Macedonia – One hundred years after the Girl Scouts’ national founding in 1912, four Ohio Girl Scout councils are looking to the state’s women legislators to advocate for issues affecting girls and young women in 2012 and beyond. Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) was among the four Ohio Girl Scout Councils at the Ohio Statehouse on April 25, 2012, to pin Ohio’s 30 women legislators into Ohio Honorary Girl Scout Legislative Troop #1912.
Girl Scouts’ legislative focus encompasses: promoting girls' physical, social and emotional health; increasing girls’ involvement in science, technology, engineering and math; advancing the cause of girls in leadership; and strengthening their financial literacy. Ohio Honorary Girl Scout Legislative Troop #1912 will serve as an advocate for girls and young women in those areas and help educate branches of Ohio government about the issues and barriers that hinder girls and young women from opportunities to excel. Serving as co-chairs of the troop are State Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) and Senator Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland).
“We are honored and excited to have been chosen to educate other legislatures and other branches of government about the issues girls face and advocate for change through our troop,” said State Representative Anne Gonzales.
“There is no other organization like the Girl Scout,” Said Senator Shirley Smith. “Through our partnership with the Girl Scout councils of Ohio, I believe we are going to establish a legacy that creates lasting change for Ohio’s girls and young women. Together we are going to do our part to advocate for girls’ issues and stand among other great leaders in Ohio as we support the work of Girl Scouts.”
“Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor is a strong supporter of the work and progress of the Girl Scouts,” said Stephanie Owen, speaking on behalf of Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor. “Councils throughout our state are shaping the well-rounded innovators who will one day become Ohio’s business owners, executives, creators, and community leaders,” she said.
Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, Ohio’s Heartland Council, Black Diamond Council and Western Ohio Council together serve 120,000 Girl Scouts statewide with support from nearly 30,000 dedicated volunteers.
Ingram-White Castle Foundation sponsored the event and the “Voices of Freedom” scholarship essay contest. The contest was open to Ohio Girl Scouts in grades nine through 12 who have earned Girl Scouts’ highest honor, the Girl Scout Gold Award. The girls were asked to write about a female leader who inspires them to take action in their communities. Five recipients each received a $1,000 college scholarship.
Erin Shannon, community relations manager, White Castle System, Inc., and great-granddaughter of White Castle founder E.W. “Billy” Ingram, presented the scholarships to the girls. Among the finalists was Telayne Keith, 17, of Akron. Her essay titled, “Gotta Be Me,” described how her mother, Willa Keith, overcame adversity in her life and became a role model, mentor and leader.
“Willa continues to shine and pursue her dreams advocating for peace, justice, and self-worth in the community,” said Telayne Keith. “I am truly inspired by her tenacity, strength, and ambition, and I believe those qualities have been given to me.”
[Pictured: Girl Scouts of North East Ohio Chief Executive Officer Daisy L. Alford-Smith, Ph.D. and Telanye Keith and Erin Shannon of White Castle.]
The Girl Scouts of North East Ohio is the premier organization for leadership development for girls. GSNEO serves 40,000 girls and 15,000 adult volunteer members throughout an 18-county region including Medina, Portage, and Summit counties; Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lake counties; Carroll, Stark and Tuscarawas counties; Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties; Erie, Huron, Lorain, Sandusky and Seneca counties.
Since its founding in 1912, Girl Scouts has provided more than 50 million girls with time-honored programs that engage them with their communities; enhance self-esteem; increase financial literacy and interest in math, science and technology; encourage good health and nutrition and build leadership skills necessary for them to move confidently into their futures. Today, Girl Scouts is the #1 girl organization in the world, with 3.7 million members throughout the United States, including U.S. territories, and in more than 90 countries through USA Girl Scouts Overseas. ###