Photography by Danny Fulgencio

Who is raising the next generation of fierce females? Lowry Manders is using her position as the manager of Lake Highlands Girl Scout service unit No. 165 to teach girls about social justice, feminism and community service. The troop focuses on volunteering at the intensive memory care unit at the Village of Lake Highlands senior center. Since the coronavirus pandemic started, Manders also started filming YouTube videos called “Strong Girl Story-Time” to connect with her troop members while encouraging them to hear the stories of women like Helen Keller and Wilma Rudolph. Using her experience as a music teacher, she’s found creative ways to empower the girls to serve. Manders also recently created the Facebook group “Lake Highlands Area Moms Against Racism” which garnered 1,000 members in its first week. She lives in Lake Highlands with her husband, Dustin, 13-year-old son Michael James, and 11-year-old daughter Ellie.

On Programming

On the “3 C’s Book Club”:

“The three C’s are courageous, competence and character. We’ ll do some online conversations this summer. We are going to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. We’ll feature Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, but also Barbara Jordan. I’m intentional about choosing diverse women.”

On the Troop

The troop’s latest service:

“March 7 was our first community day of service. It helped the girls come together, but it also helped give us exposure to the Lake Highlands community. We had over 100 girls, Girl Scouts and their families come together for a big rally. Then we went out into the community, divided up and served more than 18 different nonprofit organizations. Some of the girls made gift baskets for Pamper Lake Highlands and delivered them. They made homeless kits for The Stewpot. They took cans to Feed Lake Highlands. It exposed the girls to different nonprofits in our community, which is so important. We came back together to celebrate the Girl Scouts’ 108th birthday with a cake.”

On Teaching

The most important thing to teach girls:

“I want to teach girls how to advocate for themselves, how to use their voices. I teach them that word, I teach my daughter and the girls I work with that word. It means to use your voice for the benefit of yourself. Stand up for yourself; use your big girl voice to advocate for others and each other.”

On the Girl Scouts

The Girl Scout motto:

“Founder Juliette Low created our motto, “Do a good turn daily.” We teach the girls to say the motto when they do a little circle, turn themselves around, do a good turn daily. That’s what we’re trying to embody as getting out there and doing good things for other people.”

On Misconceptions

The biggest misconceptions about Girl Scouts:

“A misconception is that it’s only little white girls. I’m trying to help change that. It’s not all about cookies and crafts; it’s so much more. It’s about raising girls who think for themselves, do for themselves, choose for themselves. It’s for girls who are leaders. We teach girls not to play into the idea that is often portrayed in the culture of tearing each other down, being catty, manipulative and selfish.”

On Toughness

Misconceptions about you:

“I have a gift for working with children, and I sing precious little songs. I’m very loving. But just because I’m like that doesn’t mean I’m not intelligent and have strong opinions and reasons for the things that I’m doing. A common misconception about women is if they are sweet and loving that there’s not substance to them. Just because you’re kind doesn’t mean you’re not tough.”

On Advice

Best advice:

“Maya Angelou said, ‘When people show you who they are, believe them,’ whether it’s a person you are working with, a presidential candidate, an acquaintance, or a potential mate.”

On Legacy

How she would like to be remembered:

“A quote by John Wesley says, ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.’ I just love that quote, and I feel like it’s what drives me. I have one life to live and I’m trying to make all the difference that I can.”