Monday, March 8, 2010

girl scouts


On my honor, I will try
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.


I will do my best to be honest and fair,
friendly and helpful, considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do,
and to respect myself and others, respect authority,
use resources wisely, make the world a better place,
and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Girl Scout cookies are being sold this time of year.  I must purchase them, for I spent my youth as a Girl Scout and loved every minute of it.  When I bite into the cookie, I am forever reminded of my days as a Girl Scout.  We were required to sell as many boxes as we could to support our local scouts. My favorites are thin mints and peanut butter but who could forget  do-si-dos
I began my journey as a Junior, but the order of scouts nowadays is Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior and Ambassador.  We only had Brownies through Seniors back in my day.  I befriended wonderful gals who shared this journey with me and eventually I became a Brownie leader.  I was an ambassador as a senior scout and almost won senior scout of the year nationwide.   I competed at Gage Park and it was quite an experience.  The best part of scouting was the field trips to various camp sites in the surrounding area, such as Camp Falcon, Butternut and Palos camp grounds.  We slept in cabins most times but also in tents at 30 degrees; and I remember vividly sharing a tent with Patty Ryan who placed her clothes neatly under her sleeping bag so they would not get wrinkled.  We were surrounded by nature and went on various hiking excursions and our goal was to accrue patches for our vests indicating we accomplished the goals set forth from the girl scout troops.  My sash was filled by the time I ended my scouting days, my green felt vest filled with bigger outing patches and needless to say, the memories of working on them fill me with joy.  We met at the Five Holy Martyrs little room by the field once a week and worked on crafts and our leaders were Mrs. Potempa and Garbacz, mothers of fellow scouts.  They were serious scout leaders, let me tell you, and did not let us get away with anything.  They were always one step ahead as if they had eyes in the back of their heads, so we were sufficiently supervised and they taught us so much more than we ever bargained for. 
Our camping trips included awakening to the sound of pots and pans by the leaders at the crack of dawn.  Moans and groans were heard throughout the cabin as we slowly but surely got our butts out of the bunks to make breakfast.  Each of us had duties as teams, some to provide centerpieces for the daily meals, others to make the meals, another to clean up the mess afterward.  We had to make up our beds all the time and pass inspections.  We listened to music constantly, and Cat Stevens remains in my heart forever with regard to scout camping.  We talked and shared stories while working on various projects.  Never a dull moment.  Sue, Terri, Cindy, Connie, Diane, Patty, Nadine and Marcy were all constant companions in my troop, my sisters.  Most of us attended Maria High School and Sue was my big sister (I believe Terri was Cindy's.)  So you see, the bonds run deep through scouting.
As we grew older and camped, indubitably, someone brought Boonesfarm wine and we went into the woods to sneak a drink.  We even had initiations for new scouts and whenever someone moved up a level.  Mostly we laughed, danced and sang songs around the campfires and had a blast together, bonding as girls love to do.  Sometimes we had joint camping trips with the local Boy Scouts and gathered together while staying in separate quarters.  Once we threw our bras on their light fixtures.  The most memorable outing was when we hiked all day long and tried to beat the boys.  This was not your ordinary level hiking, but rather one that was filled with obstacle courses and ropes over streams as well as up and downhill hiking paths.  We all made it back alive, but weary.  Unfortunately the boys beat us back.  But we were very close.  We went to dude ranches and rode horses on trails and really connected with nature on these trips. 
Girl Scouts is a meaningful and fun way to experience different avenues.  We built courage, confidence and character as we grew together as a troop, encouraging one another to be the best we could be.  What a delightful memory that is relived everytime I see a box of Girl Scout Cookies.  March is the month for cookie sales only and I encourage you to invest in this delicious token of fun. 

If you're happy and you know it, clap you hands.
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you're happy and you know it
then your life will surely show it.
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.

sample of our G.S. campfire songs

Prayer:  Mary, you were our true inspiration as we followed your path on our Girl Scout journey. We were encouraged to obtain the Marian medal and most of us did.  Please continue to guide us to be 'girl scouts forever' and follow our creed and your footsteps to be a woman to be admired by our daily services.  During this lental season, we ask you to pray for us and all those we cherish in our lives.  Amen.