Being a Girl Scout

HORSES MOUTH
Photograph by Ryan Dorsett

NAME: Anna Maria Chávez | AGE: 43 |  HOME: San Antonio |  QUALIFICATIONS: Joined Girl Scout Troop 304 at the age of ten / Served as the CEO of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas from 2009 to 2011 / Named the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA in August 2011

● My reaction to becoming the first Hispanic CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA was complete shock. I never dreamed as a little girl that I would have the chance to lead an organization with more than three million members.

● I was fortunate growing up that my best friend, Lisa, came to school one day and announced that she was going to be a Girl Scout. Her mother, Mrs. Murdoch, was the leader of Troop 304, and I still have my cookie-money box that I hand-decorated at one of our meetings.

● Girl Scout camp was the first time I had gone away without my family. I vaguely remember crying, but it taught me to trust myself and explore new things. So when I came back home—oh, forget it! I was so charged up and independent. I thought, “I can go out in the world. I found the wilderness, and I conquered it!”

● My favorite badge was for selling cookies, and I still love eating them today. When I was working in Texas, I must have purchased hundreds of boxes of cookies. My husband was like, “Okay, can we stop buying them?”

● Thin Mints may be our number one seller, but Samoas are my favorite.

● The organization is about more than selling cookies. We’re about promoting issues important to girls, addressing the leadership imbalance in this country, taking care of the environment, and learning about healthy living. In fact, I have lost thirty pounds as part of the Girl Scouts’ Healthy Living Initiative. I think I gained weight by eating too much great barbecue.

● Of course, we have a lot of men who support the Girl Scouts, such as co-leader dads and cookie dads. We have thousands of male volunteers who bring their expertise to the table. I recently met a judge in Uvalde who is hosting a legal series for local girls to teach them about the law.

● Right now I’m in New York, and I have no electricity. So in terms of practical skills, it has been helpful to know how to make a fire!

● During my first seventy days on the job, I had the opportunity to speak to the first lady twice, and I met the president. I had several meetings at the White House, and I attended the State of the Union to represent the members of our organization. Next time, I’m going to wear a pair of cowboy boots.

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