News Release: From: Girl Scouts-Rain Tree Council Girl Scouts celebrate 96 years of making the world a better place On March 12, nearly four million adult and girl members of Girl Scouts around the nation will mark the 96th anniversary of the founding of the organization by Juliette Gordon Low, in 1912. Over the years, the Girl Scout Leadership Experience has made a lasting impact on girls’ lives by providing discover, connect, and take action activities that help build the courage, confidence and character girls need to grow into confident adults who make the world a better place. Girl Scout Week, which this year is March 9-15, is officially referred to as Make the World a Better Place Week. Juliette Gordon Low exemplified a lifelong willingness to learn and to serve, and a desire to equip others to do so. In developing the Girl Scout Movement in the United States, she brought girls of all backgrounds into the out-of-doors, giving them the opportunity to develop self-reliance and resourcefulness, and encouraging them to prepare for roles as homemakers, professional women, and active citizens. “Service to the community is a cornerstone of Girl Scouting,” said Raintree Council Board Chair Valerie McKinney, “and it is empowering for girls, because they experience their own ability to have a positive impact on others. Over the past year, Girl Scouts in Raintree Council have conducted hundreds of projects—holiday parties for senior centers, Adopt-A-Spots in their communities, purchases of books, toys, and blankets for hospitalized children, food and personal hygiene drives, and the creation of “Happy Socks” for cats at the Pet Adoption Center and pillows and quilts for children at local family shelters.” Girl Scouting’s highest awards develop leadership through requiring the completion of community service projects. At the teen level, girls who pursue the Girl Scout Gold Award complete a project requiring at least 70 hours of community service. Ellen McKinney, of Evansville, helped raise $1,880 for the purchase of 150 bike helmets, and organized a Bicycle Safety Day at the Evansville Boys and Girls Club, with presentations on bicycle safety and maintenance and a helmet distribution. Newburgh resident Melissa Wagner painted and remodeled three rooms in the St. John Parish Youth House, in Newburgh, where many Girl Scout troops hold meetings and events. As a premier advocate for girls, Girl Scouts has always placed a high priority on maintaining programs and pathways to participation that are current, relevant, and flexible enough to enable all girls who are interested to participate in Girl Scouts—in troops, as individuals, in after-school programs, at YMCAs and YWCAs, and in summer children’s programs. With growing awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship, Raintree Council recently entered into a collaboration with the Alcoa Foundation, which provided funding for Buzz Green!, a three-year environmental education program focused on water quality, land management/reforestation, and air quality/carbon effects, which the council is implementing in resident and day camps, after-school programs, and council/service unit events and service projects. Buzz Green! will increase girls’ and adult volunteers’ awareness of the human impact on the environment and of their personal responsibility for conservation and sustainability.