Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, Founder of Girls Scouts of the USA, assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid.
Within a few years, Daisy’s dream for a girl-centered organization was realized. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults, a significant growth from its modest beginnings nearly a century ago. In fact, more than 59 million women in the U.S. today are Girl Scout alumnae. From their willingness to tackle important societal issues, to their commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, Girl Scouts is dedicated to every girl, everywhere.
The very first Girl Scout handbook was published in 1918. The badges were created in the 1920s, starting with the Economist badge, which was earned by starting a savings account. The Girl Scout cookie sale was launched in 1922 when the first sugar cookie recipe was created. In 2006, it became mandatory for all Girl Scouts to wear their uniform at ceremonies and when representing Girls Scouts in public as a way to “wear their mission on their sleeve.” More than two thirds of U.S. Congresswomen and an incredible 80 percent of women business owners were Girl Scouts. (Source: Forbes)
The Girl Scout Promise:
On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.
The Girl Scout Law:
I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.
When I was growing up, girls did not have near the extracurricular options as boys, so we became Brownies, and then we advanced to Girls Scouts. It was a great way to socialize in a small group setting, to be challenged through outdoor activities (e.g., camping), and to earn badges. I truly value those days and they continue to benefit me today.
As a Brownie, my pride and joy badge was a sewing badge. We took an empty ice cream bucket (from the local ice cream parlor), and then we cut fabric to fit around the bucket, sewing a round piece for the base (a running stitch by hand), and adding a drawstring top from shoe laces. Then I had to do something creative to my box to make it different, so I glued colorful buttons on the box. Whoola! I had a storage box for my special things. This gave me my first insight into my creative nature.
As a Girl Scout, I was determined to be Number One in cookie sales. I can remember going door-to-door in my neighborhood getting orders until it was almost too dark to see so I could get my top cookie sale badge. Then I had to deliver all those cookies on foot! There were lots of trips back and forth to my home. I did not realize it at the time, but I was learning valuable skills, which included “determination and perseverance.” I did not make Number One but I did come in Number Two in sales. My Brownie leader’s daughter was Number One.
My career would not be what it is today if I had not learned how “not to give up by staying focused.” And, yes, I enrolled my daughter in Brownies when she was in grade school. She loved earning her badges, and accomplishing her goals. Today, she holds a Master in Education (Sciences). I am extremely proud of her!
Brownies and Girls Scouts have advanced in many amazing ways since its inception. Girls have endless opportunities to learn leadership skills (e.g., The Girl Scout Leadership Institute), how to improve their self-image, and how to prepare for their careers! The list is endless!
Famous former Girl Scouts include:
- Michelle Obama, First Lady (also the Honorary President of Girl Scouts, USA
- Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, former First Lady and Daughter
- Elizabeth Dole, Former President, American Red Cross
- Christa McAuliffe, Teacher and Astronaut
- Laura Bush, Wife of President George Bush, Jr.
- Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State
… just to name a few.
Who are Your Scout Role Models?