Sue Beaudet became a Brownie in 1958 with one goal in mind: to explore the outdoors. Her family was not outdoorsy, but she took the initiative to join her local troop. The experience provided a way for her to connect with nature and ultimately guided her towards a lifelong passion.
An outdoor recreation professor at University of Maine at Presque Isle, Sue has inspired her students for decades. But some of her most important work in outdoor recreation has been as a volunteer for the Girl Scouts. "The Scouts have given me so many opportunities that I always knew I'd give back to them as a volunteer," says Sue.
Sue shares her outdoor skills with her Girl Scout community in many ways, all with equal enthusiasm. One day you might find her leading a hike on Mount Katahdin or teaching kayaking, another day instructing skiers at the Nordic Heritage Center. Sue has worked for the Girl Scouts all over the world. She was a climbing and ski instructor at the Girl Scouts Chalet in Switzerland, a canoe guide in Canada and an instructor at the National Center West in Wyoming.
Through her energetic and longtime efforts, troop leaders worldwide have also benefited from Sue's longstanding history with the Scouts. She conducts weekend workshops for troop leaders in Maine – which involves a five-hour drive from her home to Baxter State Park. "She is a truly dedicated volunteer," says Samantha Lott Hale, Regional Director of Girls Scouts of Maine. "When the training is over, she helps connect leaders with outdoor resources so it's easy for them to bring the girls outdoors."
With over 50 years of experience in the Girl Scouts, Sue has watched the organization grow, develop and modernize with the needs of young girls in society. "We don't always teach girls to make fires from wood anymore, but we still teach them how to build a fire. The fundamentals have never left," she says. "And Scouts now are learning important leadership skills and a global perspective on good citizenship and environmental issues."
"Sue is a piece of living history for the Girl Scouts," says Christine Burgess, Volunteer Development Manager of Girl Scouts of Maine. "There has been so much change over the years, but she embraces the movement and keeps going forward."
Sue's down-to-earth style and sincerely humble appreciation make it easy to understand her connection to scouting girls, which has spanned so many camping seasons. She credits all the successes in her life to the Girl Scouts and is happy she can continue to give back to the scout community in Maine. "To quote John Denver, I came home to a place I'd never been before," says Sue. "Living in Maine and working with the Girl Scouts – that's home to me."
To learn more about Girl Scouts of Maine, visit girlscoutsofmaine.org.