Growing up in Greenwood, Indiana, I belonged to a troop of eight girls who may not have been friends had it not been for Girl Scouts. We had a few athletes in our troop and several musicians—and those aren’t necessarily groups that you would see hanging out together in high school. But as Girl Scout Juniors, Seniors, and Ambassadors, we learned about one another’s lives and our myriad interests.
Today it’s the diversity of perspectives (we still have different passions and interests) that make it special for us to connect. We’re scattered across the country now: one of my troopmates is training to be a surgeon in Boston, another is a social worker in Indiana, and I work in higher education in North Carolina. We couldn’t be more different, but our friendships have been a common bond that has carried throughout our adult lives.
As girls, we loved going to Camporees and meeting other Girl Scouts from around the region—we were SWAPS queens. We were also crafty and outdoorsy, and many of us were camp counselors at Camp Dellwood in Indianapolis. And we sold cookies to fund trips, bundling up to set up booths throughout the cold Indiana winter. As a result, we got to travel to a dude ranch in Texas. We ate pizza in Chicago. We went to see a Broadway show in Manhattan, where we felt far away from our quiet midwestern suburb. For me, it was a moment that confirmed what I had suspected all along: I’m actually a city person.
For many of us, we discovered the passions that would become our future careers, and our troop leader Kimmerly Klee-Bird helped guide us in those explorations as part of our travels. These opportunities didn’t fit into the single lane of sports or music, like our other activities did—they were holistic, all-encompassing, and life changing. Several of us also earned our Girl Scout Gold Award; Kimmerly instilled in us the importance of helping others and using our skills and talents to make the world a better place.
When we graduated from high school, we set up a private Facebook group and a group text. Now we’re in our early 30s, and we make a point every single year to get together around the holidays or for a wedding or baby shower. Sadly we have also supported one another at funerals, including when Kimmerly—who was a troop leader for 13 years—passed away from cancer in 2017 at age 56.
Every time one of us has a daughter, we all get really excited about the future of Girl Scouts and creating those opportunities for the next generation. Some of us even daydream about moving back to Greenwood and co-leading a troop together.
I encourage current Girl Scouts to make the effort to stay connected as they graduate and move forward in their lives, and for those who have already graduated, to take the time to reach back out to their troopmates. As for the women from my old Troop #104, we have already delivered on our promise of being friends for more than a decade. Wherever we are in the world and in our lives, we will always be gold to one another.
Kim Kreuzman, age 31
Gold Award Girl Scout
Charlotte, North Carolina
Kim Kreuzman is shown hiking with her friend and troopmate, Shannon Rigney.
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