Today Girl Scout cookies arrived at my office, care of one of my co-workers’ daughter. Every year I make sure to get cookies from at least two girls, more if I can stand to bring that many more cookies into the house. My husband has a serious addiction to Thin Mints - I’m more of a Trefoils girl myself but to each their own - and I believe deeply in scouting being a positive influence in girls lives, and want to support that as much as I can. Scouts was important to me as a kid, and as an adult I keep feeling more and more proud of the things they do.
I was a Girl Scout for 10 years as a child, from age 6 or 7 to 16 or 17, more or less. I was a Brownie for one year, then did a full 3 each of Junior, Cadette, and Senior level scouting. I got my 10 year pin, earned my Leadership, Bronze, and Silver awards, though not my Gold Award. High school had gotten overwhelming enough at that point that it wasn’t something I had the extra bandwidth for. I spent 3 or so summers as a camper at Girl Scout camp, and another 2 as a CIT (Counselor In Training) and Advanced CIT, learning to be a responsible adult-ish figure.
Scouting brought me into contact with people who followed different religions, and had very different home lives and situations. It forced me to figure out how to get along with girls I didn’t like, or who didn’t like me. It taught me how to work for something I wanted, how to plan and organize for large-scale events. It taught me domestic things like how to sew by hand, plan meals and cook over a camp fire, and clean things up properly. It taught me about being responsible for other people’s children, and the complexities that go with it. It taught me how to tie knots, shoot arrows, and mark trails, and that you can always find a use for a handkerchief. It taught me to improvise when things went wrong. Duct tape really can fix anything.
Girl scouts exposed me to the idea that it was okay to be different. Scouting provided me my first experience with adult lesbian women outside of the television. It started me on a string of crushes on damaged straight girls with entirely too much baggage. It taught me that I wasn’t broken or wrong for feeling that way and that it wasn’t going to keep me from living a “normal” life.
As an adult, watching the Girl Scouts be continually amazing, I couldn’t be more proud to claim to have been a scout as a kid. Most recently their easy acceptance of trans children into their midst, as the Boy Scouts struggle so painfully with the question of gay scouts. The program has changed - there’s a whole new tier of scouting that didn’t use to exist, now! - but the idea of becoming a well-rounded adult with a sense of civic obligation and pride lasts on, and hopefully always will.
A twitter buddy of mine is committing to writing 500 words a day on some topic, and invited others to join her. Feel free to write alongside us, exercise those grammar muscles, and do a little wordsmithing. The hashtag on twitter is #500wordsAbout.