Girl Scout troop goes the distance
March 30, 2011 - As the world prepared for the end of the millennium, Clarkston Girl Scouts Troop 10844 took to the field.
|After 13 years of supporting the Girl Scouts of Troop 10844, troop leader Pat Mueller gets a lift from scouts, standing from left, Rachel Glomski, Katerina Gawronski, Caitlin Harvey, Erin Mueller, Robin Weaver, Holly Drankhan, and Maggie Schroeder, and, kneeling from left, Ali Kitchen, Louise Haven, and Taylor Tomei. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)|
Now Senior Girl Scouts set to graduate from high school, the troop is preparing to disband.
"It's so sad," said scout Louise Haven, Clarkston High School senior.
"I'd love a reunion, I'd love that so much," said CHS senior Maggie Schroeder.
"We all grew up together," agreed Holly Drankhan, Clarkston High. "We have to stay in touch."
Girl Scouting, especially as senior scouts, offered unique experiences, said Clarkston high schooler Ali Kitchen.
"It was something special," Kitchen said.
"It's cool to say we've done something that long," Drankhan said.
The 13 scouts in the troop also includes Clarkston high schoolers Katerina Gawronski, Rachel Glomski, Caitlin Harvey, Erin Mueller, Katie Penvoie, Katelyn Pesola, Taylor Tomei, Robin Weaver, and Megan Wright, and Notre Dame Prep senior Robin Weaver.
"That's the largest group of senior scouts in the 13 years I've been around," said troop leader Pat Mueller. "Many of the girls have been in the troop since they were 5 years old."
The scouts said they stuck with it for the memorable activities and the fun.
"It's where everyone knew each other – it was fun coming over, and the food was good," said Glomski, who earned her Gold Award, Girl Scouts' highest award, with a renovation project for Clarkston Village Players.
"I remember our Bridging Ceremony from Daisy to Brownie," said Erin. "As Brownies, I remember helping the Humane Society – we wore animal ears, and dressed up as cats and dogs at Bailey Lake Elementary."
Sleepovers were fun – a memorable one was when the troop spent the night at Sea World in Ohio, Harvey said.
"We slept in same room as a big shark tank," she said.
Summer meant camping, at day camp at Independence Oaks County Park as well as overnight at Camp O'Fair Winds in Lapeer.
"I remember Camp O'Fair Winds, the cabins, eating mac and cheese, dancing to Aaron Carter," Kitchen said. "It was such a bonding experience."
"It was so much fun as a day camper – playing games, walking to the beach, learning Girl Scout songs," Harvey said.
As they got older, they took on responsibilities at day camp to help with and lead activities as program assistants and junior leaders.
"I remember watching the older girls and how they had made such good friends," Schroeder said. "It made me want to stay in it."
"I looked up to the P.A.s and J.L.s," Erin said. "I thought, when I get to that stage, it's going to be so cool, and it was."
As camp counselors, they took on camp names – sort of like code names.
"We tried to keep them secret – the kids liked trying to find out our real names," said Kitchen, whose camp name was "Tic Tac."
High school meant more time to schoolwork and extracurricular activities.
"It became harder to find time to earn badges," said Erin, "Bloo."
"It was harder to do stuff as we got busier," said Haven, who had two camp names, "Lady Bug" and "Skittles."
"It got more embarrasing to say, 'no, I can't go to the party. I have to go to Girl Scouts,'" said Schroeder, "Schatzi." "But Girl Scouting came first."
Troop meetings were a chance to get together, Erin said.
"We're best friends, but we never had any classes together," she said. "This was the only time we'd get together."
"We'd never see each other except here," Schroeder said.
"It was a great way to stay in touch with friends in Clarkston," said Weaver, "Gambit."
They took self defense classes, pulled a plane as a fund raiser in ninth grade – "that was intense," Haven said – and earned Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards with projects around the community.
Pat has mixed emotions about seeing the troop disband.
"It's a relief – no more paperwork, but it's sad to see them go away to college," she said. "We started when the girls were in kindergarten – it was like having a bunch of adopted girls. It's been fun."
"She was like a second mother," Haven agreed.
Troop membership changed over the years, from as few as eight scouts up to 13. She knew the girls were more likely to stay with it if she stayed as leader.
"I was in Girl Scouting for two years – the leader left and we disbanded," she said. "As long as I wanted it to stay active, I kept going. I didn't want to disappoint the girls."
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.