As with many parents who show up for Girl Scout informational meetings they never expect they will leave as a new troop leader.
But their excited daughters who want to join look up at their parents, hoping they’ll take a chance and say, YES! That’s exactly what Kerry Baker did that day. He became the leader for Troop 559 at Cedar Creek Elementary in Olathe, Kansas.
“It never even occurred to me that I had the opportunity to lead a troop,” Kerry said. “But I have a more flexible schedule than my wife so it made sense for me to do it.”
Kerry is in his 19th year as a career law enforcement officer currently working as a federal agent. He admits that being a troop leader for his fourth grade daughter, Paige, is the complete opposite of what he does for a living.
“When I started it was a new troop of ten Daisies. I wasn’t sure how my experiences would translate,” Kerry said. “But one of the things we did was have the girls take a self-defense seminar. They learned the basics and ended up loving it.”
Kerry realized that although he is a man he is passionate about teaching girls that there are no limits to what they can achieve.
“I want them to know, nobody ever has the right to restrict their possibilities in life,” Kerry said. “I think it’s so important to stop gender stereotypes.”
Kerry is now in his fourth year of volunteering with the Girl Scouts. This year, as the assistant leader. He has come a long way from the first year when he didn’t know how parents would react to a male troop leader. He briefly contemplated stepping aside for this year but parents contacted him to personally ask him to stay on with the troop. Not to mention his daughter telling him, “No way, dad!”
Although he already spends a lot of time with his daughter, he likes the special activities that allow them to truly interact. The troop recently stayed overnight at Camp Tongawood. Kerry challenges all Girl Scout dads to volunteer for the overnights at camp.
“Sometimes, even though you’re at home with your family, there can be so many distractions,” Kerry said. “It’s important to spend quality time connecting with my daughter and Girl Scouts provides that. Even if I were the only male troop leader in the country I would still do it because I love it so much.”
We like the sound of that, Kerry! Thank you for all you do for your Girl Scout and so many others. In addition to his troop leader responsibilities, Kerry is also serving on the new Outdoor Experiences Task Force.
Do you know a great GS man we should spotlight? Tell us his story!