Today, Guider Karen shares an awesome story about her experience at Girl Scout’s recent Rock the Mall event. What story could you share with GirlGuidesCANblog? We’d love to hear your idea! And don’t forget to join in the conversations on our Facebook page or on Twitter!
My best friend Marg and I both grew up in Chateauguay, Quebec where we were in Brownies and Guides. As time went on, we both moved to new cities and started families. We have remained friends despite the distance and the differences in our lives. I now live in Toronto and Marg lives in New Jersey.
The one thing we both have in common is our love of Guiding. I became a Guide leader in 2004 and Marg became a Scouter after her daughter Julia joined Brownies. We take turns visiting each other and make a point of exchanging cookies. I absolutely love the Girl Scout Lemonades and Marg misses our Classics. This year, Marg realized that my planned visit coincided with the Rock the Mall 100thAnniversary of Girl Scouts celebration in Washington DC. I immediately jumped at the chance for my newly minted Spark Claire and me to join Marg and Julia there. So after an eleven hour car trip with a five-year old and a four-month old baby, we all hopped into the van early the next morning to head to Washington. Following the organizers’ advice, we parked at the Metro station and took the train into the city.
The Metro was crowded with excited girls and women of all ages, each sporting a Rock the Mall t-shirt. Many of the girls used tie-dye, ribbons and beads to put their own stamp on the shirts. Marg and I accessorized our shirts with GGC camp hats, which sparked conversation.
The streets of Washington were streaming with Girl Scouts. The excitement built the closer we got to the mall area where there was a huge stage set up, with TV screens so we could all see what was happening and tents with everything from vintage uniforms to first aid. There were loads of port-a-potties sporting brightly coloured signs that read “Be a Sister Scout, if the toilet paper is low or runs out, tape this sign on the front of the door, so the porta-potty porter can get some more.” The program was designed as a sing-a-long and featured campfire favourites along with performances from various artists. There were 200 000 girls and women (and a few dads, too) cheerfully trading SWAPS, advice and stories in the 33 degrees Celcius heat. I met Girl Scouts from Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania, all of whom were excited to meet a Guider from Canada. We chatted about the differences in our movements but what struck me most were the similarities. The music wove through our conversations but when “On My Honor” began everyone stopped and started to sing.
I tend to get caught up in the weekly grind of meeting planning and paperwork, and do not reflect of the vast sisterhood we belong to often enough. Standing at the base of the Washington Monument looking over the sea of Girl Scouts I was amazed at how much I felt at home. As the song says, there’s not much danger of finding you’re a stranger when you are with your sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
By guest blogger Karen Cross. Karen has been a Guider since 2004 with the 146 Toronto Guides and is now also a Community Guider in Community 18 in Ontario. She was a member of the 13th Chateauguay Guide Company when I was a girl.