Making a Difference for Military Dependents
Managing a Girl Scout troop and providing girls with life changing experiences is a job that deserves the highest of praise. Now imagine the impact a Girl Scout experience has for military children who live a life in service to our country, often sacrificing friends and activities in the process. Nikki Medlock, a Girl Scout alumna and troop leader in Leavenworth, Kansas has taken the job of troop leader and multiplied it by four. Leading four troops of military dependents, troops 5400 (Daisy), 5401 (Brownie), 5413 (Junior) and 5454 (Cadette), Nikki and her co-leaders are improving the lives of military children in our council.
As a leader, Nikki Medlock has Girl Scouts down to a science. “If you’re organized, it’s easy. This is my fifth year with Girl Scouts and I’ve done it in Hawaii, Texas and now Kansas,” said Nikki, commenting on how she’s improved her system over five years as a leader. Armed with calendars, girl plans and notes, she and her co-leaders get to work in July to plan out the logistics for the whole year for all four troops. Once everything is planned, Nikki and the co-leaders can delegate tasks to parents who want to help, without relying on chaperoning as the only source of involvement. She believes this gives the girls a better sense of independence and parents a vested interest in the troop.
This diligent planning allows for exciting, well planned Girl Scout experiences like Harry Potter themed badge events and field trips with Community Partners (check out their trip to Chip’s Chocolate Factory!). The troops also do unique service projects because of their military connection, like laying wreaths on graves at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. Even though sixty Girl Scouts may be a lot to coordinate, Nikki strongly believes that all girls should have the opportunity to be Girl Scouts. “I will take any little girl that wants to be a Girl Scout into my troop. If that means I end up with sixty girls and four troops, then that’s what I end up with,” Nikki said.
While organization makes the job easier, Nikki still devotes a great deal of time to her troops. “I’m a stay at home mom, but I spend about eight hours a day doing something related to my troops,” Nikki said. As the mom of two Girl Scouts, Nikki knows that the time she devotes is having a direct impact on her family. The Girl Scout troop families have become a close community that supports each other, especially the Medlock family, in times of need.
Starting in December 2014 Nikki underwent three major surgeries to battle breast cancer. The families of her Girl Scouts were at her side the entire way – helping with troop meetings, visiting her at the hospital and helping her family with childcare. It was a source of courage during Nikki’s brave fight. It’s another great reason why Girl Scouts is such an important part of the Medlock family’s life.
As a military family, the Medlock’s know firsthand how difficult it can be for military kids to maintain friendships when they move so frequently, making Girl Scouts incredibly important to life on base. Nikki believes that by being in Girl Scouts, girls have an easier time finding friends when they move. “Many of these girls move around every two to three years, so Girl Scouts is the one thing they will always have, no matter where they go. With Girl Scouts being overseas as well, they always have that one thing in common with new girls in a new place,” Nikki said.
On top of the great friendships and life skills they learn, the Leavenworth troops especially love camping. “We all camp – even my Daisies do overnight camping trips,” Nikki said. While they mostly stay at local Girl Scout camps, the Cadette troop is taking a trip to Tennessee and staying at a Girl Scout camp in the Rocky Mountains! Since encouraging independence is important to Nikki, the girls are raising the funds for the trip themselves. One of their recent fund raisers was selling hot chocolate, apple cider and water at the Fort Leavenworth tree lighting ceremony.
This organization is a passion for Nikki because of how much opportunity it opens up for the girls. “I love that Girl Scouts opens their eyes up to so much! I have girls who wouldn’t talk at the beginning of last year and this year they’re running for Student Council President. It’s really neat to see girls blossom – all because of Girl Scouts,” Nikki said.
We thank Nikki Medlock and her family for their service to not only Girl Scouts, but to our country. Because of leaders like Nikki, every girl can be a Girl Scout and find a sisterhood anywhere in the world. If you know of an inspiring troop leader or volunteer like Nikki, share his or her story with us in the comments below!