By RICHARD F. BELISLE
8:56 PM EDT, September 26, 2012
Each year, the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital honors three Eastern Panhandle women who are leaders in their professions, active in their communities and who serve as role models for girls.
Recognized as honorees for 2012 by the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital Wednesday were:
West Virginia first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony at the Holiday Inn.
In 2009, Girl Scouts of America, seeking to streamline the organization, began to consolidate its 312 councils across the country into 112 councils. Girl Scout troops in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia are served by the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital in Washington, D.C., said Diane Tipton, president of its board of directors.
The Women of Distinction program was established in 2005 by the Shawnee Girl Scout Council in Martinsburg. The Shawnee Council, although now part of the consolidation, has retained its identity and is still intact within the larger organization.
The Shawnee Council is the only one in the consolidation that sponsors the annual Women of Distinction program.
Seven women were honored that first year. After that, the number has been limited to three per year.
Many of the 30 past honorees were among the 300 guests at Wednesday’s ceremony.
Crabill, a West Virginia University graduate, volunteers in a number of local projects and causes. She chaired fundraising efforts for CASA of the Eastern Panhandle, United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, March of Dimes and Meals on Wheels among others.
“I help where I’m needed,” Crabill said. “I’m not good at saying no.”
Dixon has been nationally recognized for her research contributions in microbiology. A lifetime Girl Scout, Dixon serves on the Harpers Ferry Job Corps Community Relations Council. She is a graduate of Leadership Jefferson.
Dugan, as president of the Morgan County Commission, was a leader in convincing the county commissions in the three Eastern Panhandle counties to support the $23 million expansion and renovation of Cacapon State Park in Morgan County.
“There is no other organization in the country that does more to prepare young women to be citizens and leaders,” Tomblin said in her address.
“Research shows that 61 percent of girls are either ambivalent about leadership or say it’s not important to them at all,” Tomblin said. “Only 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and women make up only 25 percent of corporate boards.
“We know that our young women are better than that and that we can make a difference,” she said. “That is why we’re here. It has been proven that young girls, even more so than young boys, are especially responsive to mentorship.”
Tomblin encouraged the women present “to consider your impact on each and every young person with whom you spend time. Seek out those young women who may not yet have a positive role model.”
The consolidated council has more than 90,000 members, including 66,000 girls, plus paid staffers and volunteers, said Lidia Soto-Harmon, its chief executive officer.
Girls enter Scouting as Daises in kindergarten and first grade and move up through the grades to Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors.
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