Sherry Quinn is a Girl Scout troop leader and grandmother who epitomizes leadership. For 27 years she served our country as a Marine and has now dedicated her life to inspiring the next generation of great women. What started as an informational session on Girl Scouts with her oldest granddaughter after seeing a sign at the YMCA, has now become a passion. A proud leader for Daisy and Brownie Troop 4042 in Kansas City, Kansas, Sherry Quinn is showing her girls what it means to be a driven leader.
As a child Sherry was involved with Girl Scouts overseas on Okinawa as an Army dependent. During her time in the troop she was able to go on her first camping trip away from her family – something she remembers as a little scary, but a great growth opportunity. The family moved around a lot for the Army, but Sherry learned to make new friends and jump into leadership roles.
When she graduated high school, Sherry looked into potential career opportunities and a military life was the best fit. “It was in the mid-sixties, a time when most women could be a secretary, nurse, school teacher or housewife, that’s about it, and none of that seemed exciting to me,” Sherry said. She decided to make her own path and joined the Marines. Though her first couple weeks were challenging, as soon as her superiors told her that she was behind, she kicked it in gear and graduated at the top of her class!
After 27 years in the Marines working with computers and mainframes, Sherry retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4, Platoon Commander. During her time in the Marines she took troops through cold weather training, commanded a platoon and worked in the computer field. This training prepared her for the day that Grace’s troop was suddenly faced with finding a new troop leader or folding. Always the leader, Sherry stepped up and became the troop leader. “Being retired from the Marine Corp, I thought, if I can order a bunch of marines around in the desert, I can handle 7 or 8 little girls,” Sherry said.
Now Sherry’s troop has grown to include 11 girls, with 6 more that may join this month. A dedicated photographer, Sherry loves to take her girls on activities all over the city and makes a troop scrapbook for each year of Girl Scouting adventures. Sherry also keeps up her outdoor skills by teaching Camping 102 for our council, helping leaders prepare for troop camping. She’s always looking for educational opportunities and finds unique ways to teach girls about life while keeping it fun. For Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday celebration, Sherry used her own experience battling cancer to help the girls understand the disease and relate to the Founder as part of an upbeat history lesson and birthday party.
Even though being a troop leader can be taxing at times, it’s worth it for amazing moments with her granddaughters. One of Sherry’s fondest memories was attending the Gold Award Honors Ceremony with her granddaughter, Grace, in 2015. Instead of pushing to leave after the expo portion Grace insisted that they stay for the ceremony, having been inspired by the older Girl Scouts and talking with Sherry about what her own Girl Scout experience could be. The Daisy clapped wildly as each girl received her award and as Sherry said, “she turned to me and went ‘Mammy, one of these days, I’m going to walk across that stage.’ At that point I knew I had done something right. It may not be 27 years in the Marines, but I knew I had put her in a place where she can grow. I want to see her keep growing through Girl Scouts.”
Because of her unique position as senior who is a troop leader, Sherry knows the benefits of connecting the generations. “A retired individual has a lot of time on their hands and they could invest that in the community, in Girl Scouts. I want them to know we are here and we want them,” Sherry said.
While some of her peers seem lost a few years into retirement, Sherry has something she’s passionate about to devote her time to and a way to bond with her granddaughters. How inspiring that Sherry is using her retirement, a time for relaxation, to inspire young women and give back to the community.
Sherry is an amazing example of a troop leader and an American hero. We thank her for her service and her passion for Girl Scouts. The future is bright for this young troop and what Sherry wants for all girls is exposure to good things at a young age so they have confidence. “All of these girls can become leaders and all they need is self-confidence and someone to believe in them. I want them to have exposure to things like Girl Scouts, things that help them grow…and have a lot of fun along the way,” Sherry said.
What an inspiring story! We are so thankful for our amazing volunteers like Sherry Quinn. If you know of an amazing volunteer, please share your story in the comments below!