Midshipmen find fun as Girl Scouts

Men, women join academy chapter

April 26, 1999|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Midshipman 3rd Class Jay Sebastian is an example of the best the Naval Academy has to offer.

The 22-year-old sophomore computer science major from San Jose, Calif., plans to become a Marine Corps aviator. He belongs to the Semper Fidelis Society for future Marine officers and the YP Power Squadron, a surface warfare training unit.

He's also a Girl Scout.

Sebastian is among a group of midshipman who adhere not only to the academy's code of honor, but do their best to meet the standards of that other character-building organization. They're also pretty good cookie salesmen.

This year, the 32 members of the Naval Academy's Campus Girl Scouts group sold more than 2,300 boxes of cookies to hungry midshipmen. Sebastian figures he sold about 100, noting that Samoas and Thin Mints were the most popular among the 130 midshipmen in his company.

"I put out an e-mail to my company, `Buy Girl Scout cookies,' " he said. "Everybody loves them."

The members of this Girl Scout group spend most of their time working with local Scout organizations, giving tours of the Naval Academy to area troops and taking them to athletic events there. They also encourage Girl Scouts to consider careers in math and science.

"I don't try to fluff up the Naval Academy for them," said Academy Scout Lori Schulze, a 20-year-old junior from Albuquerque, N.M. "It's hard, and it gets really intense sometimes. Some make faces and say they wouldn't want to get up at 6: 30 in the morning."

This weekend, nine academy Scouts joined more than 200 area Scouts in camp outs at Camp Wabanna in Mayo and Camp Woodlands southwest of Annapolis.

"They've become invaluable to us," said Lisa Cid, executive director of the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. "At the science day last fall, they got to e-mail John Glenn in space. What a wonderful thing for a girl to remember."

Most of the female midshipmen in the Academy's Girl Scout group are former Scouts who wanted to stay in. Like Sebastian, most of the men are former Boy Scouts who never reached Eagle rank and could not join the National Association of Eagle Scouts at the academy.

The Girl and Boy Scouts organizations allow co-ed groups for members age 18 and older.

"I figured the Girl Scouts was a good way to go," said Sebastian, who is designing a Web site for the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. "I knew men could volunteer, and you don't have to wear a uniform or anything."

Naval Academy graduate Tracy Emmersen founded the campus group in 1995 as an official extracurricular activity and served as president for two years. Since then, men have been president.

The departing president, Troy Miller, 21, hung a plaque, "President: Campus Girl Scouts," on the door of his room in Bancroft Hall, the large dormitory where the 4,000 midshipmen live.

"I don't want to get too mushy or anything," he said. "But I love helping out, I love camping and helping them earn their badges because it's so important to them."

At Camp Wabanna, on a point at the mouths of the West and Rhode rivers in Mayo, a handful of Naval Academy Girl Scouts wearing gray Navy sweat shirts ate Friday night dinner with a group of girls ages 9 to 16 who would sleep in a dorm that night.

"This is great," said Schulze. "It's princess camping."

Compared to Plebe Summer, it's pure relaxation.

Pub Date: 4/26/99

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