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Girls Inc. marks 50th anniversary

September 18, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Girls Inc. in Hagerstown is pulling out all the stops in its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the organization this year.

Isabel Carter Stewart, the national executive director of Girls Inc. out of New York, will be keynote speaker Tuesday at the anniversary dinner.

Tickets are still available for the $50-a-plate dinner at the Four Points Hotel, according to Maureen Grove, executive director of Hagerstown's Girls Inc.

Grove said the dinner will be the first of many events scheduled to coincide with the 50th anniversary and with a planned $1.5 million expansion.

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"We're going to be adding a full-sized gymnasium onto the west end of the existing building," Grove said.

Girls Inc. is located at 626 Washington Ave. in Hagerstown's West End.

The addition will allow volleyball and basketball programs to greatly expand and for the gym to be split for dual purposes, Grove said.

"There isn't another gym for girls in the West End of Hagerstown," Grove said.

Traditionally, schools have limited space for girls' sports, Grove said. And with girls' volleyball all the rage now, the project's need is acute.

"We've actually seen the need for seven years, but the project has been on a back burner," Grove said.

The influence of the new gym will benefit nearby Winter Street School, which doesn't have a gym but will be able to use the new Girls Inc. gym, Grove said.

In the last 50 years, Girls Inc. of Hagerstown has served 20,000 girls.

Average attendance is about 65 girls a day, Grove said. They come in after school and do their homework or participate in activities until closing at 8 p.m.

"We believe we will be seeing more girls when the new gym opens ... it will attract them," said Grove, who has been executive director since 1993.

A membership year is September through June at a cost of $23 per year. The building is open Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Girls Inc. of Hagerstown serves girls from 5 to 18 years old. It teaches crafts, banking skills, life skills, and programs in violence prevention, stress, peer mediation and reading.

There are dance and gymnastics classes for all ages and basketball and volleyball for older girls. Classes are also held in woodworking, cooking, sign language, personal hygiene and self-esteem.

The Girls Inc. motto is "Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold."

For more information on Girls Inc. of Hagerstown or to get tickets for the banquet, contact Grove at 301-733-5430.

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