I don’t really have many real regrets, probably one or two at most. But looking back, there are opportunities I wish I’d been able to take advantage of. Most of them involve Girl Scouts, which I think it one of the main reasons I am so heavily involved with it now. I really wish I’d been able to go on a Wider Opportunity, which is a program for girls to travel to different places to take part in activities related to any number of topics. From the first time I was eligible, I would pour over the booklet choosing which ones I wanted to apply for. But I never did so because of a fear of rejection, knowing my parents didn’t have the money, and fear of the unknown (probably the biggest deterrent). These were the same reasons I never tried to be a CiT, or went to camp more than just the 2 summers. As I got older and experience more and more rejection by my peers, I became more and more hesitant about doing anything that even remotely set me up for rejection or failure.
That hesitation wasn’t really as present in FFA. I think a lot of that was because I was around people that mostly accepted me, unlike in Girl Scouts which was cliquey and competitive. I was still super shy, but reveled in attending National Conventions and participating in contests. The only opportunities I really feel like I missed out on in High School are the trip to Belize and the cross-country road trip. With Belize, I had to choose between that and competing at the National FFA Convention–really not a choice. The road trip though, I knew I’d never be able to afford it, and I also knew that I’d be REALLY out of place since it was all the cool kids from the entire school going. If I’d gone, I would have been setting myself up for more rejection and failure.
Gods, I’ve just realized it’s always been money that has been a major factor in my missed opportunities. I was thinking about what I missed out on in college and realized that the main two were studying abroad and The Washington Center (a non-profit internship program). Yes I was fearful of being rejected for them, but I didn’t even apply because I knew that I’d never be able to afford the program or required materials (in the case of the internship).
I think all of this is one of the biggest motivating factors in me being involved with Girl Scouting. I want to be able to make up for those things I missed out on. I also, in a way, want to make up for the sometimes shoddy leadership I had in Girl Scouts by being a good and effective leader for my troop. Sure, there are other programs out there, but I can’t join the Adventurers because they are affiliated with the Boy Scouts and I can’t join that organization because I’m gay. There is also Campfire, which I was actually a member of in Kindergarten and 1st grade, but I really know nothing about the program. I know there are other organizations to, but I know even less about them. I think I’ll stick with Girl Scouts for now.