This year marks the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary. In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low (“Daisy”), founded the organization with just 18 girls. By 1920, the organization boasted a membership roll of 70,000. Today, the Girl Scouts have over 3.7 million members worldwide.
My daughter and I are among those members. I was a Brownie in second and third grade, and I always regretted not sticking with it. So when I had a little girl, one of my dreams was that one day she would be a Girl Scout. Larisa started as a Daisy in Kindergarten, and this spring, she will bridge from Brownie to Junior.
This past year, I became a troop leader. I was looking for a Brownie troop closer to home, preferably within our church, when the Junior troop leader at our parish suggested I start one. I attribute it to being happily on high on too much caffeine that morning, but I agreed to start a troop and become a leader. There are days when I think, “What did I get myself into?!” I have quite a full plate as it is, with four children, school volunteer work, part-time work, a burgeoning writing career, and a whole house to run almost entirely on my own.
But when my daughter hugs me and thanks me for being a leader, I know it’s worth it. When I see “my girls”, my little troop of eight girls, proudly showing off their badge projects and laughing together, I feel such a sense of community. This is what the Girl Scouts is meant to do—instill a sense of pride, empowerment, friendship, and leadership among girls and young women. And even this old woman here.
And let’s not forget the cookies. Ooooh… Girl Scout Cookies!
Through my participation in Girl Scouts, I feel how I make a difference in the lives of girls, not the least of whom is my own daughter. We spend too many days squabbling with one another, the typical mother-daughter power struggles over cleaning up after oneself and learning personal responsibility. But through scouting, we have formed a special bond. In a few years, it will include her younger sister. I’m grateful for what the Girl Scouts has meant to me and to my family.
Happy Birthday, Girl Scouts! I hope that 100 years from now, my great-great granddaughter will be sharing her family’s scouting legacy and discovering her own special path.
Interested in scouting or looking for Girl Scout resources? Here’s a short list of helpful links:
History of Girl Scouts
What do Girls Scouts Do?
Join the Scouts
Ideas and Kits for making SWAPS
Information on the new Journey Badges and Other Awards
GSUSA FAQ regarding controversy and misinformation (WAGGGS/Planned Parenthood)