As Girl Scouts, girls try new things, bring ideas to life, make a difference, are mentored and serve as mentors, and step into the unknown with confidence – all as they learn more about who they are and the world around them. For Nur Makupson, a Girl Scout Senior, the chance to serve on Girl Scouts of the USA’s (GSUSA) National Girl Scout Advisory Board provided the perfect opportunity to learn and grow.
The National Girl Scout Advisory Board works with the GSUSA national office on key projects and initiatives and provides critical customer insight and innovative ideas to serve girls in the 21st century. Nur was accepted onto the National Girl Advisory Board in early 2022 and dove headfirst into the responsibilities and experience with a positive outlook and determination to make a difference.
Girl Scouts of North East Ohio’s (GSNEO) Director of Girl Experience, Fallon Pulley, and CEO, Jane Christyson, nominated Nur for the opportunity to represent Girl Scouts in Northeast Ohio on the National Girl Advisory Board.
“Nur is an exceptional Girl Scout, being as active as possible in the Northeast Ohio Girl Scout community,” Jane Christyson said. “She served on my own local GSNEO Girl Advisory Board, and I knew she would be a great representative for GSNEO at the national level.”
The National Girl Advisory Board has a variety of responsibilities. Nur and her Girl Scout sisters meet monthly to discuss upcoming events and work with teams from GSUSA on projects aligned with the national strategy, including program, girl engagement, DEI/RJ, research, marketing, and more. Sometimes a speaker will come to their meetings to talk with the girls about professional development. The girls also conduct research in their own communities around the country and speak with those who aren’t involved with Girl Scouts to hear different perspectives and bring their findings back to the group.
Girls gain experience creating change in a national nonprofit organization, receive hands-on training, professional development opportunities, and skill development.
In July 2022, Nur traveled to GSUSA’s Edith Macy Conference Center in New York for an in-person retreat with the rest of the girls on the National Advisory Board. The weekend retreat consisted of activities and games, discussions, and meetings. While at the retreat, Nur met Girl Scouts from around the United States and the world.
“Most of the girls from the board were able to attend, and my roommate even came all the way from Hong Kong!” Nur said. “I got to sit with a different group of friends at each meal, which allowed me to interact with almost everyone. I had such a great time meeting all the girls and I still talk to a lot of them now.”
Each day of the retreat, the girls had a meeting where they discussed exciting new projects and ways to improve old ones. Nur gained valuable experience and insight from the retreat, finding and using her voice to speak up for what she believes in.
“My biggest takeaway from the retreat was that if you want to see change, it’s important to voice your opinions and concerns,” Nur said. “I noticed how other people would make suggestions during our conversations, which opened space for debate with other girls and it really motivated me to speak up if I felt like I could help fix or improve an issue.”
Nur joined Girl Scouts because she wanted to sell cookies with her friends and meet new people. What she found when she joined was a larger world of like-minded girls and adult volunteers, and endless opportunities both with her own troop and the National Girl Advisory Board. Her favorite adventure through Girl Scouts so far is World Friendship Day because cultural diversity is very important to her.
“It’s really cool to see the food and traditions from different cultures,” Nur said. “I like teaching others about traditional clothing and history. It’s also very interesting to meet people of various backgrounds and learn about their customs.”
Nur wants to help others and uses that as motivation to do good and make the world a better place. She keeps an optimistic mindset, which she believes is very important when trying to get something done.