Sunday, March 4, 2007


Confessions of a Once Junior Girl Scout
By Harriette K. Jacobs

Raise your right hand with three fingers and repeat after me:

“On my honor I will try:
To do my duty to God and my country,
To help other people at all times
And to obey the Girl Scout Laws.”
Copyright © 1963
Girl Scouts of the United States of America

You-Hoo?! Any of you retired Girl Scouts out there anywhere?

You do remember your Girl Scout oath, right?

How about Girl Scout Law #4? “A Girl Scout is a friend to all and a sister to every other Girl Scout.”

Can’t say that I’ll ever forget it.

I became a Junior Girl Scout when I was ten years old. I was so excited to finally join and become a Scout. To wear that green uniform dress to school made you look officially Girl Scouty and all – you know “special”. I couldn’t wait to begin selling cookies and earning badges to have displayed on my sash, too. Except that I would never have as many as Miranda and Ruth S. None of us would. They were super Scouts or something. They had so many badges that they had to have their mother sew the badges on the back side of their sash – the rest of the Troop had big badge envy when Miranda and her sister showed up. But we still loved them; they had the sweetest mother and, well, she was all Girl Scouty, too.

We had a great little troop and did lots of fun things together. We all went on little field trips, made all kinds of great crafts – in fact, I still have my little Christmas Girl broom that I made: it’s a small child’s straw broom that we added materials to in order to make it into a girl dressed up for Christmas. Every year – my mother would put her out next to the fireplace. Not long after my husband and I had our boys – she relinquished it over to me and now we put her out every year at Christmas.

I was a Junior Girl Scout until I was 12 and then I went through the ceremony to become a Cadet (I can just hear all the “ooh’s and ahh’s”, y’all, now stop it). Unfortunately, no one from our troop wanted to move up to Cadets except me - so Girl Scouts ended remaining only as fond memories along with a horrible puffy eyed saluting photograph of me with a very bad home perm next to the American flag and the new “Cadet crest” proudly sewn upon my green beret.

What was my mother thinking?

[My sons better be thankful they were born boys….]

Back on topic.

Aside from the home perm, the most outstanding of these memories would be during our second year when our troop was working on our camping badge. We were all so excited since we would have to actually “go camping” somewhere to accomplish the requirements. Since we belonged to the Pine Valley Girl Scout Council, this meant we would be camping at Camp Pine Valley down in Meansville, Georgia.

Road trip.

Woo Hoo!

I can not remember the exact number of girls in our troop, but I know that there was at least ten. So all ten+ of us along with a couple of our mom’s (mine included**insert red flag here) and our Troop leader headed off for the wild blue yonder of Camp Pine Valley for a (very) long and deserted weekend of, you guessed it, roughing it in the Georgia wilderness.

I lost count of chigger and mosquito bites around 78 after the first night and quickly learned on the second night that I would not suffocate if I indeed used the mosquito net over my cot.

Now keep in mind, y’all, this was the early 1970’s; modern plumbing would not make the campground scene for another 20 years give or take.
Meaning we had to use traditional outhouses. Traditional meaning a REAL pit in the ground covered by a tall wooden box with a toilet seat inside. Real meaning – the ground moved when you flashed your flashlight down the hole………

Hey. We were all ten and eleven – what can I say?

I really can’t remember whose idea it was…..but suffice to say that when it was all said and done, there were a number of us who were in trouble. Um, myself included. [blushing]

We had one girl that just didn’t quite fit in with the rest of us. She was rather precious and healthy. Very healthy I might add. And, well, she lived right across the street from our school and her mother drove her to school everyday and picked her up in their car every afternoon driving right across the street straight into their driveway. She always wore pale pink dresses with pale pink velvet ribbons in her perfectly curled blonde hair and her nails were always painted pale pink, too. I don’t think she ever had a home perm – I believe her curls were bought and paid for at the beauty shop. And she never wore pants or shorts only dresses. She always had perfect little homemade lunches, too, in a pale pink lunch box.

Just agree with me and say, “Yuck” already.

You can just imagine our surprise when Precious announced that she would be going on the camping expedition with the troop.

Our jaws were agape.

After all, we were heading for major wilderness.

With dirt and bugs.

And wilderness.

But went she did.

Somewhere mixed in with our discovery of the moving earth at the bottom of the outhouse pit – out sprung mention of the name of “Precious”.

That’s when and where the very bad idea took birth.

In the outhouse.

Night time was upon us this third night in the dirty, buggy wilderness and we had had one s’more too many. It was time for all giggling girls to settle down – and all our momma’s had some serious after hours “something or other” to do. Just sleep I imagine.

The plan had been in place all afternoon. When Precious needed to go to the bathroom after dark (and she always did), she would ask someone to walk to the outhouse with her since it was a pretty good walk through the woods….

…away from where we were camped….

…in the dark.

When that time arrived, Precious did indeed ask for company. After she entered the pit of doom and moving earth – the escorting scout advised her to check the pit below "real, real good" with her flashlight first………..

Y’all, please. You would have thought Big Foot stuck his head up through the toilet seat! You’ve never heard such a blood curdling scream in all your life.

The other escorting Scout ran back to our tent as fast as she could leaving the now paralyzed Precious frozen and screaming in the outhouse from H*ll.

How or why the little building did not explode – I know not why.

By the time our Troop leader and the chaperoning mom’s arrived at the pit of doom, Precious was hysterical, shaking and crying inconsolably not to mention gagging and dry heaving at best.

I couldn’t breathe because I was laughing so hard even though I knew I was in for it big time.

Despite the now legendary prank of the weekend and the very long ride home, everyone in our troop earned the ever coveted camping badge. I picked up where I left off counting my chigger and mosquito bites during the silent ride back to Atlanta. I drifted off to sleep around a hundred and twenty three…..

As you can imagine, the girls in my troop couldn’t wait to get back to school to recap the events of the wicked weekend in the wilderness. Not only do I believe we scarred Precious for life against camping and any future outdoor plumbing; clearly, she would never apply for inclusion in any episode of Fear Factor.

In the end, Precious would get the last laugh – especially at me. But that, my friends, is another story for another day……

Y’all Behave!

Harriette K. Jacobs
South of the Gnat Line
Copyright © 2007
All Rights Reserved.