Women's History Month Spotlight: The Girl Scouts
History of the Girl Scouts
When celebrating Women’s History Month, it’s hard not to mention the Girl Scouts. Juliette Gordon initiated the Girl Scouts in 1912. She was a nearly deaf woman living in Savannah, Georgia in a time where women could not yet vote. In the midst of the Progressive Era she took initiative by rallying 18 young girls from her hometown and teaching them all she knew about the outdoors and other educational subjects. They played basketball, hiked, swam, and camped. She also taught them practical skills such as telling time by looking at the stars. Juliette also gifted them with her knowledge of foreign languages. This small organization gave young women the chance to explore the world around them that had been hidden to them. They were taught to shoot for the stars, that nothing was out of their reach, and that courage, confidence, and good character leads to success. This small group of brave girls sparked a worldwide movement of women embracing their independence and intellect. Her small group of 18 has now grown to 2.6 million girl scouts in 92 countries.
Girl Scouts and Activism
Today, girl scouts walk in Juliette Gordon’s original footsteps as they volunteer in their communities and pave the way for future women. Girl scouts offer their time and effort in various volunteer activities such as food drives, reading to people in libraries or hospitals, and of course selling their delicious cookies for charity. In 2015, one 17 year old Girl Scout named Sophie believed she could make a difference, and she did. She organized the One Day 5K, an annual 5K race focused on eradicating malaria, and started the “One Day We Will Eradicate Malaria” campaign. She said, “One of the root causes of the 21,000 preventable DAILY child deaths is malaria, so by providing the nets and prevention education about malaria to the people who are most affected it significantly reduces that number.” By the end of her campaign she raised enough money to provide 650 malaria nets to needy families. She is not the only girl scout to impact the people around her in such a positive way. Girl scouts all over the country take part in these kinds of loving acts.
Girl Scouts Advancing Into the 21st Century
Juliette Gordon would be proud to see how the generations of powerful and impactful women have kept their tradition of helping those in need intact. It is inspiring to see an organization let these young girls grow up and become strong members of their community as adults. One in every two adult women has at some point been a member of Girl Scouts, and the average length of time spent in Girl Scouts is four years. There are currently 59 million Girl Scout alumnae.
Girl Scouts today learn the necessary skills for the technologically advancing world around them. Badges such as: Computer Expert, Inventor, Home Scientist, Money Manager, and Business Owner are some of the newest badges that support 21st century skills both in school and the changing work force. As they attain their badges and grow up they learn the skills that are necessary for the real world. Girl scouts become independent, hardworking, and caring adults.