Alumnae, Ceremonies, Traditions, & Awards, Family Experience

What Girl Scouts Means to Me: A Four-Generation Family Tradition

This Spring, our council hosted our first Bronze and Silver Award Ceremonies for girls in western Ohio and southeastern Indiana who earned these highest awards in Girl Scouting. For the 2022 membership year, a total of 315 girls earned their Bronze Award and 198 earned their Silver Award, and we were so excited to honor their achievements across all four of our service regions!

In total, 79 Bronze Award Girl Scouts and 45 Silver Award Girl Scouts gathered at the ceremonies to receive their accolades in person and share about their projects, while also connecting with other Girl Scouts, staff, and keynote speakers who delivered speeches with incredible stories and valuable life advice. One of these speeches was delivered by Audrey Ford and Jeanette Konz, a mother-daughter duo from Rockford, OH. Audrey and Jeanette shared their multi-generational Girl Scout story along with amazing advice for Girl Scouts and volunteers that we couldn’t wait to share with the council at large.

Here is the keynote speech delivered by Audrey and Jeanette at the Bronze and Silver Award Ceremony held May 5, 2023, at Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta.


I am part of a scouting family. I am a fourth generation Girl Scout. I took my first steps at the former Girl Scout camp lodge in Yellow Springs. Scouting has always been part of my life. To be honest, I had no choice in the matter, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Girl Scouts has taught me so much about myself, others, and the kind of person I want to be. There are three main things I have learned that I want to share: the importance of sisterhood, learning new things, and how to overcome obstacles. 

I moved to Rockford when I was in the second grade. I started over in a different Girl Scout troop. Little did I know that I would meet and become friends with two girls who would be my sisters throughout school and beyond. We’ve supported each other through all our adventures and troubled times, and although we go to colleges miles apart, we still lean on each other and laugh with each other. This sisterhood bond means we are always connected and inspiring each other to be the best person we can be, and it all began at a Girl Scout meeting.

Next, allow yourself to learn new things. I have learned many things through my years in Girl Scouts; some good, some not. Cleaning latrines is definitely not on my fun list. I learned how to plan a trip to New York City for six girls and two adults—tools I have used frequently for adventures with my Girl Scout sisters. One major thing I learned while working on my Gold Award was how to use saws and other wood cutting equipment, and I managed to keep all my fingers! Keep an open mind about new experiences and continue to learn and grow. You never know where it will lead you.   

Lastly, I have learned to overcome obstacles. Just like a tree branch laying across the trail you are hiking with your troop, obstacles can fall in your path. A Girl Scout learns to lean on her sisters and work through the problem. One major obstacle I encountered while working on my Gold Award was my fully built bookcase falling out of the back of the truck and shattering on the highway outside of Celina. I was devastated. All that work was just gone. I cried, talked to my sisters, and then developed a plan. I overcame this obstacle and rebuilt the bookcase, learning from design issues I had the first time and improving my workmanship. 

I want to encourage all of you to try new things, learn to overcome challenges in your path, but most importantly, be a sister. My sisters and I support each other through everything Girl Scouts and beyond, but it doesn’t stop there. Be a sister to all the girls you come in contact with. We succeed the most when we lift each other up. Congratulations on your achievements and I look forward to seeing all of your names on the Gold Award recipient list in the years to come.

Audrey (center) and her fellow Girl Scouts passing the flame at the 2022 Gold Award Ceremony.


As Audrey has said, congratulations to all of you [for earning your Bronze and Silver Awards this year]. I cannot emphasize her statement more about lifting each other up. I have seen firsthand how powerful that bond can be or how devastating things can turn out when girls do not encourage and celebrate the success of each other.    

One motto I like is: “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Besides being a Girl Scout leader, I have been a leader in a hospital, public health department, and most currently, a physician office. Traits I look for in those I lead are honesty and fairness, saying what you mean, and being responsible for what you say and do or meaning what you say. Girl Scouts will teach you these traits through the Law, activities, games, and watching the adults around you. Carry these traits with you. Share them with your Girl Scout sisters and all the people you cross paths with. They will serve you well as you advance into adulthood. 

Leaders, you do amazing things and make such an impact. You may not see this right now, and you may never know the extent of the impact you have made on these young ladies’ lives, but I pray you receive a call someday like the one I received two summers ago. Three Girl Scout sisters from my troop decided to take a cross-country road trip adventure fresh after high school graduation. One evening my phone rang. The excitement and pride they felt was audible in their voices as they told me their tale. These young ladies used their Girl Scout knowledge and ingenuity to fry themselves hamburgers as they tent camped in the Grand Canyon. All of the sudden, I had the feeling that the hours of planning and lugging camping equipment to numerous campouts were completely worthwhile. As a mother, I didn’t sleep the entire time they were gone. As a leader, I was in awe of their bravery, confidence, and independence.     

My final comment is to all of you wonderful, supportive adults. You obviously support these young ladies and I encourage you to support their leaders as well. Many times as a leader, you give up some of your own family time to invest in the Girl Scout Movement. Step in and see what you can do as a supporting adult. My father was a registered Girl Scout for most of his adult life. He did things from transportation to archery instructing. If this isn’t your calling, then maybe provide a snack or help with a craft—anything. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated, and you will have that much more shared time with the young lady in your life.  My greatest gift from Girl Scouts is growing up with that common ground with my mother and being able to share all of these Girl Scout experiences with this marvelous young woman standing beside me.

Congratulations to all of you young ladies and thank you to all leaders and supporting adults. Keep the sisterhood of Girl Scouts alive and growing. Thank you. 

Audrey was a Girl Scout for 13 years in Troop 20663 out of Celina, OH and earned her Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. Audrey and her mother Jeanette are part of a legacy of four generations of Girl Scouts, with three generations earning their Highest Awards. Jeanette has been a Girl Scout for 39 years and earned her Gold Award in 1994. She has been a Girl Scout leader, a Fall Product and Cookie Program Manager, and a Service Unit Manager.

Leave a Reply