Brownie Troop Celebrates Birthday
The Girl Scouts of America celebrates its 108th birthday on March 12. Brownie Troop No. 60071, based in Montgomery, held a party to acknowledge the event that included two craft activities, cupcakes, and learning about the history of the organization. The troop is co-led by Margie Mathis and Beth Kauffman, and assisted by parent volunteer Nichole Eveland. The Troop’s council is Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.
The Brownies are made up of girls in second and third grade. They made two crafts that evening, one being “sit-upons,” a cushion that is meant to be used outdoors. Mathis said that they are a Girl Scout tradition. The girls made them at a craft station led by Eveland and had fun choosing the different patterns and designs.
Mathis led the girls in making “SWAPS” which are small crafts to be exchanged with other Girl Scouts. She said, “The SWAPS the girls made are Juliette Gordon Low hats. The hat represents the hat that she wore as part of her uniform. In almost every picture of her you will see her wearing it.” Kaufmann led a station where she read a book about the history of the Girl Scouts.
The Brownies have been staying busy this year with all sorts of activities and projects. The girls have been hard at work earning badges in the Girl Scout Way, First Aid, Making Friends, Meet my Customers, Home Scientist, My Great Day, Pets, Household Elf, Philanthropist, and Bugs.
Mathis said the Brownies have also reached out into Montgomery and beyond with several community projects. They made “I Spy” jars and donated them to the Ronald McDonald House in Danville. Because Juliette Gordon Low was born on Halloween, they donated a basket of new baby items to Williamsport Hospital that was gifted to the first baby born on Halloween of 2019.
At Christmas they adopted a family in town and donated toys, clothes, and food. They also made a trip to Watsontown Nursing Home to sing Christmas carols and to give the residents cards and cookies. They support Family Promise by making scarves, and by collecting change, hats, and scarves. They went to Footprints of Montgomery and packed food boxes.
However, the ambitious girls don’t only help people, they help animals too. They made dog toys for a Montgomery organization called Canines and Felines. They also have several other projects coming up as well.
Mathis got involved in Girl Scouts seven years ago while living in New York. Her daughter wanted to join a troop but was told there were no troops in the area even though a lot of girls had expressed an interest in joining. She was asked if she would like to become a leader-something she had never considered, but she agreed. A week later, she was officially a Troop leader.
When she moved to Montgomery she became a leader for her daughter’s troop once again. She knew of other girls that wanted to be involved in scouting but they weren’t in the right age category for her troop. Mathis wanted to make sure that the girls weren’t left out so her solution was to become the leader of four Troops. She now leads Brownies, Daisies, Juniors, and Cadettes. She needed a hand, so she reached out to her friend Beth Kauffman who has been her co-leader for the last three years.
“The most rewarding thing for Beth and me about being leaders is being able to see some of the girls do things they normally wouldn’t get to do. It’s also a wonderful feeling to see the girls’ eyes light up as they learn new things. I feel like I am learning things all over again because I get to see it through their eyes and it makes things adults take for granted seem amazing again,” Mathis said.
There are now six active Girl Scout Troops in Montgomery for a variety of ages. Mathis said that if a girl wants to join they can go to GSHPA.org or call 800-692-7816.