(Scouting) had a terrific impact on us, and it put us very much in the mode of helping others and solving problems and working together. It was a terrific experience, and there are a great many of us here in Niantic that still cherish those memories very thoroughly.
Eleanor Saunders, Niantic; Scout Troop 71
n In 1984 my mom started a Daisy Girl Scout troop in New London as part of a pilot program for Kindergarten kids — the first one in the state. I continued in Girl Scouts through high school and am a lifetime member. I now have a Brownie troop of my own.
I am not sure if I would have become a troop leader if not for my mother, who was my troop leader. Even though I am all grown up now, my mom still continues to have three troops. Through Girl Scouts I met some of the most amazing people who have played an important role in my life and made me the person I am today. I remember all of the things we did when I was a scout and try to give the girls in my troop some of those same experiences and adventures I was given the opportunity to enjoy. ... Through the Girl Scouts I learned about community service, helping others and being a sister to every other Girl Scout. I can’t wait until next year when my own daughter will be able to join the Girl Scouts and hopefully make the some of the same friendships and memories to last a lifetime that I made as a scout. I am not sure where my life would have taken me if not for my mom and the Girl Scouts.
Traci Buckholt-Miller, New London
I remember very clearly my first Girl Scout meeting as a Brownie. We were in the basement of the firehouse in my hometown, and my leader read us the Brownie Story. From that moment on I was hooked on Girl Scouts.
My Cadette leader, Jean Clark, was a wonderful mentor who took an awkward, shy teenager and taught her leadership, self value and a passion to go for your dreams. I was not good at sports, not particularly talented in anything, but she nurtured my interests, taught me wonderful leadership and encouraged me to be the best I could be.
In Girl Scouting I found a place where I was valued for being my own person, and I was able to achieve many goals that help to formulate who I am today. I have been a leader in Girl Scouts now for 33 years. I have had many girls for the whole 12 years they were in scouting. We have traveled to Canada, Mexico and all over the USA. Many have gone on to earn their Gold Award and become wonderful, successful adults. I like to think that the leadership role model that I got from my troop leaders carried forward and that in my own small way, I have given the same things to the girls that have been in my troops through the years.
Mandy Brink, Troop 63108, North Stonington
n My experiences as a Girl Scout were life-altering. We learned to ride and care for horses, canoe, camp and sail. My troop went from St Louis to Mystic for sailing school in our junior year, and we barefoot sailed in the Bahamas after graduation.
This was not an affluent group. Many had part-time jobs to pay for activities. I still get together with a group from my troop in Missouri to canoe together and catch up on our lives. Being a scout was not “cool” even then but a wonderful outlet and fun.
Amy Kinkler, East Lyme, Girl Scout 1957-1968
My experiences in Girl Scouting helped prepare me for me teaching career at North Stonington Elementary School. Noank was my hometown, and now as I look back to the 1940s and ’50s, I am impressed that so many women were willing to spend their time and energy with us. ... I still remember the poem I had to learn to recite as part of the entertainment at a Mother’s Tea, where we practiced our hospitality skills. That was my first year in Brownies. At one point I was secretary for our troop, walking weekly with our news to the home of our Noank reporter, Eleanor Hunter, for the New London Day. ... At 13 or 14, I became a program aide in day camps held at the Haley Farm and later at the present site of Claude Chester School. I loved the singing, the camp-craft skills and cooking over an open fire. I taught these skills to the younger girls and discovered that working with children gave me much pleasure. ... Girl Scouting was an enriching part of my childhood. It is increasingly clear how fortunate I was.
Audrey D. Smith, No. Stonington
Scouting gave me so many opportunities to experience new things. It was like going into a hat store and trying on a different hat each week.
It was from a Scouting activity that I decided I wanted to become a nurse. It was a Christmas Eve 42 years ago in Cincinnati, Oh., and our troop went to a state hospital for long-term patients to sing carols, give out cookies and serve punch. I was so touched at seeing the needs of these patients and how grateful they were, that night, I decided I wanted to help people and become a nurse. I have been a nurse for 32 years and currently work in Labor and Delivery at L&M hospital. ... I am who I am today from all the years of service others have so given. Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.
Patti Belcher, Gales Ferry
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