Roberta “Bobbie Lou” Akin Scull joined Girl Scouts in South Knoxville in 4th grade. She says Miss Kent, her troop leader, “exposed us to the Girl Scout Promise and Law and opened the door to another world that developed my awareness of so many things.” The variety of troop volunteers and camp counselors in her life played a significant role to becoming the woman she is today.
With this troop, she began to learn a variety of skills by working alone and with teams, especially through outdoor camping and the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Bobbie learned to set up camp, build a campfire, swim, canoe, and sail. These hands-on skills would serve her throughout her life as a camp counselor and through many experiences with family and friends all over the US. By selling and delivering cookies, she learned responsibility and risk-taking in trying new things and meeting new people, which developed confidence in meeting with others.
Most of Bobbie’s significant experiences involved camp! She had the opportunity to be among the first camp counselors at the primitive camp at Tanasi as well as serving on staff at Camp Margaret Townsend in its final days.
“Everything was done under the open sky… and constellations in all of their wonder,” she said, “cooking all our meals over an open fire, learning and singing wonderful Girl Scout songs on the lakeshore. The teamwork and camaraderie developed lives with me today.”
At Camp Margaret Townsend, she learned water survival skills and was one of the first groups of girls to take a canoe trip from Norris Dam to the current Camp Tanasi to explore the blackberry-covered property along Norris Lake. The adventure had them apply all their camping, primitive outdoor skills, water safety, and team skills.
As for the most important lessons learned through Girl Scouting, she says they were developing an awareness of her civic responsibilities, and the importance of truth, honor, hard work, and concern for others. Through the program, she had the opportunity to try things she otherwise would not have been able to experience, in a safe atmosphere of her girl-led troop.
“To sum it all up,” she said, “Girl Scouts meant the world, literally, to me as I have interacted in numerous ways with different kinds of people and cultures.”