top of page

Sarah Brown and Scarlet

Can Two Girl Scouts Teach Us to Care Again?

By Nate Fisher

“Their camaraderie represents a broader cooperation we could all share, one where we build each other up and work alongside each other, mutually supportive.”

The Girl Scout Promise is a sacred pact.

The oath one takes, even in the junior years as a Brownie, invokes how we can always do our best to be kind, respect ourselves, and create impactful change in our world. Sarah Brown and Scarlet Harris, two second-grade Brownie besties, have a friendship that proves faith in ideals can become faith in action. It’s not difficult; you just have to “be nice because you like to do it and because you don’t want to get in trouble.” That’s how Sarah interprets the scout charter, and the avoidance of conflict by demonstrating humanitarianism is, all kids-say-the-darndest-things aside, one of the easiest ways to better the delicate places we all share. “One globe, one life,” to alter the lyrics to an alt-rock staple. Anyone can sing along to it.

Scarlet puts it to us plainly: If you can help, you should. Through their shared experience in community service, practical skill-building, and invaluable leadership activities, Scarlet and Sarah support each other as Brownies and complement each other’s ability to help those in need. They hear their Brown Owl calling; they are keepers of the Brownie ring. I’m not even being melodramatic in my language there – that’s a well-known pack meeting song. The “Brownie Bridge” these two pass over in their growing appreciation for nature, personal responsibility, and confidence-building action is the line between people who go on to make a difference and those who refuse the call. For the uninitiated, let me enlighten you: this ain’t all about cookies. The charity fundraisers alone make the scouts a force of change to be reckoned with. When second-graders like Sarah and Scarlet learn how to clean up and improve the atmosphere of their community and work in teams to become stewards of the earth, a brand of human walks among us that can maybe sort out the repercussions of decisions we older folk bungled so badly.

The way of the Brownie is personal and spiritual in the sense of connectivity through true, unconditional friendship. Scarlett recently had a sleepover at Sarah’s house. By all accounts, it was a smash. Sloppy joes, mac and cheese, pineapple. Popcorn, even though it irks Sarah when the kernels cling to your throat, and you have to wash it down with milk. They break bread like this often, learn from each other, and talk through the hot idea of the minute and the excitement of tomorrow. Together, they brainstorm ways to create an impact. “I do like playing soccer,” Sarah muses, “If there’s trash on the floor, we could kick the ball, and if we hit one of the trashes [sic], we can pick it up.” Gamifying service is one way to keep giving without tiring yourself out. The pair have learned that to help others, you sometimes need a close friend to help you, too. Preferably, someone who knows you so well that they’ve memorized your daily routine inside and out.

“I like Pete the Cat books,” Scarlet says. We’ve finished discussing the scouts and turned the conversation to their favorite books. Sarah sharply observes, “You get that one almost every day.” Eager to correct this egregious mistake, Scarlet refutes Sarah’s claim in a dry, matter-of-fact delivery, “Not every day.” Though this may seem argumentative, the two are actually each other’s fondest admirers. Sarah confides in us that Scarlet has complimented her ability to draw a cursive “J” on several occasions. Though Scarlet neither confirms nor denies this, we feel the truth was told in the spirit of the Brownie way. Their camaraderie represents a broader cooperation we could all share, one where we build each other up and work alongside each other, mutually supportive. When lofty phrases like “change the world” are thrown around, they refer to progress toward stronger friendships and loving collaborations. “Love thy neighbor” kind of stuff. I know y’all go to church; don’t act like you’re not following me here. The Brownies, too, have a deep, morally sound conviction.

Scarlet and Sarah enjoy their days differently, a reminder that both independent character and communal focus effectively combine to create a broader impact. Before you learn to preserve life, you must enjoy life, and Scarlet lives it on her trampoline in warmer months. The dogs chase Sarah through her yard. Not too far away, her friend Scarlet revs up the tinny motor of her pink-and-black battery-operated ride-on vehicle, ready to hit the open driveway. The groundhog didn’t see his shadow this year, and that news made Sarah’s week. “I really want to play soccer,” she explains, and an early spring brings soccer greens. Speaking of greens, Sarah has plenty of gardening this spring, helping her mother cultivate the cycle of nature. We expect as much from a young guardian of the earth.

We can enjoy simple joys and remain proactive about protecting this wild, outrageous, gorgeous monolith of a planet. You don’t have to necessarily pledge to the Girl Scout Promise to do so. However, the creed provides a springboard for eager helpers like Sarah and Scarlet. You can give back by starting a new friendship or maintaining better connections in an old one. Connection is all we can count on when faced with the rifts life can throw in our way. It could be as simple as that, or at least a start if we don’t know how to help. We can only do right by Sarah and Scarlet if we try, and that might involve putting down what we’re doing, pulling a stranger aside in line at the bank, and remarking on the exquisite structure of their cursive “J.”

bottom of page