From leading troops to camporees, Francois Ledoux has devoted 26 years to incorporating STEM learning into the lives of Girl Scouts. Ledoux’s continued innovation and dedication to foster strong, confident girls has earned him recognition as Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains’ December Volunteer of the Month.
Ledoux started his volunteer work with children overseas as a member of the United States Army Corps of Engineers in Vietnam and Germany. After retiring from the service, Ledoux was presented with an opportunity to co-lead a Girl Scout troop through a local Manchester church. With years of experience, he was a natural fit and was happy to take on the new role.
In addition to leading troops from Daisies to Seniors, Ledoux spent a number of years hosting camporees in Bedford, Derry, Manchester, and Barrington, New Hampshire. In 1996, he organized a camping trip with his troop to Quebec where they joined Girl Guides for the 5-day fun-filled adventure. Despite a language barrier, Ledoux noted both groups of girls found creative ways to communicate and work together for an unforgettable trip.
There is nothing that he enjoys more as a Girl Scout volunteer than teaching girls about the outdoors and STEM. “I love doing camporees. I’ve got a lot of background for them,” said Ledoux. “My experience, even with Daisies, is that you can explain how electricity works and how the lights work in the Harry Potter wand they just made, but you need to have hands-on projects to be effective. I have the patience for that! I love working with kids.”
When asked about the most challenging part of being a Girl Scout volunteer, Ledoux admits that today’s busy family schedules can be hard to navigate. “Kids are involved in so many extracurricular activities these days that it becomes almost impossible to get everyone to a meeting or event at the same time.”
Volunteering with Girls Scouts hasn’t just given Ledoux an opportunity to inspire generations of girls, he credits his time with the organization for giving him a purpose now that he’s in retirement. “Girl Scouting gives me a reason to get out and work directly with girls who are shy, or who lack the confidence in math or science,” he said. “I hope I can do this for the next 30 years.”
His commitment to Girl Scouting is as strong as ever. Ledoux currently co-leads a Junior and Cadette troop in Hooksett and plans events for Girl Scouts from woodcarving duck puppets and wind spirals to teaching fire safety. Then there’s his next project — building a Harry Potter STEM challenge that allows girls to actually fly through the air on a broomstick! While still a concept, Ledoux has already drawn up the detailed blueprints in his mind.
No matter the challenge, Ledoux always seeks the same solution -- helping girls of all ages to realize their potential by getting them to think outside the box, use their creativity, and “put a little science in it.”