Sue Tiffany is a Girl Scout alumna and long-time member from the Redwood Falls area. She recently traveled to the Twin Cities on the bus with Girl Scouts to the Great Girl Gathering @MOA®. Sue became a Girl Scout more than seven decades ago and is still an active Girl Scout volunteer and advocate.
What were the highlights of your trip to the Great Girl Gathering @ MOA®?
“It was a thrill to see so many girls and alumnae all having fun doing what girls have always had fun doing. While the place was packed, I was proud to see how Girl Scouts were holding their trash and obviously looking for proper places to put it. Compare that behavior with what you’d see at an athletic event. Our coach driver from Redwood Falls was a registered Girl Scout for many years, and he also noticed the same thing and the general polite behavior of everyone in that vast building that day. A real sisterhood. Smiling faces everywhere. Although it was hard to hear some of what was going on that day, nobody could have missed hearing hundreds of voices singing ‘Make New Friends.’”
How did your Girl Scout experience begin?
“When I was small, I happened to be a year ahead of my normal grade level in school. I didn’t know it, but back then Girl Scouting went by age, not grade, and a girl needed to be eight to be a Girl Scout Brownie (the youngest level at that time). Imagine my disappointment when almost all the girls in my grade stayed for troop meetings every Tuesday and I had to go home. On my eighth birthday, January 28, 1940, I finally got to join. After a few required weeks of waiting, I got my pin and could wear my uniform. The memory of that moment still brings an emotional rush as I recall the lines: ‘Twist me and turn me and show me the elf; I look in the pool and I see myself.’ The pool was a mirror on the floor, surrounded by some dry leaves, but what I saw was a grinning little girl with the brown flopped over cotton cone-shaped cap and the pin on the uniform collar was so close that when it touched my chin I was reminded that Brownies have a duty to help others. That really took root and grew with [the former phrase in the Girl Scout law]: “A Girl Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.’
A few years later, I remember we were all to encourage other girls to join. The motto of the drive was ‘A million or more by ’44.’”
Why is it important to remain involved as a Girl Scout alumna?
“My own Girl Scouts are now grandmothers, but I’m still somewhat involved as service unit treasurer and keeper of the equipment. Since I’m a math tutor at our local school, I like to wear my pins as a way of validating the Girl Scouting experiences of our older girls.”
What do you enjoy about your Girl Scout connections?
“The nicest people I know are those I’ve met through Girl Scouts. While the wording has changed, we all subscribe to the same set of lofty values, skip the petty and concentrate on the girls.”