Once upon a time, very very recently, there lived...

Ten happy Brownie maidens

in a kingdom not far away

Over the last two years of empty nesting, I lost sight of the fun that comes with being a Girl Scout volunteer. Got a call early June from a former fellow troop leader, explaining that our area’s local Girl
Scout council needed volunteers for summer day camp and that possibly
girls were going to be turned down if the Council couldn't meet its required adult-to-child ratio. I signed up and soon after was helping out with a 10-member Brownie unit of 6- and 7-year-olds that called themselves The Maidens in keeping with the camp theme: Medieval Manor. Girls Scouts instinctively are hard-working and smart, and they keep you on your toes. The trick is to remain standing as you lead. Thankfully, I could make good use of my old bag of strategies from seven years as a troop leader. In the end, the girls amused me and taught me a few things.

Here are choice moments from the week:

Vignette No. 1, straight from my journal...
Had a good day with Girl Scouts, but man am I wiped out. The camp theme generated a flurry of activities, crafts, songs, swaps, flag ceremonies and dances. The enthusiasm was dizzying. I'm out of practice. I was so wiped out I had to take a nap when I got home. Forgot how much I missed being around industrious girls of all ages. Some of the older scouts are from the middle school where I sometimes teach, so the first part of the day I heard a lot of "Hi Mrs. Johnson!?!?'' ricocheting from the big gym. It's funny how surprised students can be to see that teachers have a life outside of the school building. :-)

Vignette No. 2 , again, straight from the journal…
OK, today was hot hot, and I am so grateful for indoor camp activities and air-conditioned school gymnasiums. True confession: Today I discovered how out of it I am as to what the little kids are into. The one good thing about my former life as a reporter was having the Youth Beat. It kept me fresh and on top of things. So, there I was all day with 10 young Brownies smarter than me. We are one of several units, Girls K through 4. Thursday is the day units will present plays tied to the medieval theme. I had arrived late the first day and missed the production's details. Today, my Unit co-leader filled me in, telling me that the girls had opted to make their presentation a musical based on Love Story. So I thought, “Wow! That's such a modern and complicated and mature story for 7-year-olds... don't know how they will tie that all together with a medieval twist, but they seem smart and confident. More power to them.” Turns out today a small portion of the time was spent rehearsing, and that's when I found out that the Love Story musical is based on a five-minute video that is (as cool you probably already knows) a modern takeoff on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by someone named Taylor Swift. I felt so stupid. My co-leader and I had a good laugh over it. The girls are none the wiser. These little girls are sooooooooo adorable. I forgot how fabulous this age can be. They can't wait to dress up in their pretty dresses for the ball scene.

Vignette No. 3, straight from my journal…
Man, I had to skip camp today for a “self-mandatory’’ teacher training session. Today, the Brownies/maidens created the indoor version of “campfire’’ s’mores and cooked hot dogs. What lousy timing I have!

Vignette No. 4, from you know where…
I am so proud of my little maidens. They knew all the words and dance steps and gestures and wowed the audience of peers and grownups. In the end most wanted to be fair maidens because no one wanted to be Romeo or Juliet. The ring scene was too much to take. As one of the little princesses exclaimed, “I have to marry him? No way!’’ One of the two PAs played Juliet, and the other PA’s little brother, a very brave soul, showed up to do the Romeo honors. The youngest Brownie persisted -- she didn’t want to be a princess or maiden. She had preferred being a tree in the garden where the proposal would take place. She arrived this morning with fresh cut branches from her Grandma’s oak to adorn her 3-feet frame at show time. Another had preferred strumming her guitar and pretending as a traveling musician to serenade the couple in the big proposal scene. The rest lined up as maidens and formed an impressive chorus line.
Improvisation aside, I predict they will all live happily ever after.

The End

The obvious moral of the story is that you, too, can get this corny feeling you used to get as a little girl playing princess. So, if you have spare volunteer hours, please consider giving them to our little Girl Scout sisters? If we all donate time, no girl will be denied. To learn more about volunteering in the Dallas area, visit Girl Scouts of North East Texas at http://www.gsnetx.org/

1 comment:

  1. I love the article! I really missed not getting to be at day camp this summer, but I was off on other Girl Scout adventures. It really does get into your blood doesn't it!!