Believe it or not, there's more to being a Girl Scout than just selling cookies.
Former Girl Scouts and volunteers gathered yesterday evening at Ben's Bells, 816 E. University Blvd., for the kick–off of a new UA club, the UA Campus Girl Scouts.
Former Girl Scout and pre-business sophomore Laura Lelicoff formed the club as part of an outreach program meant to focus on underprivileged Girl Scouts in the Tucson community.
Lelicoff said the club provided a chance for former Girl Scouts — now women — to give guidance to young women who may not be able to find it elsewhere.
""I think that it is a great opportunity to be a role model for younger girls within the community and to have other women contributing as well,"" she said.
Girl Scouts can be as young as five and as old as 17 years old, Lelicoff said.
""Quick Girl Scout 101: the youngest girls are Daisies, a little older girls are Brownies and then we have Cadets,"" she said.
Lelicoff has worked closely with girls in the Girl Scout Sahuaro Council for the past two years and said she wanted to bring in more support from the UA campus.
There were 60 volunteers last year and Lelicoff said she is expecting even more this year.
The majority of volunteers are former Girl Scouts, she said, but not everyone.
Kelsey Janet, a speech and hearing sciences junior and member of the new volunteer group, was at the event and feels it is valuable to the women as well as to the girls.
Last year, Janet worked with under-privileged Girl Scouts in Tucson who were eager to learn and get involved, she said.
""I got really close with the girls,"" she said. ""The best part of it is they really look up to you.""
Last year was her first year of volunteer work. Janet went to girls' schools every Friday and taught them all of the Girl Scout codes and rules.
""A lot of girls can't afford to get involved — they usually would have to pay dues — and we don't charge anything,"" she said.
At the end of every Girl Scout meeting the girls make a wish, and one girl, Janet recalled, said she wished she could be a Girl Scout forever.
""They love to be a part of something,"" she said.
The women who attended Wednesday's kick-off event worked with Ben's Bells staff members to make pieces of ceramic bells, which will be sent to New York to be kilned and then dispersed all over Tucson.
Ben's Bells is an organization that promotes kindness in the community, said Kristen Culliney, 32-year-old community development manager for the Girl Scouts. The business opened a few years ago when a local family lost their two-year-old son.
The family was so amazed at the overflow of kindness from the community, Culliney said, that they started making bells in their pottery studio.
""I've been through Girl Scouts and I will always remember the great memories I had doing it,"" Janet said. ""Everyone should have those memories.""