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Mentoring Matters: Mentor Celebrates 25 Years Of Service In The Girl Scouts

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Marice Band is as sweet as the cookies her troop sells.

The passionate Girl Scouts leader is celebrating 25 years of service.

CBS4 caught up with Band and Troop 1239 at her Miami Beach home, where she sometimes hosts as many as 45 girls.

On this day, the troop was scattered around the house, tackling different tasks.

"I try to make it different than any other club that they could be in cause there are so many extracurricular activities for girls these days," Band said. "It has to be different or else they won't want to do it."

In the kitchen, the girls wrote messages of gratitude for local veterans on small rocks. An arts and crafts project was worked on in the dining room. And in the garage was a busy assembly line, where the girls packed treats for dogs at the Humane Society.

"We are folding it over so we see his little ears," she demonstrated to the girls as they packed the goodie bags. "Look girls, this is how you are folding. Everyone should be folded like that so we see the little doggy and this is the back side."

Band is a retired photojournalist. She worked at the Miami Herald for 35 years – all while serving as a troop leader. But she says this now is her full-time job.

"It's interesting to see, especially the girls who have been with me for 12 years – how they come in and how they go out. It's like seeing grandchildren you don't see afterwards," she said with a laugh.

Earlier this year, the troop surprised Band for her 25th anniversary.

Former and current scouts presented her with a plaque and a bench built in her honor.

"Best present I ever got, seriously," she said.

Band believes mentoring is a necessity in all communities.

"I think that they talk to me as if I'm not really a teacher but I'm not really their mom, so there is a lot of things that they'll talk to me about. And, you know, I enjoy helping them see what their talents are," she said. "We need people other than their parents to explain to them that this is the way that things are, this is how you should behave. You know, believe it or not, some kids don't even know how to write a letter."

Band says she is slowly phasing herself out. Her last group will be sixth graders next year and she'll mentor them until they graduate."

"I will never grow up, I am Peter Panette. They keep me young at heart, they keep me happy. And I just enjoy watching them grow," she said.

She's been doing it since her daughter was in middle school. Both her daughters are already adults.

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