Founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. In a search to find a place to invest her energies to this end, in 1911 in England, she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.
She became interested in the new youth movement, and less than a year later, she brought together 18 girls from Savannah, Ga., on March 12, 1912, to form an American Girl Guides troop. The following year, the name was changed to Girl Scouts.
These girls hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars and studied first aid. Within a few years, Low’s dream for a girl-centered organization was realized.
During war times, girls learned about food production and conservation, sold war bonds and worked in hospitals. Girl Scouts led community relief efforts during the Great Depression by collecting clothing, gathering food for the poor and providing meals to undernourished children.
As social change and the explosion of technology altered the face of the nation from the 1960s to the present, Girl Scouts and their activities have adapted. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults.
The familiar green dresses have been replaced. When they are out in public doing scout activities, girls are encouraged to wear white shirts and khaki or tan pants and to wear the sash with badges and awards they have earned.
“We’ve grown and changed to meet the needs of our girls. Programs and uniforms have changed to make it (the organization) relevant,” said membership manager Sue Kiser.