For Nicole Burgess, a 21-year-old college student in Chicago, becoming a Girl Scout volunteer is a full-circle moment. Growing up, Burgess was a member of Shalina Hampton’s troop at the now defunct Nathan R. Goldblatt Elementary School and today she’s preparing to give back to the organization that gave so much to her.

“I love kids and it’s kind of like paying it forward,” said Burgess. “I’ve just always wanted to give back to this great organization. I love volunteering with Girl Scouts. I hope to touch someone’s life like Ms. Hampton touched mine.”

In middle school, Burgess was teased for being one of the top students, but she said Hampton and Girl Scouts made a positive impact on her life.

“I was always a curious person and I was able to experience new things with Girl Scouts,” she said. “What Ms. Hampton did for me and her Girl Scout troop was help us recognize our value. She made me feel important.”

Hampton, who was also Burgess’s science teacher at the time, remembers Burgess as a quiet and shy student.

“But when she got to Girl Scouts, she was not the same,” Hampton recalled. “She took on a leadership role within the troop and she made friends with the other girls.”

Burgess describes volunteering with Hampton as a “full-circle moment.”

“I really love Ms. Hampton, I don’t know how else to explain it,” Burgess said. “It all goes back to her showing us our value and helping us find our voices. As a child, I didn’t really have a voice, but Ms. Hampton helped me discover mine. Being back with her and her troop, it’s amazing.”

And the feeling is mutual.

“I can’t describe how happy I am to have Nicole come back. A lot of leaders don’t realize the impact they have on these girls and that’s what motivates me to continue,” said Hampton, who was a Girl Scout growing up and also helped with her daughter’s troop. “Volunteering with Girl Scouts is about me giving back to the community. It doesn’t matter how big or small your contribution is, you can make a difference. You can encourage a girl to become a leader.”

For anyone curious about volunteering with Girl Scouts, Hampton encourages them to give it a try.

“It takes nothing but time,” she said. “These girls are eager to explore new things, like going camping and doing archery. Girl Scouts really does encourage girls. We embody the mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character. It’s obvious in everything we do.”

Know someone who would make a great volunteer? Invite them to join Girl Scouts today! For more information, click here.

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