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My Blog

Girl Scouting..The First Frienship Circle

Good morning to everyone.  Hope all of you out in cyberland are enjoying the day.  I thought about today's topic.  It started so long ago...even way before my time, yet it was a total experience. 
I remember becoming a girl scout.  I was in 4th grade.  It was a commitment. It wasn't something you did once.  It was almost like joining the Army for young girls.  At least that is the was you felt wearing the uniform.  It made you quite official.  I remember the sort of kcakii green dress and the dark green sash.  Your sash displayed what troop you belonged to by it's numbers and the badges upon it's front and back told the story of who you were and how far you had become. 
I think that when most people think of girl scouts, the associate it immediately with cookies...but there was so much more to it than that.  Girl scouting was an adventure, a training camp and a social group. 
When I was a girl scout, it was also an honor.  I remember even on special events proudly carrying our flag wearing my hat and my white gloves. 
At a meeting, we worked on badges.  We had books that instructed you how to accomplish gaining the badge.  You had to complete each section and have it signed by your leader.  My mother and another woman by name of Mrs. B. were our leaders.   When I think back on the years spent in scouts, how much you did depended on the leaders.  Mine were great.  We worked on badges constantly.  We learned to sew, cook, make a fire and so much more.  We whittled soap, we went on trips, we did service projects and we camped.  One particular memory that I had about camping was that each girl was told to bring a 2 cans of soup (not creamed) with her to camp.  At dinner, we had this huge pot and every can of soup was dumped inside along with the proper cans of water and it was cooked together.  It was called Witches brew.  When you think about it you might say no way...but it was delicious.   We were teamed up by names of leaves and there was a poster board that assigned you duty for each part of the day.  One was set up which included finding pieces of nature and creating a centerpiece for the tables.  That was one I particularly enjoyed.  We played games, sang songs, told stories by the campfire but most of all enjoyed the laughter and friendship. 
We sold cookies as well back then.  I still till this day have my gold girl shout cookies charm.  In fact, I still have my sash with all of my badges and stars on it. 
Years went by, I grew up and had children and yes, they became girl scouts as well, and following in my mothers footsteps, I became the girl scout leader.  It was just as fun as being the scout.  I remember working on their badges with them.  I remember one young girl in particular, she was on the hyper side, but one evening, I noticed her incompliance with working the same way on her book...I took the books home that night.  Told them it was too late to sign them there...this was my pretense to look at hers.  I discovered that the young girl was dyslexic.  Or at least that was my unprofessional opinion.  I returned the books to the girls at the next meeting, but in the meantime, I had given her mother a call and brought this to her attention, with the suggestion that she ask a professional.  Turned out, she indeed had the problem.  Her mother was so grateful...me, I was just happy that I had put two and two together.  We went on so many outings with the girls.  We also went camping to the same campgrounds that I had been to, so many years prior.  One time we made an outdoor game like they had on television called Double Dare.  You were asked questions and if you didn't know the answer you ha all these crazy things happen  and got all gooeyed up.  We made a slip and slide with tons of jello and whipped cream that the girls got to slide through as one of the challenges. Yes, it was a mess...but they had so much fun, it was worth soaking their clothes afterwards.  We told ghost stories by the fire.  One time, we had them blindfolded and told this story about body parts and we passed these bowls around for them to feel as we spoke of each body part. things like spaghetti noodles in oil for the intestines and peeled grapes for eyes.  The girls were screaming and yelling all over the place, but when they took off their blind folds and was the actual items they were amazed.  It just goes to show you was your imagination can do When it came down to cookie selling.  I remember being the house that all the area troops picked up their cookies from.  My home looked like a warehouse, I had cookies from floor to ceiling in both my living room and dining room.  Now all the cookies were distributed to each girl, but then I made arrangements to take them on location.  The money that the girls generated from the sales of cookies on location was put towards a credit for camping and any extra treats.  We sold downtown in Union station and at the Brickyard Mall.  Needless to say, the girls had their camping trips for almost nothing.  Each girl was credited a point for each hour donated to helping the cause.  It was a great reward and taught them the lessons of being team players.  I was pleased to have the time spent with not only my daughters, but all the others as well.  I remember once we had an etiquette badge and they needed to learn proper etiquette.  We did it masquerade style and they had to show up in gowns and gloves.  Mothers gowns were pinned and fitted to their bodies and they had made masks.  They sat at a candle lit table with fancy china and had to prove their new learned etiquette manners.  they had a blast!  Those days are tucked away in my heart.  I look fondly on the sashes of my daughters along with my own and remember what it was like on that team.  I hope that I gave my daughters and the girls in my troop as wonderful of memories as they gave me and I hope that the leaders before me...my mother and Mrs. B. know how much I appreciated what they handed down to me.  Girl Scouting is a Friendship Circle that keeps on giving. Year after year, generation after generation.  Thanks Juliette Lowe!    

4 Comments to Girl Scouting..The First Frienship Circle:

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Jeanni on Tuesday, August 06, 2013 4:12 PM
Boy, Debi...do I ever remember the scout cookies in your house! Every square inch of floor space, table space, being filled with cookies! I also remember when you and the girls made it a challenge for each person in the group to earn like 100 badges one year...many of the girls may have had a problem with requirements of certain badges or you would have the extra go-getter who would be anxious to earn the most the fastest, but always you emphasized with the girls that they were one unit together, and by working together everybody was able to earn her badges. I remember you questioning the girls about each project and the way each step was completed...you encouraged parental help, but emphasized how the work had to be done by each girl. 'Cheating' was not permitted for any project because honesty was part of the Girl Scout Creed as well as each girl's integrity. Now that the girls are older with children of their own, I just hope the scouting memories and activities are being passed on to a new generation....whether through the scouting program or part of family and community life.
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Debi Gajewski on Tuesday, August 06, 2013 7:27 PM
Jeanni, yes indeed you were there during those days. I truly did my best as I had been taught to do. Now that my mother is gone...it is amazing how much more I remember about her. Bless her heart. She made sacrifices in so many ways. I hope that I was able to lead as good of an example. Life can be hard and having skills to deal with all levels of life is rewarding. I hope that some of the girls think fondly of me over the years. I sure do think about them all often.

Jo Ellen on Tuesday, August 06, 2013 4:54 PM
Hi Debi: I saw the title of this story and had to read it. I fondly remember your Mom being my Girl Scout Leader. She was AWESOME. We earned so many badges with her. The badges went down the front of my sash and all the way up the back. Fun, fun times... I too was a Girl Scout leader for my daughter's troop from kindergarten thru 6th grade. Those are very special times as a scout and a leader-craft projects, going to nursing homes at the holidays, field trips, horse farm weekends, earning badges, and more. A wonderful foundation for young women. Thanks for the reminder. On my honor, I will try.... Jo Ellen
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Debi Gajewski on Tuesday, August 06, 2013 7:24 PM
Jo Ellen, or JO JO as we used to call you. Thanks for the comments. My mom would have been so pleased to have heard those words. We did have a wonderful time in those days and they taught us so many values and morals. Funny how we took the examples of what a good leader is. So glad to know that you had the pleasures of leading girls in a good direction. I really loved you ending...on my honor...I will try. Don't we all just keep on trying? To do our duty...to GOD and my country....to help other people at all times....and to obey the girl scout laws. I sure hope it is the same pledge these days!

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