Lifelong Girl Scout Natalie Phillips 'Blessed' To See 100th Anniversary
By Denise. Buffa
March 13, 2012
Natalie Phillips, an 88-year-old Hartford resident who's been involved in Scouting for more than 80 years, is just thrilled she survived until Monday -- the Girl Scouts of the USA's 100th anniversary.
"I feel very blessed that I've lived this long," Phillips said. "I always hoped I'd live to see the 100th anniversary."
Phillips started as a Brownie when she was 7 years old and continued serving throughout her life in different capacities. She launched Troop 16 based at her place of worship, Broadview Community Church in Hartford, when she was just a few years out of high school and she remained there as Girl Scout leader for a quarter century. The Connecticut Valley Girl Scout Council twice awarded her a Thanks Badge, one of the highest awards a council can bestow upon an adult Girl Scout.
Phillips, who still does clerical work at the organization's Hartford office, said her involvement in the Girl Scouts took her from a shy girl to a leader.
Among her most noteworthy Scouting experiences is her 1969 boat trip to Europe as a leader chaperoning about 16 girls of Troop 1 in Manchester.
"My dream had come true because I always wanted to see 'Our Chalet' over in Switzerland," she said, "It was the first international building that we had. It's up in the Alps there. Gorgeous."
Her two daughters became Scouts and then Scout leaders, her granddaughters have been involved in Scouting, and now her great-granddaughter is a Daisy ready to bridge to a Brownie.
"She really has been an inspiration to both my sister and I," said Phillips' eldest daughter, Janet Machol of Newington, "as well as the hundreds of girls that she was a leader to for 25 years."
Phillips is proud of her family's five generations of Girl Scouts, which include her mother.
"I'm just proud that I'm part of the organization and my family is continuing the tradition -- and hopefully they'll keep on with it," she said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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