One of the best things about being a mom is being able to watch my daughter enjoy things that I did as a child. Watching her learn to swim, enjoy movies like Cinderella and get excited about playing in the snow are small pleasures I wasn’t expecting. When she was eager to don the Care Bears socks I found at Target, and started learning the names of the Strawberry Shortcake characters, I smiled. Then she became a Girl Scout.
I was a Girl Scout from second grade all the way through twelfth grade, and then a Girl Scout summer camp counselor for three summers in college. Some of my best friends and best memories growing up came through Girl Scouting. I learned how to build a fire, tie a square knot, cook over a campfire, and how to pitch a tent. I learned how to plan and work with others. I learned how to run meetings and take minutes. I traveled all over the midwest, and got to do weird things like spend the night in a water bed store. We made pizza at the pizza shop, waded in the creek that led straight to Lake Michigan and sang more songs than I could possibly list. Girl Scouts was a place where I could be myself, and venture outside of my comfort zone safely.
Last month, my daughter was part of her own investeture ceremony, where each girl in her troop was welcomed into Girl Scouting. They each said the Girl Scout Promise, and shook their leaders’ hands with the Girl Scout Handshake. They have a capers chart, which assigns each girl a duty for each meeting. They end each meeting with a friendship circle (where they cross arms and join hands) and a friendship squeeze (where they pass a squeeze on from hand to hand). It’s been two months and my daughter is smitten, much like I was. She’s already been rock climbing and tonight we made tie blankets with residents at an assisted living center. Next month, she’ll start selling cookie for the first time.
I find all of this oddly comforting in a world awash in change. She’ll more than likely never type on typewriter, use a rotary phone or rent a DVD from an actual store (heck, she may never actually buy a DVD of her own, and just keep digital media). In this world of instant gratification, I think that a program like Girl Scouts, that develops planning skills and working toward a goal is more important than ever.
How are your kids walking in your footsteps? Do you have any fond Scouting memories of your own?