Be Prepared: The Girl Scout Leader Who Takes Risks

Erin Mattimoe is a young nonprofit professional with a special talent for building leaders in youth organizations. She is currently a program specialist in the Ann Arbor and Jackson Regions of Girl Scouts--Heart of Michigan. When we began our conversation, we thought we already knew about Girl Scouts. Erin informed us, however, the 21st century Girl Scout is not all about "cookies, camp and crafts." The organization--that will celebrate its centennial in 2012-- is a leadership school for life: creating opportunities for girls and teens to test their talents and learn about their strengths and failings. To be sure, being in Girl Scouts includes ethical challenges too.   

We learned from Erin what some of these challenges are. You will not be prepared for some of her answers. We certainly weren't, beginning with the fact that we didn't even get the Girl Scout motto right. Would you? As it turns out, the Girl Scout motto is...yep...

                                                                              "BE PREPARED."

So, we thought it was the Boy Scout motto. So, we concluded that such a motto was only worthy of a tattoo to get with other members of our troop. (At least then, we would remember it.) So, we had already decided that this motto needed a makeover. We were wrong.

Among the most engaging and fun exchanges, in this quite engaging and fun conversation includes how we, as adults and teachers, view the idea of "being prepared" and good risk-taking by young people learning to be leaders.

And we thought the Girl Scouts needed a new motto. They just need Erin.   

And so do we. There is another reason we loved talking with Erin. She is the newest member of the board of A2Ethics.org. No doubt, she is preparing us to take new risks, worth doing if we want to be civic leaders.