All grown up, Girl Scouts still cheerfully serving others
Monday, May 24, 2010
Posted by: jennifer punch
Retrieved from http://toledoblade.com/article/20100523/ART16/100529890/-1/ART02 by Ann Weber
You can take the girl out of Scouting, but you can't take Scouting out of the girl.
Not even if she's on the far side of 50.
Take the Green Hat Society — a group of grown-up Girl Scouts who can still pitch a tent, bake a pie in a rock-lined hole, turn tin cans into a stove, fold a flag properly, tie a clove hitch knot, mark a trail, and belt out songs they memorized decades ago.
Nor have they forgotten their old Scout laws, including No. 2: "A Girl Scout is loyal.”
"Girl Scouting had such an impact on me ... I really took those laws seriously as a child and then later as an adult, and I think it still affects me now,” said Bonnie Hamic, 71, of Whitehouse, chairman of the board of the local Green Hat Society.
Loyal to each other and to the organization they love, members of the troop that Mrs. Hamic led from 1959 to 1972 formed the Green Hat Society in 2004. It's believed to be the first of several Green Hat groups and individual members across the country. Mrs. Hamic keeps track of them as national registrar and newsletter editor.
"It's kind of a spoof of the Red Hat Society,” said Mrs. Hamic, who is generally credited for starting the Green Hats at a reunion campout with members of her old Troop 280. But while Red Hatters are all about fun and friendship, the "Greenies,” as they call themselves, have a serious side too.
"We grew up when the third law of Girl Scouts was ‘A Girl Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others,'” Mrs. Hamic pointed out, "and somehow we can't just be totally frivolous.”
They're not an official offshoot of the Girl Scouts of the USA, but the mother organization has approved a junior scout badge developed by the Green Hat Society. Girls earn the badge during an weekend at Camp Libbey, near Defiance, by participating in activities such as hiking, tying knots, building a fire, crafting a songbook, and making a camp stove.
"We wanted to pass along the traditions that we felt had influenced our lives,” Mrs. Hamic said. The chapter's most recent Junior Encampment, its fourth, was last weekend for girls from Pemberville, Swanton, Sylvania, and Toledo.
"We want to instill in today's tech-savvy children the skills for surviving without technical support,” added Judy Cremean, 61, of West Toledo, a member of the board of the local chapter.
The Green Hats also make themselves useful by maintaining an acre of land in the Oak Openings region, where their duties include removing invasive plants that threaten the food supply of the rare Karner blue butterfly. They also lend a hand as needed to local Girl Scout troops.
There are purely social activities too — even dutiful girls gotta have fun.
"We're a pretty laid-back group,” Mrs. Hamic said. There's only one requirement to join: Be a Girl Scout 50 or older. And six years after they formed, they're in no rush to write bylaws.
"The only laws we really need are the good old Girl Scout laws,” she said.
For more information about the Green Hat Society, e-mail Bonnie Hamic at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Ann Weber at: email@example.com 419-724-6126.