Man Enough to be a Girl Scout – Jerry O’Keefe
When you think of a Girl Scout volunteer, the words “dedicated,” “generous,” and “committed” probably come to mind. Those are great words to describe the awesome Girl Scout dad and volunteer, Jerry O’Keefe! This Scout dad is dedicated to making an amazing troop experience not only for his own daughter, but for the entire Troop 1237 family. Known as “Hiro” at camp, Jerry O’Keefe is a dad who’s showing what it means to be “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout.”
When daughter Hayley was born in 2003, Christine (“Chris”) and Jerry O’Keefe knew they wanted to do their best to raise their only daughter with all the skills she’d need to become a thriving adult. Naturally, they got Hayley involved in Girl Scouts as a Daisy and the rest, as they say, is history. Chris (“Gogo” at camp) leads Troop 1237 with 9 girls currently in the troop with Jerry actively involved at her side. The girls attend Mill Creek Middle School and together have come up with innovative service projects that get them involved and more importantly, doing things as a family.
Spending time together is at the core of what Chris and Jerry want for their family. Because of Girl Scouts, this family has grown from three to a small community that is Troop 1237. “I enjoy being with my family. Not only with my wife and daughter, but the other girls in your troop, being together from kindergarten on, they’re like your adopted daughters in a way or at least a couple times a month when Girl Scouts meets,” Jerry said. The troop actively involves parents through campouts, overnights at the Omaha Zoo, group activities and service projects.
Jerry has been involved in everything he can with Girl Scouts and loves watching his daughter grow. At day camp he helps run stations, plan activities and assist the teens. One of his favorite things is watching Hayley grow into a young leader that other girls look up to. “I love watching them develop and go from being the one who idolizes to the one being idolized,” Jerry said. There’s something extra special for him watching his daughter be the one that girls jump into the arms of when they’re leaving day camp.
The family is incredibly proud of the fact that Troop 1237 has completed their Bronze Award, is working on their Silver Award and at least 2/3 of the girls are planning to go for Gold! Their Bronze Award project was a Frozen Party for younger troops that Jerry loved getting to help with. In addition to Highest Award projects, the troop does service projects for their former elementary school serving as photographers for school events and performed a flag ceremony for a local veterans’ ceremony.
Jerry and the other awesome parents in the troop can’t wait to see where their girls go and they’re noticing increasing parent involvement across the Service Unit. At the 2016 day camp, Jerry said he noticed more dads getting involved than ever before and it’s great to not feel like the only guy around anymore. “There’s no reason dads can’t be involved just because it’s Girl Scouts. It lets your daughters know that you think they’re worth your time,” said Jerry. His biggest advice: “Don’t be afraid to go,” Jerry said. We love Jerry’s advice!
We thank Jerry O’Keefe and all the other awesome Girl Scout families that work hard to give girls absolutely amazing experiences. From day camps to service projects to camping, Jerry O’Keefe is there for it all and a great example of someone who’s “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!”
If you know of an awesome dad or male caregiver, share his story in the comments below!