Local women reminisce about their Girl Scouting days

info@islandpacket.comJune 22, 2012 

Thanks to Melinda Welker of Callawassie Island for sharing the story of a Girl Scout gathering on Callawassie Island to mark the group's 100th anniversary.


By Melinda Welker

The U.S. Marines have a similar saying, but for both active and inactive Girl Scouts, the motto is "Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout."

With this in mind, former Girl Scouts and scout leaders from Callawassie Island searched closets, attics and boxes of memorabilia to locate items from their scouting days to bring to a lunch at the Callawassie Island Club to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts in America.

Some brought old scout photos or wore the insignia they had saved over the past 55 to 80 years, such as the Brownie and Girl Scout pins that designated membership, and the World Trefoil pin, which promoted the sisterhood of scouting.

Barbara Taylor Crawford, 88, of Hilton Head Island was the first among the group to have been a Girl Scout. As the guest of her daughter, former scout and Callawassie resident Janet Gould, Crawford shared a photograph of herself in a Girl Scout uniform taken in the 1930s as well as a copy of a 25th Anniversary Girl Scout poster she had collected in her youth.

Gene Sutter, 92, mother of Callawassie resident Patti Wurtzbacher, also of Hilton Head, was recognized as an early Girl Scout leader. For their early participation in scouting, Sutter and Crawford were presented rose corsages with miniature 100th anniversary flags.

Several former cadets and First Class level scouts attended the event. Wurtzbacher and Diane Chmelik still had their Curved Bar and First Class insignia. Between 1940 and 1982, these pins represented the highest award bestowed to scouts at their level. Wurtzbacher also had managed to hold on to her badge sash over the years, on which 23 earned badges had been sewn.

Alice Golde, also a First Class Scout, was in the Mariner program, a field introduced to Girl Scouts during World War I and World War II to promote seafaring activities. Concentration was on learning boating techniques, sailing and knot-tying. This program led to her First Aid Life Saving Course and also brought her family into the enjoyment of boating. She still had her Mariner's pin, the highest award given to a First Class Mariner Scout, which she proudly wore.

Rita Marie Nuhn dedicated many volunteer years as a troop leader to Brownies and Senior Girl Scouts in Alabama and Virginia. Diana Charles and I learned we had both been scouts in the Tennessee council at about the same time.

The former scouts took part in a trivia game and learned such facts as: more than 59 million girls have worn the Girl Scout uniform since Juliette Gordon Low founded the organization in 1912; more than 200 million boxes of Girl Scout cookies are sold each year; and, in 1917, a dozen cookies sold for 15 cents.

The women viewed a brief video of the "Girl Scout Promise." However, something that remains the same for all Girl Scouts is the love of the traditional Girl Scout treat made with graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows. A modern version of this classic dessert was served at the lunch as a S'mores Parfait.

Former Scout Beverly Melvin reminded the group of another favorite Girl Scout breakfast food, cooked during camp outings and, curiously, called the "toad in the hole." Scouts would cut a hole in the center of a piece of bread, put it in a pan and crack an egg into the hole which would fry up while the bread toasted.

The celebration of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting at Callawassie was an opportunity to look at past adventures, but to also realize that Girl Scouting still provides adventure, builds personal skills and character, and instills confidence in young women. Being a Girl Scout is the tie that binds all these women together.

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