We’re sitting in a circle on the floor of the church hall in our brown dresses and tights. Brownies always begins this way, singing songs in a circle, with our legs criss-crossed. Our leader, Brown Owl, says we’re stacking our legs like log cabins, but my knees point to the ceiling like an A-frame. I don’t like the way my brown tights sag down my thighs, so I’m wearing underwear under and over my tights. This keeps them in place nicely. Around our necks are orange and white scarves. I tie it while mouthing the words left over right and under, right over left and under. I like the way the knot is flat and smooth on top. The Owls say it’s a wreath knot.
Brownies is a step before Girl Guides, a two year program for 7-8 year olds to learn new skills, kindness and how to be a good friend. When the Owls deem a Brownie ready, she ‘flies up’ to Guides. I was a Brownie for 4 years; I never flew up. Snowy Owl said it was because I was so much fun to have around.
My group is called the Sprites. Sprites are known for laughing and playing. It’s the perfect group for me. I wear the golden Sprite pin on my chest, but I don’t have many badges on my sleeve. You have to earn them at home, and really, I only like being a Brownie when I’m at Brownies.
Every spring we have to sell Girl Guide Cookies. I don’t like doing this at all. It means wearing tights with two pairs of underwear, outside in the real world. It means walking up to front doors and ringing doorbells. It means feeling awkward on a stranger’s front steps. Door to door sales shouldn’t be a problem for a playful Sprite. But the whole thing makes me sweaty.
Most Brownies are good at selling; Girls Guides (and Girl Scouts of America, who operate in a similar fashion) have been selling cookies for over a century. But selling door to door is difficult during a pandemic. Last week the New York Times reported Girl Scouts Stuck With Over 15 Million Boxes of Unsold Cookies. Imagine the warehouses filled with Mint Thins.
But the pandemic has taught us all to pivot, even little Brownies. The Girl Guides of Canada have gone B2B (business to business) and created the Girl Guide Chocolatey Mint Blizzard Treat with Dairy Queen. So in the spirit of supporting my alma mater without having to go door to door, I take the boys out for a Blizzard. It’s 25C outside and we’re fresh out of isolation. This cool moment, with its soft-serve smoothness and proper bits of cookies and chocolatey mint dispersed, feels good. Mint thins aren’t the Oreo-style Girl Guide chocolate or vanilla cookies from my days as a Brownie, but I have to say, this commercial collaboration seems right.
My knees still point to the sky when I sit cross-legged on the floor. I choose not to wear tights, especially ones that won’t stay up. I can’t tie a wreath knot without whispering to myself, and selling still makes me sweaty. But I could probably earn a few cooking badges, and sew them on my sleeve. Maybe even make a Blizzard.
PS- Blizzards are easy to make at home. Spoon 6 scoops of ice cream into a stand mixer that you’ve just pulled from the freezer. Beat ice cream with a paddle for a minute or so, then add a ¼- ⅓ cup toppings of choice (crushed Skor Bars, Oreos, brownies, cookies, M&M’s or Girl Guide cookies if you know a Brownie with a stash in her garage) and fold until incorporated. That’s it.