800 Miles Away From Home: Taking a Risk to Follow a Dream

It’s your first night alone in a new city. Unpacked boxes are stacked all around the apartment, there is no food in the pantry, and your family is about 800 miles away in South Carolina. Once you settle down from the move, the reality of being on  your own begins to sink in. Was following your dream to New York City really worth the risk?

Absolutely. Taking big risks to follow big dreams is just in the Girl Scout DNA.

“New York City is a city I always dreamed of living in one day… Being a Girl Scout, I feel like we all inertly crave new adventures and new challenges.”- Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly NYC w mom

Erin Kelly and her mother in New York City, NY

Erin’s dream to make a name for herself in one of America’s most iconic cities began when she was just a child. With a smile, a brown sash, and an earnest promise, Erin Kelly became a Girl Scout in the first grade. This is where she learned to dream big. With a troop of new friends, unlimited opportunities to discover, and her mother at her side, she was ready to conquer the world.

“My mom is my absolute best friend. She is such an organized, creative, passionate, courageous, hardworking woman and seeing her play out these amazing characteristics as our troop leader was such an inspiration.” -Erin Kelly

Erin’s mother nurtured and encouraged her passions. Even though she knew Erin’s dream was to move away to New York, she didn’t try to hold her back. Instead, she used every opportunity to give Erin the confidence and character to make it on her own in the world. She gave her daughter Girl Scouts.

In Junior High, Erin’s time was stretched thin between school related activities and Girl Scouts. After debating for a while, Erin nervously approached her mother about leaving Girl Scouts and the troop.

Erin said she would never forget her mother’s response, “You are free to do what you want, but I will be there at every meeting because I made a promise to the troop. As long as they are interested in coming to the meetings, I will be here in this organization.”

A promise made, and a promise kept. Doing the right thing no matter what everyone else is doing. The message of her mother’s decision resonated in her heart. Erin never thought about leaving Girl Scouts again. From that moment on, she decided to take full advantage of every opportunity Girl Scouts could give her.

Erin became a Camp Counselor. She traveled to Switzerland with her troop. She earned her Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award. She even worked at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace while attending college at The Savannah College of Art and Design.

Erin Kelly in Switzerland with troop

Erin Kelly with her troop in Switzerland

“We are way more than just cookies. We are a group of young girls and women (and men) who are passionate innovators. We truly want to make the world a better place through whatever means that interest us.”- Erin Kelly

Every lesson in leadership, compassion, and dedication has given Erin the courage and resolve to never settle for what’s comfortable. Because of the risks she has taken, Erin is now living out her dream. She is an Art Director at an advertising firm in New York City and loving every moment of life.

“I feel like I’ve been in so many situations in Girl Scouts where I feel I’m about to tackle an impossible task, but with courage I take risks. It’s hard to get out of your comfort zone, but Girl Scouts has given me the confidence to try.” – Erin Kelly erin kelly

Erin misses her family, especially her mom, but she is doing exactly what her mother prepared her to do; to live without regret. To live like a Girl Scout.


Are you raising your daughter to be a dynamic and fearless leader? Do you want her to chase her dreams and make the world a better place? Become a Girl Scout. Give her an edge by joining a worldwide sisterhood devoted to courage, confidence, and character. Give the gift of Girl Scouts.


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