COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - After seeing a need in her community, twenty years ago a Midlands woman launched a Girl Scout troop. Ten years later, Sheila Brown launched a second troop, and to date, she still leads them both and has had an impact on more than 1,000 young women.
“She is very selfless in what she does, even after retirement,” said Yolanda Cuttino who has granddaughters in one of Brown’s troops. “She still has a desire to help these girls grow into young women.”
Brown says her mission began when she wanted her own daughter to be involved in the program. “I was taking her all the way across town for Girl Scouts,” said Brown. “She was a Daisy, so I decided there was a need at the church, and I decided to do the church Girl Scouts.”
That was 20 years ago at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Cayce. At the time, Brown was also a school nurse in Richland One. She says over time she saw a need in that community, as well, and launched a troop in 2010.
“She exposes them to different things in order get them to see a different way of life,” said Cuttino.
Through community support just in the last few years, Brown has taken her scouts to the Biltmore House in Asheville, New York City and even on a Girl Scout cruise in the Bahamas.
“If we don't reach out to help, a lot of times, they don't get exposed to it,” said Brown.
Brown recently retired as the school nurse at Hyatt Park Elementary after serving in Richland One for 22 years. Between the Hyatt Park troop and the one at Mt. Zion, Brown helps to lead and encourage more than 80 scouts a year.
“I’ve learned to never give up,” said Kamron Booker, a scout who has been under Mrs. Brown’s leadership for three years.
“I believe in girls having confidence and girls growing up knowing who they are,” added Brown. “So it's been a good experience.’
We caught up with Brown at the end-of-year ceremony for her scouts at Mt.Zion. She was there to give out awards for her scouts' accomplishments, but those who know Brown best wanted to turn the tables. Before Brown could get up to the podium, Cuttino stepped in.
“I know we’re here to honor the girl's accomplishments and what they’ve been able to do throughout the year, and this is a wonderful thing,” said Cuttino. “But tonight we’re also going to honor Sheila Brown.”
Mungo Homes' Kim O’Quinn shared the rest of the good news.
“On behalf of Mungo Homes we would like to thank you for your service to these wonderful young ladies,” said O’Quinn who was joined by a colleague from Mungo Homes who also serves with Mrs. Brown. “My coworker, Jackie Burgess, and I, we would like to congratulate you as our most recent Community Builder, and you will be receiving a check for $1000 to the charity of your choice from the Michael J. Mungo Foundation.”
The announcement was met by loud applause from Brown’s troop and the room full of parents and supporters. After she received her hard hat, Brown added she was surprised and even more excited about the donation.
“This will give me an opportunity to do what I enjoy doing and that’s giving back to the girls, and my way of giving back is Girl Scouts,” said Brown.