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Girl Scouts delve into founding’s history in Savannah

MADISON – Realizing “a dream,” Girl Scout Troop 10708 from Madison “took a mecca-like trip to Savannah,” birthplace of founder Juliette Gordon Low and the cradle in 111-plus years ago for the Girl Scouts organization.

Troop Leader Beth Crocker remembers those feelings from visiting as a 12-year-old with her Girl Scout troop.

Madison Girl Scouts who visited Savannah are Discovery Middle School eighth-graders Katie Crocker, Lyla Mackrell and Sarah Rydbom; Liberty Middle School eighth-graders Brooklyn Colquett, Anna Dasher, Elizabeth Litavec, Maribeth Williams and Natalie Zesinger; and Bob Jones High School freshman Katelyn Preus, along with six Scout mothers.

“Juliette Low’s birthplace was beautiful. The girls were impressed with so many original pieces of furniture and wall-hangings,” Beth said. “The girls learned that Juliette was born in the home dubbed ‘the birthplace’ but actually grew up in the Low house across the street.”

The original structure was built in 1831 as a Federal-style home built of brick covered with stucco. The house stands at the corner of Bull and Oglethorpe avenues, one of Savannah’s prime intersections.

For the Girl Scout movement’s expansion, Low was forced to sell her precious string of pearls. Girl Scout Katie Crocker said she had not understood how incredible the Girl Scouts organization was in 1912 and definitely had taken it for granted. Katie now has a new respect for “all things Girl Scout.”

For example, people didn’t accept girls who climbed trees, hiked and camped. Girls were expected to wear dresses and work on needlepoint.

The Madison girls took a bike tour around the city, learned historical facts and how Savannah was founded. “Our tour guide focused on influential women who helped create the city,” Beth said.

They also visited Tybee Island and attended a class at the marine center. “We toured Scouting’s birthplace and first headquarters. Forsyth Park’s playground was their absolute favorite. We also geocached downtown,” Beth said. They squeezed in outlet shopping and browsing River Street shops.

Before the trip, most Scout mothers considered Girl Scouts “just a cute, little fun group for girls,” Beth said. “After immersing ourselves in all things GS, we actually felt part of the movement. Participants, not just observers.”

“None of us will forget this Savannah trip. I truly believe because we took this trip, my 10 girls are more committed to our troop than ever,” Beth said.

For recruitment this fall, a registration table about joining a troop will be available at all Open Houses for Madison’s elementary schools and at Liberty and Discovery middle schools.

An open Recruitment Night at Asbury Church’s gym on Aug. 13 will run from 3 to 5 p.m. Local troops will host activities for the girls while leaders will talk to parents.

“Girl Scouts isn’t just snacks and crafts. Over the last eight years, my troop has attended cybersecurity classes three times at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. We’ve been whitewater rafting on the Ocoee and taken two rock-climbing classes at High Point. At Camp Trico every year, girls do archery, canoeing, hatchet-throwing and all cooking,” Beth said.

“Jean Downs’ troop is a few years ahead of us and has hiked at the Grand Canyon and taken classes for self-defense and car maintenance,” Beth said. “I’m very proud to be a Girl Scout leader. When I found out I was having a little girl, (Girl Scouts) was the first thing I thought of.”

For more information about Girl Scouts, email betty82402@gmail.com or visit juliettegordonlowbirthplace.org.

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