October 1, 2013

Double-duty month: Pink + Green = Success

Get ready to be bombarded with color this month. No, I'm not running in a race where they throw colors at you. But it is October and that means it is the Pink Month. Pink as in Baby, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Also kicking off this week is a national effort to get more females involved in Girl Scouts. Even Michelle Obama, the honorary Girl Scout volunteer, has recorded a message urging females to get involved.

I can't think of a better color blend because Girl Scouts is just one of the reasons my daughter survived her fight against breast cancer. The importance of regular exams of your breasts was emphasized at a health fair she first attended as a Junior Girl Scout, back when Juniors were in the fourth-, fifth-, or sixth grades.

The American Cancer Society handed out fake boobs with bumps for practice. The girls got to take them home. Fortunately, that started my daughter on a regular routine that led her to discover her bump when it was small. Too bad her doctor didn't realize that girls in their early 20s do get breast cancer and didn't take her seriously at first.

But Girl Scouts also helped my daughter develop courage and confidence so she didn't let that bump go unnoticed much longer. With radiation, two bouts of chemo and some surgery, the cancer has now been gone for four years, and almost four months.

I wish every girl had the opportunity to be in a good Girl Scout program. That would be a program where they are surrounded by strong people, especially strong women who are willing to carve out time to let some girls learn to bond with girls who are like them and different from them.

A good Girl Scout program would be one where the girls learn to make good decisions, learn to lead, and learn to succeed. A good Girl Scout program also would be one where the girls fail and then learn why failure happened, how to recover from a failure and what to do differently.

A good Girl Scout program would be one where the girls go outside their normal, day-to-day life to try things like sleeping in a museum, or climbing through a cave or sleeping on a floor in a room with 60 others who start out as strangers.

A good Girl Scout program would be one where girls could sleep in a tent with three hours, row a boat, ride a horse, roast a marshmallow, ride an elevator, see a 30-floor building and hear an orchestra play live.

To create a good Girl Scout program, someone needs to listen to the girls and be a resource. You don't have to be a parent to volunteer. Visit the national Girl Scout site to volunteer.

Want more? I've written about my daughter's battle and also about Girl Scouts.