Jean Janssen: the champion of the Girl Scout mission
One might recognize Jean Janssen, past president and past board chair for Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, from her picture in previous issues of The Golden Link, but for many, it’s her carpool karaoke video and bloopers reel that makes her stand out.
Jean has been a part of GSSJC in one way or another for the past 30 years. It all began when she fell in love with the Girl Scout mission after serving as the attorney to the council in 1988.
“When I retired from the practice of law, I became a volunteer with the council almost immediately and have worked with them ever since,” Jean said.
The Girl Scout mission is what Jean believes makes Girl Scouts such a great organization to get involved with. According to her, if empowering women is something you believe in strongly, then Girl Scouts has a place for you.
“There are so many ways that Girl Scouts empowers women, and I don’t think you have to have a Girl Scout background to appreciate what this organization could do,” Jean said. “There’s no barrier to be a volunteer. If you’re devoted to the empowerment of women, to furthering that group that represents over half of our population, then you have a place in this organization.”
While the role of president and chair of the board requires a fair amount of time leading board meetings and working with volunteers, Jean’s favorite part of the job was getting to spend time with the girls. The Girl Scout program has a positive impact on girls, and Jean has been able to witness it first-hand.
“I see a girl that’s quiet and shy become a stronger young woman,” she said. “I see young girls that go out and go to college and channel their Gold Award project into their college major and, ultimately, their career. That’s what drives me because I know that our programs truly work.”
According to Jean, Girl Scouts is inclusive in every sense of the word because it doesn’t matter what you look like or what your religious beliefs are so long as you’re helping strengthen women. For her, seeing women working together in harmony for a common goal is very powerful.
“My fondest memories were those circumstances where I could look around the room and see girls from every socioeconomic level, from every background, the color of their face was different from one another, the head covering they wore or their religious belief was different from one another, and they were all enjoying the same thing together and supporting one another,” Jean said. “To see it come together and work so that we weren’t thinking about the fact that we were diverse, we’re all women, we’re all young girls and we’re enjoying the same things together…that for me will probably be the most powerful memory.”
Although Jean’s term is over, she will still be around our council. Five days after her roles officially ended, she was back at our headquarters and attending a taskforce meeting. She will be involved in two council-wide taskforces and chairing one of the subcommittees for one of the two. She’ll also continue serving on the Board Development Committee, an elected position, for the following three years. Jean was also asked to stay on the properties committee and continue to work on the 10-year property strategy.
“It’s exciting to start a project, but it’s really wonderful when you can see it through and these opportunities allow me to continue that,” Jean said.