Young Leaders Improve the World


Young Leaders Improve the World
Young Leaders at Girl Scouts Gold Awards

The following post is a speech that Laura delivered to a Girls Scout Awards Dinner for girls earning their Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. Laura is a Girl Scout, and volunteers to help prepare future leaders and provide girls with opportunities to learn from direct leadership experiences.  Each girl receiving an award at the dinner identified a need in her community, created a plan to address that need, built a team from the community to support that solution, and implemented it.  Preparing young leaders is critical to building the fearless leaders for our future.

Girls Taking Action

Thank you for allowing me to be part of this celebration tonight.  Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”  You girls have certainly gone out and done it.  It is an honor to help recognize your extraordinary accomplishments, and to witness this powerful step in your journeys to become women of Courage, Confidence and Character, like so many Girl Scouts before you.

As a student of leadership, I know that you have developed new skills and self-awareness in your journeys toward these awards, and faced many fears along the way – fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, and fear of not being good enough to complete the task at hand.  You are in good company.  All great leaders experience such fears.  And like you, they refuse to let such fears hold them back from making a difference, and making the world a better place.

The perseverance and resourcefulness required to complete your projects will serve you well when you encounter obstacles in your life.  You have learned that obstacles are not reasons to stop, but only serve to hone your ideas, sharpen your resolve, and make your ideas more powerful.

You have also learned valuable lessons in collaboration, for great projects never succeed solely with the effort of one person.  You can be the catalyst, but the results you achieved relied on many supporters, collaborators and broader community desire for the change you imagined.  This is also true in life, where you will find that change may be started by a single individual, but it is given power when others catch fire based on that initial spark, so nourish your relationships and reach out to others whenever possible, for that amplifies your ideas and your influence on the world.

I congratulate you on behalf of the Board of Director of the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama. You have been able to use your leadership skills to bring people together to impact your community, and for that we all thank you.

I want to leave you with these two quotes.  The first is from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? … as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

And finally, from Anne Frank, who wrote this powerful sentence from her confinement in an attic: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  I am certainly very glad that you girls did not wait.  Thank you.