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Remembering Girl Scout volunteer Eleanor F. Silver

Submitted by John Silver, GSCO Guest Blogger

Metro Denver


The 2019 Girl Scout Volunteer Recognition Awards were recently given out and it made me think about my mother who was a Girl Scout volunteer many years ago.

My mother Eleanor F. Silver, who passed away last year at age 98, volunteered for many years in Brighton.  She was passionate about developing a vibrant Girl Scout program and served as a troop leader and in multiple capacities for the service unit.

Here are excerpts from an essay entitled “Celebrating Eleanor” that was written by my sister (and Girl Scout!) Nancy L. Ottem:

“… Mama told me that after being active with Girl Scouts in Thornton, she wanted to get her girls into troops when we moved to Brighton.  She said that Brighton was quite cliquish and class conscious in the later ‘50s. When Mama inquired about her girls joining the existing local troop the leader responded: ‘I think we have enough girls.'”

“But Mama would not stand for that.  She was on a mission!  She envisioned Girl Scouts being an avenue for engaging ALL young girls, regardless. Just before we changed the subject, she quietly thought aloud: ‘I am kind of proud of that.'”

As a result, my mother contacted Girl Scouts of Colorado (Mile High Council at the time) and drove her turquoise Chevy to the South Broadway office and in 1958 organized a second Brownie troop in Brighton, to which all were welcome.

“Another time we were discussing the many organizations and clubs she had been a member of in Brighton. … She mentioned that she had been invited by friends to join other clubs they belonged to, which were exclusive or by invitation only.  But she always declined.  She told me she would not ever belong to something that was not open to all.”

Eventually, my mother was named Girl Scout Leader of the Year in Brighton.

My mother was placed in nursing care near the end of her life, where she continued her interest in the Harper’s Ferry Service Unit in the Brighton area.  Some of her belongings were sold at a tag sale and by coincidence the total receipt was $839. What is the coincidence?  839 was the number of the Girl Scout troop she established in Brighton so many years ago! This money has been added to a fund for Girl Scout projects in the Brighton area.

Funds from my mother’s trust and gifts from or arranged by her loving family support Girt Scouts in Brighton and beyond.



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