Whether she’s cleaning up a nearby beach with her Girl Scout troop, or helping a fellow volunteer to continue their education, Pamela Lyman loves encouraging others to shine.
The lifelong Vermont resident — and a Girl Scout volunteer for over two decades — is Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains’ June Volunteer of the Month.
Lyman initially joined Girl Scouts as her young daughter’s Daisy troop leader after learning there was a volunteer shortage.
“It all started with a troop of ten girls,” she said with a chuckle. Lyman continued leading her daughter’s troops throughout elementary and high school. She’d stay on long after her daughter, Melinda, graduated from high school.
These days, it’s not uncommon for her to have the daughters of some original troop members in her present troop. She’s become accustomed to girls randomly approaching her when she’s out around town, begging her to postpone retirement. She tells them not to worry. “They’ll tell me I cannot leave until they graduate,” Lyman said.
Over the years, Lyman has lent her personal touch to all areas of Girl Scouting. A longtime fixture at Camp Abenaki-Mascoma in Thetford, she served as the camp’s Art Director for many years. She leads council-wide programs, including an annual trip to Cape Cod, and mentors other volunteers around the region. These duties are juggled alongside her longtime career, working in the Advancement Office at Dartmouth College.
Lyman currently leads a multi-level troop, which allows her to work with girls of all ages. To date, she’s taken girls to three National Council Sessions and the centennial celebration held in Washington, D.C., in June 2012. She’s looking forward to taking girls to the upcoming G.I.R.L. 2017 in Columbus, Ohio, which she sees as yet another opportunity for encouraging girls to step out of their comfort zones.
“For me, this is all about a love of letting girls know that they can do anything,” she said. “They don’t have to stay in New England. They can go anywhere in life.” That encouragement is equally shared with her fellow volunteers. “I like to nourish my helpers as well as my girls,” Lyman added.
Her own inner strength stems from her childhood in Vermont farm country. Growing up in a family with 15 children, Lyman said she learned quickly how to be strong and independent.
It’s this continued perseverance that helps Lyman take the lead and help Girl Scouts of any age. In fact, Lyman recently helped a fellow mom and Girl Scout volunteer who was contemplating some dreams of her own – attending college. With Lyman’s guidance, the woman navigated the college scholarship process, and was met with success. “She was scared at first: here’s this mom in her thirties with a lot on her plate,” Lyman recalled. “I told her, ‘you can do this. You can do anything!’”
She advises girls and women of all ages to hold tight to their dreams. “You make a goal and you go for it,” Lyman said. “Don’t wait for anyone else to do it for you.”