‘It did as much for me as I did for the girls’

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
On May 11, the Sally Swayne hosted a meeting of her Girl Scout Troop 829.
But not the current troop in Ortonville.
“We were troop 829, there’s another one here in Ortonville,” said Swayne, former troop leader. “I was worried they’d get mixed up, but if they got mixed up, they’d be our little sisters and join right in.”
The troop that gathered on Saturday was Swayne’s one and only troop that she led from 1963-1975. She said all the girls got along so well that they continue to stay in contact today, and this is the second reunion they’ve had.
“Those girls, they’re like family,” she said. “That was my wonderful troop, and I didn’t go on from there.”
Though Swayne never led another troop, she didn’t stop being involved with her own troop. And looking back, she says she’d do it again.
“Not at my age, but if I were to start over, I certainly would,” she said. “It did as much for me as I did for the girls.”
Troop members included local residents and some who were scattered alike. Not all of them were able to make the reunion due to distance or other plans, but the ones that did come brought flowers and their Girl Scout supplies.
“Some of that display, we’re going to see if the historical society wants it,” said Swayne. “I don’t know what all they [Girl Scouts] are doing right now, I know they’ve added new kinds of badges.”
Swayne, as well as her troop members, recalled a lot of memories during their reunion. One she recalled was when the girls were in middle school.
“Right about seventh grade, it wasn’t so cool to be a girl scout,” she said. “So I thought ‘I’m going to do something about that’ so I told them if they went out and earned money as a troop, I would take them to Disney World, and they did and I did.”

She also shared the letter she had written for their last meeting, on April 18, 1975, which recalled their camping trips, field trips down to Detroit to see a ballet, birthday parties and more.
“And many, many more that you girls each have your very own,” she wrote.“Some happy, some sad and probably some mad. Maybe they have helped you to grow up and will be things for you to tell your children when are young (is that too far ahead for you to think while you’re all still so young?) It has really been an honor and a privilege for me to be a part of your lives. Thank you all for being such an extra special troop.”
Though Swayne said that some memories might be ones of anger, she said her troop got along great.
“I don’t think I ever heard an argument amongst them, ever,” she said. “They worked well together. It was a fun, good experience.”

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