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Girl Scouts celebrate historic milestone

POSTED: March 28, 2012 4:00 a.m.

Girl Scouts across the country celebrated the organization's 100 years of service, fellowship and leadership training earlier this month.

Joan Bishop, Dawson County Troop 10610 leader, believes Girl Scouts is beneficial in building young girl's self-confidence and encouraging leadership skills.

"We do lots of community service projects and food drives. Individual troops will see a need and try to meet it. Some of the girls volunteer at the humane society, the senior center and so on," she said.

For a century, Girl Scouts has been founded on encouraging young women to take initiative.

Many current women leaders were once Girl Scouts, including current political icons Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. First Lady of Georgia Sandra Deal is also counted among the participants.

"I enjoyed the camaraderie and the outdoor aspects. We camped a little bit and learned to cook and lay a fire. We learned how to entertain ourselves, which I thought was a good skill to learn," she said while visiting a local elementary school earlier this month.

"I think it was a good organization for me at that time in my life. It was nice fellowship for me with my mother too," Deal said.

Deal now serves as the honorary troop leader for Troop 1912, an honorary troop made up of all the female elected officials and legislators in Georgia.

Girl Scouts, although focused on outdoor activities, is an organization that aims to help girls develop physically, mentally and spiritually, according to girlscouts.org.

"One thing that bugs me is that everyone says, ‘Girl Scouts - oh, cookies and camping, that's all you do,' and that's not true," Bishop said.

Bishop's daughter, Becca Bishop, has been in Girl Scouts since she was a young child and recently received the highest Girl Scout honor, the Gold Award.

One of the requirements for earning the award is to complete a project that has a lasting community impact. She assisted in building a trail between Riverview Middle and Riverview Elementary schools to prevent students from walking along a busy road.

This year Bishop's troop is sending cookies to soldiers serving overseas as a service project.

In the past they have put together emergency packets for natural disaster victims and collected diapers and baby items for a Catholic aid society.

The program was started by Juliette Gordon Low on March 12, 1912, in Savannah. Low had recently moved from Great Britain. She rounded up 18 girls to establish the first troop of American Girl Guides, now known as Girl Scouts. Low had been inspired by her experience with an organized Girl Guide movement in Great Britain

It is estimated the Girl Scouts now have 3.2 million members.

To learn more about local Girl Scout opportunities call (770) 536-8656 or visit www.gshg.org.

 

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