Seventeen-year-old Makayla Mayor came into this world a preemie, weighing 1 pound 2 ounces and clinging to life. She was sixteen weeks early and born with cerebral palsy, but her story didn't end there. Instead, she beat the odds and created her own positive future. Makayla had a feeding tube up until the seventh grade, but every day Makayla grew healthier and stronger. When Makayla joined the Girl Scouts, she became a determined leader who, for the past five years in a row, has sold more than 2,000 boxes of cookies a year. In 2016 Makayla ranked number two in sales, selling 3,270 boxes of cookies. That's a lot of Thin Mints, but as I found out while writing this story, the Girl Scouts are more than Thin Mints.
Makayla has traveled to Africa and Costa Rica to study endangered animals with the Girl Scouts, she mentors younger scouts, and now in her 11th year as a Girl Scout Ambassador, she is a counselor in training and will have a guaranteed job with the Girl Scouts after she graduates high school. Makayla loves mentoring younger girls, "It lets me give them skills and encouragement that Girl Scouts have given me. It makes me feel good inside to help younger girls out."
More miraculous things came from her time spent in Girl Scouts, Makayla discovered horseback riding and even rock climbing. She is now an avid rock climber. What greater metaphor for life's obstacles than climbing a mountain? "If it wasn't for the Girl Scouts, I would not have been introduced to rock climbing," said Makayla. "A fellow Girl Scout spoke at an event I attended and she spoke about having a physical disability like I do. I went to the climbing gym and loved it from day one." Eventually, Makayla became The National Adaptive Rock Climbing Champ. According to Camille Reyno, Girl Scout Troop Leader Rancho Bernardo, "Girl Scouts isn't a social club, and it isn't about selling a product. Being a Girl Scout gives girls the ability to be in an environment that helps them gain confidence, independence, and try new things."
Getting back to the cookies, Reyno says the sale of those Thin Mints makes a huge impact on young scouts lives, "My troop has used cookie funds to pay for everything from camping trips to donating filled Easter Baskets to toddlers in foster care." Here's another reason to buy Girl Scout Cookies - it teaches girls leadership skills, they create business plans, and take inventory - real-life skills for tomorrow's leaders.
Makayla is in the eleventh grade and she also takes eight units at a local community college while maintaining a 4.1-grade point average. Her accomplishments are many, but she remains grounded by the adversity she has had to overcome. "Cerebral palsy, poor vision, learning disability, and I had a feeding tube until seventh grade and I never let it stop me from achieving what I want. No matter what you are dished out in life, make the best of it."
Get a FREE kid-friendly event calendar for families living from downtown B'ham and south to Alabaster full of festivals, fairs, activities, events and more! Sign up by clicking HERE!
Like this article? Macaroni Kid South Birmingham is a free weekly newsletter and website focused on fun family events and things to do with kids in the South Birmingham region. We gather together all kinds of local family events and activities each week, and add useful information about classes, family-focused businesses, book and product reviews, recipes, crafts, school and camp guides and more. We proudly serve families in downtown Birmingham, Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Pelham, Oak Mountain area, Helena and Alabaster. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss another awesome event again! Subscribe here for FREE at https://sbirmingham.macaronikid.com/subscribe