WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 86 of 195

Girl Scouts Celebrate 100 Years ALLISON IJAMS SARGENT writer grace Thames is really pumped about going indoor skydiving. This fourth grader and Wellesley native is going to New Hampshire with 22 members of her Girl Scout troop to practice the art of flying. "I thought— uh oh—not every girl is going to want to do this," says Grace's mother and troop leader Patricia Thames, "but they jumped on it. Every girl plans on being there." For those who haven't checked in on the Girl Scouts lately, this plan can sound a bit bewilder- ing, certainly not the image of a complacent troop sitting around earn- ing sewing badges. But this trip is a crystal clear example of what is typical about the Girl Scouts in 2012 and what is not. As the Girl Scouts proudly celebrates its Centennial this year, its image has been evolving to reemphasize its most important com- modity—its girls. Although sending a troop off to jump into a wind tunnel might seem to be a decidedly 21st century activity, somehow, somewhere founder Juliette Gordon Low is cheering. Girl Scouts has always been a fierce advocate for girl empowerment. Its genesis started with 18 members in Savannah, Georgia in 1912 and is now an interna- tional organization with more than 3.7 million members. In spite of society's improvements on gender equity issues, the Girl Scouts remains a powerful ally for girls who struggle to find their voice and confidence in a culture full of mixed messages. "The girls have a lot to handle in today's world," observes Ruth N. Bramson, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. "Girl Scouts are more relevant than ever because it can be so difficult to be a girl." Wellesley and Weston have an active and committed Girl Scout membership. Approximately 610 girls in Wellesley and 187 girls in Weston participate in troop activities, and the breadth of those activities is inspiring. "Let's see, over the years, Troop 3200 has traveled to India, to Switzerland twice, backpacked the Appalachian Trail, done service projects for the Heifer Project, cleaned up trails…" says Pam Grignaffini, a veteran troop leader whose partic- ipants have ranged from sixth to twelfth grade. "They have had experi- ences they wouldn't have gotten any other way." Indeed Girl Scouts encourages girls to "Discover Their World, Connect with Others, Take Action," which is exactly what these local troops do. What has continued to propel the Girl Scout model through the decades is its unfailing confidence that girls are spectacularly capable of making their own plans. In a society where teachers, coaches, and parents rule from on high, Girl Scouts offers its participants a bracing respite from a top-heavy hierarchy. "It's totally girl driven," says Weston resident Carol Rohall who is a troop leader and mother to two Girl Scouts, Ashley and Hailey. "What this means is they are going to decide what to do." Giving the power back to the girls is what matters most to many of the Girl Scouts interviewed for this story. Holly Boland, a current col- lege student and Wellesley resident, was a Girl Scout starting at age 85 summer 2012 | WellesleyWeston Magazine

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