April is Volunteer Appreciation Month! Every day, Girl Scout volunteers bring girls experiences filled with fun, friendship, discovery – and so much more. Throughout the month we are highlighting just a few of the many amazing volunteers right here in west central Florida.
This week we are putting the spotlight on Shirl McCray, a longtime Girl Scouts volunteer with nearly 20 years of experience. She is not only serving as the current Sacajawea Community Coordinator, but is also the Accounting Coordinator, Product Sales Chair as well as a Troop Leader for a group of Senior and Ambassador girls.
All of her hard work and dedication is done for the personal development of girls. McCray believes the most rewarding part of Girl Scouts is welcoming new girls into the program then working to help them grow, learn and mature through their involvement. In the span of a year, she has watched shy girls build confidence, come out of their shells and find their niche in Girl Scouts.
“One of the most important parts of the program is to expose them to new experiences they might not have the opportunity to do otherwise if it were not for Girl Scouts,” explained McCray.
She has even enlisted the help of her former troop members as positive role models. Many have now gone off to college or started careers but still find time to visit and speak about opportunities that are available to girls when they grow up.
Unfortunately, there are still girls missing out on the Girl Scout experience. The biggest struggle she faces is not having enough people to meet the need. The Sacajawea Community is located in Ybor City which is an area that is underserved in many ways.
“In my particular area, a majority of the girls receive scholarships but the problem is getting committed adult volunteers to stay involved,” explained McCray.
The best advice she can give to new volunteers is to be prepared. She shared, “There are a lot of resources available online but it does take some time, you have to read and study the program.”
Girl Scouts of West Central Florida is always looking for new volunteers to help enhance our program. Whether you can give a few hours, a few weeks, or a few months there is a fun and flexible volunteer opportunity waiting for you!