Admiration for Abby
“She’s really excited about this,” Franchon Rasco tells me the day I call to talk to her daughter, Abigail. Listening to her mother talk about Abigail’s involvement in Girl Scouts, it quickly becomes clear that she doesn’t just love her daughter—she admires her.
Abigail has cerebral palsy, which affects movement, muscle tone, and posture, and on the surface, this seems like something that would make her experiences as a Girl Scout different from that of her Girl Scout sisters—but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Like any Girl Scout, Abigail loves to help others. She tells me about how she enjoys giving manicures to residents at the nursing homes that she and her troop visit. Doing activities with the patients at Dell Children’s Medical Center is among her favorite Girl Scout pastimes. And then there’s camping, of course. I can almost hear her smiling over the phone as she describes kicking back with her troop at Camp Champions.
Love for Girl Scouts
The fun that Abigail has been having since joining Girl Scouts as a Brownie didn’t seem likely at one time. Franchon wanted Abigail to be involved in something outside of school, but says she was too young to participate in Special Olympics, and other youth organizations weren’t able to accommodate Abigail’s needs. She figured they would give Girl Scouts of Central Texas a shot. “It’s been like one, big extended family,” said Franchon. “All the moms always ask about Abby and the girls always include her and make her feel like she’s welcomed. The girls are always a big help.”
Excited for the new year
When I ask what Abigail is looking forward to most this year, she doesn’t hesitate. “Community service,” she says. “I like Girl Scouts because you get to help other people and make them feel like you care. It makes you feel good inside once you get to help others.” When we talked she’d already begun brainstorming some community service ideas and couldn’t wait to share them with her troop. The troop is also thinking about taking a trip; both Abigail and Franchon are excited about planning and fundraising. Fighting back tears, Franchon tells me toward the end of our conversation why she is also looking forward to another of Abby’s Girl Scouting Experience. For Franchon, it all comes down to one simple, yet powerful fact: Abby loves the girls, and the girls love Abby.
Toward the end of my interview with Abigail, I check to see if there’s anything else she’d like to share about herself or if she has a message to share with other girls. She thinks for a moment and says, “I’d just tell them no matter what condition you’re in, you can still have fun. It doesn’t matter who you are. You deserve to have fun and live a normal life.” I tell her goodbye, hang up the phone … and the light bulb goes on. I understand why the moms always ask about her, why the girls want her around, why her name sounds like pure happiness and joy whenever Franchon says it. She’s a remarkable girl worthy of admiration.