Sarah Patterson Brison – better known as Patsy – has been a Girl Scout since her mother began her Brownie troop in Gastonia in the 1950’s. Patsy went all the way through high school in Girl Scouting and she earned her Curved Bar before being chosen one of only six American Girl Scouts to participate in the Juliette Low Session at Our Chalet in Switzerland. The international leadership development seminars were begun in 1932 as Our Chalet opened as the first world center of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
The Gaston County high school graduate had never even flown in a plane before she found herself winging her way to Geneva to spend three weeks near the Swiss alpine town of Adelboden with 12 girls from Argentina, Denmark, Japan, Jamaica, Lebanon and Nigeria. “It opened up the world to me,” Patsy says. “I realized at that moment that people had more in common than not, no matter where they came from.”
Patsy came back from 10,000-foot-high mountains to go to UNC-Greensboro – where she majored in political science and international studies, and founded a Campus Gold Girl Scout Troop – and then on to Campbell Law School and the legal profession.
After college, she was Asheville’s Assistant City Attorney for 16 years, and then moved to private practice for 12+ years. Today, Patsy is a partner with Roberts and Stevens in Asheville – a litigator with expertise in zoning, construction and land-use law.
Throughout her three decades as a lawyer, Patsy has continued to stay connected to Girl Scouts. Even now, she serves on a task force for her local council (Peaks to Piedmont), helping to decide property issues. In addition to serving as board president of her legacy council (Pisgah) – for which she received one of the organization’s highest honors – Patsy spent six years serving on the national board during the time of council realignment. Her tenure on that board saw many changes in the organization nationally, as more than 300 local councils were realigned and combined into just over 100. This reorganization has allowed the country’s largest all-girl organization to re-energize itself for the next 100 years, focusing on relevance, results and girl-centricity.
Ten years after her first trip to Europe, Patsy took time out to lead a group of 10 girls to France, Italy and Switzerland, being sure to climb up in the Alps and to include a visit to Our Chalet. The group called itself the FIS (for France, Italy and Switzerland) Connection, and they proudly wore T-shirts they had had silk-screened with that FIS Connection logo.
Just this past summer, Patsy and her husband, Scott Camp, went back to Europe, visiting Austria and Switzerland – and, yes, taking time out to again visit her beloved Our Chalet.
Patsy is a lifetime Girl Scout and she has loved being part of the organization on so many levels – from a Brownie through to two terms serving on the national board.
“I would say to any girl, anywhere: Join Girl Scouts – go for it. It will change your life!”← Brandy Milazzo