Sashes, songs and s’mores brought about a dozen senior women back to their childhood.
Marie Wright of Buford proudly displayed her sash full of badges. “I was a Girl Scout starting as a Brownie in second grade.” Wright joined as a child near Palm Beach, Florida. She then continued with the Scouts through high school, in college and has served as a Girl Scout leader and a volunteer. Wright has been with the organization now 31 years and counting.
Over that time, Wright has seen the organization evolve. “The Girl Scouts are constantly updating. So they are constantly changing to meet the needs of the girls,” said Wright. “But the values are the same, and I think we need the values.”
Wright also stresses the importance of having a safe place where girls are in an environment separate from boys at times. “They can also learn confidence on their own and they can apply it to everything else.”
Confidence was something many of the women said they gained from the Girl Scouts.
Minnie Plummer lives in Grayson now, but fondly remembers when she became a Girl Scout in Pine Bluff, Arkansas back in 1945. “St. Peter’s Catholic Church set up a troop for Black girls. At that time we were called Negroes, it was a Negro Troop,” said Plummer.
Plummer said the best thing that ever happened to her was the summer camp where all of the Negro Troops in Arkansas went to for a week. “It was a really good experience for me. My parents thought that I developed a lot of confidence in meeting people because all of the scouts were from all over the state of Arkansas. We really had a good time.”
One of the Girl Scouts songs encourages young ladies to “make new friends but keep the old.” A number of the now grown-up scouts heeded that advice.
During her four years as a Girl Scout, Plummer developed a lifelong friendship, forged during that week-long summer camp. That friendship has lasted 70 years so far. “I've got to call her and tell her about this,” Plummer said joyfully after the good times she had sharing Scouting.
Leslie Johnson of Lawrenceville also met her best friend through the Girl Scouts. Johnson held a photo of her seven-year-old self when she was a Brownie and reminisced. “I stayed in Girl Scouting because I wanted that uniform right there,” Johnson said pointing to the dark green skirt set she brought to display. She was a scout for 11 years as a child and her mother was her Brownie troop leader. She then rejoined the organization when her daughters joined troops.
In between singing songs and playing games, the ladies were served tea and cookies—Girl Scout cookies of course. They shared stories from camp and remembered service activities and earning those prized badges.
All of the women at the tea had joined the Scouts prior to 1969. Doris Snell of Snellville was the first in the group to become a Girl Scout, taking the oath in 1939. She brought with her a newspaper clipping from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1946. The photo is of her as a young lady receiving the Curved Bar pin. It was the highest achievement for a Girl Scout at the time, comparable to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout.
At the end of the festivities, the women joined hands in a friendship circle, just as they had done as girls. Making new friends, while keeping the old.