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Why I give back to Girl Scouts


Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout. It’s a phrase that certainly sums up Barbara Barnes’ experience.

As a young girl living in Australia, she joined the Girl Guides. When she and her family moved back to the United States, she and her four sisters immediately joined Girl Scouts. Their mother, Margaret Sheriff, agreed to be troop leader for the two youngest girls, Barbara and Linda. The girls enjoyed years of friendship, camping and even earning Girl Scouting’s highest honor, then called First Class.

“Girl Scouting with my mother and sisters had a huge impact on my upbringing,” she says. “Mom was my Junior leader in New Orleans and my Cadette leader in Houston. She took leadership of my Senior troop my last year of high school.”

But it was camp that kept Barbara coming back.

After graduating from high school, she spent her summer unexpectedly leading a group of girls at a local day camp after her volunteer partner left after just one day. Her love for Girl Scouting led to volunteering with a Junior troop near Trinity University in San Antonio her first year at school. Studies quickly became her priority, but Barbara still kept Girl Scouts in mind.

During the summer of 1979, she jumped at the chance to be arts and crafts director for the Wider Opportunity, an event where girls across the U.S. visited our Council, held at Camp Casa Mare. Her experience there led to becoming a camp counselor at Casa Mare in 1980. Barbara also worked as the camp’s sailing director – a program she had enjoyed as a camper herself.

“Girl Scouting in general, and GSSJC in particular, hold a special place in my heart because of the impact I feel Girl Scouting had on my life,” says Barbara. “Not only do I have cherished memories of wonderful camping and service activities I participated in as a youth; I feel I am a stronger person because of the lessons I learned and experiences I had in Girl Scouts.”

As an adult, Barbara has also led troops, served at the service unit level and is a member of The Emerald Circle, a group which awards scholarships to girls who earn the Gold Award, Girl Scouting’s highest honor.

Her experience in Girl Scouts led Barbara to the decision to include GSSJC in her estate plans.

“I whole-heartedly believe in the mission of Girl Scouting,” she says. “Girl Scouting had such a positive impact on my life as it does on the lives of thousands of girls and women. GSSJC has such a vibrant and active program for girls that I know our legacy gift will be wisely used to serve girls.”

If you are interested in learning about including Girl Scouts in your will or trust and becoming a member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society, please contact Diane Pavey at 713-292-0277 or

To learn more about giving back to Girl Scouts, visit our Donate page.