From kicking off her membership during World War II collecting cans for metal and donations to send cookies to military bases to serving as camp counselor in Shore Acres to establishing the council’s former “Train the Trainer” to leading her daughters’ troops, Marilyn John exemplifies the meaning of a lifetime Girl Scout.
Marilyn has led by example, advocating for opportunities and access. With 10 family members serving as firefighters, she dreamed of being a part of the fire department.
“Becoming a firefighter was not an option at the time. If I couldn’t fight fires, at least I could have a red car,” said Marilyn, who still drives a red car to this day.
Instead, Marilyn opted for a path that was also largely unpaved for women: higher education. Marilyn served as a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee when the school opened in 1956.
“I was STEM before there was STEM,” reflected Marilyn.
With firefighting and public service still important to Marilyn, she’s empowering today’s girls to explore paths that are now open to them, supporting CampHERO, hosted in partnership with Milwaukee Area Technical College (Oak Creek Campus), Milwaukee Fire Department, Milwaukee Police Department, and Milwaukee Fire & Police Commission. At CampHERO, Girl Scouts receive hands-on experience in law enforcement, fire suppression, and emergency medicine.
Marilyn visited CampHERO this summer, arriving in her signature red car and donning dozens of Girl Scout patches. Marilyn observed Girl Scouts in professional gear rappelling down a building and saw girls fulfill the dreams she made possible.
Marilyn’s pioneering STEM career and ongoing support of Girl Scouts as a volunteer and donor has given girls access to new career opportunities. She has a unique understanding of how the world has changed over the decades – because she drove the change. She looks forward to ensuring we all keep up with the dreams and ambitions of today’s and tomorrow’s girls.
Read more stories featured in our 2023 Summer Discover.