Happy almost Girl Scout Week GSHPA Blog Fam! We are so excited to be gearing up for the 2021 Girl Scout Week which kicks off on Girl Scout Sunday, March 7th. Make sure you keep an eye on the Blog next week, because there will be so many exciting posts celebrating Girl Scout Week as we lead up to our 109th Birthday!
I would be remiss if I did not also wish you a Happy International Women’s month! We are excited to celebrate International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8th, the second day of Girl Scout Week. There are so many exciting things happen in March I can barely stand it!
Now, let’s talk about the first day of Girl Scout Week, the kick off for a full week of celebration that girls across the country celebrate, Girl Scout Sunday! (Stay with me, there is a little bit of a history lesson before we get into the good stuff!)
As we all know, Juliette Gordon Low (JGL), met and worked with Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts while in London. She worked with him on creating the female equivalent while in London. Together, they then came to America to build the Girl Guides of America movement. Juliette learned so much from Lord Baden-Powell; how to run a youth organization, activities that were important for girls to learn including confidence, courage, and character, and the importance of creating a space for girls of any religion to participate together, as a unit. Lord Baden-Powell made it a point to never tether the Boy Scouts to a specific Religion, and JGL followed suit.
On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low hosted the first Girl Guides of America meeting (later the Girl Scouts of America) in her carriage house (it was the early 1900’s version of a garage). There were 18 girls in attendance, that Juliette invited herself. Some were from families of prominence in Savannah, and some from the local synagogue! The mixing of religions was something that was seldom done in the early 1900’s.
When the time came to recruit Troop Leaders for the newly established Girl Guides of America, JGL asked four women to lead the first troop. Three of those four women were Jewish. Two of the three of those original leaders went on to hold high ranking positions within the Girl Scouts of America in the first established councils. Again, the mixing of religions was not something that was commonplace in the early 1900’s, but JGL did not care about the social norm, she cared the girls who joined her organization had the best possible experience, and she knew that would come from powerful female leaders.
Random Fun Fact! Did you know that the first commercially baked Girl Scout Cookies were made in a Jewish Bakery? Bonus points if you know what year the first cookies were made commercially! (If you need a helping hand for your guess, take a look at this article!)
Juliette Gordon Low was a woman of faith. She was progressive in her thinking about religion and the relationship it should have in your social engagements, which made her an outcast. However, her church, the Christ Church of Savannah, was no stranger to being ahead of the times. The Christ Church was the first Georgian church to have a female ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons. (To learn more about Susan W. Harrison take a look at the Christ Church of Savannah’s historical timeline!)
While the Girl Scouts are still a non-denominational organization, and we welcome girls of any and all faiths. Girls are encouraged to recognize that faith can be a driving force for many. What you put your faith in is where we all differ, and that’s what makes this such a great organization.
Now, let’s talk about some of the awards girls can earn based on their faith!
Girls are able to earn multiple different faith based awards. The official Girl Scout awards include the My Promise, My Faith Pins. These pins are able to be earned annually from first year Daisys through Graduating Ambassadors. These pins are earned by choosing a line from the Girl Scout Law and studying how that line corresponds to their faith. The girls are tasked with researching poems, songs, or stories in their faith that also show the line they’ve chosen from the Law. They are also tasked with researching inspirational quotes from women and in talking to women within their faith or outside of their faith to discover how they live the line from the law.
What makes this award unique is that it is not denominational. Girls of any faith could earn these awards. In our thirty county foot print we have had girls earn this award in almost every religion. We currently have a troop finalizing their award in the Hindu Religion!
Girls can also earn awards specifically focused on their individual religion. To Serve God awards are created by members of Faith Based organizations who are also Girl scouts. Girls work with advisors, whether spiritual or Girl Scout, to earn their religious award. There are more than 29 different denominations with advanced awards offered through the Pray Pub organization in partnership with the Girl Scouts.
These awards, like all of our awards, are unique to the girls who earn them. No two projects ever look the same and no two girls ever bring the same experiences to their Girl Scout Experience.