Girl Scout's campfire songbook helps her win group's highest honor NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

AS GOOD AS GOLD

June 24, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Less than a week before her childhood years were to pass forever into her memory, Tracey Ann "Cat" Carter figured she had a little time to catch up on her sewing.

So she spent one of her last study hall periods at Francis Scott Key High School meticulously tacking various Girl Scout merit patches onto a blue vest.

"I joined [Girl Scouts] when I was in the first grade. I just heard an announcement over the loud speaker at school that said there was a meeting," said Ms. Carter, who graduated Saturday from Key. "I don't know how I got interested. I just did."

One of Ms. Carter's most joyful memories of Scouting is singing with her friends around a campfire.

It was her love of campfire music that inspired her to create the Girl Scout songbook that helped her earn a Gold Award, the highest honor bestowed upon female Scouts. She received the award last week.

"I'm the type of person who really likes to sing songs, but I can't always remember the words," Ms. Carter said, her large, brown eyes widening as she spoke. "I wanted to make a songbook for those people like me who don't remember the words."

Ms. Carter's songbook began as a four-page final project for a computer graphics class she was taking at Carroll Community College last fall.

"It started out with a lot of actions songs and songs for older girls," said Ms. Carter, as she sorted through her notebook looking for stray pages of the 30-page booklet. "Then I went back to put in songs for younger girls.

About 500 copies were were distributed to Girl Scouts at a community function in May.

"It just got bigger and bigger," Ms. Carter said.

She has been involved in hundreds of Scouting activities, including a stint as a delegate to the Council of the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. She has attended many national conventions and participated in National Wider Ops, a program that gives Girl Scouts an opportunity to learn about such things as history and nature.

She also was a singer and storyteller for a Girl Scout day camp in 1989.

"It's fun," said Ms. Carter, who lives outside Union Bridge. "I haven't been in two years, and I'll be doing it this summer. I'm going to do storytelling and songs again this year, and I'll use my book."

Although she has been busy taking accelerated classes in high school, Ms. Carter said she has always been active in school activities. She has been a member of the Key choir and the show choir, a performance group within the larger choir.

But she said she always found time to be a Girl Scout.

"There is no one left in my original troop. Some of them are still friends of mine, though," she said. "I really enjoyed singing around the campfire, and the people, and the arts and crafts, so I stayed involved.

"The famous excuse is that there is no time," she said. "The truth is, the older you get, the less time you seem to have."

Although Ms. Carter will leave the county to attend Goucher College in September -- she's studying to work with horses -- she said the lessons she learned as a Girl Scout make her eager to continue her commitment as an adult.

"A lot of my friends, my ideals, and things like that, I have because of Girl Scouts," said Ms. Carter. "One way or another, Girl Scouts has influenced everything in my life."

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