Monday, January 26

On My Honor

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

The Girl Scouts of America will be selling fewer cookies this year. It was announced that the boxes will be shrunk by about a centimetre but will cost the same as a response to the rising prices of ingredients, most of which have risen 10-40%.

I have really great memories of my time as a Girl Scout. I always hated selling the cookies, but loved eating them with my friends at meetings, or with my mom (straight out of the freezer), or with the girls at Camp Congaree, where I worked for two summers.

When I first saw the article about the GS financial troubles I thought of the jokes people would immediately make and then I thought about lemons. Working at the camp over the summers you develop some strange eating habits – it’s called survival. A box of Lemon Cremes that’s been in the back of the freezer for a couple of days with some industrial strength institutional powdered lemonade over ice – THAT will cool you off and make the chirping, screeching and general whininess of 7-12 year old girls easier to bear.

Those cookies are actually magic, you know. They keep girls off the street and empower them. They impart knowledge and build friendships. They let girls who would never be able to afford a sleep away camp experience the freedom and camaraderie of a week away from it all. They give broke college students summer jobs and teachers extra income. They grant scholarships and passports so that girls can explore the world and their own possibilities. If you think I’m exaggerating please go to the website

Girls Scout cookies gave me late night stomach aches with my best friends while we fought over which New Kid On The Block we would marry. They gave me horseback riding, a faith in myself and two heroes all in one week. They saw me through many late night readings of Shakespeare. When Stone died I was eating Thin Mints while I cried, glued to the TV. When I needed money for a trip to Scotland to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival they gave me a summer job where I could carry on a legacy and become a hero. They took me white water rafting and turned a girl from New Zealand into my twin.

So even though the boxes will be smaller the power is undiminished. Buy a cookie. No matter what we told the girls who still would not be quiet at one a.m. they are NOT made out of real girls, but many real girls have been made from those cookies.
* I wrote this and then couldn't get this song out of my here you go, one of my favorite super cheesy campsongs:

Chorus :
On my honor, I will try.
There's a duty to be done and I say aye.
There's a reason to be here for a reason above.
My honor is to try and my duty is to love.

People don't need to know my name.
If I've done any harm, then I'm to blame.
If I've helped someone, then I've helped me.
And I've opened up my eyes to see.


I've tucked away a song or two.
If you're feeling low, there's one for you.
If you need a friend, then I will come.
And there's many mmore where I come from.


Friendship is the strangest thing
if you keep it to yourself, no reward will bring
but you gave it away, you gave it to me
and from now on great friends we'll be


Come with me where the fire burns bright,
We can even see better by the candle's light.
And we'll find moremeaning in a campfire's glod,
Than we've ever found in a year or so.


We've a promise to always keep.
And to pray "Softley Falls" before we sleep.
We are Girl Scouts together and when we're gone,
We'll still be trying and singing this song.

People have called me naive. They have asked me how I can be so educated and still have rose colored glasses on; how I can get so angry and still be so hopeful. Well - these are some of the things I was taught as a child. Songs like On My Honor and things like the Girl Scout Law were taught to me by young women who were cool, sure of themselves and their power. They showed me that I was cool, that I was powerful and that service was cool and could be powerful as well.

It might be strange to have all of these feelings brought up by an article about cookies but it's the little things, I guess, that do it to me. In this case I started thinking about the box of Lemon Cremes in my freezer at home and ended up thinking about the amazing women and girls I've me through scouting - and how they changed my life


Big Man said...

I didn't realize the cookies were so important. I haven't purchased a box in years, partially because Girl Scouts don't make the rounds in my neighborhood.

Also, I don't think you're naive. I think you work hard to see good in life, and then you put your faith into action by doing good.

There is no better way to live.

Susan said...

I am now singing:

"Make new friends
but keep the olddd
one is silver
and the other's gold"

For anyone who doesn't want to buy the cookies because of "diet" you can do a "Gift of Caring" where you buy cookies then they're donated to a local cause that the troop picks. That way it's also giving those less fortunate the delight of cookies too.

I could get into how the thought of cookies sends me into fits from last year...but I would love to chow down on some sammoas right now.

Deacon Blue said...

I live for the times when the Girl Scouts set up tables at the nearby gas stations and grocery stores...the Caramel Delites (formerly Samoans) are a must for me whenever they're available and I have some money.

Wife prefers the Thin Mints.

But I'll keep her around anyway...

His Sinfulness said...

Alas, the cookies are not vegan. Haven't eaten one in quite a while.

I recall, with much less fondness, my scouting experience. I wish the Boy Scouts had been as great for me as the Girls Scouts were for you!

As for your naiveté, I agree with Big Man. Keep fighting the good fight!

slag said...

I love the Thin Mints! And if they avoided hydrogenation, I would definitely be buying. Nonetheless, whenever we encounter the Girl Scouts selling non-hydrogenated stuff, we definitely try to help out. The Boy Scouts not so much (sorry, boys).

Gye Greene said...

I was a Boy Scout (for a while), and always thought it was a harder job for us: the Girl Scouts sold cookies; **we** sold stinkin' raffle tickets. (Although, occasionally: candy bars.)

Campfire Girls had it a little harder: I never did like those mints as much. I usually just bought a box and left them in the breakroom for co-workers.


Anonymous said...

I googled the lyrics because I couldn't remember them all, and your post came up.

I'm with you - in a jaded world, I still try to remember honor, and duty, and service, and hope, and I credit that in no small part to my time in the Girl Scouts. Endless hours watching endless fires, singing in the rain, the glorious woods in the morning, singing songs learned by heart, taps at the end of the day.