JENNIE: Brownies breaking racial barriers

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) - You may remember this news story from November:  the Girl Scouts of the USA is suing the Boy Scouts of America for a trademark infringement.

The problem is that the Boy Scouts are changing their name to Scouts BSA and also welcoming girls. The Girl Scouts argue their brand will suffer as a result of the change. They also say the change is causing confusion, leading some to think the Girl Scouts no longer exists as a separate entity.

Well, oh my, how times have changed!

Today's news is one thing, but I wanna take you back to a time of racial unrest in this country. Even right here in Augusta.

Back when civil rights sparked riots and leaders called on legendary Godfather of Soul James Brown to come home and try to calm things down.

But, on a much quieter scale, other people here were making inroads in integration and one of them is with me today, and her name is Judy Hansen. She started the first integrated Brownie troop here in the city, and that's why these other folks are here. Let me introduce you to this crowd, including little Scouts from back in the day. First of all, I want you to meet Helen Brodbeck. Helen was a longtime Troop leader, and she herself was a Girl Scout. Judy Hansen, who we talked about a moment ago, I introduced Judy. Georgette Shaw, and also, Sharon Wong, who were both in the Brownie troop with Judy Hansen and then a little bit later when Ms. Brodbeck came along. And they went through years of scouting together.

First of all, let's get back to the racism at the time, and, Judy, how did you take up that mantle and decide, we're gonna have an integrated Scout troop?

"Well, we came from Germany, we're a military family. And my oldest daughter was in an integrated troop in Germany.  And when we came back and there wasn't an integrated troop in Richmond county, I decided, why not? I mean, we should do it. So, I went around to the schools with second graders and left notes and said if you have children who, daughters who wanna be in a Scout troop, give me a call. That's how it got started."

Click the video link above for the entire interview.

And speaking of Girl Scouts, if you are a former scout, troop leader, or volunteer Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia wants to hear from you!

You're invited to a Girl Scout Alumnae Luncheon. The date is Thursday, January 17th at 11:30am.  The luncheon will be held at West Lake Country Club. Tickets are $25.

RSVP before January 10th by mailing a check to the GSHG office at 508 Shartom Drive, Augusta, GA 30907.

Or, make your reservation by calling Sandy Helling at 706-621-5981.

Sandy Helling is the Fund Development Specialist for Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia and she shared much more about events planned locally for Girl Scouts and the community at large.

"We have a lot of fun things that we hope that they can come and participate in, so with the race, we'll do an overnight over the summer so they can have dinner with the girls at summer camp.

"And we have a big event in Savannah every year that alumnae will be invited to participate in called Quest Fest. And it's like a giant scavenger hunt all across the city of Savannah.

"So, the girls are looking for opportunities, and not necessarily looking for items. But they'll be doing STEM-related activities. And then they'll have to upload photos or videos of them completing the various activities. And it's just a really fun time."

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