Brownie troop makes new friends with patients Center visit benefits young and old CARROLL COUNTY SENIORS

December 02, 1992|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Seven little girls, dressed in their Brownie best, circled the recreation room at Sykesville Eldercare Center, chatting with the patients and showing them pictures.

"This is my mother and this is my sister," said Andie Wyatt, 8, as she stood before a patient with her favorite family photo.

"And there is you," said the patient with a smile.

Brownie Troop 140 came to the center Monday "to make new friends" with 20 elderly patients. They came bearing gifts of glittering snowflake mobiles and carrying pictures from family albums.

"We brought pictures so they could get to know us and our families," said Cindy Dixon, 8.

Emily Steele, 8, showed her baby pictures and Sharon Fluss, 8, talked about the trio of ducks in her photo.

"I raised them when they were babies," she said. "They are at a farm pond now."

Holly Steinacker, 8, said she thought a picture of her great-grandmother would remind the patients of their own great-grandchildren.

"I asked the girls to bring something to share," said Troop Leader Brenda Steele. "Baby pictures were the most popular."

The girls also served soda and a cake, frosted with white icing and decorated in sugary red poinsettias and Happy Holiday wishes. The cake was donated by a local grocery store.

"Don't tip it, girls," cautioned Lisa Steinacker, who accompanied her daughter's troop on the visit, as two Brownies carefully carried the cake around the room so the residents could see before they sampled.

"Check before you serve the cake, girls," she said. "Some people might be diabetic and not be able to eat it."

Mrs. Steele asked the Brownies to demonstrate how they open and close their twice monthly meetings at Carrolltowne Elementary.

DTC "Show everyone your great, big Brownie smiles," said Mrs. Steele.

Holding an American flag, troop members conducted the opening flag ceremony and recited the Girl Scout Pledge. As the little girls sang "America the Beautiful," several patients chimed in.

"We have talked about this at our last two meetings," said Mrs. Steele. "I told them to wear their uniforms and their smiles, and be on their best manners. I left the rest to them."

Once they overcame the initial shyness, the Brownies turned into lively chatter boxes, spouting stories of troop adventures.

"We slept in tents at our sleep-over and we listened to New Kids on the Block songs," said Tammy Thomas, 8. "Once we went to Pizza Hut even before it was open."

As Tammy smiled and talked through her red and green braces, she tried to find a family connection between herself and a patient, Josephine Thomas.

"We are both from Sykesville," said the little girl.

Emily explained that the many badges on her uniform to Bearnese Lowe, who praised the little girl for earning so many awards.

"My daughter used to be a Girl Scout," said Mrs. Lowe. "I liked the activities a lot and went everywhere with them."

AErma Buchwald, 73, told the children that "a long, long time ago" she, too, was a Brownie.

"We did service projects, too," she said. "But we didn't get badges."

Ruth Dubbert, assistant activities director at the center, said many of the patients have no families and few visitors.

"It is so important when people take the time and talk to them face to face," she said. "They really appreciate this and will talk about it for weeks."

"I love being with children," said 87-year-old Lillian Fish, who has 13 great-grandchildren of her own.

The children concluded their visit with "Taps" and the traditional Brownie circle.

"You are all so nice and so dear," said Mrs. Fish. "I hope you get something really good for Christmas."

The children promised to make a return visit and said they would send presents before Christmas. They are making hand-woven baskets and filling them with potpourri and candy.

Holly said talking in front of so many people made her a little nervous.

"I will come back, though," she promised.

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