I’m home from my keynote speaking engagement with the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore (#GSMISTS) and wow what an event to behold. Over 300 buzzing girls and their leaders anxiously awaited my words. Stepping towards the stage with my flight jacket on and helmet in hand, this was a moment to remember and hopefully something the girls in the audience might remember as well. It was a privilege to grow up in Michigan – the outdoors is exquisite with plenty of places for young person to run, swim, ski and be a #GirlScout.

In fact, my very first uniform was that of a Brownie. Perhaps it was that uniform and then maybe the leaders in Brownies, then Girl Scouts that stimulated a desire within me to pursue a career in the military.

The title of my signature talk is usually Flight Lessons. On stage I began with that title, then quickly switched it to “This is what happens when you teach a Girl Scout from Michigan how to Fly”

The moment the words flew out of my mouth the audience responded.

“It began with a dream of flying,” I said.  “In a deep sleep I would soar over the rolling hills of Michigan, arms outstretched as my body accelerated through the air. Then I had no idea where my dreams might take me. Now I know where they did. My dreams eventually transformed into reality as I entered the Naval Academy and went on to build a wonderful, challenging, career as an aviator and naval flight test officer.”

The audience pulsed with excitement and the girls responded with lots of questions. LOTS OF QUESTIONS. How did you start? What was your biggest challenge? Were you ever scared? Why did you fly?

These Girl Scouts are dreamers. My hope is that my words of inspiration will help them FLY in whatever endeavor they undertake.

What dream have you realized? And how do you share them with the next generation? What last Saturday taught me is that young people are hungry to hear your dreams, so please share them!

Fly high,


Need a speaker for your next event? Drop me a line at CaptainBarbaraBell.com. Want to know more about being a role model? Check out my book: Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High – in it I have some great questions to stimulate more conversation. I promise.

#GirlScouts, #dreams, #coaching, #mentor, #mentorship, #leadership


Image credit: GSMISTS. Photo credit: Vanderbilt University Susan Urmy