This time of year, one of my favorite songs is I’ll Be Home For Christmas; being an Air Force veteran, it just hits home (pun intended) on so many levels.
I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents by the tree
The day itself, Christmas, arising from childhood memories, is an important marker in my life. Being deployed on either Thanksgiving or Christmas in my career, I remember celebrating the special day with my family weeks ahead of time. It just was not the same. The day was just too tied to memories for me not to want to be home for the holidays. Likewise, with Girl Scouts, when Girls or volunteers are involved and memories are recharged, they are home. One of our long-time volunteers Dianne Macduff of Tri-Cities reminds me of this when we meet. She always remembers her time in Girl Scouts that brings smiles. The best part, Dianne works hard to make sure other Girls experience her fondness for Girl Scouts. Dianne helps bring "home" to so many.
That is true of many other long-time volunteers. Sue Asplund of Walla Walla brings her love of Girl Scouts, especially the outdoors, to Girls in her community. Many other long-term volunteers do the same. The holidays are special for many owing to strong family traditions. Girl Scouts also has strong Girl Scout traditions established by Juliette long ago. Connecting Girls to investiture candle lighting ceremonies is meaningful to the Girls but very meaningful to their parents or volunteers who did them long ago when they were a Girl Scout. We all like to come home…it feels comfortable. Dianne always shares with me her meaningful candle ceremony she had in Roundup at Farragut State Park in 1965. The Girl Scout’s north star of candlelight has remained true through the decades. Outdoors, life skills, entrepreneurship and even STEM has been part of the Girl Scout playbook for decades. It creates a familiarity that passes from generation to generation. That nurturing characteristic of familiarity helps long-term volunteers and new Girl recruits feel at home—there is a consistency of experience and outcome.
So this holiday season, I respectfully ask our movement, volunteers and Girl Scouts alike, to feel at home in Girl Scouts. Our “home”, our experience is set to celebrate 110 years next year. That is why you can plan on me to be home for the holidays—home is Girl Scouts. Multiple times a week, I am able to visit with troops doing amazing things, and every activity strengthens my nostalgia and familiarity with the movement. Ultimately, Girl Scouts is a gift for their community. And to use another holiday pun, Girl Scouts' best gift is to bring peace on earth. Girl Scouts bring the temperature down –that is the best byproduct of all—peace.
I remember in the 2001 timeframe a special mission on Christmas eve flying an Air Force jet. It took us 24 hours to get from the desert to the East Coast. We got permission from our HQ to fly a few extra hours on the mission rather than stopping. We made it home on Christmas at 10 am, and I was so overjoyed to be home for the holidays with family. But, I was so tired I fell asleep a few hours later for the rest of Christmas, but in my defense, I fell asleep with a smile. I was home for the holidays. As Girl Scouts, we are home for the holidays whenever we uphold our traditions. It immediately connects us to the first troop of 18 Girls, and the traditions started that golden day, March 12, 1912. Today 50 million alumni are Girl Scouts. They are family. I am elated to be part of this family. I am elated to be home.