Molly Kentala and Jennifer (Delzer) Gascoigne were fresh out of high school when they attended a local adult Girl Scout meeting in 2001. At the meeting, a mother announced that she was looking for someone to take over her first grade troop of Brownies, as she was going back to school. Without much forethought, Molly and Jennifer volunteered to become the leaders of this troop. At first, there was some resistance among the other adult leaders. Molly even heard one mother say “I don’t think 18 year olds should be Girl Scout leaders”. They were often the source of confusion and interest at the leader meetings. “Do you have a daughter in the troop”?, some would inquire. “NO WAY – we’re only 18,19,20… years old”, exclaimed Molly and Jennifer!
As the years passed, the skepticism turned to admiration as the other leaders watched them grow up with their girls. Because of the closeness of age, the girls thought of Molly and Jennifer more like older sisters than mother figures. They became role models as the girls progressed through adolescence and the teen years. Molly said that they had many frank discussions with the girls and encouraged them to say ‘no’ to the usual temptations!
No one ever thought that they would stay with these girls – all the way through twelfth grade! Throughout their college years and beyond, Molly and Jennifer would return to Burnsville on Monday nights to meet with their girls. Molly even photographed most of the girls’ senior pictures, too. The girls graduated last week, and Molly and Jennifer promised that they would be there to cheer for them at the graduation ceremony.
Molly recently moved to Boston, but she and Jennifer will remain in touch with the girls, thanks to social media. In fact, Molly told them: “I am watching you on Facebook. And I’d better like what I see”!