Monday, March 12, 2012

To Do: Celebrate my Girl Scout experience

Do you know what today is?  It's the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts!  It's kind of a big deal.  I may be a little bias.

I honestly couldn't even tell you how many years I was a Girl Scout.  I know I was a Brownie and maybe a Junior, so maybe 2 or 3 years.  I just know I was one.

Most people think of 3 things when they think of Girl Scouts: Cookies, Camp, and Crafts.  Guess what I remember??  Cookies, Camp, and Crafts!

Our troop, which I think had like 20 talkative, hyper girls, met at the Christian Church right after school.  We would wear not just our sash, but the whole get-up..beanie school on GS day.

For someone that rode the bus everyday, it was a highlight to get to walk to the church with my friends.  I loved it.  We had 2 leaders--Debra and Brenda.  I couldn't tell you if one was the leader and one the assistant.  I couldn't tell you how much time they spent preparing for our meetings.  I couldn't tell you if they didn't want to be there and wished they were at home watching the new episode of Family Ties or something.  For all I knew, they were a team that were just as excited and had as much fun as we did!  It's a little late, but I extend my deepest thanks 25 years later!  I have more respect than ever for all you did!

Sure we worked on badges.  I wish I could show you my Brownie sash--but I threw it out just a few weeks before I took my job with GS.  Oh how I wish now that my mom had dug it from the trash and hid in her cedar trunk (like our first 4-H sewing projects she surprised us with this Christmas).  But that's ok.  I have memories.

I know how excited and proud I was to get that squirrel stuffed animal at our end of the year ceremony for selling Thin Mints.  And door-to-door I did...despite living nearly a half-mile from my front door to neighbors.  But I did it.  I even remember delivering them on foot, in the cold, up hill of course!

If you know me a bit, it probably won't surprise you that I loved doing the crafts at meetings.  I remember making swaps and my newspaper sit-upon.  But for some reason, I really remember gluing dry pasta on a mason jar and splashing on some colorful paint for a Mother's Day gift.

Geesh--it sounds so beautiful that I can't believe my mom doesn't still have it on the mantel!  Little did I know that my leaders were teaching us about being resourceful, recycling, and thoughtful.

Now I will be the first to admit that camping was not my forte.  Even having grown up in the sticks, going to camp seemed like I was stuck in woods that were miles and miles from civilization (little did I know that camp was closer to city life than my own backyard!). I can still visualize the rickity cabin that had spiders and dust everywhere.  When we go now to visit our friends Jeff and Brittany, we drive by the old campsite in Spitler Woods.  I remember wanting to be picked to be the "hopper" in the dining hall and eating family style after singing Johnny Appleseed.  I even remember hiking down to the creek to pour plaster of paris onto animal tracks.  And of course, I remember walking to the school bus, singing A Ram-Sam-Sam and I met a Bear.  Where were we going at like 6am?  We were going to the pool across from the airport!  But we had to don our horrid swim caps and get our swim test before the pool opened to the public!  BRR!  And yes, Debra, I know you will remind me about the time I left my undies in the locker room at the pool and you held them up in front of everyone, making me claim them.  But years later, I did the same to other little girls, instead making them sing for them too :)

So what if Girl Scouts was filled with cookies, camp, and crafts.  Those were all great memories!

And honestly, Girl Scouts may have impacted my life more as an adult.  In 2002, I took a job as a recruiter and programmer in Springfield, IL not knowing how it would change my life.  I learned so much from that job.  (And after 6 years there, I later returned to GS when I moved to Little Rock for another year).  But most of all, I gained many, many, many more memories!  Enough to fill another 3 pages on this blog I'm sure!  But besides memories, I met the best people.

Some of my best friends (both in IL and AR) are former co-workers.

And while I admit there are some mean crazy volunteers (yep, I said it), I've found a few good ones along the way.  Ok, some great ones.  Ones like Debra and Brenda...who give hours and hours thanklessly to girls who will one day write about how being a Girl Scout impacted their life!

So Happy Birthday Girl Scouts from one of your "greenies"!

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