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Volunteer Conference: Learning to Lead


Over the course of three Saturdays and across three locations, around 280 volunteers came together for Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians’ annual Volunteer Conferences. New things were learned. Important information communicated. Friends were reunited. Awards were given out. Several super-soft Girl Scout blankets were sold.

Here’s what some of the volunteers had to say about why they attended a Volunteer Conference this year and what is their favorite thing about volunteering:

Tabitha Zavaleta, of Greenville, said that her favorite thing about volunteering is experiencing “the fire the girls bring to their troop.”

Nancy Haney, also of Greenville, pointed out that “volunteers are the backbone of any troop. Service Units and Troop Administrators can’t do it all.” Nancy attended a conference to “learn how to be more involved with the girls in her troop and to explore the extent to which someone can volunteer.” She began volunteering because of her own daughters joining Girl Scouts.

Angelina Carney from Johnson City said that one of her favorite things about volunteering is the chance to “provide an atmosphere of sisterhood” to the girls in her troop. Angeline attended the north area Volunteer Conference to find out new ways to help the girls she mentors.

Tracy Metz, of West Knoxville, came to a conference to get herself ready to take over Daises for the first time. Her favorite things about volunteering are “working with girls and seeing smiles on their faces” and “letting them get messy.”

Janice Blackburn from Morristown says that she “believes in Girl Scouts.” That mindset is the reason why she’s been volunteering with Girl Scouts for 38 years! Janice’s favorite thing about volunteering over the years has been “watching girls learn new things.”

Delea Patterson, of Gatlinburg, enjoys coming to the conferences year after year. She likes being able to socialize with other volunteers. Delea’s favorite thing about volunteering is “empowering girls and letting them learn how to use their voices.”

Jane New from East Knoxville attended a conference this year so she could “keep up with what’s going on.” “Keeping up” is an important thing when you’ve been volunteering for 40 years! Her favorite thing about volunteering is simply “spending time with the girls.”

Susan Olinger, of the Chattanooga area, attended the conference to get Fall Product training and to get some personal development. She said, when asked what her favorite thing about volunteering is, “Knowing that I am investing my time in [the girls’] futures by sharing my past Girl Scout experiences and enjoying seeing them develop right before my eyes into stronger girls in the present.”  Susan enjoys the fact that volunteering with Girl Scouts gives her the chance, even as a grown woman, to “make new friends, learn new skills, and continue to make the world a better place.”

Whatever the reasoning behind why they came to a Volunteer Conference, and whatever is their favorite thing about being a volunteering, our volunteers are consistently working at building girls of courage, confidence, and character! Attending a Volunteer Conference is just one of the many amazing things that they do.  

vol con north collage
vol con collage

Interested in volunteering with Girl Scouts? As a volunteer, you’ll introduce girls to new experiences that show them they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. Learn more here!