Saturday, April 19, 2008

Here is the lovely Woman of Distinction Award I received on Wednesday from the San Gorgonio Girl Scout Council. You may notice the same background as the last photo I posted--I recently discovered my new lap top has a built in camera, so now you can see what is behind my head as I write this. :)

When I received the award, I opened my acceptance speech by saying "When I got kicked out of Girl Scouts over 30 years ago, I never imagined one day I'd receive such an honor." I wish I could say I was evicted for doing something really dramatic--desecrating the cookies, perhaps, or slashing a girl's sash to get her badges--but my story is less than spectacular. Essentially I got kicked out because I didn't attend enough meetings.

I got into Girl Scouts as a fluke; during my brief and awkward stint as a child model, I landed a gig where I had to act like a disgruntled Girl Scout, rolling my eyes at my father whose car had broken down. I got to keep the uniform, and figured I'd put it to good use. My friend Joelle Baxter's mom ran the local Girl Scout troupe; I enjoyed going to her house and learning songs, exploring different cultures, making things out of popsicle sticks. I had a skating show coming up, though, and my rehearsals often conflicted with the Girl Scout meetings. Skating was more important to me than earning badges (my favorite badge was the one featuring an ice skate, anyway), so I drifted away from Girl Scouts and eventually was asked not to return.

As I mentioned in my little speech, though, I'm sure that the Girl Scout organization would appreciate the fact that I was committed to one of my passions, even if it didn't involve a green uniform. I certainly appreciate how committed Girl Scouts is to girls--how it empowers girls to find their voices and passions, learn new skills, realize they're capable of more than they originally believed. Something I try to do in my own work as a teacher and writer and activist. It was a real honor to receive the award with 9 women who are doing great work in the community to empower girls and young women through science, through nature, through health and physical education, through education in general. I neglected to thank my parents from the podium that day, so I want to thank them now for being at the luncheon, and for always supporting me (even when Girl Scouts gave me the boot)!

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