In honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Girl Scouts, hundreds of Noblesville and Hamilton County leaders, business professionals and citizens joined area scouts, volunteers and leaders for the annual Hamilton County Leadership Luncheon at the Hamilton County 4-H Grounds, 2003 Pleasant St., Noblesville.
Among the luncheon’s speakers were Maeve Van Hoorde, Georgie Perkins and Deirdre Gengenbach – a family of former Girl Scouts and volunteers with roots in Hamilton County.
“The unifying bond in my family for decades was Girl Scouts,” said Van Hoorde. “I have been raised wearing green.”
As a Girl Scout, Van Hoorde earned the Gold Award – Girl Scout’s highest award, equivalent to the Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts.
“When I got married, I had two boys and thought my green clothes were going to collect dust,” she joked, adding she later had two daughters who now participate in Girl Scouts.
Since its founding in Savannah, Ga. in 1912, Girl Scouts have helped young women around the world develop life skills – the most essential being leadership.
“Girl Scouts helps girls discover the leader they can be,” said Gengenbach. “This generation of girls deserves to lead the boardrooms and courthouses.”
In addition to celebrating its centennial, Girl Scouts has launched the boldest cause campaign dedicated to girls’ leadership issues in the nation’s history. Officials said the campaign, ToGetHerThere, will help break down societal barriers that hinder girls from leading and achieving the highest ranks in all fields and industries, from science and technology to business and government. As it launches this cause, Girl Scouts is asking all members of society to help girls achieve their full leadership potential.
Girl Scouts of Central Indiana Board Chairwoman Crystal Livers-Powers said one in five girls doesn’t believe she has what it takes to lead, and 61 percent of girls are either deeply ambivalent about leadership or say it’s not important to them at all.
“If this continues unchecked, millions of our girls may not reach their full potential as leaders in our society,” she said. “Our cause will seek to alter this pattern.”
The luncheon also served as a fundraiser for the organization. The annual cost to provide the Girl Scout program for one girl for one year is $223.
“$1.2 million is needed so every girl has the opportunity to experience the Girl Scout activities in Hamilton County,” said Perkins. “Many of the skills and beliefs we (as women) can do started in Girl Scouts.”
“I really know it takes a community like this of caring adults to make the world a better place,” added Deborah Hearn Smith, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana CEO.
Luncheon co-coordinator Mary Burns said there are 5,556 Girl Scouts in Hamilton County this year, and 4,132 registered adult volunteers.
“Aside from Marion County, we are the largest girl membership in our council of 47 counties in Indiana,” she said. “Hamilton County is divided into seven Service Units – Carmel Central, Carmel East, Carmel West, Hamilton Southeastern, Fishers, Jo-She-We and Manuka.”