Sometimes small things stick in your mind. They’re neither big nor important, but they’re embedded there as vivid as the day they happened.
There is no reason that I can think of that explains this memory. It was the first day of Day Camp for Brownies. We had taken a walk with our group, probably some sort of nature study, and were returning to headquarters. A little girl, whom I did not know, skipped up beside me on the path, and started chattering happily. She had no buddy to walk with, she knew no one, but she and I held hands and I listened to her talk about this first day, her big brown eyes sparkling with happiness. She announced that she and I were friends, and I agreed.
She was the only African American child in that day’s session and she did not attend any more. I don’t remember her name; I don’t know why she never returned, but after forty years, I can still feel that little hand.
Another time, with my own troop’s camp-out, part of the troop was doing the fire building. Of course, they enthusiastically carried their loads of dry wood to their camp site and one little girl drug in the prize: a dead log almost as big around as she.
Now, anyone who has ever attempted to prune their trees after the limbs have died or sawed an old dead log for the fireplace, knows that while making an excellent fire, the dead wood is really hard.
Our tool was our bow saw, and this little girl was part of the group responsible for building the fire, so this rather frail appearing little girl tackled this log which was about eight inches in diameter.
I believe I suggested that the chore be shared. I don't seem to have an actual photo but the picture is still clear in my mind. Such determination, a job well done with the log finally ablaze.
This next unforgettable experierence casts doubt upon my level of sanity. The last troop that I was associated with was a very large one with over twenty girls. There four leaders, well, technically a leader and three assistants, but that wasn't the way we operated. Three of us were very active, each with a patrol. The fourth, assisted us by being responsible for all the mundane things we three didn't want to do. She was our anchor.
Our scouting program had always been strong in our town. From the day an earlier troop trashed the official uniform and designed their own, throughout the years of this last troop, the Council despaired of our antics. We were progressive; they were bound by arcade training and rules. When our ideas, were successful, as they often were, sometimes being the first such program in the nation, Council praised us while tensely awaiting our next bombshell.
One of the leaders of this troop, #147, had several years before volunteered to work with a group of older girls in organizing the first ever mounted patrol. She was also the leader who spearheaded a Bicycle Rodeo, that with the cooperation of the police department, had a safety and skills program for the community's youngsters.This was also a first.
Now, it was this interest in bicycle riding that was almost my downfall! I grew up in the country...dirt roads and no bike. Some where, some time I rode a bicycle. Once. When this bunch of girls got all excited about riding their bikes, they decided to take a five-mile ride outside the city limits. This may have been a badge earning project. I don't remember, but part of scouting is helping the girls plan and carry out events so plans were made and a route and date set.
Naturally, my daughter who was a member of this troop, had a bike. I don't know where I got mine. Away we went. As is so often said, "Once you learn to ride a bike, you never forget."Well. I had been on a bike before so I was qualified, right? We rode and rode with one rest stop. The girls laughing and wheeling here and there, laughing like it was loads of fun. The other two leaders were obviously
at ease, enjoying the countryside. I was concentrating upon keeping my balance and telling myself "You can do it, you gotta do it, this will end sometime today." And it did. I managed to finish the ride and get off that danged two-wheeled demon without collapsing, my determined smile still pasted across my face.
Did I mention in an earlier blog that scouting brings new experiences into your life. Unforgettable ones, I will add. So I lived for another day and more experiences yet to come.
Children are like flowers; they need to be nurtured.