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  • Beyond the Cookies: The Girl Scouts of America

    Fran Powell Harold, director of the Girl Scout National Center, discusses the energy and creativity that Juliette Gordon Low brought to the formation of the Girl Scouts, which she founded in her Savannah home. In a Girl Scout promotional film she created, young girls are seen as physically fit, able to swim, communicating in Morse code, and learning to be self-reliant. The story of the creation of the Girl Scouts is framed with a visit to a contemporary Augusta troop.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. How did the Girl Scouts contrast with the typical life of a wealthy female during the early 1900s?

    2. Are there any elements of the Girl Scouts that should be incorporated into traditional education? Explain your answer.

    3. List and discuss the functions of the community organizations in your area – including both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, among others. How do these organizations make a difference in the community and the life of those involved in them?

    Expansion

    1. Discuss why scouting for girls in 1912 would be revolutionary for the time. According to the Augusta troop members, have the Girl Scouts kept up with the times and changed the organization so it meets the needs of the modern girl?

    2. Invite a Girl Scout or Girl Scout leader to come and talk to the class about being a member of this organization. Prepare questions to ask this person.

    Vocabulary

    "pinning": affixing a pin to a person (particularly a scout) in recognition of a particular achievement
    reveille: traditional morning call--often associated with Army barracks--wherein a bugler acts as an alarm clock for the camp; or as a summons for all to join the first troop activity of the day
    semaphore signaling: the technique of signaling with small, hand held flags; rather like morse code
    troop: a unit by which Girl Scouts are divided, which contains between 8--32 members (this according to 1957 rules)

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. How did the Girl Scouts contrast with the typical life of a wealthy female during the early 1900s?
    Wealthy girls during the Victorian era were expected to be educated and polished, but their knowledge was not always practical to everyday life. The Girl Scouts teaches young girls how to be self-reliant and physically fit and exposes girls to career opportunities. 

    2. Are there any elements of the Girl Scouts that should be incorporated into traditional education? Explain your answer.
    Answers will vary.

    3. List and discuss the functions of the community organizations in your area – including both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, among others. How do these organizations make a difference in the community and the life of those involved in them?
    Answers will vary.

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    External Resources