Devotion to Scouting has spanned 30 years

Kalin's involvement began in the 1970s

Kalin's involvement began in the 1970s

March 12, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - Mary Kalin looks good in green.

But that's not the only, or even the most important, reason why she has been involved in the Girl Scouts of America since 1976.

A board member of the four-state Shawnee Council - in the 1970s and again now - Kalin said the impact that Scouting can have on young girls is the reason she has stayed active.

"My first grand memory was of day camping in Wisconsin and swimming lessons given in a lake," Kalin said. That was also the first time she stayed overnight in a tent - a pastime she admits is not her favorite.


When Kalin moved to Washington County in 1977, her daughter's Girl Scout troop needed a meeting place, and the Hagerstown home of Kalin and her husband, George, was volunteered.

Later, Kalin took a troop of cadettes and then senior Girl Scouts, leading them into the 1980s along with co-leader Susan Gonzalez.

"What I did for the girls in my troops was mostly sewing, needlework and cooking," Kalin said. Gonzalez took the girls camping.

As her daughters - Heidi Whitehill and Heather Kalin - grew out of Scouting, Kalin remained active. She worked with the day camp programs and was involved at the Hagerstown service center, which had a location on Pope Avenue.

For 10 years, Kalin was on the Gold Award committee for the council, which is headquartered in Martinsburg, W.Va.

"Then I really got interested in archives," Kalin said. She was invited to New York for a week of learning the fine art of serious archiving. "It was a life-changing experience for me," Kalin said.

Badges, handbooks, photos and other items from Girl Scouting's past are among the archives on which she has been working. Some of the treasures are on display at council headquarters.

During the 75th anniversary of Girl Scouting in 1987, the Kalins helped find homes for the international Girl Scouts who were in the United States for the celebration.

"I was also involved in a C&O Canal bike hike with girls from all over the country," Kalin said.

The trip started in Cumberland, Md., and ended July 4 in Washington, D.C. - just in time for the Independence Day fireworks on the Mall.

In five years, Girl Scouting will be 100 years old. Kalin said she is anticipating the events and activities that will no doubt accompany the milestone.

She is also wondering how Girl Scouting will change, hoping that the basic structure she has enjoyed for more than 30 years will continue for the new generations of girls.

After all, Kalin doesn't want to be the only one who looks good in green.

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