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Campus Girl Scouts receive community service award

Tori Creighton | Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Campus Girl Scouts of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s received the 2011-2012 Community Recognition Award from the Northern Indiana-Michiana Service Unit last week for its service to the local area.

Sophomore Jamie Pfaff, former club president, said Campus Girl Scouts filled a community need by leading Troop 00087, which served girls on the west side of South Bend who could not be placed in other troops due to lack of leadership.

“They probably wouldn’t have been able to be in Girl Scouts without us,” she said.  

Pfaff said club members led the troop of approximately 25 girls from 2 to 3:30 p.m. twice a month in Pasquerilla West Hall.

People often think Campus Girl Scouts is a club for college-aged Girl Scouts, Pfaff said, but members are actually volunteers within a service group that works with the local Girl Scout council.

Past involvement in Girl Scouts is not necessary to join, and men are encouraged to participate as well, Pfaff said. She said Campus Girl Scouts is a convenient way for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students to connect with and serve girls in the community.

“If you’re doing community service, you’re being a Girl Scout,” Pfaff said.

According to the Girl Scouts of the USA website, Campus Girl Scouts organizations areis present nation-wide on college campuses. The service clubs are certified by Girl Scouts of the USA but are separate entities that exist to collaborate with Girl Scout councils.

In her nomination letter for the award, Service Unit 206 Manager and Campus Girl Scouts Liaison Dawn Cole said Troop 00087 is unique because it is a multi-age troop. It allows for siblings to attend the same meeting, but they are split into groups, called Daisies, Brownies and Juniors, based on their grades.

“The idea of this troop is that it’s a one-stop shop for the parents,” Pfaff said. “It makes them more willing to keep their girls in Girl Scouts because they only have to bring them to one meeting.”

Pfaff said typically, eight volunteers led each meeting. The girls worked to earn badges and promote the Girl Scout Law, which focuses on values like honesty, responsibility, courage and respect, she said. They also participated in cultural and academic activities like taking a trip to the Snite Museum of Art and participating in Thinking Day.

Sophomore Celine Fausto, who co-led the Juniors, said she enjoyed helping her group earn patches in subjects ranging from nature to first aid and emergency response.

“It was fun to see what they do because I was a Daisy and Brownie but never reached the Girl Scout [Junior] level, so I never got to do them,” Fausto said. “It was a good leadership experience, and a lot of the little girls were so cute.”

In February, Campus Girl Scouts and Troop 00087 sold more than 350 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and spent the profit on Build-A-Bear teddy bears, Fausto said.

“I liked it when we sold cookies,” Fausto said. “It was more fun because the girls had more interaction. They got to see the campus and the students and do something active.”

Pfaff said Saint Mary’s freshman Kaitlin Maierhofer and Notre Dame freshman Emma O’Shea will head the club as co-presidents next year. She said the club plans to continue leading Troop 00087 and expand by hosting larger events for local troops, like a sleepover or leadership day.  

“A goal of Girl Scouts is to get girls thinking in a more futuristic way,” Pfaff said. “These girls are coming to Notre Dame and meeting girls that did that. It’s huge for them to start thinking about their futures.”

Campus Girl Scouts works to give the girls in its troop a community in which they can be themselves, Pfaff said.

“A big thing for me was to see these girls who were perfect strangers and had probably never been to Notre Dame before become comfortable with each other and become like a little family,” she said.