2008-08-16 / Top News

Mitten Bay Girl Scouts Celebrate 30 Years as Honor Guards

By Caitlyn Kienitz

Honor guard alumni of Girl Scout Troop #609 of the Mitten Bay Council gather with current troop members at Fort Mackinac Sunday, August 10. The group met on the Island to celebrate its 30th reunion. Honor guard alumni of Girl Scout Troop #609 of the Mitten Bay Council gather with current troop members at Fort Mackinac Sunday, August 10. The group met on the Island to celebrate its 30th reunion. Since 1979, the Girl Scouts of Mitten Bay Troop #609 have served as honor guards on Mackinac Island. This year, the troop's alumni gathered at the Fort Mackinac scout barracks to celebrate the troop's 30th year. The Mitten Bay troop, based in Saginaw, last gathered for its 25th reunion.

The reunion, which took place Sunday, August 10, included lunch and a tour of the scout barracks, as well as a video presentation and the opportunity to see the current members of the troop carry out their guard duties, including the lowering of the flags at the end of the day.

Joyce Raducha and her daughter, Yvonne Fulton, both part of the group that came to the Island in 1979, said only a few things have changed in 30 years.

"On free time, whenever you left the barracks, you had to be in uniform and you had to march," said Mrs. Raducha. The scouts were allowed to spend some of that free time at Grand Hotel's swimming pool, as long as they were chaperoned.

The Indian Dormitory station for the scouts has since closed, and the troop has drawn from a larger area than it did originally.

"It used to be that every girl was from Mitten Bay," said Mrs. Raducha. "But now we've seen people from Flint and the Upper Peninsula."

The troop's Island experience began in 1978, when troop leader Cookie Staley of Linwood brought a group of Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts to stay at Wilderness State Park and they visited the Island. The current troop shares the number 609 with Ms. Staley's original troop.

The process scouts went through to be selected to serve was similar to today.

"The girls were interviewed, because of course not everyone was selected," said Mrs. Raducha.

"We had to fill out an application," added Ms. Fulton, "and then went to a training weekend to practice for the week."

The girls also participated in a service project while on the Island, just as each scouting group does today, painting the fence behind the scout barracks.

Some members of the troop worried that this would be the last gathering of the Mitten Bay group, as Girl Scout councils are consolidating and the Mitten Bay council will no longer exist.

Mrs. Raducha and Ms. Fulton feel certain, however, that the troop would continue to serve as honor guards on the Island.

"Each year, they've continued to do well on their evaluations, or they wouldn't be asked to come back," said Ms. Fulton.

"The troop will still keep their slot," Mrs. Raducha said.

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