Happy Birthday Girl Scouts! I celebrate the organization that has meant so much to me and help make me who I am today.
I have been a registered Girl Scout for 34 years and I feel like I started in scouting late as I joined in 4th grade as a Junior scout. I earned the Gold Award as a Senior scout and enjoyed every minute of my 9 years as a girl in scouts. I continued as an adult leading multiple troops (12 years) before I had my own daughter. After many years as Cookie Mom, I am leading Molly on her Journey so she can work on the Bronze award next year.
I’d like to reflect on the opportunities scouting has given to me and the many fun trips and campouts I was able to participate in due to scouting. I loved camping and stayed in scouts as that was not something my family would every do. My mom’s impression of roughing it was staying at a 2 star hotel without a reservation ahead of time. So I learned to camp, to cook, set up tents, tie knots, lashing, and sing many campfire songs. To this day I cannot tie a bowline without saying the bunny goes up the whole, around the tree, and back down the hole through the loop. As a girl growing up in Southern California a half hour from the beach, we got to enjoy staying at the scout house in Newport beach. Snow camp was also a novelty as my family did not go to the snow because we did not own the clothing for it.
The trips got better as I progressed in scouts and had more input into our outings. The summer going into 8th grade consisted of a week long camping trip to Sacramento where we toured the capital, went to Sutter’s Fort & Mill, and the highlight was white water rafting down the American River with my troop. In high school, my troop went to Mammoth and tried cross country skiing while also staying at my leader’s cabin. A campout I will never forget is the Girl Scout 75th Anniversary celebration and campout at Glen Helen Regional Park in 1987. There were 10,000 girl scouts camping together for 5 days. Aside from no showers and we stunk, we had so much fun seeing all the scouts from all over Southern California celebrating together. Burl Ives, Lamb Chop, and Donny Osmond all performed for us in various times throughout the long weekend. We played games, learned new things, did crafts, sang, and of course exchanged swaps.
During all of these fun times, I made friends and became a leader. I explored skills that I didn’t know I had and became great at leading all the songs for a fun campfire. Girl Scouts is competitve too! Many of the campouts in junior high and high school were competitive where you had to know your knots, cooking, lashing, nautical code flags, semifore, rowing, canoeing, first aide, etc.
Girl Scouts has made many positive changes since I was a girl. There are songs that we no longer sing because they are not PC. The badges and projects now are focused on exploring opportunities of who you can become and making a difference in addition to learning life long skills.
Thank you to all my leaders who have made a difference to me: Sharon Bear Estrada, Kay Daugherty, Mrs. B, and Jackie Freeman. I can only hope that my daughter who loves Girl Scouts now will continue to love it and go on to earn her Gold Award. We are all passionate about such a wonderful organization. As we say, our blood will always be green.