Monday marks the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it in more ways than one.
Back in the 1950s we made sit-upons out of newspaper and trivets out of Popsicle sticks. And yes, sold Girl Scout cookies.
Skipping ahead nearly half a century, today's scouts have exponential opportunities for earning badges and contributing to the community. As a columnist, I've been fortunate to write about them and even experience some of them for over a decade.
Various times I've noted cookie drops, Christmas cards and Valentines for the troops overseas. I remember the beautiful clothes Troops 1178, 8491 and 103 made for babies in need through Tiny Stitches.
In 2004 I remember Gina Wilson, who at age 17 founded the Gwinnett Gavel Club, an affiliate of Toastmasters International, which was the largest of its kind in the area. That same year Kellyn Flanagan and Claire Welmering earned their Gold Award with projects for the Humane Society and Head Start.
In 2007, with Troop 1386 led by Marissa Markley, I wrote about their growing worms on the kitchen counter and watched them organize a Roaring Twenties father-daughter dance. We also worked on a nature badge in my woods during Hurricane Jean.
"We're Scouts, we're not afraid," they insisted. Thankfully they completed the bare minimum requirements before the wind really kicked up.
Girl Scout Troop 545 also made my column that year for their involvement with Second Wind Dreams, sort of like a Make-A-Wish Foundation program for senior citizens.
At Girl Scout Camp I was honored to meet and write about Marilyn Rushin, who served as Mother Nature for over 20 years. When I was a Scout, flying up meant graduating to the next level. In 2007, flying up meant taking an actual plane ride at Briscoe Field and having to report on the experience. I thank Brownie Troop 1279 and Girl Scout Troop 1798 for inviting me along as they got the work for their aviation badge off the ground.
Most recently I wrote about the Girl Scout exhibit at the Duluth History Museum. The following week Carmen Ponder, an architect who leads her daughter Isablle's troop, informed me of a new mentoring program, Camp CEO, that touches the future.
"Part of the experience is for each girl to partner with an adult mentor who is a female company CEO or business owner. I was fortunate to be one of those mentors for the inaugural year. Only two or three other councils in the U.S. even offer this program," Ponder said. "The girls were very interested in the many different paths the women had taken to arrive at their success. All of the girls expressed concern that so many CEO's had divorced, or chosen not to marry or have children. The women explained that this did not have to be their path -- that hopefully, conditions would be better for their generation to 'have it all.'" It was a lesson in prioritizing your life. For both the girls and the women who participated, it was a window into the possible future.
And I can't wait to write about it.
Susan Larson is a writer who lives ion Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org