Camping + Laughter Lead to a Lifetime of Connections

Laughter comes easily for mother and daughter Therese and Mary Britts, especially when the two start talking Girl Scouts.

Therese is the matriarch of an exceptional family of Girl Scouts that includes eight daughters and five granddaughters. In her decades volunteering as a Girl Scout leader, Therese mentored more than 100 girls in Robbinsdale, MN.

Therese sought out Girl Scouts for her daughters, because she wanted to keep them busy trying new experiences that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to explore. While each girl had a favorite individual activity, camping topped all of their lists.

The family’s backyard was often full of heavy, canvas tents set up to air out, following one of the troop’s latest adventures. Funded by cookie sales, paper recycling drives, and an occasional fashion show, the camping trips took the girls as far away as the Black Hills, Yellowstone, and Canada.

Days were full of hiking, horseback riding, and cooking over the fire, while nights meant campfires and long talks in their tents. With the girls tucked in for the night, Therese opted to sleep directly under the stars on a cot or stretched out near the fire. When birds began their morning calls, Therese would stoke the fire and greet the girls with hot chocolate.

Back in Robbinsdale, the troop met every other week, learning how to sew and tie knots, and becoming first aid and CPR certified. The sisterhood nurtured during those years blossomed into lifelong friendships. Even today, Therese, now 85, continues to meet with other Girl Scout troop leaders to share experiences and advice.

Mary Britts passed her love of Girl Scouts and camping to her own daughter, LaTanza, through winter camping trips, and sees the impact of Girl Scouting woven throughout her life far more than in individual experiences. Girl Scouting taught Mary, now the Executive Director of Downtown Saint Paul YMCA, the importance of independence, community, working together, and respecting others—all of which she takes with her throughout life.