The veteran scout has been selling Girl Scouts cookies since 1932 when Herbert Hoover—the 31st President of the United States— was in office.
"Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout." Ronnie Backenstoe of Wernersville, Pennsylvania, has been living by this ideology since the age of 10 and even now at the ripe young age of 98, she shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. An independent living resident of the Phoebe Berks retirement home in Wernersville, Backenstoe is still trying her best to sell as many cookies as she can. She recently teamed up with scouts from Troop 1814 of Sinking Spring to sell the popular cookies, showing off her salesman skills and inspiring a new generation of Girl Scouts in her green uniform.
According to Pennsylvania news station WMFZ-TV, Backenstoe has been selling Girl Scouts cookies since 1932 when Herbert Hoover—the 31st President of the United States— was in office. Speaking to the network, the 98-year-old said, "I became a Girl Scout in 1932! 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!" Her life as a dedicated scout has taken her all over the country and even around the world as a scoutmaster when she took her troops to Jamaica and Switzerland. "I don't know if you ever tried to get in a uniform in a pup tent. I did. It's not easy," the veteran Girl Scout laughed.
Backenstoe, who joined the Girl Scouts at her hometown of Lake George, New York, revealed that she's been selling the cult-favorite cookies from the very beginning when a box of shortbreads sold for just 15 cents. Back then there were only three different kinds of cookies and while the range of cookies and their prices have gone up considerably in the past 8 decades, Backenstoe's 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," she said. Gushing that she's happiest while selling cookies alongside her fellow scouts, the veteran scout said, "Oh, I love it, oh yes." Backenstoe, who retired in 1976 after 45 years in active scouting with badges for exceptional and outstanding service, proudly donned her green uniform on Tuesday as she helped Troop 1814 of Sinking Spring sell cookies, reports Reading Eagle. "Her stamina, her energy, her mind, she's non-stop," said Barbara Allen Perelli, the troop leader.
Senior Girl Scout Amber Holl revealed that it's a hoot and a half to work with the legendary scout. "In general, she just makes me laugh when I'm with her," she said. In a poem written during her official scout years, Backenstoe revealed that she'd been director of Camp Mosey Wood in the Poconos and was a field director in Berks, Lehigh, Montgomery and Bucks counties. "I was ready to be prepared, to obey orders, to be courteous, cheerful and clean in thought, word and deed. The Girl Scouts had planted a seed," she wrote. Backenstoe and the rest of the troop will be selling cookies at Phoebe Berks again on February 25. Oh, and just in case you're wondering what her favorite Girl Scout cookie is, it's peanut butter.