She confessed that she had never been a Girl Scout, unlike Elizabeth Dole, Mary Tyler Moore and Gloria Steinem. That didn’t stop the Green & White Select from giving Campfire Girl-Bluebird Betty Ford the annual Grace Award on Monday evening at the Westin Bonaventure.
“But I took care of those young sons by being a Cub mother for all three of them, and then we were blessed with a girl, and I became a Brownie den mother.”
Noting that Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls share similar values, she added, “I think I qualify, and that, plus the fact that I have been married to an Eagle Scout in good standing for the past 37 years.”
Troop 15 Alumnus
She referred to Gerald Ford, who joined Troop 15, Trinity M.E. Church, Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1925 at age 12, and became Eagle 2 1/2 years later. Sitting in the audience, he beamed at his gracious wife, who was wearing an orange sherbet polka-dot Oscar de la Renta gown with a string of long bouncy pearls. Good sport that he is, the 38th President of the United States, who had just been introduced as “President and Mrs. Betty Ford,” with only an “er, uh . . . " and no correction, laughed it off.
Executive and dinner committee chairman Susan Fernau, Bonaventure director of public relations, in a long black gown with glittery rhinestones, estimated that the dinner would gross $150,000 and maybe net $120,000, more than ever. That’s good news for the 32,000 Girl Scouts and leaders in the city. “We’re alive and growing,” said Phyllis K. Mansfield, president of the Angeles Girl Scout Council. “We’ve recently added the Daisys, a scout group for kindergartners.”
Indeed, the Daisys were among the Scouts and Brownies of all ages who performed their “weaving” ritual and song for the audience.
The Green & White Select is the group of mostly women, average age 35 and mostly in middle- to upper-management-level career positions. It was formed three years ago when Mardena Fehling of Chevron, U.S.A. Inc., concluded that Boy Scouts were raising all the scout money in town and that Girl Scouts needed support. One cannot live on cookies alone.
She mustered attention, finagling financial assurances from corporations and forming a nucleus to stage an annual event. To date, the Green & White has raised more than $200,000 and has become the Angeles Council’s biggest support group.
Most of Green and White was in the audience: Margie Eddy-Forbes of Security Pacific; Carolyn Webb de Macias of Pacific Bell; Jilliene F. Bolker of Eaton Financial Corp.; Sheri C. Berke of Carter Hawley Hale; Barbara Nowak of Arthur Andersen & Co.; Mildred Arnold of Thrifty Corp.; Ginger Allen of Rockwell International; Susana Rendon, Rendon Enterprises; Al Reyes, Southern California Rapid Transit District; Russell G. Sakaguchi, First Interstate, and Irma Smith of the Bonaventure. Julia B. Silber, the Angeles fund development director, also was in the crowd of more than 600.
With a Little Help ...
“Unfortunately, I hate to say it, but women just aren’t there yet,” said chairman Fernau, explaining that while the Select stages the dinner, it relies on a group of male business executives to aid in corraling financial support for tickets ($200 each). “Gerald Foster (the regional vice president of Pacific Bell) has been a dynamic honorary dinner chairman.”
Other major business support has come from Robert E. Clarke, who retires from Chevron in June and was there with his wife, Margery; Peter de Wetter of National Medical Enterprises, Byron Allumbaugh of Ralphs Grocery, and Mark Taper, who attended with Dorothy Brady, joining Caroline Ahmanson.
Mrs. Ahmanson, once a Girl Scout in San Francisco and recipient of the Grace Award last year--presented then by George F. Moody--presented the night’s second major award, the Good Scout Salute, to Moody, president of Security Pacific and recently appointed chairman of the board of governors of the American Red Cross. He was honored for his fund-raising activities for the Scouts. “It’s as important to give as it is to receive,” he said.
Fellowship and Food
Before the dinner in the California Room, a select group met for cocktails and a chance to greet the Fords personally. The first course of shrimp, endive, quail eggs stuffed with black olives and sprouts in a vinaigrette dressing was the precursor to the gourmet beef and veal and the cone dipped in chocolate and hunkered with raspberries. It all got close observation from Bonaventure general director James Treadway.
Rob Weller, host of “Entertainment Tonight,” was on hand for greetings, still on his honeymoon of two days. While the Sounds of Music played for dancing, there were interludes to admire the circular-shaped green glass Grace Award designed by Steven Correia, whose patrons also include the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institute.
There also was time to reflect on Betty Ford’s comments:
“Girl Scouting has taught girls to reach beyond themselves . . . to reach beyond their horizons.” She also made a strong point for an equal rights amendment: “I continue my support for an amendment to the Constitution that will guarantee the equality of women.”