Former Girl Scouts return as volunteers

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Carol Sorgen

Girl Scouts believe that once a scout, always a scout, and that’s certainly true for Baltimore volunteers Roberta Dorsch and Pat Disharoon.

Dorsch, 67, began her girl scouting in the Baltimore Council around 1950 and remained active through the group’s “intermediate” level. She earned the “curved bar,” the highest distinction at that time.

When Dorsch’s daughter was 6 years old, she became a Girl Scout herself, first in Baltimore and then in Allegany County, where the family relocated. Dorsch became the troop leader, later joining the Shawnee Council staff. Then Dorsch went back to work, taking a position with the Maryland Park Service of the Department of Natural Resources.

Like her mother, Dorsch’s daughter continued the family scouting tradition through high school, earning the “Gold Award,“ the equivalent of the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Award. She was also a camp counselor, and after graduating from college, became PR director at the Shawnee Council, where she had spent her own scouting days.

Even Dorsch’s husband got into the scouting act, becoming a troop leader as well. Today, Dorsch, her husband and daughter are all lifetime members of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Once Dorsch retired from the park service, her fond memories of scouting drew her back, and she began volunteering as a member of the archives committee. She puts in about 10 hours a week, inventorying the history of the Central Maryland Chapter of the Girl Scouts, cataloguing documents and artifacts such as scout uniforms through the years.

“I really like and enjoy preserving history for the future generations,” said Dorsch, who is also an active volunteer with the park service, her community association, her church and various other programs. Scouting has a special hold on her though because she loves the organization and the good it does for the girls who go through it.

Leading the way

Pat Disharoon also was active in Girl Scouts growing up. She became a troop leader while in college, then took a break while attending medical school and having her children.

When her daughters became eligible for scouting, Disharoon (known as “Dr. Pat”) became a troop leader again. The 57-year-old physician, a Ten Hills resident, is also the Girl Scout chorus director and accordionist.

She recently took on the role of travel pathway leader, leading the council’s efforts to help more girls experience the joys of travel. In that capacity, she will be taking girls on trips around the U.S. and abroad.

This summer they’re off to Savannah, Ga., then will be visiting the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) World Centers in England and Switzerland in the near future.

Disharoon said she spends about 1,000 hours a year on Girl Scout activities. “It’s a lot of fun but it’s a lot of work!” she said. Still, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Girl Scouts is a wonderful organization,” she said. “It helps girls reach their full potential and develop leadership skills and self-confidence. It’s a wonderful thing to see how these young girls become impressive young women.”

Share your skills

Girl Scouts of Central Maryland depends on its 11,000 adult volunteers to serve as troop leaders, cookie and cookie cupboard managers, program aides, camp directors, archivists, program leaders, trainers, first-aiders and more.

“Volunteers like Roberta and Pat are the biggest part of the engine that runs Girl Scouts,” said communications director Danita Terry.

According to Terry, Girl Scout volunteers are needed in all capacities. They can help with a program at a school or community center, teach girls a new skill like knitting, woodworking, painting, knotting, mapping or sewing at troop meetings, or provide guidance as girls pursue their silver or gold awards.

“There are many opportunities for adults, whether they want to volunteer for an hour, a day, a month or a year,” said Terry.

To find out more about volunteer opportunities with Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, contact Meghan Laschinger at (410) 358-9711, ext.219 or
To subscribe to the monthly volunteer newsletter, which lists current opportunities, e-mail