By Catherine Amoriello and Cathy Hirko
Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is honored to recognize the legacy of Marion Nivert as this year’s recipient of the Generational Award at the 2022 Women of Distinction Celebration.
This award celebrates those who have lived by and shared the values of Girl Scouts with their community and future generations. As a former Girl Scout troop leader who made Girl Scouting a family affair, Marion is a prime example of the power one individual can have in spreading the Girl Scout mission to others.
Marion embodied Girl Scout principles not only as a troop leader, but in the way she lived her life and raised her daughters Doris Stamper, Leslie Manning and Amy Williams. Marion’s family could not afford to send her to college when she finished high school during the Great Depression, but she persevered toward her dream of getting an education and earned her college degree in the 1960s. Marion stressed the importance of women needing their own careers and raised her daughters to be independent during a time when that was not the predominant cultural value.
Marion brought her passion for female empowerment to Girl Scouts as a troop leader where she connected with many girls. She was always interested in helping girls become more knowledgeable about their religion and was instrumental in helping girls earn their Menorah Award, her daughters said. Manning and Williams got to witness their mother in action as their own troop leader during their time as Girl Scouts.
“I remember a troop camping trip in May waking up to snow. I could tell how stressed mom was but she worked hard not to let the others see. She was a true leader,” Williams said.
Marion’s daughters shared they all loved being in Girl Scouts. They learned a lot from the badge work they completed and also had fun earning them. Camping was also a favored activity and brings fond memories for the sisters today.
“Summer Camp was absolutely the highlight of my summers,” Stamper said. “The scout troop was a community. We each went to camp for many years as kids and teens.”
Marion’s husband, Harry Nivert, was also involved in Girl Scouts as a board member. The sisters recounted their father delighted in talking about being on the cookie-tasting committee to select the flavors the troops would sell.
The Girl Scout connection also spread to the Nivert’s son and daughter-in-law, Lou, and his wife, Barbara.
In 1971, Barbara Weinberg married Lou and joined the Nivert family. Their children became involved in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and Barbara was an active volunteer as well.
She remembers the pride felt by Marion and Harry when they visited the Nivert Pavilion for the first time at Camp Archbald in Susquehanna County. The pavilion was a gift from the family to the camp.
“We drove them up (to camp) to see it. They stood there with smiles on their faces. It was just a beautiful site. They were thrilled to be there,” she said.
Many years, grandchildren and great-grandchildren later, the love of Girl Scouts Marion instilled in her family is still present today. The Niverts continued camping trips for several years, sharing the tradition and Camp Archbald experience with Marion’s granddaughters. Manning followed in Marion’s footsteps to serve as a Girl Scout troop leader for many years, from Brownies to Seniors, and especially loved taking girls camping. And today, some of Marion’s great-granddaughters are now Girl Scouts.
“I think she would say it was all fun,” Stamper said of how Marion would have responded to receiving the Generational Award. “Our mother was so special and loving and giving. She was always happy to help others, and did a lot for the Temple and the community, as well as Girl Scouting. It made her feel good to help Girl Scouts and others.”
Girl Scouts held a special place for Marion, Barbara said.
“The Niverts were a scouting family, and Marion just loved the Girl Scouts. She loved the organization,” Barbara said. “That was in her heart; that was Marion Nivert.”
GSHPA’s Women of Distinction Celebration will be held on Sept. 14, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club of York. Visit GSHPA’s Women of Distinction registration page to purchase tickets.