Monday, March 12, 2012

happy 100, girls!

A gaggle of Girl Scouts came to my door over the weekend, selling cookies, of course. Five little pairs of eyes opened wide when I flung open my door and said, "there you are! I've been waiting for you!" Poor things, they'd found a crazy lady.

The years of cases and cases of Girl Scout cookies in our house seemed interminable. My troop sold thousands. But four years ago I hung up my leader's hat and seldom do I see Girl Scouts at my door.

I babbled on with these little Daisy scouts, asking them their plans for the cookie earnings. Their leaders were friendly and helpful. And oh darn, I forgot to wish them a happy 100th birthday. That's today. One hundred years ago, March 12, 1912, Juliette Low formed the first troop in Savannah, Georgia.

I shared Girl Scouting with my mother, and then my daughter Katie and I followed suit. It was one of the few things I told her "we're going to do." And we stuck with it, along with the same group of girls which dwindled down as the years went on. We merged with another troop and I had the pleasure and hilarity of working with two co-leaders, Donna and Lisa.

Current Girl Scout literature will paint a lofty picture of what Girl Scouting aspires to be. But for me, it was simple things that couldn't be found in other girls' activities.

 It was going camping just after 9/11 and seeing girls roll down a hill under a blue September sky, forgetting the horror in the world.

It was hearing giggling girls who'd "adopted" a dog into their cabin on a camp-out.
And their leaders didn't mind a bit.

It was letting girls find a buddy for canoeing,
and being pleased when one girl agreed to be with the least popular girl.

It was imperfect flag ceremonies carried out by very proud girls.

It was cleaning the stinkiest latrines in Ohio, and laughing about it.

It was teaching a girl to chop potatoes and make her own dinner over a fire.

It was having time to make a friend, and be one.

It was growing closer to my daughter through the amazing adventures we shared.

And it was realizing that girls don't change much.
They want to have friends, have fun, and trust adults to listen to their dreams.

Happy birthday, and thank you, Girl Scouts.
It wasn't about badges or cookies.
It was about being together, laughing, loving and helping a group of girls to young womanhood.

one of my favorites ... our trip to Mexico, 2006.

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