Tapp-ed into Girl Scouts

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37 years in Scouts earns leader Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year award

By Becky Barnes, Editor

This was the year that all Chamber of Commerce awards recipients were notified ahead of time that they would be receiving honors.

Well, everyone except the Volunteer of the Year. She thought she was going to the annual banquet to volunteer.

Jenny Tapp donned her black slacks and white shirt to serve food to banquet guests. Even her youngest daughter, Halee, thought they were serving for a Chamber donation to the Girl Scouts.

“There was a whole lot of conniving going on,” said Tapp, a 25-year leader for Harrison County’s Girl Scouts.

Tapp has spent 37 years in Girl Scouts.

She was 5 years old when she went to her first Scout meeting. She was hooked.

She continued as a Scout through high school and then became a leader at 17 years old, 10 years before her first child was born.

“I wasn’t supposed to, but I graduated and just slid right in,” she said.

Since then, she has had at least one troop, and as many as four, each of her 25 years.

“No one would take them,” she said of some of the troops without leaders. “I couldn’t turn little girls down.”

Tapp loved Scouting so much that she passed on her passion to her two daughters, Aleesha, 20, and Halee, 12, as well as to the hundreds of other girls who have trooped through her life.

Tapp and Aleesha are the first Harrison County mother/daughter duo to earn Girl Scouting’s highest honor -- the Gold Award. Halee is expected to earn hers in two years.

Scouting has changed a little over the years, she said. Where there used to be stay-at-home moms who would assume the leader roles, those moms are now working.

A few years ago, the Harrison County Girls Scouts had to do away with their Day Camp that ran several days and allowed the girls to earn some camping, first aid, hiking and cooking badges.

Now they go on weekend trips, like one last week to a castle in Ohio.

Equipped with sleeping bags and cooking utensils, the girls spent the weekend seeing the sights.

They also spent the night on the hard ground.

“The whole sleeping on the ground is catching up with me,” Tapp laughed, noting that she slept on an air mattress.

Girls are also staying with Scouts longer, which makes it a challenge for leaders to come up with new trips.

Last year 35 girls and chaperones went to Savannah, Ga., where some saw the ocean for the very first time.

“I just want them to experience some of these things,” Tapp said.

In 2011, three girls and three leaders went to Europe.

Fundraising is underway now for a return trip to Europe in two years with 10 girls.

“It takes a whole lot of cookies to get to Europe,” she said.

The goal is to have at least one big camping trip each year. They also have monthly service projects and a county-wide event.

The most recent of them was a spring father-daughter picnic at Flat Run Veterans’ Park.

Tapp has worked at K.C. Provisions for the last 14 years. Prior to that she was at Payless Grocery and Ponderosa.

She is a member of Cynthiana Baptist Church and serves as co-coordinator for the 4-H Spring Style Review.

She is a native of Harrison County, having grown up in the Claysville-Sunrise area.

She is the daughter of David and Shirley King.

 Tapp said she decided in fourth grade that she wanted to be a Girl Scout troop leader. The late Judy Fritz was her leader and she passed on her dedication to Scouting to Tapp.