Tribune Print Share Text

Brooksby Girl Scouts celebrate centennial

Peabody community home to more than 150 Scouts

Created date

May 22nd, 2012

Ethel Leonard vividly remembers the evening of July 20, 1969, in Rowley, Mass. She was co-leading a camping trip of Girl Scouts when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. One of the women got hold of her television that was plugged into her automobile. We sat in a shelter in the pouring rain watching the event unfold, Ethel says. It was nearly midnight when she and the other leaders woke the girls to watch Neil Armstrong plant the American flag on the moon. The Scouts sang the Star Spangled Banner together. It was pretty moving, she says. A Girl Scout from the time she was ten years old, Ethel created a lifetime of experiences as a Scout and later as a troop leader in Dorchester, Mass. Ethel, who now lives at Brooksby, the Erickson Living community in Peabody, Mass., felt it was a given that her community celebrate the Girl Scouts centennial anniversary this year. Ethel worked with fellow Brooksby community members Bonnie Palace and Marjorie Snodgrass to organize a celebration for the many Girl Scouts living at Brooksby. I said, I want to be doing something, says Bonnie, who has been a Girl Scout for 78 years and worked for the organization as director of executive development for 36 years. I ve got green blood, she adds, referencing the brand s color.

Memorable event

The organizers invited nearly 150 women who live at Brooksby and were Girl Scouts to the event and entertained nearly 100 at the party in Brooksby s catering room. Marjorie welcomed guests, and then the group recited the Girl Scout Promise and Law before Bonnie led the room in a sing-a-long of Scout songs. Performer Otie Hairpin impersonated Juliette Gordon Low, who organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga. Today there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts, according to the organization s website. The Brooksby Girl Scouts enjoyed a birthday cake and sugar cookies made from the original Girl Scout cookie recipe while sharing stories and discovering that many had attended the same camps. It was amazing, Ethel says of the event and the response she received from attendees who wanted to thank the organizers.

Lasting values

The event s organizers hope to host future Girl Scout gatherings at Brooksby to celebrate living with the Scout values they hold dear. Bonnie is active in Brooksby groups, including Concerned Citizens, a discussion group focused on politics and current events. Girl Scouting is open to everyone, and I believe in diversity very, very much, she says. When I was looking for a job, I looked to Girl Scouts. Diversity is one of the goals. My middle name is volunteer, says Ethel, who often volunteers at Brooksby. It just impressed upon me the need for an individual to help out in the world to help other people at all times is one of the Girl Scout laws. Of the Brooksby Girl Scout connections, Ethel adds, My goal here at Brooksby is not to let this die but to keep it going.