National Girl Scouts Day
Today is National Girl Scout Day!
The Girls Scouts are an amazing organization that does way more than sell the best cookies ever!
I was a Girl Scout growing up. It was one of the things as a child I was most proud of. It gave us all a chance to shine in athletics, camping, and leadership.
It wasn't just about not having the boys around. It gave us all opportunity to face a challenge and realize, "hey, I can do that!"
How It All Started
Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting on March 12, 1912 in Savannah, Georgia, there were 18 girls present. For these girls, Juliette Gordon Low organized enrichment programs, service projects, and outdoor activities and adventures.
Where Low Got The Idea
A meeting in 1912 with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, inspired Juliette to establish Girl Scouts that same year. Telephoning a cousin from her home, she announced, "I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!"
What They Hoped The Girl Scouts Would Accomplish
Low wanted girls to realize that there was life outside what were considered the traditional “duties” of being a woman at the time. Low took the early Girl Scouts on camping trips, taught them about first aid and astronomy, and even had them play basketball ― things that not too many women got to learn about at the time. She encouraged them to learn about science and math, and even pursue professional careers. She wanted to create generations of women who would be resourceful and not have to rely on others for help — in the days before women even had the right to vote.
Selling cookies to raise funds wasn't initially part of the plan for how the organization would function. In 1917, while trying to make money for a group project, the Mistletoe Girl Scout Troop of Muskogee, Oklahoma became the first troop to bake cookies and sell them as a fundraiser. Other troops followed their lead, and in 1935, troops began to sell commercial Girl Scout cookies.
Who's Allowed To Join
Low, who became deaf after an accident, firmly believed that every girl who wanted to be a Girl Scout should be and welcomed all, including girls who had disabilities, who were often isolated from their peers in that era. The Girl Scouts welcomed all girls to join, regardless of race or financial background, and in the 1930s, published all their resources in Braille, so no girl would ever have to feel left out of the Girl Scouts experience. In keeping with Low’s original vision of the Girl Scouts as a place accepting of all girls, a Colorado troop became the first troop to admit a transgender girl in 2011, citing that anyone who identifies as a girl is welcome to join.
Girl Scouts Are Only In The U.S.,....Right?
In the 1920s, the Girl Scouts branched out to include American girls living abroad in China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Today, the organization has 10 million girl and adult members in 145 countries. In the United States alone, there are over two million active Girl Scouts, and more than 59 million American women have been Girl Scouts since the organization's inception in 1912.
How Far They've Come
2012: President Barack Obama posthumously awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, to Juliette Gordon Low for her “remarkable vision,” and celebrates “her dedication to empowering girls everywhere."