Camp CEO: Mentoring with a Side of S’mores

Camp CEO: Mentoring with a Side of S’mores

Last week, I participated in what will surely be remembered as one of the highlights of my summer–camping with the Girl Scouts! In it’s tenth year, Camp CEO is a premier leadership camp for teen girls and high-level professionals held at Camp Butternut Springs in Valparaiso, Indiana.

I was invited to attend as one of the 25 female “CEOs” along with 40 high-achieving Girl Scouts selected from the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana council who applied and wrote essays to participate. I had not been camping since my days as a leader with my daughter’s troop 20 years ago, and it was incredible fun to be hiking, swimming, and singing songs around the campfire once again.

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Village President of Long Grove Angie Underwood and her mentee, Trinity, at Camp CEO.

In addition to these traditional camp activities, what made Camp CEO so special was the opportunity to mentor the girls one-on-one and share stories, life experiences, advice and inspiration. I was fortunate to be paired with Trinity, an impressively smart and sweet girl from Chicago who aspires to be a doctor.

I really enjoyed spending time with my mentee as well as all the girls at camp and I was continually amazed by the thoughtful questions the girls asked. They were truly focused on learning and absorbing as much as possible from their time with the adult mentors. Women were present from a wide variety of professions such as science, technology, law, government, finance, communications, entrepreneurs, and more.

I was asked to lead a workshop on networking and social etiquette in politics, which challenged me to step out of my box a bit to design a seminar. But I had a ball doing it, and the girls really seemed to enjoy discussing the role of women in elected office particularly in light of the history being made this year in our U. S. presidential race.

One activity that seemed to really resonate with adults and girls alike was the “Dreaming Your Future” tradition. A couple of times each day, everyone would gather around the fireplace or campfire, and listen as three or four of the CEOs took center stage and shared their own life story and pathway to leadership.

As usual, the girls had intriguing questions to ask. I found it so interesting that every woman’s story showcased the fact that most of us are not doing what we thought our careers would be when we were in high school or college–in most cases our journey has taken twists and turns to lead us to a place we never dreamed possible. I know that I never planned on becoming a Village President when I was majoring in foods-nutrition/dietetics during my college days!

Camp CEO was an all-around wonderful experience. I’m grateful that we have organizations such as Girl Scouts to provide opportunities like this, which bond women and girls together to inspire the next generation of leaders. But the inspiration works both ways, because I came home uplifted by Trinity and all the other young women I now know who give me hope for a bright future for us all.

This post was written by Angie Underwood, village president of Long Grove. To learn more about Angie, please visit her blog, LifeinLongGrove.com.

Girl Scouts Learn About Leadership at High Tea in Long Grove

Girl Scouts Learn About Leadership at High Tea in Long Grove

Twenty-five Girl Scouts and troop leaders from Buffalo Grove, Long Grove and Arlington Heights, IL had the opportunity to witness leadership in action during afternoon tea with local elected officials.

The event, which was held at High Tea with Gerri in Long Grove, IL, was hosted by Village Presidents Angie Underwood of Long Grove and Beverly Sussman of Buffalo Grove.

“These woman who make service a part of their everyday life wanted to give back to the Girl Scouts in the communities,” said Nancy Armstrong, regional community director for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.”And Gerri instructed us all on proper etiquette of women during high tea as the girls wore fancy hats and drank from vintage tea cups.”

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As part of the experience, each of the mayors talked with the girls about their own stories of how they became leaders and attributed their beginnings in Girl Scouts, according to Armstrong. One of the mayors even brought along her beanie and Girl Scout handbook.

“They stressed the importance of always trying your best, and having your voice heard at any age,” said Armstrong. “They brought up examples of how even young children can make a difference and how important it is to have women in leadership roles.”

Recently, Underwood and Sussman declared March 12-19 Girl Scout Week in honor of the organization’s 104th birthday. With Girl Scouts present, the village presidents read and handed a proclamation to the girls at the town hall meetings.

Do you want your troop to participate in exceptional experiences such as this? Renew your Girl Scout membership today and receive exciting rewards!