Experiences with Girl Scouts

“I love scouting for many reasons. The Promise, Law, Motto, and Slogan are wonderful guidelines to living a ‘good life’. Working in a troop, led by a good leader, can help girls (and boys) to learn to work cooperatively and genuinely care about others, while having opportunities to participate in various service projects. Camping and learning other new skills, such as citizenship and leadership, help to broaden a scout’s experience and make him/her better prepared to be a responsible adult. I treasure the fun I have had and the friends I’ve made through my Girl Scouts experience.” – Eleanor Adams

Eleanor first got involved with Girl Scouts when she was a young girl. Her mother started a troop in 1947 that eventually had over 60 girls. Eleanor was able to join it when she was ten years old and stayed in the troop until she was eighteen years old.

The first troop Eleanor was involved with 1954. Eleanor is in the front row on the far right.

The meetings were held on Thursday evenings at the local church. The meetings included inspection of the girls’ attire and presentation, Promise and Law, business meeting, badge work, games, and singing. They also had annual camping trips to work on their outdoor skills. This is where Eleanor’s love of the outdoors started and continued throughout her life. Eleanor’s love of the outdoors translated to her becoming the leader of Junior Troop 436.

 Junior Troop 436 in 1986. 

Eleanor worked hard to be chosen for the 1960 All-States Wilderness Encampment held in Deschutes National Forest, Oregon. This opportunity consisted of two girls that were selected from each state plus some girls from other countries. When the Girl Scouts arrived at the national forest, they were separated into patrols of nine. The girls were trained and sent into the wilderness with compasses and maps. They carried a week’s supply of food, clothing, and camping supplies on their backs. They were completely on their own in the wilderness; there were no adults with them. The girls made decisions, set up camp, and cooked their meals at night. Eleanor really enjoyed this opportunity because she was able to enjoy nature, make friends, and practice working cooperatively in a challenging group setting. 

Carrying a week’s supplies in Deschutes National Forest, Oregon in 1960.

Please listen to the link below to hear Eleanor tell a story that occurred while she was participating with other Girl Scouts in the 1960 All-States Wilderness Encampment in Deschutes National Forest, Oregon. 

In 1989, Eleanor went to Olave ’89 which was an international encampment for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides held in England. There were 27 countries represented at the international encampment. Eleanor realized that the British girls knew many of the songs that Eleanor loved but many American Girl Scouts did not know these songs. Eleanor wanted to pass on the songs to others. In 1993, she organized a six-week song leadership workshop for the Washington Rock Girl Scout Council (WRGSC) in Westfield, New Jersey. The chorus was started in 1994; it was multi-generational and multi-cultural. Eleanor recalls many fond memories of the chorus. They would get together and vote on songs they would sing and where they would sing them; the chorus sang at retirement homes, veterans’ hospitals, and children’s specialized hospitals. The chorus was able to give to the community through music. Not only did the WRGSC Chorus sing songs, they also went camping each fall so the members could get to know each other. The chorus existed for seven years and over 100 Girl Scouts were involved!

Photo of the Girl Scout chorus at Children’s Specialized Hospital in 2000. Eleanor is the third over from the left in the top row.

Please listen to the link below to hear about the WRGSC Chorus.

Photo of the WRGSC Chorus at the 85 Anniversary of Girl Scouting in Washington, D.C. in 2002. Eleanor is in the very front row on the left.

All photos courtesy of Eleanor Adams.