This was it. I was in the room where it happened. It was Aug. 28, and my daughter and I were sitting in orchestra seats at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle waiting for “Hamilton” to start. It felt like we were the last Americans who still hadn’t seen it live, but that was about to change, thanks to Girl Scouts and Hamilton Community Day.
Our tickets should have been hundreds of dollars each, but they were discounted, not just for the Girl Scouts in attendance, but for others as well. According to the program, “Hamilton Community Day aims to serve historically excluded communities of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, queer, trans and LGBTQIA2+, Disabled and/or Neurodivergent, Transient, those experiencing homelessness, low income and/or women.”
For me, entering my ninth — and final — year of volunteering as a Girl Scout leader, this felt like one last hurrah. This wasn’t a troop sponsored activity, but half of my troop was in attendance with their moms. They’d started out as Daisies learning to strike matches, pitch tents and peel carrots. Now they were third year Cadettes attending a traveling Broadway show and about to enter eighth grade. The girls had grown into young women right before my eyes.
The house lights turned off and the room flooded with music. The performers blew me away with their talent. I’d heard criticism that they weren’t as good as their Broadway counterparts, and I have no way of knowing since I haven’t seen “Hamilton” in New York, but based on their own merit, the touring cast was phenomenal. Seeing the performance on stage was a hundred times richer than listening to the music at home. The dancing, costumes and little bits of humor thrown in added layers I had missed, even while watching “Hamilton” on Disney+.
Girl Scouts meeting in person is better, too. That year we met online in 2020-2021 was hard, even though my co-leader Karen and I did our best to make it meaningful. We had always intended to keep leading all the way through Ambassadors, or until the girls decided they were done, whichever came first. Now we have our answer based on the girls’ choice. After a string of fun activities this fall, we will say goodbye.
But sitting there in the audience on that August night, I reflected upon how Girl Scouting is never really over. The skills our troop learned will stick with them forever. Karen and I gave our girls memories that will last a lifetime.
Someday, years from now, they might lead troops of their own. Or maybe they’ll be the woman who walks by a booth sale and purchases a whole case of Thin Mints. Perhaps one day in the distant future they’ll be peeling carrots and listening to the radio while they cook dinner. “The Room Where it Happened” will come on and they’ll think of watching “Hamilton” in Seattle with their friends. Thanks to Girl Scouts, we’ve made golden memories our hearts will sing about for years.
Hamilton Community Day is past, but the production runs until Sept. 11. Find out more at seattle.broadway.com.
Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.