Today is Girl Scout Thinking Day


 

Today is Girl Scout Thinking Day.  It’s the day of the year when girl scouts and girl guides from 146 different countries celebrate by thinking  about each other and the impact scouting has on the world.  It’s been celebrated since 1926, it’s celebrated on February 22nd  because it was the birthday of Scouting and Guiding founder Robert Baden-Powell and of Olave Baden-Powell, his wife and World Chief Guide. Each year the Scouts choose a different theme. This year it is to connect with each other and the world around you.

I had the privilege of being a girl scout for 12 years. This weekend as I continued to sort through my storage unit for our move to Italy I came across my girl scout books, at the same time I found a box of pictures that contained several pictures from my years of scouting.  Finally as is common this time of year the temptation of girl scout cookies outside my local commissary brought back many memories of how scouting gave me confidence and set me on the path to have a wide variety of interests in my life.

The most important thing that scouting did for me though was to expose me to friendships I might have never experienced. I was a shy child and the organized activities we did starting in Brownies when I was 6 helped me to learn how to be a friend, a good citizen, and an inquisitive thinker.

I read through the old brownie handbook, and my junior badge book. I realized in today’s society many of us could benefit from some of the core values we were taught at 6 years old. The Brownie B’s;  Be Discovers, Be Ready Helpers, and Be Friend-Makers. They seem like such simple concepts, Helping our neighbors in need even when it’s not convenient and welcoming the new people you meet. This last part for me has really carried me through my life as a Navy Spouse. We are constantly moving and “being a friend maker” is a skill I can thank my brownie troop for.

I remember my first Sister Troop day in the auditorium at Palm School. On Sister Troop day you pair with another troop and do activities. I can still see the older girl I swapped lunch with when I was 6. I was so scared to talk to her. When I found a picture of my Cadette girl scout troop running sister troop day I realized how far we had come.

Being a good citizen was important for us as girl scouts in our small town. Anyone who attended Palm School in Beaumont during the 80’s would remember the big cans that were painted bright yellow that our troop decorated for each class room to hold our balls, and jump ropes. My dad worked at a paint factory and they had donated the steel barrels. Years later I saw one and it brought back wonderful memories of that little elementary school. My first trip to a polling place was to take cookies to the poll workers, and we regularly visited the local convalescent home to deliver valentines to the residence.Suzanne & Tasha Convalescent home

I took for granted over my years in scouting that being a part of the American flag service at public meetings and in parades was just part of everyday life. I remember the reverence in junior girl scouts, we had for the service we would provide,  of laying an old flag to rest which had worn out through years on the school flag pole. I do not remember ever watching a parade as a kid, usually because we were marching in one. I have found that my days as a Girl Scout cadence caller are still useful when I want to get my husband and cat out of bed in the morning.

Scouting was a chance for many firsts, going off to day camp up at the tramway on Mount San Jacinto, riding the train in to Olvera Street in Los Angeles, building a boat out of milk cartons and swimming it across San Diego Bay.  I was so excited to learn “big girl camping” When we joined troop 101 for junior girl scouts. Having my own mess kit, and looking at the kaper chart to find out what our jobs were going to be, was so much fun. A girl scout campfire and sing along filled me with happiness.

 

Ceremonies were an important part of scouting.  Brownie Investiture, Flying up ceremonies, bridging up, and candlelight ceremonies were moments we all looked forward to. Receiving our patches and badges were always proud moments of a job well done. Looking through my old badge book I realize now how many things I learned outside of my comfort zone because darn it I wanted that badge. I apologize now to my sister who had to put up with my babysitting for me to earn my toddler badge.

My favorite ceremony was the one we did to conclude every meeting. We would stand in the friendship circle with our arms crossed holding the hand of each girl on either side. As we would sing TAPS for ending of the day the friendship squeeze would travel it’s way around the circle. We would all say goodnight and twist facing outwards with our hands still holding. The little rituals of life that gave us confidence going forward.

Our brownie troop had fun to. We would use our funds from cookie sales for our annual trip to Disneyland. There were always wonderful Christmas parties, and field trips.  We had wonderful leaders, I was lucky twice over because for many years my leader was also my mom.

In honor of Thinking day my best memory is when brownie troop 814 dressed in kimonos presented the song “Spring Is Coming” with hand gestures. We were fascinated by the kimonos and we worked long and hard to get our presentation right.

When you are out and about in the next few weeks, take a moment to thank those girls who are selling cookies, because they do so much more for their community and each other, I’m proud to say I will always be a girl scout at heart.

Spring Has ComeTroop 814 spring is coming 2

Spring is coming, spring is coming,
Where is spring now?
(Refrain)
Here in the mountains,
Here in the village,
And here in the fields.

Flowers bloom, flowers bloom,
Where do flowers bloom?
Here in the mountains,
Here in the village,
And here in the fields.

Birds are singing, birds are singing,
Where do birdies sing?
Here in the mountains,
Here in the village,
And here in the fields.

 

Categories: homestead stories

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