The Girl Scouts organization was founded 100 years ago, and troops across the country have celebrated in many different ways. Three Itawamba County troops and their alumni gathered Sunday at the Jamie L. Whitten Historical Center to meet and reminisce.
"I sat with an older lady and she talked about when she earned her badges, and I can say, 'That's how I earned this badge, too,'" said Michaela Cooper, a 16-year-old Girl Scout from Mantachie. "It's cool to see how Girl Scout badges have evolved over the years."
Federal Judge Sharion Aycock was on hand to honor her mother, Mary Ruth Harp, and Mary Bennett and Jane Frederick, who started a troop in Tremont, of which Aycock was a member when she was a child.
"I have the fondest memories in the world" of being in Girl Scouts, Aycock said, recalling memories of volunteering in the community and working with the elderly.
"(Girl Scouts) afforded me and all of us to see things, do things and be exposed to things that other girls in the community were not exposed to," she said. With that in mind, she and her husband donated funds to the Itawamba County Girl Scouts troops.
Lisa Cooper, Itawamba County service unit manager for the Girl Scouts and mother of Scout Michaela Cooper, thanked Aycock for the donation.
"Girl Scouts is 100 years strong, but 75 years strong in Itawamba County," she said. "This will help continue the tradition for another 100 years."
Girl Scout troops from across North Mississippi have celebrated the centennial this year by taking part in the North Mississippi Green Festival, which took place in Tupelo in June; attending GirlTopia, a Girl Scouts festival in Memphis in March; by participating in Rock the Mall, a Girl Scout gathering in Washington, D.C., in June; and by joining in on the Appalachian Trail Bits amp& Pieces Hike, in which Scouts from several states hiked different parts of the Appalachian Trail, said Jenny Jones, director of marketing and communications for the Girl Scouts Heart of the South council.
For Michaela Cooper, events like these and the centennial celebration on Sunday mean she makes plenty of new friends within the Scouts.
"I've been able to find common ground with girls like me who like to do things outside and who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty," she said. "I've definitely met a lot of new people throughout it. Girl Scouts is very colorful."