05/09/08 — Scouts honor longtime volunteer

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Scouts honor longtime volunteer

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 9, 2008 2:07 PM

The Girl Scouts honored Betty Kemp on Thursday night with its Woman of Distinction award.

Mrs. Kemp has worked with the Girl Scout program for more than half a century, said Coast Pines Council Chairman Martha Webb of Raleigh, who presented the award, and has served as a role model for hundreds of young women.

"She has gifts that are as divine as those mentioned in the Book of Romans," said Ellen Best, who was a Girl Scout under Mrs. Kemp's leadership for years. "My personal favorite is her gift of encouragement using those short legs. Those short legs can walk fast and are hard to keep up with. But when she looks over her shoulder, her smile and her eyes twinkle, and they beckon you to follow.

"Wear it with pride, Betty, because we are proud of you," she said. "... Speaking for the members of Troops 95 and 8, we'd follow you anywhere, and our heart's desire would be for our own daughters and granddaughters to follow your example."

Mrs. Kemp also was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by state Sen. John Kerr. It is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the state.

"You've earned three or four of them," Kerr told her.

The recognition ceremony was held at the Goldsboro Country Club, with more than 200 people in attendance.

Among her many contributions to the Girl Scouts, Mrs. Kemp, along with her late husband, Bill, started a program called "World View" to help more young people travel.

"Hundreds of students have participated," Mrs. Webb said, pointing out that already this year the program has enabled more than 100 students to travel out of the country.

Mrs. Kemp has an uncanny ability to get things done, the speakers at the event said, noting on one trip, she managed to schedule an audience with the pope for her girls.

Goldsboro Mayor Al King officially proclaimed May 8 as Betty Kemp Day. He congratulated Mrs. Kemp on her many years of contributing to the development of young women, and also to the Boy Scouts. Her husband was deeply involved in Boy Scouting as well, earning the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor given by an individual Boy Scout council.

"You've done a tremendous job for the community," King said. "And we love you so much."