If you’ve been to a Girl Scout event, you know how exciting it is to engage with girls and watch them learn something new. As you’re talking with girls, do you ever stop and think about the person who set the event up, put the tablecloths on and made sure the event started on time? The exceptional volunteers who work at the least glamorous job, the behind-the-scenes work, are critical to the overall success of Girl Scout.
This is where Girl Scout dad, Kevin Harrill, found his niche. “[Set-up] was where I saw the biggest shortage for volunteers. You can get people to come to an event to talk with the girls, but you can’t get anyone to help set-up,” said Kevin. He found that working to make an event run is how he could make the biggest impact on creating great experiences for his girls and their fellow Girl Scouts.
As the father of a 13-year-old Cadette Girl Scout, Katrina (Troop 971) and 18-year-old Ambassador, Kaela (Troop 761), Kevin has had quite a bit of experience running Girl Scout events. He and his wife, Stephanie, have played an active role in their daughters’ Girl Scout experience since Kaela joined at the age of 5. Both strongly believe in being part of the journey their girls are taking.
“If I had boys, I’d be involved in Boy Scouts. As a parent, I feel you should be involved and active in your kids’ lives,” Kevin said. That’s why he worked to find the niche where he felt he could contribute his unique skill set.
Kevin was a chef for 17 years, so he found his Girl Scout home in the kitchen. “It’s natural and I don’t have to pull a lot of other people away. I cook 450-500 hot dogs at Day Camp, and it’s easy. Cooking isn’t work for me,” Kevin said. Since cooking is such a passion, the family has become a major part of Service Unit 645’s annual event – Rolling in the Dough.
Rolling in the Dough is a service event and fundraiser hosted by Service Unit 645 in Blue Springs, Missouri. For a small fee, Girl Scouts come together and each girl makes two dozen rolls from scratch. After prepping the dough, they send them to Kevin for baking. Each girl takes one dozen home to their family and the second dozen is donated to local charities.
The event takes about six months of planning and “the month before, it’s our whole focus,” Kevin said. In 2014 Kevin baked 4,800 rolls for the event in just one day! “We maxed out last year with a little over 400 girls. We are there at 7:30 in the morning and we don’t get home until 9:30 at night,” Kevin says about the wildly successful event.
These events bring the family together and Kevin gets to see his daughters develop into leaders. “Girl Scouts teaches them that they can do things for themselves. They don’t have to be dependent on parents or even other people. They can achieve. They learn to think for themselves,” Kevin said.
One of the moments where Kevin knew he had his girls in the right organization was when his oldest daughter, Kaela, applied to be a Junior Counselor at Juliette Low camp. “When she found out she could work with disabled girls – it was the most excited I’ve ever seen her. It was from being in Girl Scouts and learning how to lead that brought her to that point. When you see results like that…you go ‘okay, you’re doing something [right],” Kevin said.
What an amazing moment – his daughter was so thrilled about an opportunity to serve. That is an example of a true Girl Scout. Not only was she being the leader Kevin has always wanted, but it was in a way that makes the world a better place. It is his dream to see his daughter’s succeed in whatever makes them happy, and Girl Scouts is helping the girls discover what those passions are.
Because of the support of volunteers like Kevin, Girl Scouts is able to offer unique experiences that empower girls to become the leaders of tomorrow. As a parting piece of advice, Kevin wanted other dads, uncles and caregivers to find a way to jump in and be part of the Girl Scout experience. “I think most guys don’t know what they can do because it’s girls. What I tell all the guys that see me at everything is, ‘find a niche.’ Find something that you’re capable and comfortable with doing and do that for them,” Kevin said. We love this encouragement for other men to be involved in Girl Scouts!
What an inspiring story. Thank you, Kevin, for all your work and for helping create amazing Girl Scout events possible for over a decade. Have a story to share about Kevin Harrill or another amazing guy who’s Man Enough to be a Girl Scout? Comment below!