Girl Scouts are not usually associated with age.
But their iconic organization, Girl Scouts of the United States of America, celebrates its 100th birthday on March 12.
National events to commemorate the Girl Scouts’ birthday include a 200,000-girl-strong sing-a-long on the Mall in Washington, D.C. this summer, and a planned attempt at the largest flash mob in history, featuring “jazz hands.”
In honor of the milestone anniversary, representatives from Girl Scouts of the USA, and VIP guests rang the bell to open the NASDAQ market on Wall Street on March 12, with a message about girls’ financial empowerment.
A Troop out of Eagleville, Troop 7271, led by Susan Richards, will be celebrating Girl Scout’s 100th with a scavenger hunt this week, since the anniversary falls on an off week for the troop’s meetings.
“At our next meeting, we’ll be joined by ‘Juliette Low,’ and will be completing requirements for a vintage Girl Scout patch,” Richards said. “[In addition], a couple of girls from our troop will be going to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to join in “Girl Scouts Rock the Mall.” And our troop will participate in our Service Unit 648’s Tropical Luau in April, organized by some of our unit’s older Girl Scouts.”
Julie Ostroff, 11, of Dresher, recognizes the importance and rarity of such an organization surviving for a century, and also the need to honor such a milestone.
“I think this is a very special and rare thing, and should be celebrated throughout all troops, from Daisies to Seniors,” Julie said. “Turning 100 is very important.”
Richards, a Girl Scout alumna herself, is proud of the way the organization has evolved over the last century, in order to meet the growing challenges facing girls today.
“Scouts gives girls a safe and fun environment to learn the skills and confidence to meet these challenges,” Richards said. “Over the next 100 years, I see Girl Scouts continuing to shape many of our future leaders.”
A century ago, on March 12, 1912, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low gathered a group of girls from Savannah, Ga., for the first local Girl Scout meeting. Low believed in giving all girls the opportunity to develop physically, mentally and spiritually, bringing them out of their isolated home environments and into community service and the open air. Her dream of a successful girl-centered organization was realized within a few years, and today Girl Scouts of the USA has more than 3.2 million members and over 50 million alumnae, including a veritable Who’s Who of successful American women: Candace Bergen, Lucille Ball, Laura Bush and Katie Couric. According to the organization’s history, “Girl Scouts is dedicated to every girl, everywhere.”
“I’m glad my two girls wanted to join an organization that has been around for so many years, and has helped develop many of the strong and confident leaders of today,” Richards said.
“I get to have a thousand sisters,” said Susan’s daughter, Kaitlin Richards, 8, a Brownie in Troop 71358. She thinks it’s “awesome” that she gets to participate in the anniversary celebration and activities this year.
Julie Ostroff loves being a Scout for the “fun activities” during meetings, and also for its community dedication.
“I like the volunteer work we do,” she said. “Doing the things we do in Girl Scouts is important and effect my life in a good way. The opportunities we get help us mature and learn. I believe being a Girl Scout will benefit me later on in life, and maybe even sooner.”
Regional Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Events
Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Celebration
Date: March 12, 2012, 6 to 7 p.m.
Location: Area Michaels craft stores
Description: Michaels will host a demonstration to celebrate the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary, with fun ways to grow and learn with Girl Scouts. For ages 3 and up.
Date: Friday, April 20, 2012
Address: International Sports Center, 600 Kresson Road, Cherry Hill, N.J.
Description: Celebrate the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary luau-style with a sleepover for girls. The night will be packed with luau-themed games, prizes and other fun activities. Skate till late, or play on the three-story funzone and giant slide. Sleepover also includes a slice of pizza, drink, popcorn with a “lights out” movie, and continental breakfast in the morning. Friends and family are welcome. Don’t forget your jammies, sleeping bag, pillow and socks for skating! Cost is $25 per child, $9 per adult.
Century of the Girl Expo
Date: Sunday, April 21
Address: Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., Philadelphia
Description: This expo will include a variety of interactive exhibits, entertainment, national and local speakers, workshops for girls and adults. There will also be other activities related to topics near and dear to the hearts of Girl Scouts: leadership, arts, the environment, outdoor education, technology, science, math, healthy living and community service.