When a 6-year-old Julie Beck joined Montpelier’s Brownie troop back in 1970, she had no idea it would take her around the world through 50 years of service with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA).
Beck, from Montpelier, the daughter of Kenneth and Yvonne Beck, recently received her 50-year pin from the Coastal Pines of Carolina Girl Scout Council of Raleigh, North Carolina.
“Joining the Girl Scouts was one of the best things I have ever done in my life,” Beck said. “It gave me confidence, courage and built character. I will never forget my younger Girl Scout days from sledding at Hillcrest Golf Course to ice skating in Angola (Indiana) to the many summers working at Girl Scout camps, including in Germany.
“At camp, I became a go-getter and risk-taker, especially when we encountered bears, moose and sometimes snowstorms on our backpacking and mountain biking trips,” she added. “I am so grateful for GSUSA and Girl Scouts Overseas and the wonderful opportunities it affords girls and adults. I often tell people that I would not be the innovator and leader I am today if I had not joined the Girl Scouts.”
“Being a Girl Scout was a given,” she said. Her grandmother Myrtle Miller was a Girl Scout and her mother served as a senior Girl Scout leader for Beck and her sisters, Shelley and Sheila. She still remembers the other Montpelier troop leaders as well, including Terry Brown, Connie Drerup and Anita Taylor.
Beck said she “learned valuable camping and outdoor skills from them as they participated in outdoor activities at the Conversation Farm, George Bible Park and at Girl Scout Camp Libby in Defiance.”
After high school, Beck went on to Bowling Green State University where she joined Campus Girl Scouts and worked with local Girl Scout troops there.
In 1983, Beck traveled overseas where she served as a counselor at Camp Lachenwald in Germany, for the Girl Scout daughters of military personnel stationed in Europe. During that summer, the camp staff had an opportunity to travel to Berlin, crossing the border at Checkpoint Charlie to explore parts of former East Germany. They also went to Our Chalet, an international Girl Scout World Center in Switzerland. The next two summers, Beck served as an outdoor skills instructor at Girl Scout Camp Natarswi, in Maine.
After graduating from BGSU, Beck served four years as field director for the Coastal Carolina Girl Scout Council in Goldsboro, North Carolina, recruiting new scouts and training new Girl Scout leaders. She was also appointed as director for Girl Scout Camp Hardee in North Carolina, bringing platform tents and an international staff to the facility, a tradition that continues today.
Transitioning to a professional career, Beck accepted a position as student activities director for Mount Olive College, also in North Carolina, and used her summers off to support other camps and travel with the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides (WAGGS) for 22 years. She has visited all 50 states, all seven continents and 89 countries, serving at Camp Runels in New Hampshire, Camp Arrowhead in Oregon, Camp Togowoods in Alaska, Camp Timbercrest in Montana and Girl Scout Wider Opportunity in Michigan. She also served at three Girl Scout World Centers, including Pax Lodge, England; Sangam, India; and Our Cabana, Mexico.
Since 2011, Beck has been the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce President and still travels for GSUSA every summer. She went back to Camp Lachenwald in 2016 and 2017 and served as camp director in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to travel and outdoor activities this summer so Beck is serving online as the American host of a worldwide virtual camp with leaders from England, Italy and Germany and 600 Girl Scouts.