Charity in the City: A Day at Camp
As a columnist, I love to share amazing stories of our neighbors who are giving back and changing our community and the world. This month, I wanted to take a moment and share my own latest giving adventure.
It all started when Marilyn Midyette, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, approached me to participate in the organization’s inaugural Camp CEO this summer.
The concept of Camp CEO is to pair teen girls with some of Atlanta’s top female leaders. It is an opportunity for young girls to learn about leadership and success from women who best embody both concepts.
To know me is to know I have a major soft spot in my heart for kids, so the opportunity to mentor the young leaders was an easy “yes.” Plus, it’s been more than 20 years since I earned a Girl Scout badge – I was up for the challenge! And so were 22 other women including Kathy Betty, owner of the Atlanta Dream and Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean.
Although I was at camp to mentor and teach, to lead and to inspire, it was clear to me, within the first five minutes at camp that I would also be learning a lot from the Girl Scouts. It was an amazing experience and reinforced just how rewarding helping others can be to my own life.
The week was filled with highlights – from participating in team-building activities with the girls, to writing and performing a rap about the environment with my mentee, to bonding over a camp fire complete with my favorite, s ‘mores.
While the days were filled with fun, the cornerstone of camp was the “Dreaming Your Future” sessions in which the women individually shared life lessons in leadership with the girls. Appropriately, I brought my message about the importance of being a leader and giving back.
The biggest moment for me came shortly after my session when a young girl, just 15. approached me and said, “Thank you. Because of listening to you and hearing about how you started Kate’s Club and took something so horrible that happened to you and did something to help others, I’ve decided to change what I want to do.”
This young girl, very wise and very brave went on to share with me about her own personal health struggle she had overcome and the career she now aspired to create for herself, so that she could help ensure others didn’t suffer as she did. That moment shared between us was so important to her and also so validating to me. I just wanted to give these girls one moment, or thought to take away from this camp that would provide a seed for purpose and fulfillment as they grow up.
Just as I try to convey to you through this column each month, I wanted to deliver the message to these girls about how they could make a difference. But the Girls Scouts didn’t need me to introduce that message, because they are already delivering it. I saw it in every girl there and in their actions as leaders in their young lives.
For more information of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, visit www.girlscoutsofgreateratlanta.org.
For more about Kate Atwood and her nonprofit, Kate’s Club, visit www.katesclub.org.