When the girls of Girl Scouts Troop 45703 were much younger, troop leader Tammy Mackey took them to Hathaway Park in Washougal and asked them to walk on top of the rubber bumpers that surround the playground to keep wooden shavings out of the grass.
Some of them hesitated, struck by a fear that they wouldn’t be able to keep their balance or would look ungraceful in their attempts. But Mackey kept encouraging them, and they stuck with it and eventually succeeded. That success allowed the girls to gain more self-confidence, which led to more success in school and other aspects of their lives as they got older.
Perseverance is just one of the lessons Mackey hoped to instill in the girls — now teenagers who are earning rave reviews from east Clark County residents for their community spirit and work ethic.
“I really hope that they learn that there isn’t anything too difficult for them to try,” said Mackey, a Washougal resident and fish biologist. “The worst that could happen is that maybe they fail, but even that is a learning experience, so there’s no harm and trying. I also want them to learn conflict resolution skills because they can really practice in a safe place. Some of them don’t have big families, where maybe there’s conflict that they have to talk through, but with a Girl Scouts troop of 11 teenage girls, there’s definitely opportunities to work on conflict resolution skills.”
Mackey said she wants her Girl Scouts to “know they can pretty much … do anything.”