SERGENT: This interview
is taking place on October 15, 1982. I am Marcia Sergent and I am interviewing
Miss Georgie Harris, who is also known as Buck Harris. Buck, where were
was born in Franklin, Virginia, September 30,1907.
SERGENT: How long
have you been in the Norfolk area?
came to Norfolk in March, 1934, from Southhampton School system. I was
teaching in Cortland, Virginia, having done camp for about four or five
years with Margaret Rangley, who was then the Executive Director of
the old Norfolk Girl Scout Council. We had gone to college together
and she needed someone who knew how to cut wood and so she recruited
SERGENT: Where did
you go to college?
went to Randolph Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, 1926-1929. I finished
with a degree, an A.B. Degree, in Psychology.
SERGENT: Did you
do a lot of camping at that point, too? Had you always camped?
never did what you might say resident camping-official camping. I camped
on my own in my own woods at home--in my own backyard.
SERGENT: You learned
how to chop wood in your backyard?
right! It was my Mother's favorite way of punishing me--was to split
kindling to make seven fires in the morning at home. So I had pretty
SERGENT: Turns out
the punishment was what you did the rest of your life!
SERGENT: Have you
ever been or are you now married?
SERGENT: Never have
Never had time!
SERGENT: So you don't
have any children.
but I guess maybe I've been responsible for helping raise thousands
of them and enjoyed every minute of it.
SERGENT: What kinds
of organizations have you belonged to?
I was working or now? Because they are entirely different.
Okay. Well, when I was working I was President of Region III's Professional
Group.1 I was Treasurer of the Virginia section of
the American Camping Association; I was Membership Chairman of the Virginia
Council of Social Workers; I was Chairman of Group Work, Recreation
Division of the Council of Social Agencies here in Norfolk. I was a
registered Social Worker and I belonged to the National Association
of Social Workers.
SERGENT: When you
say, `when you were working,' do you mean as a....
a Professional Girl Scout worker and, of course, when I taught, I was
a member of the Virginia Education Association. Gosh! That's been so
long ago, I've sort of forgotten!
SERGENT: What do
you belong to now?
Right now, having been retired since 1972,I'm a member of the National
Audubon Society, Cape Henry Audubon Club, National Wildlife Federation,
the American Association of Retired People, and the Virginia Beach Maritime
Museum. That's an entirely different avenue!
SERGENT: You sound
like you're busy!
SERGENT: With your
belonging to the National Wildlife Federation and all the Audubon societies,
do you have any special hobbies or interests?
name it and I've tried it or I'm doing it, one or the other. I fiddle
around with refinishing furniture,I do all kinds of crafts: jewelry,
counted cross-stitch (making my own designs). You know...photography.
SERGENT: If it's
there you like it?
it's there I like it! I'll show you my workroom. I have a work room
upstairs and one downstairs. I've got one outside.
SERGENT: What do
you do with your things?
them away! Give them away! It's just very interesting sometimes, and
challenging, to go to somebody's house, a friend of mine, and I say,
`Gee! That's a pretty picture!' And they say, `Well, you gave that to
me back in 1940!' And I say, `Oh my heavens! No! Not really!'
SERGENT: When did
you first become interested in Girl Scouts?
Junior year in college. Ann Roos, then a young member of the National
Staff, had been recruited to go into various colleges on a recruitment
program for undergraduates, to try to interest them in professional
scouting. And, as I said later, Margaret Rangley was a schoolmate of
mine and was quite an outstanding Girl Scout in Montgomery, Alabama,
and had invited Ann Roos to come down. Of course, she called on all
of her friends to come take this little training course. It was there
that I first had my introduction to Girl Scouting, through this initial
basic training course, and I guess that was in 1928. And then, of course,
when I went to teach in Cortland, I organized a Girl Scout troop there
and I worked with the girls there for three or four years.
SERGENT: What did
let's see. Basically, the fifth grade. But I did the girls' athletic
program, mainly coaching basketball. And I also did a course in Library
SERGENT: Very diversified!
Was this an elementary school?
you know, in those days there was one school in a little town which
included the primary grades, secondary grades, and high school. So it
was all one school building in one town.
SERGENT: Was the
Girl Scout movement very big at that time? I know it started in the United
States in 1912, didn't it?
and the first Council was organized in Norfolk in 1923. And from then
on it began to grow and grow. Of course, it was during the years of
1938 to 1960 that it grew enormously in this area because of the influx
of military personnel here. We would train people for leadership here
and we served as ambassadors around the world, because the leaders we
trained here would go with their husbands. We had established troops
on Guam, the outposts of Japan, France, Belgium, you know...just all
over! We think we were able through our training here, and our insight
and interest, to bring Girl Scouting to many posts around the world
that otherwise would not have had a Girl Scout opportunity. Because,
let's see....Armed Forces Staff College was established somewhere around
the beginning of the war, around 1942-45. They change classes every
three years, I think, and everytime they changed a class, we gave a
training course. The women were very responsive.
SERGENT: You had
a lot of military wives that were active in the Girl Scouts?
right! And of course, they were in town such a short time, their troops
were basically at the Staff College or on the bases themselves. Then
they would go out and they would take their knowledge and their training
with them. Sometimes they'd get into tight spots and they'd, well....
let's see.....we used to service them through the milk run-- they called
it a milk run. Our planes would come into the base, we would be at the
base with a supply of pins, nooks, and uniforms, and the officers would
take them on back to the next post. It was really a great opportunity.
SERGENT: That's really
nice. I know Girl Scouts is a worldwide movement now. Was it at that time--you're
talking about 1938-1940?
we have always had an international organization as such. In fact, one
of my former professional workers who was serving on the National Board,
was International commissioner: Mrs. W.R. (Jean) Capps. She was old
Princess Anne District Director for about five or six years and did
an outstanding job. She left the Girl Scouts here and went as a Red
Cross worker, I think, to France. There she met her husband and they
were married. She always continued her Girl Scouting no matter where
she was. And she was the Commissioner of Girl Scouts for TOPS, which
was the International Organization for service people on bases around
SERGENT: That's fascinating,
and she was here in this area!
was here! And then one of our former people was training chairman...
she was located in Germany, I think. Then, another one of my Field Directors
joined the National Staff as part of a service team that serviced the
European theatre. We had them all over. Once, a little girl went to
Guam. She wrote back. She said, `I had such a good time at Matoaka.
Matoaka is my dream of camps. It's just ideal. I am working with the
Commandant here at the base in Guam, and he's given me permission to
have a Girl Scout Camp here and I'm writing you to see if it would be
all right if I called it Camp Matoaka.' Now, wasn't that great!
SERGENT: That was
really flattering! When did Camp Matoaka start here in this area?
Matoaka started in 1927 or 1929, I forget which. It was in operation
when I came, therefore, I'm not too sure on the dates.
SERGENT: Was it the
first of the resident camps in this area?
was not the first resident camp that this council sponsored, but it
was the first Council operated camp. Up until that time we had rented
from Richmond and other Councils in Virginia.
SERGENT: You told
me when you became interested in Girl Scouts, why did you become interested?
that's a long story. Because, see, when I was teaching, I came to camp
and I got to know some of these dear women like Mrs. V. Hope Kellam,
Mrs. Herman Aspegren, Mrs. Legh R. Powell, Mrs. Henry Vanos, Mrs. Abner
S. Pope, and Mrs. J.S. Gregory, and we became real good friends. So
it was in 1934, when the Council here was thinking of getting on the
bandwagon with National Organization to form area councils. They wanted
to form an area council which would include Princess Anne County, Norfolk
County, the cities of Portsmouth and Norfolk and Virginia Beach. That
meant, they had to have additional staff. So, some of these delightful
women said, `I know! Let's write Buck and see if she'll come and be
our Field Director!' Well, they did. And I said, `I'm not interested!
I can't be interested! Here it is, you want me to come to work in the
middle of the year--in March. I've got a contract with Southhampton
County Schools and I can't leave my kids in the middle of the year.
Not for a long shot!' And they said, `Oh, please!' I said, `No! And
I dismissed it. Besides, I had an apartment with two other girls and
I couldn't leave them in the middle of the year because finances were
tight in those days. So, they wrote to my Superintendent. And one day,
I looked out of my window and I saw this Mr. Jenkins walking up and
I thought, `Oh my heavens! What in the world is he coming?' And I knew
he was headed right up the steps towards my room. He knocked on the
door and he said, Miss Harris, I'd like to see you a minute.' So I appointed
one of the youngsters to be a monitor and I went out in the hall and
I talked to him. And he said, `They're offering you something that I
think would be extremely interesting and I know you're well qualified
for.' He said, `I'll tell you what you do. You go...you try until next
September and if you don't like it, I'll give you your job back.' I
said, `Mr. Jenkins. I can't let my kids down. I mean, they're depending
on me!' He said, `Okay. I'll go one step further. I'll get the best
girl I know to take your place. And I won't hire her until you have
given your approval and you've seen her operate for a week in your classroom.'
I said, `Well, I don't want to go.' He said, `But I want you to. You
don't want to be a supervisor, you said you don't want to be a supervisor,
and all I can offer you right now is $80 a month for I don't know how
long.' See, I started out at $125 a month. And it was right during the
Depression and the officials came down and said if you want to take
a cut in salary, you can stay with us. If you don't want a cut in salary,
go find another job. It's just that simple! So he said, `And they will
offer you $90 a month with $10 for travel expenses.' So that means $100
a month. Well, against $80 that was a little raise you know. I said,
'Well, I don't want to but let me go home and talk with Brooks and Mary
and see how they feel about it. They were my apartment-mates. So, I
finally decided that I might try it on his recommendation. And I did.
So, in July, I wrote him and I told him that I appreciated what he had
done, and what he had said, and what he had offered. But, if it were
all right with him, I thought maybe I would stay on for a while longer.
Well... and there I was from 1934 and I stayed until 1972.
SERGENT: That's a
A lot of fun! Great challenges!
SERGENT: Your position
then in the movement to begin with was what?
you see, it's hard to explain because terminology changes every third
year. I came in as a Field Captain.2 If I said Field
Captain now, no one would know what I was talking about. So, I don't
know what they call them now, but I started out as Field Captain. And
I was Field Captain for Princess Anne County, for Portsmouth, and, I
guess, Norfolk County. I think that was my assignment. I can't remember
that far back. Then, in 1937, the Executive Director, who was Miss Mabel
White, resigned because she was getting married to Neil Gilchrist and
they wanted an Executive. Well, they came to me and said, `How about
moving up?' I said,`Not on your bottom dollar!' You know, I'm doing
what I like to do. I'm down here with the girls, you know. Forget the
Administration!' They said, `But we have to have an E.D.3!'
So, for a year I did the E.D.'s job but I never accepted the title.
But as time went on, I finally became the E.D. And all the time I was
E.D., I directed the camp.
SERGENT: So you got
to be with the girls.
got to be with the girls.
SERGENT: It wasn't
bless the Council's heart and with a good staff, I was able to operate
and lead a Girl Scout troop from 1934 to 1960, I'll say.
SERGENT: So you had
a troop in addition to the other.
had a troop but I could not have done it without the help and the assistance
of my staff and my Board.4 But, I maintain, you can
not train other people to do a job that you yourself do not have a concept
of what goes into that job. How could I talk about getting a patrol
to function as a patrol if I myself had never worked with a Court of
Honor.5 If I myself had not been there with the girls
and knew what they were thinking; what they would like to do; and how
they operated. So, it was good basic training for me as well as a deep
insight into the fundamentals of what makes a Girl Scout troop click.
And we had a wonderful time! Of course, it was in the days when money
was hard to get and often times right now when I say we operated a troop
on dues of 50 a week, people look at me and say, `you couldn't do it!'
Oh, we went camping in the Fall, we went camping in the Spring, we had
hikes, we had cook-outs, we did community service, we did everything
on our own little troop budget. It's true we sold coat hangers and we
collected newspaper-I think newspaper was about 200 a hundred pounds
or something like that, just a minimum you know. But, we did it! And
we didn't ask parents every week for another $2 or another $3. But things
were cheaper in those days. Membership fees were 500 a year, now, they're
$3...and that sort of thing. So,I mean, there's a difference in the
cost, but there's a relative deep comparison too. And, we had what we
call a uniform closet. It was in the framework of our own troop. Because
girls came into a troop at ten years old and they stayed with you until
they were seventeen. The younger girls looked up to the older girls
for leadership, for guidance, for training, for developing skills and
what have you. And when the younger girls outgrew their uniforms, they
put their uniforms into a closet and they took the older girls' uniforms
that they had outgrown. It was just a nice little cycle of uniform exchange.
So, just one thing after another.
SERGENT: That's a
good idea! During your time with the Girl Scouts were there any developments
that you felt were especially important?
I think we've talked about some of the changes. We grew from a Board
control over the area to a neighborhood basis.6 I mean,
we formed little segments within the Council known as districts and
then neighborhoods, which brought the whole neighborhood together in
a closer unit. Then, there was a breakdown...a stress...in younger girl
activities, intermediate girl activities, and senior girl activities.
I think right now they have Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, and Seniors.7
Well, you know, every year we break down a little bit further and a
little bit further. But anyway, I feel that we lost something when we
broke our age levels down into such small units because, as I said,
in our troop the young ones looked up and learned from the older girls.
But anyway, training has changed, concept of financing has changed,
the Administration seems to have grown to such an extent that it's so
complex now, it's once removed from the girl itself. Of course, I know
we have tax forms and all of those other things that come in that we
weren't bothered with in those days. There was no such thing as W-2
forms and what have you. Life was just simple. It was fun. It was fun
to do things with people and for people. And, I guess, basically, that's
my philosophy of life.
SERGENT: With the
Administration the way it is now, they very seldom have any activities
with the girls. It's all administrative. Do you feel that that's not good,
or it's inevitable, or...?
If you have an organization for the girls, you've got to be down on
the level of the girl. They're not so much interested... well, the same
thing happens to schools. You used to go to one school and there were
all the girls in the neighborhood there, You played with them after
school. You played with them during the summer and that sort of thing.
You knew the people. You had a feeling of belonging. Now, you have these
big get-togethers which sound wonderful on paper, everybody from Timbuktu;
from Newport News, from Williamsburg, from Hampton, from Franklin, from
Virginia Beach, from Norfolk, they all gather and they have these big
bailiwicks. They gather, they sing songs, they play games, they go on
hikes, they exchange ideas, they have many discussions and that sort
of thing, but very few of them leave with a sense of belonging to a
particular group because they disperse. They perhaps will never see
those girls again within the next six months, until they have another
big gathering. And by then, they've changed their hairdos!
SERGENT: Don't recognize
recognize them anyway!
SERGENT: In the developments--the
ones that you've mentioned of more or less. Narrowing down and having
girls that range in age from one to three years difference--did you have
any part in this? Did you play any role in this, either negative or positive?
wouldn't say so. I was so involved in what was happening with the girl
and her own activities that I just sort of followed the pattern that
was handed down from the National Organization or was interpreted by
our own Board people as to our needs and that sort of thing. Now, we
have taken great strides into developing the International program and
our actual participation in the International program as such. Well,
money has gotten a little bit easier to get I guess, the way they travel
to Japan and to England and that sort of thing. But, that is a small
nucleus of girls who get a chance to go. Now, I know, it means involving
those girls who do not go into various projects and patches and programs
and that sort of thing. But, for the money spent and the activities
involved, it seems to me so few people actually benefit, that concerns
me a great deal. Sometimes I wonder if it's leader motivated or girl
SERGENT: That is
a good question. If the girls would choose to do it that way, that only
a few would really benefit.
SERGENT: Have you
noticed any other changes?
there are changes everyday! I mean, there have been so many changes
since I left in 1972, I feel like I don't even belong to the same organization.
I get to a meeting and they say, `Say your Girl Scout Laws.'
8 I start with the old one-two-three you know, behind my back. I
can't even follow the Laws. I can't say the Promise.9
It's, to me, for those who grew up with an organization that had the
keynote of belonging--belonging to an organization that really had the
fundamental basis of the essence of life in it. It's not there anymore.
Now, I shouldn't be saying these things. But anyway, that's the way
I feel about it. We have lost the real sense of belonging. Belonging
to something that was ours. I remember I was giving a Tenderfoot pin10 to a youngster one time and I said, `Ruthie, what does `On my honor'"
mean to you?' Well, she told me all the basic little things that you
know on my honor means that other people can trust me, that I was going
to do what I said I was going to do, and I'm not misquoting and that
sort of thing. Then she hesitated and she reached up and she touched
her Girl Scout pin and she said, `On my honor means that not only other
people can trust me, it means I can trust myself.' Now, somebody had
done a beautiful job in leadership with that youngster in giving the
basic ethical code that Girl Scouting stands for...and I hope continues
to stand for.
SERGENT: Do you think
that the girls who are going into Girl Scouting today are basically the
same as they were when you first started?
I think girls are basically the same by and large, whether they were
born in 1890 or whether they were born in 1982. Their environment is
different. They are more experienced, they are more sophisticated, they
have more opportunities, their knowledge of the world around them is
much more complicated then it was back when, But basically, girls are
girls. They're subject to the same types of fun, they want the same
things from life, and they are subject to the same temptations. I mean,
life is always the same ingredients they're just more complicated, that's
all. And of course, I know our degree of handling these things have
to be modified and have to be increased but, by and large, they are
SERGENT: With so
many more of the women in the labor force now, do you foresee a problem
for the Girl Scouts in obtaining volunteer leaders?
shouldn't be, because the same desire on the part of a good leader,
the same desire is there whether she is working or whether she is not
working. She has the desire to serve. And I think whether working or
not you are always going to find people who want to belong, people who
want to work with girls, people who want to share their abilities and
that sort of thing. They're always going to be there. We're going to
have to look different places for that leadership. We're going to have
to stretch our vision a little broader and reach out into and seek out
the help of the institutions and the offices where these women are working
and find them. I mean, we've taken by and large, the easy way of going
and saying to a lady that pushes a baby carriage down the street on
Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays, `Hey! That's a Girl Scout leader!
She doesn't have anything else to do!' But we fail to do a good recruiting
program in reaching out to where the women are who want to do these
things. And if you have a bill of goods to sell you've got to reach
the client. You can't expect the client to come to you. Not regularly,
anyway. A person likes to be asked. And enjoys being able to serve.
It shouldn't...recruiting volunteers should not be, in fact, I'm amazed
right now. I am volunteering one day a week at Seashore State Park,
working in the Visitor's Center. Soon, when the weather gets a little
colder, we will leave the Visitor's Center and go out on the trails,
police the trails and the campgrounds and that sort of thing. But it's
amazing to me that the people who find...Remember last year when they
said we were going to have to close the State Park unless we find some
volunteers? They made a personal appeal and set a time and a date for
people to come to the Park to register to do that job. And some of those
people worked all summer long, right through the heat, the mosquitos,
and everything else. They're still doing it! Because they love to do
it! I remember one time I went to see a Principal about getting a troop
in his school. He just did not have time to sit down and talk to me.
He was interested in what was going on... on the playground, he was
interested in getting to a teachers' group. And as I left the door I
said, `Well,okay. I might come back to see you again.' And as I left,
I looked over in the cabinet and there was a collection of rocks. I
said, `Oh! Are you interested in rocks?' Honey, he dropped everything
he was doing and talked to me one half an hour on rocks...where he's
been...what kind they were. Didn't have time to talk to me about Girl
Scouts but once I got interested in his rocks then easily I converted
him into Girl Scouting because I told him that he had the greatest opportunity
in the world of creating within the hearts and minds of the youngsters
there in the school an interest in his own hobby. Well, next week we
had a Girl Scout troop going on in his school. You've got to get the
people where their interest is. Now, Girl Scouting has broadened its
base of activities to meet the needs of the modern world. The Handbook
has been revised three or four times, including new fields of interest,
new badgework, new approaches to badges, and that sort of thing, which
is all great. You just can't do the old type of program which fit the
needs of the thirties in a 1980 regime. It has to change. Those changes
are fine, but I hope Girl Scouting will never lose its fundamental principle
of patrol organization and its ethical code. Because, that makes Girl
Scouting unique. Girl Scouting is a neighborhood oriented program, not
a building oriented program. If we have to say anything, it's oriented
in the great out-of-doors within the framework of the neighborhood boundaries.
Learning to be creative.
SERGENT: You've already
touched on some of the ideas you've got for recruiting adults, I'm a little
concerned over the prevalent attitude of, `I don't have time, I work,
I can't do it.'
don't say, `Oh, come meet with the girls, it won't take much of your
time.' Lay the facts on the table. When you do a Girl Scout troop it's
almost like getting involved in church work. It's a twenty-four hour
a day assignment.
SERGENT: It's a commitment,
a real commitment, a deep commitment, and if you don't have it, then
the recruiter should recognize that right away, and go play ball in
another field. Now, in recruiting, sometimes you went in to recruit
a leader and you can almost recognize immediately that that person is
not the leadership qualities that you are looking for. But, she might
be the ideal person for a finance committee or a training committee
or a site-development committee for a camp or something of that sort,
because that's where... all right, change the subject, nail it down
to that particular kind of a situation. A recruiter has to be a person
of many skills. She has to be able to recognize facts, qualities, and
basically an understanding of people. The person's needs that she's
talking to and the person's needs with whom she's going to be working.
SERGENT: It sounds
like the Principal with his rocks. You approach them from what they're
most interested in and where their abilities lie. But that takes time
on the part of a recruiter also.
right. And you can't do it by a telephone call. It's got to be something
one to one basis. It's got to be a real feel.
SERGENT: A heart-to-heart
way of teaching.
heart-to-heart talk. Right! And sometimes it's not always the woman
that has children. Some of the best leaders I've ever seen in my life
are women who have never had children. Maybe they wanted children. Maybe
they needed children. But they have something to give and they have
SERGENT: If you have
a chance to list some of the ideals that you wanted to give to your scouts,
the girls that you worked with, what would they be?
Right. The greatest thing would be self-resourcefulness, understanding
yourself, knowing what you have to give, realizing that you yourself
are one of a group but you yourself have certain abilities. You can't
do it like Susie did it, you've got to do it like you do it. All right,
self- resourcefulness, creativeness, to find beauty and understanding
in God's great universe, whether it is doing something with your hands,
whether creating with the pen, whether creating with the mind, or whether
just taking everyday mundane things and making something that's beautiful
out of it. Creativeness. What bothers me in this day and time is youngsters
don't seem to be able to laugh. To laugh and to have just solid good
fun. That's one thing that I think every Girl Scout troop should do
is to even have a laughing corner where everybody goes and learns to
laugh. Not laugh at but to laugh with. To laugh and to learn. To have
fun! Then, I think you have to step back and look at yourself and say,
`Now, I can do certain things but Susie can do certain things.' You've
got to learn to appreciate the contribution of others to the group.
To give them a chance. To let them be first sometimes and you step aside.
Every dog has its day, you know. So, that's one of the important things.
I remember one day I was doing a troop in an underprivileged neighborhood
and I thought I would never get those youngsters to be able to come
to an opinion without fighting...you know, arguing, bickering. And one
day, I said to one of them, I said, `Why is it that you still come to
the Girl Scout troop?' She said, `You know why I come to the Girl Scout
troop now?' I said, No. But I certainly would like to know!' She said,
`It's the one place I can come where I can get what I want and what
I need and don't have to fight for it.' I said, `Well, we've done something,
you know!' Well, it takes a long time sometimes but you work at it long
enough, it takes place. And I think it all goes back a lot to what Juliet
Low11 said-I don't know which handbook it's in, but
it's in the front of one of the handbooks-it said, `It's not whether
you won or lost, but it's how you played the game.' And I think in every
Girl Scout troop that's the thing that's important, how you played the
game. You played it not for yourself, but for the group as a whole.
Then, I think along in all of this the leader must create a sense of
wonder. What it's all about. You can do it through your study of the
stars. You can do it through the observation of things that grow, birds
that fly, just everything! Did you ever take the little bud of a Tulip
Poplar leaf? There's a big leaf, then there's another little sepal that
you pull down, there's another little leaf, you pull the next one down,
until you can get down to the most minute formation of a leaf. But each
is folded just perfectly. How? Why? When? A sense of wonder in everything
that you see and feel and you taste. It's great!
SERGENT: Is some
cases I guess it would be like opening their eyes to the world.
right. As one youngster said to me one time, she said, `You know-we
were talking about what camping meant to her and that sort of thing-I've
been looking all of my life, just looking, just looking. But I have
just begun to see things. I see design in the twirl of this little vine,
I see design in the way these leaves cluster.' There it is! It's there,
all we have to do is look!
I guess we get too busy.
have to tell you this one. This is a good one. We were out on a hike
one day and I said, 'Want to see something real pretty?' `Yes, ma'am!'
"Okay, I'm going to show you something that very few people see and
you might not see it much longer because it only grows on the north
side of the hill. It's Trailing Arbutus. Now, I want you to kneel down
on your knees and I want you to smell. I want you to look at the tiny
little blossoms and remember what they look like. Remember what they
smell like. But don't say a word.' And they all knelt down and they
smelled and they looked. And as they smelled them, one or two of them
had the most divine smile on their faces and so when they got up I said,
`Hon, what did it smell like?' And she said, `Oh! It smelled just like
my Mommy!' I thought, `My soul! That is the sweetest thing I ever heard
in my whole life!' Cause if you've ever smelled arbutus you know it
has the most divine, the most delicate of odors, and to think that that
youngster had associated that with the love and the tenderness and the
caring of a mother. It was just heart-rending! It really was! One day
we were out and we saw a whole bunch of Lady Slippers. You know, you
don't find Lady Slippers growing all over the fields like Queen Anne's
Lace and Daisies and Dandelions. You have to look for them. But in this
particular cluster there must have been hundreds because it was a nice
pine thicket you know, with pine straw all over the ground. And they
were just having the best time. I mean, the Lady Slippers were. They
were growing in little clumps here and little clumps here and little
clumps here! And one youngster dropped down on her knees and put her
arms around a whole bunch of Lady Slippers and she said, `Oh, Buck!
This looks exactly like little ladies comin' out of church after church
on Sunday. Just talkin' and having such a good time, chatting and gossiping
and telling the news.' You know, that's what happens at a country church.
It doesn't happen in city churches, but in a country church, which this
little girl was a member, they all gather outside and have the best
time. Wonderful things happen when you get a bunch of girls out at a
troop meeting on a trail. They say the most wonderful things.
SERGENT: It's sometimes
amazing how insightful they can be.
you've got to listen. And sometimes you have to listen very very carefully.
SERGENT: Do you think
your philosophy toward the Girl Scouts is different now then it was when
you first started?
My philosophy of living, my philosophy in relation to the Girl Scouts
originally, and my philosophy towards people will always remain the
same. Because, I think definitely it's a philosophy of steadfastness
of faith. Faith that doubt, failure, disappointment, nothing else can
shatter it, it's there. You know it's early morning. You know the sun
is going to come up. There's no question about it... it always has and
it always will. That's a faith! Whether you see it or not, it comes
up. I don't know whether that's a philosophy or not, but it's a good
way to live and along with that you've got to love the next guy. You've
really got to love him! And be able to share with him. Friendships that
are deep and rich and hold against the tide. My philosophy has not changed.
It's a crude one, but it's a steadfast one.
SERGENT: How would
you like to be remembered?
mean I want to build a building or I want to conquer the world?
SERGENT: When somebody
says something about you, how would you like to be remembered?
like to be remembered as a pat on the head to a youngster who needs
encouragement. I'd like to be remembered by a smile to a person that
had been in trouble. Oh, you know, I remember one day, it was Christmas
Eve. I was walking down Granby Street and I was feeling just beautiful!
Beautiful all on the inside. And this dear little lady was sort of trudging
along and I sort of smiled at her and spoke to her. In a few minutes
she came up to me in the store and she said, `Lady, I want to tell you.
That smile that you gave me on the street just a few minutes ago, lifted
my soul and I've been happy ever since.' Okay, That's what I would like
to be remembered for! I'd like to be remembered as a friend, a real
friend, to everybody that my life has touched in some way shape, form,
or fashion. Just be remembered in their hearts. I would like to be remembered
as a person who gives of oneself. And who will live in the hearts of
SERGENT: Well, I
know I'll remember you that way! Thank you very much for your time. I
have enjoyed it!
been great! I like to remember...I like to recall. And as you remember,
and as you recall, there's so many faces, there's so many events, there's
so many times that flash back and you relive, you recall. It's a joy!
Thank you for coming!
Region III's Professional Group: Girl Scout organization whose members
gave operational services to area Councils in Middle Atlantic States.
Field Captain: Current position in Council is Field Executive. Responsible
for helping Service Units carry out Council objectives.
E.D.: Refers to the Executive Director of the Girl Scout Council.
Board: Group of volunteers elected by the Council for a specific term
whose responsibility is
to make policy decisions and set direction for the Council.
Court of Honor: A system of representative democracy. Consists of Patrol
Leaders and the Troop Leader. Represents all the members of the troop
in setting policy and making decisions.
Neighborhood: Geographic, operational unit managed by
selected group of administrative volunteers, now called Service Units.
Originally the Scout program was divided as such: Brownie Scouts, ages
7-10; Intermediate Scouts, ages 10-14; and Senior Scouts, ages 15-18.
The current rankings which became effective around 1963, are Brownies,
ages 6-8; Juniors, ages 9-11; Cadettes, ages 12-14; and Seniors, ages
Girl Scout Laws: Refer to background paper.
Girl Scout Promise: Refer to background
Tenderfoot Pin: Refers to the trefoil Girl Scout pin earned as a Tenderfoot
Scout, the first
rank in the Intermediate Scout program. Now obsolete.
Juliette Low: Founder of the Girl Scout movement in the United States.
See her Obituary from The Virginian-Pilot.
Top of page