MARSHALL - On March 12, 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA began when Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Ga., founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides, a movement which had originated in Britain along with the Boy Scouts.
To mark this event Girl Scouts from all over the country are descending upon the Mall of America Saturday and Sunday.
Of the nine area troops, five will be going, said Stacy Schwartz, a local troop leader, who is bringing 13 girls there.
"The girls are so excited about the trip," she said. "We had a meeting on Tuesday to discuss details and all the girls were pretty hyped up. What is exciting about this trip is that it is a big event that has attracted national attention. It's the only event of this size in the nation. This will have as many Girl Scouts in one place as our national conventions. The girls will get to meet many girls in one place."
Schwartz will take mostly fifth- and sixth-grade girls and two first-graders who are siblings of scouts and daughters of chaperones.
"We actually had two girls join our troop partly because of this trip, but also because they hear their friends talking about all the fun things we do," she said.
Schwartz, who was a Girl Scout herself who got to visit the Juliette Gordon Low House in Savannah, Ga., said Girl Scouts get to do "many activities that an average girl would not get to do. This Girl Scout troop has gotten to do so many exciting things because they are in Girl Scouts. They have gone on an archeological dig, went to the Water Park of America, slept with the dolphins, had a slumber party at the Great Plains Zoo, and gone for a week at horse camp with the only expense to the girls was spending cash for souvenirs. This is mostly because Marshall has done such a wonderful job in supporting Girl Scouts through the years by buying lots and lots of nuts, magazines and we can't forget the cookies."
This weekend the girls will get to meet University of Minnesota athletes and talk via Skype to American explorer Ann Bancroft and Norwegian cross-country skier and adventurer Liv Arnesen. They will also take part in geocaching activities, learn about knot tying, visit a raptor center and learn how to fix a flat tire on a bike in addition to many other interactive activities and entertainment events. Stacy Cordery will also be there. Cordery is the author of "Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts."