BLOOMINGTON — Taking the traditional Girl Scout sing-along to what they hope will be a record level, the organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a “flash mob” on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

And a number of Scouts from Central Illinois will be joining the hoped-for crowd of 200,000 for the Rock the Mall celebration Saturday.

Laurie Graham of Bloomington, leader of Troop 1126, is driving to Washington, D.C., with five Girl Scouts, and she anticipates — without a note of dread — that they will be singing Scout songs for most of the 760-mile drive.

One song will be “Ignite,” the official anthem of Rock the Mall, which will be accompanied by choreographed dance moves.

“Our feet and hands are moving the entire time,” Graham said. “It’s long and very complicated. … We’ve spent a lot of time working on it.

Kari Hennenfent of Bloomington, who is taking her two daughters on the trip, even has had her children’s baby sitter, who is also a dance instructor, working with several Scouts.

“After a few months of practice, we’ve got some of the basic moves,” said Rocio Rivadeneyra of Bloomington, leader of Troop 1290.

But preparation has included more than song-and-dance practice.

Graham’s girls designed their own Rock the Mall shirts using tie-dyed colors to “make you stand out a little more.”

Rivadeneyra’s troop has made 200 “SWAPs” — homemade “share with a pal” items — to trade with other Scouts at the event. The size of a business card, it is designed to look like a postcard featuring Illinois and includes a penny to represent the land of Lincoln.

As of Tuesday, more than 92,000 had registered for the event, with about 1,000 from Illinois, according to Sarah Parillo, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. However, she said they are expecting more than 200,000 because each registration could include one to five or even 500 individuals.

Parillo said they are hoping to break the Guinness World Record for largest sing-along in one venue. The current record was set by 105,000 soccer fans in England singing, “We Will Rock You,” she said.

Besides the official anniversary events, participating Scouts from The Pantagraph area plan to visit museums, monuments and the National Zoo.

Graham’s Scouts also will be participating in the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program and working on the Girl Scouts’ Discover the Nation’s Capital patch.

The Girl Scouts were founded in 1912 in Savannah, Ga., by Juliet Gordon Low with the goal of helping girls develop physically, mentally and spiritually.


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