Girl Scout is dreaming big

Samantha Janssen, right, is pictured here at the Girl Scouts national convention in November with longtime Girl Scouts CEO Francis Hesselbein, center, and her mother Denice Janssen.

This is the big year, if you’re a Girl Scout.

Princeton-area Girl Scouts are joining scouts throughout the state, nation and even the world to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Girl Scouts.

One might think that the Girl Scouts only have cookies on their minds this time of year. But it was on March 12 in 1912 when the founder of Girl Scouting, Juliette Gordon Low, started her first troop in Savannah, Ga.

And for 100 years Girl Scouts have been having fun cooking over campfires, earning badges, sleeping in tents, hiking, swimming and much more. Locally, Girl Scouts are members of the Lakes and Pines Council, a council that serves more than 9,000 girls in Minnesota and Wisconsin. There are 3.5 million Girls Scout members across the globe.

One Princeton Girl Scout has gone above and beyond the call of duty and is on her way to becoming a future leader in the Girl Scout Circle.

Samantha Janssen of Princeton has been a Girl Scout since joining the organization as a Daisy in kindergarten. A Princeton High School sophomore, Janssen then went on to become a Brownie and a full-fledged Girl Scout.

Today, Janssen isn’t just a Girl Scout in her local troop. She is one of about 12 Girl Scouts on a district Teen Action Board and is a delegate to national Girl Scout meetings like the recent convention in Houston. The convention is held every three years. In 2014 it will be in Salt Lake City. And like she was in Houston in November, Janssen hopes to be representing the girls of the Lakes and Pines Council in Nevada.

As a delegate in Houston, Janssen joined about 1,200 other girls in crafting legislation that will shape the next three years of Girl Scouting. While in Houston, Janssen also had the opportunity to attend the Girl Scout Leadership Institute, which focused on global connections, leadership and innovation in marketing, business and technology and science. While in Houston, Janssen had the opportunity to hear from speakers whom she says will forever change her life.

Take Frances Hesselbein, for example. Hesselbein is a former Girl Scouts CEO and founder of the Leader to Leader Institute. Hesselbein served as the CEO for the Girl Scouts of the USA for fourteen years, from 1976–1990, and is credited with leading a turnaround for the Girl Scouts, increasing their minority membership and establishing the Daisy Scout program for the youngest girls accepted into the Girl Scouts.

She also heard leadership presentations from television news personality Katie Couric..

“It was life-changing,” said Janssen, who was inspired to live by the words of the convention theme, “Dream as Big as You Can.”

Janssen has set lofty goals for herself: She intends to earn a full-ride scholarship to a liberal arts college on the East Coast where she will study education and politics. She then intends to attend law school at an Ivy League school with a goal of becoming a lawyer or politician. All while getting married to a wonderful husband and having lots of kids.

Girl Scouts, Janssen says, has inspired her to dream big.

“It’s been my inspiration to go for everything I can,” she said.