Last weekend our Girl Scout troop ran a 5k race to raise money for our local hospice house.
Let’s face it--I was worried. Very worried. I have a long track record of helping girls step out of their comfort zones, but this time I was out of mine as well. The only other even remotely similar thing I’d done was Tough Mudder AAAAAND…that’s not even remotely similar.
Given the crazy schedules of daily modern life, we didn’t practice a whole lot as a team. We did a half mile for practice one time and I got even more worried. I honestly wasn’t even sure if we’d all finish the course. Luckily, we have a great leader and great parents and fantastic scouts. So we went for it!
In short, I learned—AGAIN!—how stunningly beautiful young people can be when they rise to a challenge. Many of the girls and their families have already said how much they’d like to do another race. I know our family wants to do it again! But most of all, they showed that they truly live the values that scouting teaches.
We just got the finish line pictures today* and, in them, I see the bonds among the girls. I see their sense of fun. I see how they always give their best effort. Most of all, I see how they care for each other. That day, they showed so clearly what I love about these kids.
Our first two scouts to cross the finish line did their best to tie, to cross the line together just as they’d run the course together.
Our next scout, one of the teenagers, flew across with a beautiful natural stride, crossing at 47 minutes because she’d run with our seven-year-old son the whole way. We hadn’t been sure he’d finish, let alone at just over 47 minutes and full of pride. What a gift she gave him!
Then came another older scout, partnered with our youngest, a first grader. The older scout went on to earn her next belt in tae kwon do that day—testing an hour and a half after finishing the race. And how many six year olds can run three miles these days?
Somewhere in there, all the wonderful parents who made it possible finished strong. One mom, nine months pregnant, carried her two-year-old across in the best happy dance ever.
But the picture that really makes my heart catch shows the last two scouts in our group to cross the line. After they completed the course together, one girl pulled ahead at the end. She stopped—right at the finish line—and looked back, waiting for her friend. The photograph caught it perfectly, showing one girl throwing her heart into her running and one girl, waiting mid-step, head turned to look over her shoulder.
Sometimes all we need to do is put the opportunity in front of them. If it’s meant to be, they’ll take it and run with it. After this, I don’t care if we do anything else this year; it doesn’t matter if we earn a single badge. Our scouts are champions!
*In the interests of privacy, I haven't used the actual finish line pictures (of other people's children).