Barbara Haasis Bean is 91 years old - just nine years younger than the Girl Scout organization! More than seven decades after climbing through the ranks of Girl Scouts to earn the highest distinction possible, Bean - an Ashland resident - was recognized in a ceremony on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at the GSOSW Medford Service Center.
A recipient of the Golden Eaglet, an award that was discontinued in the late 1930's, Bean put in long hours to earn badges and meet requirements to obtain the cherished golden pin. Unfortunately, since Barbara left to attend college, she missed the ceremony where she would have been honored as she received her Golden Eaglet pin. Though she received the pin in the mail she said, "I never did get the ceremony."
Barbara's daughter, Jennifer Bean contacted GSUSA who referred her to the local alumnae specialist, KC Carnes. Jennifer asked if during this special anniversary year, Girl Scouts OSW would consider recreating the ceremony for her mother. In coordination with Meford Service Center Office Manager Karen Kelly, the volunteers, staff and girls were more than willing to pitch in to plan the celebration.
A volunteer historian researched the 1930 Girl Scout handbook and found the original ceremony which was recreated for Bean. Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington CEO, Karen Hill, officiated the ceremony. The program included a presentation of the Colors, a Girl Scout sing-along and a fashion show with girls modeling historical uniforms all the way up to present day. A lovely tea with wonderful refreshments were enjoyed while watching the 1918 film "The Golden Eaglet."
The 1930 ceremony required Barbara Bean to be escorted to the front (her daugher Jennifer was her escort) where she stood with Karen Hill. Local Girl Scouts led her in and stood up with her to represent Barbara's Girl Scout troop. The audience represented her local Girl Scout council. As Karen read through the lines of the original ceremony, Barbara stood proudly. At the completion of the ceremony, Karen pinned Barbara's original Golden Eaglet pin on her lapel (pictured above). At the completion of the ceremony, the audience rose to their feet and gave applause, many with tears in their eyes.
Barbara and Jennifer Bean said that the willingness by the local Girl Scout council to reach out to a fellow alumna is symbolic of how Girl Scouting changes the lives of girls and young women.
Staff member Karen Kelly summed it up nicely in a recent quote to the Medford Mail Tribune, "We value the Girl Scout traditions and ceremonies, and for us to honor Barbara and to make a dream come true for her at this stage of her life is such a nice thing for us to do."