From Girl Scout To Mayor
Mayor Ervin
Mayor Ervin of Florence, SC. From Girl Scout to Mayor.

What life is all about for Teresa Myers Ervin, former Girl Scout and current Mayor of Florence, SC!

If you didn't know, the current mayor of Florence, South Carolina is a woman named Teresa Myers Ervin. If you did know that, then here's another surprise: she used to be a Girl Scout! But how did she become such a prominent figure? Mrs. Ervin didn't always have political aspirations. She got her start in the community with Girl Scouts. This organization, and her time as a Young Woman Missionary worker, taught her the importance of helping others.

Over time, Mrs. Ervin was able to "climb the ladder" of community service positions, and she wound up as the mayor of Florence! Mrs. Ervin cites Miss Harriet Smith as the person who introduced her to local government positions and encouraged her to take her first step towards that career path.

Now, Mayor Ervin wouldn't rather be doing anything else. "When I look over my life," she says, "I was always trying to help [people] find a solution." The mayor also cites her work as a nurse as part of her dedication to public service.

Operating a city like Florence is a lot harder than healing a single patient, however. Mrs. Ervin manages it anyway! For her, it's about analyzing the qualities and flaws of the city, and seeing where she can help it improve. "I want to work together with others to strengthen us where we're weak at."

Mayor Ervin also enjoys how close her position has brought her to the citizens of Florence. She loves being around people: communicating with, learning from, and helping her community. "It's about relationships," Mrs. Ervin says. "We need to be able to see people in their entirety of who they are."

As large as the city is, it's understandable that not everyone knows their mayor is Teresa Myers Ervin, but Mrs. Ervin wants to change that. All citizens should be engaged with their leadership, she asserts. "I believe that true leadership can only lead to the extent that they understand the individual they're working with." And without community engagement, Mayor Ervin cannot make Florence the best it can be!

As a former Girl Scout, Teresa Myers Ervin also knows how important youth is to community engagement. That's why she works with many young people in Florence and is expanding the Florence Mayor's Youth Initiative in order to "increase the opportunities here for them." One of the members of this initiative is a Girl Scout herself!

Teresa Myers Ervin remembers her own years as a young Girl Scout fondly. She enjoyed being part of a group of friends, working together and doing activities. The learning experience was also huge for Mayor Ervin:

Mayor Ervin
Mayor Ervin of Florence, SC

"Not only does [Girl Scouts] develop you as an individual, allowing you to look at yourself with your strength... It also helps you to be able to work with others, being able to be a part of a group, but yet not lose yourself."

In short, Girl Scouts prepares its members to be a part of a community, to work together, and to face challenges later in life.

Mrs. Ervin leaves Girl Scouts with this wisdom: "Learn to love yourself. Learn to love who you are because... if you don't, others will try to design who you are." If you have strength to be yourself, you have the strength to be a Girl Scout. If you have the strength to be a Girl Scout, you have the power to run the world. Or at least Florence, South Carolina!

~ written by Guest Author, Paige Blackburn