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IMG_2956 The Girls Scouts are 100 years old! Not too many nonprofits have that magic number in their profile. I remember my Girl Scout years with fond memories. My mother would store the Girl Scout cookies at our house for the girls to pick up for distribution. It was my first experience selling anything and, I must admit, it was an easy sell. How can you resist a darling girl in uniform offering you some delicious cookie choices? The chocolate mint cookies remain the decided favorite around this house!

The Girl Scouts of Orange County celebrated the centennial with more than 300 guests at their third annual Celebrate Leadership Gala at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, where 12 women – all former Girl Scouts – were honored. You could feel the love and success in that ballroom! The women were amazing, and I loved it that they were paired for the evening with a current Girl Scout with a shared leadership trait. The women honored included Dr. Victoria Collins, Sophie Hall Cripe, Janet Toll Davidson, Kristina Dodge, Susanne Huffmon Esber, Tamara Fairbanks, Kathryn Glassmyer Cenci, Judy Koyama, Heidi Miller, Tricia Raymond, Barbara Roberts, and Sudi Shoja.

Overseeing the festivities were gala co-chairs Lee Ann Canaday and Dana Agamalian, with 2011 Celebrate Leadership Girl Representative and fifth grader Olivia Bobrownicki conducting a delightful interview about Girl Scout history and its programs with Girl Scout of Orange County CEO Nancy Nygren. I found out there are 23,000 girls supported by 14,000 adults in the county’s GS program. Nygren introduced 99-year-old Coye Brown, the oldest known OCGS alumna with five generations of Girl Scouts in her family, and GSOC board members Sue Parks and Becky Bailey-Findley introduced the honorees and their Girl Scout partners.

Gala highlights included a darling custom mint green Fiat parked out front fitted with a Girl Scout sash and decals, courtesy of Orange Coasts Fiat, a chocolate mint cheesecake on each table adorned with the Girl Scouts’ 100th Anniversary logo, the incredible fact that Agamalian’s husband won the $5,900 Black, Starr & Frost pearl necklace for his wife in the raffle drawing, and former Leadership Gala honoree Judy Rosener’s hilarious necklace, which said, “I can’t remember your name either!” The effort netted $218,000 towards the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Hear, Hear!!

Selected photos by Laurel Hungerford