Girl Scouts from all over the area, many of whom have been Scouts for more than a half-century, gathered Sunday to celebrate their organization with a tea.
The event entitled “Silver and Gold — Celebrating the Memories, Living the Promise,” took place at the St. Stephen the Martyr Lutheran Church, 4600 Fulton Drive NW,, where Girl Scouts young and old celebrated 100 years of Girl Scouting and 25 years of the Order of the Silver Trefoil, an organization of Scouts who have been registered members for 15 years or more.
Scouting paraphernalia at displays, crafts and, of course, cookies were on hand and so was Juliette Gordon Low — or rather, Priscilla Nemetz of Uniontown, portraying the renowned founder of Girl Scouts. Other former Scouts and Scout leaders also donned Girl Scout uniforms from 1919.
“Her day camps — they were the best day camps ever,” said Beverly Snyder, a Scout leader for two troops whose members attended day camps for Scout Leader Helen Wetzel of Massillon.
Wetzel, who came to the tea with dozens of Scouting patches sewn onto her jacket, has been a member for 57 years. She began as Troop 274’s leader for her daughter, Paula “Kookie” Gurney, when Gurney was a Scout. Gurney, whose jacket also sported dozens of patches she, too, earned, has been a member of Scouting for 58 years.
A Girl Scout member since 1954, Gurney was in Scouting only a year before her troop was left without a leader. Her mother took over, she said.
“Troop 274 (their troop) was the first one to get the 100-mile (hiking) patch from the Boy Scouts,” Helen Wetzel proudly recalled.
Former Scout leader Irene Miller said she and her daughter, Linda Carozza, will get their 45-year pins next month. Miller joined Scouting when her daughter was a Brownie, which now is the second rank for a Girl Scout.
Girls joining at younger ages are called Daisies, and one was on hand at the tea to talk about what she thinks of scouting.
Hayley Child, 6, of Strongsville, said she enjoys Scouting because it means “having fun.”
Sidney Schloenbach, 14, and her sister Victoria Schloenbach, 16, both of North Canton, arrived with their mother, Jane Schloenbach, who served as Troop 521’s leader until it disbanded a few years ago. But the memories of the time they spent together and with their fellow Scouts are precious.
“Girl Scouting is being friendly to others and helping those who need a friend and serving God,” Sidney said.
Her sister said they enjoyed their time in Scouting because, “we are always out doing something. You are never bored. We did a lot of camping, games and hikes … ”
The girls started in Scouts as Daisies, their mother said. She eventually took over as a troop leader.
“What I loved is watching the girls grow and mature. They loved doing the community service and our girls loved going outside,” Jane Schloenbach said. Her troop took frequent camping trips to the Great Trail Girl Scout camp.
She is also a second-generation Girl Scout.
Her mother, Jane Young of Perry Township, who also was at the tea, became a Brownie in 1957, and eventually, a Scout leader.
“I’ll be getting my 55th-year pin this year,” Young said.
Jan Hart of Hartville has been director of the Scouts’ summer day camp in Hartville for more than 30 years. Hart, who is a member of the nationally-chartered Order of the Silver Trefoil, pointed out that it is the last day camp in the area.
This year’s camp will run from Aug. 6 to 10 in Hartville.
For more information about Girl Scouts and the camp, log onto www.gsneo.org, the website for Girl Scouts of North East Ohio.