By Kim French, Director of Resource Centers
Congratulations to Nikki Pehlke who has been awarded GSNI’s Volunteer Spotlight for August 2022!
Years ago in Oswego, Nikki participated in Girl Scouts during her youth. She especially remembers having a great time horseback riding at White Pines Ranch. 2022–23 will be Nikki’s third year volunteering as an adult with GSNI. She has been one of Girl Scout Troop 436’s Leaders as well as the newly formed Stargazers Service Unit Manager.
To show appreciation for her continued commitment to Girl Scouts, Nikki was nominated for and received GSUSA’s Volunteer of Excellence Award in the spring of 2022. What an achievement!
GSNI Member Support Specialist, Lauri Doyle, nominated Nikki for this award stating, “As a first year Girl Scout leader in 2020–21, COVID proved to be a tough time to begin a new troop. Not only did Nikki begin a new troop, but she also stepped up to lead her service unit. Nikki has revitalized her team and is leading her area in bringing Girl Scouts back post-COVID. She is enthusiastic, determined, and has a wonderfully patient, supportive style of communication that has given her areas a fresh start as we get reconnected to Girl Scouts.”
Lauri continued, “This summer Nikki formed the first Stargazers Service Unit Day Camp which was a tremendous success with new and returning leaders from all of the three service units who recently merged. Coming together, they offered a great new experience for many. Nikki has a passion for improving the recreation opportunities in their local community. In addition to Girl Scouts, she works with tumbling, cheer, and softball programs. Nikki’s enthusiasm for the positive outcomes that Girl Scouts provides, the fun events that bring families together, and her easy-going leadership style has helped new troop leaders and service unit team members feel like a part of the family.”
“I volunteer with Girl Scouts, because I love working with kids,” Nikki shared. “I want to help build these girls’ self-confidence, so they know they can do anything! The skills and values Girl Scouts offers are truly a benefit, and I wanted my daughter to experience that. Girl Scouts supports a sense of community and seeing the girls out there will hopefully bring people together.”
Additionally, Nikki mentioned, “Volunteering is so rewarding and seeing the smiles on our Girl Scouts’ faces just melts my heart! Being a Service Unit Manager, I get to learn from so many other leaders. They’re so passionate, and it really spreads. Everyone brings their own strengths and talents to share with others.”
Regarding the Three Processes (girl-led, learn by doing, and cooperative learning), Nikki commented, “Our troop is multi-level Daisy through Cadette level Girl Scouts. During our meetings, we try to get the girls moving and working together on their projects and badges. The more hands-on they are, the more they learn and retain. Each meeting we rotate which Girl Scouts are leading the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout Promise and Law.”
When asked about her top Girl Scout moments, Nikki responded, “I have so many great memories! One of my favorites was seeing one of our troop parents who knows how to tap a tree for maple syrup show the girls how to do this. It was really neat, and all the girls went home with maple syrup!”
“My advice to other Girl Scout volunteers and parents is don’t stress,” she notes. “Sometimes the best things that happen aren’t planned. Girl Scouts provides a social outlet that may have been missing during the pandemic and building relationships with other adults through Girl Scouts has been great! Just be present and have fun! You got this!”
Thank you, Nikki, for your wonderful contributions to Girl Scouts!
GSNI wishes to thank Patty Donahue and Image Awards Engraving and Creative Keepsakes in Geneva for providing the beautiful tile trivet awards for our Volunteer Spotlight Program.