Submitted by Peg Goodwin Merrill
When one enters their 70’s it is common to do a lot of reflecting back on the life you have lived thus far. For me the seven years I spent as part of Denver Troop 362 were definitely ones that taught me a lot and contributed to the woman I became. I was privileged to have had Edna “Skipper” Hollis as a troop leader during those years. As I prepare to come to Denver for her final “Scouts Own” I have been reflecting a lot about my experiences with that troop and the things I learned from Girl Scouting.
My love of the outdoors and camping began with our troop’s many trips to Lake Eldora. Winter or summer the lake called us. There wasn’t a ski area in the late fifties and early sixties, so we had to hike up the hill. I remember one time when we went winter camping and had to climb thru very deep drifts of snow. Our leader “Skipper” forged ahead and made a tow rope for us to pull ourselves up the mountain through the deep snow carrying our gear and sleeping bags. Once we reached the cabin, it was quite a task to get it warm, so we created a rotation system to take turns staying awake and feeding the fire all night. Most likely it was experiences like this in my youth that taught me perseverance.
Skipper was great at getting our mothers involved too, and many of them taught us a variety of merit badges, so there was always something to work on and no one was ever bored. Troop 362 was also where I learned to knit under the tutelage of Mrs. Crockett (whom we nicknamed “Davy”).
Perhaps, one of my fondest memories was the trip we took to Seattle, Washington for the World’s Fair in 1962. We spent a few years raising money for the trip by putting on plays, hosting spaghetti dinners, babysitting, etc. In addition to funds that the troop raised, each girl had to earn some of the money for the trip herself. So, we learned about planning, budgeting, and having a goal to look forward to. Our fathers even got involved and built large wooden boxes for each patrol to hold all of our cooking supplies. Each box was painted a different color. We chartered a big bus and camped out along the way, so again there was a lot of planning and preparing involved, as each patrol had to have all the food they needed to prepare meals.
That same summer I was fortunate enough to have been chosen as a delegate from Denver to the Girl Scout International Round-up in Button Bay, Vermont. It was Skipper’s encouragement that got me to apply – don’t think I would have had the courage to do that without her help. Going to Round-up was a wonderful experience and it saddens me that that opportunity no longer exists for girls today.
Another thing I learned in Scouting that I still use to this day is my love of music and all the songs we learned both at summer Girl Scout Camp and with my troop. Many of those songs I would sing to my children as lullabies, and just recently I was singing to a new grandbaby and my son came in and joined me in a duet singing “Mountains High” to his new baby, as he remembered me singing it to him.
Skipper also taught us about the stars and the wildflowers. She encouraged us all to earn the “Curved Bar” award, and many of us achieved this.
I am really looking forward to our annual troop reunion on July 29, 2017 and seeing old friends. It will be hard to say “good-bye” to Skipper, but I know her memory and the memories of Troop 362 will live on in each of us whose life she touched.
Girl Scouts of Colorado is proud to celebrate the legacy of one of our most cherished alumnae, Edna “Skipper” Hollis. In 2016, Skipper passed away at the age of 104, leaving a 94-year history of Girl Scouting as a girl and an adult volunteer. Skipper touched the lives of hundreds of girls, families, and volunteers and will be remembered for her love of the outdoors and the annual troop gathering she hosted at her Colorado cabin for more than six decades.
To make a gift in honor of Skipper, which will support opportunity grants to ensure any girl is able to attend camp, or to honor an alum who has made a difference in your life, go to the Girl Scouts of Colorado website: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/support-us/alumnae.html
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