Candia woman brings skills and enthusiasm to her roles in Girl Scouts
BEDFORD, NH – Miriam Wilcox’s background in medical devices and with the outdoors makes her a perfect fit for leading Girl Scouts, but it’s her enthusiasm and communication abilities that shine through in everything she does. Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains has named Wilcox the Volunteer of the Month for December.
Wilcox, 37, of Candia, is in her second year of leading Girl Scout Daisy/Brownie Troop 59185. There was no troop for her daughter to join at the time, as the one existing troop had girls in seventh grade. She realized that if she wanted to provide the opportunity for her daughter, she would need to step up and get a Daisy troop going.
“I talked a friend into being my co-leader,” she said. “Through word of mouth, we got about eight girls last year.” This year, two more girls have joined and the girls are already doing outdoor and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities.
Wilcox works as regulatory affairs specialist for a global medical technology company. “I talk to the governments so engineers don’t have to!” she said. She has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in plastic engineering, so she was excited to see the many opportunities for Girl Scouts to participate in science and technology projects.
She’s an outdoors enthusiast, as well. “I did the 48 (4,000-foot mountains in New Hampshire) while I was still in college,” she said. “I used to go for four- to five-hour walks with my dog, and did lots of camping and backpack trips. I met my husband on hike, during a Presidential traverse! That was 14 years ago.”
Wilcox recently took her Girl Scouts, daughter, and son out to Pawtuckaway State Park, where they explored a cemetery in the middle of the woods. “One of my Brownies figured out a lot people died on the same day - a whole family had been wiped out by smallpox.” They found out that people used to live there, locating the remains of a house. They also found old pieces of pottery, nails, and other artifacts left by the people who had lived there. “They enjoyed it,” she said. “Then we hiked to the fire tower out there and they were amazed by the views.” The girls also found a beaver dam and lodge.
She is so enthusiastic about getting girls outside that she’s hoping to take her Daisies rock climbing. “My girls are begging me to go rock climbing,” she said. “My daughter does outdoor rock climbing already. She’s 7, in first grade. We want to do orienteering and letterboxing with the Brownies. We’ll probably do a snowshoe hike of some kind. We’re working on badges. We want to do the robotics badges. I’m keeping it open so the girls can tell me what their interests are. We’re definitely going camping this year - doing a one-night camping trip.” They are even considering a community project of getting monkey bars installed at the town playground.
But mentoring young Girl Scouts is just the beginning of Wilcox’s contributions to the council. In her second year of volunteering, she has already become a Volunteer Service Coordinator, responsible for the retention of volunteers and oversight of Girl Scout troops in Candia, Deerfield, Raymond, Northwood, and Epsom.
“Miriam has been amazing about stepping up to challenges and taking on new roles!” said Amanda Powell, the Volunteer Support Specialist for the Girl Scout council. “When she heard that we needed a new VSC (volunteer support coordinator) in her community, she jumped right on board. I’ve been so impressed by how Miriam has tackled the position of VSC. She’s been soaking up Girl Scout traditions like a sponge, and has jumped right in to facilitate meetings! She’s also been super helpful about sending out communications with opportunities for girls and leaders to her service unit and reminding them about important dates and deadlines. She also set up a community Facebook group in order to give everyone another channel of communication. I’m so excited to work with Miriam this year as she learns and grows in her volunteer positions!”
While Wilcox spent her first year with Girl Scouting learning the ropes and helping her girls earn Daisy petals (the equivalent of badges), she’s ready to take on more, getting real satisfaction from her volunteer work.
“In my job I don’t get the satisfaction of seeing the results,” she said. “I get to watch these girls become more confident. I see their smiles!”
She’s learned some new skills herself, and has come to find true friendship and community through volunteering. Planning a meeting takes an hour she might otherwise spend just watching TV or on Facebook. “It shows me a different kind of time management. There’s so many tools available out there – people resources,” she said. “Going to some of these training events, like Farnsworth Weekend, that really helps you connect with resources. It’s realizing that you don’t have to do everything by yourself. The kids are the easy part!”
Admitting she’s not a big salesperson, she was “terrified” of cookie sales. “Once we did the first season of cookie sales, the booths – this is so incredibly good for the girls. Even getting told no! I was sold on it. Seeing some of my little wallflower girls have to have to interact with a stranger in a safe environment - it was great.”
In a world where many of us feel cut off from other people despite the constant din of social media posts, Wilcox has found that volunteering for Girl Scouts has brought her the satisfaction of feeling part of her community. She’s found other parents who can contribute their special skills to mentor her Girl Scouts, and sisterhood among her girls.
“My keyword for my troop is community,” she said. “It definitely brings some fulfillment to me.”
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is grateful to Wilcox for sharing her talents and passion, embodying the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ philosophy that drives Girl Scouts. She is deserving of the honor of Volunteer of the Month for December, as she helps her Girl Scouts become young women of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.