How This Girl Scout Badge Changed Her Life Forever

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Earning Girl Scout badges can be one of the best parts of being in the organization. Badges represent hard work, new skills, and friends made along the way. For some Girl Scouts, like Christina Holder Sleeper, the journey toward earning a badge can be transformational. 

When Sleeper was in fifth grade, she joined a newly formed troop in her area in Ohio. She was eager to start earning badges and gravitated toward the cooking badge as it fit her personal interests. She worked all year to earn it and hoped to participate in other traditional Girl Scout activities in the future. 

“When I was a young girl, I dreamed of being a Girl Scout,” Sleeper tells CircleAround. “My mom bought me the badge book and uniform. I was so excited to go camping and learn all the things scouts learned.” 

Instead of organizing a wilderness adventure in the woods, however, her Ohio troop used the money earned from selling cookies to form a youth bowling league. “With a troop full of bowlers, the activities related to scouting soon diminished greatly and the troop disbanded,” Sleeper says. 

Sleeper never got the chance to be part of a badge ceremony or receive her cooking badge. Sleeper grew up and explored other interests, but she still often thought of the badge she never received. “I was so sad and talked about this for years,” she shares. “Then, for my 25th birthday, my aunt, who was a scout leader, gave me a surprise.” 

Sleeper received the cooking badge as a touching gift. “My aunt told me I earned it, and it was her honor to give it to me in a private ceremony,” Sleeper explains. “I was so touched, and still am.”

“When I look at this badge, I think that perhaps some of what I learned way back when has informed my life choices,” she adds. Sleeper currently owns and operates a gourmet food manufacturing business and has continued to learn and grow in the culinary arts. 

Receiving her first badge after so many years also motivated Sleeper to pass on Girl Scouting to her daughter, who got involved in a local troop. Through her daughter, Sleeper was able to vicariously get the full Girl Scout experience. 

“I am proud to say she earned all of the highest honors in scouting, including the Gold Award,” Sleeper tells CircleAround. “She was recognized as an Emerging Leader in Los Angeles, was bestowed a lifetime membership by our neighborhood for all of her good works, and was a top cookie seller for eight years.”

Sleeper also became a troop leader in her community, acting as a mentor to 36 girls over the span of 13 years. When it came time to reward her scouts for their hard work selling cookies, she had other plans in mind — and none of them included bowling.

“We proudly took a handful of our scouts to Europe with cookie earnings in the summer of 2012 to visit the World Centers in Switzerland and England, along with stops in Paris and Venice, for a three-week adventure,” she says.

The Bottom Line 

Sleeper is proof that there are plenty of ways to stay involved with the Girl Scouts even after your troop days are over. Her perseverance and natural curiosity allowed her to feel connected to the organization even in adulthood, and her talents have helped guide other young girls through the organization, too. 

Tags: Family, Girl Scout, Girl Scouts, Inspiration

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

CircleAround is owned by One GS Media, a subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA, and we make financial distributions to benefit the next generation of Girl Scouts. We strive to make the world a better place by supporting each other today and emboldening the women leaders of tomorrow.

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