“Some of my fondest memories growing up were from Girl Scouts”
Katrina Slaski, a Rochester resident originally from Moravia, is a successful restaurant manager and self-published author, and says she owes much of that success to growing up as a Girl Scout.
“From day one Girl Scouts taught me about communication, time management and teamwork, as well as friendship, leadership, trust, respect, caring, and giving back,” Slaski said.
Every holiday, Slaski, along with her troop, donated presents to a family less fortunate so that they could have a happy Christmas. That’s a tradition that her mom, also her troop leader, started very early on, but it took until her very final year of Girl Scouts for her to truly appreciate what they were doing. She remembers that final year so clearly.
“Growing up me and my friends just thought it was fun running through the mall picking out toys and clothes and wrapping them up with a pretty bow,” she recalls. “But that final year we got a family that not one of the three children asked for toys. Instead they asked for things like socks, bed sheets, and new sneakers. Things many of us take for granted. We had just as much fun that year shopping for socks as we did childish games. We used our whole budget and then some to buy everything that family had asked for.”
After winter break was over and she returned to school that year she remembers seeing a little boy she had never met before walking down the hall with the biggest smile on his face and wearing the shoes her troop had picked out for him.
“I didn’t say a word to him, I just smiled and kept walking,” she said. “No verbal thanks was needed. Just simply the truth of knowing I had made a difference in someone’s life was enough for me.”
A few years back when Slaski wrote her book she was so excited and proud of herself, until people began to say that there was no chance her book would ever get published. She began to believe them as she sent out dozens of query letters and didn’t get any response. That’s when she decided that wouldn’t stop her. She self-published her book instead. If it wasn’t for what she learned through Girl Scouts – to be courageous and strong – she may not have had the courage to go that route.
“That means the world to me because I wasn’t afraid to chase my dream. I just had to tweak it,” she said.
That is a dream that she will continue to chase.
“None of us will ever know what we are capable of if we don’t take the lessons we have learned and put them to use in our community,” she said. “I am lucky enough that Girl Scouts taught me many lessons that I carry with me every day.”
By: Kim Dunne, Media Manager