Questions for Reflection
In each episode, we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
1. Were you part of any organizations in high school? How has that influenced who you are today?
2. Have you had the experience of being part of something that was bigger than yourself? What was that like for you?
3. What is your experience with the Girl Scouts organization? Do you still think it’s just cookies?
4. Do you think there’s value in women-run organizations that are just for women? Have you ever thought about it?
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:10):
And I'm Beth.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:11):
I've been in recovery for 14 years and am the author of Discovering My Scars, my memoir about my mental health struggles, experiences, and faith.
Beth Demme (00:18):
I'm a lawyer turned pastor who's all about self-awareness and emotional health, because I know what it's like to have neither of those things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:24):
Beth and I've been friends for years, have gone through a recovery program together and when I wanted to start a podcast, she was the only name that came to mind as cohost.
Beth Demme (00:31):
I didn't hesitate to say yes, because I've learned a lot from honest conversations with Steph over the years.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:36):
We value honest conversations, and we hope you do too.
Beth Demme (00:39):
That's why we do this and why we want you to be part of what we're discussing today. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled: "Girl Scouts is More Than Cookies."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:49):
Then we'll share a slice of life. And the show will close with questions for reflection, where we invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life. Alright, Beth, we're doing it. We are talking ...
Beth Demme (01:00):
Let's do this.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:00):
... about Girl Scouts. I know you're probably hesitant about this episode, because you don't have as much experience with Girl Scouts as I do. I know I'm probably more passionate about Girl Scouts than most people are.
Beth Demme (01:15):
Maybe more than anyone I've ever met in my life. That'll make this a great conversation!
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:20):
Well, I guess we'd have to know the percentage of people you've met that have been Girl Scouts, and that were Girl Scouts until the very end that they could be themselves.
Beth Demme (01:28):
You're the only one. You're the only person I've ever met who has the amount of Girl Scout experience that you have. I was a Girl Scout for a couple of years. I was a brownie, and then I bridged to juniors in third grade. I went from brown to green. Then that was it for me. You, actually, really hung in there with Girl Scouts.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:47):
Yeah. What age did you in Girl Scouts would you say? Do you remember?
Beth Demme (01:51):
I was probably eight or nine.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:53):
Okay. I think that's pretty typical. For most people that I talked to that don't really have a huge history with Girl Scouts that they were into third grade, and that was it, which is so strange to me. Because that, obviously, is not my experience. I was in Girl Scouts. I think I started like kindergarten. I had a friend across the street, my best friend, and she was in Girl Scouts. I joined her troop. I can't remember how many people we had in our troop, but we had a good amount, maybe like seven in the troop.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:31):
I remember, there was at one point, after a couple years, I didn't really like it. I just wasn't feeling it. I wasn't super into it. I remember, midway through a school year, I told my mom, I said, "I don't want to be in Girl Scouts anymore." She's like, "Okay, but when you commit to something, you have to stay in for the full year, and then you can quit." I was like, "Okay." My mom would never let us quit something midway through, which is why I was on the basketball team for a whole season. Even though I was horrible at basketball in ninth grade, my mom made me stay until the end of the season. I'm very grateful for that, that she didn't let me just quit when stuff gets hard.
Beth Demme (03:10):
Sorry, it's a good lesson. You don't quit just because it's hard or boring.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:13):
Beth Demme (03:14):
You fulfill your commitment.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:15):
Yeah. I remember at the end of the year, it came and went, and I did not quit Girl Scouts. Because guess what, I started to enjoy it again. That became the norm. I knew that I could never quit midway through a year, I needed to go through the year. I just kept with it. It was cool, because we did camping trips. One of the dads that was in the group was big with the Boy Scouts, with his son and the Boy Scouts, and he would help us with camping. He would make like a cobbler on the fire and that was really good.
Beth Demme (03:53):
Yes. I've had that, actually, that campfire cobbler. Had someone make it one time when we were hanging out at the beach, and it was really delicious. It sticks in my memory as an especially delicious dessert.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:05):
Yes, yeah. He would always make that. He also, in the Boy Scouts, they had this big monkey bridge, and he would bring the monkey bridge and set it up, so we could go across it. It was super fun. It was enjoyable. I remember like in my elementary school age, we did a lot of camping trips. We would go ... There's a Girl Scout camp nearby where we live. We would go out there and we would do different badges and different activities, and I enjoyed it. Then towards into middle school, there was two of us left in the troop, just two of us.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:49):
Because I don't remember exactly what happened. You know what? You get older and your interest change. I think everybody just left for different reasons, and there was just two of us. Both of us really liked being in Girl Scouts. We like having an activity that we could do together, an activity that we could have something bigger than ourselves to focus on. I wanted to keep the trip together and the other girl, she wanted to as well, but she wasn't super motivated to figure out how to do that. I remember in high school, I think in ninth grade, I had to sleep over for some of my new friends, that's that weird age where you're not super friends yet. I had them over and ...
Beth Demme (05:41):
Were they on the basketball team with you?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:43):
No. Actually, two of them were, two of them were on the basketball team with me. That is how I met two of my friends, actually. We're still friends today. I had them over, and five of them wanted to join my Girl Scout troop, after we had fun. I didn't say it right at the beginning like, now we're going to be Girl Scouts. Five of them ...
Beth Demme (06:00):
You're like a super recruiter.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:01):
I was. I'm glad I wasn't trying to get them in a cult, because it was five, would have been a cult. I mean, I could have been a cult leader, you never know.
Beth Demme (06:11):
There's still time.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:13):
Five of them joined. We had seven girls in our troop starting in high school, which is crazy, I know. It's very strange for girls to say in my experience. For me, it wasn't strange at all, because that was me. I started to open my eyes and see that there was not older girls in Girl Scouts. We had seven on our Girl Scout troop in high school. We all went through all the way until 17, 18. At that age, you actually retire out. We actually tried to get the ...
Beth Demme (06:48):
You aged out of being a Girl Scout. You can't go from being a Girl Scout to being a woman scout. It's a Girl Scout, that's it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:54):
You're a leader. You'd be a leader at that point. You could be a Girl Scout leader. We all went into college. I don't think any of us have been involved with Girl Scouts since. I still have a special place for Girl Scouts. If there was some opportunity for me to be a leader or be involved, I would definitely do that. I haven't seek it out, but I would definitely want to do that. Because as much as when people think of Girl Scouts, I think they think Girl Scout cookies. Is that accurate?
Beth Demme (07:23):
Yeah, I wanted to know that. I was like, in high school, did you sell Girl Scout cookies? Was that still a thing?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:27):
I will tell you, my mom is the mom that really despise all the stuff that kids have to sell. In elementary school, you have to sell like wrapping paper, I think.
Beth Demme (07:39):
Yeah, that used to be the thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:42):
Something so silly. In school and stuff, you have to sell random stuff and like candy and stuff. My mom despise that. It was always like, wouldn't let us do that. She was just like, "No," if there was a way to get us out of doing those things. I don't know why she despised it so much. Honestly, I don't. I was fine doing it. Anyways, so she never liked that we had to sell cookies.
Beth Demme (08:01):
I'm with her. I don't that either. I mean, when my friends say their kids are selling something, I always try to buy it because I know it's such an unpleasant thing to have to ask your friends to buy the stuff that you know that they don't need. I get rid of what was coming from, for sure.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:13):
Yeah, I think that's the concept. You literally have to sell cookies. There is no option. You have to sell cookies. You don't have to sell like a crazy amount, but you do have to sell at some capacity. My mom accepted it, and she stopped fighting it. She was like, "Okay." In order to actually do other things, you have to sell cookies. We wanted to go on other trips, but if you didn't sell cookies, you couldn't go on other trips. I don't remember the in and out of it all, but you do have to sell at some capacity. Anyways, we would sell cookies. We just made the best of it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:47):
It was easier to sell when we were younger, I'm not going to lie, because we were cuter when we were younger. As we got older, we had to do new ways of getting cookies. Actually, the Girl Scout Council has costumes, cookie costumes.
Beth Demme (09:05):
Really? Okay. Like for the different types of cookies, I think you dressed up like a Samoa.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:09):
Beth Demme (09:10):
Okay, or a thin mint, Dora, Trefoil, or whatever.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:12):
Yes. Imagine a young teenage girl learning to love their body wearing a cookie costume.
Beth Demme (09:23):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:24):
A big circle cookie costume. That's what it is. I do have pictures. I wonder if I can find them. I'm remembering many pictures of us in this cookie costumes. Yeah, we would dress up as cookies because that would really get the attention of people. Whether they felt sad for us, it doesn't matter. They bought our cookies.
Beth Demme (09:45):
They bought the cookies. I got to say I think that I could envision cookies selling well in high school to the other high school students because ...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:54):
Beth Demme (09:54):
... they like to have snacks.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:56):
Yes. The seven of us, when we were in high school, we had this idea. Well, we were trying to earn money to go on a spring break trip. We wanted to go to Disney for spring break as a Girl Scout troop. We started selling candy at school, at high school. You buy candy from Sam's, like the big bars and stuff. We started selling that at school, and it's sold so well.
Beth Demme (10:24):
Were you allowed to do that? I think that is ...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:26):
Yeah. We got permission.
Beth Demme (10:27):
Oh, you got permission, okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:28):
Yeah, yeah, we had permission.
Beth Demme (10:28):
I was going to say I think that that's [inaudible 00:10:28], yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:28):
We had permission from the school to do it as Girl Scouts, and it was listed that we were a Girl Scout troop. When I think back to my friends, that none of us were embarrassed to be girls and to be Girl Scouts and to have that label. I don't think we were embarrassed because it was good money, man. It was good money. When it came Girl Scout season, we sold our Girl Scout cookies at school and oh my gosh, that sold so well.
Beth Demme (10:58):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:59):
There was no part of us that will, and people weren't there making fun of us. They were just buying our cookie, so that we learned that was the secret when we were older and not cute. It didn't matter that we weren't cute. We had cookies. Teenagers like cookies.
Beth Demme (11:12):
Yes. You had a built-in market because you had your school friends.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:18):
Exactly. We did sell cookies at school. We did have an incident where some boy that is probably in jail now did steal some of our cookies. That was disappointing. We had to make a split second decision. Do we run after him for our cookies, for our $6 box of cookies?
Beth Demme (11:34):
They weren't $6 then though, were they?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:37):
I think he stole two, so it's $3 a box.
Beth Demme (11:39):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:39):
Yeah. We decided not to, because sometimes people would donate money to us. In my head in that split second, I realized, okay, we could take our donations and pay for that box. Okay, we're good.
Beth Demme (11:49):
Maybe we're in cookie season right now, I don't know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:51):
I think so.
Beth Demme (11:52):
It's one of those things where, because I never carry cash anymore, I feel bad when the little girls are out there outside the grocery store door and they're trying to sell cookies. I don't want to buy the cookies, because if I buy them, I will eat them. I'd to make a donation, but I have no cash. I get that about making a donation, sure.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:09):
They probably Venmo.
Beth Demme (12:14):
They probably do. They should.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:14):
I think they probably would. I mean, I don't know. I don't know what's going on with it now. Anyways, there's a special place for people that steal Girl Scout cookies, I'm just saying. We sold cookies. Again, that is not what Girl Scouts is about. Yet that's what everybody sees and thinks of when they think of Girl Scouts, is cookies. Also, just to mention, Girl Scout, at the time, our boxes were ... It was either $3 or $4, and we made 50 cents. That was part of my mom's frustration with selling, was that we made very little. Most of that money went to the main ...
Beth Demme (12:54):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:54):
... national organization, yeah. Anyways, we're not here to debate cookies. It is what it is at this point. I got so much more from Girl Scouts than ... I will tell you, one of the things I say about Girl Scout cookies is teaches girls a sense of business and these things. I did not learn that from selling cookies. I just learned we got to do this, done. I did ...
Beth Demme (13:18):
Well, maybe on some level, you learn like we're making all this effort and we're only keeping 50 cents of this, like understanding margin in business and understanding overhead.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:29):
Yeah, I mean ...
Beth Demme (13:29):
That could be useful.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:30):
It definitely taught me that I never want to be a sales person in a sense of like I'm selling someone's product and making commission on something and not actually making a salary. I mean, it definitely taught me like, mm, this is not for me, and I didn't love selling. It wasn't unique. There's so many people selling Girl Scout cookies, wasn't unique enough. That also was something like, I don't want to be part of a cog one day, it's what that taught me. I want to be something more unique, and that not to some that you just go to any grocery store and just find someone else selling.
Beth Demme (14:08):
Yeah. I don't remember so much when I was in Girl Scouts. I don't remember whether it was easy or hard to sell cookies. Again, I was only in it until I was about eight or nine years old. That would have been in the 1980s. It was a long time ago. Hannah actually did Girl Scouts for a year. I remember going to pick up the cookies from our area council. That was an incredible operation to see. They have these pallets of cookies out there. All of these moms and dads, because most Girl Scouts, you being the exception, most Girl Scouts don't drive because they're too young.
Beth Demme (14:48):
It's mostly the moms and dads out there, and there are mini-vans. It was this really well organized system knowing who was going to get how many boxes of cookies, and this palette is going to go here. Anyway, it was very impressive. It was an impressive operation to see.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:04):
Yeah. Then it always is one unfortunate parents house gets full of all those cookies that you move, yes. I've been there. Then you just have boxes of cookies in your house that you can't eat because you don't own them. It's just so like, ha ha ha. Then whoever has the boxes of cookies ends up buying more than they expected.
Beth Demme (15:26):
Yeah. They have to be responsible for keeping track of the money in and out, which is a big responsibility. Because if your trip is successful, that's a lot of money that's flowing through just in cookie sales. I know that Girl Scouts is about more than cookies. You were in Girl Scouts all the way through the end of high school. Then what happened?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:47):
I also wanted to mention we had a retirement ceremony for our troop. When we were senior year, we had a retirement ceremony, which was really cool. We tried to get the council to actually retire our Girl Scout troop number, 386, but they would not do that. Some ...
Beth Demme (16:01):
That would have been cool.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:04):
I know. It is cool that the number lives on. There's probably other troops that have that number. That's cool. We had a whole thing. We just had this event and we had some videos we showed and shared some memories. That was really neat, that we had this something that was bigger than ourselves that we could celebrate the completion of.
Beth Demme (16:24):
You were in Girl Scouts until the retirement ceremony. Then didn't you become a lifetime member or something?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:32):
Yeah. When you are about to the end of Girl Scouts, when you're 17, 18 years old, you have the opportunity to purchase a lifetime membership to Girl Scouts, which means it was a couple $100 and it basically means you never have to pay your annual dues again. That was important to me. I loved Girl Scouts. There was things I learned at Girl Scouts that I just can't imagine where I would have learned otherwise. Even though I didn't think I'd be joining another troop right away being a leader or anything, I wanted to be a lifetime Girl Scout. My parents did get me that as a graduation present. I am technically a lifetime Girl Scout. I am still a Girl Scout.
Beth Demme (17:19):
At some point, you earned a special award.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:22):
Growing up, my brother is older than me, a couple years older than me. He and my dad were really heavily involved with Boy Scouts. There was a part of me that always wanted to be in Boy Scouts, because I saw the neat stuff they got to do. I was like, I want to do that, but I am a girl, a woman now. It was not allowed for me to be on Boy Scouts. I was allowed to go on some camping trips and be part of some events they had, and I did that. Actually, my brother's troop, they sold Christmas trees every year as their fundraiser. I would sell Christmas trees with them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:01):
I pick up Christmas trees. I don't know how I did that. I was strong, apparently, but I would put them on people's cars. People were like, "I cannot pick it up." "No, no, I got this." I was very involved with the Boy Scout troop without being able to be a member. I always like the concept of having badges, having something to work towards. That's why I really put a lot into Girl Scouts, because that was all that was open to me. When I look back on it, I realized just how important it was that I was in Girl Scouts.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:38):
It would have been easy for me to get lost in Boy Scouts, especially as ... If I was allowed to be in Boy Scout, if I had been allowed to be in Boy Scouts, it would have been so easy for me to get lost because I would have not been ... There would not have been a lot of girls. There was not a lot of girls interested at the time. In Girl Scouts, there was no gender issues. We were all girls. We were all on an equal playing field. We all had just a common goal. Every Monday, we actually had our Girl Scout meetings, and we would have them at my house.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:12):
When I was in high school, my mom was our leader. I actually wrote the agenda, because I was the most passionate about Girl Scouts. We would have an agenda every week and we would go through it. A lot of times, we would just not get a lot done. We would laugh a lot and we would just be silly. I actually started making videos every week to keep people on track. I thought, okay, if there's a structured video of the order of things, maybe everyone will be interested in that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:44):
Then they started liking the video so much and they wanted me to do silly stuff, and so then the videos turned into more me doing silly things. It became just entertainment in video, instead of entertainment in real life. Anyways, we had common goals. A lot of times, we would be working on a badge. I remember Emily, who we actually had on the podcast, her mom was really into making jewelry. She had a jewelry business. She would sell them at local craft shows and things like that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:16):
We made our own badge, a jewelry badge, where her mom taught us about the jewelry business and how she makes them and how she runs her business. That is something that we would have never really asked her about. We're high school kids. We weren't going to be like, tell me about your business. There was no shark tank. This wasn't ...
Beth Demme (20:36):
Then she might not have taken it. Even if you had been interested in her business, she might not have taken it as seriously as she did because you were going to earn a badge from it. It gave her some structure probably too, to be like, okay, this really matters, I'm really going to tell them and not just, oh yeah, this is great, I enjoy it, whatever.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:52):
Yeah, and there was ...
Beth Demme (20:52):
I'll really tell you how it worked.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:54):
To make your own badge, you have all these parameters that you have to follow and certain things you have to do. You don't just make it up. They tell you exactly how you do things. There was a lot involved. I remember once, this was like 18 years ago, a long time ago, before health food stores were a thing, we went to a local health food store in Tallahassee. We learned about tofu and about all these alternative foods that we had never seen before. Now, we've all heard of them. At the time, this was new information to us.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:29):
Talking to us about GMOs, we're like, what? It's things we all know now, but we learned these things in high school. Why would we have ever gone and interviewed people at a grocery store to learn about food? Why would you ever do that? It's still ...
Beth Demme (21:44):
And why would they take the time to talk to you, right? If you're just going to come in with questions, they're not going to necessarily take the time to take your questions seriously. When you have that structure, we are coming to you as Girl Scouts because we want to learn this information, especially if it's, okay, we're going to get a badge. People understand that, right? Even I understand that. Oh, there's a badge that's going to come down to this. It's important to these young women, and so then you take it seriously.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:08):
Exactly. We got a lot of a lot of insights into things that we would have never otherwise even learned about or even thought about that we wanted to learn about. Everyone's level of dedication was different. Everyone was dedicated to the troop. Everyone was happy to be a part of it. Not everyone came to every meeting. We all have busy lives. Sometimes, miss a meeting here and there. We all were dedicated in the sense that we're a part of this troop and we're going to do our part. I was the most dedicated as you knowing me could imagine.
Beth Demme (22:46):
Right. Goal-oriented, want to have an agenda, want to get the badges, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:52):
I was very goal oriented. Because I was seeing my brother and dad still involved with Boy Scouts and my brother being older than me, he was already working on his Eagle Award when I was in early high school. I would see these things, and I wanted to have those same things. In fact, because I think most people with Boy Scouts know about Eagle Award, it's the highest award in Boy Scouts.
Beth Demme (23:19):
Yeah, getting your eagle is a big deal.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:21):
Beth Demme (23:21):
Being an Eagle Scout is a big deal.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:22):
Beth Demme (23:23):
I don't know if you know that, but it's a big deal.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:25):
I did, and I do. I've seen the benches to prove it. I wanted that same thing. I always wanted to be able to earn the Eagle Award. I was like, I want the Eagle, but I was like, I can't. I wanted to find out, can I do the same thing on Girl Scouts? Lo and behold, here is a award equivalent, if not, higher than Eagle Award that no one has heard of, and it's called the Gold Award. In Girl Scouts, there's actually a bronze, silver, and Gold Award. You can earn them at different stages within Girl Scouts. I never earned my bronze, but I did earn my silver award.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:04):
I earned my Gold Award. I think a couple of us earned our silver award. I was the only one that earned the Gold Award. In the silver award, actually, we had a really cool service project. The big thing about each of these awards is you have to do a lot to earn them. There's a lot of different badges you have to do to earn them. You also have to do a service project at the very end. That's an ongoing service project. It's something that doesn't just one and done. It's something that has legs. For our silver award, it was actually pretty interesting what we did.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:36):
My mom was involved heavily with her Panhellenic, which is when you're not in college anymore and you were in a sorority, you're involved with Panhellenic. It's all the people that were in sororities in college, they get together and they do service. She was heavily involved with that. One of the things is, at the end of the year, they would go and clean out the sorority house. Girls would leave brand new clothes. They would leave the most expensive stuff. It was just crazy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:07):
My mom just would see this and be like, look at all the stuff that these girls are leaving when they leave when they're done with college. I would help my mom clean out and things like that. It was not fun, but I would do it. We ultimately had this idea where we thought, what if we took all these clothes, set it up, and let foster teenage girls come and get these clothes.
Beth Demme (25:32):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:32):
We call it the Sorority Boutique. We did this, actually, for a few years. We would gather the clothes at the end of the semester from the sorority house, and we would set them up. We actually set them up in the fellowship hall at Killearn Church where we used to work, and we have pictures of it too. We would just invite any foster teenage girl ...
Beth Demme (25:54):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:54):
... who were allowed to come and get whatever they wanted. There was no stipulations. It's whatever you want, take it. That was really cool. That was a very cool thing to be a part of. Because we, as teenage girls, we're helping teenage girls and seeing what their realities were. That was a very cool service project that we got to be a part of.
Beth Demme (26:20):
That was how you all earned the silver award, was by doing the Sorority Boutique?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:24):
Beth Demme (26:24):
That's a really cool idea. It's service in multiple ways, which is great. Then how did you get the Gold Award?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:33):
The Gold Award, you have to do a lot of, like I said, there's more badges and there was certain stipulations you have to do and you have to do it at certain age as well. I couldn't have earned my Gold Award when I was younger, I don't believe. It may have changed now. There was certain ages you had to be, which is also why I don't think a lot of girls get the Gold Award because you have to be in high school or in your teenage years. You do have to do an ongoing service project for that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:02):
What I did was ... Again, Killearn, the church that we used to work at, their youth group, every year, used to do a service project called Love at Work, where they would go to a neighboring county that was one of the poorest counties in our area. They would do service projects. They would work on the houses. They would rebuild roofs. They would do repairs on the house, whatever needed to be done. One of the things that they wanted to do is expand it. They wanted to have other churches involved. They wanted to have more funds to be able to do more homes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:36):
I asked, hey, I can make a documentary about this to really get some more word out about what's going on with us. Again, this was in 2003, 2004. This is before YouTube. This is before videos were like everyone could do with their phones. This was at a whole different time in life. The youth director love that idea. He was just like, "Oh yes, please, please, do that." I had to go through, there was a whole list of stuff that I had to get approved and I had to present this idea to the Girl Scout Council. I had to go in front of this council of ladies and explain what I was going to do.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:16):
I'm a high school kid like, mm, so I'm holding over my video camera and I'm going to make the video. It was like being in a board room. I mean, they were all very nice, but it was very nerve wracking. I'd never had anything that in my life where I had to like ... It would be like Shark Tank, actually. If you've seen Shark Tank, it would have been like that, where I'm pitching my idea and hoping they'll let me do it. They were all lovely. They asked me questions. I had to be prepared. I had a whole binder.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:46):
I probably still have to hold a binder, because I also had to document everything. After I got it approved, I had to document everything. I had to have my scheduling. I had to have everything that I was doing. I made a documentary about Love at Work. It was ongoing because, for probably 10 years, they use this video to show other churches about the organization and get them interested in wanting to be a part of it, and other churches did get involved. People did donate money based on seeing this documentary. That was a very cool thing to be a part of.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:19):
My passion in high school became video production. That was also something that was very important to me to be able to do that within my Gold Award, something video related. It was also very much out of my comfort zone. I'm an introvert. We've talked about that. I don't thrive on interacting with multiple people and people I don't know, but that's what I did with this documentary. I went to different sites where they were building houses and I interviewed people my age that I wasn't really friends with, but had to asked them, "Hey, can I interview you?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:54):
It was very uncomfortable for me, but I did it. Because I had to for my Gold Award. It made the documentary way better to have all of this in it. I, personally, would have never gone out of my comfort zone and been like, hey, can I make a documentary? I would have never done that, unless I had to do this goal-oriented thing for Girl Scouts. For me, I learned so much leadership skills from being in Girl Scouts. I learned to have a voice. I learned that my voice matters. I learned that I can set a goal and I can achieve that goal.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:29):
I learned to talk in front of a group of people that I wouldn't have had an opportunity to otherwise. I got so much out of being a Girl Scout that I am so thankful for today. I feel like I wouldn't be doing the job I'm doing today without Girl Scouts. Because having the confidence to work for myself, having the confidence to make videos like I made so many videos in Girl Scouts actually, like I said, because I was so passionate about videos in high school because I took it to a production class. I started making videos for my Girl Scout troop. Those were just fun. In today's time, those are videos I would have put on YouTube to entertain, but I got all this experience making videos because I was doing it for Girl Scouts and for my troop.
Beth Demme (31:21):
You were like the original TikToker before there was TikTok.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:24):
Yes, yes. I mean, it was that same concept of just making these fun videos to make someone laugh. I would watch like I would watch people's reactions when they would watch the videos. I learned timing too. I'm like, okay, so that edit was too long, because they are getting bored, okay. I learned a lot from that. I still use those techniques today in the videos I do put on YouTube, the instructional videos I make with my mom. I still use that timing. I still find out, because I had so much experience in my high school days, that I have translated into today.
Beth Demme (32:02):
How do you feel about the fact that Boy Scouts now allows girls to be members? Do you feel like those girls are going to get the same or get a comparable experience to what you got being in a troop with only girls?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:17):
Like I said, I was in Girl Scouts 17, 18 years ago, and my experience was invaluable to me. If I had a daughter, I would definitely get her involved with Girl Scouts because of the experience I had. Is that everyone's experience? No. Can you speak to someone's experience? Is your experience the same as someone's in anything? No. Everyone's experience is different. I tried to think like if ... Also, I don't know how Girl Scouts is today. I do follow Girl Scouts a little bit.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:51):
It still seems they're just as awesome as they were back then and still putting women first and giving women into leadership roles. Cookies is still a thing. I think Girl Scouts is still a great organization from what I've seen. When I think back like if I had at the time, when I wanted to be a Boy Scout, if I had been allowed to be in Boy Scouts, would I have had the same experience? When I think back to it, I, 100%, don't think I would have had the same experience. If I was in Boy Scouts, I think I would have gotten lost. I would have been a minority as a girl in Boy Scouts.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:32):
I don't think I would have ever excelled to this point that I did in Girl Scouts. Because in Girl Scouts, gender is not a question, is not a concern. You're all girls, you're all on same level playing field. In Boy Scouts, if you're going to have a mixture of girls and boys, I don't think girls are going to be empowered. I don't think I would have been empowered as much as I was being in Girl Scouts. I guess, in today's age, girls are allowed in Boy Scouts. I don't know if girls are allowed in Boy Scouts yet. I know they're in Cub Scouts. I know they're going to be involved in Boy Scouts soon. What is my opinion on that? Is that what do you want to know?
Beth Demme (34:13):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:17):
Boy Scouts is a whole another conversation. I have definitely opinions about Boy Scouts.
Beth Demme (34:24):
Well, it sounds like you feel like there was something valuable in your experience of not having to be in a troop with boys. There was something valuable in your experience about it being only girls.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:40):
Yes, yes. I think it's very, very valuable. I think it's also invaluable that this is organization run by women, the Girl Scouts, and I think there is something that you are not going to get in an organization run by men, which so many things in our world are. Well, for example, just before this, you were researching Girl Scout Gold Awards. One of somebody's Gold Award, can you tell me what their topic was?
Beth Demme (35:11):
I was curious about the Gold Award. I was just looking on the Girl Scout website about who won the Gold Award in 2020. One of them is a young woman named Julia from Colorado. Her award was all about working with her state representative in Colorado to introduce a bill that would pay for period's supplies, menstruation supplies for girls in high school.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:37):
Which is great and super important. It's hard for me to imagine an Eagle Award project being that, that a girl would present that as their Eagle Award project, and that men would approve that as their project. Could it happen? Maybe. That's something that's super important that people usually don't talk about or want to bring up. I don't know if a girl would have the confidence to bring that up as their Eagle Award project. Yet she was comfortable and did that for her Gold Award. I am not involved with Boy Scouts.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:14):
I'm not really involved with Girl Scouts anymore. I do know how important and impactful Girl Scouts was for me being in a girl organization. It's helped me be in other organizations today, in organizations that are mainly female organizations, which most are. Whether girls are in Girl Scouts, in Boy Scouts, whatever, I do think it's important for formative years. I know for me, it was super important to be part of something bigger than myself. One day, if I have a child, that is something I'm going to seek out. Whether it's Girl Scouts, confident it's not Boy Scouts, but if it's Girl Scouts, if it's something else, if there's something else, I will try to seek something like that out for a child because I know how much it impacted me.
Beth Demme (37:05):
It sounds like doing the Gold Award project took you outside of your comfort zone. You had to do the things that you were comfortable with like the planning and editing and those things, but also outside your comfort zone. Because like you said, you were shy, but you had to go and you had to interview people and those kinds of things. Did getting that Gold Award, not only did you have a sense of accomplishment, but do you think that it opened doors for you later on?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:30):
100%, yes. That was pretty much the biggest thing I was involved with in high school, was Girl Scouts. I wasn't involved with sports beyond my sad basketball years. That was my biggest award that I've ever earned, was my Gold Award. When I was starting to get into the job world, actually, that was the award on my resume, was Girl Scout Gold Award. I went to get a job at Apple in Orlando. I sat down for my interview, and they look over the resume and the first thing they say is, "Huh, what's a Girl Scout Gold Award?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:15):
I spent about 20 minutes discussing the Girl Scout Gold Award and what I did for my award and explained the video I made for my service project and the editing I did, because I was interviewing for Apple. I was using my Apple computer to edit my video on. After I talked about all that, he said, "Huh, well, that's cool, so you know Final Cut Pro?" I said, "I do indeed." Okay, got a call the next day. You're hired. In fact, because I talked so much about that, the store leader that interviewed me told the creative team, which is the trainers of the store, that told them I knew Final Cut Pro.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:56):
I started as a specialist, which is a salesperson. Within a week or two, they pulled me from the specialist team every now and then when someone wanted to learn how to use Final Cut because they knew I knew Final Cut because I told them on my interview. They pulled me and I became a creative very shortly after that, because I knew Final Cut, because I used it to make the documentary for Girl Scouts. I definitely got many opportunity. I mean, just in that ... Like if that hadn't been listed, I don't know that that conversation would have happened.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:28):
The same thing happened, actually. After I worked for Apple, I applied for working at Killearn where we met, and it was on my resume then. Lo and behold, the interviewer was like, "What's the Girl Scout Gold Award?" "Well, let me tell you about that." Twice. Actually, I've only had two interviews, interviews for jobs. Both those interviews, they brought up Girl Scout Gold Award, both of them I got hired for, and there was not a ton more interviews.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:00):
I don't know that that would have been the same thing with Eagle Award, because so many people know what Eagle Award is. I don't know if that same conversation would have happened. Because people were like, what's Gold Award? I had an opportunity to talk and explain something that I was passionate about and knew about. Then I got the job.
Beth Demme (40:17):
I guess it's true. I guess Girl Scouts is more than just cookies.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:20):
Yeah. I have a love hate relationship with cookies. I'm not going to lie. I do love that people know of Girl Scouts because of the cookies. I do think like that's ... There's very few things that you instantly say one thing and, oh yeah, Girl Scout. Like you say cookies, Girl Scouts. I think that's cool that people can associate that, but I do think it can be a little detrimental, because that can be what people only think Girl Scouts is. There's so much more to Girl Scouts.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:46):
If you take just a couple minutes to look at the website, you can see how much more there is to it and how inclusive it is and empowering it is for Girl Scouts. Actually, I mean, they list like there's a lot of girls, former Girl Scouts, in Congress that are in leadership roles in the United States, in businesses, CEOs. It's really cool to see where Girl Scouts go on to. How about you, Beth? Would you say Girl Scouts was life changing and taught you that you wanted to be a lawyer one day?
Beth Demme (41:23):
I don't think that Girl Scouts was that for me. I think it really depends on your particular troop experience and who's leading you and who the girls are that you're with. I am still friends with, for sure, at least one girl who I was in Girl Scouts with. She's pretty amazing. She's a professor out in California, in the University of California system, and has really created a niche for herself. I don't know, she might attribute some of that to Girl Scouts, I don't know. I remember being at her house, because she had a really big yard out on the bayou.
Beth Demme (41:56):
It was a safe place for us to practice building fires. I remember that's where I learned the basics of how to build a campfire. We all had our sit-upons. I do remember it. I do have Girl Scout memories. Yeah, not as formative for me as it was for you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:11):
Did you have anything like that in high school, that was very formative and you learned leadership and pushed you out of your comfort zone.
Beth Demme (42:20):
When I was in high school, I was one of those people who was in everything. If there was an organization I could be a part of, I was a part of it and I was on the leadership team. I just did everything that I could because I didn't realize that at the time, but what I know now about myself, is that I like to be busy. Also, because I'm an extrovert, I really am fed by being in those situations and being around people. I was just in everything. It was frustrating to me when things conflicted and I couldn't do both.
Beth Demme (42:49):
I couldn't be in the marching band and be the mascot, like wear the mascots costume. Although one game, the band didn't go and I did convince the cheerleading coach to let me be the mascot. It was not a good experience. Because, man, was that costume ever hot.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:07):
Were you ever in an organization that was just females?
Beth Demme (43:11):
We had a club at school called entre soars amongst sisters, ESC, and that was only girls. It was a high school version of a sorority. I loved it. I thought it was great. I had a big sister who was really good at being a big sister. Then in my group of friends that I ... We all did it together. It was just another thing that we got to do together and have fun.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:40):
The takeaway from this, is leadership is important for women, I think. No matter what organization it comes from, I think that's ... Because it sounds like you have had many of those opportunities as have I, just in different ways.
Beth Demme (43:55):
Yeah. I think that there's a lot of value in being part of something that's bigger than yourself. We have so much fun making this podcast. We've heard from some of you that you're wondering what is the best way to support us. We've decided to expand the podcast experience using buymeacoffee.com. You can go there and buy us a cup of coffee or for Steph, a cup of tea
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:21):
Beth Demme (44:21):
Or you can actually become a monthly supporter, and that will give you access to PDFs of the questions for reflection as well as pictures, outtakes, polls, and more.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:30):
The kinds of things that we would put on social media, if we had a social media channel, but we actually don't for the podcast because we decided from the beginning that we didn't want to add to more white noise in your life. One of the great things about buy me a coffee is that you'll be able to actually get an email when we post new content. You can go straight there and you don't have to deal with ads or being bombarded with other content. You see exactly the content you're looking for without a bunch of distractions. We plan to post probably once or twice a week, and we're excited to get your feedback as members on our buy me a coffee page, which we are lovingly calling our BMAC page
Beth Demme (45:03):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:04):
BMAC. You will be able to find a link in our description to find out more and to sign up. Beth, I hope I came across in this episode that Girl Scouts is more than cookies, and I hope it came across that I have a love-hate relationship with Girl Scout cookies, but I don't know that we can do this episode without actually asking the question. Beth, what is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?
Beth Demme (45:32):
Thin mints, hands down, love thin mints.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:36):
Beth Demme (45:36):
Love to put them in the freezer and eat them with a really, really cold ... Oh my gosh, such a good cookie.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:40):
I was going to say, but what's the only way to eat them? Frozen from the freezer, yes. Not the only way, but the best way.
Beth Demme (45:48):
That's right, yes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:50):
I will tell you, my mom, again ... You know I love my mom, but she didn't selling cookies. She didn't like that we made no profit. She also thought they were too expensive. We loved thin mints as well, but we would buy the ... What's the little company that has like little guys, little gnome guys?
Beth Demme (46:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:14):
Keebler, Keebler came out with grasshopper cookies. I think they're called grasshopper, which is basically thin mints. They're cheaper and you get more. We would buy those instead of Girl Scout thin mints, because my mom refused to pay for a Girl Scout box.
Beth Demme (46:30):
I don't think they're the same. I think the Keebler ones are thicker.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:31):
They are not the same. They are not the same.
Beth Demme (46:31):
Yeah, they are not the same.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:34):
That's what I'm saying. My mom is big on the store brand, is always just as good. I'm big on ...
Beth Demme (46:41):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:41):
No, exactly. I have ...
Beth Demme (46:42):
No, it's the one thing I can definitively say Vicki is wrong.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:46):
I know, thank you. Thank you. Okay. I'm glad we're on the same page with this. Because my whole life, I've been like, no. She will buy whatever is on sale or the store brand, no problem. Every time I would be complaining about, mom is like, "Well, when you are buying your own stuff, you can buy the name brand." I was like, "I will." Guess what I do? I buy my very favorite paper towels, I buy Viva. They are my favorite paper towels. My mom would never buy them because they were too expensive. She always bought the Walmart brand. Let me tell you, Viva is the best paper towel ever. That's all I'm saying.
Beth Demme (47:21):
A Bounty girl myself, but I hear you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:23):
Beth Demme (47:23):
I hear you that once you find a grand, you just stay. When you know it works, stick with it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:28):
Anyways, my favorite cookie, I love thin mints. I also really a Samoa. My mom doesn't Samoa, because of the coconut. I really like Samoa.
Beth Demme (47:37):
Yeah. I'm not a huge coconut fan. I have stayed away from the Samoas too, but that is my husband's favorite Girl Scout cookie.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:43):
Yeah. Well, it's good and complex. Thin mints can sometimes be a little boring, because ...
Beth Demme (47:50):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:50):
Well, also, you can't ...
Beth Demme (47:52):
The chocolate and then the texture and then [crosstalk 00:47:55].
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:54):
You can't just eat one, which can be a problem.
Beth Demme (47:57):
That's true, that's true.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:58):
It's like you can eat one sleeve.
Beth Demme (48:01):
Can you eat just one Samoa though? I don't know, because I don't eat them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:04):
Yes. You can stop easier than you can with a thin mint, I believe. I can't remember the other ones. I have to say Samoa and ...
Beth Demme (48:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:16):
Beth Demme (48:17):
Trefoil, okay. Then there's a shortbread.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:17):
That one, it's good. That's a shortbread one.
Beth Demme (48:19):
The peanut butter ones that I'm thinking of are called the Tagalongs or peanut butter patties.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:24):
Yeah, Tagalongs. Yeah, Tagalongs.
Beth Demme (48:24):
Then there's also the Do-si-Dos, which has a little bit of peanut butter spread in the middle, but no chocolate.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:31):
Yes, yeah. I knew all of the names and all about them before because you had to when you sold them. I do want to say we have had one of my Girl Scout troop members on the podcast so far. We had Emily on. Like I said, we had seven people in my Girl Scout troop. I'm curious, how many of them would be willing to be on the podcast about something? Because we currently have a second one in the works. That we find over the years to see if I can get all seven of them on. I'm not sure I can think of what all of them would talk about. That would be interesting. Not about being a Girl Scout, but just some other topic.
Beth Demme (49:10):
Yeah, it might be fun to have all of them on somehow.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:12):
Beth Demme (49:13):
Technologically, that might be a nightmare, but it would be interesting to have an episode with your ladies. Because your ladies isn't ... Are they all Girl Scouts?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:21):
No. I have 10 ladies, and it was 7 Girl Scouts. There are three that were not Girl Scouts, but we still allowed them to be our friends. We didn't exclude people. We were still friends with everybody. It wasn't like, oh, we're the Girl Scouts. Also, wasn't a cool thing. We weren't going around like, we're the Girl Scouts, although we weren't hiding it. Everyone knew we are a Girl Scouts.
Beth Demme (49:46):
I like to bring you interesting things that I've seen in the news or that I read online.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:50):
Weird, weird things.
Beth Demme (49:50):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:52):
Weird things, really weird.
Beth Demme (49:55):
A friend of mine who is a mortgage broker in town shared this listing for a house that's not here where we live. It's further south in Florida. It's down in Zephyrhills. This listing is amazing for how honest it is and how it is very clearly not a house probably anybody should buy. I'm going to read you the listing. It's a little bit long, but stay with me. This is for a house at 37913 Avoca Avenue in Zephyrhills. Here it is, literally the worst house on the street. The seller has done the hard work of cleaning up the almost half acre property. It only took seven dumpsters.
Beth Demme (50:35):
Now is your chance to take it from here. Have you ever watched HGTV and thought I could do that? If so, pack up your tape measure and start Googling how to identify load bearing walls, because it's time to put your money where your mouth is. The roof leaks, the floor creaks, and there's a terrible draft. This three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home is very open concept. By that, we mean the inside is open to the outside because several of the windows are broken.
Beth Demme (51:02):
There is a large sunny window in the kitchen, and absolutely nothing else, a wonderful feature for someone interested in a bright reading space and ordering takeout for every meal. Now I know you've heard of a detached garage. Have you ever heard of a detached foundation? Because that's what you'll find here in the large bonus room at the right of the home. If you're looking for a house that screams, I've got bizarre and ominous energy, then, honey, stop the car because you found it right here. Conveniently located off, US 301 in North Zephyrhills.
Beth Demme (51:33):
If you need a place to stay your next post-apocalyptic zombie movie, this is it. The covered porch has really good rest here on your way to the safe zone vibes. Whether you to turn up the heat or keep it cool, it won't matter because there's no HVAC system. Oh, and don't forget about the brick chimney that perfectly epitomizes how we all feel after 2020 about to collapse and going nowhere. Literally, there is no fireplace inside the house. What else can we say about this one of a kind opportunity? It's not in a flood zone and will be conveyed with clear title.
Beth Demme (52:11):
We don't have a survey and the seller has never seen the property. Buyers are strongly encouraged to do their own due diligence. if you're not interested in crying yourself to sleep every night while you rehab this home, might we suggest tearing it down and building a brand new one in its place. The neighbors would likely thank you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:28):
Beth Demme (52:30):
That listing is available for $69,000 even.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:34):
How much ...
Beth Demme (52:35):
It's an 826-square foot house on a half-acre lot.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:38):
Is that a good neighborhood?
Beth Demme (52:40):
I have no idea. I literally know nothing about it other than the ...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:42):
You want the worst house in the best neighborhood
Beth Demme (52:44):
... beautiful description, yes. I mean, the honesty and the humor that is used in this listing, is I don't think is fabulous.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:51):
Is there pictures of it, the house?
Beth Demme (52:52):
There are pictures. I like that. I like that listing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:56):
Yeah, that one.
Beth Demme (52:56):
I like their approach. I like the humor, good stuff.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:59):
All of that's actually really valid. Someone that wants to really make of our home or bulldoze and put something else up, those are good two good suggestions. At the end of each episode, we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave a little pause between. You can find a PDF of them on our buy me a coffee page.
Beth Demme (53:21):
Number one, were you part of any organizations in high school? How has that influenced who you are today? Number two, have you had the experience of being part of something that was bigger than yourself? What was that like for you? Number three, what is your experience with the Girl Scouts organization? Do you still think it's just cookies? Number four, do you think there's value in women run organizations that are just for women? Have you ever thought about it?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (53:50):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast. Thank you for joining us.