- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 9, 2002

The Girl Scouts turned 90 yesterday, and nearly 100,000 people scouts and family members celebrated on the Mall with what organizers called a "giant singalong."
The smell of sunblock pervaded as the crowd of Girl Scout leaders and young scouts sang their hearts out from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
"This is the power of Girl Scouting," said the nonprofit organization's national executive director, Marty Evans, a retired rear admiral in the Navy.
"It's the belief that girls can do anything, can be anything," she said.
Adm. Evans said singing was the central function of the birthday celebration because it is a tradition of the Girl Scouts, which has a U.S. membership of 2.8 million, ages 5 to 17, almost a million adult volunteers and 50 million alumni.
"Songs are one of the things that unite Girl Scouts," she said. "One hundred thousand people singing is pretty exciting.
The Girl Scouts also have 10 million members in 140 countries, Adm. Evans said.
Girls came to the District yesterday from as far away as Alaska and overseas, she said.
Yvonne Lee, a troop leader from Montgomery, Ala., drove 17 hours by bus with her daughter and eight other girls, to be a part of the celebration.
"This is a wonderful opportunity," Mrs. Lee said. "Not only do the girls get to see the city and its history, they also get to meet people from so many places."
The scouts introduced themselves by way of "swaps."
Before leaving home, they made small crafts with the names of their home towns and troop numbers on them and brought them to the singalong to swap with girls from other parts of the country.
"The swaps open an opportunity for conversation," Mrs. Lee said. She and her scouts had swapped with girls from Minnesota, Mississippi and South Carolina.
"I never thought I was the only Girl Scout in the whole world, but I wanted to see Girl Scouts from all around the country," said Whitney Washington, 15, who came with Mrs. Lee.
Mrs. Lee's daughter Erika, 15, said that what she liked about being a Girl Scout was "training girls to grow up to be leaders, without being too bossy or too in charge."
Brenda Bader, 40, brought her daughter Kim, 8, and 47 other girls from their troop from Syracuse, N.Y., a 6-hour trip
Mrs. Bader and her troop made a day of it.
"We set up a lot of things so the kids don't get bored," she said.
After leaving New York at midnight Friday, they arrived in time to visit the White House, the Capitol Building, the National Air and Space Museum and went to the top of the Washington Monument all before 1 p.m. yesterday.
After all the activity, Kim Bader said she was "too tired and hot" to sing but was glad to be there. She sat eating an Italian ice and watching the activities on the stage.
One of the few men at the event was William Clark, 53, a former Marine who had served in Vietnam and is a police officer in Orwigsburg, Pa.
Mr. Clark brought his granddaughter, who was part of a 28-girl group. Three men accompanied the group.
Mr. Clark said he couldn't remember the last time he had walked so much but that he was enjoying himself.
"It's a show of solidarity for the Girl Scouts," he said. "I can't believe how many people there are here."

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