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Judy Ruoff (left)

"I was born and raised in Garrett, Indiana, a small town, population 4,000, just north of Fort Wayne. Three of my good friends – Gretel, Katrina, Anita – and I were Girl Scouts together. I think our meetings were held at the Garrett Public Library. Since it has been almost 80 years ago, I don’t remember too many things. I do remember one leader, Jan Brinkerhoff, teaching us to knit. I made a cream-colored cardigan. (My mother was a beautiful knitter, but I never was interested until Girl Scouts; went on to knit, knit, knit.)

The four of us went to Camp Ella J. Logan for a week one summer. I enjoyed the swimming and boating the most. Cam Parks and his wife, “Brownie,” were the waterfront instructors. (Another side – they were both from Garrett. Cam was the football coach. His athletes put in the piers and took them out.) “Brownie” always worked on canoeing. Toward the end of our week, we took a long canoe trip, which I thought was great fun.

One evening after a meeting in Garrett, the four of us were walking home and the aurora borealis appeared in the sky. What a sight to behold!

Betty Zern was a longtime excellent leader. I earned a lifesaving certificate at the Auburn YMCA. One summer I was asked to be a lifeguard for a Garrett troop on their weekend outing, which I did; fun with everyone.

When my daughter, Sarah, was old enough, I was a leader along with Sharon Barteg at Francis Slocum. Then I was a Girl Scout leader along with Sue Mitchell. Again, spent time at Logan and the “greenies” on weekends, sold Girl Scout cookies, etc. I never continued with Senior Girl Scouting.

I don’t know when I began supporting Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana. At least for ten years or so. Jill La Fountain contacted me several years ago and we meet now and then.

I think Girl Scouting is a worthwhile, wonderful experience! So many girls are touched by it. I’m happy to help!"

Judith (Judy) A. Ruoff
December 2021