Larned Troop Visits Washington

Beth Burke and Troop 50078 dish on DC! 

Girl Scout Cadet Troop 50078 from Larned Kansas went to Washington DC in June for the Girl Scouts’ 100TH anniversary party— “Rock the Mall.”  It was estimated that there were up to 250,000 girls at the mall including girls from all over the country.   Our troop met girls from Virginia, West Virginia, Oregon, Nevada, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Alaska, Arizona and Michigan.   I have never seen so many people in one place at one time celebrating.  It was awe inspiring!  As far as I know we were the only group from Kansas along with our Girl Scouts of the Kansas Heartland CEO Shelly Prichard.

Doris Sharpe was my Girl Scout Leader as a Middle School/High Schooler; she taught me how to sail.  Despite the fact that we lived in the middle of the high desert in New Mexico!  We traveled together to Catalina Island, CA to sail on the ocean and I will never forget how amazing that experience was.  A large part of who I am today was shaped by that wonderful leader and Girl Scouts.  Our troop has been together since they were in 1st grade, and we have been fortunate enough to travel throughout Kansas. In our state travels my girls have learned to be great travelers, great gardeners, earth friendly inhabitants and too many other skills to mention here!

A trip to another state is a bit different to plan.  I had never traveled to Washington D.C. so to save myself time and headaches I chose Smithsonian Student Travel to coordinate the trip.  It was beautiful; we didn’t have a single snafu!  We were in a hotel in a safe part of town, we didn’t have to worry about getting around, and good food was close by! Our tour guide knew vast amounts about all the sights.  Four girls ages 11 – 12 made the trip. Only one of them had ever flown so they were very excited.  None of our group had ever been to DC but had many things in mind that they wanted to see there.  When Upon our arrival in DC, we joined other troops from California, Wyoming and Montana.  My daughter Hannah had done some computer research and knew she wanted to see the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian Museums.  Kiley’s mom had been to DC a few years earlier so she knew that she wanted to see the Amelia Earhart display at the Air and Space Smithsonian and David’s Story at the Holocaust Museum.  Jessie came with the name of her great uncle and wanted to find him on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.  Peighton and her mom Carla were our go with the flow travelers they both like photography and were delighted with all the beauty DC has to offer!

This is what Jessie wrote:  My favorite thing about DC was that I got to see my Uncle Cliff’s Uncles name on the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial wall.  His name was Gorge Wendell Long.  I liked the airplane rides because it was my first time.  I was scared at first then it wasn’t bad.

Hannah wrote:  When I went to DC the things I liked best were the Hope Diamond and the Library of Congress.  The Dresses the First Ladies wore to the inaugural balls were really cool to see I liked seeing how fashions changed.  The Hope Diamond is the largest blue diamond in the world it glows red when ultraviolet light hits it.  Cool!  The library of congress was absolutely gorgeous!  I would like to thank my family and neighbors for buying lots of cookies to help me go!

We really jammed in as much as we could but there is a lot to see in D.C.! We saw 4 of the Smithsonian’s , Arlington National Cemetery , Washington Monument, the Air Force Memorial,  Korean and Vietnam memorials,  World War 2 memorial, the Navy Memorial, the Marine Memorial,  the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solders, the Clara Barton house, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, Capitol Hill, the Library of Congress, over 200,000 girls and leaders singing songs in the National Mall, MLK Memorial, and the Holocaust museum.   We got to have dinner in Alexandria and take a Ghost tour. We also we saw the National Cathedral and many Embassies for various countries.  We also saw a black squirrel which we thought were only in northern Kansas!

It was a great group of girls to travel with; they are all good listeners and THE BEST Girl Scouts you could ask for.  It was really cool to listen after we had been someplace and see what impressed them vs. what impressed the adults.  We were all moved by many of the people we met and spoke to.  There was a gentleman at the Vietnam Memorial who explained how the wall is set up and how the names are arranged.   He had served and his story was touching and made it very real to the girls and I as we looked at the names of those who had given the ultimate sacrifice.  After Jessie found her uncle’s name on the wall, she discovered that he had died “On the worst day of the worst week of the worst month of the worst year in the war” as there were so many names for that day! I think we all learned more in 4 days than we could have ever learned in a semester of history.  I loved learning about how Arlington Cemetery was started. Our tour guide told us a beautiful story written by the son of one of the survivors pictured in the six boys and 13 hands at the Marine Memorial.  He also explained how Iwo Jima had directly influenced the dropping of not one but 2 nuclear bombs in Japan to save American lives.  I feel we all came back from the trip with a stronger appreciation for our freedom and the struggles our country has overcome to be the great place it is today.

If it is possible, PLEASE take your Girl Scouts to new places.   Help them see their state and country.  It is so very rewarding for them and for the leaders as well!  We sold cookies to do this (as well as FOS candy) and owe a huge thank you to our community and Lisa Cech for all the help with that!  We want to really thank Monica Legleiter in the Hays office for all her help and support, Lewis Heating and Cooling for buying 200 boxes of cookies to give to their customers,   Beth Smith and her church in Garfield for providing yard work money earning opportunities, the Larned Rotary Club for their help and support, and Mr. Charles Sherman with the Boy Scout Museum for their help and support.  Our community here in Larned is one of the best I have ever lived in!  People went out of their way to support our troop.  So many people came to our booth sales JUST because they wanted to help us get to D.C.  A very special thanks to our local paper the Tiller and Toiler for all support of Larned Girl Scouts through all the pictures you print and the information you disseminate on our behalf!


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