To prepare for the future, Tamaqua Girl Scout Leader Nancy Paisley thought her girls should look to the past. So, she began plotting ways to take the Scouts to the birthplace of Girl Scouting, the home of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scout movement. That meant transporting dozens of girls, between the ages of 8 and 17, to Savannah, Ga.
After more than a year of fundraising, 34 scouts from the Schuylkill-Panther Valley area made the 770 mile trip this summer. The Kelly Tours motor coaches left Tamaqua at 4 a.m., arriving in Savannah 13 hours later. Each girl received a tote bag of activities to keep them occupied during the long ride, as well as a custom T-shirt commemorating the event. Once in Savannah, the girls, and their chaperones settled in at the Inn at Ellis Square in the downtown historic district.
The next day, after a very early breakfast, the entourage traveled to the Gordon Family Home, where carefully restored rooms look as they did on Juliette's wedding day in 1886. There, in addition to discovering the very beginnings of the Girl Scouts USA, they also learned what a day in the life of a girl was like in the late 19th century. From crafting clay roses to weaving textiles to playing parlor games, the group was transported to a place and time in American History.
The trip also included a visit to Fort Jackson, where they were "recruited" to fight for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Here, they learned of the use and importance of signal flags and the proper way to load and fire a cannon, just in case the need arises.
Then, it was on to the Tybee Marine Science Center for a fun and educational program on marine life and ways to preserve and protect the environment, as well as beach time.
The girls also toured Savannah in a trolley and went on a dolphin tour. Dinner time was packed with fun, including a meal at Lady and Sons of Paula Deen fame as well as at Pirates House, where the staff included scallywags and wenches.
The evening before they left for home, the group were special guests at Savannah Live at the Savannah Theatre, treated to a trip backstage to meet the actors and actresses.
Paisley summed up the trip as just one way to bring the Girl Scout mission to life.
"Seeing where and how the Girl Scouts began was a great way for the girls to discover fun, friendship and empowerment, a perfect way to help the girls build courage, confidence and character as they make the world a better place. Juliette Low was an amazing person, proving that one person can make a difference."