I had a few special privileges when I was growing up. Being in a Brownie pack was one. That sounds strange when I think of a brownie, now, as a sweet and gooey baked desert. Anyway, I obviously wasn’t that kind of brownie.
I don’t think I had a uniform right off, so I would don my chocolate-brown clothing and go to an evening meeting once in a while to learn about some of the friendly sides of nature and life. This fit well with me, since, as I’ve mentioned before, I was inquisitive and loved nature. Brownies have camp outs, learn crafts and games. Stories were told about everything from owls to good deeds. We also got the opportunity to go out selling cookies and such things to raise money for good causes.
After you are a Brownie, you can enter Girl Guides. I remember earning badges for new things I accomplished. That was where I got my first knowledge of how to build a proper fire, do up a bedroll, put up a tent, and even how to fry eggs.
Frying eggs turned out to be the hardest. I practiced a little at home, but still wasn’t very good. I had to go to a neighbors’ to prove myself, so I could get a cooking badge. I was really nervous in a stranger’s house to begin with, and then to cook them a perfect breakfast was a lot of stress. It didn’t go well. I managed to get most of the eggs to the pan without breaking them, but when I had to turn them over to the second side, the yolks melted all over the pan. It was a bad show. The lady was nice about it. She said “Oh well, they’re cooked!” and signed the paper for my badge. I told her I honestly thought I did a terrible job. She was so positive about it though, like as if she had done the same thing before. “Sometimes”, she said, “the pan isn’t clean enough and they stick, or the eggs are too old”. I learned a lot more from her than I had expected I would. She explained, “By looking at a raw egg on a plate, and by determining how high and round the yolk ‘stands’, you can know how fresh it is”. Who would think you could learn that from being a Girl Guide?
I learned some things for badges, but more of the knowledge was just for my personal growth; From being involved in these programs, I know that it takes a community to raise a child, that my parents cared plenty about who I turned out to be, that this world needs service, but moreover, that we need to give service (it’s fundamental to our happiness).
I took for granted that there were others out ‘there’ that saw the value in learning about the natural aspects of life, the wholesome upbringing it invites, and the inspiration and self-esteem it instills in youth.