By Lorry Myers
Sometimes it takes time and distance to appreciate certain things. People and events that you took for granted over time, become an invaluable piece in the puzzle of your life. One of those people, for me, was the mother of a classmate who I called Mrs. Davenport, like my mother taught me to address all adults. When this familiar adult became our Girl Scout leader and told our troop that we could call her Twila, it was meant to send a message.
Twila was here to stay.
We were a troop of rowdy girls who found ourselves with a different leader every month. We were a challenging troop; undisciplined and unruly and unwilling to believe anyone would want to hang around with us.
We made sure of that.
To prove us wrong, Twila showed up every week even though we did our best to run her off. We weren’t bad girls, just used to being passed around and labeled as impossible. Other leaders tried to curb our outspoken ways but we never felt like they were listening to our words or our actions. In the first minutes of that first meeting, our new leader looked into our eyes and found our hearts and the secrets and fears that we hid inside.
That’s the night she told us to call her Twila.
Before Twila, Girl Scouts was singing, reading handbooks and sitting around a table with someone who didn’t want to be there. Twila changed that by dragging us out into the world, bringing her Girl Scout handbook with her so she could help us not only earn badges but apply those learned skills to real life.
Twila always had a purpose.
All year our leader worked on developing the skills we needed for a summer camp out in the woods. Twila talked about the camping trip like it would be a vacation but each meeting her troop complained about everything; the cooking it would involve, the effort, and the work of roughing it in the wilderness. No one had ever taken us on a campout where we could sing those campfire songs we practiced, no one had ever believed in us enough to take our rowdy group anywhere but to a church basement.
No one before Twila.
For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.