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Girl Scouts get support from women legislators

By Michael Norton
State House News Service / October 13, 2011

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Girl Scout law calls for scouts to do their best to be honest, fair, friendly, helpful, considerate, caring, courageous, strong, responsible, and respectful.

“Those things are hard to do,’’ state Representative Ellen Story, an Amherst Democrat, said yesterday at an event to honor Girl Scouts. “If you get even half of those things, you are a person of character.’’

Story, who recalled making a circular skirt and learning her first “serious swear word’’ as a scout, lined up yesterday with nearly two dozen of her legislative colleagues to affirm their support for the scouts, which count 59,000 girls among their members in Massachusetts.

Ruth Bramson, chief executive of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and former governor Mitt Romney’s chief human resources officer, generated a strong showing of hands when she asked the assembled lawmakers how many of them had been Brownies or Girl Scouts.

“Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout,’’ she told members of Troop Beacon Hill, ticking off names of famous scouts such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, activist Gloria Steinem, and entertainer Mariah Carey.

Several state lawmakers shared their memories of being scouts. Representative Gloria Fox, Democrat of Boston, recalled growing up in Everett as a foster child and the role her troop played in her life. Representative Gailanne Cariddi, Democrat of North Adams, said her involvement helped give her the courage to run for office.

Officials said yesterday that scouts are currently focusing on ways to better their physical, social, and emotional health; antibullying efforts; financial literacy; leadership; and fostering an interest in science, technology, engineering and math studies and careers. Bramson said the Girl Scouts plan a major conference Nov. 3 at Microsoft Corporation in Cambridge and have formed partnerships with Raytheon Company.

The organization was launched in Georgia by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 and will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.

“If we all lived the way you teach the Girl Scouts to live, it would be an amazing world,’’ said Patricia Haddad, the House’s speaker pro tempore and a Somerset Democrat, at yesterday’s event.