Monday, July 15, 2013

Circle of Friends

Growing up my closest friend was Kathy.  She and I went to the same daycare and elementary and were good friends, but when we discovered on her seventh birthday that she lived one street over, we became the best of friends.  Between daycare, school and practically living at each others houses, we were close.  So when she started going to Girl Scouts and I didn't... well, I remember being a bit envious.  Oh, I might have made fun of her silly socks and beanie.  But deep down I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to recite pledges, earn badges and have a circle of friends I shared interests with.  But I never did. 

Fast forward to 4-years ago when Justice started school.  One day she gets a letter in her folder about joining a Girl Scout Troop.  Even though I had never been one I wanted her to have a chance to try it out.  After her first meeting she was hooked and if I didn't have new born twins I would have happily volunteered to help out.

During her 3rd grade year, just a few weeks into the first semester, another letter went out asking for parent volunteers.   The troop leader was in desperate need of assistance or the troop would have to close or combine with another one.  Since Justice had already been in the troop for 3-years I didn't want to see that happen, so I volunteered.

*Thank heavens for friends who aren't intimidated by 3-year old twins.  :)

After my paperwork was sent in and background check done we had our first meeting at the house.  It was October, just days before Halloween so we went to the local pumpkin patch and then a nursery to pick up tiny pumpkins.  When we came back to the house each of the girls decorated one they could take home.

Because I've been crafting since I was a kid and collecting everything from specialty scissors, to paint, markers and glue, I had everything we needed to prep and paint them.  I remember calling Tommy and telling him how excited I was to cut out craft paper for work stations and covering tin cans with more of the same as well as raffia and using sugar skull tape to hold it all together.

He teased that this was my calling.  "You've been doing it for our kids so long it was time you shared your excitement with others."  And he was right.  Each Monday was just as fun as the last and Justice's troop soon became My Girl's.  The leader since it's start, April, always referred to them as hers.  I soon figured out why.  Even though it was just a few hours each week you start figuring out their personalities.  Likes, dislikes, what makes them laugh, what makes them sad.  They become extensions of your own family. 

Halloween 2012
A few weeks after our pumpkin patch trip three more girls joined our troop.  We were excited to add to our little group but were curious how they would all bond.  The original 5 go to the same elementary and the new 3 from a differnt one.  I believe it took one meeting and they blended right in.  My table was filling up fast.  :)

From 5 to 8.

A few weeks after that we had one more addition.  We were up to 9 and stayed there for the rest of the school year.  My table sits 8 so each week we pulled out an extra one.  The table was crowded and noisy with talking, laughing and the occasional fussing.  However, the arguing tended to be where the best lessons were learned.  April and I would talk about caring and respecting each other.  Understanding and appreciating or differences and bonding over our similarities.  

Then there were 9!

And they did.  Like a room full of sisters they played, shared, would start to fuss but one of the other girls would try to help them solve their problems.  They were getting it.  Though at times it could be tiring trying to keep 9 grade school girls focused, it was always fun.

Christmas 2012

As our troop grew so did our desire to do more.  April would have the girls come to her house for a sleep over to end the school year and the girls loved it.  We decided this year that since the girls were older and my parents have a camping area, that we'd take advantage and make a trip to their place.  Just two days and one night to earn 4 badges.  We thought it might be a little lofty, but worth a try. 

After our hike on day one.

During our camp out, with so much to do and so little time to do it, there was a moment where the girls started to meltdown.  It was day two, they had had very little sleep and had to come up with a dance routine and perform it to finish up their last badge.  As the girls started to complain about what they had to do I asked them to sit down and answer the questions; "What does Girl Scouts mean to you and what have you learned this past year?"  Some shrugged their shoulders while others gave silly answers.  When I asked them to look at each other and think about what they had shared together they started to take it more seriously.  

I then explained about how much I had desired to be in a troop growing up but that it never happened and this was sort of my chance.  I wanted to see these girls grow up along side each other and face everyday experiences together.  Be it peer pressure, first dances, and maybe one day each others wedding.  And then I mentioned 'the picture'.  The one I saw one day while on Pinterest looking up ideas for our troop.

I did a search on Girl Scouts and Memories.  What I was looking for was fun new ways to earn badges.  What I found was a wedding picture of a bride and her four bridesmaids with their hands interlocking in the traditional friendship circle...and I choked up. 

I started to explain the significance of the picture when one of the girls teared up.  Her dad is currently deployed in Afghanistan and being away from her mom had her a bit homesick.  Without saying a word the girls surrounded her.  Hugging her, telling her everything would be okay and drying her tears.

I didn't say a word as I watched these little girls put in to action what being a Girl Scout meant.  (Mainly because I was too chocked up to speak.)  ;)  April was in the other room getting things ready for lunch and heard the lull in the conversation and came to my rescue.  She finished explaining the importance of friendship and how Girl Scouts allowed girls from all different background to come together and learn how to live and love one another and in the process become better women.

After their dance performance to earn their last badge.

We're now on summer break and won't meet again till September.  If all goes as planned we should have our original 9 and maybe an additional 4 or 5 girls.  I'm excited but a little nervous.  Initially I thought I was just filling a spot and finally had a valid excuse for pulling out the glitter glue.

But a year later I realize that these little girls will one day be women.  And this short moment in time my job is to show them what being a woman means.  How friendships look 10, 20, 30-years later.  And the importance of respecting themselves and others.

My desire for a few hours of justified craft time has now become an opportunity to help guide the lives of these little women... who may one day change the world. 

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely beautiful. You have always had the gift of providing true insight that is everlasting. You are definetly one in a million.


Thanks for takin' the time to read my stuff. :)