Girl Scouts turn 100You can only reach the ripe age of 100 once in your life, so Girl Scout troops across the nation are making sure the milestone doesn’t go unnoticed as the organization becomes a century old this year.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
You can only reach the ripe age of 100 once in your life, so Girl Scout troops across the nation are making sure the milestone doesn’t go unnoticed as the organization becomes a century old this year.
What started with a group of 18 girls in Savannah, Ga., on March 12, 1912, gradually expanded into a membership of more than 3.2 million girls and adults in the United States.
In addition to various other 100th birthday celebrations throughout the country, one in particular will be held at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
“Ours is probably the largest in the Midwest,” said Nicole Anderson, membership specialist for the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys. “We have over 600 hotel rooms booked for this event and a lot of those troops are not from Minnesota.”
Nearly every minute from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both today and Sunday is packed with more entertainment than people will know what to do with. Five areas in the mall, including the rotunda, offer tons of space for different setups.
Macy’s Court will feature “Camp Like a Girl,” an area that will teach knot tying, proper horse care, geocaching basics, outdoor cooking and more. “Design the Future Girl” in Nordstrom Court is all about science, while “Courageous and Strong Girl” in Sears Court puts emphasis on health and exercise. “Planet Earth Girl” outside of Bloomingdale’s also will feature a variety of activities.
The Red Wing area has many different troops that meet once or twice a month on their own. In addition to those meetings, they also combine with others in the area every month to create a service unit. The service unit that includes Red Wing and Lake City troops has about 150 girls and 40 volunteer adults, second-grade Red Wing Girl Scouts troop leader Nikki Roschen said.
When Girl Scouts get together as service units, they keep entertained with different tasks, and some of this year’s undertakings were given a twist.
“We just tried to put more of a spin on it to where we’re celebrating the centennial,” Roschen said.
Since October, the local service unit has been hosting a mixture of events — some are traditional and done annually, while others are new for the sake of the 100th birthday.
Regardless, “all of these things are kind of traditional, getting back to the root of Girl Scouts,” Roschen explained.
October featured an opportunity to honor Juliette Gordon Lowe, the founder of Girl Scouts, whose birthday is on Halloween. With November came Red Wing’s Holiday Stroll and a special float made by more than 80 local Girl Scouts for the parade.
December saw the 56th annual mitten tree and January featured a scavenger hunt and a campfire, both of which former troop leaders helped make happen.
“We’ve kind of tried to do that — get some of the alumni members involved in helping,” Roschen said.
In February the girls held “Thinking Day,” an event that immersed them in 10 cultures.
March’s activity is, of course, the Great Girl Gathering. Many local Girl Scouts plan to head up to the Mall of America to enjoy the occasion, but Roschen’s troop gets to do more than just attend.
“We were chosen out of more than 500 troops to sell Girl Scout cookies there,” she said.
For some, it’s impossible to hear “Girl Scout” without automatically putting “cookies” behind it. Sugar cravers everywhere can rejoice in the fact that their favorite sweet treats are back and being sold just about everywhere. In addition to the regulars, a new cookie was developed to honor the 100th anniversary and the roots of where Girl Scouts began.
Known as Savannah Smiles, the latest phenomenon is a lemon-flavored confection dusted with powdered sugar.
Expect an opportunity to celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouts by buying them — and every other satisfying selection — at the Great Girl Gathering this weekend.