Julie Taylor of Georgia named Girl Scout Volunteer of the Month
GEORGIA, VT – When Julie Taylor saw the need, she decided to step up. That need? A way for girls and their families to participate in Girl Scouts.
Taylor, 38, of Georgia, leads Girl Scout Troop 61489, which formed in October of 2019 with 12 girls. The troop has swelled to 29 girls and 17 adults, encouraging girls from kindergarten through high school to become young women of courage, confidence, and character. She has been named the Volunteer of the Month by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountain, the council serving girls across Vermont and New Hampshire.
At one time, the troop totaled 33 Girl Scouts, but currently has 29.
“We’re Daisies through Juniors with one Ambassador, who is my daughter,” Taylor said. “My girls are really awesome. I’m just incredibly grateful that we have such awesome parents and girls.”
Taylor came into the troop with some experience, having led a troop in Hinesburg when her daughter was young. When she moved to Milton, she volunteered with an existing troop, but became interested in starting a separate troop later on. She started out with 12 Girl Scouts, adding more as the year went on, as they were taking action in their community doing projects and participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.
“Everybody was asking ‘Do you have Daisies?’ ‘Do you have room for anybody else?’ Well, not really, we were maxed out,” she said. “And then I just saw the need in the community. I said we have to open this up!”
For Taylor, saying “I’m sorry, I can’t help you” wasn’t good enough. She wanted to offer her community something beyond Zoom school meetings, and give the girls something else constructive to do during the pandemic, a way to form friendships. So she turned to Facebook and started asking who was interested in joining her for a multi-level troop.
“I need two people to sign up. Could be for your daughter, your granddaughter, it doesn’t matter, I just need two people to agree to it,” she said. “I ended up with three, which was awesome. And we ended up adding 17 Daisies, in one year! I thought maybe we’d add six or seven girls. That was my vision. And it ended up being 17.”
With such a large troop, division of responsibilities among adult volunteers was critical. Taylor took on the administrative side, taking care of Girl Scout paperwork, along with the cookie and fall product programs that fund Girl Scout activities. Her team handles the different levels of troop meetings. She said she is very hands-on with Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts, but leaves the Daisy meetings and activities to their leaders.
“We’ll have meetings here and there and talk about things that we have to, but for the most part I do the majority of the administrative stuff, and I have very little to do with the day-to-day operations of Daisies. They handle most of that,” she said. “They tell me what they’re doing. They are awesome. They rock it every time.”
Taylor’s 17-year-old daughter, Teresa Collins, is the one Ambassador Girl Scout in the troop, so she works fairly independently, and also has learned to lead by helping with the younger Girl Scouts.
Taylor appreciates her team of volunteers, glad that they can take on running meetings and planning adventures. They include Brittany Blaisdell, Jenna Gibson, Amanda Mobbs, Bonnie Dubois, Diana Corkrum, Noranne Dow, Cynthia Wojtyna, Mariah Gutkopf, Kollene Caspers, and Christina Hubbard.
After two years resorting to masks, social distancing, and Zoom meetings, these Girl Scouts have already started going on adventures like a weekend camping trip at the council’s Camp Farnsworth in Thetford. They put on a Touch a Truck event in May, and are planning a glow stick dance party in June, along with a bridging ceremony to mark the girls’ graduation to a new grade in school and a new level in Girl Scouting.
“The girls are planning it,” Taylor said of the bridging ceremony. “Last year it was a pajama party! They wore their uniforms over pajamas. The girls planned everything. They come up with the ideas, then of course the adults rein them in, because in second and third grade they still think they can go to Vegas, but they can’t. That, California, and Florida are the three places they’d like to go. Maybe when you’re older! Hang in there! Maybe we can go later!”
While Taylor claims it’s not necessary for her to get anything out of leading a troop, she does get satisfaction from knowing she does something “really awesome” for her community.
“But also just watching the girls enjoy themselves, watching them have fun at meetings, and be out in the community, and seeing all of that, and knowing that I was a part of it, is all I need.” She said. “I do it just because I feel like the girls deserve the opportunity. Oh, it’s so much fun. Making new friends. I have more child friends than I do adult friends, but I genuinely enjoy each and every one of them. I’m glad to know them. I’m thankful their parents give me that opportunity to be a part of their lives. Without Girl Scouts, I wouldn’t have that. I love it.”
Jazmin Averbuck, outdoor program coordinator and resident camp director for the Girl Scout council, said Julie has nothing but passion for Girl Scouting in her community. “You can see this by how involved she is and her attention to girl-led initiatives. When her older Girl Scouts wanted to work on their Geocaching badge, she gathered the materials together with help from council and slowly but surely worked on the badge. She went camping as a troop at Camp Twin Hills last summer during the troop camping event, and this year she earned her Basic Outdoor Living Skills qualification to take her troop to camp at Camp Farnsworth and Camp Twin Hills on their own.”
Taylor is constantly surrounded by children – she has four of her own and is a child care provider. She’s also pursuing further education.
She encourages others to join Girl Scouts.
“It’s an opportunity for girls to become leaders, learn about community service and being part of a community, and citizenship. The friendship and the connection is the most important part. It’s something they wouldn’t get somewhere else,” she said. “It’s just a great opportunity, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Julie Taylor is a truly remarkable leader and force for good in her community. Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is proud to call her our Volunteer of the Month for June. If you’d like to find out more about joining Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.
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Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org to learn more.