All because of a cookie.
That was the first title that popped into my head for this post… because that’s what people think. It’s all about the cookies.
That’s what they write about… the cost of cookies… the division of cookie money… the pushing of little girls into promoting an irresistible product.
Oh, my, oh, my…
How little you know of Girl Scouting.
Since today is, marvelously, the 100th anniversary of Juliette (Daisy) Low’s founding meeting… K.J. and I, at work today, celebrated by having a display of a teensy bit of our “vintage” Girl Scout items. I’m a “Lifer”. A lifetime member of GSUSA. K.J. and I have spent hours upon hours upon hours of our lives together, living and sharing Daisy’s Dream.
We could have sat down and told our storiesstoriesstories and talked to anyone within hearing distance ALL DAY and not finished our tales of adventure and growth and misadventure! I can’t type them all out either… but here in no particular order are the things I learned in and from Girl Scouting.
* How to plan. In GS, it’s called “program”. (It’s what rich people can hire an event planner to do for them.) Grab your theme, come up with creative ideas for lively games, food, sit down activities, decorations, music, place settings, prizes, and even, costumes. Don’t forget publicity, invitations, and posters for advertising. Be able to do this for less than the annual budget of California. Make some of it <gasp> BY HAND!
* How to set a goal and reach it. By golly, tell me what it’s gonna take to get that badge and I’m your girl. I’d work hard for that little piece of embroidered fabric. The best part? When I discovered you could Make Your Own Badge. Talk about breaking it down into steps covering all different facets of a topic… This step by step process would do many people a great deal of good…
* How to organize. Which girl goes with which parent on which day. Who was present when we did the 3rd requirement. Ordering cases of cookies for troops of enthusiastic and determined little saleswomen. Remembering this girl is diabetic and that one is allergic to peanuts.
* How to be enthusiastic (especially in unenthusiastic circumstances). Case in point… I remember leading songs in the pouring rain with hundreds of GSs! Let’s try something new! Let’s go this way! Let’s look at that over there! Wow, this water *IS* cold! Yes, this *IS* a long hike, but look at that pretty bird!
* How to sell. Yup. Thank you, cookies. People want professionals to have an “elevator speech”… try selling cookies as a door is being closed in your face! This is closely tied with goal setting… see above. Those cookies bought me A LOT of memories in the activities they paid for!
* How to learn and appreciate different cultures. Way before I declared Anthropology as my major in college, I knew about other cultures because we’d investigate them on Thinking Day or for a badge or World Friendship Day. Besides, Girl Guiding/Scouting is found is 145 countries today!
* How to sing! There’s nothing more haunting than those last quiet songs around a campfire. How to lead and teach a song. Yes, it’s a skill. How many songs can you entertain large groups with??? Goosebump moment: Girl Scout National Convention in Kansas City with my *daughter*… being led by the indomitable Barby Pulliam
. 5,000 attendees and 3,000 extras biding time while Tipper Gore was late to the party. We should have kept singing…
* How to camp. I mean, CAMP. Not in cabins or tents. Primitive. Solar cooking. Bean pots. Fire building. Lashing. Edible wild foods. Backpacking. Horsepacking. Pack out your trash! Plant/bird identification. Real camping. REAL FUN! (If the end of the world comes in December… I hope you’re with a GS! 😉
* How to be Safe. Good grief. I just can’t see some activities these days without cringing at the lack of preparation… it’s not that we didn’t do things with some risk, but by golly, we’d taken what precautions were necessary and thought things through! Yup, that was the beginning of my First Aid training and K.J.’s lifeguarding skills!
* How to lead girls without pushing or pulling. How to follow without pushing or pulling. How to stand up against those who push or pull, who may just prefer to run over the top of me.
* How to be FLEXIBLE. Car broke down. Pow Wow dancers are late. Mother/driver doesn’t show up for field trip. How to work around your tight budget because some people don’t come through on their end. How to make stew when the rain is ruining your solar cooking demonstration. How to do a Camp Skills training inside because the RAIN WON’T QUIT.
* How to be creative. (See program above) Watching and surrounding yourself with creative people makes it easier when the creativity is left up to you. How many things can you do with a bandana?
* How to give service to your community. Always. Forever. The hours of community service quietly given by the GS to their towns, states, and country, is amazing. Decorate graves on Memorial Day, raise pennies for Make A Wish, donate pet food to shelters, make quilts for babies and homeless shelters, plant trees. All done quietly and without fanfare. Because you should make the world a better place.
* How to be empowered. THE buzzword there for a while… but I felt it years earlier… those years when being a GS was hard to do. Middle school. High school. When people pointed fingers and snickered… it ain’t easy being green… but I’d stick out my chin and charge on. I *liked* GS. I *liked* spending summers camping. How dare *they* tell me what I should like! I was, unknowingly… EMPOWERED.
I’m going to quit now.
I could keep on… but I think you get the idea.
I am who I am because of Girl Scouting. I am who I am because of women who had a dream. Not just Daisy. But all women who stood up for young girls. Before women had the right to vote… before so many things we take for granted even existed. In my lifetime, it was my leaders and counselors who urged me onward. Mrs. D. and Sarge. J.T. and Smiley at Camp Sacajawea. J.W. and S. D. at Girl Scout National Center West. W.M., you were something!, and J. S., especially (oh, what a mentor and friend you have been to me!) Always and forever, K.J., who has remained my friend since we were 19!
Is it all because of a cookie? Sure. If you think so!
Happy 100th Birthday, GSUSA!
March 12, 2008 no entry.