Thursday, June 26, 2014

Scouting Nostalgia

Image from Flickr
When I was growing up in the 60s, I joined an exclusive club. I became a Brownie Girl Scout.

I remember the brown uniform, beanie and sash and the pinning ceremony.  I can recall memorizing the motto, "Be Prepared," poring over the catalogs of Girl Scout gear, and the longing to be one of the "big girls," a true Girl Scout who wore green.

Because when you were a Girl Scout, you got to go and do things. 

I was a scout from 2nd grade through 7th grade.  Looking back, I don't have a lot of memories about those five years of my life (this was before digital cameras and cell phone cameras that document each step of our days) but some things do stand out.

Like my first troop leader.

I thought she was an older lady but in reality, she probably was about 26.  She was the shortest little lady I had ever seen up to that time.  I can remember her driving us to various events sitting on top of the phone book in front of the driver's wheel.  (We lived in a suburb of Chicago, so the phone book was THICK). She wore bright red lipstick at all times, which caused wonder and amazement to a child raised in a conservative Pentecostal church. 

When we were finally able to go camping, I found out a lot of work was involved.  We planned our menu and our troop leader took us shopping for supplies. We packed bedrolls and headed to the woods at the nearest Girl Scout camp. Instead of tents, we had cabins where we placed our bedrolls upon little cots.  All of this was fun and games to me until it was bedtime and lights out. Immediately, two things happened:  it got cold (we were north of Chicago, after all) and I needed to use the bathroom.  No one else needed to go.  I was not about to venture out all by myself in The. Great. Outdoors.  Who knew what was out there?

Well, you can guess what happened.  Let's just say it put a damper on my enthusiasm for camping.

I did earn my camping badge, though.

Later on, we moved to Florida and I joined the Girl Scouts troop at my new school as quickly as I could.  We did a lot of things over the two years I lived in the area but what stands out the most to me was my first attempt at selling Girl Scout cookies.

I am NOT a natural born salesman.  In fact, most of the time when there were various events at school where we kids were asked to sell tickets, my parents would buy my quota. I always took rejection personally.  This time, I decided I was not going to ask mom and dad to buy my cookies. We lived in a sub-division now where there were plenty of chances to make sales.  I would just go door-to-door.  It didn't take very many doors slammed in my face to decide to ask my parents for help ... again. (People can be so rude!)

Another memory about my Girl Scout troop was that we all went out for our roller skating badges because a new rink opened up in our neighborhood.  Our troop leader suggested we earn two badges at once:  the skating badge, and then the sewing badge if we could make our own skating costumes.  I earned those two badges but they caused me - and my mother - much blood, sweat and tears. The hem on one side of that skating skirt may or may not have been crooked ... and if there was a prize for the skater who fell the most times, I would have been the winner.

We then moved to rural Florida where it took over an hour one way to ride the bus to school which made it hard to get to scout meetings.  

I treasure the lessons I learned in Girl Scouts because it was the beginning of a life-time of organization, and I really do live by the motto, "Be Prepared," to this day.

Mama’s Losin’ It

This post was written in response to Writer's Workshop prompt 5.) Talk about a club from your childhood you belonged to (or wanted to belong to).  You can link up at Kat's blog, Mama's Losin' It, to join in the fun.

Did YOU ever belong to a club?  Tell us about it!


Dianna said...

I enjoyed reading about your Girl Scout experiences. I grew up in a very rural area, and we didn't have Girl Scouts. (I was in 4-H for awhile.)
Thanks for visiting my blog today!

betty said...

What great memories of being a Girl Scout, especially your efforts trying to sell Girl Scout cookies. I'm the type of person that if a child comes to the door, I'll always buy something; takes a lot of courage to stand there in front of a stranger and give their sales pitch.

I remember camping with Girl Scouts and being terribly homesick the first night to the point of tears. I don't think I camped again after that weekend :)

One of the parks we walk Koda at has a little bridge over a little creek that really doesn't run with water, but ever year since we've been here, we've managed to walk Koda when the Brownies are doing their ceremony to become Girl Scounts and walk over the bridge; always gives me a lump in the throat.


Melanie Cook said...

I remember being a Brownie! I never did go on to girl scout though. Growing up in rural upstate NY, I joined 4-H. I always hated going door to door to sell stuff. I was an Avon rep for about 2 weeks and that was enough! Have a lovely weekend.

Joyful said...

Every time I read one of your posts with memories you send me reeling! into the past! LOL! THank you for the chuckles today.

The Brown Recluse said...

I was a girl scout...can't say we did too much. My coworker is a troop leader, and she is always planning great trips/activities for her girls. Wish I'd had a leader like her!

I bet the Florida troop was a good time!!

Betsy said...

Love this!

Stephanie Faris said...

I went on a camping in my one year as a Girl Scout. Miserable experience for me. We were in tents and it rained and everything I had got soaked. My stepdaughter was a Girl Scout, as were two of our friends' daughters. They all went on camping trips that involved staying in college dorms and sleeping overnight in Aquariums. It's turned into Troop Beverly Hills everywhere...I guess because of the liability? Heck, if there had been shopping mall badges, I would have loved being a Girl Scout!

Mama Kat said...

I've never done the Girl Scouts, but growing up I was always jealous of those camping trips!

Jazzmin said...

What a neat glimpse into your childhood memories of being a Girl Scout. I enjoyed reading about the things you remembered. This sounds like a cherished memory.

As I got into my older grades, I started wishing more that I had joined Girl Scouts when I was younger. Reading this made me wish so even more. It seems like something so nostalgic and with a wonderful old-fashioned feel.

Hope you had a blessed holiday weekend!!