A Fight for Survival: A Tale of Girl Scout Bravery

On a day that seemed like any other last summer, a family vacation turned into a fight for survival in the ocean as Makayla, Kylie, and Kinley Cox were separated from their parents after being forced to bail out of their kayak.

Cox girls at beach

Makayla, Kylie, and Kinley Cox at the beach

Just off South Carolina’s coast, the Cox family was preparing to set out for a day of kayaking on the ocean. Troop Leader  and mom Lindsey, and Girl Scouts Makayla, Kylie, and Kinley all enjoy exploring the outdoors and using their wilderness skills. The sky that August day was as blue as the water beneath them, and it seemed like the perfect start to their family vacation. They had been paddling for some time when, without warning, the sky began to darken. With no time to return to the shore, lightening began to strike as hail and rain battered down upon them. All too quickly their kayak filled with water and overturned.  The whole family spilled out into the raging ocean.

The rain was torrential. Visibility was limited to just a few feet. The situation quickly deteriorated when the violent current separated the three sisters from their parents. The girls tried not to panic even though they were intensely struggling to keep their heads above the water. The oldest sister, Makayla, initially tried to swim while holding her youngest sister Kinley. However, as the waves surged, Makayla realized that exhaustion had set in, and holding onto her sister might cost both their lives. With the clear decisiveness and confidence that Makayla’s mother accredits to her daughter’s experience as a Girl Scout, Makayla instructed her sisters to lie on their backs and float with the current to conserve their energy. The sisters refused to give up on one another as they battled the current as a team to find safety.

Just as exhaustion had threatened to overpower the girls, a boat appeared through the veil of rain. Even though it seemed impossible, their rescue was made possible through the extreme perseverance, determination, teamwork, and leadership that the girls exhibited in the face of adversity. Where did these girls learn these skills that saved their lives?

  • Girls Scouts learn by doing. Through an encouraging and empowering network of support, our girls learn Determination that is unparalleled.
  • Team work is consistently practiced as girls work with their troops and other girls to solve problems and accomplish goals.
  • Giving up is not in the DNA of a Girl Scout. Perseverance is taught by teaching girls how to set their goals, make a plan, and put that plan into action.
  • Leadership is at the core of who we are as Girl Scouts. We empower girls, to empower themselves and take action!

Makayla, Kylie, and Kinley Cox being awarded their Certificate of Bravery with their mother Lindsey Cox

The Girl Scouts of South Carolina- Mountains to Midlands are so proud of the courage exhibited by Makayla, Kylie, and Kinley. We are honored to present each of them with a Certificate of Bravery.

What does bravery mean to you? The Cox sisters exemplify what it means to be a Girl Scout; courage, sisterhood, and leadership. Join today and become a part of that same worldwide sisterhood.


Do you have a Girl Scout story to share? Email me at mtaylor@gssc-mm.org to be featured on our blog!

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