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Mona Tolbert
(713) 292-0361

GSSJC continues to expand reach, inducts new Hispanic troop leaders
Bilingual Investiture Ceremony first of its kind for the Council

HOUSTON (June 2, 2011) – In May, more than a dozen Hispanic women volunteers participated in an investiture ceremony for Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council’s (GSSJC’s) first-ever Hispanic class as part of the Girl Scout Quest program (GSQ).

“The San Jacinto Council is the home of the first Hispanic troop in the country,” said Mary Vitek, CEO of GSSJC. “Impacting the Hispanic community, which is one of the largest communities in the Houston area, has always been a part of our Council’s mission, and we are so proud that these ladies are now a part of our family.”

GSQ is an introductory program for girls ages 5 to 17. As part of the nine-week program, girls and their parents become Girl Scout members free of cost and learn skills that help them build courage, confidence and character. GSQ provides a unique opportunity for girls and their parents to spend time together and gives parents a platform to participate in their daughter’s development.

Elizabeth Kuykendall, a volunteer at Oates elementary, said “my goal is to be a good leader and an inspiration to Hispanic girls.”

Elizabeth, who participated in the program to give her daughter something positive to do, will be a first-time leader and looks to Girl Scouts as a way to help her daughter achieve her goals.

During the investiture ceremony, which serves as an intake ceremony for Girl Scout volunteers, the ladies performed a traditional flag ceremony, recited the Girl Scout Promise and received their Girl Scouts pins, which signifies their commitment to supporting the Girl Scout movement and helping girls reach their maximum potential.

“Girl Scouts has provided us with great leaders,” said Imelda Montelongo, one of GSSJC’s newest inductees and a mother to three Girl Scouts. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to lead in their footsteps.”

Currently GSSJC’s GSQ, is implemented at eight sites and serves 108 girls and 44 adults. All GSQ troops have either bilingual or Spanish-speaking-only leaders. These troops were identified by the Council’s membership managers at rallies and the leaders, who serve girls ages 5 to 13, were identified as needing additional support due to language barriers

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 76,000 girls served and nearly 18,000 adult members in 26 southeast Texas counties.

Editor’s Note:

Photo caption [GSSJC_Investiture1]: Diana Garcia-Paz lights a candle, representing a segment of the Girl Scout Law, during the San Jacinto Council’s investiture ceremony in May as part of the Girl Scout Quest (GSQ) Program. The bilingual ceremony was the first of its kind for the Council that is the home of the very first Hispanic Girl Scout troop in the country. GSQ is an introductory Girl Scout program for girls ages 5 to17 that is free of cost to girls and their parents. During the nine-week program, girls learn skills that help them to build courage, confidence and character.

GSSJC Investiture CeremonyPhoto caption [GSSJC_Investiture3]: Leaders of two troops pose with Girl Scout CEO Mary Vitek during an investiture ceremony held at the San Jacinto Council in May as part of the Girl Scout Quest (GSQ) Program. The bilingual ceremony was the first of its kind for the Council that is the home of the very first Hispanic Girl Scout troop in the country. GSQ is an introductory Girl Scout program for girls ages 5 to17 that is free of cost to girls and their parents. During the nine-week program, girls learn skills that help them to build courage, confidence and character. All GSQ troops have either bilingual or Spanish-speaking-only leaders. (pictured left to right: Alma Rees, Ma Lourdes Taboada, Rosario Bretton, Jennifer Martínez , María Rodríguez, Liz Vega, Adelina Presas, Imelda Montelongo, Alma De Ochoa, Teresa Ramírez, Elizabeth Kuydendall, Mary Vitek, Marlen Rodriguez, Aída Florez, María Herrera, Diana García-Paz, Reina Herrera, Mirna Escobar, Luz Dary Jones, Agustina Ruiz, María Pena and Ruby Landazury.)

GSSJC | Communications Department
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