It was not a typical Girl Scout meeting.
“Thanks for coming out to make history in Elkhart today!” Scout leader Susan DeFerbrache told the people assembled in a south lot outside Concord Mall Sunday afternoon. In addition to being appreciative, she also had a question.
“Everyone knows the Girl Scout promise, right?”
“YEAH!!,” the people in the responded. And at 4 o’clock sharp, they proved it by recitation.
Past and present Girl Scouts from across northern Indiana were invited to the mall Sunday to form a commemorative promise circle. Lined up just so, they also formed themselves in the shape of the Girl Scout trefoil, the moment captured for posterity in photographs.
None of this happened randomly. It was a jump start on a significant Scouting milestone. Today marks the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts, founded by Juliette Low on March 12, 1912.
According to www.girlscouts.org, Girl Scouting has grown from its original 18 members in 1912 to 3.7 million members today. Elkhart County is home to approximately 44 Girl Scout troops serving close to 600 girls.
Organizers said Sunday that 143 people had signed up to be part of the Concord Mall event. However, they estimated more people actually showed up.
The gathered past and present Girl Scouts Sunday ranged in age, but were on common ground — sort of literally — in their enthusiasm for Scouting.
“It’s girls working with girls,” said Peg Ten Have, a former leader who’s been involved with Girl Scouts in one way or another close to 20 years. She said Scouts encourages girls to be the best they can be.
Anna Marshall of Elkhart said her Scout troop does “tons of stuff.”
“I always thought it would be great because I love helping people,” Marshall said of why she got involved.
William Menges has been involved in Scouting his whole life. It’s a family tradition. His mom was a leader and his sister a Scout. Now his daughter and stepdaughter are Scouts, too, and Menges is a volunteer. Part of his role involves training other leaders.
Menges likes the values Scouting imparts — courage, confidence and character are three guiding principles in the organization, he said.
And on a sunny Sunday in Elkhart, people who have been guided by Girl Scouts got together. An afternoon temperature near 70 degrees didn’t hurt the collective mood.
“We really couldn’t ask for better weather in March in Indiana,” Menges said.
News staffer John Kline contributed to this report.