It's going to be a night of celebration on March 7, when the Girl Scouts of Utah holds its annual International Women’s Day event and presents the Tough Cookie Award to Army veteran and 2012 congressional candidate Donna McAleer.
The annual event will be held at the Complex Event Center in Salt Lake City on the eve of International Women’s Day and honors McAleer with Girl Scouts' highest award. “The award is given to a woman who is a proven leader in her community, gives back and one who leaves a lasting impression,” said Annie Cutler, communications manager for Girl Scouts of Utah.
Last year's award receipient Mary Nickles (far right) with Cathleen Sparrow (second from left), members of the board and Girl Scouts.
The recipient of the award does not need to be GSU alumni, Cutler noted, although McAleer spent a year in the Girl Scouts and has proven to be a role model for girls around the country. McAleer—a West Point graduate, Army veteran and award-winning author—earned a master's in business from the University of Virginia and ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2012 election. “It would be hard to find a better example of the principles of Girl Scouting than Donna,” Girl Scouts of Utah CEO Cathleen Sparrow said in a press release.
GSU, whose mission is to “build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place,” serves more than 8,000 girls from kindergarten through high school and has about 3,500 adult volunteers. To hold its annual ceremony honoring women on International Women’s Day aligns perfectly with the organization's goals.
International Women’s Day began in the early 20th century to promote women’s rights, and each year on March 8, events are held around the world to observe the day and to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. IWD is a national holiday in numerous countries and, according to the IWD website, the United States has designated the entire month of March as Women’s History Month.
Tickets to the Girl Scouts of Utah's event, held March 7 from 6-9 p.m., cost $100 and includes catered dinner, cocktails, live music and a silent auction. Cancer survivor and KUTV morning anchor Mary Nickles won the distinguished award last year.
GSU also holds many other annual gatherings and fundraisers throughout the year, including the popular Girl Scout cookie sale, spa-and-relaxation weekend Camping for a Cause at Camp Cloud Rim above Park City and events geared toward alumni and scouts.