Faith Like a Girl Scout

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.   

To learn more about the My Promise, My Faith Pins or the awards offered through the Pray Pub Partnership, check out here, or here, your place of worship, or your Girl Scout Handbook!  


Post by Erica

Site Teams

Since I arrived at GSHPA in the summer of 2019, I have been amazed and humbled by the passion of our members for our four camp properties.   

I quickly got involved with the Camp Furnace Hills site team, hearing their questions and ideas for the future use of the camp, and sat in on phone calls between GSHPA and Supporters of Camp Archbald on a monthly basis, dialoguing about areas of priority focus in maintaining the second oldest Girl Scout camp in the United States. 

My holiday season in 2019 kicked off with the Foxfire Open House at Camp Furnace Hills.  Foxfire House is a Swiss German bank house, built in the 1800’s.  The volunteer led Foxfire Team cooked goodies for the open house, arranged for a string duo to perform in the living room, and conducted tours of the house for attendees.  Foxfire House programming and tours are a gem, and true resource for Girl Scouts to learn about the life of girls long long ago. 

At the Foxfire Open House I met a number of lifetime Girl Scout members who all shared their story of connection with Camp Furnace Hills and now I’ve gotten to know them all well through monthly site team meetings.  This group of volunteers has compiled a detailed excel spreadsheet of projects at Furnace Hills, ranging from repairing fascia, to removing dead trees, and blazing new trails.  Through a network of relationships we’ve now found new vendors for accomplishing work at Camp Furnace Hills and connected troops for Bronze and Silver Awards.   

The Furnace Hills Camping Association and GSHPA are partnering together for an open house on May 16th at camp.  The details are still being finalized but tours of Foxfire House, the chance to practice archery, learn about the history of Camp Furnace Hills, and plant trees are all on the list of possibilities for the afternoon event. 

The second site team I’ve had the delight to get to know, passionately cares for Camp Archbald.  This amazing group of volunteers has shared the history of the beginning of camp, and their personal stories of how camp impacted their life over the years, culminating in the time they’re now bestowing to repair Greenwood and the Caretaker’s House, along with numerous other projects on property.  Beginning in September of 2020, the Archbald site team arranged twice monthly work days, ranging in attendance from 10 to 60!  Their excel spreadsheet of projects, with a tab for every single building on property, is an inspiration for any project manager!  Supporters of Camp Archbald execute a sold out resident camp experience each summer, and planned a yearlong acknowledgement of camp’s 100th anniversary with a celebration scheduled for the weekend of September 18, 2021. 

The paragraphs above cannot begin to describe my awe and respect for the volunteers passionately involved with Camp Furnace Hills and Camp Archbald.  Next, I hope to tap into the passion of volunteers who are connected to Camp Small Valley and Camp Happy Valley, to re-invigorate site teams at those camp properties.  If anyone wants to join the site teams for any of our properties, please reach out to me at leberly@gshpa.org or 717-461-6947. 


Post by Lutricia Eberly

SWAPS

Girl Scouts is an organization with a rich history of traditions. One of my personal favorites is the tradition of exchanging, “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere,” also lovingly known as SWAPS. These “Special Whatchamacallits” have been a part of our Girl Scout history since they first appeared in the 1950s and 60s at national Senior Roundup events. These items are small in nature but serve as the perfect reminders of Girl Scout memories and friends. Typically, SWAPS are small enough to pin to a hat or backpack, and have a tag that shares contact information for the troop or girl that is exchanging the SWAPS.  

In my experience as a young Girl Scout, I most often saw SWAPS exchanges while at summer camp or large events. Nowadays there are ways to send SWAPS nationwide, similar to a pen pal connection. Back in September of 2020, one of our GSHPA volunteers told me of how her troop had spent all summer exchanging SWAPS with troops not only nationwide, but worldwide! After hearing that, she and I agreed that a SWAPS exchange within GSHPA would be a fun way for girls to connect safely during the pandemic, and thus the GSHPA SWAPS Exchange event was born!  

We had 9 Juliettes and 66 troops participate in our first GSHPA SWAPS exchange. Now not only did participants get to connect with troops across our council footprint, they also got to show their creativity in more ways than one! Our girls thought of some very creative SWAPS ideas to fit our winter theme, but they also used their creativity to find a way to make these SWAPS during the pandemic, at a time that in person troop meetings were not allowed. Again and again throughout the pandemic I have been amazed at how well our girls handle the ever-constant change, and adapt to our new virtual way of life. With Zoom meetings happening for school and other extracurricular activities like Girl Scouts, it is so great to see the girls’ creativity continue to shine through! I don’t know about you, but it makes me super proud to be a Girl Scout! 


Post by Colleen Sypien, Volunteer Support Coordinator

Gold Award- Myth vs Fact

Written by Brynne Hall

The Girl Scout Gold Award is something that most Girl Scouts have heard at least once in their time as members, but only a small group end up achieving. It is the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve has a girl member. One piece of the Gold Award is to address a root issue in the area of a girl’s choice. The root issue they will tackle could be anything from food insecurity to intergenerational relations to social injustice and everything in-between. The ultimate goal of a Gold Award project is to not only address a root issue, but to also allow girls to build and demonstrate their leadership skills in a positive way so they can continue to be leaders into adulthood.

Sounds pretty amazing right? On top of the benefits already mentioned, Gold Award Girl Scouts can receive special scholarships when pursuing secondary education. And Gold Award Girl Scouts interested in join the military are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade. Additionally, this distinction impresses many potential employers who are looking for individuals with initiative, creative problem solving skills and established leadership abilities.

While there are so many great things about earning your Gold Award as a Girl Scout, there are also many myths and misconceptions about the Gold Award and how to earn it.

So let’s break down a few of those to help our girls and volunteers better understand the world of Gold Award…

Myth: Girls can only earn their Gold Award if they have been a member of Girl Scouts since Daisies (K-1st grade).

Fact: Girls can join Girl Scouts at any time and still earn their Gold Award! We recommend starting your Gold Award in 9th or 10th grade (as a Senior Girl Scout) so you have plenty of time to complete the prerequisites (see next Myth) and your Gold Award project. We are happy to help girls who start later in their Girl Scout journey complete their Gold Award as well.

Myth: Girls have to earn their Bronze and Silver Awards before starting the Gold Award.

Fact: We have two prerequisite paths and girls must choose one of these paths before starting their Gold Award project:

            1. Two Senior or Ambassador-level journeys

            1. One Senior or Ambassador-level journey and Silver Award

Girls are given these options to ensure every Girl Scout can pursue their Gold Award if they way even if they have not received any previous higher awards. The goal of both journeys and the Silver Award is to teach girls the difference between community service and a Take Action project, which is the foundation of a Gold Award project. Girls need to understand how to identify and address a root issue and how to build that into a project, and through completing journeys and/or the Silver Award, they will progress much more easily into the Gold Award project expectations.

Myth: Girls can earn the Gold Award as a troop or group project.

Fact: The Gold Award is an individual award and therefore each Girl Scout must choose their own Gold Award project. While troop members and troop leaders can be a great support and are more than welcome to join a girl’s “Gold Award Team” it is important to note that the Gold Award is an individual award rather than a group project.

Myth: Girls can just choose their parent or troop leader as their Project Advisor

Fact: A Project Advisor should be a “subject matter expert” on the issue or topic being explored in a Gold Award project. We strongly encourage girls to connect with someone in their community to fill this role so they can find someone who can best support them throughout their project. Additionally it give the girls the opportunity to network outside of her immediate family and Girl Scout circle. 

Myth: Girls can raise money for another existing organization that they care about as their Gold Award project.

Fact: No, due to federal IRS regulations GSHPA has to follow as a non-profit organization, our members cannot raise funds for an outside organization. While they can collect physical items to donate (coats, toiletries, animal food, etc.), they cannot solicit monetary donations for an outside organization. The overall goal of the Gold Award is for girls to find creative and unique solutions for their project and show their leadership skills to address a root issue and this goes beyond collecting resources.

Myth: Girls have until their 18th birthday or high school graduation to complete their Gold Award projects.

Fact: Girls have until September 30th of the year they graduate high school to complete their project. Graduation year of 2021? You have until September 30th 2021 to complete your project.

Myth: You do not need prior approval to start your project and only need to submit a Final Report.

Fact: All Gold Award candidates MUST use GoGold for every step of their project, starting by submitting a Gold Award Project Proposal. Once submitted each proposal is reviewed by GSHPA’s Gold Award Management team. The team will then connect with the Gold Award candidate for a short interview to ensure she is set up for success. During this interview the GSHPA Gold Award Management Team will either approve the proposal or share feedback/suggestions needed to add before approval. Once the Gold Award project is formally approved the Girl Scout can begin! After completing her Gold Award project the girl will submit her Gold Award Final Report in GoGold for final review and approval before she is officially named a Gold Award Girl Scout. 

Myth: Girls and families have to be financially responsible for your project’s expenses.

Fact: No, there are many ways to fund your Gold Award project! The GSHPA Fund Development department can help create a plan for each girl pursuing her Gold Award to help her fundraise and find creative fundraising solutions. Girls can also use money earned through the Fall Fundraiser and Cookie programs as well as approved additional money earning opportunities (the Gold Award Management team can help guide you on this).

Myth: Since the Gold Award is an individual project, the girl has to do everything alone.

Fact: No! It is important to note that there are many people who are there to support each Girl Scout through her Gold Award journey. While developing a Gold Award project girls will create a team of multiple individuals helping them along the way allowing them to further their leadership skills! The Gold Award team can include family, friends, fellow Girl Scouts, community members, etc. Additionally, the Project Advisor is there to help guide girls through obstacles and issues that may arise during their project. And don’t forget about troop leaders, parents, etc. which will be a Gold Award Girl Scout’s biggest cheerleaders along the way! And last, but not least the GSHPA Gold Award Management team is here to help! We can answer any questions you have, we will coach you throughout your project and can help you strategize if you have to change your project along the way. We will also be here to celebrate with you when you cross the finish line of your project!

Hopefully this has given you a better idea of what Gold Award is all about!

Learn more and how to get started here .

And to reach out to the GSHPA Gold Award Management team, please contact mygoldaward@gshpa.org or 800-692-7816.

Fall Traditions: Girl Scout Promise and Law

Girl Scout Traditions provide both girls and adults with a sense of history, connection and belonging. One tradition at the very center of Girl Scouting is following the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law. Both the Girl Scout Promise and Law guide Girl Scouts through the mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.  

Reciting the Girl Scout Promise and Law can be easily included in most meetings, ceremonies, special events and virtual gatherings. They serve as great ways to check in with the troop about the true meaning of being a Girl Scout. While it is important to help the girls learn the Girl Scout Promise and Law it can also be a fun way to complete a step towards the Girl Scout Way badge as well!  

The Basics 

When saying the Girl Scout Promise you should start by making the Girl Scout Sign. To begin raise three fingers of the right hand then use your thumb to hold down the pinky finger. The three fingers represent the three parts of the promise.  

Girl Scout Promise (Learn and follow along with GSHPA Girl Scouts here)

On my honor, I will try:  
     to serve God* and my country, 
     to help people at all times,  
     and to live by the Girl Scout Law

*members can substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs  

Girl Scout Law (Learn and follow along with GSHPA Girl Scouts here)

   I will do my best to be 
       honest and fair, 
       friendly and helpful, 
       considerate and caring,  
       courageous and strong, and 
      responsible for what I say and do,  
     and to   
      respect myself and others,  
      respect authority, 
     use resources wisely, 
     make the world a better place, and  
     be a sister to every Girl Scout.
  

Here are 3 fun activities you can do to help your girls learn the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law!  

Girl Scout Paper Sign 

Materials: construction paper, GS Promise trefoil cut outs, scissors, tape/glue, pencils, and markers/crayons. 

Directions:  

  1. Each girl will need 1 piece of paper to start. They place their hand flat on the paper then begin tracing their hand with the pencil. Once traced they will want to cut it out.  If easier you can provide your girls with a preprinted/traced hand they can simply cut out instead!  
  1. Then fold/bend the pinky and thumb until they meet in the middle to create the Girl Scout Sign.  
  1. After that have your girls cut out and decorate trefoil cut outs which include the GS Promise.  
  1. Then tape/Glue both the hand and trefoil onto a piece of construction paper. After everything is attached they can also decorate their creation! 
  1. Afterwards have them over the promise individually or together so the girls learn it by heart. 
  1. Try making the hand gesture/symbol with their own hands, now that they see how it’s supposed to look with the paper! 

Girl Scout Law Popsicle Hanger 

Materials: 12 Popsicle Sticks (per girl), ribbon, colored pencils/crayons, a marker, and glue.  

Directions: 

  1. Once each girl has her materials, have her write the Girl Scout Law on the 12 Popsicle sticks with her marker.  
  1. After the writing out the Girl Scout Law, color each stick a different color. 
  1. When the Popsicle sticks are colored you will then glue them onto a piece of ribbon in the order they are said when reciting the Girl Scout Law. If you would like hang up your Girl Scout Law simply make a “U” shape out of the ribbon with the round curve at the top. Then add your Girl Scout Law sticks!  
  1. After the glue has dried encourage your girls to hang/place their creations somewhere at home!   

Girl Scout Law SWAPS  

While this activity will help your girls learn the Girl Scout Law, it also allows them to participate in another longtime Girl Scout Traditions: SWAPS. The term “SWAPS” is short for: a Special Whatchamacallit Affectionately Pinned Somewhere and is an amazing Girl Scout tradition! Each Girl Scout will make their own SWAPS to exchange with other Girl Scouts promoting friendship and connection.  

Materials:  beads, safety pins, string, and a card with the Girl Scout Law (you can make your own or use this). We recommend using the corresponding bead colors included on this print out.  

Directions: 

  1. Each girl will get a copy of the Girl Scout Law, beads, a key ring and string. The girls should begin placing their beads on the string in the order they appear on the card. As they do this, explain each color and its corresponding line of the Girl Scout Law.  
  1. Once all the beads are in place, tie off the string and attach a safety pin to the top of the chain.  
  1. Afterwards encourage girls to hang onto their Girl Scout Law SWAP or try swapping it with other members in the troop!  

Post by Gabby Dietrich

Investiture Ceremony

What is an Investiture Ceremony? 

An investiture is a traditional ceremony designed to welcome new members to the  

Girl Scout family —both girls and adults alike! An investiture ceremony makes for a great way to start the Girl Scout year. The primary focus is honoring the Girl Scout Promise and Law and it can be customized based upon the age and interests of the group. Since Girl Scouting is always girl-led it is important to let the girls influence the planning of this ceremony.  

The ceremony should have an opening or welcome, the main section which includes the investiture itself and a closing where you’ll leave the group with an inspiring takeaway.  

All investitures should include these 3 key elements: 

  • Recite the Girl Scout Promise, either individually or as a group. 
  • Receive the appropriate membership pin—the Girl Scout Daisy pin, Girl Scout Brownie pin, or Traditional Membership pin, depending on the girls in your troop. 
  • Be verbally welcomed into your troop and to Girl Scouting. You may choose to give the welcome to new members yourself, or returning girls might want to collectively give the welcome. 

What is a Rededication Ceremony?  

Rededication is the opportunity for girls and adults to renew their commitment to the Girl Scout Promise and Law. You can choose to do an investiture and rededication ceremony as one or two separate ceremonies. Just like the investiture ceremony, a rededication can also be easily customized your group. An example of this customization could be scheduling the celebration of this ceremony the week of Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday (October 31st) to highlight the legacy of Girl Scouts.  

Ceremony Example: How to Hold a Candle Light Investiture and Rededication 

Materials Needed:  

  • 1 Small Table 
  • 3 Large Candles (with holders) 
  • 10 Small Candles (with holders) 
  • Matches  
  • Girl Scout Pin for Each Girl/Adult Involved  

Room Set Up:   

  • Candles and matches should be placed on the small table (do not light)  
  • Troop/Group should stand in horseshoe formation  

Holding the Ceremony:  

Start by explaining the importance and meaning of investiture/rededication that we mentioned earlier.  

Then someone will begin to light the 3 large candles which represent the 3 parts of the Girl Scout Promise while reciting:  

  • Candle 1: “The first candle I light shall shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts try to serve God and their country.”  
  • Candle 2: May the light of the second candle shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts try to help people at all times. 
  • Candle 3: “May the light of the third candle shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts are true to their ideals as interpreted by the Girl Scout Law.” 

After that you will move on to the remaining 10 unlit candles, which each represent a part of the Girl Scout Law. As you begin you should assign a portion of the law to each candle so it can be recited when the candle is lit.  

You can now call forward girls/adults from the group to light a candle. If you do not have 10 or more participants you can have girls/adults light multiple candles. Just keep in mind the fire safety guidelines when asking girls/adults to take over the lighting of these candles.   

When ready the girls/adults should begin lighting their candle individually from one of the large candles. As the candle is lit the girl/adult should recite the part of the Girl Scout Law assigned to that candle.  

After the candles have been lit those being invested or rededicated should come forward. You should have the girls/adults (individually or as a group) say the Girl Scout Promise. Then the Troop/Ceremony Leader will pin the Trefoil (Membership Pin) on each girl and say: “This pin tells everyone you are a Girl Scout, I know you will wear it proudly.”  

One option is to pin the pin upside down. If so, the leader says: “I have put your pin on upside down. Do at least 3 good turns or deeds this week, one for each part of the Girl Scout Promise, and at our next meeting I will turn your pin upright.” The pin can also be pinned upright at the ceremony to skip this step if desired.  

Once pinned the leader and girl/adult will do the Girl Scout Handshake. If you want to see how to do the Girl Scout Handshake, check out our video here! The Troop/Ceremony Leader will then welcome the girl/adult to the Girl Scout organization and to the troop.  

After all the members have been invested or rededicated the Troop/Ceremony Leader says:  

“Girl Scouts, the three gold leaves of the trefoil hold a message as you start your journey through Girl Scouting. Today you are entering into an organization that will bring you joy as you work together, play together, seek together. The Trefoil Emblem points the way to sisterhood, friendliness and good citizenship.”  

At the end of the ceremony the group should saying the Girl Scout Promise all together.  

Juliette Gordon Low’s Story

October 31st has many traditions and reasons to celebrate, but this date holds an extra special meaning to Girl Scouts across the world. The founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, was born on this day, so we celebrate it as “Founder’s Day” throughout the Girl Scout Community.  

In honor of this day, Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA would like to share a story with you – the story of Juliette Gordon Low.  

On a cool autumn night while kids explored the streets in search of treats and tricks on Halloween, Juliette was born on October 31, 1860 in Savannah, Georgia. At birth Juliette was named: Juliette Magil Kinzie Gordon, but was soon given a nickname. Her uncle saw baby Juliette and said she looks like a daisy, and quickly the rest of her family and friends began to call her “Daisy”, which stuck with her as an adult. 

As Juliette got older she had a need for adventure. She faced the world and its challenges head on, and was known for being compassionate and a strong sense of humor.  As a child she was quick to make friends and serve her community. Juliette attended a boarding school for most of her teenage years, but never forgot her roots. Juliette wanted to try her best to make a difference. While home from school Juliette saw a need for children’s’ clothes in her local community, so Juliette brought together a group of her friends and taught them to create clothes for the children in need. That was just one of her many adventures.  

Juliette was also known for being strong throughout life. As you may know Juliette was nearly deaf for most of her life. As a child Juliette developed countless ear infections which were eventually treated with silver nitrate, a new medical treatment, which resulted in Juliette losing almost all of her hearing in that ear. Juliette did not let that stop her, she accepted every challenge along the way. Juliette continued to stay active, excelling in tennis, swimming, horseback riding, and hunting throughout her life.  

In 1882 Juliette decided to travel to Europe for the very first time. While on this trip Juliette met William Mackay Low. William, also known as Willy, was the son of a successful cotton merchant named Andrew Low. Juliette and William would soon form a relationship and wanted to get married. Juliette’s family did not approve of William. Juliette’s father wanted her to marry an independent hardworking man, rather than one from a rich family. Against their families’ wishes Juliette and William were married on December 21, 1886. While exiting the church after the ceremony Juliette and William met with cheers and showered with rice. Unfortunately a grain of rice got stuck in Juliette’s ear and later when it was taken out, her eardrum was damaged, leaving her with more hearing loss.   

After they were married Juliette and William had two homes, one in Savannah, Georgia and the other in England so they could be close to family. Sadly, their marriage was not one of love and devotion, instead William began spending all the family money and found a girlfriend. Juliette left England to return to the United States during the Spanish-American War. Juliette joined her mother at the Florida hospital she was in charge of, giving aid to soldiers injured in battle. After the war Juliette and William’s marriage was close to ending, Juliette was in the process of divorcing William when he died of a stroke in 1905. When William died he left everything to his girlfriend.  

While Juliette experienced countless hardships and loss in her life, but she never gave up. As the years went on Juliette was involved in many activities, but didn’t find her true calling until she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell in 1911. After their meeting Sir Baden-Powell suggested that she work with a local group of girls in England and Scotland. After this experience with Baden-Powell’s organization Juliette quickly decided to bring a similar concept to the United States. When she returned home Juliette contacted her cousin and announced, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start tonight!”  

Juliette knew the importance of girls having a place to grow and flourish. On March 12, 1912 Juliette Gordon Low brought together 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia. Juliette broke many of the social conventions of the time when she started Girl Scouts, she wanted to provide all girls regardless of race, socioeconomic status or culture a group where they were welcome. Juliette strived to give all girls a place to develop their leadership skills.  

Over the years Juliette devoted her time, money and resources to expanding the organization. After three years the organization continued to grow, and it was in need of funds. While Juliette had a talent for fundraising she knew that additional sacrifices would need to be made towards the success of Girl Scouting. So in 1915 Juliette Gordon Low sold her dearly loved string of pearls for $8,000, which today would equate to $185,000.  

Through Juliette Gordon Low’s hard work, sacrifice and devotion Girl Scouting quickly grew and expanded. Today, Girl Scouts can be found across the global continuing to offer a safe environment for both girls and adult women to grow and flourish as individuals.  

Juliette Gordon Low died on January 17, 1927 after a long and private battle with breast cancer. After her death she was honored by the establishment of the “Juliette Low World Friendship Fund” which offers Girl Scouts and Girl Guides financial support towards international projects.  

In 1912 Juliette Gordon Low had a vision. It was her hope that one day all girls would have a place to feel comfortable, connected and challenged to develop as leaders and citizens.  

Today, Girl Scouts across the global, including Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, strive to continue her mission of creating girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.  

5 Ways to Celebrate JGL’s Birthday

While the world might know October 31st for its Halloween tricks and treats, here at the Girl Scouts this day has an extra special meaning! On October 31st Girl Scouts all over the world honor the memory and celebrate the birthday of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low! October 31st, also referred to as Founders Day, can be celebrated in a variety of ways! Some Girl Scout Troops choose to celebrate throughout the month of October with service projects and special events while others plan a party near her actual birthday.

Troops at all levels are encouraged to recognize and honor Juliette Gordon Low’s (JGL) birthday in some way, whether through a service project or some sort of party. Additionally this can be a great time to work with younger girls on their Girl Scout Way badge!

If you are looking for ideas to honor Juliette Gordon Low in your troop, here are some easy ways to do it!

  1. Learn Girl Scout History! What better time to learn about Girl Scout history than on our founder’s birthday? Learn more about Juliette Gordon Low and how the Girl Scouts got started!
    • Read up on JGL’s story and pick out some interesting facts to turn into a fun game of trivia or bingo! You could also have girls act out different parts of JGL’s story to honor her own love for the arts and acting out plays.
    • Make a JGL inspired paper bag puppet! Have girls design puppets by finding out what kind of Girl Scout uniforms were worn during Juliette Gordon Low’s time. You can get creative and use old scraps of fabric, felt, or construction paper to make these uniforms or you can use markers and crayons to make the craft simpler.
  2. Daisy theme it up! Juliette Gordon Low was nicknamed Daisy, from which the youngest rank of Girl Scouts, the Daisies, gets its name. This makes daisies a perfect fit for decorating a JGL birthday party or planning daisy inspired crafts!
    • Make your own daisies! Have the girls create a bouquet of tissue paper daisies using white and yellow paper. To create the daisies stack 3 white and 1 yellow colored pieces of tissue paper that you have cut into desired size. Accordion pleat the tissue paper working from the long side. Tie a ribbon or wrap one end of a chenille stem around the middle of the accordion pleated paper. Gently separate each layer pulling upwards towards middle of the flower, and WALA you have a beautiful daisy!
  3. Participate in Girl Scout traditions! What better way to celebrate JGL’s birthday then sharing Girl Scout traditions! Remind your girls that they belong to a big, powerful, and inclusive sisterhood rich with history and tradition.
    • Have the girls learn some Girl Scout songs or let the older girls teach younger girls their favorites!
    • SWAPS or “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere” are a great way to build friendship while getting creative and participating in a long time Girl Scout tradition! Some of troops take this time to make SWAPS inspired by Juliette’s pearls, which are well known because Juliette sold them to pay the rent for the National Office stating that “Jewels are not important, but my Girl Scouts are, they need money more than I need pearls”.
  4. Play JLG inspired Games! Honoring Juliette Gordon Low is a great opportunity to have some fun and play games that were popular for girls when she was alive. Some favorites include relay races, scavenger hunts, and head stands.
    • Have a scavenger hunt! Show the girls a tray with many items on it, and explain that each of those items is also hidden somewhere in the room or location that the party is being held. Send the girls out to find as many of the objects as they can. This can also be adjusted for virtual celebrations by putting objects on a tray and sharing the image on your screen for 30 seconds, then when you stop sharing give the girls a minute to record as many objects they can remember. 
    • Conduct a headstand challenge by seeing which Girl Scout can stand on her head the longest! One of JGL’s special skills was standing on her head. She was known for standing on her head on her birthday every year to prove that she still could. Once Juliette even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes!
  5. Community Service: JLG’s birthday is a great opportunity for Girl Scouts to work our mission by making the world a better place! Discuss how the girls can live out the Girl Scout slogan that has been around since 1912, “Do a good turn daily”. Talk to the girls about who they think needs help in their community and brainstorm ways to get involved.
    • JGL died at the age of 67 due to breast cancer. Since her birthday and Breast Cancer Awareness month are in October, this could be a great time to do some good for the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Your troop could collect small gifts that can be given to those who are fighting breast cancer.
    • Bring your community into the celebration by having the girls create Birthday-in-a-Bag’s! This fun service project started with Girl Scouts in Kansas and has quickly gotten popular with troops nationwide. Have your troop collect birthday party decorations to fill gift bags and delivered to your local food bank.

Mostly, take this opportunity to connect and celebrate the amazing contribution that Juliette Gordon Low has made to our world and forever Girl Scout hearts. Let us know how your troop celebrated this special time!