Girl Scouts, celebrating 100th year, have come a long way

Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:54pm EDT
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By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Girl Scouts past and present celebrated the organization's 100th anniversary on Monday with sing-a-longs, cookie sales, and a pledge to put more women into the corner office.

This is not your mother's Girl Scouts.

"This is the 'year of the girl,' 2012," Maria Wynne, head of the group's Chicago area council, told a few hundred current and former scouts at a blustery downtown Chicago ceremony.

"We will strive to eliminate gender inequality and gender imbalance," Wynne said. "There are too few women CEOs."

Fifty million girls and women have belonged to the Girls Scouts of the USA over the past century, learning everything from how to tie knots and build camp fires to computer skills. In the process they built a resume and a network of "sisters" who can smooth a pathway to good schools and better jobs.

Girl Scouts have gone on to become business executives, astronauts, and members of Congress. Wynne said two-thirds of the women in Congress are former Scouts.

"We have a lot of fun. We're like sisters," said Sidnie Giles, 10, before mounting the stage with a half-dozen Scout comrades to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the Girl Scout Promise, and the Girl Scout Law.

Scouts pledge to serve their country, help people always, respect authority, use resources wisely, and make the world a better place.   Continued...