03/11/12 — Girl Scout exhibit helps mark 100th anniversary

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Girl Scout exhibit helps mark 100th anniversary

By Kelly Corbett
Published in News on March 11, 2012 1:50 AM

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Girl Scout leader Lillie Thompson smiles while reading a letter from a Scout written in 1937. The letter is one of many items that will be on display at the Wayne County Museum.

The Wayne County Museum is helping the Girl Scouts of America celebrate its 100th anniversary by offering a look into its local past.

The county celebration officially kicked off Oct. 31, the birthday of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low, after a committee met over the summer to plan a series of events commemorating the anniversary.

In addition to several events, dozens of artifacts from current and former Girl Scouts in the area will be on display through the end of March at the museum.

Old uniforms, teddy bears and dolls are just a few of the items filling the cases and lining the walls in the room dedicated to the exhibit.

Anniversary committee member Lillie Thompson said the group has been meeting once a week for the past month to prepare for the exhibit -- and a picnic Monday and tea party Saturday.

Ms. Thompson, who helped set up the museum exhibit, said the oldest item included was a letter written by a Girl Scout from Wayne County in 1937. The letter served as part of the woman's personal diary pages and is a copy that was framed to keep it in mint condition.

During the setup, Ms. Thompson said the volunteers enjoyed looking at the items and sharing memories of their own time in uniform.

"Well for those of you who don't know, Girl Scouts used to have Girl Scouts' shoes," Ms. Thompson said as she held up a pair of dark brown women's lace-up dress shoes.

The committee, made up of 10 members, has been collecting items for the exhibit since the beginning of August. Mugs, books, pins, belts and pocket knives are some other items that will be on display.

Elizabeth Sargent, co-leader of Troop 151, said she was never a Girl Scout, but that her family has a long history with the organization.

"My mom was a Girl Scout," Mrs. Sargent said about her mother, Daisy Stentz. "She was in Girl Scouts when Girl Scouts integrated."

Girl Scouts also travels even higher up Mrs. Sargent's family tree, because her grandmother, Haseltine McDonald, became involved in Girl Scouts shortly after the organization began March 12, 1912.

Ms. McDonald, 92, told Mrs. Sargent she was not involved in all of the community activities when she a member, but Mrs. Sargent replied by saying that was only because the organization was just getting started at the time.

Mrs. Sargent said she is excited about the entire display and to see, in the form of artifacts, the timeline of the organization and where it has come since her grandmother was a Girl Scout.

Growing up, Mrs. Sargent, the youngest of four in her family, was not able to be involved in Girl Scouts.

Her daughter, Sarah Beth Sargent, 10, is the reason she became directly involved in the organization after so many years.

"My parents joke about the fact that I'm living my childhood through my children," Mrs. Sargent said.

The committee is holding a community-wide picnic celebration Monday starting at 5 p.m. in Herman Park to honor the official birthday of the organization.

On March 17, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., a tea party will be held at the museum so those who have not yet seen the exhibit will have a chance to take a peek at the collection of artifacts. The time capsule from Feb. 23, 1980, will be opened at the party and new items will be placed in a 2012 time capsule.

Cookie sales are also currently in full swing and although sales officially ended Sunday, the troops will continue to sell any leftover boxes.