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Legacy Circle allows Cyr to give Girl Scouts a boost

December 30, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - With her memories of Girl Scouting in the 1920s in New York City still vivid, Marguerite Cyr wants to help ensure that future generations of girls will have scouting opportunities far into the 21st century.

The Marguerite Cyr Legacy Circle has been established by the Girl Scouts of Shawnee Council to do just that while honoring Cyr, the council's first president.

"I was president for a three-year term when Shawnee Council came into being in 1963," Cyr said.

Her contributions during those years were lasting as smaller councils from parts of four states came together into the one council.

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With the legacy circle, Cyr's influence can be extended well into the future, according to Charlotte Norris, the Shawnee Council's fund development manager who works out of council headquarters in Martinsburg, W.Va.

"We have had people give us bequests and gifts before, but this is the first time we've offered such opportunities in an organized fashion," Norris said. "We have already had some response and are hoping for more."

Planned giving, charitable gift planning and deferred giving all refer to contributions made with some level of professional guidance. Most planned gifts can help reduce the donor's estate taxes, income taxes and/or capital gains taxes.

"Our main goal is to establish the vehicle in Marguerite's name for other people to whom Girl Scouting has been dear," Norris said.

In 1927, Cyr was then Marguerite Kawecki, a young girl living in the suburbs of New York City.

"A Girl Scout troop was being formed in the Episcopal church, which wasn't our church, but I begged my parents to let me join," Cyr said.

Describing herself as an adventurous person, Cyr said she wanted to meet new people and have new experiences and scouting seemed the way to do that. She still has her green membership card dated 1931 from the Queens council.

Cyr also has a fair number of her badges and other insignia. "I remember all of my badge work," she said.

There was a memorable theatrical production put on by Cyr's troop to which all the parents were invited.

"I remember I wore a dark wig and we sang a bunch of songs," Cyr said.

Summertime was the best, Cyr said, because she and the other Girl Scouts from the city got to camp in the Catskills. "I loved that," she said.

Cyr is the widow of Roland Cyr, who was the manager of the Montgomery Ward store in downtown Hagerstown until his retirement in 1973 when the store closed and later relocated to Valley Mall. He died in 1982.

Still volunteering as often as she can in scouting, Cyr said she hopes her memories will trigger other Girl Scouts to get involved or at least to explore the possibilities of the new legacy circle that bears her name.

In a letter that accompanied a recent Girl Scout newsletter, Cyr encouraged joining the Marguerite Cyr Legacy Circle.

"I can't think of a better legacy to leave to the next generation of girls than the opportunity to be Girl Scouts," Cyr said in her letter.

For more information call 304-263-8833.

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