From Girl Scout to Person of the Year

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Every year all around the nation people look forward to the Girl Scout cookie season. Whether you’re a lover of thin mints or samosa, we all look forward to that time of year when those eager Girl Scouts will come up to you asking how many boxes you would like. However, Girl Scouts are not just providers of delicious cookies, they are also a group that works to empower girls to grow and become strong women. This is especially true with the story of Katie Meyler. 

Meyler grew up in the state of New Jersey. She was not rich or famous, in fact she usually felt like she had much less than her peers, but there was one thing she did have-the Girl Scouts. She grew up and went on to help assist those in need in Liberia, Africa. In the year 2006 she decided to move to Liberia in order to provide educations to the girls there. She began her non-profit organization, More Than Me, went on to win an award of 1 million dollars, and launched the More Than Me Academy. This school was the first all-girls school in Liberia that had absolutely no tuition fees. With the huge Ebola outbreak in 2014, Meyler turned her school into a safe haven for those who needed emotional support, shelter, food and water. Because of this, many lives were saved; Time magazine noticed her work and because of it, named her 2014’s Person of the Year.

Meyler’s work to help others is an amazing story, and when asked where this desire to help others came about, she refers back to her Girl Scout beginnings. She shared that there were three lessons she gained from her day as a scout that have helped her become the person she is today. The first lesson she learned was that helping others felt wonderful. The first time she realized this was when her troop went to a senior citizens center to do some community service. As the girls sang songs and played games, she felt that they were making a difference and realized that it feels so much better to give than to receive. "What I learned is that serving others ultimately served me. I felt great doing it, and the Girl Scouts is rooted in service to others,” she stated. The second lesson was the benefits girls receive from having an all-girl safe space. Because she was not wealthy, she usually felt isolated around other kids in her neighborhood that is until the Girl Scouts came around. They provided a safe group where everyone was treated equally, "It didn't matter who had what because we shared the common bond of being Girl Scouts. It was our safe, all-girl space. At that time in my life, I needed that,” she also believes that this is how she overcame her fear of failure which is something that all girls need. 

Her final lesson involved always trying. During her time in the scouts, Meyler tried tons of new things that she was unfamiliar with and even scared of. But she knew she should never give up and must always do her best, something that has stuck with her all throughout her journey. "That skill set is invaluable. But as I learned in the Girl Scouts, if I surrounded myself with the right team and tackled projects piece by piece, the impossible would become possible,” said Meyler. These three key ideas have shaped her into the person she is today, and have helped her do the great work she has taken on in Liberia. The CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey, Patricia Carroll stated, "Katie's journey is an example of our core mission. She's encouraging girls to have the confidence and courage to make an impact in their communities and in the world." 

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