1978 England trip has reunion

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Girl Scouts who reunited at the Francis Land House in Virginia Beach were, first row, Adrienne Meyer Joynes, Rosemary Moyers Carpenter, Theresa Cross Tiner, Renee Terwilliger Church; second row, Carol Brady Fly, Dabney Carr, leader Frances Carr, Sheila Escajeda Adams, Sarah Alwood Williams, Joanna Kirby, Lynn O’Donald Leccese, Holly Gribble Stein.

A few Suffolk natives recently were among a dozen former Girl Scouts who reunited in Virginia Beach to reminisce about their 1978 trip to England and Switzerland.

Frances Carr, who led the trip, was able to be in attendance at the reunion, which was organized by the Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast.

“It was wonderful,” Carr said. “For the girls to have a chance to pick up where they left off 35 years ago was just incredible.”

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The three-week trip was a year in the making for the 33 senior Girl Scouts who went. They had to raise about half the money for their trip in addition to all their school commitments, Carr said. Most of the girls were in college at the time; Carr’s daughter, who was a rising senior in high school, was among the youngest.

The trip was in return for a 1976 trip a group of British Girl Guides had taken to Hampton Roads for the bicentennial. The Girl Scouts toured London and took a side trip to Switzerland.

“This was not an opportunity that every Scout gets,” Carr said. “By the time we came back, (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) started raising the price of oil and nobody was going anywhere.”

Carr said the trip was valuable for the girls who went because the fund-raising showed them the value of hard work.

“So many things are attainable if you can hang in there,” Carr said. Many of the girls continued to be involved in Girl Scouting through college, and later with Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts with their own children.

After so many years, just locating the former Scouts was hard work for Carr and her husband, Bill Carr. She had saved the applications and wrote to the girls’ former home addresses, where some of their parents were still living. For the remainder, Bill Carr did some online detective work to track them down, although they were never able to find some of them.

Carr said the women enjoyed catching up with each other. Most are mothers, and some are grandmothers. Some also brought their husbands along.

“It was very heartwarming,” Carr said. “This was a lifetime experience, and these girls really grew to care greatly about each other.”