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.