Girl Scouts honored GSP Charter and Life Member HELENA Z BENITEZ with Scout’s Own Ceremony on July 18, 2016, at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) Chapel, Manila.
We lovingly called her Tita Helen. She was the epitome of a woman who lived her life driven by a purpose to serve God, her fellowmen, and her country.
Tita Helen was one of the charter members of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. They were young girls who paved the way for the formal organization of GSP. She and her group, along with Mrs. Josefa Llanes Escoda (JLE), worked hard in convincing parents to allow their children to join the Organization.
During the Second World War, she became the chairperson of the First GSP Central Committee and of the Emergency Volunteers Social Aid Committee (VSAC).
Together with some GSP Central Committee members, they worked closely with Mr. Antonio and Mrs. Josefa Llanes Escoda in the critical and risky mission of bringing help and relief to Death March prisoners and other prisoners in Manila and nearby provinces.
Post-war, she served GSP as National President from 1979 to 1988, during which time her governance made a great difference for the organization through her inspiring leadership.
She pursued the thrust of Dynamic Troop Leadership in 1983 by introducing a Troop Leaders Day during GS Week. This is now a yearly tradition. She was also responsible for the creation of the GSP Barangay Committee that differentiated GSP from the political barangay.
Miss Benitez sponsored the HZB Badgework Awards which recognized a Girl Scout Council with the highest percentage of Girls who earned at least three badges during the triennium. Awardees received trophy with cash incentive every national convention.
The SEED or Scout Entrepreneurial Endeavor for Development (SEED) was the brainchild of Ms. Benitez, launched on September 17, 1985.
During her presidency, the EDSA Revolution altered the landscape of the GSP organizational structure. She and her board worked on the issuance of Executive Order No. 267, dated July 25, 1987, amending the GSP Charter. The EO designated the woman president of the Philippines or the First Lady as the Chief Girl Scout.
In 1986, GSP’s program and training center in Tagaytay City was named after her. At the end of her term in 1988, GSP bestowed upon Miss Benitez a special award for her priceless contributions to the movement.
Tita Helen, may you rest in peace.
We love you!
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