Happy Birthday Girl Scouts!

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!


Written by Gina
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Happy Birthday, Juliette – Happy Birthday, Daisy!

A birthday message from GSHPA President and CEO

Close your eyes and make a wish!

Have you ever blown out the candles on a birthday cake?  Most of us have.  I can remember the single candle on our oldest daughter’s first birthday cupcake, and the cake in full blaze at my grandmother’s last birthday celebration.   I can remember my childhood birthday cakes; my mom always let each of us choose our favorite and she would bake it – even if no one else liked it.  It always came from a box – add 2 eggs, 1/2 cup water, and 2/3 cup oil, but it couldn’t have tasted better.  My childhood birthday cake was always Butter Brickle with Heath Bar.   

When I had my own children, I did the same for them.  For all three, their childhood favorite was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.   When they were old enough to help bake, they made my birthday cake – and, of course, it was covered from top to bottom with sprinkles.  

After dinner, the candles were placed on the cake, the lights turned out and the match was struck. Then each candle was lit and the singing began.  “Happy Birthday to you.  Happy Birthday to you. . .” And then – the wish.  “Make a wish!  Blow out the candles!”   

I think back to what Juliette Gordon Low, affectionately called Daisy, might have wished for in her childhood. Did she wish to see the day when women might vote?  Did she wish for a movement that would last a century?  I think back to my own childhood birthday wishes.  Honestly I don’t remember any of them, even birthday wishes as an adult.  I am sure there were definitely years when I hoped for a particular present when I blew out the candles, but generally, I remember being caught off guard when my mom said, “Make a wish and blow out the candles.”   How could that be?  Every year, it is the same.  The lights go out, the singing begins, and I have to make a wish, yet, I never felt ready to do so.  

Perhaps, it’s because even as a child, I understood that wishes were just that: wishes.  A dream so light, airy and fun, but not likely to come true without something more.  Even as a child I somehow understood the saying, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”   Somewhere along the line, I learned that wishing isn’t enough.  You need a vision and you need a plan.  I think Juliette Gordon Low came to understand that as well. Her vision to see young girls become resilient and self-reliant women and her plan to do that one girl at a time started in Savannah, Georgia with 18 girls. Juliette Gordon Low’s wish slowly grew into the largest girl’s leadership development program in the world with one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands. 

Juliette Gordon Low’s wish slowly grew into the largest girl’s leadership development program in the world with one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands. 

So how do we further today’s Girl Scout vision of creating girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place? We still do it with a plan – one girl at a time, one leader at a time.   We each bring new girls to the movement.  We each help every girl to experience all the pillars of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience from life skills to entrepreneurship to the outdoors, to STEAM.  We each participate in projects throughout our own communities as reflected in our highest awards of Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.  And all of us live by the Girl Scout Law.  So that is my wish, but that is also my plan.   

On this, what would have been Juliette Gordon Low’s 160th birthday, I wonder what she might wish.   Today, on Juliette’s birthday let’s every one of us close our eyes and make a wish that every girl gets to experience Girl Scouts.  Better yet, let’s close our eyes and make a plan.  I think that’s what Juliette would wish.   

A birthday message from Janet Donovan, GSHPA’s President and CEO