Amanda Gravatt Porter is the COO for Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Posted by Monica Hoel
If you’ve ever been involved with Girl Scouts, you probably thought a troop of 8 was a lot to handle. But imagine being responsible for 10,000 Girl Scouts.

In 2020, Amanda Gravatt Porter was named the Chief Operating Officer for Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia – a segment of Girl Scouts that actually includes 12,000 members counting the leaders. But Amanda has been involved with the Girl Scouts organization for so long that she is well-prepared for what will come her way in this new role.

Little Amanda Gravatt (far right) with fellow Girl Scouts circa 1982.Little Amanda Gravatt (far right) with fellow Girl Scouts circa 1982.She first got involved with Girl Scouts as a kid herself; she says her mom realized pretty early that Amanda was far more interested in being outside than in wearing bows in her hair – so she sensibly got her involved in a local troop. Amanda fondly remembers her troop leaders and the wonderful experiences of learning how to be self-sufficient, doing things like building a fire and making her first “hobo pack.” But she quickly adds that today’s Girl Scout movement is far more progressive in terms of training young women for leadership roles. Adding a STEM education aspect is just one of the ways in which Girl Scouts of America has very thoughtfully and strategically aimed to find ways to get women ready for a full and productive life.

One of the things Amanda likes to talk about is the opportunity for young women to have a place to experience failure….safely. Effective learning comes in trying new things, but that inevitably leads to failures: but failing is part of the learning curve. So they speak openly about how it’s ok to fail, because the important thing is to try: and they will be supported and encouraged through their failure as it leads them to mighty success.

Of course, being outdoors is also an important gift from Girl Scouts, and while Amanda looks like the ultimate professional in her office dressed to the nines, she says she is never more comfortable than when she is in a pair of jeans teaching kids how to put up a tent or use a fishing pole. She says when you’re outdoors together facing challenges of weather and survival that’s when everyone is on equal ground – learning the lessons that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Enjoy a conversation with Amanda in the WEHC archives: https://archive.org/details/OntheDuckPondWall

  • Amanda Gravatt Porter, 
    Emory & Henry Class of 1997.

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