A little over a decade ago my family moved about three times in eighteen months. It gave me a total appreciation for military families. The one thing that is difficult is to find some sort of social circle for the kids that you feel comfortable with. I decided to get the kids into church and scouting.
My middle child had just started kindergarten. I grew up participating in Camp Fire Girls so I thought that would be great for her. Lo and behold I found out that there weren’t any Camp Fire Girls organization near by. The closest type of organization was the Girl Scouts. Okay, I felt a tinge of disloyalty but I signed Elizabeth up anyhow.
We waited a month or two to get the phone call that would allow my daughter to join an actual troop. Finally in January of 1999 that phone call came. I was informed that a troop was just forming and that the members were from different schools throughout our district. That was fine by me. Thus began 12.5 years of scouting for my daughter. When she graduated high school this last year she was one of four original members still with the troop. There have been ups and downs. Girls joining and leaving for various reasons (we are talking girls here).
No two have ever been alike. Daughters of farmers, insurance agents, physicians, corporate executives, computer experts, real estate agents, sales people, stay at home parents, child care providers, city workers, peace officers, military and horticulturalists. Religious diversification has gone from agnostic to Christian to Jewish. Various celebrations have been held at churches or temples. A few years back the whole troop and families went to Disneyland. There has been a bond between these girls that they will have the rest of their lives. This bond, though tenuous at times, has developed from their experiences together.
Experiences of giving back to others. Putting on a reading event for younger children, multiple times participating at Food Share (and even dragging younger siblings along). Working with the Cub/Boy Scouts for the annual Scouting for Food. Participating in the community Christmas parade. Working as victims of disaster drills so local emergency personnel could practice those skills that are needed if the real disaster does occur. Lots of babysitting for churches. Working Relay for life. Guiding younger Girls Scouts in activities to help the little ones develop self esteem (and camping skills). Speaking of camping, each girl can set up a tent (though currently for the most part they would prefer to “camp” in a hotel). They have been to the snow (yes folks, we live in California on the coast) and learned survival skills for that. All have been program aids at one time or another at Girl Scout Summer Camp. Most also had extra curricular activities from sports to music to performing and even a cheerleader or two. Some participated in their high schools student government. Oh and they all did not go to the same high school either. At one point I think we counted five or six high schools represented in the troop.
Now that they have all graduated, the girls are spreading their wings, flying to a new chapter in their lives. Only one is left in high school and soon she too will graduate. These young women will always be able to look back on the many experiences that they had together. Hopefully they will realize the gift that they have had in knowing each other. The diversity of both personalities and lives that were able to mesh into, what I hope, will be lasting friendship. Just like the roller coasters that some of them love to go on, their future relationships with each other will have ups and downs but the memories of the vast amount of adventures from their youth together will last them forever.
The slide show is of three of these young women, taken a few years ago, on the occasion of their confirmation. Two of them have been in the troop since kindergarten with the third joining in third grade. From the pictures you can see that they enjoyed the shoot. I kept it in black and white because, and I know this might sound foolish, I felt that it showed more of their personality. So please enjoy some photos of “my girls”.