Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Lois Steinberg, left, 72, of Lilburn and Jan Burdsal, right, 80 of Snellville recite the Girl Scout Pledge during the Girl Scout Reunion celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America at the Bethesda Park Senior Center in Lawrenceville on Monday.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- More than 15 women on Monday could remember camping in a canvas tent, learning how to tie a square knot or clove hitch, and still own some badges for their sashes.
Who are these fearless females? A group of Golden Girl Scouts -- that joined a troop prior to 1969 -- who reunited to celebrate the organization's 100th anniversary at the Bethesda Park Senior Center for refreshments, cookies and memories.
"It's kind of awesome to talk to the women of different generations and ages. I'm still a Girl Scout -- I'm a lifetime member," said Kim Elmore of Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, mastermind behind the event. "I couldn't let the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts go by without some recognition because it means so much to so many of us."
The ladies came together to drink coffee and tea while enjoying some Savannah Smiles, Trefoils and Thin Mints. Why the tea? Because founder Juliette Gordon Low believed "every good meeting should have some tea," according to Elmore.
They also brought their vintage memorabilia, like books, pins, badges and uniforms, plus photos and news clipping of when they were young ladies.
Doris Snell of Snellville joined the Girl Scouts in 1939, which made her the oldest Scout in the bunch. She brought a clipping of the day she won the Curve Bow Award, equivalent to today's Eagle Scout Award.
"I was one of the first women in Georgia to win the award," she said while pointing at her picture. "You can barely see it in the photograph, but it's there."
During the day, the women reminisced about their days out in the woods, playing around campsites and selling Girl Scout cookies.
Leslie Johnson of Lawrenceville remembers bringing her younger sister with her to sell cookies.
"She looked just like Shirley Temple with blonde curly hair," she said laughing. "She would just say, 'Cookie' and they were sold."
Other women spoke about what the Girls Scouts taught them as young girls.
"It was my first organization that I was in," said Janet Kimple of Lawrenceville, who was a part of the organization in Cleveland, Ohio. "I loved the uniform and meeting after school. It gave a foundation for the rest of my life, especially the values."
They ended the afternoon singing Scout songs, like "Brownies Smile Song" and "Make New Friends." As tradition, the women gathered in a friendship circle and gave each other a friendship squeeze, a hand squeeze that travels around a circle from one person to another after someone starts it.
"I just hope (the reunion) will help to bring back some memories and help them realize what Girl Scouts meant to them," Elmore said. "I know it means a lot to me."