May is such an important month in Girl Scouts. We turn our thoughts to membership renewal for another great Girl Scout year, summer camp plans, troop bridging ceremonies and, for some, mother-daughter events in celebration of Mother’s Day. May is also National Foster Care Month, so we’d like to take this opportunity to recognize the women who step up to be “mom” in other ways, too, from family bonds to mentors and beyond.
For many, Girl Scouting is a family tradition and generations of girls have experienced the adventure together. Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller comes from such a legacy. Her grandmother served as the leader of her mom’s troop, and her mom served as the leader of Tracy’s troop!
“My aunt earned the Girl Scout First Class pin which was the highest award during her time in Girl Scouts,” Tracy said. “I have it in a collection box that hangs on my office wall. My sister and I both grew up in Girl Scouting and I earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. My sister was a camp lifeguard for at least five summers at Camp Skimino and loved it. We enjoyed hosting the camp staff on the weekends at our family home. As a young adult, I volunteered as a Girl Scout Daisy leader when I was in college and I started to work part time helping the council’s registrar. I became a full-time employee in 1997. A long history! I was super excited to continue the tradition with my own Girl Scout when my husband and I welcomed our first five-year old as foster care parents!”
Tracy Keller when she became GSCCC’s CEO in 2005 with her mom, Betsy Kessler
Susan Ramsland (center) at the 2023 Volunteer Awards
Betty Ramsland (right) volunteers as an outdoor facilitator
Another multi-generational Girl Scout family is the Ramsland family from Virginia Beach. Susan Ramsland serves as the director for the Lynnhaven Shores Service Unit. She grew up without the presence of her mother in her life, but her Girl Scout leader Mrs. Williams served as a positive, nurturing female influence who offered Susan encouragement to pursue her interests. Susan took away much from that relationship and raised her own three daughters in that same encouraging spirit.
Betty Ramsland, the youngest of the three daughters, says jokingly that she was a Girl Scout in the womb. “My sister Susie is six years older than I am, and my mom was her troop leader while she was pregnant with me,” she said. “When I was younger, I was brought along to the troop meetings, and then when I was old enough to be a Daisy, I officially joined Girl Scouts and continued up until I left for college.” Betty and her two other sisters, Susie and Jenny, all agree that Girl Scouting was very much interwoven into their lives. From early years while living in New Jersey to Virginia, where they finished their school years, their lives—and family calendar—were filled with Girl Scouting. Susan took on many Girl Scout roles to support an organization that has meant so much to her, and she continues to do so today.
“I spent a lot of time with my mom doing Girl Scout related activities growing up,” Betty said. “It definitely allowed her to be involved in my life on a regular basis, but I think because of who my mom is as a person, we would have a great relationship with or without Girl Scouts; however, it’s almost impossible to separate my mom from Girl Scouting!” Betty’s sisters Jenny and Susie agree that Girl Scouting greatly impacted her life. “I believe Girl Scouting is a huge reason we have a great relationship. I’ve always appreciated the time and dedication my mother put into providing a unique experience for my peers and me,” Jenny said. Susie, the eldest, says Girl Scouting was the single most impactful thing in her life outside of her family. “It taught me to how be a leader, how to be confident, and how to care about and for others. I am a better person today because of Girl Scouts. I don’t know who I’d be without Girl Scouts and my mother.”
Here at GSCCC, we’re fortunate to have strong female networks to support, guide, and advise girls across our Council. These women make it possible for girls to realize their dreams and believe in themselves. That’s why this Mother’s Day, we are celebrating all who have shared motherly love with the children of this world—including our own Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, who founded Girl Scouts to prepare girls to face the world with courage, confidence, and character, making it a better place along the way. Daisy didn’t have children of her own, but she was definitely a motherly figure to many Girl Scouts. On May 14, we celebrate all of the mothers out there, no matter what form they come in.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Check out some other stories of local Girl Scout moms from our archives below.
This Lifetime Girl Scout is following in her mother’s footsteps as Troop Leader.
Jeanette makes being a volunteer, a military leader, and a mom look effortless.