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Albany's Girl Scouts celebrate 100th year

Albany Girl Scouts, from left, R’Nice Mimbs, Yahyda Peterson, Jakira Garner and Nyiuana Judge participate in a candle-lighting ceremony celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts of America Saturday at Turtle Park.

Albany Girl Scouts, from left, R’Nice Mimbs, Yahyda Peterson, Jakira Garner and Nyiuana Judge participate in a candle-lighting ceremony celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts of America Saturday at Turtle Park.

ALBANY -- Albany's Girl Scouts gathered at Turtle Park at noon on Saturday to celebrate the organization's centennial with a candle-lighting ceremony symbolizing the passing of the torch from one generation of Scouts to another.

The ceremony marked the Scouts' readiness for the next 100 years and signified the passing of leadership level to the next.

Annette Collier, 86, joined the Girl Scouts as a seven-year-old in 1947 and regards the experience as one of the foundations of her childhood.

"I got so much out of being a Girl Scout," Collier said. "We got to be candy stripers and volunteered when Phoebe Putney Hospital was still facing Jefferson. I loved it. We used to go to the Old Girl Scout Hut on Radium Springs Road, and it was there I learned to be a story-teller.

"Girl Scout cookies were only 40 cents a box back then ... and you got a lot more of them in bigger boxes," she added with a laugh.

Joan Toole joined the Girl Scouts in 1933 in her native London. She remained a Scout until World War II broke out six years later, effectively putting an end to her Girl Scout experience.

"There is so much more for the girls to do now," Toole said, drawing a comparison between then and now. "Life is much more extended now. We'd go to camps and swim, which they do now, but we'd never heard of zip-lining."

Kenneth Cutts, district staff director for U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, read a statement from the Congressman.

"I would like to acknowledge that 2012 is the Year of the Girl around the world as people celebrate the founding of the Girl Scouts of America," Cutts read."The 3.2 million Girl Scouts in America today will be building for the future, the girls of Albany and South Georgia will continue to be girls of courage, confidence and character who will make this world a better place."

Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah on March 12, 1912 for the first Girl Scout meeting. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of more than 3.2 million girls and adults.

More than 50 million women currently living in the United States are Girl Scout alumnae, according to the organization's website.