2012-03-15 / Front Page

Girl Scouts celebrate 100 years with candle lighting ceremonyLocal


Girl Scouts gathered at Triangle Park Monday evening to hold a candle lighting ceremony in honor of their 100 year celebration. 
(Pioneer-Tribune photo) Girl Scouts gathered at Triangle Park Monday evening to hold a candle lighting ceremony in honor of their 100 year celebration. (Pioneer-Tribune photo) On March 12, 1912, Juliette Low gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides. Margaret “Daisy Doots” Gordon, her niece and namesake, was the first registered member. The name of the organization was changed to Girl Scouts the follow- ing year.

When Juliette Low started Girl Scouts in 1912, the tradition of the candlelight ceremony was an im- portant part of the various activi- ties, through the years; she passed the light and spirit of Girl Scout- ing on to others through many in- vestitures and campfires.

In honor of the 100 year celebra- tion, local scouts gathered at Tri- angle Park on Monday, March 12, for a candle lighting ceremony of their own. During the ceremony, Manistique resident Jill Johnson, who is the community develop- ment manager for the Marquette business office, explained the his- tory of how the light was passed to her.


Above: Jill Johnson passes the light on to Baylee Allor as her mom Karen looks on. 
(Pioneer-Tribune photo) Above: Jill Johnson passes the light on to Baylee Allor as her mom Karen looks on. (Pioneer-Tribune photo) She has shared the following timeline.

One of the first leaders in train- ing was Ethel Cooper, and she like so many others, received the light from Juliette Low. Cooper later went on to establish troops in 1917 in Plymouth, Pa. Through her years in Girl Scout involve- ment, she too passed the light on to her girls in hopes that they, like- wise, would continue to pass the light and keep the spirit of Girl Scouting alive.

The light from Cooper’s candle was later passed to Jinny Denn and then to Melanie Weiss while at National Center West in Ten Sleep, Wyo. Weiss passed the candlelight to Paula Eptinger and Catherine Liebrand. Eptinger went home to New York and Li- ebrand to Michigan.

On June 30, 1987, Eptinger and Liebrand were joined togeth- er once again as participants in “Promenade Through the Past” an eight day Wider Opportunity held in Savannah, Ga. At the close of the Wider Opportunity, a pool par- ty was held for the host families and the Wider Op participants. A “Pass the Light” ceremony was held and the light and spirit of Girl Scouting was received by Cathy and Kim Sanders.


Above: Mary Ellen Debelak, Linda Levin, Kim Saffer and Helen Williamson. 
(Pioneer-Tribune photo) Above: Mary Ellen Debelak, Linda Levin, Kim Saffer and Helen Williamson. (Pioneer-Tribune photo) At an adult Investiture/Rededi- cation Ceremony (Oct. 18, 1997), held as part of the 20th anniversa- ry of the “Footsteps of Gold” adult training weekend in Savannah, the light was passed to many partici- pants.

In the Gardens of the Birth- place of Juliette Low, on Feb. 16, 1999, a candlelight ceremony was held, read by Jan McKinney, rep- resentative from Girl Scouts first headquarters in Savannah. The “eternal flame” of Girl Scouts was passed to the Girl Scouts of Milford, Conn., Housatonic Coun- cil, Cadette Troop 315 and Senior Troop 335.

Prior to the opening of the Girl Scout National Convention in Kansas City, Mo., in October 1999, as on-line friends gathered for a campfire at Camp Prairie Schooner, the light of Girl Scout- ing was again passed along, this time to Mary Messeroli of Dele- ware-Raritan Girl Scout Council, New Jersey, who passed the light to Kathy Soltwisch, Field Ex- ecutive, Girl Scouts of Peninsula Waters Council, Upper Peninsula Michigan.

At an area meeting in Mar- quette, Mich. on Nov. 9, 1999, Kathy Soltwisch passed the light to Mary Vertanen, long time leader and trainer in the Marquette Area. Mary Vertanen has continued to share the light with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides all over the world. During a fall leaders training on Oct. 17, 2009, Mary passed that light to Manistique resident Jill Johnson.

Local scouts were also recog- nized at the monthly Women’s Club meeting on Tuesday.

On Thursday, March 22, they will be holding a business after hours from 5-7 p.m. at the Mustard Seed with leaders and scouts in at- tendance.

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