Former Girl Scouts Gather to Fete 100th

Atria Bay Spring Village hosts a get-together on the date 100 years ago that Juliette Gordon Low started the Girl Scouts in Georgia.

A tea party was held in Barrington on Monday afternoon, March 12, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts on the date it was founded in 1912. And plenty of former Girl Scouts and Girl Scout leaders came to celebrate.

The host was Atria Bay Spring Village on Bay Spring Avenue. Residents and guests sipped on tea and ate cookies – including sugar cookies made from the original Girl Scout recipe.

Vintage memorabilia and uniforms borrowed from Girl Scouts of RI and several photos from the Barrington Preservation Society were on display. Girls from Troop 426 sang some Scout tunes. Town Councilor Bill Dewitt, a member of the board of Girls Scouts of RI, stopped by.

“I found that I have a bunch of former Girl Scouts and Leaders living at Bay Spring,” said Heather Tompkins, Atria Bay Spring’s activities director. “Ladies in their 70s, 80s, 90s. I wanted to invite other former Scouts and leaders to come and reminisce about their Scouting days.”

Reminisce they did. It was often difficult to get them to obey the Girl Scouts’ three-finger salute to get silence.

Rosalind Colley was a Girl Scout in Barrington for about 10 years.

“We were the Mariner Scouts,” Colley said. “We did everything nautical. Sailing, swimming, racing.”

One of her fondest memories, she said, was “a week-long windjammer cruise out of Camden, Maine.”

Rae Wyche of Barrington described her years as a Girl Scout and leader as “the biggest part of her life.”

Wyche started a Brownie Troop to get involved. Many years later she was still involved in Scouting.

“The campouts were the best,” she said.

Speaking of campouts, Bernice Ginalski of Barrington remembers one particular campout at Camp Hoffman in West Kingston when she was a leader.

“I took some girls to camp that summer,” she said, laughing as she talks. “A racket starts in the middle of the night. The girls were playing ‘Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.’  I don’t think we ever got them to quiet down.”

Carol Northrup was a Girl Scout in New Jersey and a leader in Riverside after she moved to Rhode Island. Her three daughters were Scouts in the Riverside troop.

“It was always just lots of fun,” Northrup said. “I still remember making angels out of Readers Digest magazines. And I still see some of my former girls. They still remember me.”

Gloria Marshall was an assistant Girl Scout leader in Valley Falls. Her fondest memory: Making s’mores, and eating them, too, of course.

There were no s’mores in sight on Monday at Atria Bay Spring Village. But there were plenty of Girl Scout cookies to go along with the tea.

See a timeline of Girl Scouts in Rhode Island by clicking here.


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