Scout making history with trip

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2002

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Bridget Bruce pictures herself in a tram headed to the top of the lofty Swiss Alps. She imagines standing in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Awesome.

The incoming senior at Natchez High School flutters with anticipation as Friday nears and she sets off to see a world known to her only through history books and pictorial essays. London. Munich.

A typical summer vacation? Hardly. &uot;Nothing I’ve done can compare to this,&uot; Bruce said as she smiled shyly and talked of the travels ahead of her.

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&uot;This is the ultimate. I’m going to enjoy it and have fun and make the most of this trip.&uot;

Spending 12 years as a Girl Scout has paid off in multiple rewards for Bruce, now 17, the daughter of Perry and Barbara Bruce of Natchez.

The summer trip, &uot;Taste of Europe,&uot; was not a Scout activity on her agenda. Indeed, only through a plea from the Girl Scouts in Oklahoma did Bruce and the five other teenage girls from Mississippi learn of the program, apply and make plans to join the group in the two-week tour of Germany, Switzerland, France and England.

The trip abroad will provide a chance for Bruce and the other girls to meet Scouts from other parts of the country. In fact, the American Girl Scouts will meet Scouts in the foreign countries they visit.

Meanwhile, Bruce is packing light, as advised. She has the necessary raincoat and traveling clothes.

Her mother said the trip to Europe caps a wonderful Girl Scout experience for her daughter. &uot;She’s gone from the shy little girl in the first grade to a real leader,&uot; Barbara Bruce said. &uot;Girl Scouts has really helped her. This leadership training she has acquired will take her far in life.&uot;

Bridget has plans for her future. She hopes to attend Mississippi State University or the University of Southern Mississippi.

&uot;I’m in 4-H, too, and I hope I can get a scholarship,&uot; she said. &uot;I want to study nursing and maybe become a traveling nurse.&uot;

Her camera stands ready. She expects to return with plenty of photographs to help her tell the story of her trip. &uot;This is a great opportunity I may never have again,&uot; she said.

&uot;I’ve learned to do things I never thought I’d do,&uot; Bridget Bruce said as she recalled beginning Scouts in the first grade.

Now she is spreading her wings to grow in yet another way. Soon after she returns from the dream trip, Bruce and other senior Scouts will begin a new mentoring program.

&uot;I like to help the younger girls. They look up to us. And we can help them to develop ideals and learn about community service.&uot;