Girl Scouts of Connecticut holds Camp CEO

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Lebanon - posted Mon., Jul. 1, 2013
Caitlin (left), from Meriden, and Marissa, from New Milford, participate in an activity on the opening day of CEO Camp at Lebanon's Girl Scouts of Connecticut Camp Laurel on June 30. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Caitlin (left), from Meriden, and Marissa, from New Milford, participate in an activity on the opening day of CEO Camp at Lebanon's Girl Scouts of Connecticut Camp Laurel on June 30. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Two young women stood at the front of a crowded meeting room, singing along to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Caitlin and Marissa had identified themselves as part of the “blue” personality group during a workshop led by Tracy Knofla, from High Impact Training. They’d chosen the song as reflective of the blue personality type, characterized by sincerity, sensitivity and a cooperative, collaborative spirit.

Knofla was one of 14 female executives committed to sharing three nights and four days with Girl Scouts, between the ages of 14 and 17, for CEO Camp, held June 30 through July 3, at Lebanon’s Camp Laurel. High Impact is a “nationally-recognized training and development company,” according to Knofla’s bio, and the “What’s Your Color?” workshop was designed to help young women “just basically get to know themselves and get to know different personality types,” according to Jackie Davis, executive assistant to Girl Scouts of Connecticut CEO, Mary Barneby.

Knofla said that she heard about a need for adult leadership through a colleague at the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. “Because I was a Girl Scout, I believe in the Girl Scouts, and I believe in empowering girls, I was all for it,” she said. After the first several hours of opening day, Knofla said that she was extremely impressed with the Scouts. “The girls are very intelligent,” she said. “They’re not afraid to speak up, and I appreciate that.”

Barneby took over as CEO of Girl Scouts of Connecticut in October of 2012, and was experiencing her first summer camping season with the organization. She planned to camp out for the three nights, like the other female executives, in a raised platform tent - without air conditioning, without electricity, and without running water (though adults would be allowed to use the facilities in the camp’s main building). “I think the last time I camped out was probably in the '70s,” said Barneby with a grin. “I was amazed at how much the technology has improved.”

Barneby said that the intent of Camp CEO was “to give the girls who attend the opportunity to meet women who are successful in their own right.” Paired with an adult mentor for the duration of the camp, the Scouts would be encouraged to share questions, aspirations and concerns with the women, and hopefully develop mentoring relationships that would endure into the future. Ideally, the relationships would give the Scouts a start on a professional network. “We’re trying to bring topics that will be interesting to the girls, as well as help them in their futures,” said Barneby. 

Executives, who had volunteered their time, were looking for a way to give back and a way to empower young women, according to Barneby. “Most of us were Girl Scouts when we were younger,” she said.  Despite the relatively rough living conditions, the hope was that the executives would enjoy the experience, and possibly learn something along the way. “I heard one of the CEOs ask one of the girls, ‘What’s it like to be a girl now?’” said Barneby.

The Scouts were all very positive and enthusiastic, according to Barneby. “I think our role is to keep them excited, and keep them on the right path in their journey,” she said.


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