Bedford-Hanscom Girl Scouts Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Scouting in Bedford at Bridging Ceremony

Incoming Service Unit Coordinator Sue Turner welcomes girls as the cross the bridge into their next level of scouting. Image (c) JMcCT, 2013
Incoming Service Unit Coordinator Sue Turner welcomes Brownie Scouts as they cross the bridge to become Junior Girl Scouts. Image (c) JMcCT, 2013

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

The 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting in Bedford was celebrated by the Bedford Hanscom Service Unit, a part of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, on Saturday, June 7, when 56 girls gathered for an end-of-year Bridging Ceremony and anniversary celebration.  

Newly-minted Junior Scout Grace Hanegan affixes her Girl Scout pin to her new uniform vest.
A newly-minted Junior Scout

Daisies, the youngest Scouts, became Brownies; Brownies became Junior Girl Scouts, and Junior Scouts moved into the ranks of Cadettes. Senior Scouts became Ambassadors, and several girls became adult Scouts.

Former Girl Scouts will remember a similar ceremony known as “Flying Up” to mark similar transitions.

Bedford’s historic Girl Scout Bell Band which once played glockenspiels in local and national parades was recalled when a trio played “Girl Scouts Together,” a song well-known to Scouts of all ages. Scouting mentor Caroline Larson suggested that re-establishing the Bell Band in time for Bedford Day would be “a wonderful project.”

A 1987 Time Capsule prepared by the Brownies of Troop 1627 on the occasion of the Girl Scouts’ 75th anniversary, was located in the archives of the Bedford Historical Society and opened at the end of Saturday’s festivities. It included vintage scouting materials, newspapers, advertisements and artwork by members of the troop.

Opening the 1987 Time Capsule
Opening the 1987 Time Capsule
Andrea Falcone and Sarah Leshay
Andrea Falcone and Sarah Leshay

Incoming Service Unit Coordinator Sue Turner acknowledged with appreciation the volunteers who support Bedford/Hanscom Girl Scouts.

They include  Hillary DeMello, Registrar; Tom Pinney, Treasurer; Renu Bostwick, Bedford Daisy Troop Organizer; Caroline Larson, Daisy Mentor;  Michelle Sarra, Hanscom Troop Organizer; Nancy Wolk, Adult Recognition Coordinator and Service Unit Event Coordinator; Sarah Leshay, Encampment Director; and Andrea Falcone, Cookie Sale Coordinator.


Girl Scouting’s 100th Anniversary in Bedford

According to Caroline Larson and Margaret Iwanchuck, Bedford’s first Girl Scout troop came into existence just two years after Girl Scouting’s founder Juliette Gordon Low began the organization in Savannah, Georgia.

Alexandra Carlisle Pfeiffer - Image (c) Bedford Historical Society
Alexandra Carlisle Pfeiffer – Image (c) Bedford Historical Society

Broadway actress and leading lady Alexandra Carlisle Pfeiffer had been an active Girl Guide in England and became friendly with Juliette Gordon Low.

While visiting family in Bedford in February, 1914, Pfeiffer gathered 9 Bedford’s first troop and the second in Massachusetts, the Rose Patrol.

The troop met at the Pfeiffer home, located at the corner of Brooksbie Road and The Great Road. When Mrs. Pfeiffer returned to the stage, her sisters-in-law, the Misses Hannah and Alice Pfeiffer, took command of the troop, keeping it alive.

Over the past 100 years, local Girl Scouting has grown from that single Rose Patrol. In 2014 the combined Bedford – Hanscom Service Unit boasts 20 registered troops, with 245 girls and 100 adults.

Celebrating Scouting’s History in Bedford

According to Larson and Iwanchuck, “The Centennial of Girl Scouting in Bedford will be celebrated throughout 2014.  In addition to opening the 25 year old time capsule at Saturday’s 100th Birthday Party and Bridging Ceremony, Scouts are preparing a special float for Bedford Day and completing requirements to earn a special anniversary pin.

A contest to design a commemorative patch that will be worn by all Bedford/Hanscom scouts was won by Bedford Junior scout Sabrina Turner.  Her patch features the Girl Scout flag and Bedford flag and has been distributed to all Bedford Hanscom Girl Scouts. 

In the fall of 2014, Bedford/Hanscom Girl Scouts will host an Adult Girl Scout Tea with a display of 100 years of handbooks and uniforms, and a presentation by Bedford resident and  Juliette Gordon Low’s great great niece, Margaret Gordon Iwanchuk.  Any adults who are current or former Bedford Girl Scouts are invited, as well as women who may have been active in scouting in another town but are now living in Bedford.

Another high priority for the Scouts’ 100th year will be the preservation of Bedford’s Girl Scout history.  Research projects, a collection of artifacts and fundraising have begun with the help of several troops.

Creative oral histories that include interviews, skits and memorabilia have been completed by Junior Scouts earning their Bronze Award.  A pair of oral history DVD’s have been completed: The first is an interview with  Mary Welch, a resident of Carleton Willard and long time Girl Scout; the second focuses on the Bedford Girl Scout Bell Band.  A third DVD featuring Bedford resident Margaret Gordon Iwanchuk, will include her memories of her “Aunt Daisy,” Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouting in America.

Funding was provided in part by a grant from the Bedford Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; and in part by a private donor.

How to be in touch

Any one wishing to attend the fall tea, or willing to share items pertinent to Bedford or Hanscom Girl Scout history are invited to contact

Retiring the Colors at the end of the 2014 Bridging Ceremony and 100th Birthday Celebration.
Retiring the Colors at the end of the 2014 Bridging Ceremony and 100th Birthday Celebration.


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