Fifty Years of Girl Scouting


Boo Law’s Fifty Five Years of Scouting
Boo Law, Bethesda, MD is a guest blogger for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital

My scouting experience initially followed my daughters’ progression through Girl Scouting and has continued ever since. My entire Scouting career has been devoted to working with the kids. I took all of the training offered by the Girl Scout Council. I worked with the Brownie Troop; served as a Junior Leader, a Cadet Leader and then a Senior Scout Advisor.

In 1957 our oldest daughter, Mona, opened the magical door of scouting for me when she joined a Brownie Troop. I volunteered as the cookie chairman and much later (while caring for Husband at home for 11 years) I was the Cookie Depot. I jumped into scouting head first, up to my ankles!

Our other daughter, Jeanne, joined a Brownie troop and our son, John, was an Adventure Guide and later a Boy Scout.  I have had the Pleasure of working with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Explorers (Co-ed division of the Boy Scouts).

As cadets we camped outside of the USA in Fundy National Park, Canada.  Our cadet Troop was featured on Canadian National TV for a 30 minute program on Girl Scouting.

We camped in every Girl Scout camp in the Council and in State Parks.  We back-packed and hiked on the Appalachian Trail, the C & O canal tow path and on Sugar Loaf Mountain. The girls were planning a trip to Our Chalet and these outings, in part, served as training for hiking the Swiss Alps. What a thrill the first trip to Our Chalet in Adelboden, Switzerland. For five of the sixteen girls, this was the first time they had flown on a plane.  Other treasured highlights included having High Tea with Lady Baden Powell at Hampton Court in London; and when I chaired a Girl Scout Nation event called “Petticoats, Pot and Politics”(1972) we were guests at the White House and aboard Air Force One.  I also served as Camp Nurse at Camp Bay Breeze and Brighton Woods.

The Senior Troop #1978 got so good at planning and carrying out events and trips that the parents were comfortable letting us travel to Canada, and Europe many times.

For many summers the Mariners (one of the troop’s patrols) sailed the Brilliant, a 62 foot schooner, out of Mystic, Connecticut for a week at a time.  The Mariners also spent many summers as tour guides aboard “old Barney” docked at St. Michaels, Maryland.  Each year for two weeks we gave tours, polished the brass, and swabbed the decks and for fun jumped overboard.

The troop sailed the Greek Islands with Captain Jenis Gea Vinh Ikus or “Captain John” and his nephew Bobbi.

The Troop went on many canoe trips in the area on various rivers, and many a time we were shooting the rapids on the Cacapon River.  To learn about the local rivers I joined the Canoe Cruisers Association who provided great information on the local rivers. We also joined the Sea Scout Explorers for their Regattas.  We explored caves in Maryland and Virginia with a local Boy Scout troops and we threw in a few hay rides just for fun.

For five years the troop served as the Host Committee, which I chaired (1971-75), for the National Explorer Presidents Congress.  This week-long annual event in Washington D.C. was attended by over 2,000 Explorer Scouts.

I subscribed to “The Council Fire”, (The Journal of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) published in London in the 1960s through the 1990s. It was a good incentive for practicing “When you think you are looking wide, look wider still”.

As Troop #1978 we traveled a lot.  Anytime we went anywhere our first choices for lodging (besides camping) were youth hostels. We visited Canada, and Switzerland (Our Chalet) and other trips included:

Germany:  cruised the Rhine River past the Lorelei Rock (Where legend say singing nymphs loured sailors onto the rocks).

France:  practiced their French at the University in Paris

Greece:  saw the ancient ruins and sailing the Greek Islands etc.

Luxemburg:  met other guides

Denmark:  toured Copenhagen and made friends with other guides

Scotland:  stayed in Fernihirst Castle, with its moat and ghost.

Ireland:  attended a banquet at a castle on the Shannon River.

England:  stayed at “Olave House”, saw the sights of London.

The troop financed “all things we wanted to do” by giving International Dinners at various churches along River Road (Bethesda, MD).  We always left the churches cleaner than we found them, and were often asked to give other dinners at the churches we had visited.The girls wore costumes they made, researched menus, provided the food and drink and put on a little skit. . . Oh, and sold tickets for the dinners (not their favourite task).  All of the dinners had a theme:  There were many Luaus (grass skirts etc.), French, German (Oktoberfest), Scandinavian smorgasbord, Greek and many others.  We put on a Fashion Show and of course we sold large quantities of Girl Scout Cookies and calendars. The girl Treasurer invested the money so it was working while we worked.  The girls were becoming happy, resourceful, sharing and productive women.

I have had the pleasure of participating in programs at all four World Centers, and visiting Lady and Lord Baden-Powell’ home in London and their burial site in Kenya. These are some of the highlights of my, over 38 years, active scouting life.  To tell the whole story would require a small book (well . . . perhaps a large one).

Happy scouting,

Boo, Senior Girl Scout Advisor, Troop #1978

Boo Law, Bethesda, MD is a guest blogger for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital