Another Kind of Family

For the past 13 years, I have spent a significant amount of time with a group of girls. The makeup of this group has changed over the years as has the number in the group. We started with 4, peaked at 22 and now have 5. More than 40 girls have come and gone. Some left when they graduated, others had scheduling conflicts or other activities took precedence, some simply lost interest.

I have managed to stay in touch with most of them, through Facebook, my daughters, or their moms whom I occasionally run into (according to my son, I spent 20 minutes catching up on a couple girls when I ran into their mom in the grocery store just last weekend). Some of the older ones have married, some have kids, and many have graduated college and went on to grad school or are out “in the real world.”

If our Girl Scout troop has had one constant over the years: it is that it has always been changing. Girls came into our family as they moved up from younger levels or joined as their existing troops disappeared. Each change brought challenges. The dynamics changed. When younger girls joined, the older ones were not always welcoming; the new girls were “immature.” After several months, things leveled out and they became “equals” in the eyes of the older girls. We experienced the occasional “clique-iness,” but overall, we have been mostly drama-free.

For the past few years, the membership has remained largely the same. We had a few girls graduate, but no one new join. This year, four graduate, leaving one to go on her own next year.

We just took what is likely our final trip together, into Philadelphia for dinner and a show. I noted at dinner how much of a family we have become. Here was a group of girls, with little in common, sharing (without asking first) each others’ dinners and desserts, laughing and teasing each other – like sisters. If it were not for the fact that they were thrown together in a troop, they possibly would not even be friends. Their interests are diverse. They are very strong young women, who generally like to voice their thoughts and opinions. They lead very active lives, which has made scheduling events difficult, (and infrequent) but they have managed to have bonding moments anyway.

We have laughed together and learned from each other. They have pushed me to try new things and we have encouraged each other to succeed. We have had adventures that have been a little frightening (we had a few people end up in the Lehigh River while rafting), challenging (climbing and zipping through trees, climbing ropes at circus school) and just plain fun (feeding giraffes at the zoo, going to the movies and theater). Countless memories were made and thankfully, I have many of them documented in photographs.

Now we all move on … to discover new things. And, of course, to make the world a better place.

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