By Brittany Nassef
The Girl Scouts are at UMW.
Not just the young girls selling cookies on the sidewalk, but as a part of the student club, Campus Scouts.
Founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low, Girl Scouts has more than 3.4 million members across the world.
According to the Girl Scouts of the USA website, “Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”
Campus Scouts was started at UMW about 10 years ago.
“The younger girls need somebody to look up to and we are great role models for them,” Rose Salzberg, former president of Campus Scouts, said.
UMW graduate of the class of 2009, Salzberg helped get the club back up on its feet after it had virtually disappeared from campus.
“I joined Campus Scouts, because Girl Scouts was such an important part of my life before UMW and I didn’t want that part of my life to disappear completely,” Salzberg said. “It was so important to [other former girl scouts] and I that we didn’t let it fall to pieces our sophomore year.”
Current President of Campus Scouts, Erin Burke, has been involved with Girl Scouts since she was five years old. Burke grew up in a military family and said that her parents put her in Girl Scouts to help her have a stable environment and make good friends that she would have no matter where she went.
Burke said Girl Scouts taught her essential skills that are not taught in school, such as leadership, interpersonal communication, event planning and money management.
“I gained exposure to many different types of people, particularly women, in various career fields, as well as people of different abilities and disabilities,” Burke said. “Now, I want to be able to give younger Girl Scouts some of those same opportunities, show them a Girl Scout role model who isn’t a mom or employed with the organization, and to show them that the skills they are learning really do stay with you after the days of cookie sales and earning badges are over.”
However, Campus Scouts is not just for Girl Scouts, according to Rebecca Brooks, the vice president of Campus Scouts.
“We just got boys into Campus Scouts this year, so we have been trying to do something with local Boy Scout troops,” she said.
Girl Scouts from all over the city of Fredericksburg and in all different age groups participate in events that the UMW Campus Scouts plan. The club helps to plan activities for the younger girls to earn badges.
“It’s a fun club and anyone can join,” Freshman Claire Growney, club member, said. “It’s not a huge time commitment.”
Campus Scouts meets on Wednesday afternoons at 5 o’clock in Chandler Hall. The Girl Scouts of America requires volunteers to be certified with the Girl Scouts of the USA, which requires a $12 fee.
“I just like volunteering and I like working with kids,” Growney said. “I miss being around kids. Because of being in college, there aren’t any kids around, and Campus Scouts lets me help them.”
“Campus Scouts was a nice way to get involved in campus as well as continue my passion for Girl Scouts,” Brooks said. “For me, scouting is a way for me to be involved with the community.”
“When I look back at my years at UMW,” said Salzberg, “what I am probably most proud of is the work I did with Campus Scouts. Definitely made my time spent there more rewarding.”