For some odd reason (does there need to be a reason for an odd thought?), I was thinking about being a Girl Scout this morning on the train on my way to work. I was a Girl Scout for over 11 years. And most of them were very good.

I started at 7 as a Brownie. I remember we had meetings on Tuesdays after school and we got to wear our uniforms to school on Tuesdays. I LOVED my uniform. It was a brown dress with a dark brown beanie with a little brownie on it in orange. We got a gold pin with a brownie on it,too. It was a time to learn to be part of a whole, a troop. We learned to work together and have fun and help out. We sang the Brownie Song

I've got something in my pocket that belongs across my face

I keep it very close to me in a most convenient place

I bet you could not guess it if you guessed a long long while

I'll take it out and put it on,

It's a great big Brownie smile!

Funny the things that stick in your brain. After two years we had a "flying up" ceremony. We were given a pair of wings to wear on our new green sash. We got a new Girl Scout pin and moved into a Junior troop. We got new uniforms, in green this time and got to work on badges which were sewn onto the sash. I loved it. I still have my badges. They are sewn onto a windbreaker that I wore to death. As a Junior, we learned to be members of a patrol. There were leaders and white gloves were involved.(The horror of trying to keep white gloves clean!) It was a place to stretch yourself and learn new things. And of course, we sold cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. For a sense of how long ago it was, the cookies were 35 cents a box when I started. (They are now 3.50 a box US). I learned that I LOVED camping and wanted to go as often as I could.

After 3 years as a Junior, you graduated into a Cadette troop. Things were the same, but more. I learned new skills and collected new badges. We took trips and learned to canoe and to swim and to save someone from drowning. I remember being in a canoe in the middle of a cold lake and having to swamp the canoe, take off my jeans while treading water (because the fabric is heavy and will weigh you down) and swim back to the canoe and try to right it and get back in. If you couldn't get back in, you swam to shore with your shoes tied around your neck and hoped like heck that someone found your jeans floating around in the lake. No one wanted to have to go home and explain why they lost their pants in the lake! I wore really old ones so I wouldn't get in too much trouble.

And then two years later I became a Senior. This was where we were expected to take on some additional responsibilities of the running of the troop. The troop became very very small. As girls got older, it became very dorky to be a Girl Scout. Problem was, I still liked going camping and my family were not campers. I became a Program Assistant and went camping with Brownie and Junior troops to help out the leaders. I had a binder filled with craft ideas (like twig boats with little candles we could launch after dark) and songs for around the campfires at night. Everyone loved the campfires and singing (and smores). I would leave on a Friday afternoon and return on Sunday, wash my clothes, repack my duffel and be ready to go the following Friday. I developed a reputation as being a good person to take camping with your troop and leaders were calling months in advance to snag me. It was great. I loved the camp. Inawendawin. It was supposedly a Native American word for Friend. I never looked it up but I never doubted it. I made some good friends there and had some of the best times ever.

I left the Girl Scouts after a disagreement with a leader over a trivial matter and it was probably time for me to go anyway. I left with my fond memories intact. My daughters never expressed an interest in being Girl Scouts and I didn't push them.

I'm not sure why I thought of this today. Like I said, it was an odd thought on the train. Snatches of campfire songs are playing in my head and they make me smile. Not a bad way to start a day.

We welcome you

to our camp so fair

And greet you with

Hospitality rare.......

Here's a wikipedia link to modern Girl Scout levels and such. It's changed quite a bit.


Roxie said…
My brother-in-law is a devoted BoyScout leader and has made scouting almost cool in his section of SoCal. The Scouts provide SUCH a great service! It's a shame that kids don't take more advantage of the opportunities.

Good for you, for being such a great Senior Scout!
Alison said…
Hi, I jumped over from Joan's blog because your comment touched me about holding hands with your husband. My husband also loves to hold hands and you are right about the knitting will wait. My husband also loves hand knit socks and wears them to work and shows everyone, it's been a long time since I knit him a pair. I think I'll go start a pair right now. Thanks! Alison
Galad said…
In our school Campfire Girls was more popular than Girl Scouts, though they teach many of the same lessons. I started out as a Bluebird and then progressed to being a Campfire Girl. I was done with it by the time I hit middle school, but have great memories of camp in the summer. As you mentioned, sitting around the campfire, singing and eating S'mores was so much fun.

I learned a lot of great life lessons about responsibility, planning projects and working with others from both Campfire and 4H. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!
colleen said…
I haven't thought about Girl Scouts and Brownies in AGES! I was in up until 9th grade... whatever level that is... and the story that sticks with me is when we went to sign up for Brownies originally... and my brother who was like 4 at the time was crushed because he thought we were getting brownies to eat... and then there weren't any.
Bezzie said…
Hm. Nope was never a girl scout. Too expensive with all those uniforms and such. But that's alright, I've got fond memories of camping with my family--it's the ultimate cheap*ss vacation after all!
amy said…
Your experience sounds wonderful! Mine, not so much. My brother was a Boy Scout and did Really Cool Things. My troop, on the other hand, did things like make baby food and make up a dance to "Oh, Mickey!" (You know, the cheerleader video?) I never did learn how to survive in the wilderness or anything. Such a disappointment. Then as an adult I worked for a year for our local Council, and boy did it leave a bad taste in my mouth. I hope my daughter doesn't want to be a Girl Scout. We'll have to move to a different Council area.
DPUTiger said…
My scouting experience consisted of a few years of brownies and boy do I remember that song! I have always wanted to try camping but have never had the guts to do it myself and have never had friends who were into camping.

Part of me wishes I had a better scouting experience, but I wound up doing lots of other fun stuff so no regrets. I'm glad you had a great experience, though. Hearing about them reinforces the mission of the organization! :) (yes, i'm super behind on my blog reading. why do you ask?) ;-)

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