Preserving History: The Girl Scout Experience During COVID-19

GREENWICH, CT – Documenting historical events as they occur is an essential part of human life, as it enables future generations to understand the experiences of those who came before them.

The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly one of those historic events – a once-in-a-lifetime global health crisis that has impacted nearly every facet of daily life.

When the pandemic began, the Greenwich Historical Society contacted the community to find artifacts that reflect and document the unprecedented times the world has found itself in. Christopher Shields, curator of the Historical Society’s library and archives, said these artifacts are of great benefit to the community.

“We have the diaries of a young woman who lived in Greenwich during the period of World War I, and she was a meticulous archivist, both of the things she did, as well as of those of her friends. . would never be able to go anywhere else, ”Shields said.

“It gives you such a personal perspective. You couldn’t get it from any other type of primary source material. It almost gives you the ability to have a conversation with that person from that time in history. there really is no replacing it. “

The Girl Scouts of Greenwich, who have been involved with the Historical Society over the years, have submitted photos of various events that took place during the pandemic.

Girl Scouts was founded in 1912 and has provided a unique and hands-on experience to millions of girls. So when social distancing became the norm and people were largely confined to their homes, troop leaders across the country had to pivot and adapt in order to keep the experience of Scouting alive.

For Frances Wu Nobay and Kimberly Sushon, Greenwich Girl Scout co-leaders, the past year has been perhaps the most rewarding.

In-person meetings suddenly switched to Zoom in March 2020, and Wu Nobay and Sushon wondered how they could further educate Girl Scouts and keep tabs on the girls’ psychological and emotional health.

Wu Nobay is the head of Troop 50303 North Street School, which is K-5. Sushon’s troupe is 50540, which has 10 girls who are in 11th grade at Greenwich High School. Overall there are around 35 soldiers in Greenwich.

“The priority for last summer was how to give girls a rewarding experience and how to keep them in touch with people?” Sushon said.

With schools closed last spring and during the summer, and with COVID protocols in place, troops had to find public spaces to meet. A small plot next to the Cos Cob fire station was used, or troops gathered at the Montgomery Pinetum or the Greenwich Botanical Center.

“In a way, it made us be more creative about where we could meet. It helped the girls realize that they had these local gems around the corner and that they didn’t have to travel very far, ”Wu Nobay said.

Sushon said older and younger troops often teamed up to learn about the jackknife and fire safety, or rocks and minerals, or how to navigate the woods without a compass.

This in turn has strengthened two of the pillars of Girl Scouts: older girls helping younger ones and getting involved in the outdoors.

“I feel like they have discovered all of the incredible resources in our community, in terms of land, environment and people,” Sushon said. “I think this is one of the best years as a Girl Scout of all time.”

Shields and the Greenwich Historical Society are always urging people to donate any pandemic artifacts they feel are relevant, whether they are drawings, photographs, or any type of creative work.

Shields is hoping that as the pandemic wears off, more people will be willing to submit bids.

To contact the Greenwich Historical Society, call 203-869-6899.

For more information on the Greenwich Girl Scouts and how to register, click here.

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