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What Girl Scouting Has Meant to Me

(Flying up to Juniors)

On March 12, 2012 the Girl Scouts will celebrate their 100th anniversary, and in honor of this they are launching “The Year of the Girl”. When I watched their announcement of this on Good Morning America yesterday all of my wonderful memories of Girl Scouting came flooding back, and I wanted to add my voice to the celebration.

Girl Scouting was a huge influence on my childhood. I was never a “rough and tumble” type, and neither was my mom. Scouting took us places where we would never have gone otherwise. Hiking, camping, horseback riding, archery… You name it, Troop 3021 tried it!

Some of my best friends today, are friends from Girl Scouts.

We learned everything from simple home repairs, to how a power plant worked. As young girls, we were girls who were going someplace, because we had strong leaders (like my mother) who were showing us what our lives could become.

Some of the most precious values I hold dear today come verbatim from the circa 1977 Girl Scout Law:

I will do my best:

  • to be honest
  • to be fair
  • to help where I am needed
  • to be cheerful
  • to be friendly and considerate
  • to be a sister to every Girl Scout
  • to respect authority
  • to use resources wisely
  • to protect and improve the world around me
  • to show respect for myself and others through my words and actions

As sometimes happens in life, Troop 3021 fell apart somewhere in the middle of Cadets, but that doesn’t mean that my Girl Scout experience stopped there. In high school I spent two years as a Counselor in Training at Camp Sherman, the largest Girl Scout Camp in the Country. Then in college, I spent a summer there working as Nature Director. Camp Sherman was what solidified in my mind that I wanted to become a teacher.

Someday when my daughter is old enough, you can bet your sweet bottom that I’ll be her troop leader, But you don’t have to have daughters to participate in Girl Scouts. There are so many other ways to be involved. Are you a woman in the workplace? How about inviting a troop of girls to come tour your office. Are you interested in camping? You can volunteer your services at camp one weekend, and help pay for a “campership” so that a disadvantaged girl can go to camp. And of course, the easiest way to participate is the yummiest. When you buy a box of Girl Scout cookies, you are supporting a mighty good cause. Scouts honor!


7 Comments

  1. My daughter has been loving Girl Scouts this year! I was in GS until 9th grade when I wanted to other things. I still hang the Christmas ornament I made out of holiday napkins and a styrofoam ball with my troop every year. I’m sad that Girl Scouts on a national level has gotten away from a lot of the core things that we did as kids. Fortunately, my daughter’s leader is all about the basics and I foresee myself taking over from her as leader in a couple of years.

  2. Claire H. says:

    I loved GS growing up but was very disappointed with all the changes that they have made recently. The “Journeys” program is *AWFUL*. My oldest did one year of Daisy scouts and then we decided to only continue on with 4-H.

    There is a new homeschool troop of American Heritage Girls and we’re planning to give that a try next year when DS is old enough to join the Boy Scouts troop that meets at the same time in the same location.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      I think that the more organized programs for young girls, the better. I also did Pioneer Girls in addition to Girl Scouts. I’ve heard really good things about 4-H.

      One thing that I love about the Girl Scouts is how forward thinking they have always been. For Juliet Low to saw to Lord Baden-Powel, “Hey, we need something for girls too,” was huge. For MLK to call Girl Scouts a “force for desegregation”, is equally impressive. For the Girl Scouts to stand up to the Boy Scouts against homophobia is inspiring.

      So when they change their focus to leadership and STEM, I feel like I have to go along for the ride because I trust them. It probably really depends on how the changes are implemented at a local level. A great Girl Scout leader (like my grandma or mom), could take a Girl Scout program from the 1920s, the 1960s, the 1980s, or the program from today, and implement it in such a way that it was awesome.

      More on the Journey’s Controversy here.

      • Claire H. says:

        It wasn’t the PC aspect that I disliked about the “Journeys” book but that it was horribly boring. When girls go to Scouts, they want to do activities, not sit around reading a really dull book and fill out worksheets.

      • jenbrdsly says:

        Yuck. Hopefully they get the kinks worked out of Journeys before Jenna is ready for Scouts.

  3. Becky says:

    With all of the negative media about Girl Scouts at a national level these days, it is nice to hear something positive! I started as a Daisy Girl Scout in Kindergarten and with a troop of 9 girls went all the way through the Senior level in high school, earning my Silver Award and Gold Award. I was a counselor at a Girl Scout camp for 6 summers during and after college, and started a Campus Girl Scout group at my college where I was very involved with the local Girl Scout program. I have so many photos just like the ones you posted here. The program has seen a lot of changes over the past several years, but the underlying values are still the same. I know I wouldn’t have the confidence or skills that I do today if it wasn’t for the wonderful mentors and experiences I had in Girl Scouts. Happy 100th Anniversary!

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