On March 12th we will be celebrating the 109th anniversary of when Juliette Gordon Low registered the first 18 Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia. I’m sure Juliette could have never imagined the impact she would have on Girl Scouts, over a century later. With the organization turning 109 years old this year, has anything changed from Juliette’s original vision?
During a time when women still could not vote in 1912, Juliette wanted to defy standards of the time, and give girls the chance to gain skills, and become more independent. Skills including knot tying, harvesting food, and canning goods. The first Girl Scouts were encouraged to get outdoors, to camp, to hike and to play basketball. Community service projects and Take Action projects became a huge part of Girl Scouts especially when the Great Depression and World War II started. The cookie program was also started by Juliette, as a way to raise funds for her Girl Scout troops.
Looking at the Girl Scout values of today, not much has changed. Girl Scouts continue to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts can explore interests and learn new skills while working on badges that center around STEM, outdoors, life skills and entrepreneurship. The organization empowers girls to make connections so that they can make a difference in their community. All these years later, you cannot mention Girl Scouts without someone asking about buying Girl Scout cookies. We want girls to continue to chase their curiosity and dream big, in a girl only safe space.
The only changes we have seen in the last 109 years is the number of Girl Scout members, going from the original 18 in 1912 to over 2 million today. We need to celebrate not only because Girl Scouts is turning 109 years old next week, but also because our values and goals have changed very little since Juliette Gordon Low first registered the original 18 members. During the next week, take the time to celebrate this achievement. Leading up to March 12th, your troop could celebrate by having a small party at their troop meeting. What would a party be without eating some cake or cupcakes (maybe try incorporating your favorite Girl Scout cookies like this S’more campfire cupcake recipe from Little Brownie Bakers)? During your party your troop could sing their favorite Girl Scouts songs like “Make New Friends” and “Princess Pat”. To end this celebration, play a game of pin the petal on a daisy. No matter how you decide to celebrate this year, take the time to reflect on the Girl Scout first meeting, all those years ago.
Happy Birthday Girl Scouts! We hope you had the BEST Girl Scout week. We want to see how you celebrated. Tag us on Facebook or on Instagram. You could be featured in an upcoming blog post!
Throughout the years Girl Scouts have strived to be “Go-Getters, Risk Takers, Innovators and Leaders” and today we are highlighting a GSHPA Girl Scout who went above and beyond for her family. On August 18 2020 a local Cadette Girl Scout from GSHPA’s Troop 14000, Nya Rosa, jumped into a lifesaving situation. Nya showed extraordinary courage in the face of challenging circumstances.
In Nya’s own words, here is what she remembers from the morning of August 18, 2020.
“It was a beautiful Tuesday morning and my dad had gotten home from the hospital after two weeks of intensive care. My mom asked me to make pancakes for the four of us; my brother was still sleeping when I started the pancakes. I was on my third round of pancakes when I heard the bang. Boom. Boom. The loud fall was clearly heard over the sound of the T.V. My mom quickly paused the show she was watching and went straight to my dad’s bathroom door. I did not even realize he was awake yet until I heard the bang. My mom sounded very worried, which sparked some fears within me. “Mike, are you okay?” she sounded a bit panicked. No response. “Is he okay?” I asked, flipping the last pancake on the pan. “Nya get me a folding chair.” She told me. I turned off the stove and went to the dining room where the chair was. I brought her the chair through my side of the bathroom. Our bathrooms connect with the shower, not knowing if he was on the door or not, I brought it through. I asked again “Is he okay?” I don’t remember if I got a response, but I went back to the kitchen. I started making another pancake in case his sugar was low and he needed carbs. “Nya call 911!” I heard my mom call mid flip. I turned off the stove again and I asked her where her phone was. I quickly found it and I was able to call. I gave the operator what he needed, trying not to freak out. My heart was going a mile a minute not knowing if my dad was doing all right. I asked my mom for the information that I did not know, like the township and stuff that she would know being in the same room as him. She was able to step out of the room, but by the time she got the phone, I had already answered all the questions that he needed. The ambulance was coming for him and all I needed now was to tell my grandma to come stay with me and my brother. By this stage,my brother was awake and he was packing the stuff my dad needed to stay just in case he was staying overnight. The ambulance came and he was able to get to the hospital.”
Here is what Nya’s mom and Troop Leader, Isabel, had to say about Nya’s actions.
“Nya called 911 and got an ambulance to come for my husband. She gave them the necessary information to get help for her father. To call 911 is very scary. As adults, we become nervous in these situations and Nya was no exception. She did not let her nerves get the best of her and she gave clear information that was needed. Only a week earlier my husband was in ICU, so this fall was a huge deal and very scary for everyone. After the dispatcher hung up, Nya and my son helped gather my husband’s things to be taken to the emergency room. Nya called my mother to inform her what had happened to her father. During this ordeal Nya was cooking. She showed maturity and clear headedness to turn off the stove before walking away. She was courageous in making that call without hesitation.”
Once GSUSA learned of this situation Nya received a letter of recognition from Judith Batty, GSUSA’s Interim Chief Executive Officer. An excerpt from this letter states: “Your incredible confidence, sound judgement, and willingness to take decisive action in the midst of an emergency deserves recognition and serves as a shining example for Girl Scouts everywhere.”
In addition to this recognition from GSUSA, GSHPA will be presenting Nya with a Certificate of Merit for her quick thinking and calm actions during her father’s medical emergency.
Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? What an amazing chance to celebrate the amazing things women have done! Not only is March a great month to learn about incredible women, but we also have a chance to celebrate as Girl Scouts during Girl Scout Week (March 7-13), including celebrating Girl Scouts’ Birthday on March 12. Perhaps the icing on the cake of Girl Scout Week is that International Women’s Day also falls during that time, on March 8.
International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the achievements of women. The very first celebration of International Women’s Day was held in 1911, over 100 years ago! In the early 1900’s there was a lot of movement by women to overcome the gender oppression and inequality they were experiencing. In 1908, women really started to become more vocal in coming together to champion change on issues such as better pay and voting rights. The rise of women challenging inequalities was seen across the globe, and spurred the idea of celebrating an International Women’s Day.
As a young girl I loved watching the Disney movie Mary Poppins, and in that movie there is a scene where Mrs. Banks comes home in a whirlwind singing about fighting for women’s rights. I used to feel so empowered by her excitement and passion for the cause, even before I truly understood what the suffragettes stood for. Now as an adult, I understand the inequalities that women faced, and still do face. I felt similar energy and passion when taking women studies courses in college, when reading about incredible women in history and in the news today, and I feel that energy every day as a Girl Scout celebrating the achievements of girls.
The theme of International Women’s Day for 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. The International Women’s Day website says “A challenged world is an alert world. From challenge comes change. So let’s all #ChooseToChallenge.” What a great reminder of where this day started and where we are now. Without our ancestors choosing to challenge voting rights and pay gaps and so many other inequalities, we as women would not have nearly as many opportunities as we do now. Their challenge to society has given us so much, but there is so much more we as women can do for the generations to come. I have a few favorite women that I would recommend learning about, who are continuing the work that generations before us started, and are creating new history every day.
Greta is an 18 year old who has been making big waves. She has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize three times…three times! She has caught the attention of many leaders worldwide by speaking up about climate and environmental concerns. Gaining the attention of important world leaders may seem daunting, and I’d have to agree. But what is incredible about Greta is that her platform started with convincing friends and family to make changes to lessen their carbon footprint. From there she organized strikes at school and gave speeches to rally more people. Greta also has Asperger’s Syndrome, and I think she is the perfect example to show girls that they are capable of achieving great things, no matter what type of hurdles they may think they have to overcome.
Emma survived the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. It would have been so easy for her to never go back to public school, to let the fear of her experience run her life. Instead, she managed to funnel the anger, sadness, fear and confusion that she and her classmates felt into not just a single speech, but into creating an entire movement advocating for gun control. She, along with a few classmates, co-founded the group Never Again to continue the fight for gun control. Regardless of political views, I think it is incredible that Emma took such a horrifying experience and channeled the energy she felt from that experience into doing something to help other students and schools.
Sonita is currently 24 years old, but her incredible work to help girls started when she was only 16. Living in Afghanistan, she very narrowly avoided being sold into marriage, by her own family. Unfortunately, her situation is not unusual in many countries. In protest of this practice, Sonita wrote a rap song called “Brides For Sale” and shared it on YouTube. Her video went viral, and has since created international buzz, and prompted girls to speak out about their own similar experiences. Sonita continues to spread awareness about forced child marriage, and while it is an upsetting topic to learn about, her work empowering other girls to fight for an end to this practice is so inspiring!
In 2012, Malala was very seriously injured in an assassination attempt. The Taliban had taken control of her small home town in Pakistan, and banned many things, such as owning a TV, playing music, and girls attending school. There were extremely harsh punishments if anyone defied them. Malala loved going to school, and started to speak up against the ban keeping girls from going to school, and even found ways to continue going to school. On her way home from school one day, a gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. Instead of this experience silencing Malala, she worked closely with her dad to create the Malala Fund, and has worked to fight for every girl’s right to go to school ever since. More than 130 million girls worldwide are not in school today, and I love this quote from Malala, stating that she tells her story “not because it is unique, but because it is the story of many girls”.
19 year old Danielle found her passion in designing circuits and animatronics. When she realized that STEAM education isn’t available to everyone, she founded STEAM Connection, an organization to provide affordable and accessible STEAM materials to underserved students. Her robot, EKGAR (Every Kid Gets a Robot) has since been given to 4,000 kids at no cost! Danielle says of her passion, “I want girls to know they can find their superpowers, pursue what they love and help others.”
Anna Lumsargis- York County GSHPA Girl Scout
Anna worked with the York History Center to update their archives on past women’s history in York County as well as address the role of women in York County play in the present in all aspects of leadership, cultural awareness, and service. The York History Center identified that they needed help providing updated information and accessibility to the information, so she created a website focused on highlighting the women of York County in history, and created a documentary-style video highlighting current influential women in York County.
These girls are incredibly inspiring, and I encourage you to read more about the work that each of them are doing to help girls and women across the world. I think it is so important to celebrate their achievements on International Women’s Day, but also to celebrate that we as girls and women are capable of so much. Even the smallest action starting at home can turn into worldwide change, as many of the girl’s above demonstrate! Happy International Women’s Day, don’t ever lose sight of the incredible things women can do!