Taryn Rimland became a Charlottean at six months old. She recounts experiences growing up including her involvement in her local Girl Scouts troop, graduating from Vance High School, and staying local to attend college. After graduating from college, she worked in sales but quickly realized, it wasn’t the right fit for her. She left Charlotte to take a job in Italy working with the Girl Scouts, which she loved, but she also realized just how much she missed home.
After leaving Italy, she returned for a role with Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont Council, which serves counties spanning the mountains and north piedmont areas of North Carolina. When an opening came available in Charlotte at the Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council, it was a no-brainer.
For Taryn, the 2016 Charlotte protests stirred up emotions of her personal story of growing up in Charlotte. She also saw the commonalities with a national research study conducted by the Girl Scouts organization, which indicated that North Carolina and South Carolina ranked last among economic mobility for young girls. It reminded her of the 2014 Harvard study that ranked Charlotte last among largest U.S. cities for economic mobility.
“It was a real wake up for call for me,” Taryn shared. “I went to great schools, had positive mentors, and found it really easy to navigate life. I always had opportunities to plug in to different things. It revealed a whole other side to Charlotte for me. I had ignored it, never encountered it.”
Taryn initiated the Hornets’ Nest Council’s Conversations of Consequence. She launched the series, not really knowing what to expect from it, in January 2017. The conversations are designed to help open the minds of young girls to how others live and what they experience daily, as well as to help explore new topics and ask tough questions.
“In our girls, I see so much of myself – having lived a relatively sheltered life,” she said. “Girl Scouts is at the core making them leaders and global citizens. We were doing them a disservice by not exposing them all parts of our community.”
The conversations allow Girl Scouts to earn a patch, if they participate in at least three conversations and complete a service oriented project aligned with their areas of interest. Any girl in grades K-12 can participate, even if not a member of the Girl Scouts. Adults who might be interested in leading a conversation can reach out directly to Taryn.
“People thank us for the opportunity,” she said. “Girls and their parents have commented that they would have never talked with or interacted with many of speakers without these conversations,”
The Hornets’ Nest Council is also looking at other efforts to ensure that economic mobility and the ability to understand others and build positive relationships across differences encompasses their training and outreach. They want to move the needle and all programs are part of it. Through outreach, they touch nearly 3,000 girls across the Charlotte region, each year. For Taryn, it’s about learning and not allowing herself or others to sit on the sidelines.
“My bubble has been burst – the Charlotte I thought I knew is just a different place. My strength is learning, and I have to balance being involved and sitting still. There are so many opportunities to move the needle in Charlotte, it can be overwhelming. No matter how much I want to tune it out, I always challenge myself to continue to be involved and to continue to find ways to push the conversation.”
To learn more about the Conversations of Consequence and how you can become involved, visit https://www.hngirlscouts.org/en/our-program/hornets-nest-programs/conversations-of-consequence.html