COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Two key interests consumed Marianne Elser Crowder as a girl: dancing and Girl Scouts.
Dancing became her passion and her career. Scouting taught her lifelong skills and created lasting friendships.
Crowder, 100, the nation's oldest living Girl Scout, was the guest of honor recently at the Girl Scouts-Wagon Wheel Council's annual Women of Distinction luncheon. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native joined the Council's Troop 4 in 1918. That was just one year after the council, one of the oldest west of the Mississippi River, began.
Her nickname was Zip. "I could run fast," she explains.
She could also dance. She took up dancing about the same time she started with Girl Scouts. She went on to operate her own dance studio in Colorado Springs and also headed the dance department at Colorado College before falling in love and moving to California in 1939.
With her 101st birthday about a month away, Crowder continues to live independently. She was 97 when she stopped teaching dance. "I still feel very well. I suppose it's because of dance that I've always been well and active."