By Leslie Lindsay
You may remember them as the Pollyanna sort of group who sang cheesy campfire songs and wore brown uniforms to school. And you would be right–the Daisys/Brownies/Girl Scouts are a postive group of girls who sing songs–but they also do a whole lot more. In fact, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the organization established by Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low.
As a former Brownie myself, I had some ideas–misconceptions, even–of the organization. And when my friend/neighbor became a troop leader, I was encouraged to think about it even more. You see, my oldest daughter is the exact age I was when I became a member of the Brownies. I wanted her to have some of the same experiences.
Think back to 1912. It was the height of the Victorian era in the U.S. Little girls were meant to be seen and not heard. They wore dresses and crept around quiet as mice, unless of course they were practicing the piano. Their mother’s didn’t even have the right to vote. And they certainly weren’t intended to be pioneers as Juliette was.
Juliette, or “Daisy” as she became known grew up in Savannah, Georgia at “a time when proper young ladies were supposed to be dainty and delicate.” Yet, she came from a family of innovators who helped shape the world. She wanted to do the same. When she heard of the Boy Scouts, a group of boys in England who helped serve their country and spent lots of time outdoors camping and swimming and fishing (and their sister group, the Girl Guides), Daisy decided it was high time to have something of similar merit in the U.S.
The first meeting of Girl Scouts commenced on March 12, 1912 of eighteen girls. The girls loved the idea! They learned the Girl Scout Laws:
A Girl Scout is….
- A Friend to All
- Courteous & Pure
- Kind to animals
In fact, much of what “Daisy” taught the girls has lasting impact...”To make yourself strong and healthy, it is necessary to begin with your inside.” …. “Gumption: courage, spunk, wit, initiative.” …. “Fresh air is your great friend.” …. “Everytime you show your courage, it grows.”
Nowadays, 3.2 million Girl Scouts have a lot of new and varied experiences…earning merit badges is part of that–and of course selling those delicious cookies (which began in the 1930’s), but they also embark on camping trips, service learning/projects, nature, arts & crafts, and others.
So, if you think the Girl Scouts are just a group of girls selling cookies and singing songs, it’s time to look again…and in the words of Juliette Gordon Low, “Whatever you take up, do it with all your might!”
For more information on the Girl Scouts, see these websites:
- Girl Scouts of the USAhttp://www.girlscouts.org/
- Girl Scout Shop http://www.girlscoutshop.com/gsusaonline/
- Juliette Gordon Low http://www.girlscouts.org/who_we_are/history/low_biography/
- Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace http://www.juliettegordonlowbirthplace.org/
(information from this post obtained from Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey and Hadley Hooper, which is also a great keepsake for your own Girl Scout, or her troop leader. It can be purchased at your local bookstore. This post was inspired by my own interest in the Girl Scouts and this book, which we own. No other compensation or intentions are implied).