Girl Scout archivist Sue Belden displays old scouting badges. Photo by Donna P. Williams

Two senior volunteers who embody that mantra are in the spotlight as Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta observes its centennial year.

Sue Belden is the gatekeeper for the local Girl Scout Archive, a tiny museum in Mableton that’s jam-packed with historical documents, vintage artifacts and Girl Scout uniforms dating back to the first, which was navy blue.

Deanna Simmons is co-leader of her granddaughter’s troop and a mentor for metro Atlanta girls working for Girl Scouts’ highest honor, the Gold Award.

They were Girl Scouts generations ago, but both women remain deeply connected to the organization as tireless volunteers for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.
As the Greater Atlanta council observes its centennial this year with planned historical exhibits and special patch-earning activities for girls, its CEO says the organization is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

“After all, building girls of courage, confidence, and character never goes out of style,” said Amy Dosik, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. “Girl Scout programs continue to resonate because we move at the speed of girls. We honor our traditions while embracing innovative programs that girls want and need to succeed.”

In the 1920s, Girl Scouts could earn a badge for learning to feed, kill and dress poultry. In 2021, they were earning badges related to cybersecurity.

Girl Scouts was founded by Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah in 1912 and today has more than 2.5 million members nationwide. Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta serves more than 50,000 members in 34 counties and has three campsites.

Volunteers – including many seniors who work with the scouts — are the heart of the organization, Dosik said.

“Whether a role is ongoing or short-term, we depend on volunteers to bring Girl Scouting to life in the community. Over the years, both Sue and Deanna have donated thousands of hours of service, making a lasting impact within our council,” Dosik said.

Donna Williams Lewis a freelance writer based in Atlanta. She previously worked as an editor and journalist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.