By: Myra Walters, Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader
Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader Myra Walters shares how Hurricane Matthew affected her troop and shines a light on the strength and powerful impact of the Girl Scout sisterhood during times of difficulty.
On October 7th the rain started as the news came that Hurricane Matthew would be hitting North Carolina on October 8th.
Troop 17 had just completed the requirements at the end of September for the Hurricane Awareness Patch. We learned how to track the hurricane, what the different categories meant, how to pack a preparedness kit, and develop an evacuation plan. We also created a collage of previous hurricane destruction that occurred in other states so we knew what the aftermath could look like. We were ready I thought until I lived through Hurricane Matthew and listened to the stories from my Girl Scouts of their experiences.
It’s October 8th and the rains continue, the winds whip, water starts to rise, trees begin to fall, and the power goes out. Okay, we learned about all this, but it seems like the water is rising fast. Then the warnings came to evacuate areas due to flooding, but we can’t get our vehicles out so boats come to rescue us. You grab what you can carry and leave in the middle of a dark rainy night praying for safety. You see cars getting washed away, people stranded on their roofs and hear calls for help. We make it to a shelter of crowded, scared strangers, all wondering if our home will be there when this is over.
The night has ended and daylight has approached, and we hear the news of areas that are completely flooded, roads are closed, trees are down, and some people have died or are missing. One of my Brownie Scouts asked her mom if they were homeless.
Were we prepared for all this devastation? No matter how much you read or see on TV what a hurricane can do, it will never prepare you until you experience it.
As we face the challenge with God’s strength to recover and try to put some normalcy back in our lives, my troop has been a great example of the Girl Scout Law in the following ways:
- Courageous and strong to face the storm and its devastation
- Considerate and caring, friendly and helpful as we worked in different communities helping to clean up, serve food, and pass out supplies.
- Using resources wisely when the water supply was cut off, and we had to use ditch water to flush toilets.
- Respect for others and authority when we were told to evacuate and were rescued by Emergency personnel.
- Making the world a better place as we pull together as sisters to put communities back together.
We would like to give a big shout out of thanks to Girl Scout Troops 1458, 1804, 1013, 1864 led by these Great Leaders: Brenda Ramsey, Shanika Reaves, Kimberly McClure, Jerial Bogan, and volunteer of Evelyn Baskervill of Cumberland County. They demonstrated what Girl Scout Sisterhood is all about. They reached out to my troop and collected and purchased a huge amount of clothes, shoes, school supplies and toiletries for us, in addition to their kind gesture to adopt my girls that lost everything for Christmas.
This is one patch program that we will never forget.