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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Girl Scouts Take On Russian Issues

The Young Pioneers are gone, but fear not. The Girl Scouts are ready to take the place of the old Communist training ground. At Spaso House, the U.S. ambassador's residence, Girl Scout enthusiasts from around the world gathered to salute the organization's second year in Russia on Monday evening.

Alice Pickering, wife of U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and herself once a Girl Scout, greeted guests and expressed her hopes for the Girl Scouts. "Leadership training is very important for the development of women in this country," she said.

Turning down the repeated attempts by Spaso House staff to push the Swedish meatballs was Margaret Bird, CIS development executive of the Girl Scouts. "It will empower Russian girls to overcome certain stereotypes and to open their eyes to bigger and better things," she said.

Larisa Blagorozumova, the national coach for Russian Girl Scouts, told the guests of the newest Girl Scout campaign tailored to Russian girls, "Me and My Health." She said the campaign was aimed at teaching Russian girls about first aid and personal hygiene and she thanked Johnson & Johnson for putting together special "hygiene kits" for Girl Scouts here.

Also at the gathering was Bunny Miller, the U.S. Embassy's Brownie leader. Miller said there are about 20 Brownies in the embassy. "This is the second year we did it," she said. "We split the troop in two this year." Each of those 20 American Brownies wears the whole brown dress, brown knee socked uniform. "We order them from J.C. Penney," Miller said.

Coral Tomlin of North Tyneside, England, and Jennifer Davis of Wales, also turned up at the reception. Davis has been a Girl Scout for 20 years, and Tomlin has been one for 30. The two had just returned from Omsk where they led a leadership seminar.

"I went in when I was seven and I never went out," Tomlin said. "We have fun. That's why I stay in. That's the heart of it."