Arlene Thomas of Cottonwood was never a Girl Scout herself. But she recently received a medal for 50 years of service to Girl Scouts of America.
Like many mothers of young girls, Arlene was drawn into scouting through her daughters. But long after her daughters left Girl Scouts, she is still active in the organization.
Married to James, a retired Presbyterian pastor, for 63 years, Arlene had three daughters and one son. The family was living in Michigan when Arlene's oldest daughter decided she wanted to be a scout.
"She went into juniors in the fifth or sixth grade," Arlene said. "I ended up on the committee for the troop."
After the family moved to California, Arlene became a co-leader for her youngest daughter's troop.
"I became the neighborhood director," she said. "When you're new, they get you."
Arlene and her family moved back to Michigan and she got active in council-level leadership. After moving to Arizona, she became a neighborhood director again for several years and then cookie sales chairperson for one year. She is now in public relations and secretary for the Sinagua Neighborhood, which includes Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome and Cornville.
In April, Arlene attended a Girl Scout conference in Glendale as a delegate. At that conference, on April 22, she was recognized in a ceremony for 50 years of service to the organization.
But she said she isn't ready to quit scouting.
"I think it's an important organization," she said. "And it teaches the girls so many things."
Among those things are how to cooperate and how to work together. Scouting builds self-confidence in the girls, Arlene said. She also feels it teaches them about business practices and how to dream.
In addition to being active in scouting, Arlene has been active in the Presbyterian Church for many years. She was president of the Presbyterian Women for several years and also served as secretary.
She used to be secretary in the Verde Valley Property Owners Association, and served as president of the Verde Valley Women's Club.
She now stays busy with her own distributorship for Mary Kay Cosmetics.
But she still has time for Girl Scouts.
"I'm a life member," she said. "So I will be in it until I can't anymore."