Hundreds of Birthday Candles March Down Street

Girl Scouts serve as Grand Marshal of Halloween Parade, coinciding with 100th birthday of scouts

Choosing the grand marshal for the yearly Toms River Halloween parade isn't always an easy process.

There's much to consider, from the kinds of organizations to the message that's being sent.

This year, however, Toms River Fire Co. 1's Parade Chairman Carl Weingroff said the choice was easy: the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore.

"They are marking 100 years of service, and we're a service organization," Weingroff said. "It seemed only fitting."

 "Most people don't realize we've been around that long," said Sue McClure, the chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, who served as the parade's grand marshal. McClure was joined in those duties by chief operating officer, Richard Renzulli.

The group learned of the honor during the summer, McClure said, and went to work immediately promoting it among its members and on its website, encouraging individual troops to participate. Pat Zakar, who is in charge of volunteer support, and Marilyn Bass of the Shoreline council spearheaded efforts to get as many Scouts involved as possible, McClure said.

"They were really excited," she said. Bass made 100 candle costumes for girls to wear while marching -- one for every year the organization is marking. The result was more than 300 members of the 1,500-member group marching on Monday night.

A hundred came dressed as birthday candles, a crown of flames made of glittery construction paper and poster.

"I was just so proud of them" as they passed the main stand with dignitaries. 

"I think Girl Scouts are still a vibrant and relevant organization," McClure said, and hoped others would see that as well, through the eyes of the girls the organization serves.

"They serve the girls the way we serve people," Weingroff said.

"We were so humbled and honored," she said.  


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