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Hattiesburg, MS – The first weekend of May 2015 was an historic one for the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi. For the first time in the organizations history, a National CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA visited a Mississippi Girl Scout Council. A ribbon cutting was held on Friday, May 01, 2015, at 4 p.m. for a new 9,000 square foot multi-purpose building, named The Lodge, on the picturesque grounds of Camp Iti Kana in Wiggins. Girls, volunteers, community members and leaders from all around the state gathered in attendance to show their support for the local Girl Scout Council. The Girl Scouts were joined by the Chief Customer Officer of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Lisa Margosian, and the President of Yates Construction, William G. Yates Jr.

“We’re honored to be a part of this process and excited for what this will mean for the Girl Scouts of Mississippi.” stated William G. Yates, Jr, President of Yates Construction

On Sunday, February 10, 2013, an EF4 tornado devastated much of Hattiesburg and surrounding areas, and leveled the Girl Scouts’ Co-Headquarters and training center on Hutchinson Ave. Since then, the Girl Scouts, with the support of its Board of Directors, Yates Construction and Botrell Insurance, have been working hard to recover from that tragic loss. The ribbon cutting marked the beginning of a new chapter and a triumphant come back for the Girl Scouts. The new building, which is expected to be ready for use prior to the opening of the Girl Scout Summer Camp season in June 2015, will feature program, training and office space as well as a dining hall and commercial kitchen.

“We are honored and delighted to have been supported every step of the way by a great friend of the Girl Scouts, Mr. William G. Yates, Jr.,” stated Becky Traweek, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi. “Mr. Yates aided us in our greatest hour of need. Because of his help and generosity, we were able to quickly recover from the great loss of our Hattiesburg Co-Headquarters and training center.”

On Saturday, May 2, on the beautiful campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, Thad Cochran Center, the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi held their 6th Annual Meeting. They were joined by the youngest ever and the first woman of color to hold the position of National CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Anna Maria Chavez, as the Keynote Speaker. Ms. Chavez recognized the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi for their outstanding membership growth for grades kindergarten through fifth, spoke to the power of girls and invited those in attendance to keep the Girl Scout Movement alive to continue building essential leadership skills in girls.

Ms. Chavez gave an impassioned speech and spoke directly to the girls and volunteers alike.

“Girls, understand how important you are and know that I am listening and that I understand” stated National CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Anna Maria Chavez and to volunteers she stated “Can we agree…that we have a future to worry about… we need Girl Scouts alive and well… we cannot let the movement die on our watch”.

Outdoor programming is the Girl Scout’s national focus and Greater Mississippi looks forward to leading the way as they continue to serve approximately 10,000 members, including girls and adult volunteers. The Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi offer a variety of programming and educational opportunities through its thriving camps.

Girl Scouting is about building strong leaders, and Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls in kindergarten through twelfth grade in Mississippi. GSGMS serves approximately 10,000 members including committed adult volunteers and courageous girls in 45 counties in south and central Mississippi, helping them to develop qualities that will serve them throughout their lives, like strong values, a social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect, or donate to Girl Scouts, call 800-898-4475 or visit



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