Girl Scouts Celebrate Centennial with Green Projects

For 100 years, the Girl Scouts of America have made it their mission to help girls become community leaders and activists. This year, in honor of their centennial anniversary, troops all across the country are participating in the Forever Green project. The Allegheny Front's Ilana Yergin reports.

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HOST: For 100 years, the Girl Scouts of America have made it their mission to help girls become community leaders and activists. This year, in honor of their centennial anniversary, The Allegheny Front's Ilana Yergin reports, troops all across the country are participating in the Forever Green project.

YERGIN: It's 1912 - Savannah, Georgia and Juliette Gordon Low has a new idea: Bring young girls together in nature. She wanted to get the girls out of their homes, not only to become more involved in community service, but to enjoy the open air. The initial modest group of 18 girls hiked, camped and learned how to tell time by the stars. 100 years later, the Oil City Girl Scouts gather around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and gazing up at the stars.

AMBI: Around the campfire.

YERGIN: The scouts have gathered in town to light 100 luminaries, have a bonfire, and save some energy by turning off the area's lights.

AMBI: Filling luminary bags.

Five-year-old Audrey Frazier is in her first year as a Girl Scout. Tonight she's learned about why saving electricity is important.

FRAZIER: Because if you waste it, then we won't have any power.

YERGIN: Elizabeth Roess has been a scout for 11 years. One of her troop's Forever Green projects was to clean up the local five-mile bike path. They didn't just throw away the trash they found, though.

ELIZABETH: We made a garbage girl out of all the garbage.

YERGIN: Lisa Roess, an assistant Girl Scout leader, and Elizabeth's mom, says the Forever Green project is a learning opportunity for the girls. The focus -- reduce, reuse, recycle.

ROESS: We're really trying to teach them how not to have so much garbage. We had them save their garbage for a week and bring it in and showed them how much garbage could've been recycled out of what they'd done.

YERGIN: Recent research conducted by the Girl Scouts of America shows an overwhelming number of girl scouts consider protecting the environment to be their top priority.

Brittney Shatto is the Forever Green organizer for the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania. She says, girls across the region are planning projects to help reduce waste in the community and signing the Forever Green Pledge, a promise to live more eco-friendly. And they're already making an impact.

SHATTO: Locally, we have saved 107,000 pounds of waste, 453,000 kilowatts of energy, and 696,000 pounds of CO2. And thatís from 21 registered projects and we have 119 people engaged in those.

YERGIN: Shatto says it's important that the girls participate in an issue that extends beyond the scouting program.

SHATTO: The girls can kind of look at it and see what kind of a difference they've made for their generation, for future generations. They just really get to feel like they're making a difference.

YERGIN: So far this year, all across the country, the Girl Scouts have reduced 28 million pounds of waste and saved over 7 million kilowatts of energy. For The Allegheny Front, I'm Ilana Yergin.