Just in case you didn’t know, I am a proud former Girl Scout. I went all the way through Scouts, from Brownies to Seniors. I earned both my Silver and Gold Awards (the Gold Award is the equivalent of the Eagle Award in Boy Scouts). I believe I still have a Girl Scout family – friends who were in Scouts with me and leaders who shared their traditions, jokes, music, and values along the way. I remember many of the songs, the promise, the Girl Scout Law (which has changed a wee bit since my day, but is still basically the same). The title of this post is taken from one of the songs I frequently find stuck in my head.
I’m lucky, I realize. I know that some people had absolutely horrible Girl Scout experiences. I’ve heard stories. But I was surrounded by an active and passionate bunch. I had many of the same leaders throughout because they moved up to the next level with their own girls who were my age. My mom was a leader for a couple of my sister’s troops, and she was always willing to step up to help with either of our troops when extra adult hands were needed for driving, camping, supervising, organizing cookie orders, etc. Scouts taught me to love folk music (I couldn’t even tell you how many times we sang “If I Had a Hammer” and “One Tin Soldier” in my leader’s van), to build a campfire, to cook, to play, to pull the most delicious pranks (leader bras up the flagpole, anyone?), to sing the silliest songs (Princess Pat!), how to sterilize water out in the woods, to care for the environment, to administer basic first aid, and a million different other things. But more importantly, Scouts taught me to treasure strong relationships with other women. Scouts taught me to be kind and courteous, but also to stand up for myself and others when confronted with unfair treatment. Scouts taught me love and tolerance and and confidence and fighting for what I believe in. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today if I hadn’t been a Girl Scout.
Yesterday, the Girl Scouts of the USA celebrated their 100th year. I think Juliette Gordon Low would be so amazed by and proud of the organization she founded. Scouts are leaders in their schools and communities, they do so many wonderful charitable works, they help girls become strong and smart women, and yes, they sell those damn cookies most of us have a love-hate relationship with (but I always make sure to buy a few boxes every year). I believe in the Girl Scouts. I believe in what they stand for and I am proud of the person I am today because of my involvement with the organization. So really, I just wanted to join the celebration – yay! 100 years! – and also say thanks. Thanks to all the GSUSA and Council staff members who organize the camps and programs; to the camp directors and leaders who share their strength and their belief that women are amazing with girls every year; and to the girls themselves who will grow up to lead the way in this country – not just in women’s issues, but in everything. Thanks to my mom for getting me involved in the first place and then supporting me in every way (including camping in the cold October rain once) so that I would stay involved. Thanks to all the wonderful leaders I had over the years, especially Gail and Debbie. And thanks to my GS friends who are all still there for me when I need them.
She wears a “G” for Generosity;
She wears an “I” for Interest, too.
She wears an “R” for Real-life sportsmanship;
She wears a “L” for Loyalty! (for loyalty!)
She wears an “S” for her Sincerity;
She wears a “C” for Courtesy.
She wears an “OUT” for Outdoor Life. (for outdoor life)
You can bet she’s a real Girl Scout!
(Apparently other GS sing “And that Girl Scout is me!” for the last line, but that’s not what we sang…)