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2017 October Volunteer Spotlight: Janey Welch


By Kim French, GSNI Member Support Specialist

Congratulations to Janey Welch who has been awarded GSNI’s Volunteer Spotlight for October 2017!

As one of Troop 763’s Leaders, Janey had the pleasure of seeing her Girl Scouts graduate high school in May 2017 and awarding them their Bridge to Adult pin and certificate. Janey is beginning her third year as Potowatomi’s Service Unit Manager where she has made many positive changes and is growing their membership. She is also the Service Unit Fall Product Coordinator, Service Unit Cookie Chair, and Service Unit Communications Liaison. Janey received GSNI’s Volunteer of Excellence Award in 2017.

As one of GSNI’s Member Support Specialists, I nominated Janey, describing her as “…a truly passionate volunteer who dedicates herself to the Service Unit Manager role as if it was her career! She manages her service unit beyond what anyone could ask for, gets to know all of the troop leaders and many of the adult volunteers, steps in and negotiates conflict resolution whenever necessary, and keeps communication flowing. She makes sure every one of her troop leaders is First Aid/CPR trained, organizes recruitment events, and is willing to take on any task passed her way, though she frequently offers before I get the chance to ask. She is truly an asset to her Girl Scout community!”

Throughout the years, Janey has had some favorite memories. One happened as her troop concluded their 8-day “end of Girl Scouts” trip to coastal Oregon. While sitting in the airport heading home, the troop re-lived every fun moment they had and laughed themselves to tears.

Another memory moment occurred at Potowatomi Service Unit Day Camp’s closing ceremony this past July. Janey explained, “We had an extremely shy girl who didn’t speak much at troop meetings, let alone outside of her troop, and would look away when you greeted her. Slowly, we saw her start to come out of her shell. We had Daisies perform the closing ceremony for the first time, and this girl saw one of the Daisies struggling to lead the color guard. She walked up to this Daisy, asked if she needed some help, knelt down next to her, and helped her read off the commands. The girl who could barely speak a few years ago now stood in front of a large crowd and showed off her leadership skills.” What a heartwarming moment!

“The three processes are the core of Girl Scout programming and girl-led is repeated over and over,” stated Janey. “I believe by making our events a progression of girl-led activities, we are experiencing a higher retention for older girls than we have in the past. The leadership skills the girls don’t even realize they’re learning as younger girls get put to use as we ask our older girls to design, plan, and run some of our Service Unit events.”

“I don’t believe we have enough female leaders in this world, and I am set to do my part to change that.” Janey commented. “I see many lightbulb moments for the girls as they try new things, experience something outside of their comfort zone, and turn around and share what they’ve learned with their younger counterparts. Girl Scouts feeds my soul, and I hope the programming our service unit provides feeds the girls. One day, I’d like to get the chance to say, ‘Hey that CEO, that pilot, that astronaut, that social worker, that woman who’s making a difference in her community was once a Potowatomi Girl Scout!’”

Janey recommends, “Let the girls lead and let them fail. Show them failure isn’t a bad thing, but a necessary life lesson that can bring you to your ultimate goal! The girls will build their self-confidence and their leadership skills will soar!”

Thank you for being a tremendous volunteer, Janey! You have earned your place in the spotlight!

GSNI wishes to thank Patty Donahue and Image Awards Engraving and Creative Keepsakes in Geneva, Illinois, for donating the tile trivet awards for our Volunteer Spotlight Program!