For over a century, Girl Scouts of the USA has changed the world through empowering generations of future female leaders, thinkers, makers and more. Founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia, the organization celebrates its 108th birthday today on National Girl Scout Day. While many of us are most familiar with their oh-so-delicious Girl Scout cookies, this is only a tiny crumb of what Girl Scouts is all about. Here are 5 things you didn’t know:
1. More than 50 million women in America today enjoyed Girl Scouts during their childhood.
Currently, there are 2.5 million Girl Scouts, with 1.7 million girl members and 750,000 adult members who work mainly as volunteers. It really is never too late to get involved.
2. The majority of women in the current Congress are Girl Scout alums.
Did you know that 69% of female U.S. senators and 57% of females in the U.S. House of Representatives were Girl Scouts? What’s more, all three female Secretaries of State are also Girl Scout alums. “Our program builds girls’ leadership skills and confidence in their own abilities, and encourages girls to speak up and take action on what they believe in,” says Stewart Goodby, Senior Director of Communications and External Affairs for Girl Scouts of the USA.
3. One of the first badges ever offered by Girl Scouts of the USA was an electrician badge in 1913.
“We move ‘at the speed of girls’ so we’re always evolving and changing to meet the needs of today’s girls while still staying true to our mission and roots,” Goodby says. “Today we offer badges in relevant STEM topics like mechanical engineering and coding, which is fueling the pipeline of the next generation of female STEM leaders.”
4. The Girl Scout slogan, “Do a good turn daily,” has been in use since 1912.
It reminds girls of the many ways they can contribute positively to the lives of others. “Our girls are changing the world,” Goodby says. “From impactful community projects like supporting animal shelters and food banks, to working with local and state legislators to change laws, Girl Scouts make a positive impact both today and in the future.”
5. Girl Scouts have played an active role in U.S. History for over a century.
During WWII, Girl Scouts participated in the Wing Scouts program, ran Farm Aide projects, grew Victory gardens and even sponsored Defense Institutes to teach survival skills to women. During the 1960s, Girl Scouts held “Speak Out” conferences and joined the movement for racial equality.
“Our program is delivered with a lens of building a better world and becoming a leader in whatever you choose, and girls learn important soft skills vital for future success like confidence, persistence, learning from failure, and teamwork,” Goodby says. “And – bottom line – Girl Scouts is fun!”