Girl Scouts hold centennial celebration at Bailey Road Park
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – The Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council recently held 10 ceremonies across eight counties to celebrate the national girls organization’s 100th anniversary.
More than 700 people, many current and former Girls Scouts, packed Bailey Road Park March 11 to celebrate the milestone.
“We did honor to our first 100 and ushered in our next 100 years,” said Hornets’ Nest Vice President of Development and Communications Colleen Young.
The first Girl Scouts first met March 12, 1912 under organizer Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Ga.
“If you consider that Girl Scouts began before women even had the right to vote in this country, the opportunities for girls and women have changed so dramatically,” said Hornets’ Nest Council Executive Vice President Katherine Lambert. “We try to stay on top of and ahead of those changes.”
Today’s Girl Scouts learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics and preparing for careers on the cutting edge of industries.
The oldest Hornets’ Nest Girl Scout, 96-year-old Ruth Bowen, said that although a lot has changed around the Girl Scouts the message of empowering young girls with knowledge and self respect has remained the same.
“It’s as good today as it was years ago,” Bowen said. “It made me a better person. If you go by the Girl Scout laws, you can’t go wrong. … It shapes girls’ lives. It inspires them to do good things.”
Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte spoke at the Bailey Road Park ceremony to recognize an institution that holds a special place in his household. Tarte’s wife and daughter are both gold-award scouts, the Girl Scout equivalent of Eagle Scouts.
“It creates women who are very self-directed, self-motivated, women who are responsible, high-quality, high-caliber individuals,” Tarte said. “It really has set the tone that, even for girls, they can really grow up and be anything they want to be, without taking anything away from the importance of the family.”
The birthday celebration is only one day in “The Year of the Girl,” the scouts’ national series of events throughout 2012.
The Girl Scouts added badges for modern skills such as product design, filmmaking, local good awareness and financial literacy.
The Hornets’ Nest Council began the celebration in October 2011 at its Iredell County camp, where the anniversary will culminate in a overnight event in September.