Girl Scouts celebrate Girl Scouts’ 99th anniversary

Staff reports

Girl Scouts from southeast Louisiana will join their sister Girl Scouts across the country in celebrating the 99th birthday of the founding of Girl Scouting in the United States, during Girl Scout Week, March 6-12. For nearly a century, the Girl Scouts has stayed true to founder Juliette Gordon Low's vision of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

“During Girl Scout Week, we renew our commitment to making the world a better place,” said Jackie Alexander, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts Louisiana East. “We know that if a commitment to helping others is learned early in one’s life, it can lead to a commitment for all of one’s life.”

Girl Scout Week begins with Girl Scout Sundayon March 6, and ends with the Girl Scout Sabbath on March 12 (coinciding with the birthday this year),recognizing that the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one.  Girl Scout troops are encouraged to participate in the religious services of their choice on these two daysas a way of letting the congregation know that Girl Scouts is a vital part of the community. Local Girl Scouts wear their Girl Scout uniform to services at area houses of worship, attending either as a troop or individually, and in some cases actively participating in the event as a reader; helping with communion; or participating in a flag ceremony. Two such celebrations will occur at St. Jude Catholic Church in Baton Rouge on February 27 and at St. Cletus Catholic Church in Gretna on March 6.

Sometimes local businesses and organizations offer special acknowledgements to Girl Scouts for their community service efforts, such as Skate Galaxy in Baton Rouge who invites Girl Scouts in uniform to skate for free on Girl Scout Sunday.

Girl Scout troops are also encouraged to participate in community service efforts during Girl Scout Week, which this year falls during Mardi Gras break at many area schools. On Thursday, March 10, Girl Scouts in St. Tammany Parish will participate in an event in Mandeville celebrating the 90th Anniversary of women’s right to vote by conducting a flag ceremony and leading a celebratory march composed of women from local groups such as the League of Women Voters of St. Tammany.

Girl Scouts across the council are teaming with Goodwill Industries for Good Turn Dayon March 12, by collecting and delivering donated items to designated Goodwill locations.  Other troop service efforts include participating in the 2011 Great American Cleanup Keep America Beautiful campaign throughout the month of March, as well as the Girl Scout Cookie Sale’s Gift of Caringproject in which Girl Scout cookies are donated to other non-profit or service organizations selected by each troop.

Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouting on March 12, 1912 in Savannah, Ga., with one troop of 18 girls, and since then more than 50 million girls have built leadership skills through Girl Scouting.  The 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting will kick-off officially in Houston during Girl Scouts of the USA’s national council session and convention in November, but the local council is gearing up with its own set of activities for the 2011-2012 school year.

  “Our 100th anniversary is an exciting milestone and a cause for celebration,” said Alexander.  “We’re planning ways to celebrate locally as well as on a council-wide basis. Alumnae, volunteers, or any community member interested in being a part of our centennial celebration should contact Kevin Shipp in our Program department.”

Girl Scouts Louisiana East serves girls 5 to 17 in the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana. For more information about Girl Scouting, call the council office in Baton Rouge at 225-927-8946, in New Orleans at 504-733-8220, or visit its website at www.gsle.org.