Kimberly Carrillo began working for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas to ensure no other girls missed out on the opportunities she did.
Growing up in Henderson, she had two older brothers who were involved in Boy Scouts, and as far as she knows, there were no Girl Scout troops in town.
She said she was always jealous of the cool things her brothers were able to do — their uniforms and badges, camping trips with their mother and father and other special times they had with their parents that she didn't.
"I don't want another little girl to miss out like I had to," she said of why she wanted to work for Girl Scouts. As a membership specialist, she works to recruit Girl Scouts, as well as volunteers.
Mrs. Carrillo, 32, of Arp, studied social work in college, earning a bachelor degree from Stephen F. Austin University and a master's degree from The University of Texas at Austin. She said she has had a variety of jobs and has always been in the field of helping people find opportunities.
When the membership specialist position came up for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, she took it. She recruits for the East Texas Regional Center in Tyler, a 22-county region which spans from Paris to Mount Pleasant, Tyler to Longview and Marshall.
She said they try to collaborate with schools and community organizations to educate girls about Girl Scouts. There are 37 troops in Smith County alone, and girls from kindergarten to 17 years old can be involved with the organization.
"We try to build courage, confidence and character in hopes they will make the world a better place," Mrs. Carrillo said of the mission of Girl Scouts.
She said the leadership experience includes a lot of community service, as well as outdoor experiences.
Local troops have helped in Mayor Barbara Bass' tree planting initiative, helped paint portable bathrooms for a People Attempting to Help drive, participated in a program at the Texas A&M University veterinarian school and are involved in an equestrian program and archery.
She said older girls work on projects to try and earn the Gold Award, the highest award achievable in Girl Scouting.
"I think it's important for them to realize they're a part of something larger than themselves … to think about their neighbors, their community and environment," Mrs. Carrillo said of Girl Scouts.
She believes it helps them to learn to be responsible and to be good citizens.
"It definitely builds confidence," she said.
Membership for the new year of Girl Scouts begins Oct. 1 so "as soon as school starts, we're talking to the girls and parents about what Girl Scouts is," Mrs. Carrillo said, adding that she had been visiting schools on Friday.
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