’50s Girl Scout troop to reunite

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Longtime Loves Park resident Leanna Hargraves remembers growing up in the 1950s and being deeply involved in Girl Scout Troop 52 of Loves Park.

Hargraves and her sister Girl Scouts were members of Troop 52 from Girl Scout Brownie age until they were juniors in high school.

“We walked the bridge at Tinker Swiss Cottage and camped at Camp McCormick. We visited parks, went square dancing and did our own puppet shows. We even made tablecloths for our mothers and special bags for all our camping dishware,” says Hargraves of her troop experience.

However, Hargraves cherishes more than just her childhood activities. “Our Girl Scout Troop was just a positive place to be. As girls, we worked as a team, even before people started calling it ‘being a team player.’ We had great leaders, and no matter what was going on in our lives, we knew we were special — thanks to Girl Scouting.”

With Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary approaching in 2012, Hargraves decided to organize a reunion for Troop 52 on Saturday, Aug. 13, in Roscoe at the home of her troop leader’s daughter. Hargraves was extremely pleased to learn her leader, Shirley Layng, was in her 90s and would be able to attend the reunion. The troop’s co-leader, Marge Kildow, in her 80s, also hopes to make the reunion.

Hargraves is expecting 13-15 Girl Scout alumnae to attend the reunion with former Troop 52 members coming from as far as Arizona and Arkansas.

She also is organizing a special fashion show and a secret craft activity. “I’m trying to keep it a secret,” says Hargraves. “You never know how 60-something women will react if you tell them they’re going to be doing a Girl Scout craft!” 

Troop 52 joins hosts of other troops that are busily organizing reunions to coincide with Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary in 2012. The Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois (GSNI) Alumnae Association will also be hosting an Alumnae Reception for all Girl Scout Alumnae on Aug. 9, at the Rockford Art Museum, 711 N. Main St., from 5:30-7 P.M. Cost for the event is $10 per person. Registration is available online at http://girlscoutsni.org/alumnae.html or by visiting the Girl Scout Service Center at 2101 Auburn Street in Rockford.

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