SANDPOINT — Girl Scouts of America may have turned 100 years old on Monday, but the organization is still as timeless as ever.
That was clear when 40 local Girl Scout members gathered at City Hall to celebrate the occasion. Girls barely old enough to tie their own shoes joined older scouts all the way up to Sandpoint High School junior Melissa Mione, who served as the Girl Scout ambassador for the occasion.
“Many people don’t realize that there are older girls involved in Girl Scouts, including me,” she said.
The ceremony began with Troop 2142 posting the American and Idaho flags at the front of the Sandpoint City Council chambers. After welcoming the attendees, Mione introduced Mayor Marsha Ogilvie. A former Girl Scout herself, Ogilvie said she was pleased to declare 2012 the year of the girl.
“I applaud the Girl Scouts as a voice of leadership for our girls,” Ogilvie said.
After Ogilvie read the proclamation, each girl received a certificate and a special 100 year patch for being present on the historic day.
Afterward, the girls took the opportunity to tour Sandpoint Fire Department and learn about the details of a career in public service. And while there were too many girls present to take a ride in an engine, they still got to climb on top of the antique fire truck. Lemonade and cake followed the exploits in the fire house.
While the afternoon was full of fun and education, the real purpose was to honor the Girl Scouts for 100 years of service.
Founded on March 12, 1912, when Juliette Gordon Low organized the first troop of 18 girls in Savannah, Ga., the organization has since evolved into a nationwide entity with 3.7 million members.
According to Mione, the Girl Scouts is a great organization for encouraging lifelong excellence. She said 60 percent of the female House of Representatives and Senate members were once scouts, while 53 percent of female small business owners also wore the uniform.
Perhaps the elaborate award system plays a role in encouraging adulthood achievements. Mione mentioned the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold awards as particularly valued.
In fact, the Gold Award is a qualifier for many college scholarships and even warrants an automatic rise in military rank.
Most importantly, however, the Girl Scouts encourages its members to be decent human beings.
As the Girl Scouts law states: “I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do.”