Today is also the birthday of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts in America.
After years of cookie sales, camping trips, and Kim’s Game, I was thrilled to visit the Juliette Gordon Low house in Savannah last year. And I mean thrilled. As in, I teared up at pretty much every stop along the tour, especially in the parlor where the very first ever Girl Scout meeting was held. (Let’s be honest, I’m feeling a little emotional even as I type this.) I couldn’t even open my mouth to ask a question because I knew I’d lose it. And likely embarrass my sister, who was so kind to indulge me in the first place.
I wrote this earlier in the year on the official 100th birthday of Girl Scouts in America, but thought it merited repeating today. Now, if I could only get my hands on some Thin Mints…
100 Things I Learned in Girl Scouts
1. Make new friends.
2. Keep the old.
3. 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.
4. The Girl Scout Law (old school): I will do my best to be honest, to be fair, to help where I am needed, to be cheerful, to be friendly and considerate, to be a sister to every Girl Scout, to respect authority, use resources wisely, to protect and improve the world around me, to show respect for myself and others through my words and actions.
5. The Girl Scout Motto: Be prepared.
6. How to conduct a friendship circle
7. How to do that fancy “knot” friendship circle
8. Bridging ceremonies – Daisies to Brownies, Brownies to Juniors, Juniors to Cadettes
9. Juliette Gordon Low was the founder of Girl Scouts in America
10. Juliette’s nickname was “Daisy”
11. Her birthday was Oct. 31.
12. She founded Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia.
13. Brownie sash fashion – do you put your Try-Its in rows or hexagons?
14. A well-traveled girl has more patches than room on her sash. Start layering from the beginning.
15. How to retire a flag – cut it into strips, lay it on a fire, sing a blindingly off-key rendition of You’re a Grand Old Flag.
16. How to raise and lower an American flag.
17. Proper color guard calls and actions.
18. Every little girl needs a pocket knife.
19. Every little girl needs a compass.
20. How to sew a sit-upon.
21. How to cross-stitch my initials.
22. Kim’s game.
23. Thinking Day = lots of tiny crafts.
24. I love tiny crafts.
25. The Electric Slide.
26. No matter where you go, Girl Scouts can make you feel like you’re at home again.
Campfires and Tire Swings
27. How to make s’mores.
28. Ideal marshmallow-roasting conditions of a fire.
29. Tire swings are best at camp.
30. Lois Lodge is like the Ritz-Carlton of Camp Maha.
31. Pine-sol makes everything smell clean – even Lois Lodge.
32. Mister Mooney. (Mithter Mooney!)
33. The Lodge at Camp Wa-Sha-Tee is a great place for facials, telephone, and moose-like snoring.
34. Legendary technique for shooing a wayward duck out of said lodge: “Shoo! Shoo!”
35. Deer pee stinks; friends love you anyway.
36. If you have to pitch a tent, do it by the river so you can hear the water all night long.
37. And so you can hear your neighbors. “Are you eating in there?!”
38. Platform-tent camping is better. “Hey, Lindsey! How many fingers am I holding up?”
39. Plastic syrup bottles make great canteens because you can tie them on your belt with your bandana.
40. Always, always, always wear your orange hat.
41. Be ever on the alert for poison ivy.
42. Official mess kits that fold up into themselves just aren’t as helpful as a dunk bag and a mis-matched set of dishes.
43. How to make a dunk bag – mesh or terrycloth.
44. How to use a dunk bag.
45. Dress in layers.
46. Always pack a poncho. Just never take it out of that little bag.
47. That stove in the corner of the shelter? Her name’s Big Bertha.
48. Hobo dinner. Foil, food, fire.
49. Really strange things can happen once you reach the age of learning to play instruments. Avoid impromptu concerts at camp at all costs.
50. Camp names, while good-intentioned, suck.
51. If you need a camp name, pick one you’ll answer to.
52. Your real friend is the one who will walk to the latrine with you in the middle of the night.
53. How to sew a scrunchie. (It was the 90s.)
54. Holding grasshoppers by their faces is disgusting.
55. Archery is awesome.
56. Horseback riding? Not so much.
57. Waiting until the fire dies down is the best way to spend an evening.
Sing a Song of Scouting
58. When I go to meetings, hear me shout, “I love being a Daisy Girl Scout!”
59. When ‘ere you make a promise, consider well its importance, and when made, engrave it upon your heart.
60. Hmm-mmm, I want to linger, hmm-mmm, a little longer, hmm-mmm, a little longer here with you. Hmm-mmm, it’s such a perfect night, hmm-mmm, it doesn’t seem quite right, hmm-mmm, that it should be my last with you. Hmm-mmm, then come September, hmm-mmm, I will remember, hmm-mmm, our camping days and friendships true. Hmmm-mmm, and as the years go by, hmm-mmm, I’ll think of you and sigh, hmm-mmm it was “good night” and not “good bye.”
61. Sittin’ on a fence-post chewin’ my bubble gum, playin’ with my yo-yo (doo-wop, doo-wop!), and along came Herman the worm, and he was thiiis big! And I said, “Herman! What happened?”…
62. Oh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed, the Lord is good to me. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
63. We thank you at our table, Lord, be here and everywhere adored, (something something something), Lord, as we feast in your company. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Troop Beverly Hills
64. It’s ok to bring a little class to the establishment – Troop Beverly Hills had a point.
65. Condo-camping at the beach is best.
66. Be careful at national monuments. You can still see a plane crash, even if you’re at the Wright Brothers’ Museum.
67. Completing your Silver Award with your best friends is the best way to make it happen.
68. Cadette vests really look best with khakis and makeup.
69. Church-basement lock-ins are better than any tent camping after the age of 12.
70. Truth or dare.
71. Homemade tamales – fun to make, not so fun to eat. Italian feast – not so fun to make, delightful to eat.
72. If you hear a siren on a rainy night, it’s probably a tornado siren. Seek shelter.
73. Dream big. Go to St. Louis when you get the chance.
74. Then go to Six Flags. Get big ice cream cones and ride Batman on the first row in the dark.
75. Find the friend who will ride Mr. Freeze with you. She’s a keeper.
76. Camping at the lake is something we should’ve thought of years before we did.
77. If you pitch your tent on an ant hill, you should move it.
78. Pool float mattress + sleeping bag + squirmy sleeper = squeaking all night.
79. Floatee cushions and lake water build the best friends.
80. Dads make great Girl Scouts, too. (Fred and Bud rocked at the lake.)
81. It’s ok to call it Secret Service when you get older. You’ll come around to calling it Girl Scouts again all in due time.
82. Get up early to hit the neighborhood on cookie sale opening day.
83. Multiples of $2.50.
84. How to make awkward phone calls to strangers. “Your cookies are in. When would be a good time for me to deliver them to you?”
85. When you’re little, booth sales are awesome.
86. When you’re slightly older, booth sales are best done as far away from home as possible.
87. Samoas or Caramel-de-lites, Shortbread or Trefoil: they all taste amazing.
88. Virtually every Girl Scout Cookie varietal is better frozen.
89. Cookie Sales are tasty, but not extremely profitable.
90. Calendar sales are boring, but make a buck.
Lessons of a Lifetime
91. The finer elements of making dirt pudding, complete with flower-accented spoon.
92. Finding the right troop is essential – it’s where your friends are and where the fun is.
93. What a dairy case looks like from the other side.
94. Girl Scout Leaders are among the most patient, devoted beings on the planet.
95. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
96. I am a strong, capable, independent woman who can accomplish anything she sets her mind to.
97. Serving others is a good thing.
98. The things I learned as a Girl Scout will stick with me for the rest of my life.
99. How to rake leaves, plant flowers, and make my school look like a nicer place. (And why it’s important to not leave a rake teeth-up in the yard. And why you shouldn’t step on a rake when it’s teeth-up in the yard.)
100. Being a Girl Scout made me who I am today.