In 1998, when Ana Colombo’s daughter was in 2nd grade, she brought home a flyer from school about joining Girl Scouts.
Colombo didn’t know much about the organization, but her daughter’s excitement drew her in. “That was the beginning of this 20-year journey with this girl-empowering organization,” she says. Colombo and her husband live in Maryvale and have four grown children and two grandchildren. She now serves as her granddaughters’ troop leader.
Q: What kind of volunteer work do you do with Girl Scouts?
A: I started as my daughter’s troop co-leader. Within a month, I became the leader because the leader had to leave due to health issues. Since then I’ve been the proud leader of Troop 1688. Both my daughters were Girl Scouts until they graduated high school and they continue to support our troop as adults. Currently, both my granddaughters are members of my troop. Besides leading the troop, I have been involved and supportive of our council in other ways, including joining committees, supporting adult learning and most recently, becoming part of the outdoor education team to support other neighborhoods during their camping trips.
Q: Why is volunteering important to you?
A: Being a volunteer is very important to me knowing that I can make a difference in somebody’s life; and being able to see how our little girls grow from Daisys to Ambassadors and become beautiful young ladies with high values, confidence, and character. To see them set and achieve goals, to hear their parents talk about a skill they noticed in their daughters that was developed through Girl Scouts is very gratifying to me as a volunteer leader.
Q: Can you tell me about a volunteer moment that stands out?
A: The most important moments for me as a volunteer are when I see and hear about how the girls in the troop display themselves at home and in our community. When I see a girl from years past and she remembers activities we did are proud moments because it shows I made a difference in their lives that will last a life time.
Q: What has surprised you most about your volunteer work with Girl Scouts?
A: What surprises me the most is when I’m recognized by peers and council staff and when people know who I am even though I haven’t met them, but they have heard about my dedication to this organization.
Q: How many boxes of Girl Scout cookies have you helped sell over the years?
A: Cookie season is the craziest time for any leader, and this is my 19th cookie season. My first cookie season I think we sold about 300-500 boxes. Nineteen years later, we are close to reaching 9,000 boxes. Every year we have lots of parent support and eager girls trying to reach their goals to go to Camp Surf in San Diego over the summer and other field trips and activities our troop does throughout the year. I’m one of the few leaders that meets throughout the entire year, even during the summer months.
Q: What would you like others to know about volunteer opportunities with the Girl Scouts?
A: I wish others could see that when people become volunteers with the Girl Scouts organization, they can really make a difference, not only with the girls we serve, but in our community as a volunteer. We are helping shape our girls to be confident and assertive, to give back to their community and be of service to others. Finding time to make a difference in someone’s life makes a difference in your own life. Being a leader can be overwhelming at times, however, the feeling of accomplishment is much greater.