Troop leader and “cookie diva” is passionate about Girl Scout program
BOW, NH – With decades of involvement in Girl Scouting, as a girl, a troop leader, a cookie coordinator and more, Kate Ess has brought her passion and dedication to many Girl Scouts over the years. She has been named Volunteer of the Month for December by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, the council serving girls across New Hampshire and Vermont.
Ess, 49, of Bow, currently leads a troop of six Girl Scout Ambassadors, all high school juniors, some of who have been with her since their youngest years in Girl Scouting. Right now her girls are navigating just how to continue their Girl Scout experience with the pandemic preventing in-person meetings, along with fitting in their many other activities in drama, Honor Society, and working part-time jobs.
“I know a couple are interested in doing a Gold Award,” she said “All six are very, very, very involved and busy!”
The troop is trying to meet once a month, and is to the point where the girls act much more on their own, dividing responsibilities and making their own decisions about what to do next. Two years ago, all got involved in earning the Silver Award, the highest honor available to Girl Scout Cadettes, and learned some life lessons about working with public officials and overcoming obstacles.
With the help of Ess’s co-leader at the time, Monica Mason, she has taken her Girl Scouts to the Rocking Horse Ranch in New York for a horseback riding adventure, run cookie booths, and organized many camporees, among many other activities. Just this fall, Ess and current co-leader Andrea Rook took the girls safely hiking 3.5 miles for a CROP Walk. She sees girls grow, becoming confident and competent. Even when things don’t go as planned, as in the Silver Award experience, they learn from it, adjust, and come out on top.
“I was so impressed by them,” she said. “The girls made their own choices. I was so proud of them!” She pointed out how difficult it is to go in a different direction from one’s friends. “I said it’s OK if you say no, change directions. These kids are leaders. These kids are showing their confidence.”
Along with guiding girls directly, Ess has spent years as a Community Sales Product Coordinator – that’s taking care of Girl Scout Cookie sales – and Community Account Coordinator – someone who helps troops with the financial side of things.
“Kate cares so much about the girls and the leaders,” said Robin Boyd, Product Sales Manager for the Girl Scout council. “When I was a volunteer, she was such an eager part of our service team. Since I became staff in product sales, working with her has been wonderful. She was organized, thorough, and followed up, asking questions so her troops had complete and up-to-date information.”
DeeDee Rice, Volunteer Support Specialist for the council, affectionately called Ess her “cookie diva,” and noted that Ess is well known for her themed camporees.
“She would have a theme, dress the part, and have her own skit that she would present to the girls,” said Rice. “She has such a contagious passion for the Girl Scout program and for all of the girls. She takes her roles very seriously and holds others to the same standards.”
Cookies may be what Girl Scouts are best known for, but it’s a small part of what they do. When cookie season is in progress, it teaches girls valuable life skills. Ess sees it as a great learning experience.
“Kids run it. They really do run it. They set it up, they do the money, they talk to people, do the Gift of Caring boxes,” she said. Noting that it helps girls learn to be less shy and talk to people, she said “It’s a great way for them to try their wings, get some confidence.”
Ess encourages anyone who’s interested to get involved with Girl Scouts, whether as a girl or an adult. For girls, she said, “It’s a ready-made community. It can be a place you can do things you don’t do somewhere else.” For adults, it can provide real fulfillment and a sense of connection to one’s community, and there’s plenty of help for a new leader. She’s made connections with her girls she hopes will be lifelong.
“I want these kids to be in my life, and my kid’s life, forever!” she said. “It’s an honor to be that (mentor) in somebody’s life.”
When Ess isn’t busy with her Girl Scouts, she also volunteers for her church, and is a supervisor of the checklist in Bow. She’s mother to four children ranging from 15 to 23 years old, one of whom is part of her Ambassador troop.
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is grateful for all Kate Ess has given to Girl Scouts over the years, and is proud to call her Volunteer of the Month.
To find out more about joining Girl Scouts as a girl or adult, see www.girlscoutsgwm.org.
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.