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100th Anniversary

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Town Magazine (Greenville Journal), January 2012 "Girl Power"
By: M. Linda Lee 12/29/2011


This year, Girl Scouts of America turns 100, and Greenville will host South Carolina’s centennial celebration

The fact that Greenville resident Megan Shew is studying environmental engineering at Georgia Tech is largely due to the influence of the Girl Scouts, her mother will tell you. “Megan has always been close to nature,” says Jean Shew, a former troop leader who has been involved with the Girl Scouts on some level for 25 years. “But early camping trips and other activities in the Scouts played a big role in focusing Megan’s interests.”

One of those activities was the special contribution that Megan, her mother, and her sister Betsy made to their local Girl Scout Council. In 2007, they came up with the idea for the Powerful Women Summit. Unique to the Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands Council, headquartered in Greenville, the Powerful Women Summit gives girls ages 13 and older face-time with successful professional women in a variety of careers—from lawyers to test-track drivers. The girls rotate around the tables interviewing the different professionals about what they do. “It’s sort of like speed dating,” laughs Shew.

What they take away is inspiration and information that help them become better leaders themselves. And that is exactly the mission conceived by Juliette Gordon Low when she established the first troop of the Girl Scouts of America in Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912.

One hundred years later, Girls Scouts across the country are reflecting on how far they’ve come. Local festivities for the centennial will kick off with a media launch in downtown Greenville the first week in February. Throughout the year, special projects—from Girl Scouts Forever Green, a statewide initiative to reduce plastic waste, to Troop 2012, an effort to honor all baby girls born in Greenville-area hospitals—will spotlight girls in the Upstate. And the first new Girl Scout badges in 25 years will include contemporary themes such as car care, managing money, and healthy eating.

“Women have always been the social barometer for change in America,” says Susan Schneider, director of PR/Advocacy for the Mountains to Midlands Council. “And we are so excited to have this once-in-a-100-year opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of girls and women, and to educate the public about the challenges facing them as we move into our next century.”
And, of course, there will be cookies.




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