The second grade Girl Scout troop meets across the hall from my classroom on Thursday afternoons. I enjoy hearing their talk as they snack and visit before the meeting, and as they carry out their work during the meeting. And I am so glad the moms are the ones in charge of “curbing their enthusiasm” (making them behave) rather than me.
This often brings back vivid memories of my own Girl Scout days. I was never a “Brownie” so when I joined a troop in 4th grade I was thrilled. I can remember the Fellowship Hall building at the local Methodist church where we met. This was quite a nice facility for those days, yet I can still see the plain concrete floors and the folding chairs and tables we had to set up and take down each time. (Not as impressive as what you would find these days.)
I had changed schools that year, so scouting was one way for me to get to know some of my new classmates outside of school. Some of these girls became friends that lasted through the years. It certainly made me feel more a part of my new learning community.
I remember working on badges and my blue Junior scout book. I loved everything about it – the green dress, the sash, the patches we earned, the fun activities and new ways of looking at things. I remember the camping trips with the bag of dishes to rinse in the wash tubs, the s’mores, and the barn at Camp Sycamore with the huge tunnel slide we all loved.
Our leader, and mother of twins in our troop, Mrs. Arnold, used to refer to herself as “Mrs. Arnold,” as if she were talking about another person. Her daughters would ask her not to do that, that we were “grown up” now and that was preschool talk, but she never really lost that habit. And I remember how she inspired us to always do our best, including selling LOTS of those delicious Girl Scout cookies. (I loved getting the patches for that, too.)
Scouting is quite different now but I hope girls today enjoy it as much as I did. Although I loved doing it, it was always sad each week when it was time to close the meeting and end the fun. Still, it brings a smile to think about standing in a circle, arms crossed and linked, singing:
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lakes, from the hills, from the skies.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.