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The Birth of the Girl Scouts

When Juliette Gordon Low found herself unprepared for what life brought her as an adult, she found a way to use her experiences to help young women better prepare for their futures. Called Daisy as a girl, Juliette Gordon was born into a well-to-do and loving family of privilege in Savannah. Prepared for life as a Victorian wife and mother, she was unsure of her own future when her childless marriage failed. Inspired by Sir Robert Baden-Powell who founded the Boy Scouts in England, Juliette Low started the organization know as the Girl Scouts at her home in Savannah. Fran Powell Harold, director of the Girl Scout National Center, discusses the energy and creativity that Juliette Low brought to the organization. Her goal was to expose girls to career opportunities available to them and to prepare them for a successful future. 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. She devoted herself to the national organization of Girl Scouts, and at the time of her death, there were 167,000 members. With nearly 3.5 million members today, it is the largest girl’s organization in the world. The story of the creation of the Girl Scouts is framed with a visit to a contemporary Augusta troop. Members comment on the skills they have learned as well as the adventures and fun they have had as scouts. They are the present-day embodiment of Juliette Low’s dream.

Teacher tip: 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?