Two sisters involved in local Girl Scouts for 75 years earned a life badge of honor.
Sisters Barbara John, 86, of Lancaster, and Ginny John, 85, of Harford Twp., joined Girl Scout Troop 38 in 1947, and were recently honored by Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania President Janet Donovan at Shadowbrook Resort in Tunkhannock. Donovan presented the sisters with a special pin.
“They are two awesome people,” Donovan said. “You could listen to their stories for hours. It’s remarkable how much knowledge of Girl Scouts they have with them.”
The sisters consider Girl Scouts one of the biggest parts of their lives — so much that they are still involved. Both are members of the Supporters of Camp Archbald (SOCA) group, and Ginny John spends some summer days making improvements to the grounds at the Brooklyn Twp. camp.
“I guess in my age you can say I’ve become more of a philanthropist for the Girl Scouts,” Ginny John said. “I enjoy spending some days in the summer up there looking to make the camp better for future generations.”
The sisters’ first time visiting Camp Archbald was in 1949. Both are amazed by the improvements and amenities the camp offers now.
“All of the rooms are so nice now,” Ginny John said. “SOCA has done so much taking care of that place and as long as I’m around we’ll continue to do it.”
Their troop leader, the late Betty Berger Porter, who passed away in 2017, at the age of 97, was one of the biggest influences in their lives, the sisters said. Girl Scouts also taught them leadership skills and made them strong women.
“We had the best leaders,” Barbara John said. “We remained close with them into our older age. A lot of the skills I used in my lifetime, I learned in Girl Scouts. I couldn’t thank them enough.”
While the sisters have many memorable Girl Scouts experiences, some trips stand out, including a trip to Canada in 1955.
For Ginny John, the best trip was when the troop packed into two cars and drove across the United States in 1959. They rode mules through the Grand Canyon.
“One night we slept on a golf course in one of the Midwestern states,” she said. “We were all tired and were far away from the next closest place to stay, so we had a campout on a golf course, and stayed there until the golfers kicked us out the next morning.”
The bonds formed with fellow Girl Scouts and Berger were also very special, the sisters said.
“It’s that bond you form that lasts forever,” Barbara John said. “It’s a special one.”
They plan on continuing to being active in SOCA and with the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania for “as long as the Lord lets us,” Ginny John said.