When I was in elementary school my mother led a Girl Scout troop. We had the most awesome Girl Scout troop ever. We went on camping trips where it always rained. We took hikes on islands you can only get to by ferry where wild horses roam free. We made up songs to sell Girl Scout cookies, and we sold them at the grocery store like superstars. We created our own uniforms, we didn’t wear the annoying socks or ugly skirts or shorts. We did make the concession of wearing the vest or sash, but that was only to show off the badges we earned.
And our group of girls was amazing. We still are amazing, actually. I have kept up with a few of the women who used to be part of our troop, and they are kicking ass and taking names thriving brilliantly at everything they do. If Girl Scouts is supposed to prepare us to be leaders in the world, we succeeded. Not that we all are presidents of the most powerful corporation in our areas, no, we are good at what we do, and we have found ways to lead and serve in our own unique ways.
I was proudly the most odd child in our group, as I have been in most of my other social situations… ever. But that did not deter the girls around me from being good friends to me. The weirder I got, the bigger their grace became. It was one of the best gifts that I could have ever received from a group of girls growing up. I’m sure that we all claimed our own form of misfitery, who completely fits in at age ten anyway?
When we moved the summer after I turned twelve, I tried to get connected to another girl scout troop, but the leaders were lackluster as best, and only talked about money. I only remember doing one badge project with them over the six months I stuck it out in going with them. I thank my parents for realizing that I didn’t want to keep going, and not making me do so.
I missed my friends. I missed the girls that I could be comfortable with. I missed the space where I could relax and know that being myself was acceptable. I never stopped being myself, but I didn’t bond with any of the girls at the new troop. I don’t remember any of their names.
But with my good troop I remember watching others make s’mores around a campfire and being part of something bigger than myself. I remember watching the stars on one of the rare nights when it wasn’t raining and seeing huge swaths of light in the sky as I was surrounded by girls who accepted me for who I was. Thanks girls, for being shining points of light in my world.