Growing up in the 1950s as the oldest girl of seven children in southern Indiana meant Elaine Orlando’s days were full of family responsibilities, leaving little time for her to pursue her own interests.
The one activity Elaine was able to do was Girl Scouts. Those activities allowed her to just be a kid and made her a firm believer in the Girl Scout program.
Elaine’s 50 years of membership run like a movie trailer of highlights filled with memories, including earning her Curved Bar Award (the equivalent to today’s Girl Scout Gold Award) and meeting the very first registered Girl Scout, Juliette Gordon Low’s niece and namesake, Daisy Doots, while on a trip to Georgia. Her troop even baked cookies with Daisy Doots.
Some of Elaine’s most important relationships started because of Girl Scouts. At the Senior Roundup in 1965, Elaine met girls from all over the world, including the girl who would later introduce Elaine to her husband. They’ve now been married for 38 years.
Elaine ensured both her daughters had the opportunity to be Girl Scouts, and over the years, Elaine served in more than a dozen different volunteer roles. She keeps raising her hand because she loves working with girls, watching them grow and seeing the remarkable women they become through Girl Scouts.
Reflecting on Girl Scouting this spring when she received her 50 Years of Membership pin, Elaine says her experience continues to pay dividends when she runs into adults she interacted with when they were girls. The women often stop and reminisce about their favorite memories. Those interactions reinforce in Elaine what she has always known about volunteering with Girl Scouts; that she has truly made a difference in the lives of these women, helping them grow into the confident, courageous women they are today.
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