More than 100 years ago, before women were given the right to vote, Juliette Gordon Low started an organization that would provide more than 59 million women the opportunity to learn leadership skills that would not only impact their lives but the communities in which they live. Based on a pulse poll Girl Scouts conducted in summer 2014, parents and volunteers believe Girl Scouts is still the place for girls to have fun, make friends and learn new things. In fact, 97 percent of parents say that Girl Scouts has been a positive activity for their daughter and 95 percent say that Girl Scouts offers their daughter new experiences that are fun and exciting.
Low would be please to know that more than 100 years later, the organization she founded was still going against the grain to address issues that were not popular, including equal opportunities for women and girls, health, education and the environment. On October 31, Girl Scouts from around the world will celebrate the birthday and the legacy of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts and maverick of women’s issues.
Low, affectionately nicknamed ‘Daisy’ by family and friends, was born in 1860 in Savannah, GA to an affluent family. Due to her socioeconomic status, she was able to grow up socially and academically in two countries – England and the United States. In the early 1900s, after the death of her husband and at a time when older women were expected to stay in the background of life, Juliette continued to be active in her community and traveled the world. On one of her many trips abroad, she met Boy Scouts founder Robert Baden-Powell who inspired her to start a similar organization for girls.
Despite adversities, including hearing impairment, Juliette always persevered and encouraged girls to do the same. She cultivated adult volunteers as active role models, troop leaders and program volunteers. When she was recruiting adult help, she would use her hearing impairment as an advantage by not acknowledging people who told her “no.” Today’s Girl Scout leaders share the same passion as the organization’s founder as they strive to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place by giving every girl despite their circumstances the opportunity to lead.
Low succumbed to breast cancer in 1927 during a time when the words breast and cancer were not used in conversation. Today, October is not only Low’s birth month, but the month devoted to raising awareness about Breast Cancer. Around the country, girls and volunteers complete service projects in Low’s honor, including serving as volunteers during breast cancer walks and making pillows and blankets for breast cancer patients. Low would be happy to know Girl Scouts has been in existence for more than 100 years and is still committed to addressing the issues facing girls.
For more information about Girl Scouts or to register, visit gssjc.org or call 713-292-0300.