Girls, Celebrities, Converge on Indianapolis for Girl Scout 51st National Convention


October 21, 2008

Girl Scouts of Central Indiana
Deana Potterf, Director of Communications
317-924-6804, 765-426-3121 (cell)

Girl Scouts of the USA
Michelle Tompkins

Indianapolis, Ind. — For the first time in 78 years, the Girl Scouts are hosting their convention in Indianapolis and they are bringing thousands of girls, adults, celebrities and exhibitors to town. Pop culture fixtures like MTV's SuChin Pak, Disney Radio's Keke Palmer and stars of MTV's Run's House Angela and Vanessa Simmons will headline a special event for 2000 girls – the Girl Scout Leadership Institute – before the convention at Indiana Convention Center and Westin Hotel. The convention opens on the evening of October 30, with thousands of Girl Scouts from across the nation celebrating with a flag ceremony, a visit from Indianapolis Mayor Gregory Ballard, and a concert by new Def Jam recording artist Karina Pais. Business meetings to vote on the direction of the organization will be highlighted with small group discussions and motivational guest speakers.

Actress Geena Davis will address convention guests on Saturday, and Def Jam recording artist Chrisette Michele will perform Sunday.

SuChin Pak, uniquely ME! Spokeswoman and MTV News Correspondent, will appear at the Girl Scout Leadership Institute October 29-30 at the Indiana Convention Center. Pak plans to talk about reporting and producing documentaries, and will lead a panel discussion about different cultural and media views of women round the globe.

"The girls are preparing the workshops, and they'll learn about global diversity, health and taking action in your community," says Pak. "A young girl can change the world, but she can't do it without feeling good about who she is, about knowing who she is, and being confident in the person that she's become. I can't wait…all of it's going to be splendiloquent."

Keke Palmer, national recording artist and star of the movie The Longshots, will appear in concert during the Girl Scout Leadership Institute on October 29 at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis at 7:00 p.m. The concert is exclusively for Girl Scouts who participated in the Jump Into Girl Scouts membership campaign and for girls who attend the Girl Scout Leadership Institute.

Palmer isn't just a national celebrity; she's also a Girl Scout. "I cannot wait to see everyone at the Girl Scout Leadership Institute in Indianapolis," says Palmer. "I think being a Girl Scout is amazing. Girl Scouts stand for a lot of things – you know defying the ordinary, being different… It's about owning yourself and being happy about yourself, and I think that's exactly what the Girl Scouts stands for; so I'm very happy to be a Girl Scout."

Angela and Vanessa Simmons of MTV Run's House and founders of Pastry will close the Girl Scout Leadership Institute with a key note presentation about the challenges of starting their own business and living in the media spotlight. The duo signed on with the Girl Scout organization last November to help promote the Girl Scouts' entrepreneurship and financial literacy programs.

"There is a real lack of people encouraging young ladies to be leaders," says Vanessa Simmons, on her role at the Girl Scouts. "Promoting entrepreneurship and financial literacy is important. Girls need to be business-minded so we have more female leaders in the world." Adds Angela Simmons, "And starting now is the best thing girls can do. Selling cookies is a business and you develop those entrepreneurial skills at a young age."

Convention goers will be able to interact with cast members of the hit PBS educational show FETCH! Part game show, part reality TV and part spoof, FETCH! features real kids, real challenges, real science and an unreal host named Ruff Ruffman (yes, he's an animated dog!).

Paralympics Athlete Tatyana McFadden will also be speaking. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Tatyana became the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic track and field team to win two medals, a silver medal in the 100-meter race and a bronze medal in the 200-meter competition. She returned home from the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing with silver medals in the 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter races and a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 relay. Tatyana currently holds the U.S. record in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 800- meter events.

The convention will wrap with a key note presentation by award-winning actress Geena Davis, and a performance by Def Jam Recording Artist Chrisette Michele.

Girl Scouts of the USA would like to express its deepest gratitude to the proud sponsors of the convention: Lilly Endowment Inc.; Ford Motor Company; Mutual of America; Dove Self-Esteem Fund; Best Buy Wolf and @15; The Coca-Cola Company; Northern Trust; Hogan & Hartson LLP; Travelers, Wachovia Insurance Services; and Zurich. We sincerely appreciate our sponsor's commitment to the Girl Scout Movement!

About the Girl Scout Leadership Institute
Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, in partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA, will host the national Girl Scout Leadership Institute at the Indiana Convention Center and Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis October 29-30. The event's theme is Live healthy, Lead healthy, and workshops from nationally recognized experts will focus on physical and emotional health, global diversity and advocacy. The Girl Scout Leadership Institute was planned by 22 Girl Scouts from across central Indiana.

About Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts of Central Indiana serves more than 38,000 girls in 35 counties across central Indiana. Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership experience for girls now serving three million girl and adult members. Girl Scouting is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. If you'd like to join, volunteer, or donate to Girl Scouts, call 317-924-6800 or 877-474-2248 or visit www.girlscoutsindiana.org.