Long ago a special ceremony was formed. Juliette Low wanted her original girls to carry a special spark with them as their Scout group broke up. Some from the troop were moving away, working to help their families or wanted to help a group of girls a little younger than themselves. But whatever their reasons, Juliette knew no other group would ever quite be the same. As the girls stood in a circle holding candles (they had made), Juliette knew what spark it was that she wanted to pass on.
She lit her candle and spoke.
"With this candle I give you each something very special to pass on. As I light the candle on my right I ask each of you to light the candle to your right and pass it on. I want you to carry this thought with you wherever you go. This is the ETERNAL FLAME for Girl Scouts. Each of you after having a lit candle before you will repeat the Girl Scout Promise with me, then pause and recall a few of the things we have done together as a group. I will hold my candle up and as I do so you will all raise yours and we will blow them out together. Before we separate from our circle, I want to ask you to keep this candle as a very special candle. It is not to be used for any purpose but passing on the ETERNAL FLAME. You may use it in other Girl Scout ceremonies such as camps, encampments, campfires, bridging or court of awards ceremonies. I'm glad we were able to start a special tradition based on our ETERNAL FLAME."
Passing the Light and Spirit of Girl Scouting
When Juliette Gordon Low established Girl Scouting in 1912, the tradition of candlelight ceremonies was an important part of the various activities. Through the early years, she passed the light and spirit of Girl Scouting on to others through investitures and campfires. They, in turn, continued to pass the light and the spirit. Over the years, the light and spirit of Girl Scouting has taken many different paths. The following is a brief history of one such path.
One of the first leaders-in-training was Ethel Cooper, and she like so many others, received the light from Juliette Low. Ethel went on to establish a troop in 1917 in Plymouth, Pennyslvania. Through her years of Girl Scout involvement, she too, passed the light on to her girls with the hope that they would continue to pass the light and keep the spirit of Girl Scouting alive.
The light from Ethel's candle was later passed to Ginny Denn, and from her to Melanie Weiss. While at National Center West in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, in 1986, Melanie passed the candlelight to Paula Eppinger of New York and to Catherine Leibrand of Michigan.
In June of 1987, Paula and Catherine came together as participants in "Promenade Through Our Past", a wider opportunity in Savannah, Georgia. As part of the closing banquet, Paula and Catherine shared their spirit of Girl Scouting by passing the light to the participants, staff and friends of Girl Scouts. Among those receiving the light was Donna Rohwedder, a staff member from Illinois.
In August of 1987, Donna participated as a staff member of the wider opportunity in Iowa called "Head of the Hills". During a campfire, Donna passed the light to Lori Drake, a participant of the wider op.
In November of 1989, Lori passed on the light during closing ceremonies of an overnight campout involving Cadette and Senior Girl Scout Troop #1230 of Tierro del Oro Girl Scout Council.
While attending a service unit meeting at Beale Air Force Base, California, in October of 1990, Vickie passed the candlelight to Nancy Imus, a Tierro del Oro Council staff member, at an investiture and rededication ceremony.
On October 17, 1990, Nancy passed the light to Maggi Moromisata at a staff investiture and rededication ceremony.
On June 20, 1992, Maggi passed the light to Jane Allen at the close of training at Edith Macy Conference Center in New York. Jane passed the light to Judy Jones during a staff meeting of the Girl Scout Council of the Apalachee Bend, on August 18, 1992. Judy passed the light on to Pat Shivers.
On November 2, 1995, Pat Shivers passed the light to Donna Tuttle during an Associational meeting of the Girl Scout Council of the Apalachee Bend.
On October 8, 1998, Donna Tuttle passed the light on to the members of the WAGGGS-L list.
May we always remember the spirit in which Juliette began this organization to spread to all girls the confidence, determination, courage, and knowledge that they can do anything. May we develope that same spirit within ourselves and the girls we lead.
Let your lights shine!