I can think of several appropriate topics I could write about this week, including the warm winter we are having, the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, Leap Year, Groundhog Day or Valentine's Day. However, I decided to dedicate this week's column to a great organization -- Girl Scouts of America.
Girl Scouts of America will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year and is still going strong. The first troop meeting of Girl Scouts in the United States was held in Savannah, Ga., on March 12, 1912. I wonder if the founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, even imagined how far out in the future it would reach and how many lives it would touch.
Girl Scouts across the world will celebrate this milestone. It has been over 50 years since I was a Brownie Scout. My troop would meet once a week after school, and on the meeting days we would wear our uniforms. I can remember wearing it proudly. I wore the brown first and then the green.
My memory is not what it used to be and I cannot remember the name of my leader. I do remember she was a nice lady with blonde hair. She helped us earn our badges. She must have been a brave soul because she even opened her kitchen so we could earn our cooking badges. As I look back, she must have had a good husband also. She let us come one at a time and cook a dinner in her kitchen.
She helped us set the table and cook, and we all sat down and shared the meal and the clean-up.
One December meeting in the 1950s, I remember she announced she had signed us up to march in the Christmas parade. She gave each one of us her telephone number and said the first three Scouts to get home, get permission from our mothers, and call her could carry the banner. We were excited. I was pleased to be one of the three who got to carry the banner.
There is more to the story. The parade was downtown in Aurora, Ill., about a week before Christmas. I thought I was going to freeze to death before the parade was over. We marched behind a float that had to be pushed over the ice and that was all we got to see of the parade. It took me a long time to want to be in a parade again. My feet still get a little cold when I think about it.
Another Girl Scout story I recall was going to camp. I don't guess you can call it "roughing it" because we did not stay in tents. We were inside a large facility with our sleeping bags on cots. There were woods and a walking trail around us. We had to pack our first aid kits, our Girl Scout knives and coffee cans. We were turning the coffee cans into an outside cooking utensil.
Times have changed. I can't imagine giving little girls knives to cut cans leaving sharp edges. If I remember correctly, I was the only one who got to use my first aid kit when I cut my finger. Like the Girl Scout motto, I was prepared. I had antiseptic and a Band-Aid.
The Girl Scout Promise: 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.
We have had three generations of Scouts in my family. I was not a leader, but I helped when I was needed during my daughter's Scout years. My granddaugthers have been involved and one still is. Scouting has touched a lot of lives over the last 100 years.
Several First Ladies have been Girl Scouts. I read where 64 percent of women leaders were once in the Girl Scout program.
We should all say happy 100th birthday to Girl Scouting. I am sure there will be a lot of celebrations throughout the year as they celebrate.
We should also be thankful we have women who volunteer to work with young girls in the Scouting program. It does encourage leadership.
I have sold and bought my fair share of Girl Scout cookies which still represents a great organization and hopefully, it will be around for another 100-plus years.
By the way, next Tuesday, Feb. 14, is Valentine's Day -- don't forget. No matter what you choose -- a box of candy, a piece of jewelry, a card, flowers, an original poem, dinner out, or anything else will keep you out of trouble.