Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Girl Scout celebrates 75 years of membership

Pat Burkart and Martha Smith
GSWPA to Award Lifetime Member Commemorates 75 Years in the Girl Scout Movement

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) honored Fox Chapel resident Martha Smith for 75 years in Girl Scouts with a special pinning ceremony.

Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA, presented an honorary pin to Smith on Thursday, April 6 at her residence.

"I'm honored to count Martha Smith among our most dedicated supporters of girls’ leadership development through Girl Scouts,” said Burkart. “Thanks to Martha’s efforts here in Pittsburgh and around the globe, more girls have experienced the life-changing benefits of Girl Scouting.”

Smith has been a Girl Scout since she joined Troop #3 in Highland, Indiana when she was 7 years old. She continued to participate in troop activities throughout her childhood and teen years.

High school graduation didn’t end Smith’s connection to Girl Scouts. While attending college at Purdue University, she was also a volunteer for a local troop.

She married Phillip Smith in 1955 and taught math in a local high school. The Smiths had six children over a 15 year period, and Martha continued her volunteer work with Girl Scouts. When her oldest daughter became a Brownie, Smith signed on as an assistant Girl Scout troop leader.

While in Indiana, she was asked to be on the program committee, on the board, and the president of her local council.

Eventually her family moved to Pittsburgh where she was active in the council as a delegate to the National Council meeting, a board member, and president from 1994-2000.

The Smiths were very active in the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ (WAGGGS) efforts to help girls throughout the world. They were founding members of the Olave Baden Powell Society (OBPS), a global network of WAGGGS supporters that provides financial help to the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement. Martha Smith served on the OBPS board for nine years. 

Martha Smith was invited to join “Friends of Our Cabana” in 1980, a group of volunteers that provides support for Our Cabana in Cuernavaca, Mexico, one of the five WAGGGS World Centres that welcomes traveling Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from all over the world. She was a substitute member of the Our Cabana committee, and chairman of the organization for seven years.  As the chairman of Friends of Our Cabana committee and as an Honorary Associate of WAGGGS, she has attended several world conferences.

Smith traveled near and far for the Girl Scouts movement, including England, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Kenya, Canada, and many states in the U.S. She received her Juliette Lowe medal on behalf of her council for her international work. 

For 75 years, Smith has exemplified the Girl Scouts’ mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. “I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for Girl Scouts,” Smith said. “It makes you realize how much bigger you can be than just the small town you grew up in.”

“I just wish all girls could be Girl Scouts,” she added.

Friends and GSWPA staff attended the special pinning ceremony. Pictured left to right, front row: Fanny Ross, Martha Smith, and Marlene Szary. Back row: Pamela Balas, Theresa Bone, Deborah Smith, Patricia Burkart, Susan Gold, Sandra Bernardi Hathazy, Kriss Svidro, Elizabeth Teti, and Alicia Templeton.