On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low started the first Girl Scout group in Savannah, Georgia with 18 girls. When not selling cookies (mmmm thin mints), Girl Scouts are busy earning badges and volunteering. Girl Scout Day is always celebrated on the anniversary of their founding.
When beginning the Girl Scouts, Low said, “I've got something for the girls of Savannah and all America and all the world and we're going to start it tonight!”
The Girl Scouts website says that "girls join a local troop or group for fun and friendship, but they also find out about building character and self-esteem and serving their communities—the core qualities of Girl Scouting.
Facts about the Girl Scouts:
- The Girls Scouts became a national organization, and was was chartered by the U.S. Congress on March 16, 1950.
- Today, there are millions of girls involved with Girl Scouts - 2.3 million girl members and 890,000 adult members working primarily as volunteers.
- USA Girl Scouts Overseas has troops in 92 countries.
- More than 59 million American women enjoyed Girl Scouting during their childhood.
- The Girl Scout sign is three fingers held up (not the thumb of pinky), and the three fingers represent the three parts of the Promise. (I can never, ever remember if it is 3 fingers or 2, so hopefully this info will stick in my mind. And for the record, in a few of the pictures they show girls holding up 2 fingers. I wonder if they were rebels or just unsure like me)
Facts about Juliette Gordon Low:
- In May 2012, President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to Juliette Gordon Low and you can see a video commemorating the occasion here;
- Low's nickname was Daisy;
- Low was an accomplished artist and both a sculptor and painter;
- Low enrolled in blacksmith school and even made a pair of gates for the entrance to her home;
- Low was severely hearing impaired. She lost a good deal of hearing in one ear as a result of improper treatment of chronic ear infections. Then, at her wedding, guests threw rice as was customary and a grain of rice became lodged in her good ear and a botched attempt at removing the grain resulted in the loss of hearing in that ear.
If you get a chance, it's absolutely worth visiting Juliette Gordon Low's birthplace in Savannah, Georgia, which is open to guests who can see it as it was in 1886. I remember visiting it as a tween and enjoying it. The City of Savannah itself is amazing (so much so that I got married there a few years ago) and this is just one special place there.
My own worldly realization courtesy of the Girl Scouts
I'd like to take this Girl Scout Day to acknowledge that the Girl Scouts led me to the realization that parenthood involves a great deal of sacrifice.
Parenting had always looked like my fun to my little Brownie and Girl Scout self. Then, when I was a young tween, I went on the first overnight camping excursion. My mother was the only adult chaperone in our tent, which can only be described as a disaster. One girl cried with homesickness all night, another with breathing difficulties snored in a way that sounded like a Canadian goose was in the tent, and the other two girls also had issues. There was also rain. Sleep was short supply, but suffering was not. The next morning, as we crawled out of the tent, I looked at my mother and realized that this was work. Hard work.
I think I was supposed to be discovering the wonders of the natural world and bonding with my tent mates and all other virtuous Girl Scout lessons, but instead what I got out of it was the startling, yet important, realization that parents a lot of times do not find their children's activities fun. In fact, they find them to be very far from fun. My mother was as glad as I was that the night had mercifully ended. We did find some solace in the realization at the end of the week that ours was the only tent that had not been infested with lice.
So I wasn't a model Girl Scout despite many years of trying. Have you and your daughters been Girl Scouts? What were your take aways from the experience?