Meet Jeanette Rincon, a Girl Scout whose spirit of service has followed her throughout life from her days as a Girl Scout Brownie in Surf City, New Jersey, to her current ranking as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard. Now in her seventh year as a volunteer, Jeanette leads a multi-level troop of Daisies and Juniors.
“I originally signed up my daughter, Kaydence, to allow her to make new friends who support and grow with each other, have a place to be herself and express herself, gain strong female role models and mentors, and have fun learning different life skills. She has always been an outgoing little girl with a strong personality, and I wanted her to have positive experiences to use those traits for good and develop leadership skills. When I signed her up, we were put on a waiting list which I thought was because I had not signed her up correctly. So, I reached out to the council when I learned there was a waiting list with many girls due to a shortage of volunteer troop leaders. I was asked if I would be willing to help, so I did.”
Jennifer enlisted as a volunteer in 2017 and founded a new troop of Girl Scout Daisies. Many of the original bunch, now Girl Scout Juniors, continue to explore the program through her consistent and caring leadership.
“I was given a new troop number and 26 Kindergarten Daisies. We now have a multi-level troop of Daisies and Juniors. Many of our Juniors are from our original Daisy troop, and they will be bridging to Cadettes this summer. It was such a great experience to share so many adventures and new opportunities with the girls that I just kept doing it, and here we are, six years later, still doing it.”
For families in the military, Girl Scouts can be a constant presence that allows a girl to pick up where she left off with the same program she knows, wherever she is. Jeanette understands that many families in the area are impacted by relocations and deployments, and makes it part of her troop’s mission to serve those who serve our country and to share her experiences in the military with girls through Girl Scout programming. Since 2019, their troop has donated more than 1,750 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to local military personnel through the Gift of Caring program.
“We currently have six girls in our troop who are military children. Our troop has hosted two events in the past for local Girl Scouts to earn their Explore Coast Guard Pride patch while earning the patch themselves. These events sponsored over 250 girls onto Coast Guard Base Portsmouth for a fun-filled day of activities, meet and greets, and demonstrations from nearly 90 total Active Duty, Reserve, and Auxiliary Coast Guard volunteers. I have also used military personnel to volunteer to assist our troop on certain badges as a guest speaker or educator, such as using a Navy RN to earn our First Aid Badges and Safety Pins. We also had a Navy veteran, who is now a Norfolk Police Officer, come and talk to the girls about safety and following the law when they were learning about the Girl Scout Law ‘Respect Authority.’ Personally, I have assisted with council events on two occasions to represent women in STEM and the military at Girl Scout-sponsored Career Days. This past cookie season, we even had a female military leader volunteer to do Cookie Booths with my daughter, which she did. She very much enjoyed the experience, asking to participate again in the future.”
Jeanette shared some of the benefits of being a Girl Scout family while in the military and various ways the military supports Girl Scouts.
“Being a Girl Scout while in the military is very seamless. The two organizations share similar values for leadership, mentoring, diversity, and inclusion. The Coast Guard can also authorize a member’s work hours with permissive orders to work with the Girl Scout organization, which has helped me with hosting encampment events for 120+ girls over the years by enabling me to travel to the remote campsite a little earlier in the day without having to take leave to prepare for troop arrivals. The Coast Guard also has a recognition program with Girl Scouts for those achieving the highest awards. Girl Scouts earning the Girl Scout Gold Award can receive a certificate of recognition from The Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, our highest-ranking official; currently, that is Admiral Linda L. Fagan, who just so happens to be the Coast Guard’s first female four-star admiral and first female Commandant of the Coast Guard. (More about requesting a recognition certificate can be found on the U.S. Coast Guard website.) As a Girl Scout Gold Award achiever, you may be eligible for a head start with an Advanced Paygrade Incentive, which gives you an immediate promotion to the E-3 pay grade when enlisting. That’s your first pay raise, six months early!”
Jeanette is a go-getter who makes being a volunteer, a leader in the military, and a mom look effortless, even though we know it isn’t. We recognize and appreciate Jeanette’s effort, her passion and her love for Girl Scouting! Volunteers make Girl Scouting possible and we thank all our volunteers for their commitment to service.
This lifetime member has been a dedicated GSCCC volunteer for two decades!