It was a trip down memory lane for many, as they spent the afternoon singing songs, swapping stories and enjoying the fellowship. Thomas took some time to share her passion for the organization, the many positive ways that it has influenced her personal and professional life and her commitment to continue to supporting Girl Scouts.
“When you are really excited about Girl Scouting, you never get too old,” Thomas said.
It was a treat for the guests to hear Thomas’s colorful stories about some of her favorite Girl Scout experiences, including a three-week trip that she led to Girl Scout National Center West in Wyoming in the late 1980s. Thomas described challenges they faced, such as missing luggage and a lost orthodontic retainer. She vividly recalled one experience driving the van of 12 girls down the highway towards Death Canyon, looking down to see the gas gauge nearing empty and looking up to see nothing by rural stretches of road for miles and miles. At that point, she said there was nothing to do but pray.
“And then, I looked up, and there were the lights of a filling station,” Thomas said. “It was late and the man inside said he didn’t know why he was still there, but for some reason he had stayed late. For us! I told him he was there for us and for these girls.”
As a Girl Scout volunteer, Thomas was also a member of the board of the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, a member of the council’s awards committee and a master trainer. She represented the local Girl Scouts as a delegate at the Girl Scout National Convention in Portland, Ore. in 1987 and over the next 15 years, attended the next five conventions as well.
Through her training expertise, Thomas has shared her love and knowledge of Girl Scouting with hundreds of volunteers over the years. She encourages other to pass on their skills and knowledge to others. She has also recognized that the skills she gained as a Girl Scout trainer, such as writing curriculums, transferred over to her professional life as a social worker and now at the First United Presbyterian Church of Norfolk.
Thomas also mentioned that she has seen opportunities for African American Girl Scouts grow in her 50 years with the organization. Diversity and inclusion have always been a core value of Girl Scouting, and locally, Girl Scouts extended membership to African American girls starting in 1935. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast continues to be committed to serving all girls in the community.
The Girl Scouts relies on volunteers, such as Thomas, who give their time and talents to make a difference in the lives of girls. Whether someone has an hour, a day or more, there are volunteer opportunities to fit with any lifestyle and availability. It’s never too late to become a Girl Scout!
For more information, visit gsccc.org or call 1-800-77SCOUT.