Friday, March 23, 2012

Girl Scouts turned 100

Girl Scouts turned 100 on March 12 this year. This was a bag of mixed feelings for me. I am a life time member of the Girl Scouts; I never have to pay a membership fee again.  I have great memories of Girl Scouts from when I was young. However, Girl Scouts today is not what it used to be.

Scouting was founded in 1907 by Lord Robert Baden-Powell of England. In 1909, Baden-Powell held a rally and a group of girls asked to be included. Baden-Powell's wife was the first troop leader. The girls were deemed Girl Guides. In 1911, Juliet Gordon Low had a discussion with Lord Baden-Powell about scouting and in 1912 she began a troop in Savannah, Georgia and Girl Scouts was born in the United States.

To be honest most of my memories of being a scout include cookies. Really, who can blame me? I still buy 4 or 5 boxes a year. There were other amazing memories, also.

As a Brownie, I remember Brownie Stew on camping trips. The idea was that every girl brought a can of soup and we dumped them all in one pot and cooked it. I do not remember ever eating it, and perhaps that is a good thing, it sounds very gross. I don't think bean and bacon soup would mix well with cream of mushroom.  I also remember standing on a cooler while helping prepare brownie stew and the cooler tipped and my mom's (she was our leader) 9x13 pan fell onto the cement floor of the cooking shelter and broke.

When I was a Junior Girl Scout we held our meetings at our leader's house. Her daughter's name was Amber and we were both really into American Girl books. She even had two dolls. We often ate popcorn for a snack, and Amber's mom, being a health food nut, put yeast or something on the popcorn instead of butter and salt. It was actually pretty good.

I also went to horse camp one summer as a Junior. The horse I was assigned was named Donut and my camp  I had three camp counselors. One was named Scooby. This was at Camp River Ranch in Carnation, WA. There was an almost private lake, and I wet my sleeping bag at least once that week.

I became a Cadet Scout without ceremony when we moved to Idaho. Normally, when you move up there is a bridging ceremony, but I moved up in the middle of a school year because in the small town we lived in, you moved up in sixth grade, not seventh

Cadet scouting is more girl run. The adult troop leader is there more like a champrone (and they have to sign all the checks). There were 3 girls, including me in our Cadet troop. Selling cookies is much harder as an older girl. You just aren't as cute. We earned our Silver Award teaching the younger scouts survival skills and orienteering.

Between Senior and Cadet Scouts, I worked in the kitchen at Camp Four Echos. Yep, my first job was for the Girl Scouts. This was also the first summer I dyed my hair. My camp name was Piccolo.

I stayed in Girl Scouts through my senior year of high school, earning a college scholarship for my cookie sales. I never earned my Gold Award, more or less equivalent to the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout. As a gift for our graduation from high school (there were two of us left in our troop on graduation day) our troop payed for each of us to have a lifetime membership.

I am torn about putting Lily in scouts when she is old enough. Girl Scouts was founded as a place to teach girls how to be capable women. The learned camping and hiking and outdoors skills as well as first aid, cooking, sewing and homemaking. Girl Scouts today has become much more feminist.  They promote science and fields that are male dominate on the idea that we can do anything men can do. There are less and less activities based on traditional female rolls. Not that I disagree with a woman's ability to do anything she wants, but I want my daughter to do all that and still know how to be a good wife and a "traditional woman." I can do my job of homemaker and pretty much any job a man can do (although I probably can't run a 60 pound jakchammer). I want my daughter to have the memories I had, but I don't want her to become a made hating, liberal, feminist wacko.

Happy 100th Birthday Girl Scouts of the USA!


  1. That is so interesting! I never made it past juniors because there weren't any other troops in our school (and heaven forbid my mom have to drive me a couple miles)!
    My daughter stayed in thru 5th grade and got her bronze award. When I was in I had no idea there even were such awards!!

    1. Bronze awards are new. They didn't have those back when I was in Juniors. I only stayed in through the end of high school because they started a cookie selling scholarship. you had to sell 1500 boxes between 9th and 12th grade and you had to be an active girl scout your senior year of high school. It wasn't much but it paid for my first year of text books.


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