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GIRL SCOUTS SALUTE! : Wiles Magazine

GIRL SCOUTS SALUTE!

Girl Scout Salute!

By Alyssa Schroer

As part of our month-long celebration of iconic women in history, Wiles is proud to salute the Girls Scouts of the USA for nurturing and producing generations of female leaders for more than 100 years. You know all about the cookies, but here are few facts you may not know!

Girl Scouts of the USA Founder Juliette Gordon Low (center) standing with two Girl Scouts, Robertine McClendon (left) and Helen Ross (right)

The Girl Scouts of the USA were founded on March 12, 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low, a well traveled and educated woman from Savannah Georgia. In Juliette’s early years she explored interests in the arts and was quite the athlete, being an accomplished swimmer, rower and avid tennis player. After her aid in the Spanish-American war, Juliette wanted to put her life to good use so upon meeting, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in England; she believed she had found what she was looking for. Juliette then brought the Girl Guides to America, renaming them the Girl Scouts the following year. Juliette invited girls of all backgrounds to learn self-reliance and to be resourceful in the outdoors. Girl Scouts included girls with disabilities when many groups of the time excluded them, for this was not an issue to Juliette, who never let being partially deaf keep her from experiencing life.

Additionally, the first troop for African American girls was founded in 1917 and many more troops followed suit including Native American and Mexican American troops. African American Girl Scout troops were nationally recognized in developing girls’ interest in aviation, new technology, international travel, and leadership. By the early 1950’s Girl Scouts began to desegregate troops, making them a bold leader in the desegregation movement. They were even recognized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he called the Girl Scouts, a “force for desegregation.” Ever since, the Girl Scouts have been a socially aware group, electing their first African American president, Dr. Gloria D. Scott in 1975.

Over the years, the Girl Scouts have made strides in serving girls of all backgrounds, establishing projects to retain girls of multiple ages as well as girls in under-served areas. The Girl Scouts have been an active organization in speaking out against prejudices, aiding those in need and launching projects to address national issues including eco-friendly initiatives and nutrition and health.

Overall, since their founding with just 18 girls in 1912, the Girl Scouts have now grown to 2.8 million members. Girl Scouts is now, globally the largest educational organization for girls and has additionally influenced more than 59 million girls, women, and men that have belonged to the organization since its founding.

For more information about the Girl Scouts of the USA, please visit: girlscouts.org

Girl Scouts raising the American flag

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