Roberta “Bobbie Lou” Akin Scull was recognized at the Calling of Girl Scouts Alumna event in 2019 at the Girl Scouts Knoxville Service Center, 1567 Downtown West Blvd.
The Karns area resident joined the Girl Scouts in the fourth grade. She says South Knoxville troop leader Kent “exposed us to the Girl Scout Promise and Law and opened the door to another world that developed my awareness of so many things.”
The variety of troop volunteers and camp counselors in her life played a significant role to becoming the woman she is today.
She loves to recall her time in scouting. With her troop, she began to learn a variety of skills by working alone and with teams, especially through outdoor camping and the Girl Scout cookie program. Bobbie learned to set up camp, build a campfire, swim, canoe and sail. These hands-on skills would serve her throughout her life as a camp counselor and through many experiences with family and friends all over the United States. By selling and delivering cookies, she learned responsibility and risk-taking in trying new things and meeting new people, which developed confidence in meeting with others.
Most of Bobbie’s significant experiences involved camp. She was among the first camp counselors at the primitive camp at Tanasi. She served on staff at Camp Margaret Townsend in its final days.
“Everything was done under the open sky … and constellations in all of their wonder,” she says, “cooking all our meals over an open fire, learning and singing wonderful Girl Scout songs on the lakeshore. The teamwork and camaraderie we developed lives with me today.”
At Camp Margaret Townsend, she learned water survival skills and was among the first troops to canoe from Norris Dam to the current Camp Tanasi to explore the blackberry-covered property along Norris Lake. That adventure required all their camping, primitive outdoor skills, water safety and team skills.
Important life lessons learned through Girl Scouting, she says, were developing an awareness of her civic responsibilities; the importance of truth, honor and hard work; and concern for others. Through the program, she had the opportunity to try things she otherwise would not have been able to experience, in a safe atmosphere of her girl-led troop.
“Girl Scouts meant the world, literally, to me as I have interacted in numerous ways with different kinds of people and cultures.”
Brooke Conner is social media and content coordinator for Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians.