In spring 2018, I was having coffee with my old Girl Scout troop leader, “Mrs. G”, whose daughter I am still good friends with. She had moved from the East Bay to Virginia 16 years ago, and had just moved back home to the Bay Area. When Mrs. G still lived in the Bay, Girl Scout Troop 198 held annual troop picnics in Arlington Park—the weather might have had that Bay Area chill, but there was great food and lots of catching up. Each of us brought our parents and siblings for a day of fun, sharing stories of little leagues, graduations, and sibling rivalries.

Troop 198 was formed in the mid-70s, while I was in middle school from the merging of two other troops. Numbers fluctuated over the years as girls became busy with other activities, but those who remained had one major goal—a trip to Europe in 1980.

We were a tight knit group—not all from the same high school, but we had camped together for years, earned many badges together and no matter what we were doing, we always had our yearly reunions during the summer, re-forging those bonds of sisterhood through weddings and funerals, births and moves and changes of all kinds. When we finally made our Europe trip a reality, there were 9 of us who went to Europe, along with three moms. Tremendous planning and focus, not to mention many Girl Scout cookie seasons, fundraisers, and personal savings added up to 3 fun filled weeks to England, France, and Switzerland! We met with Girl Guides in England, had frog legs in France, and saw the Swiss Alps!

Troop 198 at Camp Sugar Pine (1979) and on their European trip (1980)

Now, thirty-eight years after our Europe trip, and 16 years after our last summer gathering, the veterans of Troop 198 coordinated a reunion. With the help of new technology and many families still in the area, we got in touch with each of our old Girl Scout sisters and shared our current stories over email, phone calls, WhatsApp, and Facebook, and planned the comeback of our annual picnic (but this time with warmer weather)! It was wonderful to see those who could attend in person and share both photos and stories during and after the picnic. It almost felt like we were Girl Scouts once more, sharing our memories of camping trips, Sugar Pine weekends in the snow, our travels to Europe, and our gatherings at weddings or previous picnic days. We may be older, and Troop 198 may no longer be an official troop, but the spirit of sisterhood we gained together nearly forty years ago remains as strong as ever. I can’t wait until our next picnic!

Troop 198's Reunion in 2018

Troop 198’s Reunion Picnic in 2018 (with friends and family, too!)

What to do next:

Joycelin Craig—Joycelin is a lifetime resident of the Bay Area. She was also a longtime Girl Scout from Brownies into adulthood, and fondly remembers selling Girl Scout cookies, attending folk dance festivals and eating s’mores! Working in the non-profit world for over 15 years, she is so proud of her workplace, The Astronomical Society of the Pacific, for working on the latest Astronomy Badges for the Girl Scouts. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and son and loves gardening, playing her flute, and baking.

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