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View the story in the July 18, 2007 edition of Main Line Suburban Life Newspaper by clicking below:

Picture 11

Published Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) unveiled the City of Philadelphia’s latest mural on July 11, and it has a Main Line flavor.Depicted as the murals centerpiece is 16-year-old Laura Manisalco of Haverford, who has been an active girl scout for nine years.

Manisalco’s image was “just an image that fit,” said Barbara Koch-Santoro, the staff member in charge of the project. The artist, Michelle Ortiz, was “looking for a girl who had been involved since she was very young and looking forward to being involved as an older girl scout” said Koch-Santoro.

The mural is located at 14th and Callowhill Streets and celebrates the 95th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts nationwide.

Looking forward to being involved as an older Girl Scout was very important to Ortiz because Manisalco is painted in the middle of the mural looking up to embrace the future experiences to come. “I think the mural was a good idea because of all the different things girl scouts can do. Now all the little girls have something to look up to,” said Manisalco. Manisalco enjoys being a girl scout because “I get to meet new people and get to learn new things. I get to experience all kinds of different things.”

In partnership with the Mural Arts Program, over 300 girl scouts assisted in the design and creation of the commemorative mural.

“Our troops entered to help paint the mural because we wanted to help and most of our troops like art. We thought it would be a great opportunity to learn something new. We each wrote a letter and drew a picture of what we thought the mural should look like. Our troops, among a few others, were chosen to help paint the mural,” said Manisalco.

“It was a team effort,” added Koch-Santoro.

Ortiz tried to portray all the things the girl scouts stand for in the mural, such as leadership, adventure, and courage. The mural also reflects the contributions of the Girl Scouts in the region. Every image portrayed in the mural is of someone who was at one time or still is a member of the girl scouts, including the adults.

While the mural commemorates 95 years of tradition, it also celebrates the girl scouts modernization. GSEP, a newly formed organization, is the result of a merger of three Girl Scout Councils: Freedom Valley, Great Valley, and Southeastern Pa.

“Our new council is going to be serving a nine county area and giving girls an opportunity to have three times as many programs that they had in their previous councils for discovery and community service,” said Ann Meredith, Girl Scouts CEO.

“The mural is our best effort to celebrate girl scouting for not only 95 years, but for hundreds of years more. It’s our history, it’s our legacy, and it’s our plans for the future,” said Koch-Santoro.

Original was published on the front page of the feature section in the July 18, 2007 issue of Main Line Suburban Life. Can now be found in their archives.

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