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Beline Obeid

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Not humored

To the Editor:

It's no wonder Grosse Pointe often has a reputation for superficial, materialistic values when people read in our major newspaper, the Grosse Pointe News, the derogatory I Say column on the Girl Scouts by Margie Reins Smith ("Baby sitting," Oct. 10).

Are her comments Grosse Pointe values? I don't think they largely are, but what worries me is how representative her thinking may be.

The Girl Scouts teach young women to work together, to learn skills that will enable them to be self-reliant, independent; to acquire a love of the beauty of nature; to serve their community and country.

Was the sit-upon a symbol of useless activity? Perhaps, although the one in our family was long ago stuffed with foam and has served us well for decades as a cushion for tasks such as kneeling when gardening.

As to "that camping crap," it's too bad that Ms. Smith didn't enjoy being in the outdoors, away from material comforts long enough to appreciate the natural world.

Too bad she enjoyed wearing badges more than earning them badges represent various achievements that will stand the young woman in good stead throughout her life; will teach her to work to improve her neighborhood, her community; to be tolerant; and to be a good citizen.

Too bad she needs to swim in 90-degree water and didn't value the life-saving skills for herself and others that earning badges require. And when are our lakes 90 degrees? How unfortunate if people can't enjoy our beautiful lakes and swimming in the waves and surf but prefer a heated pool.

We also have some Boy Scouts of Eagle rank in our family who love spending two weeks hiking and camping in the mountains of New Mexico. Or is it OK for just boys to love the outdoors and be able to exist in them but not girls'?

Yes, we are all often ruled by myths that may not have substance like sitting on concrete. But I would prefer even a project making sit-upons than the attitude of Ms. Smith that perpetuates myths about women's values that have kept women in the constraints of attitudes that they are too precious, too fragile, too shallow to ever be an equal of men.

I think if Ms. Smith talked to young women in Scouting today she would find that the Girl Scouts were pioneers in the recycling movement; I doubt if any student in Grosse Pointe doesn't know about the Internet; that the Scouts not only understand the auction process and the economics of supply and demand, don't forget they are involved in various types of fund-raising, but they have also learned some human skills as well. And they have a lot of fun in interesting activities.

Girls would do well to become members of the Girl Scouts.

Ann Kondak

Grosse Pointe Woods

Ann Kondak
October 24, 2002

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