For 110 years, Girl Scouts has been dedicated to building girls of courage, character and confidence who make the world a better place. And for 55 of those years, Alice Bratten, leader of Troop 20411 and a retired teacher, has carried out the Girl Scouts’ mission in her North Knoxville community.
Bratten started the troop in the late 1960s at Sunnyview Primary School. Three other teachers with daughters approached Bratten about a Girl Scout troop. Despite not having daughter of her own, Bratten started the troop and has been going strong ever since. She organizes weekly meetings, annual cookie booths and year-round badge activities – all things she’s still doing six years after retiring.
“They say, ‘Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout,’ and that’s me,” Bratten said. “As long as I can camp, hike and keep up with the girls, I’ll be a troop leader. I’m signed on for life.”
Over the years, Bratten has seen the organization expand to include more community involvement, troops and badges. She’s proud of Girl Scouts, and, most importantly, her own.
“Even though everything is more sophisticated nowadays, girls stay the same,” Bratten said. “They want to do things, they want to be able to achieve, and they want people to be there for them along the way.”
Bratten has watched Girl Scouts grow up to run their own businesses – like Cruze Farm owner Colleen Cruze Bhatti; work for the local council, Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians, like director of product programs Tammy Gredig; and encourage their daughters to become Girl Scouts.
“Everything they’ve accomplished goes back to their time as a Girl Scout – whether they were selling cookies, earning badges or setting goals for the future,” Bratten said. “Girl Scouts inspires girls to become better people and the best versions of themselves. I encourage everyone with a girl in their life to learn more about Girl Scouts and get involved.”
Troop 20411 and others across East Tennessee always are accepting new members. Learn more about Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians at girlscoutcsa.org and find a troop by texting the word “JOIN” to 59618 or sending an email to [email protected].
Lucy Branam is creative manager for Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians.