Girls Scouts turn 100 - Free Lance News : Feature Stories

Girls Scouts turn 100

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Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 11:49 am

Local Girl Scouts from around the northern part of Girl Scouts of the California Central Coast, including troops from San Benito County, gathered at Bolado Park Saturday to celebrate 100 years of Scout history. The Girl Scouts of the USA marked 100 years on March 12, with troops around the nation planning celebrations preceding it.

Shea Wolf, a local girl, shared in the activities at Bolado Park with about 800 visitors. Those participating in the

event included her mother Starr Wolf, her maternal grandmother Diva Miller, and her paternal grandmother Nancy Wolf, all involved in Girl Scouts in their younger years.

Shea said her favorite events included hula hoops and seeing Girl Scout memorabilia from throughout the decades.

The day included displays, interactive games and 30 stations set up for the girls to participate in different activities. At noon, they held an opening ceremony with girls doing a flag ceremony in vintage uniforms. In the afternoon before the end of the event, the girls joined in a giant friendship circle to sing “Make New Friends,” a song synonymous with the Girl Scouts.

“For me, (the great part) was not only seeing Shea go through, but talking to Nancy as we went down memory lane,” Miller said.

The grandmothers recalled how different the uniforms looked in their days and that there were only Girl Scouts, rather than all the different age groups from Daisies to Brownies to Juniors to Cadettes and beyond.

They noted changes to the number of badges available, saying that they recalled three badges they earned as Girl Scouts. Shea has a Brownie sash that is full of badges and just moved up to the Girl Scout level, where she is earning new badges. One of her favorite badges that she is earned so far is a pajama party badge.

Miller said she recalls camping trips where she carried wood to earn a badge.

“It brought back great memories,” she said. “It’s the same family unit … it’s about being a team player.”

All the adults mentioned the pride they felt in being a Girl Scout.

“I remember wearing my uniform to school the day that we had a meeting,” Nancy said.

“It offered a sense of freedom,” Starr said. “Your parents weren’t there, even though you had leaders with you.”

The Girl Scouts of the USA was founded a century ago by Juliette Gordon Low, who assembled 18 girls in Savannah, Ga., for the first meeting, according to the Girl Scouts web site. She wanted them to have the opportunity “to develop physically, mentally and spiritually.” Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips and studied first aid.

The organization has more than 3.2 million girls and adults involved in 90 countries. More than 60 million women in the U.S. are alumnae of the group.

Shea talked about one of her camping trips where she made a box-oven pizza. Starr recalls doing the same cooking project when she was in Scouts. At the 100-year celebration, the girls learned how to cook a hot dog and make S’mores in a Pringles can.

Like Shea, Ary Palmer, a 10-year-old Cerra Vista student, enjoyed the day at the 100-year anniversary. Palmer participated in the Girl Scout swap – where girls from various troops brought little trinkets to swap with other girls. Palmer made three, including a butterfly and a green one that said 100 years in glitter. She also enjoyed seeing the Girl Scout memorabilia from the past.

“You can have fun at the meetings,” Palmer said, of enjoying Girl Scouts.

Starr said she believes Girl Scouts had a lasting impression on her and she hopes it will have the same impact on her daughter, Shea.

“What is great is it is not just camping and arts and crafts,” Starr said. “It teaches them they can be whatever they want if they put their mind to it.”

Diva said that one of her favorite displays was an exhibit that acknowledges female leaders who once were Girl Scouts, such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Lucille Ball, Katie Couric and many more.

“It not only gives you confidence, but you learn how to be a leader,” Diva said. “I don’t remember there being cliques in Girl Scouts. It was a safe haven for me.”

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