Aurora Club member Saundra Koochel points out the many items from past Girl Scouts at the new Girls Scout Building in Light Park, home to the original Girl Scouts structure that was built in 1944. The items were donated by Sue Farmer, Nancy Allen, Mary Downs, Reba Smotherman, Jill Pittman and Faylene Cambern. Daily Leader photo/Jessica Crawford
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
In 1944, as World War II was raging in the Pacific and across Europe, Liberal’s first Girl Scout Troop was born. In 2010, the new Girl’s Scout Building holds a very important piece of that history to be handed down through generations of scouts.
Saundra Koochel, an Aurora Club member, was selected to compile treasures of Girl Scouts past for a display case in the new building.
“In 1944, the young girls met with their mothers and developed this troop,” Koochel said. “The Aurora Club that I belong to was the Victory Club, that is what it was called during the war – then it became the Aurora Club. The Aurora Club is not a federated club, but has always had the Girl Scouts as our project. Every year we would pay our dues and whatever money we had would go to pay the telephone bill at the old building.”
The display case was built by city staff member Stevie Estala. Koochel said another case would be built if needed.
“I told the city staff that I needed a showcase,” she said. “The city staff built this. Bill Houk even said we could have another one if we wanted it.”
When the display case was recently completed, it was up to Koochel to furnish it with memorabilia.
“It was built then all of the sudden into my lap came all of these things on loan from Sue Farmer, Nancy Allen, Mary Downs, Reba Smotherman, Jill Pittman and Faylene Cambern, they gave these things on loan,” she said. “Joe Stoddard helped me with the display, for 40 years he has worked with women’s clothing. So, together we did this.”
Koochel has hopes of possibly displaying more items in the future.
“I don’t know about another showcase, but I would love to have camping equipment and things the girls used out at the lakes,” she said. “This is all we had room for, little song books, little hiking books and basic rules of camping. We also have all of these uniforms.”
Since its inception in 1912, the Girl Scouts organization is rich with history. Koochel is proud to bring that history to today’s local scouts.
“Some of the little Girl Scouts now don’t realize the history, and here it is,” she said. “It is just wonderful.”