THETFORD, VT | Tara and Jesse Pacht of East Thetford, Vermont, have been named Volunteers of the Month for June by the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
Passion for the Girl Scouts is at the heart of everything the Pachts do, whether it is in Tara’s role as first vice president of the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, volunteering along with husband, Jesse, to improve the facilities at Camp Farnsworth, or simply spreading the word of Girl Scouting to any and all who will listen. Tara and her husband make sure to wear a Girl Scout shirt or pin every day just to start the conversations! Both are lifetime members of the Girl Scouts. Jesse comes from a strong Girl Scout family, and is the third and possibly fourth generation to be involved with Girl Scouts. As a father of a Gold Award Girl Scout, he has always made it a top priority to be involved and supportive of all her Girl Scouting achievements.
One passion for Tara and Jesse, is pie irons. And what is that? You can take a class they call “You Cooked It With What?” to find out, but it’s much like a sandwich press with long handles that can be held above a heat source like an open fire, coals or grill. They have Girl Scout workshops to teach girls and adults how to use the pie iron with a variety of recipes, including king salmon with garlic aioli and pumpkin pie.
“I had done pie-iron cooking as a Girl Scout one time on some outing that we had, possibly at Camp Farnsworth,” said Tara. “I always remembered that. So when the Girl Scouts had their 100th anniversary, and were looking for people to run the workshops and program, I said ‘I can do this!’ So I did research with my husband and daughter.” Now she and her husband are committed to teaching this alternative method of cooking, which she said can be very healthful since you cook one portion at a time, taking into account an individual’s needs.
Jesse said the classes are an opportunity to combine his love of food and his passion for Girl Scouting. “It was this thing Tara and I could do together. I’ve always been an avid outdoorsperson, and discovered pie irons about 15 years ago.” If you’re interested in learning more, note that their classes fill up fast.
Tara grew up in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where she was a Girl Scout Brownie and Junior, and she attended Camp Farnsworth in the summers. The love of Girl Scouting was in her from that start, so she and her husband were sure to enroll their daughter as a Girl Scout Brownie when the time came. That led to volunteering to help the troop, and when her daughter’s leaders wanted to take a rest during her sophomore year, she jumped right in to keep the troop together. Their daughter, Gabriella Pacht, has now earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.
“Watching my daughter receive her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards was one my most memorable highlights of being a Girl Scout volunteer,” she said. “They are those little seeds, and they have the potential to grow! It was an awesome experience.” Tara was proud to receive her lifetime membership the same day as her daughter, at Gabriella’s high school graduation.
Jesse said he may be unusual, being a man involved in Girl Scouts, but people realize once they talk with him that he does care and know what he’s talking about. “Especially talking to women volunteers,” he said, “they’re not used to men being this involved. You start talking about projects, different camps, travel, and they go ‘Oh, okay!’ and have a conversation. It comes across in a passion for wanting to keep young women involved in something besides that little screen in their hands, their social lives.”
As an alum to Camp Farnsworth, Tara was excited to join the property committee, making decisions on how the camp will expand and improving all Girl Scout camp properties. As part of the Unleashing Her Potential Campaign, improvements including a saltwater swimming pool and renovated dining hall have been completed. She emphasizes listening to the girls to find out what they want at camp, which led to the pool, high-adventure towers and more. Jesse has done the tough work of plumbing repairs at camps and helped put up more than 20 canvas tents this spring. He has volunteered during camp work weekends and whenever there is a need for help.
After Tara’s more than 20 years as a Girl Scout and volunteer, she and Jesse are enthusiastic about the Girl Scouts and in sharing their voice for others to realize the importance of an all-girl, girl-led organization that provides opportunities for girls to try new things and step into leadership roles.
“I would tell anybody to go for it,” she said. “There are lots of different options to volunteer, from troop level to camps. We will find something that fits you!” Tara and Jesse Pacht are the embodiment of the G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™ philosophy and our Mission in building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.