Portland City Council candidate recalls impact of Girl Guard program

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Portland City Council candidate recalls impact of Girl Guard program

by Amanda Fritz –

Amanda Fritzpsychiatric nurse, community activist, and Salvationistis running for the Portland City Council. In the May primary election, Fritz received a majority of votes (64,430) but not enough to avoid a runoff; she now awaits the general election in November. Recently, Fritz shared the following…

This Sunday at the morning meeting, several officers and soldiers of the Portland Tabernacle Corps asked me how my campaign for city council is going. Each time, I answered, “I’m so tired…please pray for strength for me.”

After the meeting, I returned home, grabbed a quick lunch, and then headed up to St. Johns Booksellers for a “Meet and Greet” event where nearby residents can stop to chat with me.

I arrived promptly to see a woman in her early 30s talking with my campaign staffer. She turned to face me and smiled. “I know you!” I said, and started searching my brain to figure out where I’d seen her.

“I’m Amianne,” she said. “I was in your Girl Guard troop 20 years ago. Look!”

She pulled out a dog-eared photograph, showing a teenage Amianne and a much younger me with a couple of other girls at a beach campout. Memories came flooding back…mostly that that trip was the worst organized expedition I have ever put on. I didn’t check how long it would take to reach the park, and the drive was way longer than I’d guessed. We ended up hiking in to the campsite and setting up the tent in the dark, dinner was served around 10 p.m., and I remember mosquitoes and bees figuring into the weekend significantly. Amianne grinned with the same sweet smile she had at 13. “It was the best,” she said.

Amianne is the only child of two parents with cerebral palsy. That campout was the first time she had camped in a tent, because of her parents’ disabilities. She went on to tell me how important I had been to her when she was a teenager—as a mentor, friend, and adult woman outside of her family who cared about her. She said her time in Girl Guards led her to believe she could do anything, be anything, and succeed whatever the odds.

Now some years later, Amianne said she thinks of her experience in Girl Guards often and works hard to mentor young people in her life. She’s a successful entrepreneur, running her own “aging in place” business that helps seniors find the services and home improvements that allow them to live independently. She also invested in real estate, and now owns several rental properties. Amianne also got married two years ago.

When I heard Amianne’s story, saw the photograph she saved for 20 years, and felt the warmth of her hug and the sincerity in her eyes, I suddenly wasn’t tired.

I am convinced that the unexpected blessing of Amianne’s encouragement to me today was an answer to the prayers of you who are supporting me. I am so thankful for The Salvation Army, whose soldiers, officers, and staff provide love and care that changes lives and is remembered for decades.

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