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Shawnee Girl Scouts merge with regional organization

September 30, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Girl Scouts of the Shawnee Council will merge today with the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital.

Maggie Witherbee, CEO of Girl Scouts of Shawnee Council, said the Girl Scouts have been merging nationwide for the past three years. 

"The national organization encouraged us to merge into larger councils to provide more opportunities for girls," Witherbee said.

The 312 councils in the United States have merged into 109 very strong councils, she said.

"When you combine resources, everybody gets more," Witherbee said. 

The Girl Scouts of the Shawnee Council covers 14 counties in three states: Washington and Allegany counties in Maryland; Page, Shenandoah, Warren, Clarke and Frederick counties in Virginia; and Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Grant, Hardy, Mineral and Hampshire counties in West Virginia.  

The Shawnee Council was formed in 1963, Witherbee said. 

The official name for the former Shawnee Girl Scouts is the Shenandoah Region of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital (GSCNC), said Nancy Wood, director of public relations with the GSCNC. 

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She said about 5,000 girls will be part of the new merger.  

Lorrie Caudle, the Shenandoah regional director who leads the Martinsburg office, said the council will adopt a lot of the new programs offered by the GSCNC.  

"They have terrific programs," she said.  

According to a GSCNC 2008 fact sheet, 57,710 girls were part of the organization last year. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with satellite offices in Frederick and Waldorf, Md.; Lorton, Leesburg and Manassas, Va.; and Martinsburg.

As part of the merger, the GSCNC will adopt Camp White Rock in Capon Bridge, W.Va., and 500 acres of undeveloped land in Frederick County, Va., according to the fact sheet.  

Jan Verhage, executive director of the GSCNC, said Tuesday the mergers have been making the organization stronger, "and by pooling resources, it gives more opportunities to more girls."

On Tuesday, the Girl Scouts of the Shawnee Council's fifth annual Women of Distinction luncheon honored three Eastern Panhandle women, and members of the GSCNC attended. 

"We will continue to host this event," Caudle said Wednesday. "We are the perfect organization" to host the Women of Distinction luncheons, she said.

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