In honor of National Good Neighbor Day, Sept. 28. Patch is refeaturing this profile of Shannon Smith, a Hampton Bays resident, who exemplifies the spirit of the occasion. The profile originally ran on June. 1, 2011 and is particularly notable as the Girls Scouts of Suffolk County is reporting that there are some 2,000 girls who are on waiting lists to be a part of a girl scout troop.
As the school year comes to a close, Shannon Smith is nearing the end of her 14th year as a local Girl Scout leader. Smith, a Hampton Bays' resident and mother of five children, ranging in age from five to 18, says she plans to continue volunteering for years to come.
Smith leads two troops: a daisy troop, made up of kindergarten and first grade girls in East Quogue; and a cadette troop, comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth graders in Hampton Bays.
“It was a great way to spend time with my girls," said Smith. "I wanted to teach them that they can do anything they set their minds to and give them the tools to be able to do that."
Everyone knows about Girl Scout cookies, but that’s not all Girl Scouts are about, said Smith.
Scouts, said Smith, are constantly participating in community service projects. Her troops have fed the homeless, sent care packages and letters to soldiers in Iraq and filled "boxes of love" for the Retreat in East Hampton.
Aside teaching her scouts about community service, Smith said she has made it her goal to be an advocate for "girl power.”
She said she grew up in an environment where a woman didn't do a man's job, and she wants to ensure her scouts are empowered to do anything they want in life.
In addition to her responsibilities to the troops, she works as massage therapist with personal clients as well as at the Day Spa in Hampton Bays by appointment only. She also home schools her four youngest children. Her oldest daughter is in college.
"I like challenging young minds and seeing that spark," said Smith. "It's wonderful to have a young woman realize she can do something even though she is a girl. I bring that to every girl in every troop, and the parents seem to appreciate it."
A busy mom, shuffling kids on a daily basis, Smith says it’s not always easy to volunteer as a Girl Scout leader, but, she said, it is worth every moment.
Scouting is also, said Smith, one of the lowest cost activities for a child to participate in.
Smith urged all parents to get involved in their daughter’s lives through scouting.
There are time restraints, as well as financial restrictions, that don't always allow a parent to lead a troop, Smith said; however, no matter how much time a parent has, he or she can make a difference.
"You don’t have to be super-human to pull this off, it’s pretty straight forward," she said.
For more information on how you can volunteer with Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, click here.
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