FAIRMONT - A large group of Fairmont girls is preparing to take over the Mall of America on Sunday, when they celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts.
While the Girl Scouts have had trips and overnights to the Mall of America before, this is the first time the local troops have attended as an entire service unit.
"We will be taking a motor coach up to the Mall of America," said Judy Botzet, a longtime troop leader. "We have a least 50 who will be going up on the bus, while others will be going up on their own. Some are going up for the entire weekend for both days of events, and some are just going Sunday."
Along with the obvious mall attractions, such as the Nickelodeon theme park, Sea Life and all the stores, there will be events. Some areas of the mall will be hosting themes, such as "Camp Like a Girl," "Planet Earth Girl," "Savvy Shopper Girl," and "Design the Future Girl."
"There really is something for everyone there," Botzet said. "One of the main events for Sunday is the concert, China Anne McClain and the McClain sisters, who are featured on the Disney Show 'A.N.T. Farm.' Some of the Girl Scout troops are planning a flash mob dance, and at Sea Life, some girls are even snorkeling with the fish."
The Scouts will learn while they have fun.
"The 'Camp Like A Girl' site teaches about horse care, cold weather camping, bike maintenance, and it's also promoting a Boundary Waters trip," Botzet said. "The 'Savvy Shopper' helps girls learn about setting and sticking to budgets, and saving money. There's also an anti-bullying pledge they can sign, that states, 'Be a sister to every girl.'"
The regional Minnesota River Valley Girl Scouts is hosting the event, which is open to Girl Scouts all over the country.
"They have no idea how many Girl Scouts will turn out for this," Botzet said. "It could be as many as 50,000 Scouts."
The motor coach bus is being funded by the service unit, along with troops paying a portion.
"This is one of our major events this year," Botzet said. "We are able to use some of our cookie money funds, even though we're still selling cookies right now. We figured with this many girls, we wanted a motor coach bus, especially with the timing."
The girls will be getting up extra early, as the bus leaves at 6:30 a.m. Sunday and won't be coming back to Fairmont until about 9 p.m.
"It is going to be a long day for the girls," Botzet said. "But 100 years only comes around once."