95-Year-Old Deserving of Girl Scouts' Highest Honor

Durham resident Lillian White has fond memories of her time as a Girl Scout. This weekend the organization will celebrate its 100th anniversary at the Durham Fairgrounds.


Lillian White will turn 95 next week, but she remembers the day she joined Girl Scouts like it was yesterday.

"I joined the day I turned 10 years old," White says.

In May of 1927, Durham was a much different place than it is today. For one thing, White's troop was known as the "Laurel Troop," a long since passed era when scouts weren't identified by numbers.

The significance of her affection towards scouting is important because of another number — 100. On Saturday, the organization will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a Jubilee at the Durham Fairgrounds, which just happens to be in White's backyard.

"I think it's good for any young girl to belong to. I recommend it. I'm a proud member," she says.

While more than 50 years have passed since the Durham native was directly involved with the Girl Scouts, her memories of the scouts endure.

"When I was a Girl Scout I did go to camp for two years. It was on Gardner Lake, which is in Colchester. I loved camping," she says.

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Years after finishing her time as a scout, White decided to become a troop leader to pass down what she'd learned to other Girl Scouts, which now included her daughter.

"There was a contest in the Middletown Press. Sears was offering a sewing machine to the winner of an essay contest," White remembers. "I wrote an essay and I said I wanted to win so I could help the girls in my Girl Scout troop learn how to sew and I won it."

About 15 years ago, White says she came across a classified in the newspaper written by a scout leader from Middlefield who was looking for a sewing machine.

"I said to my husband, 'I don't know who this person is but I'll call her up,' and I did and I said I will give this to you so you can help your girls learn to sew just like I did with my troop. I gave her the sewing machine."

White's memory of her time as a Girl Scout is marked with one unfortunate event.

While attempting to reach the Girl Scout's highest honor — the Golden Eaglet (an honor now known as the Gold Award) — White's paperwork was lost and she never received the award.

"Our leader at the time was a school teacher here in Durham and she was so involved with getting married that she neglected to send my application and I never got it," White says.

A few years later another troop leader found the application in a handbook.

"It was too late. I earned it, but I never got it."

Recently, a local troop leader took up White's cause and is working with Girl Scout officials to fix the error.

Despite the disappointment, White's memories of scouting have remained positive. She recently donated her scout leader uniform for display at the Levi E. Coe Library in Middlefield as part of the Girl Scouts' centennial celebration.

"Scouting taught the girls good principles of living, helping others. I enjoyed it."

Girl Scouts throughout Connecticut will be celebrating 100 years in style at the on Saturday, May 19, from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

kathy May 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM
This should be a fun and memorable day - open to everyone!! Search the web for Girl Scouts of CT - all the information is there. Lot's to do and see - especially for everyone who has ever been or wants to be a girlscout! Saturday, May 19, 10am-7pm.
Michael Hayes May 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM
You can also find the information by clicking the link at the bottom of the article.
Sheryl Slight May 19, 2012 at 12:50 AM
It has been such a pleasure to get to know Lillian. She is such a wonderful lady.


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