I Wuz Just Thinking: The Way the Cookie Crumbled

The Girl Scout Law: “I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do.

When I was a little girl, I was a Brownie Scout.  My sisters had been in the Brownies and were then promoted to Girl Scouts. Years later, I too, went from the brown to the green uniform.

It never occurred to me who started the first Girl Scout troop in our little East Texas city of Kilgore.  I had just taken it for granted that our troop had always just existed.

Recently, I was reading Dr. S.L. Canterbury’s book about the beginnings of Kilgore College.  I was surprised and excited to read what he wrote about his wife, Elsie, and her many accomplishments

“Elsie Canterbury helped start Girl Scouting in Kilgore and was leader of Troop No. 1 for 16 years.  She was president of Kilgore Girl Scout Council and of the East Texas Area Council.  P.T. A. (Parent Teacher Association) work included: State Regional Vice President, served on State Board for 15 years, president of 3rd District, Kilgore City Council, and Gregg County Council.  Both State and National Life Memberships were awarded to her.”

“Mrs. Canterbury was president of the Southern District of American Lutheran Church Women and also president of the N.E. Conference.”

She was chosen First Lady of Kilgore in 1950 by Beta Sigma Phi.”

Betty Mahurin Baker

I had always known Mrs. Canterbury as one of my mother’s best friends.  When they would get together, they both just laughed and laughed.  I never knew what they were laughing about  Mrs. Canterbury was such an uplifting lady.

I was very fortunate to have had the good influences of the ladies of Kilgore in my life.

I understand the Girl Scout application for a troop in Kilgore, Texas was filed on Tuesday, April 18, 1939.  State ID: 7505001

When our granddaughter was in the Brownie Scouts, the Brownies and the older Girl Scouts met together at the Lions Club building once a week.

When the Girl Scout cookie sales came around, the girls were promised by the Scout leader that if they sold enough cookies, all of the girls would be taken for a day outing at the Tyler Zoo.  The girls were thrilled and looked forward to this adventure.

The girls worked hard to earn their badges and were told that as soon as the troop received their portion of the cookie monies, the badges would be purchased and a special ceremony would take place for them to receive their badges.

Those little girls were so excited. They sold and they sold and they sold.

Finally, it came time to turn in the monies.  The Scout leader requested the money be brought to her home.  The parents (or in our case, grandparents) arrived about the same time.  We were told that after all the money was collected and counted, the girls would find out how much their troop had earned at the next meeting.  The dates would then be set for an outing at the zoo, as well as the badge ceremony.

Those little girls were  jumping up and down and hugging one another in excitement and anticipation for the next Scout meeting. They were eager to get the news.

We all showed up at the lodge at the regularly scheduled time.  We waited and waited.

The Scout leader did not show up.

Some of the parents, getting worried that something must have happened, went out to the Scout leader’s home.  The house had been vacated. We learned that the Scout leader did not pay for the cookies, had not purchased the badges. She simply took all the money and skipped town the next day after receiving the funds.

The little girls, as well as the parents, were absolutely stunned, so disappointed.  The girls never received any of their hard-earned badges, nor were they ever given a trip to the zoo.

Prior to this happening, every week the leaders would have the girls stand in a circle and recite the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong,
and responsible for what I say and do,
and to respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place,
and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

The Brownies and Girl Scouts are smart little girls.  They knew how they had been used Their Leader had not followed the Scout Promise and Scout Law.  Such a bad influence for them.

The Brownie and Girl Scouts disbanded and as far as I know, there is no longer a Girl Scout troop in Kilgore.

Such good people like Elsie Canterbury worked so hard and was such a good influence on children, as well as adults. Then there are those who tore it down.

My granddaughter, now an adult, still does not trust other adults for fear she will just be taken advantage and lied to again…...as I wiz just thinking.

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