Meet Kathleen Donadio, local Girl Scout Leader and Service Unit Leader. A native Long Islander, Donadio currently resides in Port Jefferson Station with her husband and two children ages 14 and 25. She has worked at for the last 23 years and also works part time at .
Donadio recently sat down with the Port Jefferson Patch to talk about what being a Girl Scout leader in the community is all about.
How did you first get involved with Girl Scouts?
When my daughter was in first grade – she is going into ninth grade now – I started as a parent helper. When my daughter was in second grade the leader resigned and my friend stepped up as leader and asked me to co-lead. So I evolved from parent helper to a co leader. We have alternated through the years between leader and co-leader.
Girl Scout Leaders and any position a leader takes with the service unit, these are all volunteer positions?
People don’t realize you’re a volunteer, but you’re an appointed volunteer. You have to be CPR and first aide certified, you do have to get the training. Moving forward you have to get training also, so that you're offering the best to the children. We want quality, we want you to strive, we are examples for these girls we want them to be the best they can be. Be strong, independent, smart, amazing, and beautiful. We have to show them by example that’s the most powerful thing we can give them as leaders.
In your opinion, has being involved in Girl Scouts benefited the girls?
I say to my girls, I look at them now and how they have matured and developed. I know I can clump them in with a group of other girls and they are going to rise above if a situation happens. They are going to think outside the box with the skills they’ve obtained in these meetings and moving forward.
Has being a leader and being with the girls impacted you and your life?
Absolutely, they have made me better. They’ve made me look inside to see who I want to be, and what I want to be. It’s definitely impacted me and I’ve made great friends, great teammates, great leader friends. We laugh, we have fun, we are trying to get out into the community more.
Every area has a service unit, if your in our area call us let us know what we can do to help. Let’s all join together, local businesses, organizations, invite us out to help. Use us and let us be part of the community it’s a great opportunity for everyone.
Is there a wait-list for girls to become part of a troop currently in this area?
Our current list is about 25. So yes we do need leaders.
Why do you think people don't offer to volunteer their time to be a leader?
They are busy. I always laugh because I’m busy. It really doesn’t take that much time. It's basically an organizational skill, its not a lot involved with the giving of your time. That’s the giving that counts the most, the time your giving to the kids and the community counts way more then the 40 hours that you put in at a job. That’s the most powerful lesson your going to teach your kids.
What do you tell potential leaders that are trying to decide if they can handle being a leader or not?
We tell them you can handle it, you absolutely can handle it. And we are going to be right there with you to help. You your not alone. You’ve got a great support system.
There is no reason to not be a leader other then fear of the unknown. Which you should never let it stop you from trying something new, what’s the worst that can happen.
For more information on how you can volunteer with Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, please visit their website.