It is fitting that as I write the Girl Scout birthday blog, our temperatures outdoors are climbing ten degrees after a blustery end to February. With March, spring inches closer and so does the greening of the Pacific NW with new growth coming back for our relatively short growing season. We as a society have battled this raging pandemic for the past year with continued impacts on so many. A year ago, we knew COVID was going to impact us the first week of March but had not yet fully registered the tidal wave of closures coming at us. Our birthday was the first major impact on our movement as we canceled Girlcon 2020 and Sweets Before Supper on 14 March. A week prior, I had gone to a gala at WSU celebrating their nursing school—450 people were packed in the Historic Davenport Ballroom. Hand sanitizer was on the tables but little else warned at what was to come. At that point, Spokane had not recorded a COVID case yet. A year later, we are still in the middle of it. It is my fervent hope that a year from now we just have memories of our lockdowns short of increased precautions, a few masks, and continuing vaccinations. Time will tell.
I write this prelude to emphasize the point that Girl Scouts as a movement will always blossom. The roots Juliette Gordon Low put down 109 years ago are too strong for a winter frost to kill it. World wars, the 1918 pandemic and now the 2020 pandemic will not ground the movement. Last year and this year exemplify that. We made it to Olympia last year for birthday week—the last in-person event for us until the July camps started. This year, we go again virtually and added a new green shoot to Boise where the Idaho Treasurer will join us and the Lieutenant Governor changed her schedule to meet with our Girl Scouts. How refreshing and kind. Our movement is alive. The last couple years our program team have scheduled a plethora of events on every day of Girl Scout Week and this year is no exception with our birthday culminating as our first ever kindness day proclamation on 12 March with a virtual cake cutting. First-year staff member and Gold Girl Scout Katie, has added new wrinkles and fresh ideas that are exciting to watch!
What I so appreciate about Girl Scouts is our growth is not based on old-growth but it is strong and vibrant new growth just like the blooms on our trees soon to appear. Juliette remains the inspiration but our new volunteer Juliettes add a strength and spirit all their own! I logged into our leader boot camp recently for cookie sales and I was blown away to see so many long-time members participating on a Saturday to pass on their wisdom to new cookie troop leaders. Another section of the garden that is so strong for us is the lifetime members. We had a second call with them and the laughter and fond recollections of past cookie seasons add more energy to our growth. They are the foundation of the belief in our movement that powers us forward. The final part of our spring growth is a dynamism that is hard to put into words. To me, I think of the sprout coming out of the soil that is under a rock. As it reaches for the sunlight, it finds a way and eventually is strong enough to move the rock out of the way. As Dr. Malcolm in the original Jurassic Park exclaims: “Life always finds a way.” That is what our volunteers do. Our World Thinking Day this year happened in a variety of thoughtful and safe ways. The final one just took my breath away when Kennewick troops 5300, 2036, and 1915 celebrated World Thinking Day and made pinwheels for peace as part of the peace-building activities this year of TriCities—collectively, these great troops put pinwheels of peace on a road for all to see. That took Thinking Day to the next level where our internal event went external promoting peace. That is our strong volunteers on their own reaching for the sunlight.
So, for this 109th birthday, we celebrate growth, hope, and a promise of a green tomorrow, full of new growth. Powered by Juliette’s spirit, but living on in the shoots of our amazing volunteers and lifetime members, our garden of eastern Washington and northern Idaho has survived the winter of our pandemic and promises to grow for Girls! Happy 109th birthday Council! WE ARE A COUNCIL WHERE GIRLS GROW STRONG!