I am not a park person. I am not a camping person. I'm, like, How did I get here? The first time we went [camping], we stayed in cabins. We had running water, different rooms. I said: "This is lovely. I'm going to like this." Well, the second year our troop went camping, we had tents, platform tents. And I'm like, Okay. We're going to be off the ground -- this is not me. Bathroom's outside -- this is not me. Shower's outside -- this is not me. But the girls want to do it, so it will be me. The third time, we had Adirondacks. Picture this: Adirondacks have three sides. [The fourth] side is open to anything that wants to come in. We saw deer running by. We saw the little foxes. And then we would hear them howling every night. Girls say: "Mrs. Gill? Um, are we gonna put up a curtain?" "Yes, we are, girls. We're gonna put up a curtain. We're gonna put up anything else we need to." But sometimes before we went to bed, we would open it up and look at the stars. 'Course, that's not me either.
What I learned about from the Girl Scouts is that when you volunteer to be a leader, or volunteer to take on these girls, you've got to take the bitter with the sweet. You've got to take your shoes off, get your feet wet and roll with the punches. Lord knows they'll run with the punches! You need to know that this is something I want to do. I want to make a difference. If you do not want to make a difference, the girls are going to see that.
I had a little girl who wouldn't talk when she first came, wouldn't say a word. "Yeah." "Mm-hmm." Now, she's just chatterbox city. Just real chatty. Her mother says, "She just talks about Girl Scouts." And I'm, like, Then I have accomplished my mission.
-- Interview by Patricia Murret