Daisies. Brownies. Cookies. Badges. Friends. If these words bring back warm and fuzzy memories of Girl Scouts, you have Juliette Gordon Low to thank. This Halloween marks 156 years since the founder of Girl Scouts was born in Savannah, Georgia. Juliette was an independent and adventurous girl with many interests and those ideals became the foundation for the Girl Scout program.
Juliette grew up in a wealthy family, but her childhood was not always easy. Her father fought in the Civil war when she was a young girl and the war’s proximity to their home caused the Gordons to move several times. She was often stricken with illness and injury – including malaria, brain fever, and broken bones. She eventually lost most of her hearing due to ear injuries. Juliette did not let these setbacks stop her. She enjoyed poetry, painting, woodworking, metalworking, and charity work throughout her youth and adulthood. After her marriage, she moved to London with her husband until moving back to the United States after her husband died while they were going through a divorce.
In 1912 Juliette met Sir Robert Baden Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts. She was inspired by this and soon called her cousin exclaiming “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!” From there, Girl Scouts started with a meeting of just 18 girls and has grown to 1.9 million a little more than 100 years later.
I have wonderful memories of the years spent in Girl Scout Troop 765. My best friends were made as we recited the Girl Scout Law, sang silly songs, cooked over the fire at camp, and sold thousands of delicious cookies. Girl Scouts was a major part of my girlhood experience and those experiences still impact me every day. I know that I will be thinking of Juliette Gordon Low on her birthday and feeling thankful for her major influence on my life and the lives of millions of girls around the country.
Happy Birthday, Juliette!
Museum Education Advisor
Girl Museum Inc.
Caption: Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts, pinning a badge on a scout.