Bridgette Wellslager – “Malila” (2013)

And now I’d like to ask Bridgette Wellslager to step forward.

Bridgette has been with us for five years, since 2008.  To give you an idea of how long ago that was, she joined us on the Florida Sea Base trip before our last one.

Bridgette has been one of our most active members and served as Historian and Secretary.  And she was an excellent secretary.

In fact, I’ve seen a lot of growth in Bridgette in the last year.  She’s more mature and takes whatever job she has seriously.

In fact, in reviewing her emails to me in the past couple years, one of the things that comes through is her sense of responsibility.  When she couldn’t be at something, she let me know, often apologizing for her absence.  When she had to do something at the event or meeting she would miss, she would ask someone else to fill in for her.

In addition to Venturing, what Bridgette has spent most of her energy on in high school has been academics and swimming.

She’s been a swim team member for years and at certain times of the year, that swallows her life when she doesn’t have her nose in the books, which has been often.

Of course, you might expect that for a daughter of a teacher but she goes to a different high school.  Nonetheless, I stopped counting the times she had to miss a meeting or a trip because of a school project or a big test.  And all that hard work has paid off now, as she is headed to xx for college.

When it came time to name her, something immediately came to mind.  You see, water seems to have surrounded Bridgette from the first time she joined us, whether it was playing in waterfalls, going to Sea Base, where we spent a week sailing in the Florida Keys or swimming competitively.

Many times, as you saw tonight, our names for youth are names for qualities or personalities.  Other times they are names for creatures.  It’s not that the youth reminds us of that creature, though they may – I’m thinking of a certain past member who we dubbed the coyote – but that the qualities of that creature attributed by Native Americans seem to match the qualities of the youth.

And So it is with Bridgette.  The Native Americans of the Northwest revered a certain creature for its energy, passion and being goal-oriented, as well as for its intelligence, enthusiasm and being generous.  They also found it to be strong and determined as well as resilient.

So it is my honor tonight, Bridgette to award you the Miwok name Malila, which means “Fast Salmon swimming up rippling water.”



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