My informant was the President of the Girl Scouts of America (the Los Angeles chapters) for several years in the 1990s. My mother was a Girl Scout and my informant was her troop leader all throughout her school years. She has many wonderful stories about being my mom’s troop leader.
I sat down with her the other night and asked her if she could share a custom, or ritual that the Girl Scouts have.
Informant: “We had something called a Scouts’ Own. It’s a spiritual, thoughtful ceremony. It can have any kind of theme. I remember one that was very meaningful to me… the idea in girl scouting is that each girl, through all of these things that we do, is to develop leadership… we never told them what to do but they were to be creative. This Scouts’ Own– the challenge for my junior high girls was to put on a Scouts’ Own for all the neighborhood Scouts, the younger girls. Young girls always look up to older ones…They chose the theme of friendship. That was a special one. The Scouts’ Own can happen anywhere…we’ve had them in the forest, in the desert…”
Me: “And what might happen at one? What happened at this particular one?”
Informant: “There is always a point of silence, where when everyone gathers, once they cross the point of silence, they are not to speak. You go in and are shown silently where you are meant to sit and then they begin… They had candles…I can’t remember… they had music and they all shared some important piece of friendship. The children were enthralled by these older girls sharing something important to them. When you are all through, you sing a girl scout song. There are many wonderful songs. Whatever it is, it has to be done thoughtfully. It is very meaningful. A Scouts Own is a very important part of girl scouting.”
I was a Girl Scout, as well, all the way until I was in 9th grade. Being Girl Scouts is always something that has brought the three of us together. We all love to camp and camping skills were one of the things we learned the most about. My informant loves and respects everything that the Girl Scouts hold dear. Since she was President of the region, she is also very knowledgable about practices and has seen many.