When people think about Girl Scouts, what first comes to mind might be badges, camping, or of course, the COOKIES! However, Girl Scouts is a lot more than that. The history of Girl Scouts dates back to 1912 when it was first established by Juliette Gordon Low. Her mission was to get girls out of their homes and into the outdoors, to help their communities, and to grow as independent women. Sound like more than just a cookie sale? The foundation that Girl Scouts was built on entails a lot more than you would expect. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Girl Scouts:
1. Girl Scouts was built on breaking stereotypes.
On March 12, 1912 in Savannah, Georgia, Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Guides of America (later renamed the Girl Scouts of the United States) with an emphasis on inclusiveness, the outdoors, self-reliance, and service. Low wanted to create an environment where girls could feel empowered and discover a life outside of traditional female “roles” at the time. Early on, Girl Scouts went on camping trips, learned about first aid and astronomy, and played sports!
2. Girl Scouts were involved in war efforts and more!
Girl Scouts have been focused on making a difference from the get-go. During the Great Depression, they collected clothing and food for those in need. World War II led girls to operate bicycle courier services, run Farm Aide Projects, collect fat and scrap metal, and more! “Kits for Korea” were created during the Korean War in the 1950’s, consisting of items needed by Korean citizens. Today, Girl Scouts partners with various organizations to send care packages with cookies, candy, or nuts to members of the armed forces serving overseas through Care to Share.
3. The original Girl Scout Cookie was the sugar cookie.
Before the 11 different varieties of cookie flavors there was only one beloved Girl Scout cookie: the sugar cookie. In 1917, a Girl Scout troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma began baking their own sugar cookies as a way to fund troop activities. Troops raised money through the sale of commercially baked cookies in the 1930’s, with over 125 Girl Scouts councils holding sales nationwide. By 1951, Girl Scouts Cookies came in three varieties: Shortbread, Sandwich, and the infamous Thin Mints (formerly known as Chocolate Mints).
4. Girl Scouts spans across 145 countries!
Girl Scouts isn’t limited to just the United States. In the 1920s, the organization expanded with troops in China, Syria, and Mexico. Today, Girls Scouts can be found in more than 145 countries worldwide, ultimately making it the largest leadership organization for girls in the world! Based in inclusivity, girls from every type of background, ability, financial situation, and religion have always been welcome to join. There are currently 2.6 million Girl Scouts, which consists of 1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults.
5. Michelle Obama was a Girl Scout?!
You actually might be familiar with some famous Girl Scout alumnae! Celebrities such as Venus Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Swift and public figures such as Michelle Obama, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and even Queen Elizabeth II were all Girl Scouts!
6. Girl Scouts offers scholarships.
Along with rewarding Girl Scouts high achievements such as the Gold Award, Girl Scouts of the USA also helps young women achieve their goals and excel in education by offering a variety of scholarship opportunities. They are typically based on the state girls live in and the type of scholarship they are looking into.
7. Girl Scouts love STEM!
Girl Scouts is so much more than just camping and knot tying! Our program places high priority on teaching girls STEM (science, technology engineering, and math) skills, and it is actually one of the four pillars of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience! Girl Scouts offers a wide variety of tech-related badges, including those for cybersecurity, digital arts, and robotics.
8. Selling cookies teaches early entrepreneur skills.
Cookie sales have been a long-established tradition in Girl Scouts, however there is a much deeper motive behind selling the famous cookies. Girls ultimately run their own cookie business, which helps them to learn early entrepreneurial skills such as goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.
9. Cookie proceeds benefit troops!
Girl Scouts sell roughly 200 million cookies a year, but what happens to the proceeds? Earnings from the cookie sale are reinvested in girls to power amazing adventures throughout the year. Whether it’s a trip to a new place, STEM projects, Girl Scout camp, or giving back to their community, Girl Scout troops have the opportunity to fund the experiences that they’re passionate about.
10. Girl Scouts allows girls to travel around the world!
From Astronomy Club in Maryland to kayaking in Greece, with Girl Scouts you can adventure around the world! Girl Scout Destinations, the ultimate adventure program for girls ages 11 and older, offers tons of different trips around the globe each year. Getaways, or short travel programs designed specifically for Girl Scout troops, can include anything from workshops on Broadway to high adventure outdoor programs!