn’t get involved because he thinks it’s ‘a girl thing,’ I challenge him to come out and spend time with their daughters so they can experience the rewards of seeing them transform into young ladies of excellent character who have the courage and confidence to tackle any challenge as they follow their dreams.”

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