It may shock everyone to know that I wasn’t always a good looking, smart, assertive, self-propelled, undaunted woman. A long time ago I was a gangly girl from a little town in Wisconsin who wondered if she would ever become well – at the very least smart and assertive. (I was really only good -looking that one year back in the early 80′s.)
I had terrific parents but I also had the Girl Scouts.
Those of you who have heard me speak at events know that I also thank the Girl Scouts and for good reason. They were a life-line for me- a place to be and grow and do and to discover the woman I am now-one piece at a time. And that discovery happened without question or harassment or without anyone ever once saying, “You can’t do that, Kris.”
Last week I bought some Girl Scout cookies after I was done grocery shopping. Three little bright-eyed Brownies handed me my thin mints and in that sweet instant my entire life and the lives of all the girls I worked with, including my own daughter, swirled in front of me like a beautiful movie. I sat in my car and cried for a while as I remembered all those years, all those lives, all that absolute fun and adventure.
I remembered Mrs. Baker who put up with all of us year after year, trip after trip, exploit after exploit, and who never once turned me away when I needed her. I remembered day camp and how I skipped through the trees and quickly discovered that I could be in charge of the world if I wanted. I remembered the day I left Wisconsin and drove across the country to take my first post-college job as a Professional Girl Scout in the middle of Montana. I remembered a thousand campfires, two thousand hikes, and how we didn’t give a crap what the kids in high school said when we all wore our scout uniforms to class. I remembered the little girl from my daughter’s troop when I was the leader who would come find me in the park so I could hold her because he mother never would. I remember the joy I saw in hundreds of tiny eyes over the years as they discovered the same pieces of themselves that I had discovered because of the Girl Scouts. And I especially remember and cherish the relationships, the sweet friends, the women I still love because of the Girl Scouts.
The Girl Scouts are 100 years old this year and I can say, without hesitation, that I am the woman I am because of them. Thank you Juliette Lowe and thank you to all the women who were my leaders and who let me be me. I remain grateful and I will never forget any of you.