Thursday, March 29, 2012

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout: E.K. Butler Edition

As the Girl Scouts celebrated 100 years Monday, March 12, 94-year-old Elizabeth Butler celebrated having been there for nearly all of them.

The Bellingham Herald, WA, reports that Lifetime Girl Scout Butler, who goes by E.K., joined the Girl Scouts in 1925 when she was 8 and has been involved with the organization for most of her life since then. For the centennial Monday, she shared stories and memorabilia with patients and staff at the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Adult Day Health Center - all while wearing her old Scout uniform from the 1920s.

"They were so baggy," she said of the uniform, a green dress with long sleeves covered in badges and a cornflower blue scarf. "I love looking at these badges, but I can't remember what they all are now."

What she does remember are the good times: cooking for 100 girls at summer camps, singing songs around the campfire and planting maple trees next door to the New Jersey house she grew up in to earn one of her many badges. Years later, she visited her hometown and saw that the trees were still there, taller than her old three-story house.

"I have all kinds of very good memories from the Girl Scouts," she told the audience. "Mostly the people I was with and the activities we did."

Butler's daughter, Wendy Henerlau, is a former Girl Scout herself and was happy to see her mom sharing stories and showing off her memorabilia: a jacket covered in patches, an elegant wooden fork that Butler whittled for a project in high school and patterned ties from every time that Butler worked at summer and weekend camps.

"It's nice because it's such a meaningful part of her life," Henerlau said. "At 94, it's nice that she can still do this. It's a testament to where she's at right now."

Butler is part of four generations of Girl Scouts: her mother, daughters and granddaughters were all Scouts or Scout leaders.

Girl Scouts of the USA has an Alumnae Online Community. A fantastic resource for all Girl Scout Alumnae - it serves as a site for Alumnae to reconnect with and to rediscover Girl Scouting. Definitely check it out!