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Campbell is a top talent 'scout' for Shawnee council

August 20, 1998

Patsy CampbellBy TERRY TALBERT / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer [enlarge]




"I'm accused of having green blood," Patsy Campbell says. That may be because she lives and breathes Scouting.

Campbell, 45, is a local field director for the Shawnee Girl Scout Council Inc., which serves girls ages 5-17 in four states and 15 counties. Her area includes Washington County and Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

She tells her age only reluctantly. "I have the Peter Pan Syndrome," she said. "I refuse to grow up." That could be a positive trait in a woman whose mission it is to get more young girls involved in Scouting.

Scouting gives girls self-confidence, leadership skills and the knowledge that they can rely on themselves, Campbell said. Scouting teaches tolerance, and promotes giving, she said.

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When Campbell talks to kids about Scouting, she speaks from experience.

Campbell was in second grade when she first joined a Brownie troop. "I was so shy and backward - that's why my mom put me in Scouts," she said. It was something that ran in the family.

Campbell said her grandmother headed the first troop in Washington County for people with mental disabilities, and both her mother and father were Scout leaders.

From her first Brownie troop in Boonsboro, Campbell came up through the Scouting ranks. When she was 17, she trained to be a counselor and served at the council's camp in White Rock, W.Va.

Her mother and father were on separate Scouting trips when her dad died. Campbell, 18 at the time, said she dropped Scouting for a while and worked to help her family.

Campbell got back into Scouting as a troop leader in 1988, when her daughter was old enough to become a Brownie. She volunteered as a troop leader, and then became troop consultant and service unit manager for 20 troops in the Smithsburg area.

She said she almost dropped over when she was offered the district leader's job a year and a half ago. "It's the most satisfying work I've ever done," she said.

Campbell said in a way Scouting has come full circle, with girls' interests returning to activities such as backpacking and primitive camping.

Campbell is a recruiter of sorts. She goes into local schools and tries to reach the kids. So far, she hasn't done bad. "We have over 1,300 girls in the program in Washington County," she said. "We were recognized this year as the only field area that exceeded its goal for the year. "We look at the school census and try to serve one in eight girls," she said.

Campbell said the Girl Scouts have an outreach program that brings Scouting to children in low-income areas of Washington County, and works with the school system to present programs to Head Start children, and to children in elementary school.

If all goes well, Campbell hopes to soon present the program to middle school students. Among other things, the Scouting program could help kids fulfill community service requirements while earning Scouting credits, she said.

"We're also going to tell them that it's not too soon to start thinking about college," Campbell said. "Scouting gives scholarship benefits. When they see Scouting on an application, that tells them something."

Campbell talks about young women who got jobs because Scouting was on their resumes. "When they see that they knew they are getting a dependable, trustworthy, reliable person," she said. "They know they're getting a good person."

Scouting can be a hard sell today, Campbell said.

"Typically, we start losing girls in the sixth or seventh grade, because it's 'not cool' to be in Scouting," Campbell said. "When they're young, they embrace it, but when they're older I guess they think it's too squeaky clean and goodie goodie. They want to be able to have a rough edge."

Campbell said all girls are welcome in Scouting. Rough edges are OK.

Campbell is married to Donald Campbell. They have two children, 19-year-old Jason and 15-year-old Amy.

Anyone interested in learning more about Girl Scouts can call her at 301-791-5686.

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