"Let Freedom Sing" by Arts Express will be held Wednesday at Centennial Hall. Janice Livermon, chairwoman of the show, said "You leave 'Let Freedom Sing' feeling patriotic and inspired, and that is what July 4 is all about."


It's a new year, but for the Girl Scouts of America, it's more than just that - it's a new century. Girls have been scouting for 100 years, and the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona are joining the celebration by bringing an adult twist to a kiddie classic: They will debut a new fundraiser, Cookies & Cabernet, Friday evening.

"You can't go wrong when you start with Girl Scout cookies, and six local restaurants are providing dessert tastings, with each representing a different cookie," said Jessica Galow, development officer for Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona.

"We will have wine and hors d'oeuvres and delicious desserts at the beautiful Medicine Man Gallery, so people can also enjoy the fine art."

Guests can expect creative, handcrafted takes on Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas, Do-Si-Dos, Trefoils and the new lemon cookie, Savannah Smiles, which pays tribute to Juliette Gordon Low, who founded Girl Scouts in Savannah, Ga.

Participating restaurants include Feast, Pastiche Modern Eatery, Kingfisher Bar & Grill, Bob's Steak and Chop House, Hub Restaurant and Ice Creamery and The Abbey.

The event provides an opportunity to kick traditional Girl Scout fundraising up a notch, according to Kathleen Sublette. She is helping plan and host the event at her husband Mark's gallery, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, 7000 E. Tanque Verde Road.

"Everyone loves Girl Scout cookies. They are such a tradition, and we thought we would spice it up with Cabernet and do something fun and different in celebration of their 100th anniversary. We are also donating a portion of all art purchases made that evening to Girl Scouts," Sublette said.

A physician who practiced as a pediatrician for 20 years before retiring to help Mark with his galleries in Tucson and Santa Fe, Sublette said she treasured her experiences as a Brownie and Girl Scout.

"Being a member of Girl Scouts was something that helped me succeed. It provides leadership skills and makes women extremely self-confident. I remember my days as a Girl Scout with great fondness, and hope that every young child would have that opportunity," she said.

Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona was founded in 1935. It serves 14,000 girls ages 5 through 17. More than half the members receive scholarship funds for programming and membership fees.

Girl Scout programs cover philanthropy and volunteerism, literacy and arts, physical fitness, nutrition and obesity prevention, environmental awareness and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Programs also focus on financial literacy to help break the cycle of poverty by teaching girls about earning, spending, saving and investing.

Galow emphasizes that the organization is working to increase public awareness about both leadership and STEM programs as Girl Scouts move into the next century.

" 'Cookies, crafts and camp' is the stereotype, if you will, that the public thinks of when they think of Girl Scouts. We are all of those, but we are so much more," she said. "We are about girl leadership and teaching young girls to become great leaders and getting girls involved in STEM fields where they are not as well-represented as men."

If you go

• What: Cookies & Cabernet to benefit Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona

• When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

• Where: Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, 7000 E. Tanque Verde Road.

• Cost: $45 per person in advance online; $55 at the door

• Etc.: The event includes hors d'oeuvres, wine, desserts made by local chefs using Girl Scout cookies, live music by harpist Melissa Varga and a silent auction. All proceeds benefit Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona. Twenty percent of proceeds from art, jewelry, books and Native American antiquities purchased from Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery during the event will also benefit the organization.

Info and tickets: For more information or to buy tickets go to www.girlscoutssoaz.org/cab or call 319-3147.

Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at ninch2@comcast.net