Since 1923, the Girls Scouts have had a presence in South Florida, preparing girls to become strong future leaders. They have several activities planned this year to celebrate their centennial.
When Chelsea Wilkerson first joined the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida as CEO in 2016, she immediately knew it was a perfect fit for her and her background in the nonprofit sector. “Being part of an organization that stands for girls, is girl-centered and girl-led keeps me energized,” she says. “I believe in the power of every girl, and I have always sought out organizations, places and spaces where girls and women lift up and support one another.”
Scouts in a Changing Society
Through all the twists, turns and changes of the last 100 years, one thing has remained constant in the lives of young girls, empowering them to become the leaders, innovators and thinkers of tomorrow, and that’s the Girl Scouts. Wilkerson appreciates that steadiness of the organization in people’s lives. Though life is a lot different now than it was back then, she believes that Girl Scouts can be just as important for girls now, if not more so.
“This generation of young people is growing up in a world of unchartered territory. They have access to everything and anything, all the time, on demand,” says Wilkerson. “While this is an exciting and simultaneously scary time to be raising children, I know that being part of Girl Scouts provides them a foundation, grounded in over a century of carefully crafted programs, traditions and values.”
Celebrating 100 Years
The very first Girl Scout troop was founded in Savannah, Georgia, in 1912; but they made their way to Miami in 1923 when Alligator Troop 1 was formed in Coconut Grove. Now 100 years later, the organization serves close to 3,000 Girl Scouts across the region and has hundreds of volunteers, alumni and partner organizations.
To celebrate their centennial anniversary, the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida have several exciting activities planned for 2023, including the following:
- An exhibition at HistoryMiami showcasing 100 years of Girl Scouting with Girl Scout artifacts
- Community activations to Paint the Town Girl Scout Green
- A Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida “Centennial Patch” that everyone in the community can earn
- A special “Girl Scout Camporee” event
- Girl Scout Cookie–inspired treats at local Sweet Shop partnering businesses
- Honoring of local Girl Scout alumni and community leaders
- A Hardwood Hammock Restoration at the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida’s Camp Mahachee, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary
If you want to get involved, Wilkerson says there are several ways to do so. You can reach out to Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida by sending them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you were previously in the Girl Scouts, were a Girl Scout mom or served as a troop leader, the organization wants to hear from you. You can share your connection at www.girlscoutsfl.org/share.
A Legacy that Lasts
Wilkerson is understandably proud of the long and lasting legacy of the Girl Scouts in South Florida, but she also sees this year’s centennial celebration as an opportunity to grow the organization to even greater heights. In this world of smartphones and social media, a strong community bond and set of values instilled by an organization like the Girl Scouts can be more important than ever before.
“We are the preeminent leadership development organization for girls and welcome girls and their families to join our century-long legacy of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place,” she says. “The best way to get involved is to contact us. We will work directly with you to find or start a troop.”
Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida is always looking for volunteers to help as well. “It’s important to know that volunteers are critical in making Girl Scouts happen,” says Wilkerson. “We always need more adults to serve as a troop volunteer. Our website is a great resource and way to get things started.”
The Girls Scouts of Tropical Florida office is located at 11347 SW 160th Street in Miami. For more information about their centennial celebration, to sign up or to volunteer, call 305.253.4841, visit their website at www.girlscoutsfl.org or email email@example.com. You can also follow the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.