Being as I had an older sister, and my mother was a Brownie leader, I was a Girl Scout at the tender age of 4. Back in the days before Mini Scouts existed, I was considered the troop mascot. There were very few things I didn't do with the older girls. Meetings were held in our house and for quite a long time the "fly up" ceremonies were held in our backyard. The troop n umber was 1309 and I think we were in Service Unit 4.
If there is any question of the impression Girl Scouting can make on a child, that is evidence that it can last a lifetime! For me and my sister both, Girl Scouting lasted through the 12th grade. We both loved the camping, field trips, and meetings with our friends. For me, it was great because I went to a number of different schools, but the Girl Scouts were consistent. Once I entered Junior High and didn't have to change schools until High School, it was different, but I stuck with it. Part of the reason I could is that my troop by that point - a Cadet troop - was in a different school district.
I had a bit of difficulty with my peers (who doesn't?) and felt very awkward and unaccepted. Looking back I realize there is probably some truth and some insecure falsity to that. Anyway, I loved Girl Scouting in a different school district because those girls didn't know that everyone picked on me! They accepted me for who I was, for better or worse. While I definitely had friends at school who also accepted me as I was (Diane B, I see you out there!), it somehow built up my sense of self to just relax and not pretend to be someone I wasn't.
While working on the never-ending garage cleaning project - which by the way I can confidently say will end by 2013 - I found my old badge sash with 25-30 year old insignia and a packet of other badges that never were sewn onto it. My friend Donna is going to try to get me the missing pieces of my insignia, and then, I think I want to put this together somehow that I can display it, along with the patches from my old patch jacket. I'm quite proud of my accomplishments as a Girl Scout, and proud of the fact that Girl Scouts helped me become the woman I am today. I will probably be a Girl Scout leader if Melody wants to be a Scout. I will happily take her camping and teach her how to make s'mores and sing songs like I'm A Little Piece Of Tin.
As an aside, I always admired the Senior girls who came to the local Sing-A-Long and actually knew ALL the words to the various Girl Scout songs. Wow, to have that memory, I thought! Now I'm the one who will be teaching them, I'm sure. I can still remember all the words to My Name is Ricardo and Fried Ham, Fried Ham. Should I forget, I can call on my sister, mother, friend Sarah, or of course, the Internet.
My sister earned First Class (the equivalent to an Eagle Scout) the last year they were offered, and after that the project was split into two separate awards - Gold Award and Silver Award. I felt a little discouraged and decided not to pursue it. Double the work for a less special award. It sounded so impressive to say "she's First Class" but not so much "I'm Silver Award."
I will have more Girl Scouting memories to share in the future - it was 12 years after all!