Unbreakable bond

Senior Girl Scouts earn Gold Award share memories

As elementary schoolers, seniors Brittany Cafferty and Cassie Campbell spent their days climbing trees and playing with Polly Pockets. From being in the same classes to living two doors away from each other, the two girls had almost everything in common.

Campbell and Cafferty have grown up together, sharing each milestone. Together they have faced almost every problem typical of a teenager. They have been together for middle school dances and choosing colleges, but few high schoolers could face the lows they have, and they endured it together. Afterwards, they have lifted each other up through their unwavering friendship.
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In elementary school, both girls were interested in Girl Scouts. In kindergarten, Campbell found out that Cafferty was a Daisy and immediately joined as well. For 13 years, the two sold cookies and camped out, working their way up in rank.

Cafferty and Campbell agree that they created some of their favorite memories together in Girl Scouts, although it may not have started out that way. One summer, they attended Camp Tonkawa, a Girl Scout’s camp. The two spent four and a half showerless days in the sweltering heat among grubby middle schoolers. They stood under an outdoor pump faucet shaving their legs to maintain some degree of hygiene. While these experiences were unbearable at the time, they grew into some amusing memories that Campbell and Cafferty look back on.

“They definitely weren’t my favorite at the time, but looking back they were just so ridiculous that I find them hilarious,” Cafferty said. “It’s just the funny weird memories that I like.”

While Cafferty and Campbell enjoyed many moments in Girl Scouts, they both wanted to quit at times. For a short period of time, Cafferty did leave the program. She rejoined after Campbell encouraged her to work towards her Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts.

“If Cassie wasn’t in my troop I would have quit 13 years ago,” Cafferty said. “Being in Girl Scouts, we’ve maintained [our friendship] and added more crazy adventures to what we already had.”

Last year, Cafferty and Campbell began working on their awards. Earning a Gold Award is a lengthy and demanding process, requiring several extra hours and an in-depth plan. While Cafferty was organizing her project, her father became ill. While this news was distressing, she felt confident that he would recover, and continued to work.

When Cafferty’s father unexpectedly passed away last year, she was shocked. Her achievement of the Gold Award was delayed while she came to terms with her father’s death. Cafferty had trouble opening up and discussing her grief, but when she did, it was Campbell who she turned to. Campbell said she wanted to be there for Cafferty, but her support could only go so far.

“I tried to be just supportive as possible, because I didn’t understand what she was going through,” Campbell said. “I could sympathize. Not empathize, but sympathize.”
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Last September, Campbell and Cafferty endured yet another test of their friendship. Cafferty’s phone lit up as she took notes in her government review session. As she answered, she listened to her best friend voice telling her the time had come. Cafferty immediately gathered her things and raced toward Campbell’s house at 75 mph. Campbell’s father had been ill and was in hospice. She knew her father was was going to pass away and when he did, her first instinct was to tell Cafferty to come over.

Upon arriving, Cafferty was puzzled to find a swarm of police cars outside of her friend’s house. Due to confusing events, the police began investigating Campbell’s father’s death as a homicide. Although the police realized that he died of an illness, Campbell and Cafferty were forced to stay there until the investigation was completed.

Cafferty began looking for Campbell to comfort her, and found her sitting in the bed of her dad’s truck. While the detectives finished their questioning, Cafferty and Campbell grieved together. For four hours, the two girls sat together in silence, but shared a level of understanding that their fifteen years of friend-ship cultivated.

“Just the fact that Brittany could be right there when I needed her, I think that speaks volumes to how close we are,” Campbell said. “I think it was really important that she was there because it was fresh and she was the one person who knew exactly what I was going through at that moment.”
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From being in the same troop, to sharing the same loss, to being practically like sisters, their relationship has only grown stronger over the years. Campbell and Cafferty agree that they most likely would have been friends without Girl Scouts, but being in the program together has solidified their relationship.

“A lot of the times once you get into middle school you lose those elementary friends,” Campbell said. “And once you get into high school you lose your middle school friends. So I think just the fact that we had [Girl Scouts] in common, that helped keep us together through high school.”

Both Campbell and Cafferty have achieved their Gold Awards and will graduate together in June. Cafferty said that although it was difficult to work towards achieving her Gold Award while grieving, it was all the more meaningful when she did reach her goal.

“I’m super proud,” Cafferty said. “It’s also bittersweet because he’s not here. It’s [difficult], but at the same time all of this has made me so much of a better person.”

As best friends, Campbell and Cafferty already had a connection that few could understand, but after experiencing such similar losses, that connection deepened. They are both extremely proud of their achievement, but consider their friendship the greater prize.

“I think that when you are able to share an experience that is so devastating it definitely makes you closer to that person,” Campbell said. “At the very least, better able to understand them.”