How Girl Scouts Taught Rutwa Shah Important Life Skills

Senior Rutwa Shah has been a girl scout since kindergarten.  

 Originally joining girl scouts with her sister, Shah is now in her last year of Girl Scouts with Troop 47.  

In her first year, Shah had to face the difficulty of selling to strangers and calculating sales. 

 “When I was in kindergarten, cookies were $3.50 which meant that five-year-old me had to do math with that uneven number in my head… If someone ordered more than two boxes, I would freeze and second guess every total,” Shah said. 

Another challenge that Shah faced as a young girl scout was her meals at summer camp. Shah has a strict Jain vegetarian diet. She would pile every type of vegetable on her plate from the little variety the salad bar offered making the other kids look at her weird. As an eight year old, she felt shy about asking for the vegetarian option. However, her limited diet did not get in the way of her passion for attending girl scouts every summer and eventually, with the aid of her counselors, she was able to overcome her shyness of communicating with the chef. 

 When Shah was a Counselor-In-Training at summer camp, a young camper learned that she too had the same diet when Shah opted for the less popular granola bars instead of gelatin gummies. The camper asked Shahs for help getting the vegetarian option.  

 “It felt really cool to see that there were now people like me in girl scout camps and I could help her,” Shah said.  

There was a paddleboard event in sixth grade when Shah was at girl scout camp for a week during the summer. After trying paddleboarding for the first time and falling into the water continuously, she didn’t want to do it again since she hated being soaked. However, a few years later Shah was back at the waterfront and decided to try it again. She was balanced and able to stand until a few of the campers decided to push her and took over her board.  

 “It was a really fun day for me. I finally learned how to paddleboard and messing around with the campers and making them laugh as I fell in, made it worth being soaked for the rest of the afternoon,” Shah said.  

Her participation over many years has developed her personality as she gained confidence and learned how to interact with others.  

“It was a great experience and I definitely learned a lot through the program,” she said. “Despite initially facing many difficulties at Girl Scout Camp, I returned stronger each year to my Girl Scout family, adapting to get the most out of my experiences.”