WERNERSVILLE, Pa. – It’s that time of the year to stock up on boxes of peanut butter patties, caramel delites, and thin mints.
Perhaps the most excited Girl Scout around is 98-year-old Ronnie Backenstoe.
“I could always eat some cookies,” Ronnie said, smiling.
She’s proudly donned the Girl Scout uniform for 88 years.
“I became a Girl Scout in 1932!” Ronnie exclaimed. “I said, ‘When can I be a Girl Scout?’ My mom said, ‘When you’re 10,’ so when I was 10, I was ready to go!”
Ronnie’s adventures in the scouts have taken her from coast to coast and around the world. Later in life, as a scout master, she recalled traveling to Jamaica and Switzerland with her troop.
“I don’t know if you ever tried to get in a uniform in a pup tent,” Ronnie said, laughing. “I did. It’s not easy!”
Even in retirement at Phoebe Berks in Wernersville, Ronnie is still going strong.
“Her stamina, her energy, her mind, she’s non-stop,” said Barbara Allen Perelli, the troop leader.
“In general, she just makes me laugh when I’m with her,” Senior Girl Scout Amber Holl said.
Ronnie said she’s happiest while selling cookies alongside her fellow scouts.
“Oh, I love it, oh yes,” Ronnie said, smiling. Her favorite Girl Scout cookie is peanut butter.
Ronnie said back in the day, when she first became a Girl Scout in the 1930s, there were only three different kinds of cookies, and each box cost just about 15 cents. While the price certainly has gone up, Ronnie said her mission remains the same: to inspire and educate future generations.
“I think that it was just part of living, and that’s what really girl scouting is, it teaches you how to live,” Ronnie said.
Ronnie and the rest of the troop will be selling cookies at Phoebe Berks again on Feb. 25.