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Girl Scouts celebrate 100th anniversary with European trip

Emilie Rose, 17, of Cary organizes her suitcase at her home Monday before a trip to Europe. Rose is traveling as part of a Girl Scout trip and will visit the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Italy over a two-week period.
Emilie Rose, 17, of Cary organizes her suitcase at her home Monday before a trip to Europe. Rose is traveling as part of a Girl Scout trip and will visit the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Italy over a two-week period.

Living by the Girl Scout Law, 13 area Girl Scouts and three troop leaders will use their resources wisely and traverse Europe.

Troops from the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois Council and a couple of girls from the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois Council will leave Wednesday to visit the Girl Scout Pax Lodge in Hampstead, England, and Our Chalet World Centre in Adelboden, Switzerland. The group returns July 3.

The trip is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts of America, and the girls will have the opportunity to meet Girl Scouts from all over the world. Along with visiting the Girl Scouts world centers, the group also will visit landmarks in Paris and Rome.

The group, made up of girls ranging in age from 13 to 18, began meeting a year ago. Along with McHenry County residents, some of the girls are from Chana, Franklin Grove, Marseilles and Rockford.

“It’s kinda nice,” said Lisa Lloyd-Mietus, one of the trip leaders and a Crystal Lake resident. “When you go from kindergarten with the same girls, it’s nice to meet girls from all over the state.”

The Girl Scouts did fundraisers for the trip, including Girl Scout cookie booths and a fall product and garage sale. Lloyd-Mietus’ daughter Emma, 14, did a mailing campaign, where she sent a letter asking for money and, in return, will take a picture of the donation at the landmark of the donor’s choice.

Connie Bohannon, another trip leader and Chana resident, said her daughter, Maura, 14, learned how to save money from her eighth-grade graduation and to work for money by detassling corn. She also learned how to open her own checking account so she wouldn’t have to walk around with a lot of cash.

“She had to go to the bank, research what to do and make decisions,” Bohannon said. “It was a big to-do for her to get her own card.”

Lloyd-Mietus said her biggest obstacle in preparing for the trip was making the girls’ parents feel safe. To do that, the group leaders did a trial-run European trip with just Girl Scout troop leaders about a year and a half ago.

Nancy Gaynor, a resident of Crystal Lake, said she is anxious about her daughter Emma, 13, being an ocean away and having to learn how to make her money last throughout the trip. Gaynor worries her daughter will make the same mistake she did when she was in Girl Scouts – having pennies left and being stranded in Wyoming after her flight was canceled.

“I’m confident in her leaders, and I’m confident in her,” Gaynor said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the girls and it opens up the world to them at a young age. There’s so much more out there.”

Samantha Rosenthal, 17, of Cary said she learned about the palace and the treaties that took place in Versailles in her AP French class at Cary-Grove High School.

“It’ll be fun to see the Hall of Mirrors, and it’ll be cool to see where those documents were signed,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal also said she’s looking forward to going to Europe because she’s never been there and she’s looking forward to applying her foreign language knowledge on the trip.

That’s what Lloyd-Mietus is looking forward to the most – to expose the girls to different cultures and to observe the girls’ experience in Europe.

“I’m so excited to see them see these countries,” Lloyd-Mietus said. “Some of them said they’ll never get another chance to do this in their life.”

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