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Girls Inc. of Washington County celebrates 60 years

October 02, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

BEAVER CREEK - At a 60th-anniversary celebration Wednesday for Girls Inc. of Washington County at Beaver Creek Country Club, past and present organization officials noted how much the club's focus has changed while celebrating a larger mission that remains much the same.

"When we started, it was all about being a homemaker and a mother," said Marjorie Grumbacher, 88, a former president who helped found the Washington County club in 1948. "Now, we want them to be strong, smart and bold."

In fact, Grumbacher served on the national committee that helped formulate Girls Inc.'s "strong, smart and bold" mission about 10 years ago, said Maureen Grove, Girls Inc. of Washington County's executive director. Grumbacher was one of six people honored Wednesday for their service to the organization over the years.

In the club's early years, most of the classes offered were in cooking, sewing and knitting, Grove said. Today, Girls Inc. of Washington County still offers some of those classes, but it also teaches financial stability, science, math, leadership, self-protection and how to get high-paying jobs and enter nontraditional career fields, she said.

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Nevertheless, the organization has always served a similar purpose for the girls it serves, said Joyce M. Roche, president and CEO of the national Girls Inc. organization.

"Girls Clubs, now Girls Incorporated, organizations across the country, including right here in Hagerstown ... have always provided girls with a safe, nonjudgmental environment to deal with the ever-changing challenges of growing up female," Roche said.

In spite of positive changes over the past 30 or so years, women and girls still face significant challenges in the form of pay gaps, body image struggles, teen pregnancy rates and other issues, Roche said.

Roche called on supporters to continue their passion and dedication in advocating for girls and helping Girls Inc. overcome funding challenges.

"As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Girls Inc. of Washington County, let's make sure that it continues to grow and to inspire girls in this community to be strong, smart and bold."

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