Girl Scout Dads Step Up to Help Daughters’ Get the Girl Scout Experience
Garden City, NY (June 12, 2014) – The Girl Scouts of Nassau County (GSNC) are gearing up for Father’s Day by reminding the community that Girl Scout volunteering is not just for moms. Girl Scouting would not be possible for many girls throughout Nassau County if it were not for the many fathers who volunteer to be Troop Leaders, Girl Scout Cookie volunteers or members for the GSNC governance process.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 report, nearly 60 percent of American families with children under 18 have a double income household, so it’s no surprise that some Troops are led by mothers and some by fathers. Girl Scouting provides fathers with the opportunity to volunteer to make a difference in girls’ lives as well as provide unique opportunities to strengthen their relationship with their daughters.
“My involvement started when my daughter was in kindergarten. She took me to a Girl Scout moms’ meeting at school and they asked for someone to volunteer to be a leader,” said Franklin Square, NY resident Jim Hopper. “We had received a letter from GSNC in the mail saying that there was no local Troop for my daughter, and seeing the disappointment in her face, I volunteered to be a Troop Leader right away.”
Similarly, Great Neck, NY resident James Wu, whose wife works overseas, volunteered to create a new GSNC Troop for his daughter after he realized that there was no local Troop for her to join.
“I wanted Angelica to have positive female role models and to expose her to educational opportunities outside of the classroom,” said Wu. “I didn’t want Angelica to join a Troop in another community, and since my wife is overseas working a lot, I decided to create a new Troop in Great Neck.”
Great Neck Troop #607, led by Wu, has six Girl Scouts, and gives them the opportunity to be exposed to Girl Scouting in their own hometown.
Girl Scouting is not only beneficial for girls. Hopper credits his involvement in the community to GSNC.
“My favorite part about Girl Scouting is the community service work that we do because it’s such a rewarding feeling,” said Hopper. “I have been helping my Troop work on their Bronze Award, and together we have been planting flowers and restoring the Franklin Square Historical Society. It feels great to give back to your own community and create these memories alongside my daughter.”
Farmingdale, NY resident Christopher J. Pendergast currently serves as a member on the Board of Directors for GSNC, but it wasn’t until his daughter, Lauren, graduated, that Pendergast saw the benefits of Girl Scouting and decided to take a leadership role.
“While Lauren was a Girl Scout, my wife was a Troop Leader, Troop consultant, and Delegate chair so my role was helping and supporting in every way possible by volunteering my time to go to beach clean-ups, outdoor day, laying out Christmas trees, moving boxes, loading up the van with Cookie boxes and delivering them and participating in the Girls Go the Distance walkathon,” said Pendergast.
His involvement with GSNC took flight after Lauren graduated and he realized that there was an opportunity to influence a much bigger group of girls.
“I am absolutely convinced the confidence my daughter carries is directly related to her experience as a Girl Scout. I truly believe it has to do with her Troop work, the work she did in the Hardscrabble Association and her Gold Award project,” continued Pendergast. “I am so glad I got to experience that with her and watch her grow, and being able to instill that in today’s Girl Scouts is truly rewarding.”
As a member of the Board, Pendergast enjoys participating in as many Girl Scout programs as possible.
“I love my role on the board, being part of the parliamentary procedure by reviewing action items, participating in anything I can, being a part of the award ceremonies,” he said, “I feel a responsibility to be a part of it after all they have done for me and my family.”
Michael Tolani, a Girl Scout ‘Cookie dad’ from Farmingdale, NY is grateful for all the practical lessons that his daughter, Maya, is learning thanks to Girl Scouting, especially during Cookie Season.
“Through the cookie booth sales, I am actively participating in my daughter’s learning of how much each box costs, how to count change… This is better than teaching her with a textbook,” said Tolani. “I am always around to help and I feel so lucky to be involved. This is a great bonding experience for me and my daughter.”
“Being involved in GSNC gives me the opportunity to spend quality time with my daughter and take her to museums I never would have thought of exploring with her,” said Wu.
“I’m very proud of [GSNC’s] focus on health and well-being and their focus on cyberbullying,” said Pendergast. “These GSNC programs allow my daughter and I to open up the conversation about difficult topics that every father should discuss with their daughter. Celebrating self-awareness, the overall experience, it provides girls with an avenue to develop into the leaders that we need in this world.”
Girl Scouts of Nassau County (GSNC) is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with almost 20,000 girl and 7,000 adult members across Nassau County. GSNC is a leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect with, or donate to Girl Scouts of Nassau County, visit www.gsnc.org or contact Donna Rivera-Downey at 516 741-2550.