When you hear "Girl Scouts," what comes to mind? Cookies? Patches? Uniforms? Girls coming together to learn new things? What tops your list? For me, it's memories. Memories of going to troop meetings, learning new skills to add a patch to my sash, going to camp, and of course, selling cookies. Since its inception in 1912, the Girl Scouts have become known as an organization that empowers girls, that embodies making all feel welcome and valued, that puts community service and service to others at the core of who they are and, yes, that creates cookie queens. Today, they stand at 2.6 million women and girls strong. And it all started with one intrepid trailblazer...
Juliette Gordon Low was no ordinary girl. She was inquisitive, adventurous, energetic, and fearless. She loved meeting new people from other cultures, helping those around her, and discovering new things. And this was all at a time where girls were taught from a very early age how to be ladies, how to be mothers, and how to be wives. They weren't encouraged to try new things, make new friends, or use their voice. So, no, Juliette Gordon Low wasn't your average American girl in the later part of 1800s. So, how did this curious girl come to be an intrepid trailblazer? First, it seems apparent from what the Girl Scouts share about their fearless leader that she didn't seem to think that she was different. She was just herself. She was unapologetically herself. Second, she had the support of a family that encouraged her to be herself. Her cousins joined her on her nature walks, on her quest to start a newspaper, and played a role in the Helping Hands Club she formed to benefit Italian immigrants. It was this solid foundation that really helped Daisy, as she was known to those close to her, later in life.
A lot of life happened to Daisy. She was a sick child and was partly deaf. She spent a lot of time traveling in Europe. She constantly learned new skills and met new people. But one of the biggest challenges that she faced was the dissolution of her marriage. It hadn't been a particularly good marriage given that they spent most of it apart, but still when Daisy committed to something, she stuck with it. So, when her marriage finally ended she seemed to be at a bit of a loss as to what to do with her life. Fortuitously, one day she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, organizer of the Boy Scouts. Daisy was inspired by the group. Spending time with Baden-Powell and the founder of Girl Guides, Daisy became increasingly certain that the girls of America needed the same kind of group to belong to. So, she returned to her hometown of Savannah, called on her supportive family to help, and got to work.
Daisy envisioned creating a group that ALL girls could belong to; a group where it didn't matter what kind of family you came from, your financial status, your race, your ethnicity, your ability, your disability, or whatever it was that others deemed 'different,' it didn't matter. All that mattered was that you wanted to be a part of a group that would help others, learn new skills, and learn to just be yourself. That's it.
In 1912, Daisy formed the very first Girl Scout troop with 18 girls. Totally committed to the success of her dream, Daisy worked tirelessly to raise funds for the group; she even tried to get President Taft to get his daughter on board! She even went so far as to invest her own money. Her hard work paid off because in a mere three years, the number of registered girls rose to 2,400! Wow!
Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low was an incredible force of ideas, ingenuity, and passion. She saw a need for girls to have something to belong to that would challenge them in who they were, how they thought, and how they could help others. Today's membership of 2.6 million girls and women is staggering. Think about that. One woman created an opportunity for all girls that would someday boast a membership of 2.6 MILLION. That's no small feat. Think of all the former Girl Scouts who've changed our world: First Ladies, astronauts, Supreme Court justices, Senators, athletes, entertainers, journalists, and more. Then, think of all the good the Girl Scouts do: they organize community outreach events and respond to community disasters/needs, they equip girls with valuable life skills, they stand up for others, they encourage diversity, they teach friendship and kindness, and so much more. And yes, they make some really good cookies!
We are so excited to introduce little ones to the Trailblazing Scout this month. Juliette Gordon Low, or JLow as the Girl Scouts call her, is one incredibly inspiring individual. She didn't let anyone stand in the way of her dream, a dream that benefited others and not even herself. She created an organization that's all about uplifting and encouraging girls to be themselves, fearlessly. We couldn't love that more...
Join the inspiration. Join the club. Join today. The Trailblazing Scout crate is on sale NOW through August 15th at girlscancrate.com.