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Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Mentors lead charge 'To Get Her There'

December 12, 2012|By Joe Puglia

The first movie I ever saw was “Peter Pan.” It was in 1953; back then a movie cost no more than 25 cents. The story is from the work of J.M. Barrie, circa 1904. Barrie was fascinated by the enthusiasm of youth. His main character, the adventurous boy, was from Neverland, the second star on the right. You could get there in the morning if you kept on going all night. Peter would never grow up, but live free and unencumbered from the responsibilities of the adult world.

“I'm youth, I'm joy,” said Peter; “I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg.”

I've always been fascinated by the exuberance of kids. Perhaps the endeavors I have followed are suspect of one who would shun the adult world. Nevertheless, I remain captivated by youth. They defy gravity as they set themselves in flight and continue to prove that nothing is impossible to a valiant heart. Peter said, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”

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To my good fortune, La Cañadan Julie Battaglia invited me to a luncheon celebrating the teens named Emerging Leaders by the Girl Scouts of Los Angeles. The luncheon was particularly significant as it marked 100 years of Girl Scouting and honored 100 girls.

The theme of the afternoon, “To Get Her There,” was a metaphor touting the contributions of Girl Scouts, a vehicle for building the leaders of tomorrow. “To Get Her There,” references the mantra of Girl Scouting, empowering girls to overcome the social disparities between boys and girls. It was Peter Pan who said of his friend, Wendy, “…one girl is more use than 20 boys.”

I read the biographies of the 100 young Emerging Leaders. Their enthusiasm and vision toward the future gives hope: 94% are student athletes, 90% are honor students and 100% have college aspirations.

These girls are striving to write a meaningful verse to life. And when they do, they will elevate the rest of us. Where would we be without the passions of the young?

To the young, life is burning urgency. The world is life-and-death; everything is either/or, and is either all or nothing. The irony is absurd; what consumes youthful exuberance is the exuberance itself. To see truth amid the fog of our passions, to hear that very same truth amid the din of our slogans is the secret of remaining youthfully exuberant. History has shown that passion rebuilds the world and that's how we remain significant.

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