Dora Bice got involved in Girl Scouting in 1933 to help a friend. Fifty-nine years later, she's still involved.
"It's the young people" who keep her in the organization, said Bice, one of the founders of Girl Scouting in Lawrence.
Mariana Remple, who nominated Bice for the Award of Excellence, said, "I estimate that her life made a difference in a direct or indirect way to 60,000 girls of the greater Lawrence community."
Remple noted that Bice also had received Girl Scouting's highest award the Thanks Badge in 1947.
Bice remembers organizing and helping with camp programs before the local Girl Scout camp, Hidden Valley, even existed. They used Clinton Park, some land off East 15th Street and even Lone Star Lake, she said, before finding a home in the 1950s at Hidden Valley, the 40-acre camp owned by the local Girl Scout organization near 15th and Kasold.
OVER THE years, Bice also has served as a troop leader, troop organizer and neighborhood chairman, as well as secretary and president of the original Girl Scout Council in Lawrence.
Today, Bice said, she continues to serve on the Bromelsick Christmas Party Committee, which includes Girl Scout, Boy Scout and 4-H representatives who organize an annual party for children paid for by estate of the late Alfred Bromelsick.
For many years, Bice added, she also served on the Hidden Valley Committee, working to develop that property for the scouts.
"We built Ar-ca-loo-ka," she recalled, referring to the cabin there that was constructed in the late 1950s and continues to serve as the camp's headquarters. "There's a lot of work to keep it (the camp) going."
GIRL SCOUTING in Lawrence initially was organized around a local council, Bice explained, but later joined with Leavenworth to create an area council. In the 1960s, the local entity left that group and joined with Kaw Valley Council in Topeka, with which it remains.
She said young girls needed scouting experiences more than ever today, but Girl Scout volunteers are harder and harder to recruit.
In many homes now, she said, both parents work and when they get home from work, "it's hard for them to give the children what they need."
She added though, that scout leaders, like school teachers, can't replace a child's parents.
In addition to her Girl Scout work, Bice is president of the board of directors and a store volunteer for the Social Services League at 905 R.I., one of the oldest service agencies in the city.
Clients there, though, are mostly adults, "so it's a different kind of work. We try to help people help themselves," she said.