The Lincoln County Girl Scouts are gearing up to celebrate the national organizationâ€™s 100-year anniversary with a number of planned events in coming weeks.
Joyce Ledford, who leads Girl Scout Troop #20740, said there are various local events scheduled that will help to commemorate the occasion.
“Itâ€™s really special,” she said of the yearlong anniversary celebration.
Ledford has been a troop leader for 15 years and is also a service-team member with other local leaders to plan and coordinate the organizationâ€™s events and programs within the county. She has 15 girls of varying ages in her group.
“Our troop is very active,” Ledford noted, spelling out the many ways the girls get involved in the community, such as through soup kitchens, donating toys to Amyâ€™s House, writing cards for soldiers, visiting nursing homes and collecting items for shelter animals.
“We do things in the community that are needed,” she said.
Ledford hopes the 100-year anniversary will help to generate both knowledge of and additional participation in the organization locally, adding that they are in need of more troop leaders.
“We need more leaders to volunteer, so that we can place every girl in the county that has requested to join,” she said.
Ledford noted that giving back to the community provides the girls with a true learning experience, while also bringing her a lot of joy. It allows the girls to set goals and then achieve them, she said.
“You can tell my heart is with it,” she added.
Lincoln County currently has 31 registered troops with 311 girls.
Juliette Gordon Low, of Savannah, Ga., founded the organization on March 12, 1912, according to the Girl Scouts website. Ledford took her troop on a trip to visit her birthplace last year, which she said involved three months of planning and selling cookies, nuts and candy to raise money.
A “100th Anniversary Birthday Bash” will take place on March 3 in Winston-Salem, which Ledford said will be attended by many troops from across the state. Plenty of other events will be taking place throughout the year in North Carolina and nationwide.
Earlier this month, a centennial event was held on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., which focused on efforts to promote leadership in girls. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., released a statement to mark the event.
“For a century now, the Girl Scouts of the USA have fostered important ideals in young women â€” from service to perseverance to leadership,” said Hagan. “As the mother of two daughters and a former Girl Scout troop leader, I am so proud of this outstanding organizationâ€™s commitment to helping all women reach their full potential.”
“Today girls can, and should, grow up knowing there is no limit to what they can accomplish,” she continued. “However, there is still work to be done. â€¦ The Girl Scouts have declared their centennial year the â€˜Year of the Girl,â€™ the first step in an effort to close the lingering leadership gap between men and women in industries from science to business.”
The release noted that the organization serves more than 50,000 girls in the state.
Locally, centennial celebrations, which kick off tonight, include:
Lincoln County Girl Scouts will celebrate “World Thinking Day” and girl scouting around the world tonight from 7-8 p.m. in the basement of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Lincolnton. All girl scouts, leaders and the public are invited to drop in. There will be 16 countries on display, including crafts, information and samples of food from the chosen countries.
On Girl Scout Sunday, which is March 11, Lincoln County Girl Scouts will celebrate 100 years with a drop-in mother/daughter tea party at First United Methodist Church in Lincolnton from 2-4 p.m. All registered girl scouts, their mothers and anyone involved with Girl Scouts in the past are invited to attend.
Lincoln County Girl Scouts will celebrate Girl Scout Week, beginning March 12, by presenting two completed gift baskets to the first baby girl born during the week at CMC-Lincoln.