In honor of the 103 anniversary of the organization, here are 12 things you might not know about the group and its founder.
It may be known for their cookie sales and brownie sashes, but Girl Scouts of America—one of the oldest and most well known organizations in the nation—is celebrating its 103rd anniversary this year and the group has been doing much more than filling our bellies with Thin Mints for the past century. From empowering young women, teaching them business skills, building friendships, and encouraging literacy and education to advocating on Capitol Hill, supporting the Civil Rights movement and boasting an alumni of over 59 million women in America alone, the group first started by founder Juliette Gordon Low has come a long way since its formation in 1912.
To celebrate the legacy of this inspiring organization, we've rounded up a few facts you may not know about our favorite troops, along with some great photos and videos:
Founder Juliette Gordon Low started her first charity called "Helping Hands" to help the poor. She recruited her cousins and neighborhood friends to sew clothes for those less fortunate.
The first official meeting of the group, known then as the "Girl Guides" was on March 12, 1912 in Savannah, Georgia. The meeting consisted of 18 girls.
Low often went by the nickname "Daisy" given to her by an uncle. Now, there's a Girl Scout membership level after her namesake for grades K-1.
In 1913, Low changed the name of the organization from Girl Guides to Girl Scouts at the request of her American members.
Low was the second eldest of five siblings. She was a poet and playwright and often wrote plays for her younger siblings to perform though she could never spell well. She was a world traveler, sculptor and blacksmith. You can hear more about Low's story in this video.
One main reason Low started the organization was thanks to her meeting with Sir Robert Baden Powell. Powell was a war hero and founder of the Boy Scouts. The two were introduced by a mutual friend.
Low lost hearing in both her ears through two separate accidents, one occurring on her wedding day when a grain of good luck rice thrown after the ceremony lodged in her ear and later caused an infection resulting in the loss of hearing. She advocated for Girl Scouts to allow, encourage and help young girls with disabilities to be able to attain the same level of achievement within the organization. You can hear more about Low's story in this video.
Today, there are 2.8 million Girl Scouts—2 million girl members and 800,000 adult members working primarily as volunteers.
Low is one of only eight women to be honored with a commemorative stamp authorized by then President Harry S. Truman.
Girls at home and abroad participate in troops and groups in more than 92 countries through USA Girl Scouts Overseas and there are now 10 million girls and adults in 145 countries involved with the organization.
Low was a known prankster. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in her later years, she made one last voyage to England to settle her affairs. A masquerade party was held on board the ship she was traveling and for Daisy’s costume, the Girl Scouts founder covered herself in a bed sheet, cut out holes for the eyes and mouth, and tied empty whisky bottle to a rope which she hung around her neck. She went as departed spirits.
The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917 when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project. Thin Mints were probably the favorite cookie, even back then.
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