A look at 111 years of history on National Girl Scout Day

First meeting happened in 1912

Girl Scouts selling their cookies. (Girl Scouts of the USA)

National Girl Scout Day is on March 12, a day celebrated during Girl Scout Week honoring the 111 years of its history.

This day honors the anniversary of the first Girl Scout meeting dating back to 1912 when Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low organized the meeting in Savannah, Georgia, according to the organization’s website.

Low started the first troop with 18 girls to start a global movement that would actually make a difference, the website reads.

Growing up in a time where women had limited rights, these girls pushed to change social norms, and emphasized inclusiveness, the outdoors, and service, the organization said.

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“That small gathering of girls over 100 years ago ignited a movement across America where every girl could unlock her full potential, find lifelong friends, and make the world a better place,” the website reads.

Here is a breakdown of the milestones the organization has made throughout the decades, according to its website.


In 1911 the founder of Boy Scouts, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, inspired Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low to create her very own Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts promotes important values of inclusiveness, the outdoors, self-reliance, and service.


The first international Girl Scout troops were launched in China, Syria, and Mexico. There was also a Native American troop formed in 1921 one located on the Onondaga Reservation in New York and Mexican American girls formed a troop in Houston, Texas, in 1922. USA Girl Scouts Overseas formerly known as, Lone Troops on Foreign Soil, registered its first Girl Scout troop in Shanghai, China, in 1925. This troop started with a total of 18 girls.


During these times, Girl Scouts collected clothes and food for those in need throughout the Great Depression. They also accommodated their “Who Are the Girl Scouts?” pamphlets with Yiddish, Italian, and Polish for the growing immigrant population.


Girl Scouts stepped up during WWII by operating bicycle courier services, running Farm Aide projects, collected fat and scrap metal, and grew Victory Gardens. They also sponsored Defense Institutes that taught women survival skills and techniques for comforting children during air raids. Japanese troops in internment camps also took part in this.


During the Korean War girl scouts made “Kits for Korea,” pouches that included items needed by Koran citizens. At this time they also pushed for inclusiveness and equality. Ebony magazine reported that even in southern regions, “. . . Scouts were making slow and steady progress toward surmounting the racial barriers of the region.”


Girl Scouts gave a hand in the fight for racial equality by holding “Speak Out” conferences. They also launched the “ACTION 70″ project to help overcome prejudice. They were also able to watch the launch of the Apollo 12 moon landing in Kennedy Space Center, as guests of NASA.


During this time, Girl Scouts elected its first African American national board president, Gloria D. Scott, who stood up for environmental issues and helped with this issue by launching a national “Eco-Action” program. Scott also helped Vietnamese refugee children get settled into their new homes in America.


More people became interested in becoming Girl Scouts, leading to the creation of the “Daisy” level for kindergarten-aged girls. In 1980, they also renamed the highest award a Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout can earn to the Gold Award. Troops also led an initiative to cover serious issues like pregnancy, drug abuse, and child abuse for teenage girls.


As technology continued to grow, the technology badge was introduced for Girl Scout Juniors. They also continued to fight illiteracy with nearly 4 million Girl Scouts participating in the Right to Read service project.


Entering a new millennium era, Girl Scouts focused on the healthy development of girls and established the “Girl Scout Research Institute” that conducts surveys and reports. They also continued to push for inclusiveness by hosting a National Conference on Latinas in Girl Scouting and, in 2005, they elected their first Hispanic as chair of the National Board, Patricia Diaz Dennis.


Girl Scouts turned 100 in 2010 and launched “Digital Cookie” where people can buy Girl Scout cookies online for the first time in cookie program history. They also expanded their programming to include more STEM based subjects like space science and robotic badges.


Girl Scouts continues to create new badges, and adapt to the everchanging technology. They have partnered with Google for a program called “Made with Code” to encourage girls to get a head start in the field of computer science.

Celebrate this day by hanging out with your favorite girl scout, create your own girl scout badge, and buying their delicious cookies.

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