The pioneering Grosse Pointe-based Girl Scout Troop No. 327 – the first Girl Scout troop given a distinction that at one point had only been given to Boy Scouts – will celebrate its 40th anniversary as part of the Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp this year.
Troop No. 327 was the first Girl Scout troop invited to serve the camp as part of the Governor’s Honor Guard, a distinction which had previously been reserved for Boy Scouts.
A reunion celebration is planned for Sunday, June 22 at Fort Mackinac, and the troop is working to get the word out to as many alumnae as possible.
“This anniversary is a tremendous milestone,” said Senior Advisor Cathy Leverenz. “We are very proud to have served the Governor’s Honor Guard for four decades, and to have provided such a wonderful opportunity for so many Girl Scouts over the years.
“We very much would like to spread the word to all of our troop’s alumnae, in hopes to get as many together as possible to celebrate this very special occasion,” she said.
The Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp, which originated in 1929, is the only program of its kind in the country, hosting scouts from across the state throughout the summer. Honor Guard scouts raise and lower 26 official flags daily, serve as guides at Fort Mackinac and other historical buildings in downtown Mackinac Island, assist in public tours of the governor’s summer residence, and participate in other service projects. Boy and Girl Scouts alternate service on a weekly basis.
President Gerald R. Ford was among the first Eagle Scouts to serve at the camp.
In 1973, Michigan First Lady Helen Milliken began a campaign to allow Girl Scouts to serve as members of the Governor’s Honor Guard. As a result of her efforts, Girl Scout Troop No. 327 was invited to serve the summer of 1974. Since then, more than 700 girls have represented the troop at camp, from cities across the Detroit Metro region.
“Those who have attended the camp know what a unique program it is, and have a special appreciation for the beauty and history of Mackinac Island,” said Leverenz. “This opportunity has such a profound impact on the scouts’ lives – providing a patriotic perspective, instilling a passion for community service, and empowering young leaders. Our program is largely run and led directly by the girls. There are very few opportunities like this for today’s youth.”
Girl Scout troop No. 327 is part of the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. The Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp has served the State of Michigan since 1929, and is a program of the Mackinac State Historic Parks.