Women Louisiana Legislators form honorary Girl Scout Troop Louisiana
Girl Scouts’ ranks just grew 22 members stronger with the addition of the women members of the Louisiana legislature. The state legislators became members of an honorary Girl Scout troop, Troop Louisiana, during a pinning ceremony April 20 at the Governor’s Mansion. The two Girl Scout councils in the state - Girl Scouts Louisiana East and Girl Scouts of Louisiana – Pines to the Gulf, hosted the luncheon at the mansion with Girl Scouts from across Louisiana conducting a flag and investiture ceremony. Fifteen of the 22 legislators attended, along with council board members, volunteers and staff, and representatives from the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus.
According to Jackie Alexander, chief executive officer at Girl Scouts Louisiana East, the two councils, which were selected as advocacy champions by the national organization Girl Scouts of the USA last year, formed Troop Louisiana so Girl Scouts can work in partnership with women members of the state legislature to substantively address issues that impact girls.
“Girl Scouting has always been at the forefront of providing leadership opportunities for girls, and we are delighted to include this special group of women leaders as mentors and partners in our mission,” said Alexander.
The legislators, many who were Girl Scouts growing up, were excited about this opportunity to partner with Girl Scouts.
“It is an honor to be a part of Troop Louisiana,” said Senator Sherri Smith Cheek of Keithville, a co-leader of Troop Louisiana. “This partnership between the Girl Scouts and the women in the Louisiana State Legislature is a tremendous opportunity to broaden the discussion of important issues facing our children and young ladies across Louisiana.”
Representative Charmaine Marchand Stiaes of New Orleans said, “As woman Legislators, it is important that we support our Girl Scouts because they are our future leaders of Louisiana. Girl Scouting builds pride, dignity, and strength in girls so they can deal with the challenges and peer pressures of today. ”
The luncheon program included a presentation by Leah Kight, a Baton Rouge Girl Scout Ambassador who spoke about the growing problem of relational aggression and cyberbullying and what Girl Scouts are doing to combat this problem. Susan Sewall, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Louisiana – Pines to the Gulf, discussed Girl Scouts’ legislative agenda which includes four areas of particular interest: girls and leadership, encouraging healthy living among girls; increasing girls involvement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and financial literacy.
Members of Troop Louisiana are Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge; Sen. Sherri Smith Cheek, R-Keithville; Sen. Yvonne Dorsey, D-Baton Rouge; Sen. Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans; Sen. Lydia P. Jackson, D-Shreveport; Sen. Willie Mount, D-Lake Charles; Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans; Sen. Julie Quinn, R-Metairie; Rep. Regina Ashford Barrow, D-Baton Rouge; Rep. Simone Champagne, D-Jeanerette; Rep. Jean Doerge, D-Minden; Rep. Dorothy Sue Hill, D-Dry Creek; Rep. Nita Rusich Hutter, R-Chalmette; Rep. Rosalind Jones, D-Monroe; Rep. Kay Kellogg Katz, R-Monroe; Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette; Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport; Rep. Jane Smith, R-Bossier City; Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, D-Baton Rouge; Rep. Karen Gaudet St. Germain, D-Plaquemine; Rep. Charmaine Marchand Stiaes, D-New Orleans; and Rep. Ledricka Johnson Thierry, D-Opelousas.
The members of Troop Louisiana, most clad in Girl Scout scarves and navy suits, were taught the Girl Scout handshake by the younger Girl Scouts who presented each legislator with a Girl Scout membership pin. Those who were unable to attend the luncheon will be pinned June 3 during the annual Girl Scout Day at the State Legislature, when Girl Scouts from across the state go to the capitol to meet with their elected officials and learn more about the legislative process.
Girl Scouts Louisiana East serves girls 5 – 17 in the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana. For more information about Girl Scouts or adult volunteer opportunities, call the Baton Rouge office at (225) 927-8946, the New Orleans office at (504) 733-8220, or visit its website at www.gsle.org.
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