New Hampshire: Swift Water To Be Proud Of

Practically everyone recognizes this organization from the cookies their members  sell

Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, and others

Even better than the cookies, however, is the purpose of this wonderful group, and the results they produce. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

If you have a daughter, or granddaughter from age 5 and up, then there are projects and programs available for them. Get them involved!

From a fledgling group in 1958, to its more than 20,000 girls and adults throughout New Hampshire and eastern Vermont,  the Girl Scouts of Swift Water Council has dramatically thrived. As one of 313 councils chartered by the Girl Scouts of the USA, it is a member of the largest voluntary organization for girls in the world.

As a former Brownie, and later Cadet Girl Scout in the 1960s, I have fond memories of the camaraderie, projects, and the camping trips.  I am thankful for the women who volunteered their time to make it all possible.

I am positive that one particular camping trip prepared me for a much longer trip that occurred about ten years later. At that later time I camped out for three months, traveling across Canada and down into the United States, following the Rocky Mountains, in a two-person tent. I could not have survived, or at least not survived happily, if not for my experiences as a Cadet Girl Scout.

While a Girl Scout camping at Camp Kettleford, everything possible that could go wrong, did just that.  It rained (or should I say the sky opened up and unleashed a deluge).  The main support pole of the tent where I was sleeping the first night broke , resulting in the canvas top and sides falling on top of us. Frantic screams and panic of course ensued, and we were each reassigned to a new tent.  It was a muddy night with dreams of barely lit flashlights and buzzing mosquitoes.

Breakfast the next morning was novel.  Since I normally only drank coffee in the morning (even in those early teen years), the overcooked eggs, spam, and co-mingled bodies of black flies, were temptingly delicious.  The next night, we slept on the floor of the camp’s cabin. Although uncomfortable, the sleeping space was at least dry, and the fireplace provided a warm, secure glow.  Too bad the cabin didn’t have a bathroom. If you had a weak bladder that couldn’t wait until daybreak, you hunted for the latrines, hoping you did not stumble in, and that the toilet paper was still there and not too soggy.  Thank you Mom for packing a few extra tissues in my pocket, insisting that I might need them.

The Girl Scout leaders never lost their cool, and were reassuringly kind. They were also very smart.  We learned how to read a map (which came in very handy on my later trip), use a compass, make a wood cook fire (even in the rain), how to tell ghost stories around the campfire (this was the beginning of my love of tall tales), splint a leg or arm, dig a latrine, but most of all, how to overcome adversity with a smile.

If you have Girl or Boy Scout camp memories, feel free to share.


Girl Scout History

This entry was posted in Current Events, History, Humor, New Hampshire Women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply