Avon Girl Scouts builds character, creates fond memories for all

Writer / Heather Chastain

“Girl Scouts is in my blood,” says Lori Maxwell, Avon Troop Leader and Service Unit Chair.

“I don’t know if I was ever asked if I wanted to join Girl Scouts,” Maxwell adds. “My entire family was involved in scouts. It was just something we did. My grandma was a leader, mom was a girl scout and then a leader, my dad helped. My brother was in scouts too.”

Maxwell is continuing the scout tradition. Her 12-year old daughter has been involved in Girl Scouts in Avon since she was a Daisy as well.

“All I did was Girl Scouts and camping growing up,” Maxwell says. “It was my whole life. My parents also ran the summer camps.” Her parents ran Camp Wonderland in New Castle where the family lived.

“My daughter loves it as much as I do,” Maxwell says. “She asked me, ‘can I do this for the rest of my life?’ and I said, “yes you can!’”

Maxwell has fond memories of her time as a young Girl Scout.

“Everybody wore their uniform to school all day, and the meetings were right after school,” she says. “That was a big deal. I remember making floats for the parades and making sit-upons.

One of her most prominent memories comes from her time at girl scout camp. “Cowboy Bob came to camp one summer with his dog, and his dog got a tick and my mom had to help remove it. I don’t know why I remember that,” she says.

“Well, it’s because Cowboy Bob was a big deal during that time,” says Jane Pfaffenberger, a 35-year Avon Girl Scout volunteer.

“I remember going to Camp Dellwood and there were spiders in the latrines,” she says.

“Why does everyone freak out about that?” Maxwell says.

“Well, we had to clean them out,” Pfaffenberger says.

Pfaffenberger was a girl scout for five years growing up, and her mom was the leader. In 1982, her three daughters joined Avon Girl Scout troops. Even after they graduated, Pfaffenberger continued to volunteer in the service unit and even became the Gold Award Chair. The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.

In 2006, when her granddaughter wanted to join Girl Scouts as a Daisy, Pfaffenberger signed up to be a leader again for her troop.

“There was no question. I love Girl Scouts,” Pfaffenberger says. “It gets in your blood. I tell people I bleed green. I enjoy being with the girls. It’s so cool to see a group of girls grow and come together. It’s great to see these girls I once had in my troop grow up to be leaders even if they don’t have children themselves. And it’s great to know what we did [when they were growing up] was important.”

The mission of the Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Many of the ways they do this is through service projects, Science Day, Thinking Day, Fun-O-Ree (a weekend camping event with competition and activities for all ages), selling cookies, earning the Gold Award (a leadership project requiring change or advocacy in the community) and more.

“Our biggest struggle is finding leaders,” Pfaffenberger says. “We usually have more girls than leaders. You don’t have to be a parent to be a Girl Scout leader. It’s a great way to interact with kids and help mold their future. The adults I know get as much out of Girl Scouts as the kids do, maybe more.”

Maxwell says one of the biggest misconceptions about Girl Scouts is how much time being involved requires. “Many people say they don’t have time for girl scouts, but that’s really a misnomer,” Maxwell says. “You can make Girl Scouts what you want it to be. You can just do meetings. Or meetings and events. Or meetings and events and camping.”

The Girl Scouts of Central Indiana serve nearly 36,000 girls across 45 central Indiana counties. In partnership with nearly 15,000 committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives, like leadership, strong values, social conscience and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

To learn more about Girl Scouts or to get involved visit girlscoutsindiana.org.

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