Girl Scouts hit centennial mark

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Members and friends of the Girl Scouts of the USA celebrated a milestone birthday this year on March 12.

On this day, 100 years ago, Juliette Daisy Gordon Low held the first Scout meeting in Savannah, Georgia with just 18 girls.

Today the Girl Scouts have a membership of over 3-million girls.

Girl Scouts is a program that has strived to help girls gain confidence and empower them to be the be all that they can be. Over the years this is still the main goal of Girl Scout leaders. As society has changed, however, they have worked hard to adopt programs that teach members responsibility and leadership to help make the world a better place.

Girls Scouts of Michigan from Shore to Shore has about 11,000 girls and represents 30 counties in Northern and Western Michigan, including Osceola County. There are currently six troops in Leroy and Tustin , one troop in Evart, and four in Reed City.

Reed City Girl Scout leader of 13 years, Gretchen Pemberton, was looking for a project that would be perfect for her troop to do for this birthday celebration.

A recent program called Girl Scouts Forever Green - “A Global effort to improve the environment and protect natural resources” - caught her attention.

Twenty-five percent of Girl Scout troops are already doing projects that reflect this pledge to improve the place they live. One particular project, however, was a perfect fit for her troop.

In an effort to reduce plastic waste, plastic grocery shopping bags will be put to good use by being transformed into another useful product instead of filling up our landfills. Girl Scouts have already been learning about the ways to prevent plastic waste by switching to reusable bags and bottles.

“I’m a recycle geek” Gretchen admits this kind of project is right up her alley. Girls will be crocheting these bags into mats which will first be used to cushion medical supplies being shipped to Haiti then once there, the mats will be distributed to schools, orphanages, churches and community centers to improve sanitary conditions and provide comfort.

The Council’s goal is 100 mats to represent 100 years. It takes about 70 bags to make one mat. Gretchen hopes that with the 10 groups in the area, that the goal of 100 mats can be matched and even beaten.

In an effort to gain community involvement, there will be a “work event” on March 25 from 9-3 p.m. at Reed City Scout House. Participants will need a metal “N” crochet hook and a lot of shopping bags.

Members of the community can also help by dropping off their clean and dry bags for local troops at any time to the Nestle Inn.

Any questions can be directed to Gretchen at 231-349-1451 or, making sure Girl Scouts is in the subject line.