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History of Girl Scouts

In: English and Literature

Submitted By crazyperson
Words 2410
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Founder Juliette Gordon Low poses with some of the nation's first Girl Scouts.
For nearly a century, Girl Scouts of the USA has served as a vital movement in America's history. Come explore the story of the Girl Scouts—and America—through the decades.

Girl Scouts team up to preserve fruits and vegetables to prevent food shortages.
Jeannette Rankin, from Montana, was elected to Congress even before women were given the right to vote. Minimum wage laws were being passed and industrial safety codes enacted. The fox trot and tango were the hottest dance steps of the time. But the progressive energy of the country was changed in April 1917, when Germany sank three U.S. ships, and America entered World War I.
• On June 10, 1915 the organization was incorporated as Girl Scouts, Inc. under the laws of the District of Columbia
• During World War I, girls learned about food production and conservation, sold war bonds, worked in hospitals, and collected peach pits for use in gas mask filters.
• After the war came The Golden Eaglet, a feature film about Girl Scouting shown in theaters across the country, and The Rally (later called The American Girl), a monthly magazine for girls published by Girl Scouts.
• A troop for physically challenged Girl Scouts was established.
• Girls could earn more than 25 badges, including Child Nurse.
• The Executive Board inaugurated a fund raising plan to relieve the burden on Juliette Gordon Low, who had been financing operations on her own (she sold her extremely valuable necklace of rare and matched pearls to support the organization!).
• A National Director position was funded.
• Girl Scouts established a system of national training schools for leaders.
• By 1920, Girl Scouts was growing in its independence from the British Girl Guide example and developed its own uniform, handbook (Scouting for Girls), and its own constitution and bylaws, contained in the Blue Book of Rules for Girl Scout Captains.
• By 1920, there were nearly 70,000 Girl Scouts nationwide, including the territory of Hawaii.

Left: Girl Scouts tend to children as women go to vote for the first time.
Right: Reading one of the nation's first magazines for girls—Girl Scout's The American Girl.
The 1920s were times of American prosperity, advancement, and optimism. The first transatlantic flight took place and movies lit up the big screen. Urbanization fueled industrialization and the economy. The decade also symbolized victory for women with the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted them the right to vote.
• The first Girl Scout Troops on Foreign Soil (TOFS) were established in China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Syria for American girls living in other countries.
• The first Native American Girl Scout troop was formed with girls of the Onondaga Nation in central New York State, and a troop of Mexican American girls was formed in Houston, Texas.
• Field News, originally a supplement to The American Girl, becomes Girl Scout Leader (later called LEADER) and is distributed as a separate publication.
• New Girl Scout badges included Economist and Interpreter, and revisions already were being made to the Journalist and Motorist badges.
• Girls in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania formed a Girl Scout Radio Troop, in collaboration with pioneering radio station KDKA.
• By the end of the decade, there were more than 200,000 Girl Scouts.

Left: Girl Scouts in New York pose for a group photo.
Right: Gathering food for neighbors in need.
The Great Depression, precipitated by the stock market crash of 1929, opened the decade. The New Deal was launched to provide economic relief and recovery for businessmen, laborers, and farmers. Escapism with big-screen movies and mystery novels were the era's popular diversions. Musicians, dancers, and other artists played a role in helping to lift the country's spirits.
• Girl Scouts led community relief efforts during the Great Depression by collecting clothing, making quilts, carving wood toys, gathering food for the poor, assisting in hospitals, participating in food drives and canning programs, and providing meals to undernourished children.
• Girl Scout resources were transcribed into Braille, and the Helen Keller Scholarship was established for training leaders who work with blind girls.
• The Girl Scout program was divided into three groups—Brownie, Intermediate, and Senior—in order to enhance service and provide age-appropriate activities for girls.
• The promotional booklet Who Are the Girl Scouts? was printed in English, Polish, Yiddish, and Italian.
• The first sale of commercially baked Girl Scout Cookies® took place.
• The Mariners interest group was launched to give Senior Girl Scouts an opportunity to develop skills in boating, sailing, navigation, and water safety.

1940s: Left: Girl Scouts collect scrap metal for recycling for the war effort.
Right: Girl Scouts learn about aviation through the Wing Scout program.
The mood of the nation took on a serious tone after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The need for skilled American service people led to the creation of the women's auxiliary corps of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Women met the needs of the nation by taking on jobs in factories that were once occupied by men. The charter for the United Nations was signed by 51 nations.
• During the war, Girl Scouts operated bicycle courier services, invested more than 48,000 hours in Farm Aide projects, collected fat and scrap metal, and grew Victory Gardens.
• A publication, Senior Girl Scouting in Wartime, was created to encourage older girls to perform war-related service projects, like Hospital, Child Care, and Emergency Outdoor Aide.
• Girl Scouts sponsored Defense Institutes, which taught 10,000 women survival skills and techniques for comforting children during blackouts and air raids.
• Girls collected 1.5 million articles of clothing that were then shipped overseas to children and adult victims of war.

Left: Girl Scouts encourage international friendships.
Right: Two Senior Girl Scouts prepare for a camping adventure.
Dr. Benjamin Spock's book, Baby and Child Care, about child-rearing techniques, transformed family dynamics. Television sets started to appear in every home. The "separate but equal" doctrine was applied to public education. Elvis Presley and rock-and-roll replaced Frank Sinatra and Big Band as the music of choice for teenagers. The Korean Conflict and the Cold War with the Soviet Union reminded Americans that peace was not to be taken for granted.
• The Girl Scout Movement was well-established as the decade started, with 1.5 million girls and adult volunteers. A special effort was made to include the daughters of migrant agricultural workers, military personnel, Native Americans, Alaskan Eskimos, and the physically challenged.
• Girl Scouts of the USA was re-incorporated in 1950 under a Congressional Charter.
• The March 1952 issue of Ebony magazine reported: "Girl Scouts in the South are making steady progress toward breaking down racial taboos."
• Bought in 1953 and later restored, the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia, was opened as a house museum and national program center for girls in October 1956.
• In November 1957, Girl Scouts of the USA moved its national headquarters to 830 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y., staying there until July 1992.

Left: Girl Scouts witness the Apollo 12 moon launch at Cape Kennedy, Florida. Right: Actress Debbie Reynolds heads the "Piper Project" to recruit and retain girls.
A few months after Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s rousing "I Have a Dream" speech, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 on behalf of the constitutional rights of African Americans, but he also was embroiled in controversy over America's growing involvement in the Vietnam War. Toward the end of the decade, Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon.
• The social unrest of the 1960s was reflected in organization actions and Girl Scout program change, including introduction in 1963 of four program age–levels for girls: Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and Senior Girl Scouts.
• The National Board went on record as strongly supporting civil rights. Senior Girl Scout Speakout conferences were held around the country and the "ACTION 70" project was launched in 1969, both as nationwide Girl Scout initiatives to overcome prejudice.
• The Piper Project, headed by actress and Girl Scout troop leader Debbie Reynolds, was launched to retain girls so they could benefit from the program for each age–level, as well as to recruit Girl Scouts in populations that were under-served.
• The Senior Girl Scout Handbook was translated into Spanish, and the Brownie Girl Scout Handbook was translated into Japanese.
• More than 100 Girl Scouts were special guests of NASA for the launch of Apollo 12 at Cape Kennedy, Florida, now known as Cape Canaveral.

The first African American Girl Scout president, Gloria Scott.
Right: Girl Scouts win a national environmental award.
The 1970s brought many social issues into focus. Seeing footage of the Vietnam War on television heightened awareness of war like never before. Advances were made in civil rights. Environmental pollution became a focus of concern, as did world hunger and the deteriorating ozone layer. Interest in space exploration increased. With a spotlight on the environment, Congress established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
• Girl Scout members elected the first African American National Girl Scout President, Gloria D. Scott, in 1975.
• Girl Scouts helped Vietnamese refugee children adapt to their new homes.
• Girl Scouts contributed to a White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health.
• "Eco-Action," a national environmental program, was launched.

1980s: Left: Girl Scouts receive lessons on fire safety and explore careers in fire-fighting.
Right: Nancy Reagan, First Lady and Girl Scout Honorary President, discusses the "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign.
Prisons overflowed with inmates as violent crime rates climbed and the AIDS virus reached epidemic proportions. In 1986, the nation mourned when the spacecraft Challenger exploded, killing all seven astronauts, including school teacher and Girl Scout alumnae, Christa McAuliffe.
• The Contemporary Issues series was developed in the 1980s to help girls and their families deal with serious social issues. The first, Tune In to Well Being, Say No to Drugs, was introduced in collaboration with a project initiated by First Lady Nancy Reagan. Subsequent publications dealt with issues such as child abuse, youth suicide, literacy, and pluralism.
• Project Safe Time was introduced for girls whose parents were not home to care for them after school.
• Management guru Peter Drucker cited the Girl Scouts as his choice for the best-managed organization.
• New badges included Computer Fun, Aerospace, and Business-Wise.
• A new Daisy Girl Scout age–level for girls five years old or in kindergarten was introduced.
• The Edith Macy Conference Center opened in New York State.
• Girl Scouts immersed themselves in a Global Understanding project on five topics: health care, hunger, literacy, natural resources, and cultural heritage.

1990s: Left: Practicing tai chi is part of the Girl Scout sports program.
Right: Girl Scouts restore glasses for the homeless.
The Cold War ended as the Berlin Wall came down and the Communist government of the Soviet Union collapsed. America engaged in the Gulf War. The computer was rapidly growing in importance in homes, schools and libraries. Tragedy struck when students in Colorado killed other students, a teacher and themselves.
• The Girl Scout Survey on the Beliefs and Moral Values of America's Children (January 1990) showed that girls in Girl Scouting were less likely to cheat on tests.
• Two Girl Scout centers were opened, in Texas and the Appalachian region, to develop stronger relationships with specific population groups.
• Girl Scouts received federal funding for P.A.V.E. The Way (Project Anti-Violence Education).
• Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, the first and only mother-daughter prison visitation program, was formed.
• The first Asian American National Girl Scout President, Connie Matsui, was elected.
• Nearly four million Girl Scouts, girls and adult leaders, tackled illiteracy alongside First Lady Barbara Bush in the Right to Read service project.
• Girl Scouts inaugurated a health and fitness national service project, Be Your Best, to promote different ways of being healthy, keeping fit, and eating right.
• In July 1992, Girl Scouts of the USA moved its national headquarters from 830 Third Avenue (which it had occupied since November 1957) to its current location at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y.
• Girl Scouting experienced a renewed emphasis on physical fitness with the inauguration of a health and fitness national service project in 1994 and the GirlSports initiative in 1996.

2000s: Left: Savvy surfing on the Girl Scout Web site.
Right: Girl Scouts do their part for the War on Terrorism.
Recent studies showed that 53 percent of U.S. children ages 9 to 17 use the Internet. The Presidential election of 2000 was the closest in decades, with a controversial recount. More than a month after the election, George W. Bush was declared the winner. Terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, resulted in devastation at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in rural Pennsylvania. The United States engaged in war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and terrorists around the world.
• The Girl Scout Research Institute launched its first study, Teens Before Their Time, which found that contemporary pre-teen girls were maturing faster mentally and physically, but not emotionally, than previous generations.
• Grants from Fortune 500 companies such as Lucent Technologies, Intel, and Lockheed Martin supported science and technology exploration programs for girls.
• Girl Scouts took to the World Wide Web via the organization's Web site (, local Girl Scout council Web sites, and online troop meetings.
• New badges include Global Awareness, Adventure Sports, Stress Less, and Environmental Health.
• Girl Scouts responded to the September 11 attack on America by performing community services, hosting remembrance ceremonies, and writing thank-you letters to rescuers.
• Encouraged by President George W. Bush, Girl Scouts donated a personal gift of $1 each to help support the children of Afghanistan.
• Following comprehensive research, which ranged from online surveys to focus groups across the country, a brand-new approach to serving adolescent girls, STUDIO 2B, was unveiled at the Girl Scout National Council Session in Long Beach, California, in May 2003.
• Historical Highlights (PDF): The turn of the century brought Girl Scouting to a threshold of change. In a nutshell, here's what has happened to transform the organization from 2002 to 2008.…...

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...​Throughout time and throughout the world women have always been viewed differently by society. In many cultures, women have destined roles to fulfill and repercussions to bear if she cannot achieve being that ideal woman. The short story “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, consists of an extremely long, single sentence of advice a mother imposes on her young daughter. Believing her daughter is already at risk of an adolescent’s promiscuity, she cautions and reprimands her daughter in order for her to grow up with the appropriate reputation that is expected of her as a woman. With examples of dos and don’ts her mother professes, the mother sends a clear message of what the young girl’s domestic knowledge should encompass. Even though the young girl has not yet reached adolescence, her mother is deeply concerned with her negative behavior and the reputation that she might bring upon herself. ​Being from the island of Antigua and from a poor, small community, it seems as though a woman’s respectability is greatly determined by her reputation. Knowing from experience and even from past generations, the young girl’s mother knows that her daughter must stay far from her adolescent promiscuous instinct and conceal any sort of sexuality in order to gain respect from her community. Throughout the short story her mother emphasizes that her daughter should not become a slut in any manner. She cautions her not to walk like a slut and demonstrates how to hem her dress, which will prevent her......

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