Macedonia, OH- “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit because there are footprints on the moon.” The quote is one of nearly two-dozen Northfield Center Girl Scout Megan Garvey painted on the girls’ restroom walls at Nordonia Middle School and at high-visibility spots throughout Lee Eaton Elementary School. Collectively, they represent Garvey’s Painting Positivity Gold Award project.
The moon quote – by Canadian country music artist Paul Brandt – speaks to 18-year-old Garvey at a personal level. “It’s a very me quote,” she says. The aspiring aerospace engineer discovered her passions for space study, leadership, mentorship and high adventure during her 12-year journey as a Girl Scout.
Garvey describes her Painting Positivity Gold Award project as an extension of herself. She has championed the theme through a series of speeches and activities as a Nordonia High School Student Council member and a Girl Scout peer leader. Garvey embraced early Girl Scout leadership opportunities not long after she joined Girl Scout Troop 90510 as a first grader at Sagamore Hills’ Rushwood Elementary School.
“Part of being a Girl Scout is being a leader and role model. I really took that to heart in the fifth grade,” says Garvey, who, as a preteen, volunteered for two years as a program assistant, helping with council-sponsored training events. “I started working with younger girls and fell in love with it.”
By the time she was a high school freshman, Garvey became a CIT (counselor-in-training) at the youngest age allowed, 14. Enlisting as a CIT, which Garvey describes as one of the best decisions she has ever made, placed her among her role models. “I always looked up to camp counselors. That’s what I wanted to do,” says Garvey, describing the thrill of spending weeks at a time for two summers in a row developing leadership skills as well close and lasting friendships with fellow CITs.
After she graduated as a CIT, Garvey became a Junior Counselor. Working in this capacity, she spent the better part of two summers at Camp Ledgewood in Peninsula, mentoring younger Girl Scouts from dawn ‘til dusk and relishing every moment.
“My friends thought I disappeared,” says Garvey, describing those memorable summers away from home “hanging out with really cool girls in an environment where they are loved and welcomed.”
Garvey says her extended stints at camps and on other outdoor expeditions answered to her love for high adventure. Whitewater rafting, zip lining, mountain biking, navigating challenging high and low ropes courses, and climbing 100-foot rock walls gel naturally with the Nordonia High School senior’s lively nature and fearless spirit. “I have always been rambunctious and outgoing. Girl Scouts brought out my personality and provided positive outlets for all of that energy,” she says.
Garvey adds that Girl Scout camp has served as her refuge through the years. She began attending camps at age 7. They were homes away from home for Garvey, especially during her parents’ training and overseas active duty tours as U.S. Army soldiers.
“They provided me the comfort of home, particularly when my dad was deployed to Camp Virginia in Kuwait,” she says. “I understood from a very young age that they were fighting for our country. Girl Scouts kept me grounded and positive when I was missing my parents and helped make me the strong person I am. I thank my parents and Girl Scouts for that.”
Outside of camps, Garvey has held prominent Girl Scout roles. As a three-year Cadette Summit member, she has helped boost awareness of the expansive opportunities available to middle school aged Cadettes. As a Girl Scout Ambassador, Garvey has encouraged younger Girl Scouts to explore the many opportunities available to them and to set their sights in life high. As a national delegate and Board of Directors girl-member-at-large, she has participated in discussions and voted on issues that advance the Girl Scouting experience for members across the country.
“Girl Scouts has so many opportunities you wouldn’t find day to day. It’s such an important tool and has a lot of weight in terms of jobs and college applications,” says Garvey, who will enter West Virginia University with a full-tuition scholarship this fall.
It’s no surprise that Garvey, who plans double major in aerospace and mechanical engineering, discovered her passion for space technology as a third-grade Girl Scout. Back then, when she spent a day at NASA Glenn Research Center, “it was the moment I fell in love with stars and technology, and wanted to work with it. I realized that space had so many endless possibilities. The day at NASA with Girl Scouts solidified everything I’ve come to know about my future,” she says.
As Garvey continues her active involvement – in Girl Scouts; in high school drama, choir and varsity golf; as vice president of Nordonia High School’s Student Council; as a Life Teen member at St. Barnabas Catholic Church; as a restaurant hostess; and as National Honor Society member – she looks ahead to a future without limits.
Aptly, Garvey says she eventually plans to apply for NASA’s astronaut training program.
“Much to the discretion of my dad, I want to go Mars, be a pioneer in space exploration, create technology for people going into space,” she says. “There are always opportunities to further a passion, to run with it, to learn and try new things … anything is possible. That’s what has kept me in Girl Scouts.”