Our fondest memories tend to be the simplest; like jumping off the diving board with reckless abandon for the first time, or the smell of freshly cut grass in summer. For Kathy Silverman, it’s eating squishy sandwiches on the side of the hiking trail. The memory doesn’t produce a nostalgic smile because the sandwich was noteworthy. The memory is one of her favorites, however, because in that moment Kathy was able to do the impossible. With one Girl Scout troop, a couple of squishy sandwiches, and countless smiles, Kathy Silverman learned how to freeze time.
Kathy has always loved the outdoors. She remembers going “car camping” with her family as a child, and the awestruck wonderment that came from being surrounded by nature. Summer time seemed like Neverland. As if the world stopped spinning just for her to take in all of its’ beauty.
In what seemed like a blink of an eye, Kathy had grown into a woman and married her sweetheart, Michael. And when Kathy had children of her own, they began to grow up much too quickly; as so many children do. Kathy found she couldn’t slow time down, but she could make the most of it. So while her daughter Sarah still had the wide eyes of a child, Kathy enrolled her in Girl Scouts and volunteered to be her troop leader.
That’s where the squishy sandwich memory comes in. After a long day’s hike, with a troop of dragging girls, the group stopped for lunch. They plopped down on whatever they could find; logs, rocks, or just the soft earth. Sore feet got a rest as they all pulled sandwiches out of their backpacks. As always, the peanut butter and jellies were all squished up, but in those moments, they were a delicacy. On the side of the trail, Kathy saw herself in her daughter, and all the joy of her own childhood came flooding back. In that moment, time stood still.
As their children grew, Kathy and Michael found they had to travel each time they needed equipment or supplies for their outdoor adventures. The couple dreamed of opening their own outdoor outfitting store in downtown Spartanburg, but the dream seemed too large to tackle.
One December day in 2012, they happened upon a newspaper article called “The Main Street Challenge.” The three winners of the contest would receive premier space in Downtown Spartanburg. Ironically, one of the locations was the exact space which the Silverman’s had set their heart upon almost a year earlier.
The application process was rigorous. Michael and Kathy dedicated themselves entirely to making their dream a reality. They presented their concept before a selection committee, and waited anxiously for the announcement in May 2013.
In May 2013, Michael and Kathy won the “Main Street Challenge” and their dream became a reality. The Local Hiker was born. Not just a store, but a place of learning, encouragement, and incredible adventure.
In our recent interview, Kathy told me her Girl Scout story. How being a troop leader prepared her for being a business owner. In Girl Scouts she learned how to plan better, understand different personalities, and lead with courage. But most importantly, Girl Scouts gave her the opportunity to make squishy sandwich memories with her daughter. For the only way to freeze time, is to create memories that are so inexplicably wonderful, they have no choice but to live on in our hearts forever.
What is your squishy sandwich day?
Don’t let time slip away. Take every moment captive and freeze time with your girls by becoming a Girl Scout.
The Local Hiker will be represented at the Spartanburg Volunteer Resource Fair on August 13 from 10am to 2pm. They also offer FREE outdoor training and workshops to the community, as well as a Girl Scout discount!