Feb 20 2012

Tea Memories Shared


I recently was invited to serve tea at an event celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting in America. As a former Girl Scout from 2nd grade through 12th grade (and I might add, our troup had the same two, highly committed leaders that entire time), I was delighted to take part in this memorable occasion. This celebration was organized by all the scouting troups in the City of Portland for the scouts and their families along with their leaders, as well as any former Girl Scouts living in Portland. Held at The Irish Heritage Center, the tea turned out to be a lovely afternoon event for 140. Scouts from Daisy Troups through Senior Troups attended, dressed for tea. Displays of vintage uniforms, handbooks, equipment, pins, and other memorabila were fascinating (and all too familiar to me :).

As I watched the color guard enter the hall, I was struck by how the basics of Scouting have changed very little. They begin at a younger age, as when I was a Brownie, the entrance time was in second grade, but the reverance for the flag is the same. The Girl Scout Promise is the same, and some of my favorite songs are still being taught, like Make New Friends but Keep the Old. Gatherings still begin and end with the Color guard, and the friendship circle with the hand squeeze making its way around the circle, still marks the end of the gathering.

I was especially delighted that this group chose to have a Tea Party as one of its many celebratory events. The civility and friendship of having tea is so closely linked to all that Girl Scouting represents, and would have been an integral part of the social scene in the era of Julliette Lowe at the start of Girl Scouting 100 years ago.

One of my Girl Scout leaders recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Her daughter and I remain good friends, and Mrs. Palmer suffers from severe Alzheimers. But when I sent her her birthday card, I was so thrilled to be able to share with her that I was serving tea to celebrate the scouting anniversary. I am absolutely certain that those are memories she still retains and hope they give her as much pleasure as they do me.

 I write this with gratitude to Mrs. Dorothy Palmer and Mrs.  Margaret , whose gifts to all of us  in Troop #211 of  Lexington, Ohio contributed so greatly to making each of us who we are.